my search to understand the bigger picture

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Something that moved me today.......

i believe God uses all kinds of methods to speak to our hearts.  to inspire us.  to grow us.  i came across a quote in a press release today.  the press release was detailing the next 4 years of a professional athlete's life, possibly the best mountain ultra runner ever named Kilian Jornet.  the quote is from Pablo Coelho, 

"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve; the fear of failure."

God has been speaking to me so much as of late regarding fear.  in fact, He's been asking me to step out a lot more, to risk much more for Him lately.  in the past, fear has paralyzed me as it has with so many others.  but to be honest, i've come to this place where i'm tired of living in bondage.  i want to live out of freedom!  where fear used to cause me to retreat, i now want to blaze forth into the unknown.  instead of stepping back, i want to step forward.  this is not done recklessly, but with the sure, steadfast knowledge that isaiah 42:16 still holds true for me today.  the difference is that it used to be a source of comfort for me.  now it's a source of confidence.  it's no longer meant to ease past hurts.  not it serves me as a guide.  yes, God will take my hand.  He will direct me through unknown country.  He'll show me what roads to take, make sure i don't fall into the ditch.  He'll stick with me, never leaving me.  at the forefront of my mind, this now serves as an incredible invitation to the adventure of a lifetime!  walking hand in hand with the Father!  i'm tired of living a reactive life.  now i'm looking forward to a proactive life.

it's time to go on the offensive, and God is using films like this to speak to my heart.  sure, it stirs the runner/adventurer in me.  but it stirs something even deeper in me.  we were not created to solely enjoy life on a physical level.  no, it's much deeper than this video can portray.  nonetheless, God's using this to help melt away all fear.

really, can there be any fear, when one fully comprehends their identity in the Father?  i'm a son of the living God!  i'm His son!  so how can i fail!  the only failure would be to walk away from Him, and that is something i will never do.

in case you still haven't watched this short, 2 minute trailer, do yourself a favor and click here.

then, ask yourself what fears you need to overcome.  better yet, post on this blog.  let's help each other along on this journey.  let's inspire each other with tales of how God has come through for us once we began to face fear head on.  i'll celebrate with you!  join me!

Friday, May 25, 2012

What I wouldn't give.......

right now, i could go for a long weekend away in a cabin somewhere.  just to get out, where nothing is required of me but to rest and enjoy myself.  that sure does hit the spot.  i have some friends that have a cabin in michigan that i've been to in the past.  i would go there for 2-4 days, just to relax, enjoy myself, and recharge.  i miss those days.

was chatting with a friend yesterday about how we've lost the ability to rest well in our culture.  we've bought into the thought that we have to be on the go all the friggin time.  got to make the most of the time we have here on this planet of rock and dirt and water.  what a load of crock.  

does jesus really want us stressed to the max all the time?  unable to sleep?  no energy for anything other than working another day, keeping everything nice and clean and tidy, letting our kids do everything under the sun, never taking time to slow down and just RELAX?

i mean, it's almost comical.  our bodies even tell us when it's time to slow down and stop by getting sick!  even then, we don't pay attention.  we press on, for some reason finding satisfaction in working through sickness, years of exhaustion, almost wearing those as a badge of honor.  THERE'S NO HONOR IN BEING SICK OR EXHAUSTED!  it doesn't mean anything, other than you need to slow down.

and to be honest, even when we experience victory by choosing to take some time to slow down, we don't even know how to do this effectively.  we bring our cell phones, laptops, iPads, etc.  how did we ever survive before the year 2000?  

right now, i want to get away.  i want to escape.  someplace where even though busyness will pull at me, it won't be able to get to me.  someplace like what you will find here.  (hint: check out the pictures)

so, that's my rant for this friday.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

VOTD-May 24

Psalm 119:36

"Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!"

came across this in my daily reading this morning.  brought to mind a conversation i was having with God last night while sitting on my front steps.  

i am constantly in "want" mode.  i want this, i want that.  every time i hear of someone getting an iPad, i want one even more.  every day i drive past this motorcycle shop which is right by the church i work at, and i want one even more.  every day countless articles come across my email, Facebook, and twitter about running stuff, and i want more stuff.  every day i drive by bigger, nicer houses and i want better.  every day i see people skinnier than me, better looking than me, better runners than me, and i want what they have.  

a friend and i were talking about peace recently.  i think one of the main reasons we lack a sense of peace in our culture, is that we always "want".  we are never satisfied.  we always crave what we do not have.  

