To the Penny

1977 - Pete Holzmann Engr corner StanfordPete and I were chatting with a friend, sharing stories about how we’d learned to trust God. So often we’re focused on what’s happening now that we forget to look back at the many years of God’s faithfulness and direction. As Pete related one major lesson he’d learned many years ago, explaining how it laid the foundation for so much of the ministry he had now, I realized that it’s a story worth sharing. I didn’t know Pete when this happened—I met him a month later—but it’s had a huge impact on my life. Maybe God will use it in your life, too. Continue reading

“No, no, no!”

Everett-WA_LAH_2624Imagine singing the ABC song. You know how it goes: “No, no, no, no, no, no, NO! … A, B, B, C, no, no, No!” It was early morning and our granddaughter was awake, happily singing in her room. So she changed the words a bit. Can you tell that she’s almost two?

In spite of her choice of lyrics, our sweetie really isn’t that big on the “N” word. Most kids that age are just discovering the power of “NO!” and they use it liberally. If we start singing “Yes, yes, yes” to her, she’ll sing along just as cheerfully.

She does have her moments, however. “Do you want the pink shirt or the purple shirt?” “NO!” “You must be hungry—do you want a banana?” “NO!” (while eagerly making the sign for “banana” and grabbing her bib). And of course, there’s the biggie, “It’s time for your nap, Sweetie.” “NO!!!!”

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Following the Instructions

Have you ever suddenly noticed that God is telling you something, and no matter where you turn, you can’t avoid the message? You could open the Bible to any passage, turn on the radio, have a conversation with a friend, read a book—and they’re all on the same theme.

In the past, this happened when I was doing something contrary to God’s will. In other words, I was sinning. I could try to shut out my conscience, but God was truly the Hound of Heaven, pursuing me relentlessly until I finally gave up and repented. Every sermon, every devotional, even totally secular activities such as reading a news magazine or watching TV were a reminder that God wanted not just my obedience, but me.

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Loving God

I felt like a failure. All around me, people were praying, weeping, wailing—overcome with love for God. I sat like a stone. Sure, I wanted to love God. I tried to love God. But never in my almost 40 years of being a believer have I ever felt the overwhelming emotion of those surrounding me at the prayer conference I was attending. Dry eyes, dry thoughts—there must be something wrong with my faith.

After all, I usually feel quite emotional when my thoughts turn to my husband. Sure, we have our moments, but overall I’m even more in love with him now, after 30+ years of marriage, than I was the day we said our vows. Why couldn’t I summon those same emotions for God?

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Loving God

In my last post I talked about God’s Christmas wish list, and how our love for him is top priority. Here are some more ways to love God.

Trust and Obey
Another gift God appreciates is our faith. Do we trust Him? My friend Cynthia, who writes an excellent blog about prayer, recently wrote about something God told her:

When I meet you the way you ask Me to, you are blessed. You receive My grace-gifts, and you feel blessed. But when I don’t meet you the way you hoped yet you continue to trust Me anyhow—then you bless Me. You give Me your trust-gift, and I feel blessed.

Giving God our trust totally makes his day. So does our obedience. Obeying God tells him that we love him. Consider John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'”

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Life Is Still Fatal

I usually post something original, witty, engaging, and perhaps insightful on my blog. However, I happen to be in Washington visiting our granddaughter and her parents, and I have my priorities.

Therefore, instead of taking the (considerable) time to write something new, I’m re-posting one of my favorite articles. It originally appeared April 6, 2010. Perhaps you haven’t seen it. I hope you find it witty, engaging, and insightful, if not quite as original as it was the first time around.

Then I’m going to go hold a baby. Blogs can wait. Babies can’t.

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Permission to Say “No”

Most of us know to say no when someone asks us to do something wrong. But sometimes you have to say no to something good in order to be available when God calls on you. Pete’s friend (we’ll call him “Steve”) discovered just how important saying no can be.

Given the state of the economy, it was no surprise when Steve was laid off from his high tech job a couple of years ago. While disappointed to find himself without an income, he wasn’t overly worried. He had salted away some savings, and figured he’d find another position before too long. After all, he had excellent technical skills, and plenty of experience in his field.

However, Steve was in for a surprise. When he started praying about his job search, God clearly told him, “Don’t look for a job. I’ll bring your next job to you.” That sure ran against the advice everyone else was giving him. How could he just sit around and wait for God to do all the work? Still, he was obedient, and did not send out his resume or fill out applications. And the months passed.

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Self Control

In my on-again, off-again series on God’s “Steps to Success” (found in 2 Peter 1:3, 5-8), I’ve been meaning to write about self control for some time, but I never knew quite how to approach the topic. Yes, in Peter’s list, “self-control” comes after knowledge—first we need to know the right thing to do, and then we need to follow through and actually do it! But how does this affect my day-to-day life?

Then last month something happened that turned this from an intellectual exercise into a personal issue.

Though Pete was out of town, I still planned to attend a special Christian concert about twenty minutes away. To get there, I had to pass through a rural area with no street lights. Since my night vision is less than optimal, I arranged a ride with another couple.

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