Holy, Holy, Holy

Currently I’m reading the book, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. I’m only in the first chapter so far, but must say that I’m already in love with the book. I actually had to read the preface twice – that must be the mark of a good book. Anyway, last night I read something that I really enjoyed. Here’s a snippit:

“God is holy. A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere. But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred pound sumo wrestler and in another a s a five-foot-two, ninety-pound gymnast. No matter how sincere you are in your explanations, both descriptions of your friend simply cannot be true.
The preposterous part about our doing this to God is that He already has a name, an identity. We don’t get to decide who God is. God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am’. We don’t change that.
To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. And because of His set apart-ness, there is no way we can ever fathom all of who He is. To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrated its perfection, so to call God ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what it means to be ‘holy’.”

I LOVE the sumo-wrestling friend analogy. We don’t get to decide who God is. He already is. We can learn who He is to a certain degree. And despite my seemingly constant state of confusion about what He’s going to do next, I am grateful that I will never fully understand God. If God were able to be fully understood, what kind of God would that be? I enjoy the big-ness of God – the fact that His ways are not my ways. But that He is bigger than I know, more powerful than I could dream of, He is beyond my wildest imaginations – that’s the God I love!
I’m reminded of an old children’s song at this moment. I know it’s a little silly – but there is so much truth in the words of the song. Come on, sing it with me now:
“My God is so BIG!, so strong and so mighty – there’s nothing my God cannot do! ”

I’m believing God’s BIG-ness today!

I Surrender All

I read something tonight in “My Utmost for His Highest” that I loved how it was written. Oswald Chambers has such a way with words! Here’s the part I loved the most of all:

“If I obey Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.”

My pastor talked this morning (we’re learning about Jonah) about how our obedience (or rather lack of) not only affects us, but also those around us. I am humbled by the idea that my life is such a small part of the big picture. My sister has been saying recently that my life is just a tiny part on a canvas that is bigger than I can see or imagine (I’m pretty sure I quoted that wrong – but you get the idea).

I’m overwhelmed today with how small I am and how large He is. But yet also how important it is that I live daily and in every circumstance in complete surrender and in total obedience to Him.

The empty parts of me

I’m in the middle of Beth Moore’s “Living Free” Bible study, which I’m doing along with a handful of other ladies. I needed to flesh out a little of what I’ve been pondering this week.

One of the things Beth said is this:

“The mystery I will never fully understand is why we would trade God, the only source of genuine satisfaction, for worthless idols that can never satisfy. Yet that transaction calls to you and to me every day of our lives.”

I loved this statement. I agree with it. I, too, am a little confused by the truth in it.

It makes me think of what Paul said in Romans 7:15:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (ESV)

I am a little encouraged that I am not alone in this. It amazes me how I continue to seek out satisfaction in things – in people, relationships, attention of others, food, and so many other things – that I already know won’t give me what I want or need.

I’ve had moments where I knew God was trying to teach me to depend solely on Him – that there isn’t anything else (or anyone else) that can fill my soul. I remember one of those moments came when Elisa was a baby. She was about 5 or 6 months old – and Ricky had very recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. I was trying to stop depending on my relationship with my husband to satisfy my soul, because I had no idea whether or not he’d still be here in a year – and I didn’t want to be left entirely devastated. So, then, without even realizing it – I turned to my perfect little baby to fill the empty spaces in me. I would stay awake at night and watch her sleep because I was afraid that if I left her side for a moment that she would stop breathing and my whole world would come apart. She became everything to me – to the exclusion of the One I really needed.

One night, when I was watching Elisa sleep – I began to cry. I was so terrified of losing my husband and daughter that the fear was beginning to consume me. I was beginning to have a hard time functioning normally. I had become crazy overprotective, and was beginning to hate that part of me. I pulled out my Bible and began to read. I started to read through the Psalms and found so many verses that talk about finding my satisfaction in God alone, He alone is God, God alone is my rock and my salvation, and so many more. I was overwhelmed with the understanding that God wanted me to look only to Him to satisfy me. That night I surrendered my husband and my Elisa to Him. I came to understand that God could take them away from me in a split second if He thought it was best and there would be nothing I could do about it. I had to come to grips with the fact that they are not mine at all, but God’s – and they will never satisfy the empty parts of me. Only God can do that.

I will never forget that night – I will never forget that moment of surrender. It’s been almost 8 years since that night – but I still have to surrender them to God on a regular basis – sometimes even daily. How quickly we return to our old ways. I am so grateful that I know a God who so often and so freely gives grace to those who seek Him.

Jesus, thank You for Your grace today. For Your desire and ability to fill me up in all of my empty places. I pray that today I will look only to You to sustain me. That You alone will be my desire.

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desies of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD,
let every creature praise His Holy Name forever and ever!”

