Sunday, January 31, 2010

Divine Romance

Phil Wickham, "Divine Romance." Beautiful--rejoice in this Divine romance.

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Knees to the Dirt

Sometimes I feel like ol' Neb--Nebuchadnezzar for short. This man just could not see until he was brought completely low by the gracious hand of God Almighty.

He "rubbed elbows" with Daniel from the first year of his reign as king in Babylon--Daniel, a man mighty in faith. He experienced God's direct speaking to him through a dream with his response of great praise. (see Daniel 2:46-47)

Yet years passed and he forgot, making a 90-foot-high golden image to which the kingdom was to bow down. He threw Daniel and his friends into the fiery furnace because they would not worship his idol, only to experience their miraculous deliverance by the Lord himself--"the fire had no power (over their bodies); the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them." (Daniel 3:27) Amazing! And he again responded with his lips in praise of the God on high.

Yet his eyes soon dropped to earthly things rather than his knees continuing to bow in reverence of this awesome God. He had a second dream, called Daniel to interpret, and still did not reach the point of true humility--that is, not until he was stripped of absolutely everything. "He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws." (Daniel 4:33)

Do you grasp the picture? This was the king of Babylon--"(whose) greatness had grown and reached to the heavens, and (his) dominion to the end of the earth." And everything was taken, till he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. (Daniel 4:25) He became like a madman, alone in a field, for seven years. Then his understanding returned, and he "blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever." (Daniel 4:34)

That is the last we hear of ol' Neb. Our assumption could be that he was forever changed to be a worshipper of God Almighty. But he had to be brought completely low to reach the point of true submission. How I don't want that to be me!

I don't want to be one who hears and sees the great workings of my Lord, only to be faced with circumstance where my faith appears non-existent--where I seemingly forget that what He says will come to pass. Period.

Nebuchadnezzar's unbelief did not take God off-guard. He wasn't sitting on his heavenly throne saying, "O man, what am I going to do with this guy?" That is the furthest from reality. Our God knew what would have to eventually happen for true repentance to break through--and in His perfect, omniscient timing He brought him low. And He did it for this man's ultimate good and God's ultimate glory.

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, "What have You done?"
Daniel 4:34-35

There is a very big God reigning, and He loves you and me immeasurably. Knees to the dirt.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Dropping the Chains

OK people, confession time. I am teaching Sunday on the topic of control and believe me I have dealt with some serious control issues in my life. You know--me somehow thinking that if my hands were not on it, in it, moving it, changing it, and upholding it, then Friday just might cave in for the entire world. Issues. But God has so faithfully crushed and then redeemed my faltering ways.

He took me to a place where I had absolutely no control--none. I had thought everything was one way when really it was another. Everything I somehow depended upon as my reality was actually a facade. I realized I had no control. And it was exactly where He wanted me to be.

For years I had prayed to know Him rightly--that He would take me deeper--yet I didn't realize all the shedding that would have to take place. So He tenderly revealed my issues--slowly as to not cause complete shock to my system.

Here's the thing. You and I are not in control. Are you with me? Can you say it? We are not in control. We may think we are in control, but...we're not. We cannot control what our kids will believe. We cannot control what our spouse will do. We cannot control the turning of this world. Oh, grasping this truth brings such freedom.

So do you want to know the cure for those control issues? We must raise our view of the God of the universe. If we truly believe that He is who He says He is--sovereign over the very hairs of our heads, faithful and able to do that which He has promised, motivated by immeasurable love--then we would drop those chains we desperately try to wrap around everything and everyone in our path. We would let God be God. We would beseech Him to pierce the hearts of those we love, and then believe He will! We would rest in Truth, and breathe. And it isn't until those chains hit the ground that our arms are free to lift in praise of this uncontainable Sustainer.

