The Worry Alarm

30 09 2015

I am a worrier. I try not to be. I sink a little bit in my chair every time I read Paul’s advice to “not be anxious about anything.” (Philippians 4:6)  But worry happens. It sneaks up on me, grabbing my heart, pulling at my thoughts, and stealing my peace.

I could tell you that I come from a long line of worriers, and that would be true. I could settle for the reality that just about everyone I know wrestles with worry, content to be a part of the crowd. Worry almost seems inevitable, and I sometimes wonder if it is realistic to imagine living a life that doesn’t have worry worming around the edges.

The reality of learning to look like Jesus calls my heart to transform the way I look at worry. God wants to change how we respond to worry. In the moment when we begin to worry, we have a choice. We tend to see worry like a battering ram that pushes against our faith. Too often, we feel helpless to stop the pounding it gives us.

What if, instead, we viewed worry like an alarm clock? An alarm clock serves to wake us up. It redirects our attention and activity. It acts as a reminder and helps us stay on course. Craig Groeschel writes, “Worry then becomes a signal alerting us that it’s time to pray.” (The Christian Atheist p96)

My Jesus Resolution today is to let God speak through my worry. Worry doesn’t have to overwhelm me or overflow into everything I do. Worry can be an alarm that redirects my attention back to God. Rather than letting worry use up my energy, time, and hope, I can use worry to help me burrow more deeply into His grace and protection. I am going to choose to listen to worry only so far as it reminds me that I need to retune my heart to the voice of the Lord. I am going to let my burdens bend my knees in prayer. I am going to let anxiety unleash an avalanche of praise. I am going to let worry be an alarm clock that opens my eyes to God’s presence.

Jesus in My Shoes

28 09 2015

He is just a little guy. He joined the bigger kids and began singing with all his heart. The words to “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” echoed across the room. Shouts of “Where?” collided with smiles as the crowd encouraged the children to sing about Jesus.

It wasn’t long until his little feet were flying as fast as his hands to the beat of the song. Joy wasn’t just heard in the music. Joy was the expression on his face. They finished singing the song, but he wasn’t done. “Jesus isn’t just in my heart,” he said. “Jesus is in my shoes.”

Is Jesus in your shoes? I love the fact that this little guy understands the importance of letting Christ inhabit every part and piece of his life. Too often, we want to confine Jesus to the comfortable, convenient places in our lives. We limit Him to the spaces that are cleaned up and under control, or the places where His presence won’t require too much surrender. We let Jesus into our Sundays, but what about Tuesdays? We invite Him into our struggles, but leave Him out of our play times. We call on Him when we have a need, but figure that we can handle the ordinary, regular stuff on our own. We ask Him to sit with us when we read our Bibles, but would rather watch television by ourselves. We give Him a place in our hearts, but don’t want Him walking in our shoes.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look at my shoes. I want Jesus to walk in my shoes. I want Him to direct my steps, guide my path, and teach me to follow His footprints. I want to be able to look at every part of my life and see Jesus. I long for Him to inhabit my heart, fill my soul, govern my mind, and control my strength. Joy isn’t just a word in a song. It is the evidence of His presence in my life. Every time you look at your feet today, ask yourself – Is Jesus in my shoes?

God Wins Everybody

25 09 2015

I had the neatest reminder of an important truth today. Our four year old friend was riding with me in the car. He is into comparisons – who is bigger, faster, stronger, and tougher. He compares dinosaurs, superheroes, cars, birds, kids on the playground, and wild animals. After making an exhaustive list and concluding that a cheetah could outrun a dinosaur, he announced the most important news of all. “But you know, God wins everybody.”

I need to remember that God wins everybody. Kids aren’t the only ones who spend time on comparisons. We compare our bills with the money in the bank, our struggles with our strength, our worries with our wisdom, our appearance with the television, and our to-do lists with our resources. Inevitably, I come up short. The mountains are too high, the oceans too deep, the problems too vast, and the lists too long. I spend time worrying and fretting, keeping my eyes on the shadows when God calls me to look at the Son.

