Executing the Play


superbowl 10SuperBowl 47 will be remembered for many things – a 30 minute power outage delay, the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other, an epic comeback attempt by the 49er’s, and a couple of SuperBowl records for longest kickoff return for a touchdown and longest singing of the National Anthem. And today the internet is filled with opinions of how the Ravens were able to hold on to the win and with reasons the 49er’s were unable to finish the comeback on top. But the bottom line is both teams were well coached, had a well thought out gameplan, both came fully prepared to play and both faced the same adversity during the power outage. In most every game, the team who’s players execute the plays and trust in the coaches to know the best play to call in any given situation, end up with the victory. Yesterday it was the Ravens who simply executed the plays relayed to them onfield from the coaching staff better and more consistently than the 49er’s.

superbowl 3God knows and can see the big picture for our life. He is our coach who is there to direct us into His perfect will for our lives. He wants us to experience victory over sin and the things like unforgiveness, bitterness and anger that keep us from experiencing all He has planned for us. He gives us instruction or “sends in a play” to us from the sideline either through His word or through the wisdom and advice of others. He calls in to us the right “play” at the right time so that we may successfully move forward and grow in our faith. We get in trouble when we look at the situation on the field and decide that we know best which play to run so we change the play last minute at the line of scrimmage. Whether He instructs us to make a move in a new direction or to stay put where we are and trust in His timing, it’s our job to execute according to the His play call, not our own. When we fail to follow His lead we find ourselves stuck in circumstances without hope for a way out. Thank God He has an endless playbook and even when we fail, He continues to give us opportunities to follow His gameplan.

I remember a time in my life when I had prayed to be able to quit my job so I could be a stay-at-home mom. I waited on God and followed the path I felt He was leading me on. That path included staying put in my job for 2 more years after I began praying to be home. But when God opened the door for me to quit my job and stay at home, my lack of faith in the moment caused me to change the play He had called, to one according to how I thought things should go. I quit my job but instead of becoming a stay-at-home mom full-time, I decided I should work part-time so that I could continue to bring in income for our family. I didn’t trust God to be our provider and to meet our needs.

superbowl 5Within a month of working as a bank teller part-time, my cash drawer came up over $1000 short. I was given 3 days at home without pay while they investigated to determine where the missing money was. It was in those 3 days that God clearly showed me that He never told me to go to work part-time. He had fully opened the door for me to stay at home, which was my heart’s desire. He was trying to give me what I had asked for but I lacked the faith to receive it. I changed the play based on our financial circumstances I saw with my own eyes instead of trusting Him enough to execute the play as He had called it. I repented and knew when the 3 days were up the bank would call to tell me I was fired for not doing my job and causing my cash drawer to be short. And then I could start being at home full-time which I knew then was God’s plan for me.

To my suprise they called after 3 days and although they had been unable to account for the money, they offered for me to return to work because they believed it was an honest mistake and the money would turn up upon further investigation. God didn’t just shut the door on my mistake, He gave me the opportunity to run the play again and this time to execute it according to His plan. I returned to work and gave my notice thanking the bank for their confidence in me and explaining that I had decided to completely trust in God to provide for our family so that I could be at home with my children full-time.

superbowl 7If you are going through a difficult time, you are faced with a hopeless situation or you have prayed for a change in your circumstances – look to God for direction. And when He calls in a play through His word, through the counsel of other believers or through a gentle whisper to your heart, execute the play exactly as it was called no matter how things appear. Remember, He sees the big picture that we cannot and it’s in the times we choose to trust in Him and the play He’s called for our lives, that He reveals enough of that picture to give us hope to keep going and to grow our faith in Him alone. Stick to God’s gameplan and in His timing you’re guaranteed to receive the victory you seek.

