Who Turned On The Rain?

And away we go…as we walk, the clouds gather up and it begins to rain. Well, isn’t that a fine”howdy-do” on the first day of our trip!

We figured that when this trip began the sun would be shining to beat the band, shining so brightly that we’d need to dig sunglasses out of the backpacks. Instead we have to reach for an umbrella! My, my – what a beginning to this trip.

Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect. In your mind you see certain things happening in a certain way. Then when the moment arrives for that thing to happen, circumstances take the opposite route.

Could it be that God is wanting to see if you would rather see Him than the circumstance? If things are not as you think they should be, do you get rattled and obstinate? Are you ready to pack it in for today and wait to go out with Jesus when the sun is shining brightly and the birds are singing? “Well,” you say, “It’s obvious that we can’t go today because it’s raining. Surely He would not send us out on the very first day in the rain!” 

Where are your eyes? Where is your focus? Are you looking at the rain and because it’s not in your script you decide to just stay home and not even go? Remember that you didn’t pack “feelings” in your backpack.

Let’s dig into this. Get your umbrella and let’s take off with the Spirit of God. Walk, one foot in front of the other. Come on, let’s go and listen to His Voice as we walk.

As I was beginning the next paragraph, I was stopped. Part of what I’m to personally do on this summer journey is to ramp up my walking – literally. I perceived the Spirit telling me to get on the treadmill and I would receive further instruction. So I did. 

I set the treadmill for a specific mph and began. As I began to walk, in just a few minutes, I realized that I was going too slow, and being on an even number, set the mph for the next even number. That number of mph was too fast, so I went back a step and set it at the odd number between the two even numbers.  Then I got it…

I cannot skip a step. I cannot go forward as I think – God reminded me that the itinerary is His Alone. I am to walk one step at a time and not depend on my ideas about the journey, such as the rain. He directs this adventure and I’m to follow His lead. Like dancing. This walk is just like a dance. Two people can’t lead…only one leads and the other follows. HE leads, and I follow! 

Then I kept walking. I thanked God for that word and then decided that I was going to walk for 30 minutes. Well, guess what? After TEN MINUTES my heart was told, “That’s it for today!”  WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Ten minutes isn’t enough walking! This barely gets you started, right?

Jesus is the Way, He directs your steps. He tells you when to go and when to stop. The decision is His and you’re to follow, trusting Him all the way. Your job is to keep your focus on Him and follow His instruction. 

Whatever you do on this day, wherever this day finds you, remember to follow God, even if the way is not what you think. He takes you through paths that are strange and where the scenery is odd. Go on with Him because there are amazing lessons in all of this, and because He loves you enough to show you all of Himself. And that includes the part where He is very, very different.

This first day, at the outset, God shows that He is different than you. Different than the world. Different than what you think He “is”and how you think He “acts” and how the world “is” and how the world “acts.” On this first day, He’s revealing that He is full of amazing surprises. Hey, there’s no telling what’s going to happen along this journey. He’s already showing how He really calls the shots! Yay, God!

Keep walking…don’t stop. This adventure is different, it’s new, you’re going to a place you’ve never been before, and today is proof.

Scripture to ponder:  1 Corinthians 2

Today’s weapon:  “…so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”  1 Corinthians 2:5



Let’s Pray! …And Then We Set Out!

When a group in our church goes on a trip, we pray in the vehicles before we leave the parking lot. Do you do that every day? I don’t, and I think I should. Even if I’m alone, I should probably be praying before I crank up. Hmmm, something to remember, yes?  So, before we all embark on our road trip with Jesus this summer, we need to set aside time to pray. Don’t know how? Are you rusty? Don’t feel like it?

Tell me, when your car is running low on gas, do you refuel it according to how you feel? “Well, I don’t feel like stopping by Sheetz right now, so I won’t.” Do you care that the indicator is showing “Empty?” Guess what, Sherlock, the car is going to stop running when the gas is gone.

The first thing that we packed was prayer! It is a required item. We begin with it, we do it all day long, and we end with it in the evening.

Here’s a brief summary of a few things that I do to help you if you need it.

Settling into my prayer chair, I do my best (sometimes it’s easier than others) to be still for a little bit before I begin. I close my eyes and allow my mind to clear. This is why praying in the morning is best – especially before you do anything else. There isn’t loads on your brain. Some things, yes, but not loads…quite yet. Ask the Spirit to help you clear out your mind. You need His help to pray from the very start.

When I believe that it’s time to begin, I begin to talk. There you go – that’s all there is to it. It’s sitting with Jesus and talking. Like I am with you right now…I am typing this, but if you were here with me, I would be saying these words with my mouth. I talk and you talk. I listen to you, and you listen to me. Talk. It is not “rocket science.” All you need is a heart that longs to talk to your Lord and ears to listen to Him talk to you.