God wins everybody. There is no giant that can defeat Him, no enemy that will beat Him, no mountain that matches His strength, no problem that can outsmart Him, and no struggle that is too hard for Him. Whatever I am facing today is not bigger, stronger, faster, or tougher than my God.

Paul put it this way. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31.

God has promised to walk with us through the darkest circumstances, the brightest joys, the deepest worries, and the fiercest storms. He faced death so we can have life. He lived in our shoes so that we can walk by His side. He defeated sin so that we can have victory in grace. He calmed storms, raised the dead, healed the sick, and cast out demons so that we could spend today absolutely sure that God wins everybody.

My Jesus Resolution today is to make the right comparison. I am going to measure whatever comes my way today by the size of my God. I am not going to let the shadows of the world’s giants pull my eyes from the cross. I want to lay every problem, struggle, storm, and worry in His hands and watch them be swallowed up in His all-sufficient grace. God really is bigger, stronger, and faster. The world may try to dazzle me with its speed, strength, and smarts, but God really does win everybody.

I Saw You Praying

23 09 2015

My husband and I were out for dinner. Nothing fancy, just a quick meal before we started working through a list of errands. We got our food, prayed, and began to enjoy our sandwiches.

A few minutes later, a gentleman came over to talk. “I saw you praying,” he said. We had a nice conversation about church, some activities he was excited about, and then he went on his way.

It was an interesting moment. We didn’t think about the fact that others in the restaurant watched as we prayed. When we bowed our heads, it didn’t occur to us that we were leading other eyes toward heaven.

But they noticed. At least one man did. God used the moment to reinforce on our hearts the power we have to influence others through our quiet actions. People are paying more attention to the way we lift up Jesus than we sometimes realize. Others notice the quiet kindnesses, the silent surrenders, and the little sacrifices that define people of grace.

You are not invisible. People see you, watch you, notice you, and pay attention to you every day. People in the store, at work, in the post office, at home, in church, and at the movies. You may be the tool God uses to plant a seed, nourish faith, start a conversation, or initiate surrender. Don’t underestimate the little habits of holiness that flow through your day. Each one may help another see Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is live out Matthew 5:16 – I am going to let my light shine. Today I have an opportunity to live out faith in the ordinary, normal places I walk. I am going to be aware of the truth that others are watching. I want them to see Jesus.

Bigger than a Church Buildimg

21 09 2015

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” – I Kings 8:27

It was a play day at our house. The trucks were racing around the living room, balls were bouncing, and the dinosaurs were roaring. The boys were hunkered down on the floor examining the dinosaurs in fine detail. My son was teaching our little friend the names of all the different dinosaurs, throwing in interesting facts about size, food preferences, and roaring decibels.

A squeal of excitement spiraled through the air as our little friend came racing into the kitchen. “You are not going to believe this!” he exclaimed. “A T-Rex is bigger than a church building!” This was gigantic news. His eyes were big as his imagination stretched the proportions of the dinosaur to fit his newly discovered bigger-than-a-church-building picture. He then reported on the next type of dinosaur, also reportedly bigger than a church building. Dinosaurs make for an exciting world.

Tapping into his enthusiasm, I told him how cool it was that dinosaurs were bigger than a church building. I then explained that God was even bigger than a dinosaur. He stopped in his tracks, contemplating this latest piece of news. His eyes got huge as he processed that God was bigger than the biggest thing he could imagine. “God is bigger than a church building?” he asked. I paused as I considered the multiple layers of truth in that statement. “Yes,” I said. “God is bigger than a church building.”

Once again God used a little heart to teach me a big truth. How many times do I limit God to the boundaries of four walls, a roof, and a couple of hallways? We glorify Him in the pews, but fail to see Him in the panorama of everyday life. We read about Him in the Bible, but don’t listen to His voice in the rhythm of our hours. We seek His face in worship, but forget to look for His fingerprints touching the pages of our stories.