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Is It Live or Is It Memorex?


memorexWith all the recent media attention given to Beyonce’s singing (or not) of the National Anthem at the Presidential Inaugaration I thought it may be a good time to share some thoughts on authenticity. There was a commercial from the early 1970’s – yes I’m dating myself but let’s suffice it to say I was very young and barely remember the commerical ūüôā The commerical was for Memorex tapes which were used for recording purposes. They featured Ella Fitzgerald ¬†singing a note that shattered a glass while being recorded to a Memorex audiotape. The tape was then played back and the recording also broke the glass as the announcer voice¬†asked “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” The point was that the recording was so close to the real thing that you couldn’t tell the difference between the two.¬†People have always been fascinated with the real versus fake stories in which¬†something we thought to be real was revealed a fake¬†– think “Lance Armstrong doping scandal”, “Manti Te’o fake girlfriend”, “runaway bride from Georgia”,¬†and the heartbreaking story of Susan Smith¬†of South Carolina. These stories make for headlines that we just can’t seem to get enough of.

memorex 2I think the fascination comes from our instinctive desire for authenticity. We want people to be real and we want to believe them when they appeal to our emotions in an effort to make us buy into their story. We want a happy ending for them, we cheer on the¬†apparent victim and our hearts ache for¬†those in seemingly impossible situations who display incredible strength and hope. We want desperately for their story to have a¬†positive outcome. And then there’s the letdown – the moment we turn on the news and confirm our doubts and suspicions that it was all a big fake. Dozens of these stories over the years have created a cynicism among us that causes us to question every story and every person as we wonder “are they for real?” Whether a person’s behavior is good or bad, we just want them to be real and authentic. That’s why many celebrities with less than stellar reputations have such a following of supporters. They may behave horribly but in people’s minds “at least they’re being who they really are and not pretending to be something they’re not.”

memorex 4We long for authenticy because it’s part of our design. We were created to seek what is real and what is true. In a perfect world that longing would lead us to Jesus. But for many of us we are drawn to what seems real only to find ourselves fooled by imposters. The enemy of our souls is a master deceiver and he uses his abilities to draw us into believing in something or someone other than Christ. Many times the fakes are packaged so well it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not.

Because we instinctively seek that which is authentic, we can be incredibly scarred when we believe something to be real only to find out it never was. People who are seemingly real wield great power to influence those desperately seeking something or someone who is genuine. Sometimes that is used to bring great harm to those who believe the lie. Jim Jones and David Koresh are just two of many such individuals who took advantage of people who were seeking the truth only to later to be revealed as masters of deception.

The impact that such deception, whether intentional or simply by the succeptibility to failure of the human nature, ranges from mild letdown to devastating hurt. Many have put their trust and faith in a person, a job, an organization, a church or an ideology only to be forever damaged by broken trust and crushed faith when they found that what they believed to have been true and real was not.

memorex 5There is only One in whom we can securely put our trust and faith in. And with great confidence we can believe everything He says to be true because He has never failed, never been anything other than who He says He is. His love for us displayed in the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, is proof that His love is real. For those willing to say they believe, He reveals Himself fully as the Truth. But many find it hard to believe and hard to trust because their previous misplaced trust and faith has brought them great pain in the past. So they respond with disbelief and doubt.

For those of us who call ourselves Christians, we are charged with sharing His truth with those who doubt. And if we are to be successful in influencing them to share in what we already know to be real, we must first be authentic ourselves. People must see Christ through us so that we are not setting them up for letdown. If we are solely depending on our own abilities to influence others we are risking failure and loss of trust. But when they see Christ in us, we cannot fail because He never fails to be anything but authentic.

memorex 6The way we do this is by spending time with God through prayer, reading His Word,¬†and spending time with other believers who seek the same. In doing so we are molded more and more into God’s image and that becomes what is reflected to others when they encounter us in the workplace, in school, in our neighborhoods or in the community. And we must always guard our hearts against the deception and temptation of the enemy. There are many people in the world today seeking something real and we have the opportunity to show them God by being authentic ourselves. We must take our responsibility seriously and refrain from actions and behaviors that would compromise that opportunity for influence.

As humans we were made to seek that which is truth. If you are a believer, make sure you do¬†everything you can to ensure that when they meet you they’ll see the authenticy of Christ in you. Unlike Memorex, being a real good copy will never have the same impact as being 100% real. Make sure when someone asks “are they for real?” the answer is a resounding yes!

