Everyday Faith

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                                                 Hebrews 11:1

What promise(s) has God made to you, deep in your heart, that you have not yet seen come to completion?

If you’re not sure, I encourage you to spend some concentrated time with the Lord over the next few days, asking Him to identify the desires in your heart that He has planted there. We’ll talk more about that process later this week.

Today as I contemplate Hebrews 11:1 I am reminded that God develops our faith as much in the everyday ordinariness of life as in those crisis, on our knees, face to the floor times. At least He desires to, if we allow it.

As we read on through Hebrews chapter 11 we are presented with a list of a few of God’s faithful servants. This is sometimes referred to as the “Hall of Faith”. A pattern emerges as the list unfolds. In the lives of many of these saints God made a promise but the fulfillment of the promise was a long ways off. For some their promise wasn’t even fulfilled in the his or her lifetime, but each continued to be faithful, seeking God’s direction for every step they took towards the fulfillment of the promise.

Consider Joseph. God gave him dreams as a young boy where he ruled over his family, each member bowing down to him. Joseph believed these dreams/visions were from God and yet the road his life took did not appear to be taking him toward the fulfillment of the vision. Sold as a slave by his own brothers and taken to another country, Joseph was tested, lied about and thrown in prison. But he remained faithful to the vision God gave him, trusting the path God laid out for him. Years later Joseph saw his dreams become reality as God blessed him in ways he couldn’t have imagined. (See Genesis Chapter 37 & 39-50)

tulip potential

When God plants a desire in our heart or gives us a vision He often needs time to prepare us for the reality of that promise. Rarely are we instantly ready, and were God to bring the vision to completion before we are prepared it would certainly fail. We may also be tempted to think we have reached the vision in our own abilities instead of relying on God’s strength and direction. When we trust God to lead us where He wills, looking back we will see how we have grown and developed both spiritually and practically, watching each piece falling in place.

Walking through these times is not always easy. We can be tempted to lose faith or turn from God’s path toward what seems to be an immediate reward. At times we may even question the vision God gave us, wondering if the desire is ours alone and not one planted by God. It is during those times of unrest we need to run to the scriptures and fall to our knees. As we pour our hearts, our doubts and questions out to God He will point us to scriptures that will encourage us, build us up and replace our anxiousness with His peace.

Trust Him. He is faithful to bloom in us what He has planted.

tulip potential blooming

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Blessings and peace as you watch God’s visions develop in you.





That One “Thing”

The other morning this friend’s post greeted me on my Facebook feed:

What is the one thing you NEED to do today?

Forget the rest of your list for a moment.

Will you get that ONE thing done today?

My first instinct was to feel pressure. I was getting ready for work, didn’t have time to spare and I was pressured with wondering if my day included the most important “ONE” thing! How was I supposed to know what that “thing” was, let alone get it done before the day was done?

As I pondered this challenge more I wondered if perhaps the elusive “thing” might not be a concrete task to add to my list? What if it was an action prompted by the Holy Spirit that would bring glory to God regardless of my abilities?

I thought of Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If God has already prepared the good works in advance for us, what do I have to fret about? I shouldn’t feel pressure, but a sense of gratefulness that God wants to use me to accomplish His good plans. By trusting in Him and asking the Holy Spirit to lead my thoughts and actions for the day, how can I go wrong?


The other thought I had was of 1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

We are each given gifts that God desires and expects us to use each day.

Some days God tasks us with a challenge, asking us to reach out of our comfort zone. He may ask us to give money to a person or cause when we don’t think we can spare it. Perhaps it’s lending a hand to someone who acts like they have everything under control. Or maybe he needs us to speak to someone about God’s gift of salvation even if we’re uncomfortable with that.

Other days God may ask us to smile at someone who is having a difficult day, hold the door for someone, or speak softly when someone speaks sharply to us. Maybe we are to do a little something extra at home, or send a card to a friend, just because.

If you’re not sure what your gifts are, ask God to show you. You might also ask friends or family members to point out areas where you use gifts that you haven’t noticed yourself. Once you have identified your gifts ask God to show you ways to use them every day.

The reality of it is that we need to be aware. Each morning as we begin our day, part of our routine should be giving the day, the tasks, and the people we encounter in His hands. Throughout the day we should remind ourselves to seek how God could use us, not always being in a hurry to accomplish our agenda but to take the time to let the Holy Spirit lead us to someone who needs a touch from Him that God desires us to provide.

At the end of the day a brief visit with the Lord can help us identify where we were listening and where we could have done better – not to beat ourselves up but to become more in tune with the Holy Spirit and using our gifts.

So as we begin a new day, and a new month let’s ask God to show us each day what that “One Thing” is that He desires from us before we lay our heads on the pillow that night. Not only will we bless others but we will find the blessings we receive are pretty great as well.