My Jesus Resolution today is to have eyes like my little friend. I want to my eyes to grow like saucers, my jaw to drop, and my imagination to stretch as I contemplate how big God really is. I am going to picture the biggest thing I can imagine, and think about the truth that God is bigger. I am going to stand in wonder, and then race to share the good news with someone else. God is bigger than a church building, and that makes for an exciting world.

Door Openers

18 09 2015

My sons are learning to be door openers. We call them gentlemen-in-training. They have watched their grandfather do it for their grandmother, their dad do it for me, and now they are learning how to open doors for others. It is pretty neat to watch.

They are learning how to open car doors, front doors, garage doors, and store doors. There is a rhythm to learning how to open doors. You have to watch the other person. You have to be aware of how to move the door so that it is easiest for the person you are serving to go in and out. They are learning how to offer their hand or their arm if someone needs a little extra assistance. They are discovering how to pace themselves so that they can walk with someone and put them at ease.

I really can’t think of anything else I would rather my children become than door openers. I want them to be able to open the doors of their hearts and love deeply. I want them to open the doors of their minds and drink in all the rich wisdom of God and the beauty of this world. I want them to open their eyes to the very real presence of God. I want their spirits to be open to the call of God on their lives and their souls to be open to the transformation He wants to work deep within them.

I long for them to be door openers for others as they invite them into God’s grace, to make it easier for someone to come to the cross and stand amazed by the empty tomb, to join in worship, and bow in surrender.

I want the psalmist’s desire to be the desire of their hearts. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” – Psalm 84:10b

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a door opener. I am going to learn from my sons. I am going to be deliberate about making it easier for someone to see Jesus. I want to open the door into His presence, invite someone to make themselves at home, and show someone the delight of His grace. Opening a door is such a simple thing. Yet, it is a gracious act that shows someone else they are important. Jesus was a door opener. My boys are learning. Now it is my turn.


16 09 2015

Dear Friends,

Overwhelmed. If I had to pick one word, it would be this one. I am writing this to you from a hospital bed, but your prayers have been a blanket around my soul. Thank you doesn’t begin to express the gratitude that fills my heart and the hearts of my family. As you know, I have been very ill. The word went out that I needed you to take me to our Father’s throne and plead for His power and mercy to be poured out on me and my family. He is faithful, and I am writing to you today as a testament of His grace. I have a long road of recovery in front of me, but God’s story is being written large across the pages of these days. My doctor speaks of miracles, and I can point those around me to His glory.

I am going to continue to humbly ask for your prayers, patience, and love. As I focus on healing, I would like to share some of my favorite blogs with you. You are special to me. Thank you for loving me and continuing to lift me in prayer.



A Lesson in Contentment 

Another lesson from the car seat. My four-year-old friend and I were driving to school this morning. He announced on the driveway that we would be looking for dump trucks, cherry pickers, and school buses. Keeping our eyes open and paying attention to all the neat things God puts in our path is one of our greatest joys.

Our eyes were peeled and almost immediately he saw a school bus. Smiles exploded from the backseat as he noted how quickly we were spotting these road treasures. Driving along, he noticed a bright yellow car and pointed it out. I told him that it was a fun car and that I would like to have a car like that one. He got a puzzled expression on his face. “But you already have a car.”

I do have a car. Of course, I couldn’t learn my lesson on the first go around. I tried explaining that sometimes it was fun to think about what kind of car you might like to have someday. So I asked him, “Do you ever think about what kind of car you would like to have?” “No,” he responded. “I just want to be four.”

Contentment is the attitude of being at peace amid your circumstances. It counts the blessings that we often overlook. It sees the presence of God in the ordinary.

Too often I wish my life away. I wish for a new car rather than being thankful for what I am driving. I wish I was in a different stage of life rather than enjoying the moment I am in. I wish I was starting, or done, or had the chance to do it all again rather than savoring the part of the journey I am on.

My Jesus Resolution today is to cultivate contentment. I am going to be satisfied with the richness of today. I am going to spend less time wishing and more time counting my blessings. I am going to keep my eyes open, looking for the treasures God puts along the road today. I am going to let every yellow car I see today remind me of the lesson of contentment God wants to plant deep in my heart.