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.

Because I Leak

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When D. L. Moody was asked why he insisted that Christians needed to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit, he answered, “Well, I need a continual infilling because I leak!”  

I leak sometimes. Are you leaking today? Has your spiritual tank already run dry? A word to the wise: we can’t fix ourselves. The sooner we realize that, the better off we’ll be. We need the Holy Spirit. He comforts and guides us. He reminds us of what Jesus has done for us and of our rights as children of the King.

Ask the Lord to refill you, to infuse you with new trust and peace and joy from the presence of his Holy Spirit. Ask him to take over! Begin each day, right away, before you ever leave your pillow, by acknowledging your weakness and surrendering to his control. Keep his presence in mind.

Meet each new challenge with prayer—right away, even in the midst of your busy day. You don’t need to be on your knees or in a place of silence to be in conversation with our Lord. We can’t see the Holy Spirit, and that can cause our trust to waver. But be encouraged by these words. They have encouraged me.

 “Trusting God is a decision, not a feeling that we want to have” (Joyce Meyer).

“We live by faith, not by sight” (Apostle Paul).

“There are two ruling principles of action—sight and faith…The life of every one of us is governed by one or the other of these principles…The Christian’s great days are the days when faith dominates, and our sad and bad days are the days when sight rules” (W. Graham Scroggie).

‘Hope this is a filled up, topped off, walking-by-faith day for you!

Freaking Out?

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I asked, via Facebook, “What one word would you use to describe what life is like right now?” Most of the responses clustered around a half dozen or so general ideas:

              “Hard, limited, stalled, confining, constricted, muy difisil”

I’ve been there. I also believe God uses all hard things, even if we can’t see his hand in them right away.

              “Expectant, warning, new, challenging, interesting, prophetic, Advent (prayerfully waiting to see what God will do)”

I love this quote from Travis Clark, pastor at Canvas San Francisco: “You typically only know that you were in a defining moment when you look at your life in reverse.” This time, I think we all know that this year is one long defining moment.

              “Anxious, worried, stressful, overloaded, depressed”

              “Unpredictable, unknown, confusing, inconsistent, conflicted, confused, bipolar (I particularly liked that one!), paradoxical, chaotic, weird, surreal”

Living in uncertainty pushes many of us toward anxiety or depression. If you’ve read this blog before, though, you know how deeply I believe in the power of prayer and our Lord’s promise that, if we bring our needs to him, we can trade anxiety for peace. Here’s one of my favorite Pastor Matt quotes: “You can freak out about the unknown, but Biblically it does not make sense to” (Matt Werner).

              “Content, hopeful, joyful, relaxed, rejuvenated, blessed, quiet”

I’m so glad some of you are walking through this time in a positive way. One very smart contributor listed half a dozen words, many of them antonyms of one another, explaining that it depends on how much she listens to the news. One said, “opportunity,” and others posted words that communicate a call to action, like these:

              “Motivated, driven” to serve wherever God puts us.

That friend is serving by painting inspirational rocks and secreting them on to neighbor’s porches. This made me wonder, what could I do for a neighbor today?


How is “bored” a call to action? That contributor is fighting boredom by watching at least 2 remote church services every week. We have access to a whole wealth of spiritual growth opportunities. I need to start tapping in more often!


We need a constant river of prayer flowing through our days. One friend used the word “steady,” and I don’t think anything can ground and steady us like consistent prayer. Get alone with God and tell him everything that weighs you down.


Are you tired of all this? Me too. But in a war, the soldiers can’t say, after six months or a year, “I’ve had enough. I’m emptied out. I’m going home.” The book of Lamentations says our Lord’s love, compassion and hope are new every morning. We just have to keep refilling, every day.

One of you simply said, “We’re living.”  Yes, we are. Take heart. Embrace each new day. Choose the words from this post that help you the most, and hang on with patience and faith!

Many thanks to all of you who helped me write this week.

Holley Gerth

Because I was quoted in Holly Gerth’s Be Courageous journal (a pretty big thrill for me, actually), her publisher sent me two books as a delightful and completely unexpected gift. One was a copy of that journal, the other a devotional called Cheering You On: 50 Reasons Why Anything Is Possible with God (DaySpring 2020). It’s terrific. I’m not particularly prone to gushing about current releases, but this one deserves it. The short essays are easy to read and pack a powerful punch with titles like

  • You Have Hope and a Future
  • Fear Can’t Win
  • You Can Lean on Jesus
  • Nothing Is Wasted
  • Your Cares Matter
  • Purpose Beats Productivity

I’ve never met Holley, but if I did, I’m pretty sure we’d be good friends, kindred spirits. She writes like I think. If you’re looking for a great little book (really, it’s only about 6 inches square) to encourage yourself or a friend, consider this my recommendation. And here are a few of my favorite quotes:

