Make the effort

Scan-021 I drew this crazy folded thing one afternoon and it sat in my journal for a long time unpainted, blank.  Just waiting for this verse.  God does that sometimes.  He gets me ready for things, but waits to complete them.  Keeps me hanging a little.  And then when it is complete it is one of those sit back and sigh moments when I realize the depth of what He teaches me.

It can’t be just one of those words that builds faith.  We need them all. And when one is missing, it is hard to keep faith whole.  We have to make every effort to do them all.  Knowledge comes with endurance.  Goodness comes with self control.  Mutual affection and love are results of those pieces, but also threaded through faith completely.  Godliness is part of that hope that keeps it all going.  Godliness is being open to the wait for God to complete his teachings.

Faith and hope can be hard work, but they are so worth the effort.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Only Believe


When you get right down to it, most of what Jesus preaches is HOPE.  He is the ultimate optimist, for he knows that everything truly will turn out okay in the end.  He knows that his love is greater and far better than anything.  He knows that his grace covers everything.  And he requires SO LITTLE.  Only that we believe him.  Believe his words.  Believe his miracles (this passage is full of them!).  Believe his constancy.  Believe.

Stop.  Breathe in that word.  Close your eyes.  Do not be afraid.  Believe.  Like a child.  Like a new follower.  Believe.  Soak it in.  Let it fill you.  Let it ease away the fears and pain.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Look for God


The disciples, of all people, asked Jesus if a man was blind because of his sins or his parents.  The disciples! And I love how The Message version words Jesus’ response.  Basically, “You don’t get it, you are missing the point!  You are missing what God is going to do in this man despite his setbacks!  Because everyone has a purpose in the mission of Christ!”

{Full disclosure–I sort of love it when the disciples ask stupid human questions so I feel a lot better about my own screw ups.  And I love picturing the look– patient, yet disapproving –that Jesus surely gave them.)

All of this makes me take stock.  What am I missing?  How is God using things in my life?  How is he using me?  What do I need to change my perspective about to fit God’s mission?   Am I really reflecting His light, pulling in close to Him?  Am I pulling others in close with me?  Or pushing them away?

Yep, just saw Jesus giving me that look in my mind.  Dang.  How about you?



Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

You will see ME


This was the image that popped into my brain at Easter this year.  Bright light.  Jesus overcoming.  Hope that I will see Him because I believe he is the light of the world.  Praise that I have the opportunity to be close to him.  And so do you.  It says it right there in the verse!  I love that Jesus invites each of us into his inner circle of light.  We are all drawn to him, we all reflect his light.  Mutually dependent.  We need him, he needs us to reflect his love and spread his gospel.

We can’t do that from a place of darkness.  It gets hard to see, it gets hard to understand, it gets muddled and loses its warmth.

Right near the light, that is the best place to be.  Pull closer to it.  Draw nearer.  Come in as close as you possibly can.  You can’t get burned.  Only filled.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Hope Continually

Scan-026I don’t know about you, but I really do cling to hope and praise to keep me going on a daily basis.  And part of those frustrations manifesting in a painful back are because I was losing sight of hope.  I was surrounded by a lot of complaining, avoiding, meanness, and very little praising.  And I crashed.  But once I realized it, once I gave the junk to Jesus, and focused back in on all of the amazingly good things going on now, and that will happen in the future, life looked a lot more sunny.

Even in the midst of a Belmond style thunderstorm/tornado warning/ flood watch (cause that’s how we roll in Wright county).  LOL!  Because even that storm means that it is spring and not snow, that God is wiping our land clean getting ready for another growing season, and rainbows of promise will stretch across the sky when the storm ends.