You do not need any fancy words, pretty sayings, like “thee or thou” – unless, as I have said before, that is how you talk. Talk to Jesus like you would talk to another person. Tell Him what is on your heart.  Spill it all out. He can’t be shocked by anything you tell Him – He has been with you your entire life. He knows you better than you know yourself. You are safe with Him, safe to talk and share, and you are safely loved. Period. He loves you more than you can even imagine…He is delighted that you are here to sit with Him and talk.

“Lord Jesus! Thank you so much that you have invited me on a summer road trip with You! I give you praise, sweet Spirit, for showing me that I can walk out of the cell that I had been living in; that I could truly walk out and meet You outside where things are clear and good. Jesus, thank You for dying for me on Calvary and removing my chains of sin, and thank you for showing me how to take the chains off that I kept on myself. Here, with You, is where I want to be more than anything or anywhere else! 

As I go with You on this trip, please help me to pay attention to You as best as I can do so. You know that I am only human and my attention span goes only so far. I need Your help, O Spirit, to lengthen my attention span. While You’re at that, would You please help my attentive heart as well?  I must give you my heart every single day, and all that I am, and all that I have. I need Your help to do this. So here it is, I give you my eyes…and my heart.

PLEASE help me to be obedient to Your will! I know that what I want to do or say may not be in my best interest, so let me first come to You before I do or say things as we travel together. In fact, would you give me Your will? I want what You want for me, for you are my Best Advocate! Help me, O God, to turn to you every day, all of the time, and more than that HELP ME TO DO WHAT YOU SAY! 

I can’t wait to go – I am SO excited! YAY YAY YAY, GOD! I know that You’re going to show me lots of wonderful things this summer and that You will reveal your love in many ways. I look forward to sunrises and sunsets, blue skies with lazy clouds, working with you in the fields and gardens, laughing, maybe even crying (You know what I need,) swinging (Lord, You know that I am bipolar, but I do really love to swing – even at my age,) enjoying the others traveling with us and loving them like crazy, and just doing everything with You.

I love how You love to do everything, and how You are so Wonderful at everything! Being with you is a true joy…it is amazing life, and pure love. Thank you for planning this beautiful summer journey and asking me to come along.

As we set out today, please know that I am forever Yours and am so very humbled that You care so much for me. Let me love You like You deserve to be loved…let me give YOUR Heart joy!”

Got a travel journal ready? Get one. Then write today’s date in it. Today is when we leave for our trip. All of our things are packed in the backpack, and it’s unbelievably light! How can all of those things we packed in there be so light?  

Folks, I truly have no idea how this is going to go. I am receiving this step by step. It is an exciting adventure for me to write this down because I receive it little by little. I have no idea where this is going to lead us, but I do know is that we are in for the trip of a lifetime!

Got your backpack? Put it on and let’s walk with Jesus. And away we go!  Isn’t it a beautiful day?

Scripture to ponder:  Psalm 96

Today’s weapon:  “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7


One Last Item …Your Passport!

There is one more item that you’ll need to pack for our summer road trip – your passport. This is the most important item by far, so you’ll need to put it someplace very secure. It has to be guarded and must be with you at all times.  The Spirit guards this item best, so you need to stay close to Him.

Your passport is your love-filled heart!

In order to travel freely with no burdens of envy, resentment, aggravation, and all such as that, your new heart (given to you by Christ when you asked Him to be your Lord) must be open both to love and being loved at all times. Your “heart-passport” has three sections, loving God, loving others, and loving yourself. Let’s look at each.

Loving God:  The most important One to love is God! He is the One who created you, knows every part of you, and allowed His Son to die for you. He deserves more than the passing glance that you have been giving Him. Unfortunately, sitting in the cell showed not much more than looking in the mirror. Remember? There were mirrors all over the place. Your eyes can only focus on one thing. You can’t look at God and in the mirror at the same time. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus…” and as we travel, keep your heart open to the Spirit, following His lead. In doing so your love for God will increase every day, for in order to love God you have to remain plugged in to Him!

Remain open to being loved by God, too. You are the sparkle in His Eyes! Remember as we go there is no judgement allowed, and this includes judging yourself. 

Loving Others:  Make sure that you are diligent to look at others through the Eyes of Jesus as we travel. It’s easy to start fussing about this one or that one and what’s wrong with them. Remember that only Jesus is perfect. “Put the shoe on the other foot;” recall a time when you did something like what you’re complaining about another doing. What a wonderful place to step out in the awesome love of Jesus, being forgiving and patient with others. We’re all learning as we go, so remember that. The Spirit will show you how to love others in each case, in each moment. Again, keep your heart open to the Spirit and follow His lead. 

Remain open to being loved by others as well. Allow people to do things for you, to bless you, and to speak well of you. Just say, “Thank you,” without making any other negative comment about yourself. Don’t rob others of God’s blessing – allow others to be wonderful to you!