I Want Results


I am admittedly a fan of the show¬†The Biggest Loser.¬†One of the things I like best about the show is the unexpected twists and turns that keep you guessing as to what shocking game twist they will come up with each season to keep things interesting. The current¬†season of “No Excuses” is certainly not lacking in unexpected game changers. In a recent episode, two¬†of the contestants were so upset¬†by the decision of the producers to allow all previously eliminated contestants from this season to return and compete for the opportunity to be in the finale that they quit the game altogether. Of the three remaining contestants who chose to stay on the ranch, Jeremy lost the weigh in and was forced to compete with all the eliminated contestants for the final spot in the finale.¬†His situation¬†made him¬†so frustrated that he became completely distracted¬†during his workout and was putting forth very little effort to participate. Dolvett, his trainer, noticed Jeremy’s lack of effort and pulled him aside to ask him what was wrong. Jeremy explained that he was mad and didn’t even feel like trying because he was now in jeopardy of losing the game.

Dolvett’s response was wisdom-filled advice that could apply to all of our lives. He told Jeremy that his problem was that¬†he was in love with the results when he needed to be in love with the work which would lead to the results. He explained that Jeremy was only focused on¬†his desire to¬†get to the finish line. But what he was missing was trust in the process that would get him there. Dolvett encouraged him that if he loved the hard work and the discipline that was required¬†more than his desire for the end result and he put his trust¬†in the process,¬†then he would achieve the result he was after.¬†Refocused, Jeremy worked out harder than he ever had and was able to beat all the other contestants for the spot in the finale.

As Christians we many times become focused on the result (getting to heaven) and miss the process entirely (a relationship with God). I remember when I responded to the message of the gospel and the promise that if I asked Jesus into my heart, believed that He died for my sins and that I was forgiven, that I would spend eternity in heaven. I responded because¬†I wanted to be sure that I would go to heaven when I died and I wanted God to bless me because I believed in Him. But after my initial response to the gospel, I returned to the same way of life I had been living by doing¬†whatever I wanted to do, not what God desired for me to do. I returned to the actions and behaviors that had made me so miserable¬†before and had created so much drama in my life. I returned to the very things that initially drove me¬†to the realization of how desperate I was for a Savior. My problem was that I was in love with the result – I wanted to go to heaven when I died and I wanted God to bless me. But I didn’t want to give up my own desires in order to follow Him and seek His will for my life. I wanted the result without the process.¬†I was unwilling to surrender my life to God in order to be transformed into His image. I wanted Jesus to be my Savior but not my Lord.

Life continued and I kept doing the same old things but¬†expected different results because after all, I was saved now so I thought things would be different.¬†But because of a lack of true repentance and surrender on my part, things were the same as they had always¬†been. Through God’s grace, I ended up attending a church that taught about discipleship and Lordship – two terms I had never heard before. I learned that nothing was every going to change in my life if nothing ever changed.¬†I had to stop trying to run my own life and trust in God to be the Lord of my life. I began to fall in love with the process of¬†building a¬†relationship with my Lord and Savior. I began to trust in His will for my life as I lived in obedience to His word – not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I surrended to God’s will for my life and I began to¬†experience changes. I was re-focused on trusting in the process and not looking only for the results. I began to be more joyful than I had ever been. When¬†everything wasn’t going exactly as I wanted, it no longer consumed me. There was much less drama in my life and¬†I had peace even in the midst of¬†challenges and difficulties. My attitudes and my behaviors changed as I spent more time working on my relationship with Jesus through reading and studying His word and spending time in prayer. I was encouraged and hopeful but no longer condemned. I felt freedom from the hold that sin had on my life and healing for the wounds that had been part of me for so long.

I learned from faithful followers of Christ who¬†gave of their¬†time to disciple me and teach me how to not just believe in God for salvation, but to follow Him as His disciple. I was forever changed because of their willingness to pour into¬†my life.¬†By putting my trust in the process of discipleship and growing in my relationship with God through obedience, I got the results I desired. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I am assured that I will spend eternity with my Lord and Savior. Now that’s what I call achieving the results you’re after.