I can honestly say that I would not trade the valley of brokenness in which I had to walk because the other side has such freedom of soul. Truly, my God has overtaken my heart.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


With book tight in arms, he wrestles to climb
The heights of the rocking chair.
He settles in--his tiny toes frolic--
And I cannot help but stare.

The pages wide, with words memorized,
He pretends to be like me.
Inflection, correction, and some misdirection,
The last phrase--then he watches to see

Me sitting below, observing his ways--
My adoring cannot be contained.
To watch my young son, imitating my ways,
How could there be an ounce of disdain.

I imagine my God, looking down from above,
In similar, unobscured manner.
Pleased when He sees, His child--one like me--
Somewhat clumsily following His banner.

Holy-completely, Righteously reigning,
Yet I pray I never forget--
He dances and sings, above one just like me--
His love fully paying my debt.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stirred from Slumber

You may think I am crazy, but God is my alarm clock. I don't say that disrespectfully; it's just that He faithfully wakes me every morning.

A little over a year ago He took me deeper in my faith. I had just walked through one of the most difficult trials of my life and had seen His miraculous hands of redemption. He wooed me and drew me. And I was absolutely taken.

Though I had loved His Word for years, there was fresh passion that stirred, so I began expressing my desire, "Father, I need time with You every morning--before my day of mommyhood begins. I am desperate for Your filling and Your vision. Would you make sure that I wake up before the craziness ensues?" And He did.

So every night before going to sleep I declare my love and desperation for Him, and He wakes me for morning coffee. Sometimes I think it is a little early and I ask for 15 more minutes, and He faithfully allows my slumber only to gently stir a few minutes later. I wouldn't trade our time.

It is not that He is some pawn I carry in my back pocket. How dare I would ever think such blasphemy. I simply believe that He is able to do anything--anything!--even wake this daughter of His for a few uninterrupted-moments together.

He cares. He is able. He is willing. Do you believe?

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Imperfect Faith

Sometimes I may want to believe everything God says or has said, but circumstance challenges that faith--like there is a gap between what I know in my head and that which my heart deceptively tries to declare. Thankfully we serve a gracious God, a merciful God, One who remembers we are but dust.

I am in Romans 4 these days--in the midst of a challenge from the Bible study in which I am participating. So I camped out at the first four verses. Here is what one portion reads:

...if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (vv. 2-3)

Faith. Belief. Paul--the author of Romans--explained that it is our faith that makes us right with God. Belief. We can do all the right things externally, but our works do not put us into right standing before the God of the universe. He is in the business of piercing our depths--looking straight into our hearts. And if our heart does not believe His word--His promises--then we will not be righteous before Him.

Seems simple but it begs the question, "How goes our faith?" Do we truly believe what He says? If we do, then our experience in the moments of our days should reflect peace in the midst of the storm, joy when the desolate invades, and love towards the unlovely. A high calling--one impossible if left to ourselves, but victorious through the power of His might.

So I wanted a fresh reminder of Abraham's faith. I went back to the actual account in Genesis, specifically chapters 12-14 and became encouraged. True, Abraham believed. But his faith was not perfect. He had moments of questioning--moments where his circumstance challenged the promises of this covenant God; moments where he took matters into his own hands. But God was merciful. He met Abraham in his momentary doubt and reminded him of His word--though not always without consequence.

Our Father sees you and me intimately. He knows every motive, every fear, and every thought within us. (see Psalm 139) And He knows if our bent is belief. I want to believe His word of promise even if it may take years to see with my physical eyes its actual fruition. If He says it, then it will come to pass. His plans cannot be thwarted. May He look at you and me and smile--pleased with our belief.

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Friday, January 22, 2010


Do you ever wonder if God really sees or even cares about injustice or ill-will towards His own? I heard someone say that as a child of the Most High God, if you have been wronged, then you better start praying for your offender. One does not want to be in the hands of an angry God. And if His son or daughter has been wronged, you can believe that our heavenly Father takes it seriously.

