What Do We Do With This World In Turmoil?…

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I can’t be the only one completely overwhelmed and disheartened by the constant barrage of headlines and News reels that have filled the past couple of weeks. It’s just so upsetting to live in a world that inhabits so much chaos and turmoil.

Everyone believes they have the right answers, but no one really knows what to do aside from fight and debate about it online. What else can we do? We feel helpless to the mess.

I write about this often because I find myself in this place often. I find myself feeling so lost in the frightening reality that humanity is perishing. It feels like I’m in a whirlpool, spinning and spinning trying to grip the edge to find some steady, only to miss the edge and get sucked into the center.

What can we do?

My husband said something to me that gave me such perspective in the midst of my rant to him on how confused and depressed I was about what I was seeing in the News. He said, “Think of Daniel, and what he had to go through. Think of what was going on at that point in history. Daniel didn’t seem to concern himself with all of the enormous, fearful things he had no control over. But he dedicated himself to prayer and was faithful in the place God had him. Remember?”

Right. Yes I remember.

Deep breaths.

This is, by the way, why I married my husband.

Yes, lets all think about Daniel for second. After Babylon attacked Jerusalem, Daniel was taken into exile. Horrible. Can you imagine? Abruptly he had to live with the people who plundered his home and somehow he had to remain faithful to his God-given Jewish identity while being pressured to conform to the Babylonian way of life. They wanted him to bow to idols, eat unclean food and worship the King. What was he to do?

What we see in the book of Daniel is a man’s unwavering devotion to God, even when his very life was in danger. He was faithful to the call of God to live in obedience to the Word at great risk to himself. But Daniel was successful in obedience and he gave himself to prayer. And what he experienced in the process was the mighty hand of God protecting him through it all. Yes, God allowed Daniel’s capture, which means it didn’t always go well for him, but with Daniels trust in God came God’s protection.

Listen, I can only imagine Daniels thought-life was a battle ground. He was not an infallible man, which means I’m sure there was inner struggle and confusion. However his outer life remained devoted and unwavering to the Ancient Of Days.

Daniel must have been utterly convinced that the God he served was absolutely in control even in the midst of the worlds current chaos.

What a guy! The enduring reverence of Daniel…how I desire but a fragment of it.

When we look at this regular man from Jerusalem and the story God told with his life, we must learn and look and remember what it tells us about our Father in heaven. Learn, look and remember what it speaks of the world we inhabit.

The book of Daniel shockingly is meant to be a book of hope. Hope that leads to obedience. Which is exactly what the Christian life is. Daniel exhibits this wonderfully even though he didn’t have the full revelation of this hope, like we do. Unlike Daniel, we know the fullest extent of this hope. And because of this, we should have the same kind of perseverance and unwavering obedience.

The kind of obedience that puts boots on the ground even when we’re weary of the good fight. Obedience that reach’s out to those in need and shares the love of Christ. God requires us not to fix all the big problems mankind faces, but to remain faithful right where he has us. Steadfast and resolute in action right here…right where you and I are…right now.

I have my corner of the world to deal with and the troubles it faces pales in comparison to that of Babylon. And yet you and I have our own Babylon to navigate and the struggle to remain faithful in it is a generational battle, no matter the geographical placing. But do I pray like Daniel? Am I just as obedient in the face of it?

“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” ~ Daniel 10:12

If this tells us anything about who God is, it’s that He wants us to set our heart on Him and humble ourselves in prayer. The promises He made to Daniel aren’t necessarily going to be the same for us today. However God never changes. And here we see what pleases Him. Daniel cried out to his Father in a time of uncertainty. And there is no doubt He wants us to do the same. He wants to hear His people – as He heard Daniel.

God was sovereign over humanity and the globe when Daniel lived and died and He’s sovereign still. It won’t always go well for us, there is likely to be suffering. But Jesus is on His throne and our hope is secure.

May this comforting knowledge be our food in these times of consternation. When the whirlpool starts spinning…think of Daniel.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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One, Broken World: This is such a great reminder for us. I’m not going to even begin to say I understand what’s happening in the US right now with refugees, because truthfully its all very confusing. But this sums up how Christians should be thinking.