It’s Gonna Take a Miracle


With March Madness in full swing, several shocking losses by top seeds have many teams feeling the weight of defeat. Long before the final buzzer sounds some teams give up and their body language reveals what they have already decided in their minds. They accept defeat before the game ever ends.

We can easily fall into that same trap in life. We start acting defeated long before it’s “game over”. We look at our situation and cannot see any possibility for a victory. We allow ourselves to believe it’s over and our actions and body language shout defeat. It’s not easy to visualize a positive outcome when you’re surrounded by negativity.

But when we proclaim to believe in God but deny the possibility of victorious outcome in our lives, we are denying the validity of what happened on the cross. We mistakenly believe that it’s impossible for God to fix our situation because it will take a “miracle” to fix it. And real miracles are for people with the most serious problems – like a single mom with cancer, a child with a terminal illness, or victims of disasters waiting for days to be rescued in the aftermath. But miracles don’t have to be reserved for only the extreme situations.

While there are still extraordinary miracles happening all around the world like the blind suddenly being able to see and those who can’t walk standing and taking steps for the first time, there are still¬† remarkable miracles happening each day that we just fail to recognize.¬†The fact that the sun rises every day is a miracle. The birth of a child is a miracle. ¬†I see miracles happening¬†in the lives of people I know all the time.¬†The restoration of broken marriages that don’t stand a chance, the overcoming of anger that can’t seem to be controlled, the receiving of¬†an unexpected financial gift when the gas tank is empty and so is the bank account, forgiveness toward someone by one who could never imagine forgiving the unspeakable things done against them, and healing for wounds of the heart that were thought to be impossible to overcome are all miracles in my sight.

Miracles do happen today – the question is do you believe in miracles? Or are miracles reserved for someone else with a greater need? God does still miraculously heal, it just doesn’t always look like we think it should or how it did in the days when Jesus walked the earth. We’ve become cynical in our day and instead of expecting a miracle we walk around defeated and deflated. But the truth is we are only as defeated as we allow ourselves to believe. When we listen to the whispering lies of the enemy of God, we begin to doubt in our minds¬†and feel the outcome of defeat before it ever happens. But when you are a born again child of God, you are never defeated because the victory has already been won on the cross. Either you trust in the gospel and the power of the cross that you cannot see but is there nonetheless, or you trust in the powerless lies of the devil and what you can see with your own eyes.

In 1980, an unheralded group of college ice hockey players from the United States won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Winter Games. The medal round match on February 22 was of particular interest, as it was played against a heavily favored squad from the Soviet Union in front of an American crowd in Lake Placid, New York who were whipped into a patriotic fervor by the Cold War. Al Michaels’ memorable broadcast of this game, including his interjection‚ÄĒ“Do you believe in miracles? YES!”‚ÄĒas time expired on the 4‚Äď3 U.S. victory, earned the game the media nickname of The Miracle on Ice.

The situation you are in may be in need of a miracle. You can either believe in imminent defeat or you can fight like you believe in the victory that was won on the cross and start expecting your miracle. The question today is “Do you believe in mircles?” My answer is, YES!! I believe.

Line in the Sand


Have you ever had that moment in your life when you just knew in an instant that there was going to be no way around it. You were going to have to take a stand. You just couldn’t sit back and let things go on as they had been. It was time to draw a line in the sand,¬†a line that defined the boundary of that which you were unwilling to cross. And what constitutes that moment is different for each of us. But when you are faced with it – you will undoubtedly know it.

My family has had some “line in the sand” moments recently. One of them came when my youngest son wanted to try out for a part in a play that I was not familiar with. I did my homework and¬†found it was a coming of age story about the lead character’s choice¬†to do something in the moment that would allow him to “fit in” with the popular kids or to make the choice to do the right thing and stand by his not-so-popular friends. He made the choice to do the right thing.¬†I was on the verge of relenting but¬†still wanted to¬†voice my minimal concerns to the director. I fully expected that after¬†we talked my mind would be at ease. But toward¬†the¬†end of the conversation¬†he told me about a particular scene in the play. Ironically, in that instant I went from “pretty sure we’re doing this” to “absolutely not”. We drew a line in the sand we were morally unwilling to cross.

