Moving Mountains

Once in a while, you’ll get a glimpse of something spectacular….of something new & unrealized, something fresh & intriguing.  Sometimes those glimpses will come from the most unlikely places.

I watched this little girl with her father in the park.  They were lying there, looking at the city, through the trees…she laid there in the grass quickly switching her hand to cover one eye, then the next, then the first eye again. She laughed with delight at she told her father “I can make the whole city move! It looks like the buildings are dancing!” Back & forth she would look once more as the city was moved from the east to the west and back again.  Her dad looked over to her and simply replied “It all has to do with perspective.”

And at that moment I thought about the passage that says “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) I thought about how faith has to do a lot with your perspective…..your perspective of God and of how much you can trust him.  It has to do with what you think God can do. Even how you think God can work through a seemingly difficult situation.  Do we really trust that God will use us no matter where we go? Do we really think He could bring good out of war? Do I really believe God will use Leukemia to touch people? It all has to do with perspective.

It’s not physically moving a mountain from here to there, it’s seeing the mountain the way God might see it. As an opportunity to overcome, rather than an obstacle that can defeat you. A mountain for us might be a hard work environment, or an impossible dream, or an un-lovable neighbor. We are all capable of moving mountains, simply by having a perspective other than our own….a perspective rather, that comes from Christ. We can see the un-lovable neighbor as a hurting soul that could really use a glimpse of kindness. We can see that our impossible dream is no longer impossible if we start from another angle. We can see that a hard work environment can be an opportunity to show a heavenly amount of patience & grace.

Makes sense to me that we are moving mountains every day….if only we have faith to see through God’s perspective…from east to west, here to there, from mind to heart…it’s possible.


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.

A Story Worth Living

We all have stories….some are comedies, some are tragedies, some are romantic & some are just plain stale. Wherever your story fits on this grid…it fits…somewhere, because we all are living a story.  But what is making your story great? Are you inviting people to live out that story with you? Are you drowning in character development with a character that never does anything? Are you frustrated that your climax scenes never get the “aha” resolution like in the movies? Are you intrigued by the chapters, enough that you keep wanting to go further & further into the story?

I’ve been thinking a lot about story. I’m pretty sure I’ve already blogged on this somewhat, but it’s in my mind again. Listening to music like Grace Potter, and her sweet crooning of “are we falling or flying”….a lot of this has to do with perspective…but your perspective is shaped by your story, right? somewhat?

In Ezra, he is a scribe that writes the Jews’ story of coming back to the homeland & rebuilding their temple after so many years in captivity. What a story!  The captors release a certain amount of captives to go home & rebuild a temple, that has so much importance to them. It’s pretty amazing to me that the captors did that….and it’s also pretty amazing how the people wanted the temple rebuilt so bad, that obviously they weren’t just sitting around in captivity going along day to day….they wanted that temple, and they wanted it bad!  I don’t think it was really so much about the “temple” as it was about wanting a place to worship the one true God….but giving Him a place to reside was important for the Jews. They took steps to push for this goal, made pleas, petitions, spoke to apparently the right people, and when they got the chance, they took it!  The set to work right away, and praised God while fasting on their trek back to Jerusalem.  Amazing. They made their story a glorious one….not one of defeat.

It’s about going after something, and not being afraid to face obstacles along the way. It’s about trusting that God has quite the story to tell through you, and not just sitting around waiting for it to happen. How many stories have you read where all the main character does is think & sit on the couch?? (Okay….I’ve honestly read one like this, and it was the most pointless, aggravating, frustrating book I’ve read….I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it ended & nothing HAD happened, I wanted to die.) Alright, so….you get what I’m saying?

This is getting long, so I’ll wrap up…..and maybe I’ll make a Part 2 to this particular topic…..but what kind of story are you living?

My friend was inspirational, she challenged me to do things I’d never done before. I wanted something bigger than what I’d ever thought possible….when she died, that dream of mine got cloudy.  But then…what I wanted was to honor her inspirational life. Many of us did. We set a goal, and figured out all the things we needed to do to get there. We invited people into our story (which makes it hard to give up)…and last summer, hosted a 6k to allow kids the chance to go to a summer camp….kids whose parents are imprisoned & would never have been able to go otherwise. It’s a small story, but it IS a story.  It’s continuing, and it’s exciting!

