Further Evidence

Have I convinced you to embrace the adventure of “trust and obey”?  Are you ready to follow our Lord into the adventure of the unknown anytime he asks you to do so? Here are the words of Alexander Maclaren, a British pastor at Union (Baptist) Chapel in Manchester for 45 years. His writings bear the test of time, but are updated here, just a bit, for ease of reading.

We need to hold the present loosely in order to be ready to fold our tents and take to the road if God wills. We must not assume we are to continue in our present situation, nor send our roots down so deeply that only a hurricane would remove us.

It may be hard to leave our current spot, even if it is in a desert, when we’ve been there so long that it has come to look like home. But we must determine to meet God-appointed change cheerfully, confident that the new circumstance will be a blessing, however it may seem at first.

We need to cultivate the same habit of prompt obedience as the Psalmist who said,” I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands” (Psalm 119:60). Slow obedience is often the germ of disobedience. It is easiest to do our duty when we are first sure of it, when it comes with impelling power which carries us over obstacles as on the crest of a wave. Hesitation and delay may leave us stranded in shallow water. If we would follow the pillar, we must follow it at once.

Let us have hearts that wait and watch for God’s direction, using common sense as well as faith to unravel small and great bewilderments in order to be ready when God sends us in a new direction.


This excerpt from Harrison, N. (2010). His Victorious Indwelling. Zondervan.

Into the Unknown

Two of my granddaughters share a toy which, when pressed in just the right spot, exclaims, “Ah-Ah, oh-oh! Ah-Ah, oh-oh! Into the unknoooooon!” And, yes, it’s Elsa, aka Idina, belting it out. Both girls love to sing along as they twirl around.

I’m not really a Frozen fanatic, but the song intrigues me. If you look up the lyrics, you’ll find lines about

  • ignoring whispers and blocking them out.
  • deciding that life has already had enough adventure.
  • fearing the risk of following the voice.

Okay, I’ll stop there, since none of us can conjure ice. However, the song has caused me to ask these questions: averse

  • Do we block out God’s voice when he asks us to do something difficult or uncertain?
  • Are we adventure averse, when (cue Stephen Curtis Chapman) following the Lord can be a great adventure?
  • Are we afraid to follow His voice?

To all of the above, I hope the answer is, or can become, a resounding “No!!” We all face uncertainty from time to time. In every single case, if the Lord asks us to do it, then he will take us through it. How could it be otherwise? We do not serve some cosmic prankster. He equips, directs, blesses.

So, if you ever hear him calling you into the unknown, say, “Yes!” and rely on him.

Photo by Dylan Thompson on Pexels.com

Shut Up and Dance!

I’m a Straight No Chaser fan. Last week, I was listening to their music (thank, you, Alexa) and heard their rendition of “Shut Up and Dance.” It made finishing up my household chores way more fun. Last night, I played it for Steve, and we danced to it right there in the kitchen. Today, we both had it stuck in our heads.

The words of that song are a surprising reminder of how we are to live as followers of Christ.

Don’t you dare look back. Yesterday is passed. Our sins are forgiven. We are to forgive the past hurts others have inflicted on us. While these are obvious truths God intends for us to live by, we all need to be reminded: Don’t look back.

Keep your eyes on Me. Me, meaning our loving lord. When our focus is on the Lord, we become aware of his all powerful presence, affecting our attitude and our actions.

You’re holding back. What are we to hold back from the Lord? Nothing! Confess all. Submit all. Give all. Obey all. Enjoy all.

Shut up. Okay, we don’t think of God as saying “Shut up.” But that’s just another, albiet slightly rude, way of saying “Be still.” Or, “Stop babbling on about your fears, worries, and hesitations. Start trusting our Almighty God instead.”

Dance with me. I used to talk about God giving me marching orders, but that phrase—cold and unfeeling—was never the right one. He does ask us to dance with him. Make no mistake, our Lord is to be the one leading—always. Are we often uncertain, wondering what the next step will be? Sure. Nevertheless, our lives with him are to be intricate and beautiful as we seek to follow his ways.

Here’s a link to that popular song, part of which has become a hymn of instruction and praise for me. I hope you’ll never hear it the same way again!

Straight No Chaser – Shut Up And Dance [Official Audio] – Bing video

And if you want a little more. Read on:

Phil. 3:13 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Oh soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Oh turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1918

Leaving Space for the Unexpected

I learned a long time ago that I have to leave white space on my calendar. No, this time I’m not going to write about all the reasons you need to take occasional time away from the daily grind for yourself. This time, I want to encourage you to be ready to spring into action.

Now and then, I look at my calendar and discover a day with (gasp!) nothing on it. Most of the time that turns out to mean I have a very busy day ahead. I just don’t know it yet. ‘Could be there’s a household repair or an unplanned errand calling my name. I might be needed by

            A sick child.

            A friend who is mourning.