(Psalm 145:16-21)

My favorite quote

If you’ve known me for very long, you’ve probably heard my favorite quote. I actually have two. One is “The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.” which goes along with my life verse “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” – Isaiah 7:9

The quote I’m talking about, though is this one…

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” I first heard it over 10 years ago in high school drill team. It dramatically changed my life. I have probably quoted it over a hundred times since then – at least. I also about 5 years ago fell in love with Charles Swindoll – his book “The Grace Awakening” especially. I consider him to have had a huge impact on my walk with Christ. I LOVE that the man who has had the most impact on my spiritual walk is responsible for the quote that has had the most significant impact on my character.

I don’t know why I never looked it up to see who wrote it – but I am so glad I now know. Here is the whole quote:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.

It is more important than the past, than education,
than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes,
than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.
It will make or break a company … a church … a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day
regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past.
We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude …
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.

~ Charles Swindoll

Thanks to Rachel Rowell for the information – it made my day (maybe even my week)

Excellence honors God

I read a quote today that I had never heard before:

” No crooked table legs or ill-fitted drawers, I daresay, ever came out of the Carpenter’s shop in Nazareth.” – Dorothy Sayers

I am quite moved by this quote. I have always believed that excellence honors God – that we should always give our very best in all that we do in order to really bring Him glory. That when we are unprepared or unpracticed we miss the point. I feel this way with music in regards to worship. I, personally, have a difficult time worshipping onstage when I feel unprepared. I find myself concentrating more on the notes and chords than on the One I’m singing/playing about. I hate that. This quote is pretty significant to me – I can’t imagine that Jesus ever sold something that wasn’t His very best work. I can imagine that He worked long and hard to make sure that everything was “perfect”. I had never thought of that before. I pray that it occupies my thoughts today so that I will give everything I have to the work God has for me today. I pray it also for you.

One thing He has spoken, two things have I heard…

Isn’t it amazing how when you’re spending time in His word – you often don’t want to leave it. I think that’s why it’s so important to memorize scripture – so that it’s “hidden in your heart” & you never have to leave it – or better yet it never leaves you. I truly, truly enjoyed the scripture I read today. I read Job 14 & 15, Psalm 62 & Hebrews 18. I like going through the bible in a year plan b/c I love reading the old and new testaments together – and especially love reading a psalm or two a day.

In Psalm 62 – here is part of what I read & after that is what stood out to me about it…

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (v 1-2)


“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (v8)

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” (v11-12)

The last part is my favorite. You, O God, are strong & You, O Lord, are loving. What a perfect combination. What if He was strong, but not loving? Think about it. What if He was loving, but not strong? It amazes me how perfectly true that statement is. I am going to praise Him today because He is both strong AND loving. He is able to accomplish any task, to handle any situation, to take care of anything I need – and He loves me enough to do all of that. He will work everything out for good. He is able to do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine – and I can trust that He will. Praise God!

The Importance of Journaling

I pulled out my old journals last night. Before I get started in what I want to tell you I need to make sure you understand what a journal is to me. It is more of a prayer journal than anything else. It’s a record of my walk with God and journey through life – acknowledging where God is, what He’s doing and what it has to do with me.

The first one I looked at I had actually started a few days before I met Ricky (my husband). It was so interesting to see what I had been learning and thinking during that time and how much it spoke to my situation. I then read through the journal that I kept during the time that I was pregnant with my daughter. Then the one that I started right after she was born. Good stuff. Emotional stuff.

The one that I most enjoyed, though was the one that I kept during the time that my husband was diagnosed with leukemia. He has been in remission now for 5 years, so no need to be concerned. I am only sharing this because I noticed something in that journal that was different from the other journals. In that journal, I wrote every day. Sometimes multiple times per day. I wrote longer entries than in the other journals and I acknowledged and praised God more often. I noticed that during that incredibly difficult and depressing time – I noticed God more often than during the wonderful times in my life (meeting the love of my life – and preparing for the birth of our daughter). I knew God better during that time – obviously because I talked to Him more often. I made time for God because He was the only stable, solid and good thing in my life at that point.

This is the stuff that James was talking about in James 1 – (consider it pure joy whenever you face trials). It is during these trials that we find out more about God than the surface level stuff. We get to experience for ourselves the love of the Father – the comfort and the strength that He gives. That’s why journaling is so important. Last night I was taken back to that time – through my own eyes. I remembered the emptiness I felt and the way God filled it with His love. It was like reliving the experience – but most of what I wrote focused on God – and not on me. It was like drawing closer to Him all over again.

Journaling is important – it helps us to remember the ways God has provided – it helps us to not make the same mistakes we did back then – to look forward and to be different – to be better.

Go find a journal and get started – I’ll do the same.