Blessings and peace to you as you serve God today!




Growing In The Valleys

If you were hiking, would you choose a mountaintop or a valley?

In your walk through life would you choose one over the other?

When you’re on a mountaintop and the sky is clear it seems you can see forever. The world is laid out before you and you can make a plan for where you’d like to explore or what areas to stay away from. Sometimes on a mountaintop we say we are “on top of the world”. It can be exciting, glorious experience and we may be reluctant to come down.

You may have heard someone speak of a mountaintop experience in life where he or she had an exceptional time of fellowship and learning, feeling especially close to the Lord. They may say they received new insight into their lives and clarity they were lacking. Just like hiking on a mountaintop we can be reluctant to come away from a mountaintop experience and return to the reality of life.


That life reality can sometimes bring a time in the valley. In contrast to being “on top of the world”, walking in the valley usually comes with a negative connotation. In the valley it might feel like we can’t see farther than a step or two ahead. It doesn’t seem we could get any lower, and looking up brings a reminder of the mountaintop that was so wonderful, now such a long ways away, far too far to climb.

I have been walking through a valley of sorts recently. It’s not the deepest valley I’ve been in but sometimes it feels that mountaintop is far away. The light can be difficult to find amidst the shadows and loneliness can easily set in. In the past I might have welcomed the darkness and allowed it to swallow me, but instead this time as I longed for the mountaintop I began to compare in a different way.

As I compared mountaintops to valleys I realized something important for me:
In nature there isn’t much that grows on a mountaintop.

While a few shrubs and wild grasses may grow on the mountaintop, things don’t generally flourish there naturally for long periods of time. The extreme climate and dry ground don’t nourish crops very well. The higher up you go on a mountain the less green you’ll see.

However, valleys are green and lush. The climate is more even and the ground holds more moisture to nourish crops. Valleys tend to be filled with colorful flowers and foliage. Seeds can be planted in valleys with confidence that growth will take place without a great deal of assistance.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”                            Luke 12:27-31

I realized God desires me to grow in this journey through the valley. I can choose to focus on the shadows or look and listen for areas where God wants to bring that growth. I can worry about what tomorrow may or may not bring or I can see the beauty around me and trust that tomorrow will bring more joy, even if it’s in the midst of pain or sorrow.

And as always happens when I’m seeking God instead of feeling sorry for myself He showed me once again how I don’t have to walk through the valley alone. He walks beside me whether or not I sense His presence. And there are many here on earth to walk with me as well.

Possibly the most important area of growth in the valley is remembering others walk in valleys too, many darker and deeper than the one where I’m walking. They need companions too. I can walk with some side-by-side and others through prayer. As we walk together we will be strengthened by the presence and prayers of each other.

Are you walking through a valley today? How can I pray for you in your time of growth?

Yes, mountaintops are spectacular and precious times in our lives but we should never neglect our time in the valleys of life. Rather we should embrace the time and welcome the growth God has for us.

Blessings and peace to you wherever you’re walking today!

Strength for the Race

Hebrews 12:1-2

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do you like to run? In junior high school I ran a little cross-country. I liked how running made me feel free and light and the challenge of the ups and downs of the trail. The pursuit of running to not only beat my competitors but to better my own time was part of the appeal as well. For the most part I was in control of my own destiny.


The race of life is a little different. We don’t always get to choose our race.

When life is filled with joy and we see a flat, easy road ahead of us we feel like we can run it forever. It can be tempting to run it on our own and not depend on Jesus or draw strength from our faith. We may also run past others, not stopping to see their needs or learn from those who have run their race before us.

Sometimes it feels like our life-race is uphill. We look ahead and behind and only see twists and turns. It takes endurance to keep going and not give up. It can seem impossible when we are tired and overwhelmed. We feel like there is never an end to the race, or an easy road ahead of us.


In an uphill race it is so important to keep our focus on Jesus and to allow those around us to come alongside us, support and encourage us. It can be so easy to feel like we’re all alone, but we don’t need to be.

As the writer of Hebrews points out, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, both here on earth and those who have gone before us to leave examples of running the race with endurance. We can be reminded that we have the same reward waiting for us that Jesus did, an eternal forever with our Lord. Jesus endured shame, disgrace, and a nasty death on the cross to bring us with Him to this paradise.

We are made lighter and more free to endure the twists and turns of life when we examine what entangles and weighs us down. Repenting of our sins and releasing the weight of worry and the need to control our surroundings frees us and reminds us to look up, and perhaps find the good things hidden along our path.

Whether the race is smooth or an uphill climb we can’t do it on our own, but by the grace and strength of Jesus, the precious Holy Spirit and those He has put in our lives to walk alongside us, we can keep going…and find blessings along the way!