My older son recently watched a video at school on “The Invisible Children”.¬† They only saw a portion of the video but his heart was stirred. Last night the story behind the children and the atrocities that are occurring in Uganda at the hand of Joseph Kony became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Ryan watched the full video and in that instant he knew – it was time to draw a line in the sand. He had to do something. So he launched into action and made plans to be part of the movement to stop Joseph Kony in 2012.

What is it in us that defines such a passionate discontent with something that we’re willing to risk judgement and criticism by others in order to stand up for what we so strongly believe in. What is it that drives us to take action in a moment in time yet we overlook other seemingly important issues and situations? I don’t have the answer. All I know is that each of us has something – some cause, some situation, some decision that will ignite a holy discontent in us when we come face to face with it. For some it may be a monumental world stance against an evil that must be stopped. For others, it’s a choice to not participate in something that goes against our morals and convictions. But whatever it is for you – never be afraid in the moment to draw the line in the sand. That goes for anyone who is faced with the decision to act when the moment occurs for you.

But speaking solely to those who profess Jesus Christ¬†as their Lord and Savior – if you are saved, should it show?¬†Shouldn’t people be able to tell what you believe in by your actions and not just your words? Shouldn’t the lives of others be enriched because you are born again? Living out your faith¬†is going to take a lot of courage and determination. And not to mention a complete reliance on the Holy Spirit. James asks what good is our faith if we only hear (or read) the word but don’t act on it. (James 1:22-25). God’s word is meant to drive us into action. We were created to bear the fruit of what we believe.

With today’s resources such as news outlets and social media networks, we are much more aware and knowledgeable about what goes on in our world. We live in a time in which we are responsible for things we see happening around us.¬†We are accountable¬†for the issues that are¬†within our ability to act upon.¬†We can no longer stick our heads in the sand and pretend like we’re unaware when we are confronted with the issues that call for action.¬†Who needs your voice right now? Who in your family, your community, or the world¬†needs you to¬†rise up¬†into action so that they might have justice. Who needs you to restore hope to their situation?¬†Who needs you to draw a line in the sand?

Destiny Fulfilled


It’s the most basic question people face in life and the reason Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life¬†has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for one of the longest periods in history. ¬†Why am I here? What is my purpose? ¬†Many people spend their entire life chasing after what they believe is their destiny, their purpose. They search for that thing that will bring them a sense of fulfillment. And many end up at the end of their lives looking back with much regret as they think they missed out on the one great job,¬†the one exciting adventure, the once in a life time relationship¬†or the one esteemed calling that would have made their life complete.

Still others believe that they found fulfillment during their lifetime. They do the great things and even the small things that bring them the happiness and satisfaction of a life that¬†did in fact have a purpose. Whether it’s a mother who raised well-rounded, successful children or the doctor whose research led to the cure for a disease, many reach the end of their lives with a¬†sense of accomplishment and achievement.

But while many of them may have fulfilled a great purpose in their life, they may be completely unaware that they may have missed the purpose for which they were created. If asked, they would tell you that they had reached their destiny and accomplished their personal goals for their life. But I am not talking about the destiny measured by the standards of this world. I am talking about the destiny for which they were created. The destiny measured by eternal standards.

The recent death of Whitney Houston has once again revealed that no matter how much money, fame, power or success you achieve, we all deal with the same insecurities, addictions, demons, unhealed hurts and deception, especially¬†us women. But aside from the differences in our lives that are visible on¬†the surface, when it comes to who we are at the very depth of our soul, we are all on a level playing field. Whitney Houston’s tragic death is proof and begs the question “how can someone who seemingly has it all still appear to be so¬†incredibly unhappy?”. The¬†answer is really quite simple. We will never experience complete peace and joy by fulfilling any destiny other than our God-given destiny.