Do You Exercise For The Right Reasons: Well this is an interesting one! I hate to say that I do not exercise with these things in mind…but I actually think it would be a better motivator for me in the long-run.

Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic: Here is another good article that will help keep you better informed on this very important and relevant topic.

To The American Church – John Piper: I know I’ve posted this before a long time ago, but it feels very relevant to us today again.

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Stepping In Ancient Footprints…

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Almost everyday I go for a walk at a park that is right across the street from my house. In the last couple weeks we’ve had some wet snow immediately followed by very cold temperatures. What this has done to my beloved walking track is create huge patches of ice upon ice. Which makes for a tricky walking experience.

However I learned quickly that in order to not slip and constantly catch myself from falling, I had to step in the footprints of the people who came before me. Their tracks have created firm, shoe gripping spots for me to step in.

When I tried to walk outside their tracks onto the slick ice, I lost my balance and had to catch myself by grabbing a chain link fence beside me. This, as you can imagine, was pretty embarrassing. No matter how cool I tried to play off the slip (I was just working on some dance…

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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“44 years ago today, the Supreme Court defined ones personhood by one’s power. As people of the cross, we dissent.” ~ Russell Moore

Because of this important anniversary, this little blog needs to make a bit of racket about it, in order to show all the dissent I have.

When Is Abortion Racism?: I do not believe that most people who support abortion rights are racists, any more than I believe there are no racists among pro-lifers. I am simply suggesting that regardless of motives, a closer look at both the history and present strategies of the pro-choice movement suggests that “abortion for the minorities” may not serve the cause of equality as much as the cause of supremacy for the healthy, wealthy and white. (Randy Alcorn – Eternal Perspectives, Sept.-Oct. 1993, p. 9)

The Power Of Pro-Life Women: It’s an old article but extremely relevant. Especially after yesterdays Women’s March. As women we should be fearless advocates of life.

Why I Pray For An End To Sanctity Of Life Day:it reminds me we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, or economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness. And I hate it.

9 Myths About Abortion Rights And Roe V. Wade: Inform yourself on what’s true and what’s false by reading this quick article. I learned stuff I never knew before!

Lord Huron – Ghost On The Shore: Current mood song.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Dear Women’s Ministry, Stop Telling Me I’m Beautiful: This is all kinds of good and I hope it’s message many church’s receive. And I wish I wrote it! When our eyes turn to His beauty instead of pandering to ours, insecurities die…When our minds think about who He is instead of who we are, we find an identity wrapped in eternal purpose.

Church Should Feel Uncomfortable: Sorta! I absolutely agree with this article, while also understanding that the church is also for the hurting and should be a source of comfort for those people. Give it a read though! Looking outside of yourself. Serving someone beyond yourself. Putting aside personal comfort and coming often to the cross. This is what being the church means.

Worshipping With A Broken Heart: As I was saying about church and the hurting, this article speaks on that in a great way. When our hearts are broken we need the church.

Normal Christianity Is Not White: This is such a great little snippet of a larger conversation, that I believe we all need to watch. It’s so important as we look ahead to 2017 with the racial tensions that continue to wreak havoc in our world.

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December In Pictures…

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Christmas is my favorite time of year and this one didn’t disappoint. As my kids get older and bigger I feel the need to write about these special seasons to remember better when I’m older and less able to recall them. Which means this is mostly just for myself. But feel free to join me on this December reflection! Get ready for a sea of pictures.

As the picture above shows, we continued one of our most treasured traditions of going to a tree farm and cutting down the perfect tree. What these pictures don’t show you is that this was the second tree farm we had to go to because the first one, that took about an hour to get to, didn’t take debit and that’s all we had. So this picture below is mostly just relief that our long drawn-out excursion is now over because we got a good-enough tree.

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Our church put on a super awesome Christmas choir production that Lucy got to be apart of. And it was pretty sweet to watch her. She got to say part of a verse in front of the congregation and she rocked it!

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We enjoyed the sugar-high of making a gingerbread house and I realized once again how much of a control-freak I am in the process. We still had fun.

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Look how cute. Am I right?

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We’ve had one of the most snowy seasons ever. And although some people have not enjoyed it, I have loved every second! It’s so beautiful and makes everyone slow down and it also brings neighborhoods together. Lucky for us, more is in the forecast!