Blessings and peace along your race today,


Rest from our Labors

September us upon us and with the first Monday we celebrate Labor Day. The official holiday began in 1882 as

a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  (http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm)

In the early years the American workers were celebrated with parades, speeches and festivals to celebrate the labor unions and their contributions to the progress in America. These celebrations may take place in some areas of the country but I believe most Americans look at Labor Day as a celebration of a day we don’t have to labor – a time to celebrate rest and recreation.

It turns out this is not a new idea! God designed a time of rest into His creation.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:2-3 NIV

God doesn’t get tired and He doesn’t need to rest, yet He spent a day of His creation doing just that. I believe it was an example for us to follow, showing us that since we are created in His image we also need to rest. Add in the fact that we are human, not deities and His point is made even more strongly!
To reinforce His point when Moses was given the Ten Commandments God again emphasized a day of rest.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.                                            Exodus 20:9-11 NIV

A full day was set aside by God for the purpose of rest.

I like the way the King James version puts it:

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…
                                                                                            Exodus 20:9-10a

I have been part of the Seventh Day Baptist denomination for most of my life. We are evangelical Baptists who hold to keeping the seventh day Sabbath of the bible as sacred time. (You can learn more about us here: http://seventhdaybaptist.org/) We seem to see this day of rest differently than other churches I have attended over the years. Our Sabbath mirrors the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday night and continues until sundown Saturday/Sabbath. While each person/family is free to celebrate the Sabbath in their own way there is something special about the day. For most it is more than fitting a church service into busy weekend, it is a time to slow down, take a deep breath, rest and worship.

feet & Lucy

I grew up on a dairy farm owned & run by my father and uncle. The only work they did on the Sabbath was to milk the cows and make sure the animals were fed, safe and healthy. It didn’t matter if Sabbath was the only day to get the hay in or if it was harvest time and it had finally stopped raining enough to pick the corn. Those tasks could wait. My parents did not take us to birthday parties or friends’ homes on the Sabbath. As a general rule we didn’t shop on the Sabbath either. It was family time, and often included a nap for Mom & Dad. As a kid I sometime thought it was a punishment to spend my Saturday differently than my friends. Now I realize that my parents both worked hard and needed a day to rest and prepare themselves physically, mentally and spiritually for the week ahead. The older I get the more thankful I am for the example they gave.

One of my most precious memories growing up were the rides we would often take on Sabbath afternoons. I sometimes thought it was boring, but now reflect upon how Dad knew people for miles around and would tell us stories as we traversed the countryside, checking the progress of a new barn or business or just enjoying God’s creation. We might pop in to say, “hi” to a family member or friend and visit for a while. I still like to ride around with friends and family, discovering new places, experiencing adventures and making new memories.

Do you experience a day of rest each week? Do you set aside time to stop, reflect and become refreshed? I hope you do, and whether your Sabbath falls on the same day as mine or another day during the week I hope you’ll realize the gift we have been given. Our lives are so filled with work and other activities and it is rare to stop long enough to catch our breaths and catch up with family and friends and worship our Lord together. We shouldn’t wait for a day to come along when we are excused from our everyday work in order to fit in this precious time.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! May it be a time of creating memories and perhaps reevaluating our schedules to fit in a time of rest every week. We might be surprised at how good it feels and the rewards we reap from the time we set aside.


Blessings & peace to you as you enter His rest this weekend!




We live on a major highway at a point where it changes from four lanes into two lanes. Several times a day horns blare as two cars meet the merge at the same time and are unwilling to yield to one another. I’m thankful there has not yet been an accident.


As I heard the blare of horns again this evening I realized how much of a challenge it can be for me to give in to God’s will instead of my own. Going along through life I often come to a place where I either yield to His lead or continue on my own path, leaving Him behind.

There are always consequences to the decision not to yield, sometimes more severe than others, but always pulling me farther from the Lord and destroying the peace of my life.

My prayers should echo the psalmist:

Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.
                                                                     Psalm 119:34-37

The best part about yielding to God is the more we do it the easier it becomes. We find His will becomes our own until it becomes instinctive to look to Him before making decisions. Our friendship with Him is strengthened and our time together deepens.

Though it seems unnatural at first we will find that yielding control to the Lord brings a true peace to this puzzle of life.

blessings to you as you seek His will day by day.

Books I’m Reading

Close Enough To Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

In Close Enough To Hear God Breathe the author encourages us to discover a closeness to God that few experience here on earth. He weaves personal experiences and stories with scripture to draw us in to know God more intimately.

The book reads like a story, describing Jesus and events of the Bible in comfortable language to bring it close to home. It is unlike any book I have read in a long time and I devoured it in a few sittings.

If you are looking for a closer relationship to the Lord this is a book I would recommend adding to your reading list!

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book  through BookLook Bloggers. I have not received any compensation by the author or publisher for this review.