But here is where we often falter. If someone has offended us or treated us unjustly, our natural response is to react from our emotion. "How dare they..." But emotion--more often than not--will lead us astray. Our hearts are deceptive, as the prophet Jeremiah defined. Without a stance on the Rock secure, we may very well dig ourselves into our own pit.

God can be trusted as our Avenger. I want to say that again. The God of the universe can be trusted as our Avenger. He perceives and understands completely. He sees the beginning from the end. He is always working out His will. He is ever-patient, motivated by love, and perfectly-just. Perfectly just. Our victory comes as we believe and allow Him to fight for us, rather than grabbing our haphazard swords and running into battle.

I was in 1 Samuel 25 this morning. David had been wronged by a certain man named Nabal--defined as a scoundrel--and he was about to take matters into his own hands. But his faithful Father thwarted his plans and avenged Nabal Himself. David's response explains it all, "Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head." (25:39)

God is big enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to avenge. Instead of planning the destruction of our offender, we should get on our knees and pray that God would show mercy and redeem their heart. He sees, and He cares.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tough Saying

What would it take for revival to consume our churches? Why is it that in the midst of devastation, like that in Haiti, revival may very well break forth? God is the same on all soil. His ways are the same. His truths stand firm. His power ever-flowing. So why does it seem a bit distant? I think the answer is that we like our stuff too much.

Matthew 19:16-30 caught my attention this morning. And this is a tough saying. The rich man comes to Jesus--outwardly obedient to all the commands, morally upright--and asks what more he needs to do to have eternal life. Jesus immediately pierces the heart and tells him he must sell all he has, give it to the poor, and follow after Him. And it left the man sorrowful. Why? He liked his stuff. His stuff was his identity. It made him feel secure.

I am very aware that poverty exists in our nation, but the United States is in the top ten--top ten--of riches countries in the world. And we like our stuff. I like my stuff. But I have also learned that I am obsessed with my Lord. In recent months I went through a testing of my heart's true devotion--my stuff or the Lord. And I reached a point--by the grace of God--where I laid it all down.

He isn't asking us to sell everything we have and send it to Haiti--though that would probably take you to great depths of dependence upon the Lord and you would most likely see a work of His power beyond our comprehension. The main thing He is addressing is our heart's devotion. Is there anything to which I am clinging--my stuff, my husband, my kids, my job, my agenda--other than God? We cannot cling to both. We either lay it all down and desperately cling to our Lord--trusting His character and His sovereign ways--or we don't. A tough saying.

"All things are possible with God." (Matthew 19:26b) Revival in our land can break forth. May we lay it all down, willing to sacrifice everything, and follow wholeheartedly after Him. He is worthy.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memory Failure

I must publicly declare my memory failure. Do you know that yesterday--all day--I thought it was Monday? I'm blaming Dr. King--gotta blame someone, right?! (For the record, that's a joke--I hold Dr. King in high regard.)

So all day I thought it was Monday which would have been fine except that on Tuesday I had something important to do--a commitment that affected others. People were depending on me to follow through with what I said. As I opened my calendar this morning to glance at Wednesday I realized my memory failure.

Wow. All this technology and I cannot remember the day. This is bad.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bunny Whisperer

We got a bunny named Elvis. That's right--a bunny...named Elvis. And my kids are absolutely beside themselves. But to truly appreciate this bunny you have to know the background.

For a number of months my five year old has been leading the bandwagon of pet desire. First, she declared her need for a guinea pig. My three year old agreed. Then, a few weeks later, she decided on a bird--a zebra finch to be exact. My three year old reluctantly agreed. Next, it was the most adorable cha-weenie dog from our local pet store. My three year old fervently agreed. Finally, it was a bunny. My three year old began picking names. He was going to name his "Ben." All the while my two year old continued practicing his favorite phrase, "I need that."

