Words of life

2016 was a crazy year. I worked and lived in three different states. I had a bit of breakdown near the end. All of the changes suddenly caught up to me, and I was starting to hate where I was. I couldn’t even look out my window. And the crazy thing is, we have an amazing view. A view so grand, our apartment charges us extra for it. Adobe Spark(21)

But it’s true. I couldn’t look. Not only that, I could hardly eat. Everything sounded and tasted gross. All I wanted at the end of the day was to go to bed so I could close my eyes. And I’ve never experienced such feelings in my whole life.

One afternoon, I started to completely unravel. I grabbed my Bible and clutched it to my chest and read out loud, through tears, Psalm 23. I read it and read it, but didn’t feel any different. I was confused and devastated. Why wasn’t it working? Why wasn’t I better? Continue reading

Reflection: Acts, week 13

When I was in high school, we had at least one foreign exchange student each year. Typically, people were very excited and eager to get to know them. Every once in a while, if they looked/seemed “really” different, people would shy away from them until they got to know them (sometimes “getting to know them” meant watching others interact with them).

Do you know what it’s like to be the different one?

I do, at least a little. I was the exchange student a few times, and I can remember sitting in class and the teacher saying something to me… Even though I knew the language, I wasn’t as fluent as everyone else, and the way they spoke made it hard to pick up on what was being said. I didn’t know what she said, but I tried to reply anyway. Everyone laughed. I was so embarrassed. I don’t think they were making fun of me, but my answer had to be funny considering I wasn’t sure what was said to begin with.Adobe Spark(17)

I remember appreciating those who made a point to welcome me and sort of take care of me while I was on my adventures. When things were difficult, I felt encouraged. They would remind me everything was going to be ok, give me a hug or pat on the back.

It’s easy to pass judgment on people. I think we all do it in some ways. Without knowing them, it’s easy to find something about what they’re wearing or doing that forms an opinion in our minds. Not all of our opinions are necessarily bad. I’ve found myself thinking, wow, they must be wealthy or she just looks like she’d be niceContinue reading

Reflection: Acts, week 12

You’re out of your mind.

That’s what the people inside the house said to the housekeeper when she alerted them Peter was at the door. Peter had been in jail surrounded by several guards when an angel came and told him to get up. His chains fell off and he left unscathed.

The church had been praying earnestly to God for Peter. Earnestly. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says the word earnest proceeds from an “intense and serious state of mind.” In other words, they weren’t praying lightly or casually. They were serious. And yet when Peter showed up at the door, they didn’t believe it.

As Warren asked us yesterday… What do we expect? When we come before the God of the universe, what do we expect?

I was thinking about that. I think some of us may be under the impression miracles are few and far between. They happened back then, but for us in 2017, they just don’t anymore. Or we come before God feeling insecure. We feel unworthy. Why would God want to do this for me? Sometimes when we’re praying, it’s like our hearts and minds are already made up. It’s hopeless. It’s over.

In Hebrews, it says to come boldly before the throne. Boldly. Courageously. It doesn’t say come timidly or fearfully. I once heard someone say they felt God was urging them to ask for bigger things. To expect more. As Warren mentioned, this doesn’t mean we should pray to win the lottery and expect it to happen. Or ask for a Ferrari and expect it to appear in our driveway. But it does mean we should be bold when we pray. After all, He is the God of the impossible. What’s impossible for us as humans is never impossible for God. He’s unstoppable. He’s the ruler of all.Adobe Spark(14)

On the flip-side of praying for something we consider highly important or pressing, I believe we should also pray and talk to God about the simple things. It may seem strange, but God cares about every aspect of our lives. He loves us. He wants to know us. For example, if I’m feeling under the weather and there’s something I need to get done, I ask God to help me. It took a little getting used to, and it felt even a little silly at times, but now I can’t imagine not doing those things.

So what is it you’d like to pray earnestly for? And what are you expecting? God doesn’t always say yes to everything, but he always answers.

Have you ever found yourself praying and you don’t notice any changes? I’ve been in that situation. It can be easy to get discouraged. As I’m starting to learn, those things all help grow our faith. We have to hold on even when it’s hard. We have to live by faith and not by sight.

If you didn’t hear Warren’s message yesterday, I’d encourage you to take a listen. The personal story he shared at the end was incredible. What a great testament to God’s faithfulness and how he develops us through difficult situations.

What Warren shared with you all inspired me to share something as well. And I tell you this because what happened to that young boy was a miracle. And what happened to me is a miracle as well. I want you to know miracles do happen! They absolutely do. I think there are more out there than we even know about. People might keep their stories to themselves because they worry others may respond the same way those inside the house did when Peter showed up. Don’t be afraid. We need to hear more of those amazing things. Continue reading