God Size

The last few months here have been crazy.  Literally speaking, they’ve been such a whirlwind, that every time I’ve even thought of writing, I’ll forget about 10 minutes later because I’m on to something different.  But tonight, I felt like I had to write….there’s too much to say all in one post, but this message keeps coming through different ways, and so it must be something that is important.  So here goes.

Have you ever been faced with something where you thought, “how am I supposed to pray for this!?”…you battle within yourself whether you should pray for a miracle, or not, because you “know” that it won’t happen probably and that whatever it is in front of you will just turn out the way things “normally” turn out, whether that be good or bad, but either way you pray it’s not really going to be different.  Have you been there?  I have, and I’m sure some of you have too.  You’re like….you trust in God, but really when the odds look so grim you just don’t know if you should pray that God will perform a miracle or if you should just accept the fate & pray for God to give peace.

Well…..here’s a question for you: How well do you know God?

Really, how well do you KNOW Him?  The earth is finite, right?  Meaning there’s only limited outcomes, options, possibilities, etc.  But God is NOT.  He created the earth, so He doesn’t live within the confines of our existence, He lives in the freedom of His!  So when we pray, are we underestimating the power of God by not even asking for something bigger than we could even imagine?

This spring, things were going along just “normal” until one day I went to work & they told me that I was being laid off.  Oddly enough, I wasn’t devastated.  Honestly I’d been having a conversation with God about what was next….I wasn’t sure that where I was then was where He would always want me to be…so when I heard that I would be leaving in a month, it was a little bit of an “okay God, now what…” moment.  Financially I was okay for a little while, so I decided that since I had so many things planned for the summer, I would wait on God for just the right thing, and not pursue another position until the middle of August.

At the beginning of July, I visited my dad in TX, and finished a book called “Sacred Waiting” by David Timms.  It seemed that book was perfectly timed, by hitting on my period of waiting that had just been semi-imposed upon me by getting laid off.  I went back to MN to prepare for an art show before heading out on another vacation with some friends (which is another story all in itself) and two days before I left I got a strange call.  It was one of my old supervisors, from the job I had just left.  He said that his wife had met a guy at a concert, and that through random conversation, he mentioned they were looking for someone like me and so she mentioned my name and now that guy was trying to get in touch with me about a job.  That morning, I researched the organization, called & left a message and two hours later got a call back. They wanted me to come in for an interview 2 hours later.  Here’s the scenario: I’m in my PJ’s at 1pm, I don’t have a current resume, don’t have a printer if I DID have a current resume, wasn’t sure that I had any clean business clothes to wear and was then living an hour away from the office….so naturally I said “of course I can make it by 3pm”. lol.  I stood in line behind three 10 year old girls at the public library to print off my resume, and barely made it in.

To make the rest of the story short, I was offered the job the next day.  It was outstanding.  I feel so blessed, and I know that this kind of thing does NOT happen that often, but it was like….God was reminding me that He does things in HIS timing and way, not necessarily ours.  So this weekend, we’re hosting an event, hoping to draw in 5,500 people! We’ll be sharing the gospel and feature some great musicians!  And through the planning, I’ve been nervous, wondering how it’ll all turn out, what will happen, who will come, etc.  And sitting here tonight, being reminded of God’s miraculous power through the book of John, I’m finding peace knowing that God’s got it.

He’s greater than anything we can imagine, and so He’s capable of doing more than we can imagine.  We just need to stop underestimating Him and closing doors where He wants to show us His miracles!  Where does God want to do a miracle in your life, or challenge you to trust in Him more?  As you think on that, also remember us this Saturday in prayer.  Pray that people will pack the house, pray that people will respond to the gospel, pray that the Lord would do something that we could have never imagined!  Hallelujah!

(If you want to watch our concert streaming live, tune in Saturday at 7pm Central at: http://livestre.am/16gGw)  

Dressed in Striped Pajamas

Tonight I was sick….slightly, but feeling not quite myself just the same.  I knew I wanted to blog tonight, since much has been floating around my mind, but it wasn’t until just this moment that I really knew what I wanted to say.


This month I’m going on a journey of prayer journaling….and before I began writing tonight, I wanted to “relax” and watch a movie. Well I chose the movie “Boy in Striped Pajama’s”.  If you’ve seen it, you know that it leaves you feeling very sad, sad for the world, for the boy, for the times when we just don’t know any better…. and it makes me want to pray.


“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) If you know anything about the holocaust, you know that there were many, many people who cried out to God, seeking His help, protection, wisdom & mercy. God wants us to do this, to pour out our hearts to him when we are scared, ashamed, unsure & hurting.  He will protect us, though sometimes He protects our hearts & souls over our earthly bodies.

We know this is true, that God desires to hold us in his Hands, and that He will answer us and come to us because of what Christ testified by his mouth…”‘Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”’

And yet, sometimes we have to walk through horrendous situations.  The people of the holocaust were thrust into something they had little to no control over, they were tortured, beaten, starved, mocked and killed for just daring to live as people that Christ created them to be.  Many of them lost hope, feeling abandoned….but still there were some, like Corrie Ten Boom who saw her situation in the prison camps, as a time that she could tell others about God & his mercy. She understood what is written about in 2 Corinthians 2:14 where it says “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”  She, being lead as a captive into a place shrouded by death, held to her faith and overcame the smell of flesh with the fragrance of everlasting life.  ….. A faith like that deserves pause. ….. A faith like that, is one to make you wonder about the God who calls a witness like her out…He is a mighty God, a faithful God, an everlasting God.