When we allow our identity to be determined by what the world defines as successful, powerful, important and worthy then we will¬†take on¬†a false identity¬†and our purpose in life will never be completely fulfilling. But when our identity is in Christ and we know by Who and for what we were created, then we can truly reach our full potential. We were created to glorify God through our love for Him and our love for others.¬†Created in the¬†very image of God, our creator,¬†we will never find satisfaction in anything other than the fulfillment of that purpose. When we respond to the message of the gospel and¬†Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, our lives are “conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29). It is in this transformation that we are able to glorify God¬†through the way we live¬†our lives. And when we live a Christ-like existance, others will take notice and will be drawn¬†to His goodness, mercy¬†and love. And until you discover that God-given purpose for your own life you, will never fulfill your true¬†destiny.

Each of has a unique set of giftings, talents and skills that drive us to choose the path¬†which our life follows. Sometimes, not by our own choice, our paths take unexpected turns. But we each have different things¬†that will occupy our¬†time here on earth such as a career, family, goals and achievements.¬†It is through these contributions that our lives are intended to glorify our Father and draw those within our circle of influence to Him. Are you spinning your wheels chasing after dreams and a purpose you chose or someone chose for you that¬†only leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled? Have you reached a point where you look back on your life and while you should be feeling¬† fulfillment and satisfaction with all you’ve accomplished,¬†you still feel like something is missing? The reason may be that you are pursuing a purpose¬†but not the God-given purpose you were placed upon this earth for. It’s not too late to realize your true destiny and to begin to chase after the goal which God set before you when He formed you. Your life was meant to glorify the One who created you. And if your purposes are anything less than that, you will never¬†fully experience the internal joy¬†that comes from¬†a destiny fulfilled.

Missed Destiny


In this election year the political rhetoric and attacks are running high, especially among the Republican candidates campaigning in¬†primaries. The most common form of attack I’ve notice in the advertisements and during the debates is when the focus is on the candidate’s past. They dig up every¬†inconsistency in their¬†opponent’s past,¬†every word they misspoke,¬†and every personal mistake they ever made. The attacks on their personal life¬†are the most vicious and cruel but unfortunately seem to carry the most weight among¬†voters.¬†Focusing on a candidate’s past is so widely used among the candidates because it’s proven to be effective in selling short the political future of the one under attack and in many cases causing them to never reach their longterm¬†dream.

Focusing on the past and attacking someone for who they used to be instead of who they are now is as old as time – it’s creator is the devil himself. His most effective method of attack is to keep us focused on our past so we’ll¬†fail to move forward toward our destiny in Christ. When we are preoccupied with looking back to¬†events and people who have caused us pain, hurt or anger then we cannot look¬†forward to see what our future holds. We become blinded to the promises of our future by the obstacles of our past. When we become¬†obsessed with the past in the form of unforgiveness, guilt, hatred or consuming sorrow, we¬†miss the opportunity to be set free from that which keeps us held captive to the past. And when we fail to move forward in these areas we¬†become¬†an easy target for spiritual attack.¬†The enemy will begin to constantly remind us of who we were in our past in order to ensure we keep looking back instead of keeping our¬†focus forward on God. Staying focused on the past is the single most common cause of people missing¬†their destiny in Christ.¬†¬†

But God’s plan is to keep us moving forward toward the destiny He has called us into. And Jesus is the key to our being released from our past and being able to move forward. He is the key that sets us¬†free from the weight of our past that holds us¬†back.¬†Many try in their own strength to break free from their past but find the chains that hold them there are too strong. And each time they start to make forward progress the devil is right there to¬†remind them of their failures and shortcomings. ¬†He uses doubt, insecurity, unforgiveness, guilt and even hurtful reminders from others to keep us looking back and focused on our past. But when you reach the point that you realize you are powerless to break free from your past on your own and you surrender your life and your past to Jesus, He can give you the power you need through His Holy Spirit to have the strength to forgive and to begin to heal from the hurts of your past. Then you can begin to move forward into the destiny you’re called to. You no longer have to fight the distractions of your past. And you have freedom from the chains that have kept you bound. It’s time to stop looking back and focus on your future in Christ. You have a destiny awaiting your arrival.