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All this snow has made staying inside so much more cozy. And I enjoyed so much siting by this fire with that view while snowflakes fell. I miss it.

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Christmas morning started as it always does…with me and Chris waking up super early and waiting around for the kids. This scenario will flip at some point right? Finally Lucy woke up and then rushed to scream at her brother to “get up, its Christmas”!! We read the Christmas story as we always do and got to the presents.

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We spent the day building Lego, watching Rudolph and playing new video games before loading up and heading to my moms, where lots of eating and playing with cousins took place. The girls got matching outfits from Fiji from Grandma who went there earlier in the month.

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The next day we met with all of Chris’s family at a hotel about 45 minutes from our home for a short getaway where it continued to snow even as we swam in the pool. It was a lovely time together.

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We also got to spend New Years Eve with some long-time and dear friends who were in town and it was a joy to ring in the New Year with them! It snowed again that night also.

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Now the kids are back in school, my house is de-Christmased and I’m slowly organizing our lives again. I’ve been going through clothes and toys and junk, because its purging season and time to minimize all the unnecessary stuff.

I’m so grateful to God for an awesome season of celebrating His incarnation and sacrificial love for us. I am a truly blessed woman. Which is a good place to end.

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This Year, Don’t Make Any Grand Pronouncements…

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This year, live in this truth…“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15), instead of making grand pronouncements about this or that in 2017.

There’s a great deal of assumption that can go along with new year proclamations. I’m not talking about making resolutions. By all means, make them. And then genuinely try to achieve them. Especially if they include goals based around knowing and trusting Christ more and putting away sin. Great.

But we rarely make resolutions the way they once were intended to be made. Probably because we’ve lost our ability to resolve in general. We just can’t even anymore.

What I hear and see from most people are grand new year declarations like “This is my year!” or “This year will be all about positivity and change” or “I’m going to shine my brightest this year” – whatever that means.

Its unfocused and…well…kinda arrogant. “As it is, you boast in your arrogance” (James 4:16).

Listen, there is nothing wrong about being positive, making goals, setting out plans and working towards something. But there is something very wrong in searching for joy, peace and ultimate personal satisfaction in those goals and plans. Often times we place our hope in that one goal or in that particular plan. And when we do that, we place it above our need for Christ and our submission to His perfect Will.

Living a James 4 lifestyle is challenging.

It requires a whole lot of trust in the Lord. But there’s a good chance something will come along this year that will stumble your footing. It could be small or large. We don’t know. Notice how in James 4:15 it says, “If the Lord wills, we will live…” Which is a nice reminder that there’s a chance we won’t live. I could die. You could die. Someone we love dearly could die. Nothing is sure.

Depressing?

Maybe. But where does my hope reside? In my desire to shine brightly this year? To be positive? To lose weight? To go here or there?

Or is it to cling to Christ with whom my ultimate resting place is here on earth in the hereafter?

He fills my lungs with air, tells my heart to beat and keeps the lamp of my soul aflicker. He also sets the plans for this day and that day. The good and the bad that lay ahead are in sovereign control by a Father whose trustworthy.

I write this because I desperately need to remember it. I need to hear it most. Although I steer clear from illusive, over-hyped Facebook posts on January 1st, I struggle a great deal with releasing control of what the future holds to God. I feel it deep down inside me. It’s a battle for peace. And I lose before I even begin.

Which is why I quickly flip to James 4 and I read while taking deep breaths.

And I’m reminded of who I am. I’m a mist. My life is a vapor that in the grand scheme of time is here only moments. And yet, somehow the Creator of everything loves me – a dissolving drizzle of life. He went so far as to go to the cross for me – in all my temporary, sin-soaked, evaporating glory. It’s so absurd and yet so consoling.

Because of that great and relieving truth, I must start January submitting my plans to the King of the universe. Who gives life and takes it away. The One with whom all rest and peace is found for now and forevermore.

He knows what this year holds. I don’t.

It’s the only thing we know for sure. So let’s not make any grand pronouncements about stuff we don’t know and let the Leader do the leading.

Submit it all to Him this year.

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