Finally, as we seek him, praise him, confess our fears and hopes to him, we will see…maybe not today, but one day we will see…what His glorious plans for our lives will be.  It is then and on our journey to that end, that we can joyfully sing with David through Psalms 30:11-12, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Amen.

Sunrise to Sunset

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
   apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
   though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
   to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
   I am the LORD, and there is no other. –Isaiah 45:5-6
 
This morning, as I do many mornings, I watched the sunrise develop into something exquisite over the frozen lake.  It shone bright orange, purple & blue streaks which each contrasted with the others so vibrantly.  I’m not sure why, but watching a sunrise or sunset like the one this morning always reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It’s like he’s there, trying to remind us that from beginning to end, He is there. He will be faithful.  Though the day might bring hardship, toil & pain, He remains. He draws us towards him, to find beauty within his  creation, to find beauty within the day He has created for us. He wants us to know that He is bigger than whatever is out there, whatever we go through, whatever we face….He is with us.  He is in the dark, in the light, in the wind and in the calm. He is there and will always be pursuing us to bring us towards His loving arms.  The colors of this sunset are like the many facets of God’s character. He is both loving, just, compassionate, holy, gentle & yet we should fear Him.  Oh how all those facets and colors come together to form such a wonderful picture of who God is, and that we can be reminded of it every morning and every evening….that God is faithful.  

Deep love, Deep hurt

The past few months, the thought of a deeper love equaling deeper hurt, has been on my mind.  This is not to say that deeper love inevitably hurts, or that you shouldn’t be willing to love deep, but that when you are vulnerable to deeply love, that same vulnerability opens yourself to be feel much more pain if & when you are hurt by something or someone.

This happens to us as people, but it also intrigues me in our love relationship with God. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)”And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”(1 John 4:16)

If God loved us THAT much, that He would give us His only son, that He would live in us, that God is synonymous with love in the way that if we love, we are in Him, that’s powerful.  That’s a deep love, that’s an amazing love. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

So can you imagine with me then, that through God’s love for us, incomprehensibly deep & devoted, that when we hurt or when we turn from Him, either way….just think of how much He must hurt with us & for us. “In all their suffering he also suffered,…” (Isaiah 63:9) It says in the Bible how God suffers with us…and if the greater the love the greater the pain can be, I can only imagine that God suffers greatly over each & every one of us, longing for us to come near to Him, to dwell in Him, to be comforted by Him & to understand His love for us. He mourns with us, but doesn’t stay inactive…He comes after us.  Isaiah goes on to say “…and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”

Through all the years….forever, ….loving us deeply, holding us in our pain, hurting for us when we walk away, His love never fades. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.” (Lamentations 3:22)  This gives me hope, confidence & full assurance that when I hurt, I am not alone. It also reminds me that as much as I am able to love, He is able to love more fully, more completely, more intimately than I will ever understand, and that through our doubt, questioning, longing for answers, that He loves us still.  Be confident in this: “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Miracle Worker

The sky today seems teary eyed…welling up with tears that may never come. My tears are the same some days….they are there, but do not break free from the comfort within my eyes.  Tears can be hot with anger, cold with grief, salty with sadness, or refreshing with joy. ….and the ones that come today are the kind that fill emptiness with gratefulness.

Last week, there was fear….this week God came near. My mom was in the hospital, waiting for another result to come back…and was expecting the now normal response of “it didn’t work….we’ll try again.” Needless to say this is a frustrating & often crushing blow that sets my whole family back into questioning what will be next. The doctors were not pleased, and told my mom this. Why, I don’t know…but they were predicting, and wanted to prepare her for what was inevitable. Anyway, the doctor came into the room last Monday (the morning after 40 of us had prayed & cried out to God for her healing), and said “This is unexplainable….but your blast numbers are down to 3%….this shouldn’t have happened according to your last results…..I don’t understand it. We’ll be sending it back to Mayo to double check.” We all felt that we had witnessed a miracle….3% blasts means she’s technically in remission! And after the double-check, the numbers were proved correct. What a praise!  The prayer now, is that the 3% blasts stays there, and her white blood count will climb to normal levels….join us in this prayer, please!

The week before, there was also an unexplainable incident. Because of the seemingly constant hospital stays that my mom has endured, my dad has also had to endure phone calls from hospitals & such, to pay the overwhelming six-digit bills that keep coming. His responsibility had added up to about $47,000.  He also had received another phone message, telling him to call the hospital about that bill, right away. Well, he started to pray & cry out to God. There is no way that our family will be able to pay this amount, and we need help to make this happen. It’s enough to worry about your mother/wife in the hospital, without having to wonder where the money will come from to keep her in good health. So after an evening of sleeping & praying through his concern, he somewhat hesitatingly called the hospital. When the man answered the phone & confirmed the amount owed, the man then simply stated “Okay, we just took care of that.”

Yep. All $47,000…..done, paid for, wiped off the tab.

All I can say, is that God is definitely a miracle worker. I’ve seen it this week, and I’ve seen it all through my life. The miracles don’t come every time we want them, or when we would expect them….they come in His good timing, in his pleasure, to give us pleasure, and to show us His power & glory. He is Good. Very good. Just thought I’d share.