After some research, my husband and I decided that a bunny would be a good choice for our lively family. So we found a 2 year old bunny named Elvis who needed a new home--and yes he responds to his name. But the most exciting part for my husband and I was the anticipation of giving him to the kids. Even at lunch yesterday--while Salsa music played in the background of our favorite Mexican restaurant--my daughter began the daily begging for a bunny. We glanced at each other with a glimmer of secrecy, so excited that they were clueless of the surprise to come later that day. And while they napped I went to pick him up.

As I met this little guy I thought, "You have no idea of what is to come...poor 'thang.'" Our actively loud home would be drastically different from his previous quiet abode. But I loaded him in the blue bling and brought him home. And the kids were astounded. I'm so glad we captured it on videotape.

It made me think of God--our heavenly Father. It must bring Him such pleasure to give good gifts to His kids. Sometimes He has to say no--like when we ask for a cha-weenie but He knows we are too young to care for it. But when we walk in intimacy with Him, His desires become our desires, and He often answers in the affirmative--even beyond our expectation. Oh how He loves.

I like our little bunny. After the kids went to bed last night I must admit I spent some time alone with him. I gave him a long talk about how proud I was of him for being so patient and enduring much poking and prodding. He sat perfectly still as I pet his soft fur. And as I looked deep into his big eyes it was almost as if I could read his mind, "Woman, you brought me here, please protect me!" I may just be a bunny whisperer.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Searching for Reasons

A devastation like the one in Haiti holds with it the capability of causing great turmoil in one's spirit--unrest and uncertainty while questioning the power and love of God on high. I am not naive. These are difficult things with which to grapple--difficult situations to rectify in light of our theology of goodness and grace. But here's the thing. Whenever we begin with a situation and try to define God through that situation, erroneous thoughts will rise and hopelessness will peek its unwanted head. But there is another way!

I pray that we begin with God. Begin with His revelation of Himself--He is love, He is faithful to His children, He knows the beginning from the end, He has purpose in all He allows, He is omnipotent, He is omnipresent, and He works all things, all things, all things, together for good to those who love Him and keep His commands. He is not at the mercy of weather. He is not at the mercy of man. His ways cannot be contained. He can be fully trusted. Let's begin there. Let's stand there as our rock and our foundation.

Once His character has been established in our own hearts and minds, then we can beseech Him with our questions. He may never reveal the why. But I can believe with all my heart that His motive and provision for His own is driven by love--because that is who He is! Isaiah 54:10 declares "'For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, (His own) Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has mercy on you." Fall down here and believe. Then ask how He would have you--have me--respond to those in need.

We serve a powerfully sovereign God who loves uncontainably. Begin with Him.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti

Looking for a way you can help? Check out the efforts from Compassion International at

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You Told Me

Yesterday was one of "those" mommy-days. You know--desperately desiring to rightly respond with love to these precious priorities while battling frustration over the menial tasks on that never-ending to-do list. By the end, we are all whiny and unfocused.

As I stood in the cluttered kitchen preparing dinner--while internally divulging my seeming failures to our gracious Father--my daughter spoke, and I am certain it was a word from the Lord. She said, "Mommy, God is bigger than anything. Did you know that I wouldn't know that unless you had told me?" A word from my Lord. I paused in amazement.

That's the point. That's it--guide these little ones to their Maker, lead them to His throne of grace, that they eventually would see Him rightly and respond in humble worship. Teach my kids that He is bigger than anything. But you know, it goes deeper. It comes down to the moments.

If I truly believe He is bigger than anything, then in the moments of my day I will not be led by fear, discord, or irritation. I will reflect a life of faith, love, joy, and POWER. Oh, He is so patient with me. He is so faithful to transform me--if I will let Him.

How will they know unless we teach them with our words and with our moments? So what if the laundry stays folded in the basket for 5 days. At least it's clean.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Until He Comes

Poem by Martha Snell Nicholson, appropriate in light of yesterday's post entitled "Just Ask."

Keep Thou me ever hungry, Lord,
Until I famish for Thy Word, --
Thy Word, which is my meat, my bread,
Thy Word, which feeds whenever read.