in the midst of my stupidity last night, my mind wandered to one of our World Vision sponsored children, Nomonde Precious who I met a few years ago in South Africa.  she has no floor in her house.  no trees in her yard.  doesn't even live with her mom and dad.  she has intermittent electricity.  no internet.  no overabundance of clothing.  no cars.  no excess.  

how much time do i waste focusing on crap?  it proves that when we desire anything other than God himself, we will never find peace.  i want an eagerness only for Jesus.  i want a life of freedom, not bondage to stuff.  i want peace.  the peace that's ONLY found in Jesus.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

VOTD-May 23

Philippians 1:9-11

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well.  Learn to love appropriately.  You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.  Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God."

this struck me to the core today.  especially the portion about not only loving much, but loving well.  hmmmmmmm, yeah that is really getting me today.  gonna think on that one the remainder of the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

VOTD-May 22

Ephesians 2:19-22

"That's plain enough, isn't it?  You're no longer wandering exiles.  This kingdom of faith is now your home country.  You're no longer strangers or outsiders.  You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.  God is building a home.  He's using us all--irrespective of how we got here--in what he is building.  He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation.  Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.  We see it taking shape day after day--a holy temple built by God, all of us built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home."

i love this about being a christian.  we are a family.  a family that should always have our arms wide open to welcome others.  God uses each of us, in a unique and powerful way.  we all play an integral role in this family.  no one is useless.  no one is insignificant.  no one is worth more than another.  absolutely love this family!

Monday, May 21, 2012

VOTD-May 21

I Samuel 30:6

"David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God."

i was reading this morning in my one year bible plan (this was actually yesterday's reading), and this verse stopped me dead in my tracks.  i've been having that more and more lately.  it's been very interesting.  

this verse seems so simple that it would be incredibly easy to skip right past it without notice.  i've done it many times.  simple right?  david was in danger, but found strength in God.  let's move on.

i began to think through this some more.  david's been on the run from saul for awhile now.  he know's what his destiny is, to be king, but refuses to make it happen in his own power.  he's had many chances to do so, twice getting close enough to saul that he cut a portion of his clothing off, and also took some possessions in another instance.  he is content to live in God's timing, which is impressive in it's own right.  

he goes out to battle one day with king achish, but is sent back.  while they were gone their village was pillaged and plundered, with all their families and possessions being taken.  and this is when we come upon this verse.  david's men are upset.  these are men that have been with him for a long time, and now they are pissed.  evidently they are made enough to begin talking about stoning david.  that would definitely get me worked up.

then we read that david found strength in the Lord his God.  david doesn't focus much on his men, but instead goes straight to God.  if i could only learn from this example.

too many times, when stress, problems, issues arise, my first response to to attack.  i want to fix those things.  make it right.  but david doesn't apologize to them.  he doesn't take responsibility.  he goes to the Lord.  and that's where he found strength.  not by reacting.  but in God.

where are you looking for strength today?  i've looked in all the wrong places.  today, i'm going to find my strength in the Lord my God.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Great article on the word ABIDE

came across this post earlier today, and absolutely love the thoughts in here.  it's a quick read.

ashley denton has given me tons to think about regarding wilderness and outdoor ministry lately.  so grateful for all the resources he provides.

VOTD-May 18

John 10:27 (NLT)

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

i love this picture Jesus portrays of us being his sheep and he being our shepherd.  in order to listen to one's voice, to recognize it, to trust it, a lot of time and trust must be established.  hours upon hours must be spent developing that sort of relationship.  this encourages me today, to be sure i'm not separating myself from Jesus or the "flock".  i need to spend more time fixated on the voice of Jesus, instead of the voice of the world.  i need to be purposeful about this.  proactive about this.  i want to desire this above all else.  

Another sweet video!

i absolutely LOVE what new balance has done in the past few years in regards to reinventing themselves in the running game.  i purchased the original pair of NB MT10 (trail minimus) on the first day they were available in our local new balance store, and have absolutely loved them.  i've yet to find a more comfortable shoe.  however, being more of an overweight runner, i found after gradually putting 250 miles on them that they are most beneficial for short distances.  i've gone back to wearing them for everyday use, and some circuit training workouts i do.  but again, probably my favorite pair of shoes that i've ever purchased!

with that, i came across this new balance video today that i just had to share:

i'd actually like to add a second video that i came across of my two favorite runners.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New video!

it's been awhile since i posted a video.  this one, well, just watch it!