  • “What’s ahead for you will not be a surprise to Him. On the days when life is hard, He will give you strength. In the times that are happy, He will rejoice with you. Even in the middle of what seems ordinary, He will do extraordinary things.”
  • “Rest is not simply the lack of activity, but the presence of trust.”
  • “We can each choose to make a difference where we are now. We all have something to offer. We all have something to receive. We are better together.”
  • “God alone is big and extraordinary. He uses small, ordinary people to change the world every day because that’s the only kind there are, the only kind there will ever be. That includes you and me.”
  • (Quoting another writer, Jennifer Watson) “You don’t have to show up perfect; you just have to show up. You are needed.”
  • “He will give us everything we need to do His will.”
  • “And suddenly I realized: it doesn’t all depend on me. I only need to depend on Jesus.”

‘Wishing you all a week of depending on Jesus!

Words for the Worried

Funny, the things that stick in my head…(Quotes in italics below, my take in parentheses)

  • A line from “Imagination Movers,” the latest Nick and Kate video fad: “We had a problem, but we figured it out!” (Isn’t that, by God’s grace, true of most of our problems? How quickly we forget the last solution when the next problem arises!)
  • An editor’s comment over dinner at a writers’ conference: “My mom worries all the time, so I told her, ‘Mom, worry does not burn calories!’” (This makes a good point. Worry never does any sort of good.)
  • A line from my pastor’s Ky’s recent sermon: “We are here to serve, not to solve…We can’t be God in another person’s life.” (How often do we get all wrapped up in worry about how someone else’s life is turning out, and about how we can fix it?)
  • From Pastor Matt: “Anxiety is an enemy of intimacy with the Lord.” (Now that’s convicting!)
  • Paul to Timothy: “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear.” (Typical Paul. Blunt. True.)
  • David Jeremiah (paraphrased): “What we’re really saying is our version of, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, and I’m going to fail this test.’” (What’s your version of Psalm 23?)
  • Uncredited, but probably my lifegroup leader: “What you worry about most is what you trust God with least.” (Ouch.)

So what are we to do?

  • Father Tim in a Mitford book: “‘Don’t worry about it.’ That sounds trite, but it’s what Jesus said!” (It does sound simple, doesn’t it? I suppose all obedience sounds simple, even though it isn’t always easy. But, Jesus did indeed say those words, and he always equips us to follow him.)
  • Joseph Prince (in “The Real Story” via YouTube): “Look around, you’ll be distressed. Look within, you’ll be depressed. Look at Jesus, you’ll be at rest.” (That old hymn, “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” speaks volumes in the title alone!)
  • Paul Washer: “Preach the scriptures to your heart.” (Now that’s some serious worry-busting advice!)
  • Oswald Chambers: “Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is!” (Enough said!)



My Take

Steve gave me Somebody Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon for Christmas. Here’s my take on some of the wise words I came across while enjoying her terrific novel.

“Sleep in peace, God is awake.” (Victor Hugo) I’ll remember that the next time life is particularly uncertain. If we lived in perfect faith, troubles would never bring insomnia!

“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) In my younger days, this meant simply leaving the door to my dorm room ajar, welcoming those who wanted my friendship even if I had a paper to write. It could mean bearing illness, whether our own or that of a loved-one-in-need, with patience and grace, or taking a friend’s call even when we feel “too busy” to talk.

And then by Jan Karon:

“He (the main character) moved directly then to the abridged version. ‘Help me, Jesus.’” “Oh, Jesus!” isn’t always a curse. Often it’s a cry for help, issued allowed or within our spirits—an appropriate cry and one many of us don’t make often enough. If He can supply all we need, and since we are always in need, why not make a habit of calling out to Him?

“I do know this—the business of killing yourself for other people is a lot of hogwash.” Spending ourselves for others may be our calling, yet I believe God rarely asks us to fully exhaust ourselves. Most of the time, he wants us to stay within boundaries that let us to live to serve another day.

“To do it all and deprive others of doing is a misguided notion.” See above, as this is yet another reason to question a life of constant fatigue.

When her main character is seeking the answer to an as-yet-unsolved dilemma: “We, however, need to keep praying and trusting God, and moving ahead to things like lunch and dry-cleaning.” I love this! How often do we let waiting on God put us into a state of frozen stress? We spin our wheels and worry about how things are going to turn out. “Keep calm, and carry on” means “Take it to the Lord, and keep on living.”

“At 89, Albert Schweitzer was running a hospital in Africa.’’ If you sense God asking you to do something, never say, “I’m too old!” (or for that matter, “I’m too young.”) If he calls, he equips.

“’Lord,’ he prayed, ‘make me a blessing to someone today.’” What would happen if you and I prayed that prayer every single morning? Let’s start today, shall we? Go for it, and let me know what happens!

*On pages 169, 172, 176, 189, and 191

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