            A new neighbor waiting to be welcomed.

            A lonely loved one, or one who is simply overwhelmed.

            Fill in the blank with the sort of calls you get…

In many cases, the unexpected that fills the “white space” in my life involves someone who needs me. That’s one of the reasons I need to remain vigilant about keeping my lifestyle and my calendar flexible and well-pruned. For me that means, when possible, staying prayed up and rested up. It means fighting the urge to procrastinate, so that there are seldom any “absolutely has to be done right now” items on my daily list. And it means, of course, intentionally leaving some unplanned time on my schedule.

I’m learning to expect the unexpected, because the unexpected is actually pretty common. You will almost certainly be needed in an unexpected way sometime soon. You may be summoned by a phone call, or an email, or maybe by that still small voice pointing you to a need you hadn’t noticed before. Today, I’m asking you to get ready to meet the need, to be prepared to answer with a cheerful, “Yes!”

The unexpected is coming, so leave a little space!

Photo by Eric Rothermel via Unsplash.com

People Are The Big Rocks


When I was a kid, TV reruns came in the spring. This year, though I’ve decided to “rerun” a few favorite blog posts in the fall–this October to be exact. All of the posts have to do with how we treat people. Are we really heading the repeated Biblical instruction to be loving and kind? Here’s the first installment.

My life is always in flux. I never really know what the next day will bring. Truth be told, I’ve come to like it that way. Always, though, I try to guard my privacy, my quiet time, my writing time. Ah, notice the overuse of “I” and “my.” Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” The truth, then, is that there’s no such thing as “my” time. Our days belong to the Lord, and he won’t always follow the plans we’ve laid out.

Lately, life has been especially full of social engagements and friends in need. My “to do” list has been rewritten nearly every day to include less privacy, less quiet, less writing, but more listening, engaging and assisting. In the background I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit whispering these words, “People are the big rocks.”

The big rocks. Picture a large empty vase. Now imagine three slightly smaller containers, one filled with big rocks, one with pebbles, and one with sand. Our task? To fit everything into the vase. If we pour in the sand, then the pebbles, then the rocks…Uh oh. ‘Can’t get those big ‘ol rocks in on top of all the small stuff.  

What happens if we fill the vase with big rocks first? Is it full now? Maybe no more big rocks will fit, but there’s still an awful lot of space in there. Once we jiggle in in the pebbles, there’s room for sand to filter into the remaining nooks and crannies. Voila! Everything that needed to go into the vase has found its place!

We have to make room for the big stuff in our lives first, and let everything else fit in as it can. If some of the pebbles and a few grains of sand end up falling to the floor, that’s better than leaving out a rock. And in almost every case, people are the big stuff. Before a perfect home or perfect hair, before even a good night’s sleep or ______ (you fill in the blank), people take precedence. So, next time someone asks for a bit of our time, before we say no and go back to our pre-planned endeavors, maybe we need to listen, to see if the Holy Spirit is saying once again, “People are the big rocks.”

Back to Balaam

Photo by Nilina on Pexels.com

I’m reading the book of Numbers again, struck afresh by the humor, oddity, and warning found in the story of Balaam. Here’s what was going on way back when…

The Moabites were afraid of the Israelites. Balak the King summoned Balaam the Prophet, saying, “Come and curse these dangerous folks. They’re numerous and far too powerful for me. I’ll pay handsomely!”

Wisely, Balaam asked God about this deal and heard, “Oh, no you don’t. These are my blessed people, and you must not put a curse on them!”

When Balaam conveyed his response to the Moabites, they begged him anyway, promising more money. Balaam, wise once again, answered, “Your king could give me his whole palace filled with silver and gold, and I still couldn’t do anything that went against my Lord’s command.”

Eventually God told Balak to go ahead and go with those begging Moabites, but to be careful to do only what he, the Lord, commanded. Balak headed out the next morning, traveling by donkey. An angel, armed with a sword and visible only to the donkey, blocked the way. What follows is the best part of the story.

  • The donkey stopped walking.
  • Balaam beat the donkey.
  • The scene repeated two more times.
  • Then the donkey talked!

The beast of burden said, “What have I ever done to you? Why would you beat me three times?”

  • Did Balaam gasp in utter amazement? No.
  • Did he get on his knees and ask the Lord what in the world was going on? No.
  • Did he argue with the donkey? (Surely not!) Yes, that’s exactly what he did.

At that poing God finally let Balaam see the armed angel, gave Balaam instructions and allowed him to proceed. When the time came to pronounce a curse, Balaam blessed Israel instead (three times, in fact). Balak the King was plenty angry, but all the obedient prophet had to say to him was, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Look for the lessons in this crazy chapter:

  • Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
  • Obey God’s instructions, no matter how hard the pressure to do otherwise might be.
  • The Bible is not boring!

Do you have a favorite Old Testament passage? If so, I hope you’ll share it with me!