VOTD-May 17

John 8:44 (NLT)

"He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."

here we find Jesus discussing satan and his characteristics.  i'm not a big fan of focusing on satan.  i think it's an important distinction to know the difference between whom you serve and your enemy.  it's important to recognize the difference.  but i think we are to focus our efforts on what honors the Father, than trying to combat what the enemy is doing.  it's all about being proactive as opposed to reactive.

but it's important to note that satan is a liar, is the father of lies.  it's his character.  it's what he does.  many of us have bought into his lies about ourselves in the past.  as a team, no, as a family, i don't think we build each other up near enough.  many times, when we do encourage one another, it's only after the enemy has attacked in some way.  we (maybe it's just myself) have not been very proactive in speaking God's truths about and to each other.  

we all have personal responsibility as to who we will believe when it comes to our identity.  we choose to believe the Father, or satan.  however, i firmly believe we can help each other in a huge way by proactively speaking God's truth's into each other's lives on a regular basis.  that in turn will help when satan attacks with his lies.  if we as a family can grow in building each other up, satan's lies won't have near the volume.  

so, i'm committing today, to work harder at building others up.  i want to grow in speaking prophetically to all around me.  i want my voice to be a reflection of the Father, and how he views each and every one of us.  i want to speak His love and compassion out.  we live in a world full of negativity.  i want my voice to pierce that darkness with the power and love of the Father.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VOTD-May 16

Galatians 5:1

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

powerful stuff right there.  Christ came to give us so much.  not just eternity in heaven.  he came to give us so much right now!  what a shame that so many of us live in slavery when we no longer need to.  holy spirit, come and give us everything we need to live in your freedom.  thank you for providing us with it.  now help us to live in that freedom each and every day!

now, this may sound simple, but sometimes we make simple things so incredibly complicated.  living out of a place of freedom is so................freeing!  deep i know.  but think about it for a minute.  most of this "know" this in our heads, but we've yet to move that knowledge to our hearts and souls.  choose a life of freedom today!  life is so much better that way.  thank you jesus for this precious gift!

Friday, May 11, 2012

VOTD-May 11

Philippians 1:6

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears."

it's funny how many times we are better at supporting and lifting up our friends and family than we are ourselves.  i read this verse this morning, and immediately thought of my many friends right now who have recently found themselves out of a job, many of which worked at churches and Christian non-profits.  i've been there, once by surprise, and once by choice.  it sucks.  it's hard.  in many ways it can make you feel like a failure of a christian because a "christian" organization doesn't appear to want you there anymore.  but i'm learning more and more that these things don't define our identity.  Christ has already given us our identity.  this verse above says he will continue helping us realize that until his second coming.  therefore, it doesn't matter what happens to us.  our mistakes don't matter.  he will continue working with us, helping us to see ourselves as he sees us.  so, my friends, as i remind you to take heart, dust off your shoulders, stand tall, i remind myself of that as well.  only allow the realization of your identity in Christ to enter your minds today.

Rare Mood

i find myself in a rare mood this morning.  i must admit, it's a mood that i love, but fail to experience much of the time.  usually i so easily get wrapped up in all the little "unimportant" things that need to get done each and every day, that i miss golden opportunities to soak in this mindset.

i had just dropped off my oldest daughter at school, and had the youngest one in the backseat.  we were going to head home, but i had this desire to take her out for breakfast.  i gave in.  she wanted mcdonalds.  we had a blast.

for me, this tends to be a problem.  i'm not very good at living in and enjoying the moment.  right here, right now.  usually i'm either living in the past or dreading the future.  i totally miss the goodness of the here and now.

both girls got up early this morning.  i missed my alarm that was to wake me up so i could get a run in.  when i did finally crawl out of bed i had a wicked headache.  i was grouchy.  not a good start.  but as i began to live in the moment, something shifted.

normally, when i think about the future, it's with a sense of pessimism.  that's unfortunate, and it's a battle i've been waging war against.  never been much of a dreamer.  vision casting has proved very difficult for me.  i usually get tripped up by excuses as to why dreams won't or can't happen.  it's draining.  exhausting.  i can't imagine it pleases God.  not that it makes him angry; just that it must make him sad.  can't be what he wanted life to be life for me.

so i've been kicking pessimism in the teeth lately.  today, i had a momentary breakthrough.  i began to dream of what could be with much excitement.  began to dream of what i'd like to see happen, and experienced inspiration to write down some of the necessary steps to achieve that.

seriously, i think i've wasted so much of my life dwelling on what i can't do, what i won't be able to do.  i'm tired of that.  i'm kicking that mindset in the teeth today.  i want to focus on what i can do.  we only have one chance to live this life, and today i choose to be as positive as i can be.  i choose to waste as little time as possible being negative, pessimistic, and depressed.  how can those things honor God?  they can't.  there's no honor in that.  they don't put a smile on God's face.