Loving Yourself:  Yes, I’m writing it again. Be kind to yourself. Children of The King tend to be hardest on themselves. Ease up, okay?  Our summer road trip will happen one day at a time. The joy is in the journey, not in perfection. And perfection isn’t in your luggage, anyway.

This blog post is shorter than the others have been…on purpose. This post is deeper than the others because love is so full. Love is deep, wide, and far-reaching. It makes all the difference in everything you say and do. Love is number one, and God’s love is the point!

Make sure that your passport is stashed securely. In fact, it’s good to take it out and check it every morning. As we walk on our trip, you might want to reach in your pocket and touch it every now and then to remember…”And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Scripture to ponder:  1 Corinthians 13 (read this slowly and carefully — twice!) 

Today’s weapon:  “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19  


Let’s Pack! Part Two

We’re packing for a summer road trip with Christ. We’ve given Him our hearts as Christians, and for some reason we were still sitting in our cells even though the door was opened. We had placed self-imposed chains on ourselves, and even though they weren’t locked we sat there, believing the lie of each chain.

Deciding that we’ve had enough, we took the chains off, stood up, and each of us walked out of our individual cell. Enough of this!

Leaving the stale, fake-gilded cell, we freely walked out into the yard where Jesus is standing under a huge green tree. In the clean and fresh air His voice goes out like music. He’s giving instructions on how to pack for the summer road trip. So far we’re told to pack Prayer, Co-operation, Believing, and our Weapon.

Now He’s telling us what not to pack! These are things that we are to leave behind. We do not need them, for not only will they get in our way, but they will cause us to stumble on the journey. 

Do NOT pack these items:  This instruction is not optional.

SELF-LOATHING and SELF-SUPERIORITY – DO NOT BRING!  Loathing is self-hatred, self-dislike, self-disgust, self-aversion, or self-abhorrence. The coin of pride has two sides. One says, “I hate myself, I hate myself, I hate myself!” The other side of pride says, “Look at me, look at me, look at me!” Self-superiority is conceit, egotism, or vanity. You must become less as Jesus becomes more. He is the preeminent One that is to be lifted up on this trip and always in your life. Pride in any form will harm rather than help, so do not take a mirror on this trip. Leave all forms of pride at home…in fact, every day it’s wise to put your pride in your mental trash can. Don’t keep it around. Ever.

MICROWAVE MENTALITY – DO NOT BRING! The purpose of learning to love Jesus more and growing in Him is to have a real and intimate relationship with Him, to be with Him and enjoy Him. He also created you for Himself in order to enjoy you! This requires one-day-at-a-time walking. Do not bring your “microwave mentality,” the “hurry up” mindset of “gotta get this thing done FAST!” Remember that God is not your Genie, and your wish is not His command. Yes, there will be times when we will need to walk faster, even to run. There will be times when we will need to walk slowly, and there will be times when He says, “Stop here for awhile.” He decides the itinerary for our summer trip.

PERFECTION – DO NOT BRING! There is One who is perfect. One Triune God: YAHWEH, CHRIST, THE HOLY SPIRIT. You are not Him. Do not bring perfection along on this trip. Perfection has a hook: pride. When you fall, and you will, cry out to Jesus. Do you remember when Jesus pulled Peter out of the water when he was walking over to Jesus on the water itself? He will immediately pick you up! Cry out and then don’t beat yourself up. Hold fast again to The Spirit’s Hand and keep going. You have to fall in order to learn. That’s part of the process. Keep going – do not stop. If you cry out for 2,000 times, it doesn’t matter! It could be that the 2,001st time you will be victorious!

JUDGEMENT – DO NOT BRING! Leave any and all judgement behind. Do not pack this. It should not be anywhere near your luggage or on your person. Ever. Others will fall down. You will hear the cries of others as we travel. Follow the instructions of our Tour Guide and help pick them up. You just don’t know, you may fall the next second and you’ll want someone to help you out without judging you! The other side of the coin is, you will fall down. Since we’re not bringing perfection along, judgement on ourselves is also not allowed. God Alone is Judge. He is the Only One Who can handle judgement – and that’s because He is the Only One Who is Holy! 

FEELINGS – DO NOT BRING! Feelings can lie to us. “I don’t feel like it right now.” Most times, that sentence is framed in lies. God will instruct you in the way you should go on this trip so move with Him one step at a time. As you go with Him, He will pour on you what you need. You will receive from Him AS you move out. Do not pack feelings! They will only cause you to stumble as you walk. Besides, feelings are a heavy weight to bear and lugging them along keeps you from walking well.

So in your heart and mind, do not pack those things. Write them down. Read that note every morning to remind yourself what you did not pack. It helps to remind yourself as we travel what isn’t in your luggage. Those five items are habits that are easily accessible so it’s good to remember that you left them behind. We’re almost ready to go!

Scripture to ponder: Psalm 1

Today’s weapon: “The LORD is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1