Saturday, November 21, 2009

When It Feels Like a Waste

Ever feel like what you're doing is just a waste?

Let me paint you a picture. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own situation.

So basically Isaiah is chattin' it up with God in Isaiah 49.

God says, "You are my servant, and you will bring Me glory."

But Isaiah replies, “But my work for them seems so useless--like it's all in vain!
I have spent my strength for them without response. Feels like it's for nothing and to no purpose. It's all a WASTE."

Sound familiar? In Isaiah's case, it was all about the fact that he was laboring on Jerusalem's behalf and seeing nothing come from it.

What is it in your case? What's that thing that feels utterly useless?

Your time poured into a ministry?
Your hours spent building into the lives of your children?
Your efforts in your marriage?
Your prayers for the one who really needs them but refuses to recognize it?

Ultimately, though, even in the midst of what feels like wasted time Isaiah says, "Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
I will trust God for my reward.”

And God Almighty replies,

“At just the right time, I will respond to you.

And I will make My mountains into level paths for them.

I WILL comfort you and have compassion on you in your suffering.

You say I've deserted you and forgotten you. Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your (YOUR, reader!) name on the palms of My hands. Always in My mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins (i.e. your walls, your circumstances, what you're going through--it is EVER BEFORE MY EYES).

And the bottom line is this: Those who trust in Me will never be put to shame--those who hope in Me WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED (that means YOU, you person reading this blog right now. When you have trusted ME for the outcome, your trust is not misplaced).”

So you seemingly have nothing to show for your labors. Your efforts seem to yield no fruit--I mean, zip, nada, nothing--or maybe just far too little fruit for your liking. It's frustrating, I know.

But today we can claim truth over it all. We can love and serve confidently, knowing our walls are ever before Him--He sees it all--HE KNOWS.

So what's that thing that FEELS like a waste--a waste of your time, your efforts, and probably most importantly--YOUR HEART?

It is not a waste. It is NOT a waste. IT IS NOT A WASTE! Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed. "Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Lately my tiny Aila has been doing things that warrant an apology. Nothing too terrible, but an "I'm sorry" is in order.

And when she apologizes, it comes out, "Rorry." So when she smacks her brother (who, between you and me and the deep blue sea, just might have had it coming), she gives him a hug, a gentle touch, and has to tell him she's "rorry."

It happened this morning, even. Hit. Hug. Gentle touch. And "Rorry."

In those moments, I want to scoop her up and give her a million kisses, because there is something so precious to me when I get glimpses of her contrite heart. Even when she has to have a quick time out, she melts into me in a new way when it's over. My heart is tendered toward my children when they hurt over something they've done (in their own 2-year old and 4-year old way). I think it's appropriate, whether we're young or old, to be grieved by our own sin, and to come to the Lord in apology -- where He will surely welcome us.

Makes me think of Psalm 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

He welcomes us warmly when we come in confession and contrition. We are not met with an angry hand, but with open arms. And when I as His daughter return to Him, with love He receives me when I come to say I'm "rorry."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Hands in the Trash Can

This morning I was holding my favorite pair of earrings as I leaned over the trash can. And thanks to my "spoiler alert" title of this post, I'm sure you can guess what happened...

For those not so quick on the uptake, I dropped one of my earrings right into the trash can.

Unfotunately, the trash was pretty full, and the earring was pretty tiny. So dooooown it went.

Had I not loved this pair of earrings, I would have just let it go. I mean, all kinds of fun stuff was in that trash can. Egg shells, and the dirt emptied from the vacuum cleaner, to name a few. It was gross. But thankfully, after some digging, I retrieved my earring and washed it off. A couple of times.

A far deeper loved motivated my Jesus to go "dumpster diving" for me several years ago. My life was in a pit of sin--I was wearing the muck and the mire of my depravity. And yet I was worth it to Him, and He went in for me and pulled me out. He made me clean--white as snow, in fact. Covered in righteousness where filth had once been.

"He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion" (Psalm 103). Beautiful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Within Boundaries

We've discovered something new about our new dog Jack. We can open up the door and he'll run out, do his business, and come back in.

This is foreign to us! Our last two dogs were total escape artists. If we were to ever try that with them, they'd be halfway to the Dakotas within the hour. We always had to keep them on a leash if they were outside at all.

I was kind of mulling this over this morning. Even though Davey and Sadie were constantly running away, I loved them so much. And I don't love Jack any more than I loved Davey and Sadie just because he stays within the boundaries. But I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that he does. I mean, I am just ecstatic to see that little doggy running around the yard, all the while staying within the boundary lines.

God's love is for those who are constantly crossing the lines just as much as it is for those who stay within them. But how it PLEASES Him when we walk within the way He has established for us. Psalm 16:6 says, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." His boundaries are good. They preserve my life.

