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Tag: faith

Be Still

by Rob Dunne

Tiny House by Rendered
Flickr.com/photos/destinationdiy/9276497549/in/photolist-f8JtwV

Tiny homes are fascinating. Kellie and I recently had the opportunity to stay in one. Located in the hill country, we’d lie in bed at night and enjoy a clear view of Orion and the Big and Little Dipper. In the morning, the backyard was visited by a few skittish deer grazing on vegetation. What I found most appealing was the silence. It was far removed from civilization and a place where you could actually hear yourself think.

Before he became king of Israel, David was a shepherd. He spent days and nights watching over the family’s flock. If David was anything like I am with my dog Bailey, he probably held two-way conversations with the sheep. However, the bulk of his time was likely spent in communion with God.

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Tomato Soup and Saltine Crackers

by Carol Nicholls

But my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory. Philippians 4:19

I couldn’t face it, just the smell was repulsive. For more than 10 years tomato soup and saltine crackers, an American staple, was not allowed in my home. The whole issue began when I was 18.

Six months after high school graduation I packed up my earthly goods (not a lot at that age), left them at my mother’s apartment and headed for the Los Angeles airport. Read the rest of this entry »

Change Something or: How to Get Your Future Wife to Marry You

by Mike McKinniss

“If you want things to change, maybe you should change something.”

Such was the sage advice given to my wife by her wise mother several years ago, which is how we got married.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because the word of wisdom came to the future Mrs. at a time when I was out of the picture. In fact, I was so far out of the picture, I was hanging from another wall …

in another room …

in another house …

in another state.

But this isn’t about me. (It kind of is.)

You see, future wife was stuck in a rut. Life had been motoring along quite nicely for many years. Out of college, she’d been offered a job that she tackled with fervor. Ten years later and she’d happily grown it about as much as anyone could. That work had kept her in a tight community filled with friends she’d made in school and relationships she’d thoughtfully deepened over time. She’d bought a house along the way and fixed it up just the way she wanted. Life was good.

But she had the sinking suspicion God wanted something more for her. Something had to change.

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Buy the Book. Eat the cookie. Buy the shoes.

by juste buzas

Image by David Lifson
Flickr.com_3418813640_db17f6213e
CC BY-ND 2.0

I was browsing through the cookbook section at my local library’s used book sale when a title caught my eye.  A cookie book.

I pulled it from the shelf.  Instead of a baking book however, it was Joyce Meyer’s book, Eat the Cookie…Buy the Shoes.  I smiled at the misplacement of the book, thinking that a more fitting title for the book’s misfiling could be “Bake the Cookie…Eat it…then, Buy the Shoes.”  I chuckled and turned to find the book’s proper section.

Mid-turn, the Lord spoke to me.  He said, “This isn’t an accident.  Buy the book.” Read the rest of this entry »

His Pride and Joy!

by juste buzas

Image by David Verdugo
Flickr.com_3361579417_6ae151b5ab_ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and the length and height and depth [of it];”  Ephesians 3:17,18

One afternoon, when I was snuggling with my daughter while watching a movie, God overwhelmed me with the power of His love.  He showed me a picture of this love.  Just as my arms enveloped my dear daughter, His arms were wrapped around us.  My daughter and I were so thoroughly encased in the Father’s embrace that we were completely hidden.  We were wholly and entirely sheltered in His adoration and love.

As I sat there on the couch with my daughter, I realized that my love for my children pales miserably against the reflection of God’s eternal love.  This truth did not discourage me.  Rather, it gave me hope.  Life is the process of becoming like God.  And, God is love.  It is in His love, that this process of life is fulfilled.  It is in God’s love that all things…righteousness, justice, peace, and reconciliation become reality. Read the rest of this entry »

The Continual Failure of My Eyes

by Mike McKinniss

6378697639_8d79836f98_z

myopia” by joseph chang under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lately, I’ve been thinking a bit about my future and God’s will. It’s an infection that comes on us all, and its cure in one season does not, sadly, leave us immune from subsequent attacks. It is a perilous disease, which, allowed to run its rampant course, may leave the sufferer paralyzed or worse.

Over the years, many friends and acquaintances have quoted to me Jeremiah 29:11, claiming it gave them comfort and, indeed, confidence in facing their futures. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (NIV).