HOPE.  PRAISE.  It’s all in the perspective.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Escape from Frustration and Chaos


Today I finally took Jesus’ advice, Billy Graham’s advice, and my own.  I took a sick day and went to a massage therapist who worked on my back for 90 minutes and still didn’t get all the kinks out.  I have been collecting all the stress and negativity around me in those muscles for the last month.  Our schedule hasn’t really allowed me much down time to build up my armor, to sit with Jesus and let him fortify my resistance.  And my body and mind reacted.  So I escaped the frustration and chaos, even if for only 12 hours.  I didn’t have any music in the car the hour ride back and forth.  I didn’t call anyone.  I just started talking with God and letting him take all of it.  Even through the massage, I thought of frustrations as she tried to ease the pain out of each knot.  I let go of my expectations of others, I let go of their expectations for me.  And I tried my best to let it all slip into the hands of my Savior.

Have you ever needed to do just this very thing?  Sometimes it really does take escaping everything, if only for one day.  When we don’t have any one or any thing else pressing into our space, we can open so much more to our Creator.  We can see His role and his path so much clearer.  Not our path, not {insert name here}.  God’s.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Raw paths of integrity

I didn’t realize until I uploaded this art and added it to the post I left it in raw format!  I usually crop, up the shadow levels (makes the darkers pop and the colors more rich like the actual paintings).  But for today, I kind of like it…it is real, it is actually what I do each morning.  I get into the Word.  I make a quick sketch, and place paint where He leads me.  Later, usually while I watch tv or my kid’s sports games I go back and do the outlining.  This raw page is reminding me where I find integrity–what reminds me to stay on God’s path–it is God himself leading me.  When I am close to him and listening intently I remember to do what he asks.  When I start going off on tangents following my own path– when I am not in the Word, or at church, or listening to Christian music, or other things that keep me focused–then I slip and fall.  I lose sight of reflecting him.  My integrity slips.  And I desire to be a person of integrity, just as he created me to be.

How about you?  What things keep your integrity in faith strong?  What keeps you raw and ready to follow his paths?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Finish Never

We can begin to know God, and believe in Him, but will we ever truly know Him?  Not completely, at least not until we join Him in heaven.  But we can get to know Him better each and every day.  Our thirst to know God, to surrender to Him, should be unquenchable.

There are many ways to know God better.  Be in your Bible.  Pray.  Worship.  Fellowship with believers.  Reflect God to non-believers.  Any of them work, but the best way is to do it continually, and never stop.  Not just on Sundays, not just holidays, not just when it works out, but always.  That kind of devotion is surely rewarded here and for eternity.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Ezekiel 36:23

Who do we really want people to know?  God?  Or our version of God?  Because there are a lot of different versions of Jesus.  There is the teacher, healer, friend, father, protector. leader.  And then there is the one that judges us, segregates us, shows favoritism.  There is the one who is accepting and loving.  There is the one people use to punish.

Which one shows through you?  Which one do you reflect?  Do you let Him display His true holiness?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Encourage Each Other

One of the biggest lessons I have had in my faith walk is worshiping at different churches and different denominations.  Especially when I have dug in and discovered why they worship the way they do.  Each of us has a different comfort level with our world, and our own faith.  Each of us has a different comfort level with tradition.  Each of us has different needs for religion. Each of us has a different way of expressing spirituality.  Some of us are quiet, some are loud.  Some are through evangelizing, some through quiet service and caring.  Some are through learning and some are through listening.

But my favorite churches have been the ones where I can feel Jesus in the community.

And yes, I have been to a lot of churches where I don’t feel Jesus.  I see a lot of people filling chairs, but I don’t feel His presence there.

I have been to churches where I don’t feel comfortable because it is different from my faith, but I have still felt Jesus.  I have been to churches where it is so comfortable that it almost seems boring–but I have felt Jesus.  I have been to churches that are exciting where I feel Him, and ones where that excitement doesn’t really feel like Him.

And each church, no matter what category, helped me learn.  Each shaped my personal faith.  Each shaped my vision of Christ in my life.  Opened my eyes.  Opened my mind.  Filled me with grace.

Have you ever looked at different churches this way?  Have you let other’s faith walks, no matter how different, encourage you to learn and love?  I highly recommend following Paul’s advice.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

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