Welcome to my blog, may you find hope, inspiration, peace and perhaps a chuckle or two!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now? PART TWO

Last week we explored asking God the question, “Can you hear me now?” when we feel our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. This week let’s take a look at it from God’s perspective.

Hey! You down there - beating your head against the wall… ”can you hear Me now?”

Sometimes I can picture God with a megaphone trying to get my attention. My life is loud. I’ve got the stuff most people have plus junk that is my own stuff. Junk and stuff they can clutter our lives when there is no outlet. Think Hoarding…insert mental visual here.

Recently I was reading about Devil’s Lake in North Dakota. An Associated Press story reported:

It's been called a slow-growing monster: a huge lake that has steadily expanded over the last 20 years, swallowing up thousands of acres, hundreds of buildings and at least two towns in its rising waters. Devils Lake keeps getting larger because it has no natural river or stream to carry away excess rain and snowmelt. Now it has climbed within 6 feet of overflowing, raising fears that some downstream communities could be washed away if the water level isn't reduced.

Towns, homes, and acres of land have been consumed by this lake. I think about my sanity and my quiet time being consumed by my junk and my stuff. With a life so loud, it can be hard for God’s answers or his directions to get through. Perhaps prompting him to wonder “Can you hear Me now?”.

When my stuff builds up and my junk begins to overtake my life because it has no outlet, the noise level rises and that “still small voice” is reduced to negative decibels.

It seems that my trials come in the wake of such noise. I often wonder if it is a lack of spiritual discipline on my part that allows the negative stuff to assail me because I’ve been wrong. But sometimes I wonder if God just misses me. He knows at the first hint of trouble I come a runnin’ and praying to him, so perhaps these issues are "allowed into my life" because God misses my conversations, my praise, my worship, and simply my NEEDING him. See, he is a jealous God and my junk, stuff and noise, take my time and focus from Him.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength..."    Isaiah 30:15

He created us with a desire for Him. We are created in His image. He desires and longs for a relationship with us. When our stuff gets in the way, we are weaker. God himself rested on the seventh day. Give your spirit a rest.

Can you hear Him now?

Point to Ponder: What can you tune down in your life so that you can hear Him now?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Do you remember the Verizon Commercials where a guy went all over the place to test that his network was working and his message getting through? How often does our prayer life seem that way?

Have you asked this of God? Can you hear me now? How often have we come to the end of ourselves and felt our prayers were bouncing off of the ceiling? One pastor said that God answers all prayers in His time. He said when we get a NO. It is still an answer. So is a NOT YET. But the answer we are looking for is usually a YES!

Talking to someone this morning reminded me of walking in those shoes. Praying fervently and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Remembering and having those feelings well back up reminded me that GOD did answer… eventually in my situation. But it was after I had come to the end of myself.

How can we have unshakeable faith. I’ve known people who’ve had it. Horatio G. Spafford penned the hymn “It is well with my soul” near the very spot where his four daughters drowned in a shipwreck in 1871.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way.
When Sorrows like sea-billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say.
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

How does a man have that kind of peace amidst the indescribable pain of losing his family?

Romans 5: 3-4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”

My journal reads: But God, I want to be a sprinter. I don’t want to be an endurance athlete.

Perhaps when I lose that mind set, my endurance training will be over. Maybe it won’t end, it just won’t seem like training anymore. It will be part of my character like it was Horatio’s. Horatio didn’t ask if God could hear him. He knew God was listening. He was reassuring God when he said, “It is well with my soul”. I pray today for that kind of faith for me and for the person on the other end of my conversation this morning.

Is it well with your soul? Is there a race that you are tired of running? Are you wondering if God is hearing you? Start believing regardless of the outcome, “It is well with my soul” and perhaps your victory will be in a most unexpected place.  (Watch for Can You Hear Me Now Part II next week)

Point to Ponder: How would your life be different if you declared victory today?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Image is Everything

Images. For my friend Linda images are everything. She is a professional photographer with Linda Jackman Photography (, images are her livelihood. She can tell a story with a photo. She has a gift for not only capturing the right emotion as it happens, but also creating that emotion through visual manipulation. The right light, a filter here or there and a conveniently staged prop and a simple flower can become a gift being given by a petulant child, or an ethereal shot of an infant appears to be a heavenly angel.

Images can evoke emotion. Recently I watched the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and was taken right back to five years ago with a heavy heart watching the devastation of property and people. The other day I was sent a photo that made me laugh hysterically. When I see images of child trafficking or animal cruelty I get angry. Looking at photos of my father can make me wistful and photos of chocolate, well they make me hungry!

While images can provoke us, they can also deceive us. Advertising is full of deceptive images that tell us to drink this, take that so you can look like this. I recently viewed a video that showed how an average gal with ordinary features was transformed into a billboard beauty. Did you ever see the commercial for the square Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger years ago? My son talked about it for days. I saw the disappointment on his face when he unwrapped the burger and uttered the words, “This wasn’t what it looked like on TV”, while it was a good lesson it came at his expense.

One of the coolest verses of the Bible about creation is Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” and then verse 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Seriously? We are created in God’s Image ponder this a moment. That same GOD that created the heavens and the earth AND created you…actually created you in HIS image – His likeness. Basically – Image is everything.

A pastor once said, “You might be the only Jesus that people see.” We sang a song in church yesterday the chorus went like this:

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a Crimson Stain
He washed it white as snow

As established above, images are powerful and these words reminded me that if we’ve accepted Christ and believe that he paid it all…our image is white as snow. We can’t live in the past, because God put an end to it when he allowed Jesus to pay our debt.

Point to Ponder: What image do we project and what does our image evoke? Are we the real deal? Or are we morphing what others see on the outside? Are we living in the past or walking in spirit and in truth? What is hindering us from being authentic?