David and Goliath valley

Adventures with God

Adventures with God

We stood on the hill top and envisioned David’s brave confrontation with the giant in the valley below. When the dirt beneath your feet is the same dirt that powdered the combatant’s feet, the previously mythic becomes very material.Adventure with God

At our leader’s invitation, Randy and I spoke on the precipice of that hill to our Israel tour companions about our thoughts gleaned from 1Samuel 17. We shared how we can “bank” faith compounded on our previous adventures with God—That we should take risks to right wrongs that are offensive to Him—And we are free to be ourselves as we respond to God’s assignments with the unique set of strengths and limitations we own.

“We also stand off against an enemy who would have us believe we are merely skinny kids. The reality is that we, in our mortality and humanity are outmatched. But the realities that were true for David are true for us. This means we too are responsible to live with awareness of what is going on around us and taking responsibility for it.” 

After our devotional, one of our team approached us weeping. She thanked us for speaking especially to her. She said, “I have allowed fear to control me my whole life! We prayed with her that God would use the picture of this valley and her internal vision of David’s dual to help her trust God with her fear and grow her faith. Then I picked up a small smooth stone and gave it to her. “Let this be your Ebenezer- your monument to help you remember this moment, this picture and this prayer.

“The Ebenezer stone represented a fresh beginning, a reversal of course for God’s people. It also said something important about God: his mercies are everlasting; his covenant is forever.”~ from the website Another Think-One Christian’s View of Postmodern Life

The trip to Israel was life-changing for every one of us. It will enrich our teaching and my writing in countless ways. For this woman, it meant beginning again with fresh faith and the awareness that she doesn’t have to be the hero of her own story. God already is.

 

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The Truth about Broccoli – Isaiah 55

The Truth about Broccoli – Isaiah 55

I prefer eating fruit to vegetables, but I know that veggies contain inportant fibre and nutrients that my body needs. I trust that nutritionists know what they are talking about when they tell me to eat my broccoli. broccoli-DSC_1445I have faith that if I do what I am told, the vitamins and minerals in those healthy foods will, over time, nourish my body’s systems and provide them what they need to flourish.

I have never finished my grapefruit and suddenly felt its vitamin C surging through my body. I’ve never had a swig of milk and suddenly felt the calcium reinforcing my bones. I take it on faith that those things are happening.

Isaiah 55:10 says, “The rain and the snow stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow producing seed…and bread for the hungry…It’s the same with my word. I send it out and it aways produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

rain-water-falling-enjoy

It is comforting to know that my spiritual nutrition is doing its work as long as I am faithfully in God’s word. It is making me stronger and wiser and more resilient.

Are you in the Word?1058605_60297588

 

Are you learning and obeying?

             If so, your growth is assured. Take it with a generous helping of faith.

Isaiah 55

A prayer for myself- Isaiah 55

A prayer.

I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s oldie but goodie Higher Ways taken from Isaiah 55:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…

And my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine.”

God’s thoughts are all-encompassing. They include past, present and the eternal future. They include everyone and everything he created. His thoughts are absolutely pure; in harmony with his character.cloudy-sky-14499-2560x1600

By contrast, my thoughts are short-sighted. My idea of long-term is saving money for retirement. Seldom am I thinking about saving souls from a desolate eternity. I am incapable of an entire train of thought untainted by self-interest- let alone objectively taking into account the environment, the people of every nation and the generations that will follow me.

My prayer today is that God will infiltrate my thoughts, making me more reflective and responsible. Maybe that’s your prayer too.

A Beautiful Promise

The past few years my dear friend has gone through very rugged terrain with her child. I watch helplessly as her Mother’s Heart breaks time and time again.

Let me re-phrase: I feel helpless and yet I know my prayers for her and her family are heard and held by our Abba Father. He cares for her even more than I do and loves her lamb even more than she does.

In fact, he makes this beautiful promise in Isaiah 40:11:

lamb drawing promise

 “He will feed his flock like a shepherd.

He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them   

close to his heart.

He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”

 

I love this promise.

God understands the Mother’s Heart.

He formed it out of his own Great Heart.

Yet unlike us, he is absolutely unlimited in his capacity to love, forgive, and even shape the circumstance he knows will draw a child back to  his mother’s arms and his own. Is your heart breaking over a child who is determined to wander away from the green meadows God has for her? Know that your prayers matter. They are heard and held. God is at work, whether you can see it or not. He holds your lamb to his heart and leads you gently as you wait and weep.