There are lots of days when I don't even want to cross the boundary lines He has established. I recognize them as pleasing. But then there are other days when I just don't feel like being "confined." And on those days I'll wish I didn't want to cross them, but I do. Lord, where I want to cross the boundary lines, let me desire to do what pleases You more. I know You love me regardless, but I want to obey. So please strengthen me to trust that You have loved me so much that you set up boundary lines for me in pleasant places, and have prepared for me a delightful inheritance. And I know that to believe I'm being confined and constricted is a lie, because true freedom is only found within the boundaries You have established. "I RUN in the paths of Your commands, for You have set my heart free" (Ps. 119:32).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Poverty and Scarcity

This week it's come to my mind more than once (okay, several times) how I used to sleep soundly through the night and sleep in (until about 7-ish) most mornings. "Used to" is the operative phrase here. But not lately. No, lately the Word has been beckoning me at the most ridiculous hours. Yesterday at 3am I just had to know what the Bible says about being sustained (see two posts down from this one). I could not wait until morning to learn what it says about the way God upholds us. And while it's not always at crazy hours, I'm still usually beckoned out of bed a little earlier than I'd like to be conscious. But it's a hunger that pulls me out from under my comfy covers, excited to encounter what the Lord has prepared for me to come across in those pages. It's like I cannot wait for the collision between my heart and the truth I know awaits me.

So as I've kept thinking these past few days about the sleep I've lost, a passage from Proverbs ran through my mind. I knew it word for word but didn't know the reference--and that's the cool thing about being in the Word--it was just one of those verses I've read enough times that it was being embedded deeper into me each time I did, even though it's never jumped out at me until now. Well, after a bit of searching, I found the words in Proverbs 24. Verses 33 and 34 say:

"A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come on you like a bandit, and scarcity like an armed man."

To me, this has always meant that a lazy man will be without. But this morning the Lord spoke to me about all the times when I did sleep through what should have been my quiet times and said,

"Those days were marked by poverty and scarcity....

Poverty of spirit. And scarcity of fruit."

Wow. I mean, wow. What a terrible shame! But I have to look at it from the flip side...So if the opposite is true now--if my life is now marked by wealth of spirit and abundance of fruit, then it seems that giving up a few zzzzz's is hardly too high a price to pay.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More Podcasts!

A few more podcasts have been added -- Click HERE to listen!

The most recent podcasts are:

Jodianne Adams - Treasure Map / Putting it Back in the Box
Rae Cook - Spiral of Simple Obedience
Thea Nelson - No Flame for the Candles


Friday, November 6, 2009


Recently a friend asked for prayer that she will be sustained. So last night I woke up in the night and began praying for her, and as I prayed I felt the Lord revealing.

It seemed He was saying, "I already AM sustaining her."

Then he gave me a mental image of a woman in a boat out in the middle of the ocean. She was frantically moving arms and legs in a swimming motion. Someone else in the boat asked, "What are you doing?" And she replied, "I'm out in the middle of the ocean--I have to swim or I'll sink!" Her friend says, "Right, I get that--but we're in a boat. The boat is holding us up and keeping us from sinking."
It really spoke to me. In the midst of vast oceans in which we could so easily fear slipping under, we need not fear. He is under us, around us, over us and within us. He is sustaining us. He is that boat we're in out in the middle of the water. No need to frantically flail about--He is holding us up.

I felt prompted to pray differently--not that He WILL sustain her, but more that His sweet sustenance, which is already in full effect in my friend's life, would be undeniable and more than evident to her in all her ways--that she will stand in God-confidence knowing He upholds her cause.

"So do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will UPHOLD you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who SUSTAINS me.
Psalm 54:4

Thursday, November 5, 2009

That is Some Seriously Strong Breath

No, I'm not talking about that person in your office who seriously needs a Tic-Tac.

In my quiet times I've begun to notice a recurring theme about the power that is in the breath of God.

It is spoken of OVER and OVER throughout the Bible.

So what does it matter? Well, this is the powerful breath that BREATHED life into you, His creation, so that you may live. It's the same breath that BREATHED all Scripture, making it powerful enough to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness. And it's the same power we find in Christ BREATHING His last so that you and I may live.

But there's more...
* At the blast of his BREATH, they are destroyed (Job 4:9).
* By His BREATH the skies became fair (Job 26:13).
* The BREATH of the Almighty gives understanding (Job 32:8).
* The BREATH of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4).
* His BREATH produces ice (Job 37:10)
* His BREATH sets coals ablaze (Job 41:21)
* Valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth are laid bare at the blast of BREATH from His nostrils (Psalm 18:15).
* The starry hosts were made by the BREATH of His mouth (Psalm 33:6).
* With the BREATH of His lips He will slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4).
* His BREATH is like a rushing torrent (Isaiah 30:28).
* The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the BREATH of the Lord blows on them (Isaiah 40:7).

Now that is some seriously strong breath.

Let everything that has BREATH praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:6