Sunday, February 24, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: You - Are - A - Target

February 24, 2019

You - Are - A - Target

A number of years ago, I watched as a friend went from one crisis catastrophe after another.  It seemed as if she could barely catch her breath from one before another slammed into her.  And these weren't small hiccup attacks in her life....they were massive tsunami attacks.  Through it all, she kept her head up, a smile on her face and said the following to me:

"Christianity is a battle, Liz, not a dream."
Wendell Phillips

And boy-howdy was she right!  

Before God and I started getting to know each other (ok, He already knew ME, I just didn't know HIM), my life was EASY.  There were very few issues...struggles were scarce and life was one big beautiful trip to Disneyland.  The hardest decision I had was where to go for dinner that evening.  

But then the attacks started coming my way.  It seemed the more I got to know God, the stronger the attacks got to know me.  And I remember hearing these words:

"If you are a Christian, you are the target of Satan, the enemy of our souls.  It is his aim to lure you off the path of strength, life, and authority and onto a course of destruction."  

Satan - Has - Your - Name - In - His - Crosshairs  

The side we choose to be on in this battle for our souls is what we have to ask ourselves.  There is no neutral territory you can stand on and be safe.  You have to pick a side.  But just remember; God chose YOU before He even created the earth.  He whispered your name while in your mother's womb as He was busy knitting you into the person you are.  He always had a mighty plan for your life.

Choose your battle side carefully....and remember; He promised He would win this battle.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: Don't Quit In The Pit

There is this invisible hole we all long to climb into when times get tough.  When flood waters come, when cancer knocks on the door, and when death happens while we sleep.   We get our shovels out and we dig.....we dig until the Pit is big enough to crawl into and we can no longer be seen.  We sit with our knees curled up to our chests as we rock back and forth, in perfect sync with our pain.  

If you haven't taken that shovel off the wall of your garage yet and started digging, you will someday.  
It's not a matter of will you....its a matter of when will you.

I sat out next to a fireless-firepit this past Saturday with my dear friends Jack and Marlane as my realtor showed the house to a potential buyer.  It was cold, misting rain and my coffee had moved from hot to cold in an instant.  We talked about the Pit....the Pit that swallows us up during times of crisis and heartache and how, when life comes crashing down all around you and nothing looks familiar anymore, the Pit is the only place you long to be.  You want to be alone with your sorrow....feel the comfort and proximity of the walls around you and feel the familiarity of your knees wrapped tightly in your arms.  It's a place of comfort....for awhile.

Right after Chuck passed away, I picked up the shovel to start digging my Pit.  I wanted to be in that Pit almost as bad as I wanted to sit and eat an entire Becky-Arterbury-Buttermilk-Pie alone.  But.....I couldn't.  Every time I'd pick up that metaphoric shovel, someone would come up and say, "Come on, you need to go to coffee"....."Let's go to The Stand"...."Keep Moving...Keep Breathing...Keep out of the stinkin' Pit, Liz."   And before long, the Pit lost its appeal.

And in the words of my friend Jack, when we look up from that dark quiet Pit of despair, we see a pinhole of Light.  We see a roll-down ladder heading straight towards us...and no matter how deep your Pit might be, it is not too deep for God to reach you....and rescue you.  

"There is beauty in your despair.
You just need to know where to look."

Sunday, February 10, 2019


"All throughout Scripture, following Jesus isn't something you can do at night where no one notices.  
It's a 24-hour a day commitment that WILL interfere with your life.  
That's not the small-print; that's a guarantee."  
Kyle Idleman, "Not A Fan"

Once a year, my sister, Debbie and I reread a book titled "Not A Fan".  

"Not A Fan" asks the question, "Are you a Fan or Follower........of God?"  Do you KNOW God or do you just know OFGod?  Huge difference, friends.  We may know all the Fun Facts about Bible able to quote scripture and say the 23rd Psalm perfectly, but do you truly KNOW God like you know your spouse, or child or parent? 

When I was 14, Elton John was my hero.  Once, a girlfriend from my school called into the local radio station, KVIL, and won an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to hear Elton John in concert.  She had back-stage passes, she had front row seats and she even got to meet Elton John in person.  I was so envious of her and quietly thought, "That should have been me...I know Elton John better than anyone!".

But what I actually knew of Elton John was he was born on March 25, 1947; he was 5'8" and his real name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight.  And even though I knew the lyrics of every song he ever sang, I didn't actually KNOWElton John personally.  I knew OF Elton John.  I was his biggest Fan.

I have found in my life that, so often, I would treat God like Elton John.  I would claim to know everything about Him....ramble off the facts and figures...the parables and the prayers...without actually KNOWING Him; i.e., having a Father-Daughter relationship with Him.  He was more of an acquaintance, less of a relative.  Many have made a decision to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him.  

Remember; even the enemy believes in Jesus.

Truth is, God isn't interested in having you as His Fan.  He wants you as His Follower. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

GROWING SEEDS: Hidden Blessings

A few weeks ago, two decent looking guys drove down my road, pulled into my neighbor's driveway and started checking out a large pine tree between our two houses.  They made their way over to me, shook my hand, pointed to the 70' pine tree and said, "That tree REALLY needs to come down, ma'am.  We'll be happy to take it down for you."  I was immediately skeptical.  Yes, that tree had been hit by lightning TWICE years before, but it still had new growth and looked fairly healthy from my vantage point.  They asked me to walk over with them and look at my neighbor's side of this tree...and it was only then that I saw the frailty of the tree.  If it were to fall, it would fall straight on my neighbor's house.

Since the tree appeared to be more on my property than my neighbors (wouldn't you know it), they gave me a price to cut it down.  I said I'd call them when I was ready.  Fast forward...three weeks went by and every time the wind kicked up, I thought about that dang tree.  I knew the damage would be substantial to the neighbor's house if it were to fall, and I knew I needed to do this sooner rather than later.

So I called these decent looking guys and gave the go-ahead.  The next day, a freezing Wednesday morning, they stood next to that dying tree, placed their hands on its rough bark, looked straight up into the heavens, and prayed.  Yes....they PRAYED over my 70' pine tree.  They prayed protection for themselves...they prayed the Lord's guidance on where the limbs fell...they even thanked Him for bringing them down the road to ME.  They never knew I was watching as I grabbed my cell and took pictures of their amazing witness to me.

I realized at that moment, that our vantage point doesn't always show the true picture of our story.  I thought the tree was fine from my side of it, but it was diseased from the unseen side.  I thought these were just two guys trying to make a buck removing a tree, but they were actually messengers sent by God to protect and help me.   

And I uncovered that sometimes... what appears to be invisible to actually God's hand in disguise. 
There are hidden blessings in every story.