Keep Thou me ever thirsty, Lord,
Stay not Thy hand till Thou hast poured
Thy living water in my cup
Which I am humbly holding up.

Keep me dissatisfied, dear Lord;
Use Thou Thy Spirit's shining sword
To pierce my foolish self esteem
And rouse me from my empty dream.

Keep me awake, that I may hear
Thy bugles calling, loud and clear.
Stir Thou my sluggish soul to fight
For Thee beneath Thy banner bright.

Yea, this my prayer, --that I may be
Hungry and thirsty, Lord, for Thee,
Dissatisfied with self, awake!
And this I ask for Jesus' sake.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Ask

I know my posts are often scripturally heavy--it is one of my primary outlets for theological expression. Remember, I interact with my preschoolers most of the day; and they give me strange looks when I try to discuss sovereignty and predestination.

But also the Word of God is life. It is our ultimate food. If we are taking in God's promises, His ways, and His character, and our love relationship with Him is growing ever-deeper, then the moments of our days will flow out of that eternal perspective. The life "things" we face won't destroy us, rather we will rest in the hands and heart of the Almighty. That is why I love His Word. I love His Word. It is breath. I pray that we would handle it rightly--with great awe at our Father's revelation.

If you are one that does not yet have a love for His Word, but you desire with all your heart to truly know Him, then tell Him. Be honest--He already knows anyway. Ask Him for fresh vision and fresh desire. We cannot conjure such a longing. It is a gift of His Spirit. So simply ask. Then dive deep. Interact. Think. Meditate. His Word is life.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Sparrow's Song

The Sparrow's Song is one of rest
With notes of peace and love.
For in the hands of God on high
Her wings the ground won't touch.

His plan for her, will come to pass
Despite the world's rough glare.
She flies in freedom and sings in strength--
Under her Maker's care.

I sing this song--the sparrow's song--
For it is my delight.
To trust the sovereign heart of God--
My moments in His sight.

Inspired from Jesus' words in Matthew 10:29-31

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Than a Burger

We see them there, but avoid eye-contact. For those brief moments we find hundreds of menial tasks to do from the driver's seat of our car--change the radio station, wipe down the console, file our nails, or text. Then the light finally turns green and the cardboard sign drifts further away in the rear view mirror.

Me? Some declare I am being scammed; that it's not safe. And maybe it's so. But I do not want to be led by fear or skepticism; I long to be led by the Lord. I think about their childhood, the cold, their bondages...and I go to the McDonald's drive-thru. My kids see. They don't grimace at the dirt or smell the breath. They just notice a man or a woman who needs help. And they holler for me to get him french fries...and some gloves.

Jesus tells us to be like a child. I am certain His instruction includes that we as hardened adults would see people like children see. One's status is irrelevant. The label on our jeans--a non-issue. We are just people. And we all desperately want to be loved.

We recently purchased some $1 McD gift certificates to give, and it hit me, "I want to give more than a burger." I'm not speaking monetarily--though the needs abound. I'm speaking spiritually. For a brief moment in time, we meet, and I want to know your name because there is a God who made you and knows you perfectly. A burger may fill the growling stomach, but our Savior overwhelms an expansive need.

So, I'm praying. Lord lead me. Show me how I can hand a word of hope out my window.


I pray you hear this. I am not telling you to do what I feel led to do. My ultimate prayer is that we as God's hands and feet in this desperate world would follow the law of love. Seek Him first--with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength--then allow Him to open your eyes to the plans He has specific for you.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010


That is the best word my husband and I can come up with to describe our home at many given moments. In 2.9 seconds this face can appear from nowhere--on three different children with three different "needs." It can be intense. It's those moments that reveal one's true character. And those are the moments I am desperate for His filling.

If all my study in the Word does not affect my moments in this world--in this "colorful" home--then there is a disconnect. If the truth of God Himself does not affect my attitude when my blood pressure rises, then I'm missing something.