Two candles

For the Sake of My Servant – a Legacy

Last night my mom and I attended a grief recovery meeting intended to help those of us who have recently lost loved ones to cope with the holidays. We were the only ones present who had two candles to light, representing loved ones recently lost.

2006-12-14TwoCandles05

Thinking about our first Christmas without my dad, my mind went back to last Christmas Eve. I stayed withmy precious papa, so weakened with cancer, while my mom and the rest of the family went to church. I knew it would be my last Christmas Eve with him.

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I savoured every moment.

Today, I read these words in Isaiah 37:35. “For my own honour and the sake of my servant David, I will defend it (Jerusalem).”

I am certain I have been blessed “for the sake of God’s servant Gerry.” My dad loved the Lord with his whole heart. Everything he did was affected by his desire to be faithful to God. I can think of at least two times I was in grave danger of being sexually abused as a child. I believe that my parents’ and grandparents’ prayers were what kept those men from exploiting my weakness and naiveté. Who knows how many other dangers God protected me from for the sake of his servant Gerry.

cross_nightI am so grateful for the legacy my parents have provided of devotion to God, prayer for loved ones, and faithful obedience. My life is richer for it. I am challenged to pass on that beautiful heritage so that one day, my grandchildren think of me and realize they are blessed for the sake of “God’s servant Donna”.

Ocean storm

A Moment in the Storm

I’ve been finding great nuggets these last few weeks as I re-read through my copy of Moments with the Savior: A Devotional Life of Christ by Ken Gire.  The chapter entitled An Incredible Moment in a Storm has resonated with me.  Below is an excerpt of what I’m talking about.

Mark 4:35-41

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

ocean-storm-01[1]

The constant crush of the crowds have given him (Jesus) no margin in which to rest or refresh himself.  So when evening comes after another exhausting day of teaching, Jesus is ready for a sequestered Sabbath from the long week his body and soul have put in.

Suddenly in a bracing affront to the calm idyllic night, a gust of cold wind slaps the sail.  Tirades of wind shriek at the sail, causing it to flap and pop in nervous response.

Heaving waves toss the boat back and forth on it’s frothy crests.  Some of the disciples frantically bail, while others pull at the oars, while still others wrestle to subdue the erratic sail.

Meanwhile, there i s a calm eye in the midst of this storm.  Jesus is fast asleep.  “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Jesus awakes to a down pair of faithless eyes, bloodshot with terror.  He turns his piercing gaze toward the storm.

“Quiet! Be still!”

The sail falls limp.  The boat steadies itself. The storm is over.

“Who is this?Even the wind and the waves obey him?”

Then their eyes see.

He who stands before them is no mere teacher or prophet or faith healer.  He who stands before them holds the wild mane of nature in the tight grip of his hands.  To him, the unbridled forces of nature submit, without so much as a kick or a whinny of resistance.

And in the wet, shivering presence of such a power, the disciples stand terrified, knowing that the man who slept in the stern rose from that sleep to do what only God himself could do.

Dear Master of the Wind and Waves,

Help me when the sudden storms of life come crashing over me with their fierce winds and frothing waves.  I have seen enough storms, Lord, to know how quickly peaceful circumstances can turn into catastrophe.

I have seen the strong become weak with disease.  I have seen the freest of spirits become enslaved with addiction.  I have seen the brightest of stars fall like meteors in a streak of dying fame.

Yes, Lord, I have seen a lot of storms.  Too many of other people’s to feel untouchable.  Too many of my own to feel critical or proud or unsympathetic.

Some dear people I love, Lord are going through some tempestuous times right now. I pray that you would be with them.  Help them see you in the midst of their storms – you who rule the wind and waves with only a word.

And help them to see that no matter how devastating the storm that sweeps over them, you do care if they drown.  Help them not to be hasty in judging our concern for them during those times when their lives seem to be sinking and you seem to be asleep at the stern.

Help them to see that you allow storms in their lives to strengthen them – not to shipwreck them.  And help them to see that it is you who not only points out the direction their lives should take but who rides with them to hasten their safe passage.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being there during their individual storms. And when uncertain seas unsettle their faith, turn their attention to you so that the tempest in their souls might be quieted and made still…..

calm waters