It’s an encouraging word, to be sure, but I’ve rarely heard anyone offer comfort in the context of the preceding verse: “This is what the LORD says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place'” (Jer. 29:10, NIV).

The long and short: every Israelite living in exile at the time of Jeremiah’s utterance, captives of their archenemy the Babylonians, would be dead before God’s good plans for the people of Israel would come about. There’s no way around it, Jeremiah 29:10 is a gut punch to his people, even if everyone’s favorite life verse—don’t get me started—offers a glimmer of hope.

So it’s all got me thinking about my future. Life has twisted and turned on me in unforeseen directions and left me wondering how that’s affected the years that lay ahead. Am I doing it right? Did I miss something along the way and jeopardize the whole affair? Where will it all lead? And what if I do it all wrong?

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Winding paths vs straight answers

by Wendy

Winding Paths by John Shortland Flickr-com_9062631866_ff25dab5b9

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or wher it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”   John 3:8

 

Frustrated? I was beyond frustrated, pleading with God, crying out, and interceding in every way possible. The spiritual roadblocks still stood like concrete as I smashed into them daily.  Or, worse yet, I watched my friends and loved ones crash nose-first into massive boulders thrown by the enemy.

In my mind I could see the solutions, the barrier-shattering breakthroughs that would set us all free, but I couldn’t reach them.  Nor could I force my way through the frustration. Staring out the car window, I stewed silently, wanting God to pulverize the obstacles and shoot laser-like sunlight into the haze as the residue dissipated.  I could barely articulate the avalanche of feelings.  Instead, my fingernails dug into my palms and tears crept closer to the surface.     Read the rest of this entry »

What To Do in the Face of Tragedy

by Mike McKinniss

 

Forgive me, but I’ve been thinking about tragedy lately.

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 10, a torrential rainstorm dumped several inches of precipitation onto Santa Barbara, CA, in a matter of minutes. Normally, such a violent shower would have done little more than force the shedding of some old palm fronds from their trunks. But this storm came immediately on the heels of California’s largest recorded wildfire, which burned a vast area nearby, including the hills just above the tiny town of Montecito. Denuded of the vegetation upslope, the massive amount of rain in so short a time triggered powerful mudslides, which bulldozed through portions of the village.

Dozens of homes and places of business were destroyed in a moment. At writing, 21 people are counted among the dead and two remain missing in the aftermath.

The torrent of rain and the flash flood is only the beginning of the anguish for people in this seaside community, for a similar torrent of fearful and desperate questions follow. These will likely linger for a long time—probably long after the clean up and reconstruction is completed.

Where was God when this violent storm struck this peaceful community? Where is God now that the event has wreaked its havoc? How could God have allowed such destruction? Could God have not stopped such a tragedy? And what do we do now?

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Life’s Storms

by Carol Nicholls

Image by Gerogie Sharp
Flickr.com_photos/georgiesharp/8198287851_CC BY ND 2.0

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

An SUV is rising several feet into the air landing yards away from where it had been. A tornado is lifting homes off foundations depositing them in tree tops. The effects of powerful storms can be seen almost nightly on television. Sadly, there is an “entertainment” value in watching these events. We all seem to be voyeurs to one degree or another. None of it seems to be real viewed from the living room couch.

Reality sets in when you walk across land recently consumed by a firestorm. The stark spine of a chimney stands where just days ago people cooked dinner, watched TV, mowed the grass. Nothing is left but ashes. Fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, avalanche, mud slides…how many kinds of storms are there?

Natural storms are devastating but the likelihood that they will directly affect us is small. However, life’s storms are even more destructive and most of us will face them multiple times. Read the rest of this entry »

I Hear the Rain

by juste buzas

Image by Ed Merrit
Flickr.com_5458771978_55f71d99a3_ CC BY-ND 2.0

And said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said, ‘Go again seven times.’  And at the seventh time the servant said, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is arising out of the sea.’ (1 Kings 18:43)

Here I am, standing in the desert, under my open umbrella.  I’m waiting for rain.  I know it looks strange, insane even.  I’ve been standing here a long time, and no one seems to get it.  No one understands.  But just listen.  Do you hear it?  Feel it?  No?  Try again.  Listen.  I can hear it.  I hear the rain.  It’s coming.  It’s just upon the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

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