His promises of peace, joy, and faithfulness are always available, no matter the extremity of the moment. The question is, am I looking? Am I resting? Am I believing? He is able, regardless of intensity. Lord, give me Your vision.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Free Flowing

To those of you who haven't fully accepted this "Jesus thing," what I am about to say may sound absurd. But my prayer is that God would pierce hearts and open eyes. Unless He moves, ears will not hear.

I am thinking on the Spirit of God--a topic that needs volumes to even grace the surface. But there are just two brief aspects that have hit me afresh this morning. First, His Spirit is a gift to those who love Him--a gift of Power. His Spirit guides, teaches, helps, and renews. The idea that the very Spirit of God Himself would dwell within man should itself cause our knees to hit the dirt in thanksgiving. He is a gift to those who love His appearing--a foretaste of glory.

Second, when His Spirit makes His home in the heart of a man, or woman, the person changes. In 1 Samuel 10:6, Samuel prophesies over Saul and explains that when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him, he "will be turned into another man." Wow. In fact when the prophecy is fulfilled, people who knew him "before" asked one another in confusion, "What has come upon Saul? Is he among the prophets?" (see 1 Samuel 10:9-13)

This gift of God Himself changes our very being. We become another person from the inside-out. The question then arises, in the moments of my day do I listen to and obey this awesome voice of Truth--this gracious gift--or do I quench His guidance with my own agenda? Shed light, Lord, shed light.

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Monday, January 4, 2010


Amidst the continual loads of laundry, smelly diapers, and uncreative meal plans, lately I have been pondering the sovereignty of God. A light topic, I know. And yes, my kids do sometimes look at me like I'm crazy. But my spirit cannot break away. This God of Hebrew history cannot be contained. I have been wrestling for a meager understanding of His ways, and the deeper I press into Him the further still He draws. My mind just may explode. So I better type quick.

Do you believe He is sovereign--that He rules over every detail of your life? It seems to me there is no place quite as restful. To trust that this God--this God who is love, is faithful, is merciful, is gracious--reigns supreme over every detail of our lives; is there a place of greater rest? Believing that even His allowances of difficulty in the lives of those who love Him have been with glorified purpose rather than thinking we live at the mercy of cellular deterioration or moral failure. Rest there.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will...(yet) you are if more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29, 31) He reigns in love. Here is His promise: cry out to Him and He will lavish Himself upon you; delve into His Word and ask Him to make it alive in your spirit. But take cover, your brain may explode.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bust a Move

I know that the words I write are absolutely counter-cultural. On New Year's Eve we had some friends over to hang out. About 20 minutes before the multi-million dollar ball dropped--a blog-worthy topic in and of itself--we turned on the TV to join the rest of America in celebrating. And though I was completely impressed with the rapping talent of Fergie, I was also reminded of the ways of this world.

The "good life" is defined as one in which we individually decide what is right for us. External authority is rejected. Sex is interchangeable with love. And passions have to be fulfilled. This is the "good" life. And I've lived it. But this mindset is nothing new.

The final sentence of Judges pretty much sums it up, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (21:25) Reading this Old Testament book over the past few days has not easily lifted my spirit. God's own people were not seeking Him. They were doing what they each wanted. And the result was a chaotic system of individualism with mention of extreme vile behavior. Wow. Not smiling. It is tough to swallow some of God's allowances. But isn't that the state of our own world?

When passages are tough--when our own lives are tough--the only place of true comfort and wisdom arises by standing firm on the character of God. Trying to explain His character through the crazy circumstances that surround us will only lead to an erroneous definition. But if we begin with His Word--what He has declared and proven about Himself--peace can reign in spite of what we see with our physical eyes.

So as we enter into a new year--a fresh start--I'll pose to you what I am posing to myself: What fills your mind--the ways of this confused world or the ways of the God who designed you? The choice is yours. The choice is mine.

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