What kind of stories are you making?? Share them with me!

Bunches of Goodness

This morning, I’m sitting here, jumping for joy on the inside, bursting with something. It’s like…the last few days have been SO good, SO much better than previous ones. Yet what I know to be true is that despite the amazing things that have been happening around me & the fun things I’ve been doing, it’s not THAT that is supplying my energy. It is the in-explainable joy that comes from knowing that my future & freedom is all in God’s hands.

Paul prayed that this would happen for us, “so that Christ may dwell in (our) hearts through faith. And (he) prayed that (we) being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide & long & high & deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that (we) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” –Ephesians 3:17-19

…and we know that this prayer would be answered because “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful & effective.” –James 5:16b It is effective, and felt beyond the realm of time. How would Paul know that we would need this prayer so much? He helps us to realize that the power of the Holy Spirit will meet us where we are through those who pray for us when he writes in 2 Corinthians 9:14, “and in their prayers for you, their heart will go out to you because of the surpassing grace God has given you.”

God is answering their prayer, and giving us a bold & fresh faith. One that is not easily overcome. Still, knowing that we have this power through Him, we must hear him & open the doors to our heart, so that we can be cleansed & prepared to defend our faith to those who come with questions & challenge us. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” –1 Peter 3:15

We can be confident that the prayers of the righteous will be fulfilled by God, & that we can walk in that confidence because we “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” –Deuteronomy 7:9

Walk in boldness, gather all the confident joy you can muster from the bunches of ways that God pours out his goodness through his Grace, as answers to the prayers of many and rejoice in Him.


We are not grasshoppers.

Maybe you think you are, but you’re not. I’m not just being silly….Keep reading.

Numbers 13 tells the story of the 12 spies scouting out the land that God had given to the Hebrews. They spent 40 days exploring the land, and at the end they came back with a report. Two of the spies (Caleb & Joshua) said “We should go up & take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” That’s a good encouraging report! Unfortunately, there were 10 other spies that replied “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are….The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size….We seemed like GRASSHOPPERS in our OWN eyes, and we looked the same to them.” The second report wasn’t so encouraging….it was rather deflating & discouraging.

Who really would want to do something like that, where your good friends & knowledgeable people came to tell you how little chance you’d have of accomplishment? I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go either…..but then again, who knows. I just heard a sermon on this passage, and it shocked me too to hear that they said how they “seemed like grasshoppers” in their OWN eyes. They had a view of themselves as little bugs…little annoying bugs that men can easily squash. Grasshoppers don’t have a lot of power…but they do seem to “whine” a lot, which is why I know we can crush them.

But what did Caleb & Joshua see that made them think so differently? They knew the power that they had with them. It was the power of the Holy Spirit, not their own power that they put trust in. I think the others must have known they had the Holy Spirit too, but didn’t trust in the POWER of it in them. The Holy Spirit’s power is in each of us who put our trust in God, and who truly believe that He is the One True God that saves us from our sinfulness. It is very easy to be discouraged when those around us, even people who love us, say… “you can’t do that,” or “I don’t know that that would be the best choice,” or “is that really where you think God is calling you?” You second guess yourself, and if you’re not completely confident in the power of the Lord, often you will give up that dream or desire.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7). We are each given the Holy Spirit, with the same power…missionaries in foreign lands don’t have a special power, pastors don’t have a special power…we ALL have this power & can overcome the things of this world that fight against us in the spiritual realms. Luke 10:19 reminds us of the authority we’ve been given….”I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions (two terms used to describe evil spirits visible in people of that day)…and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Wow. That sounds powerful. AND WE HAVE THAT IN US! Right now! Wherever you are!

So why are we so afraid to step out in faith & do the things we know God wants us to do? Why are we so afraid to say what we want to say about our commitment to Christ? Why? Have you thought about it? Use that authority to overcome the words of other people, of the beliefs you hear, and to overcome even the words you put in your own mind to discourage you. You are given power through the Holy Spirit to go into the world & change lives…to set captives free! Be FREE in Christ, not captives in the world.

So remember the grasshopper….yes, you are small like him, and yes, we probably all whine like him too. BUT we are not able to be crushed like him.