20 Seconds of Insane Courage


Over the Christmas holiday my family and I went to see “We Bought a Zoo”. This was a great movie for our family and we really enjoyed it. But there was one line in the movie that I could not stop thinking about. The father, played by Matt Damon, was talking to his son and told him “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.” His family had been looking for a home and had found the perfect one. The only problem was that the house came with a zoo and he knew nothing about running a zoo. But in a moment of insane courage he decided that he and his family would purchase the house with the zoo and would figure it out as they went along.

I thought about how there are lots of things you can do in 20 seconds that takes insane courage. And many of them will reap huge benefits if you are willing to do something you never thought you would be able to do.

I thought about how I was not really that type of person. I’ve never done anything that really took insane courage. I’ve done plenty of things that required insane stupidity on my part but nothing that I could think of that would qualify as courageous.

Then God so lovingly revealed something to me. I had done something. Many years ago an amazing teacher of mine shared her faith and what God had done in her life. She shared that she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She said that He chose to die on the cross for all of our sins so that we could be forgiven and could spend eternity in Heaven. She said that if we wanted to accept His forgiveness and to spend eternity with Him all we had to do was believe in our hearts that what she was sharing was true then raise our hands and pray a prayer asking for that forgiveness.

I was a 7th grader at the time and what my peers thought of me was crucial to my existance. I was insecure and didn’t¬†want to be¬†made fun of. I was terrified. But there was something in me that desperately wanted to experience the love and acceptance she spoke of. I wanted to be forgiven of all the wrong things I had done and choices I had made. I wanted to have the assurance that I would spend eternity in heaven with the One who loved me completely. I was so afraid of the consequences but in those 20 seconds of insane courage that it would take me to raise my hand I knew¬†something great would come of it so I did it. I raised my hand and boldly chose to say “I believe”.

My life has not been perfect since that 20 seconds of insane courage. I’ve certainly had my share of ups and downs. But what happened in that moment to a scared middle-schooler forever changed my life. There has never been a moment of regret in that choice. It took courage. It took making the choice that I didn’t care what other people thought – I wanted everything that teacher told me the bible promised. I wanted to experience that kind of love and peace and joy. I wanted to change and not be the person I had become anymore. And 32 years later I still want Jesus more than anything else. It’s a choice every day that I make to¬†follow Him and not follow my own selfish ways. But there is nothing this world can offer that will ever compare to the love of Jesus.

If you’re like I was as a scared 7th grader and you’ve heard the gospel that promises forgiveness, eternal salvation and a new life in Christ but you’re afraid of the consequences to responding, know that there is no other 20 seconds of courage decision you can make that will impact your life more than choosing to follow Jesus and make Him the Lord and Savior of your life. And the best part about it is you don’t have to step out in that decision alone. He will be right there beside you every step of the way. (Joshua 1:9). You’ve got nothing to lose and I promise you, something great will come of it.

So That’s What a Meteor Shower Looks Like


In the very, very early morning hours on Wednesday my two sons and I went outside to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower. Because there was no school the next day it was the perfect time to stay up and view our first one. I didn’t know a whole lot about meteor showers but I guess I expected that the word “shower” meant they would be coming down like rain and would be very visible. The peak time to see them was 1:30 am so we bundled up and headed out to stare into the northeast sky because according to space.com that was the direction to be looking. We looked to the northeast from the back of the house. Then we looked from the front of the house. We rechecked our compass. We looked in different directions. Nothing. We checked social networks to see if anyone was talking about it. Nobody was saying anything except “I don’t see anything”. We looked some more. Nothing.

So we decided to go inside. It was cold and there was nothing to see. Maybe next time. We turned away from the northeast sky and headed inside. When we were almost to the door I turned to look back one more time. Then I saw it. I saw a shooting star streak across the sky. I almost screamed, “Oh my gosh! Did you see it?!” My youngest son exuberantly said “Yes!! I saw it”.

