Author | Speaker | Encourager


How Honest Does God Want Us To Be With Him?

las-vegas-750286_640How deep do we want to go with God?

I just returned from following my seventeen-year-old son across three states to watch him compete in several basketball tournaments.

One of them was held in Las Vegas. For this rurally bred girl, I find it a disturbing city. On the outside it’s sparkly and alluring, but beneath the lights lurks so much darkness. It reminds me of a giant Venus flytrap.

We stayed at a casino and the people were nice, but maybe a bit jaded? As if it wouldn’t surprise them a bit if you tried to pull a fast one on them. Which is what they’ve likely seen and experienced in that environment.

So how do we keep our love on for people when we see them at their worst? How does God keep His love on for us? Read More…

How Does Being Adopted Change Our Relationship With God?

sad-623848_640Do we truly see ourselves as God’s adored kids?

I recently had the privilege of visiting Expression58 and hearing Jennifer Toledo speak.

She shared how she had been lamenting to the Lord her lack of a testimony. Having been raised with an intimate relationship with the Lord, there was no riveting dark alley conversion.

He then gave her His view of her testimony. In a vision of black and white, He showed her walking a path along with a multitude of people. As she walked, she noticed a castle with a beautiful king, all in brilliant color. Her little girl heart wished that somehow the king would rescue her and take her into his castle.

The king left his castle and started walking, pressing through the crowd of people until he came to her. He knelt down, looked into her eyes and said, “You. I choose you! I want to be your Daddy. Will you be my little girl?”

He took her into the castle where she lived. Then one day he gently explained, “Living in the castle is so different from how you lived out there. In the castle you get beautiful clothes, but out there you got dirty. But in here I wash you and clean you up.”

He continued, “You need to understand that you’re really adopted. I am really your father and you are really my daughter. You need to learn how to talk, how to think and how to live as royalty and stop thinking like a slave.”

Jennifer paused and looked at the congregation, “That’s all of our testimonies.” Read More…

Do Thoughts Determine Whether We Are Victorious or Defeated?

chain-694528_640What thoughts are we thinking?

Bill Johnson says that any thought we have that doesn’t inspire hope is under the influence of a lie.

When things get rough, we tend to go straight for the S.O.S. prayers. “God, get me out of this mess!”

But what if God has a miracle he’s waiting to give us, but our fear and lack of trust keep us from receiving it.

Joshua and Caleb were two of the twelve spies sent to scout the land God had promised Israel. Ten men came back spreading stories of how futile God’s plans were. The giants in the land made the men look like grasshoppers, they said. The conviction of doom spread through Israel’s camp (Numbers 13).

Why? Because they looked through the eyes of human logic and reason. Read More…

How Giving Up Our Rights Brings Freedom

tent-779602_640Quite a few years ago we went on a long road trip. Family reunion in Canada, a lovely sojourn to Wallowa Lake and then visited friends as we meandered back home.

There was very little grousing from the short people in the backseat as we wound our way up over mountains and down through canyons. That gave us much to be thankful for (we cleaned out the public library the day before we left).

It was perfectly delightful in most ways.

But TDH wasn’t his normal cheerful, fun-loving self. This was due to the fact that bouncing and dragging behind the trailer the entire 2000 miles of our travels were the stresses and worries from several things back home.

It reminded me of that commercial, “Don’t leave home without it.” Well, trust me, I wished we had.

He was really great, mostly. Just a teensy Jekyll and Hyde-ish at times. Nothing we couldn’t live with, until the afternoon he got irritated at something I’d done. Read More…

Why Some People Struggle More Than Others

boulders-336523_640Why do some of us seem to struggle more than others?

Many of us have learned to hide our struggles because society tends to focus on outward behavior. We haven’t been taught or we tend to ignore the reality that outward behaviors (i.e. drinking, gossip, criticalness, stealing) are symptoms of internal struggles.

Wounds that haven’t healed. Patterns of relating in unhealthy ways that have become entrenched. Spiritual inheritances that haven’t been broken and redeemed.

We’ve learned that people (ourselves included) just want “bad” behaviors to stop. Choose differently, we think. Stop doing that, we frown. Don’t you see how destructive your choices are?

We think it’s about choice, when so much more is involved. Read More…

The Relationship God Desires

stress-391657_640What kind of relationship does God want with us?

In my last post, I shared how God had exposed a mindset that I needed shaken free from. A wrong belief that I had to please God in order to have His presence.

As soon as that understanding took root, stress and the pressure to perform disappeared and I entered into what felt like a blissful vacation in my soul.

Recognizing at a deeper level that I truly don’t have to please Him for Him to be with me and work on my behalf.

I had no idea that I’d lived with this low-grade stress. It was a constant striving to “do it right” for Him. Like the accelerator in my mind was slightly stuck and pressuring me to “do” for Him.

So for a few days I lived in a state of blissful freedom. No pressure to have a quiet time or “put Him first,” but just choosing to talk to Him when I wanted to without the sense that I needed to.

But one morning I woke up feeling that familiar push. And with it came a lot of irritation. I resented the sense that I had to have a quiet time in order to have His presence with me. Read More…

Finding Our Way

mountain-431605_640How do we walk free from performance when it’s deeply embedded in our thinking?

I went for a hike today. First one by myself. Emotions were billowing in me and I needed someplace quiet where I could let those emotions loose if needed.

And I didn’t want to be that weird woman crying on the bike path.

Fortunately, we have some wonderful ranching friends who let me borrow their back forty.

The issue was one I tend to cycle back to. I am a person who craves order, but when that bleeds into my relationship with God, my thinking can get  a little discombobulated. Read More…

The Greatest Gift

2672573608_b74af22127_zHow often do we attempt to control others without even realizing it?

We tend to consider it a form of love. If we see someone we care for headed along a path riddled with dangerous pot holes, how can we not step in?

How can we stand by and let them feel the pain of poor choices that would be so easily preventable if they would just take our guiding hand.

Fear is the breeding ground for control.

It leads us to try to influence and direct the behavior and journey of those dear to us. Sometimes our influence seems benign, other times it’s manipulative.

But we would never name it manipulation because we think we are doing it for their best. We are preventing heartache and pain. We are justifying our over involvement. Read More…

Lake of Grace

hands-in-chainsHow deep is the Sea of Forgetfulness?

The other day regret came knocking on my door. Unfortunately, I answered. And he didn’t come by himself. Condemnation and guilt followed him right into my living room, while accusation slithered in on their heels.

Guilt and condemnation held up some past failures and accusation and regret jumped in, pointing fingers at how those failures had far-reaching effects. Far beyond God’s ability to fix. Read More…

The Standard We Carry

girlI had my feelings hurt today.

Do sometimes we need approval so much that we don’t stop to assess whether the approval giver is standing on solid rock? They may be a Jesus follower, but do their values line up with what Jesus values?

There is a lot of judgment in our world. We do a lot of judging. Many times not purposely. But we have prioritized standards we weigh other people’s behavior and choices against. Read More…