but, when i realize my ultimate identity, what Christ did for me, how can i be anything but excited?  how can i remain down in the dumps?  how can i feel defeated?  it doesn't matter what lies ahead, good or bad, easy or a struggle, my identity is already determined.  thank you Jesus, for BEING my Savior!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

VOTD-May 10

Luke 22:31-32

"Simon, stay on your toes.  Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat.  Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out.  When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start."

hm, this has me thinking this morning about how often satan tries to separate me from Jesus by keeping me "busy".  rest i think plays a crucial role in 2 very distinct ways.  first, we, as a people, are just way too busy.  there's way too much going on in life.  when we get to feeling like we don't have time for personal interaction with Jesus, that's a problem.  it's a problem because our lives are filled with too much stuff, and our priorities are out of whack.  second, rest comes when we allow God to work through us.  rest comes when we learn not to rely on our own strength, or what we can bring to the table, but we allow God complete access to our lives each and every day.  we allow him to guide and direct us.  we give him full and complete reign in our lives.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

VOTD-May 9

Psalm 44: 6-7

"I don't trust in weapons; my sword won't save me--But it's you, you who saved us from the enemy..."

too many times i rely on what i bring to the table, trying to solve issues out of my own strength and ability.  too many times i work as if i have to earn God's love.  how twisted.  my efforts don't save me, don't qualify me to be God's son and beloved.  that's just who i am.  there is no earning it.  it's time to stop "doing" and time to start "being".

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

VOTD-May 8

Psalm 15

"God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?  How do we get on your guest list?  'Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.  Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable.  Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe.  You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this."

it's funny, because sometimes it feels like life is so difficult to live.  but this really seems to break it down for me, and reminds me that what makes it difficult for me is i focus on the outcomes.  but, if i just focus on honoring Jesus, the rest is left to him.  there's no reason to worry about the outcome, if you live out of your identity in Christ.  live like Jesus did.  simple.

Monday, May 7, 2012

VOTD-May 7

Psalms 36:5-6

"God's love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, his purpose titanic, her verdicts oceanic.  Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks."

love the fact that while God is so big, the smallest of details is not lost.  he sees all, cares deeply about everything.  not a man slips through the cracks.  many times it may feel like you have slipped through the cracks, but you haven't.  so comforting.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

VOTD-May 5

Psalm 130:5-6

"I pray to God--my life a prayer--and wait for what he'll say and do.  My life's on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning."

oh how i wish this could be said of my life more often.  even in those rare moments where my life feels like a prayer, the waiting part is what usually gets me.  i hardly ever wait and watch for God.  when i ask, i want an answer right then.  the trick is, things don't usually work that way.  God's got his own timing and schedule, but i always want Him to do things on my schedule.  why do i fight him like this?  why not just take a little time to wait and watch.  God's ways, and His timing, are always best.

Friday, May 4, 2012

VOTD-May 4

Proverbs 21:26

"Sinners are always wanting what they don't have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have."

yeesh.  talk about piercing the heart today.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

VOTD-May 3

John 3:30

"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less."

how true this is in my life right now.  so many times i operate out of my old self, and not out of the new creation Christ has made me.  and then i wonder why i struggle so often with so many things.  christ must become greater, and i must become less.  yes, jesus.  make it so.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

VOTD-May 2

Daniel 9:17

"Act out of who you are, not out of what we are."

long story short, the speaker here is basically asking God to act favorably towards them, even then they deserve much worse.  he's asking God something quite profound.

the great news is that God does this for us all the time.  he absolutely does not act out of what we are, but ALWAYS out of who he is.  and He asks us to do the same.

so how can you say you are doing that?  when someone upsets you, do you act out of who you are, or out of what they are (or have done)?  this is powerful.  one of our pastors spoke on this the past 2 weekends.  if we are confident in our identity in Christ, then we no longer need to act out of what/who people are.  we only act out of who we are.  soon we find ourselves free to live in a way that is NOT dictated by the circumstances around us.  what glorious freedom that is.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

VOTD-May 1

well, i did it.  posted a verse of the day (VOTD) every day in the month of April.  it was a lot of fun for me, and brought me back to some really good passages of Scripture.  so, i'm going to keep going until i don't feel like it anymore.  which leads me to today........

Judges 15:14-15

"As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists.  Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it."

wow!  have you ever thought about this before?  can't say i can even imagine what it would be like to have the Holy Spirit come on me so powerfully like that.  and then to think of killing 1,000 of your enemies with the jawbone of a recently killed donkey?  did he have to pry the bone away from the still rotting corpse?  talk about intense!  sometimes verses like this just sort of make me shudder and shake my head.