We stopped in our tracks and stood staring at the sky for 45 more minutes. We didn’t say a word except when one of us would see one we would ask if the others had seen it too. It was beautiful and peaceful. We forgot we were cold. We forgot our necks were hurting from staring up in the same position for so long. We forgot how long we were out there. We just wanted to see another one.

It’s like that when we’re waiting on God to “fix” our situation. We pray. We get an idea in our mind what His answer to our prayer will look like. We wait as we look for His anwer. But the waiting is uncomfortable. We decide it’s not worth it and we give up. It’s too hard to wait.

If we give up before He answers in His perfect timing we may just miss something spectacular. But if we will just wait it out a little bit longer and keep our focus upward we might just get a glimpse of what we’ve been waiting for. It could be so subtle we may miss it if we don’t stay focused. It may not look like we expected it to. If we don’t allow others into our lives, those who we can count on to say “there it is – that’s what you’ve been waiting for, did you see it!?” we may miss it.

But if we’ll wait and keep our focus on Jesus, He will give us a glimpse. We don’t always get all the answers at once like we may have expected. But we get enough to make us want more. We get enough to make the continued waiting worthwhile. We just have to hang on for that first glimpse.

In the cold, quiet morning I thought about how I almost missed it. I told God “thank you”. I thanked Him that I didn’t miss it and that He gave us just a glimpse. A glimpse that made us hungry for more. I thanked Him for the beautiful show He put on for us. I thanked Him that I got to share that moment with the ones I love. I thanked Him that He loves us so much that He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I thanked Him for just enough to keep hanging on.

Follow Your Heart


The latest news to consume the media world is the announcement by Kim Kardashian that she is seeking a divorce after her short 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries. In her own words she said “it just didn’t turn out to be the fairy tale I had so badly¬†hoped for”. I often¬†see marriages in crisis. I live near a military post and many of my friends and the people I know are active duty. Marriage is not easy even under the best circumstances but when one of the spouses is deployed to a war zone for a year and the other spouse is left behind to run the household and raise the children without their soldier by their side, even the¬†strongest marriages are strained. When I see couples fighting to keep their marriages together because they believe so much in the institute of marriage and the vows to which they’ve commited I am encouraged and my faith is built stronger. But when Kim Kardashian says “But I do know that I have to follow my heart” and ends her marriage after just 72 days I am angry. I’m angry that she is making a mockery of her marriage vows. I’m angry that she says she has to follow her heart because I want to know what she was following just 72 days earlier when she vowed to love and cherish¬†Kris Humphries¬†in good times and bad. I’m angry because there are¬†countless women¬†who watched her fairy tale wedding on TV and who want so badly to be like her and that now think it’s ok just to give up on a sacred vow made before God just because it wasn’t the fairy tale they thought it would be. I’m angry because there were millions of dollars spent on a wedding yet there is not enough government funding to provide adequate marriage counseling for those who sacrifice for our country and for education on how to divorce-proof a military marriage. I’m angry because every day I’m telling women “hang in there, don’t give up” and Kim Kardashian is telling women “I had hoped this marriage was forever, but sometimes things don‚Äôt work out as planned”. The whole problem with “following your heart” is your heart cannot be trusted. Our heart is where our feelings are and our feelings change based on our circumstances. When the circumstances are good, we are happy. When they change and things start to get bad, we are unhappy. If we make major life decisions based on how we “feel” at the moment we may make a huge mistake that affects not only ourselves but others as well. There may be children involved who will be forever affected by a choice we make based on how we felt at the moment we made that decision.¬†If given time and opportunity, our circumstances many times can and will change which means our feelings can and will change. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel at the moment and whatever you do, do not¬†put all your trust in your heart. The only place to put your trust is¬†in¬†Jesus Christ. He is unchanging because He is not affected by circumstances. Unlike our feelings that blow about with the winds of change, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It is time to put your trust where it won’t be affected by ever-changing circumstances. Put your trust in and follow Him.