Tag Archives: prayer

Update to Pride and Insecurity Go Together

A fellow blogger inquired about this post.  I’m so sorry I failed to update. Truth is, I’m working on other projects and blogging is at the bottom of my To-Do list.  But I was so blessed to know someone read and wanted to know how I’m doing.  Thanks!

Here is the original and below is what I can report…

imagesI seek prestige.

Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”

Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.

James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride.  The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.

Prestige.  “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.”  “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.”  “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.”  Prestige is a consuming need for recognition.  It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back.  It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so.  It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are. 

 

The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem.  I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came.  I want people to tell me I did a good job.  I want people to think I’m special.  I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.

How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.

If you can relate, you’ll want to read on.  God’s grace covers this sin.  His grace offers power to overcome it.  God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit.  I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue.  I’ve had moments of victory.  I remember more agonies of defeat.

Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart.  I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation.  Here’s the plan:

Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.”  The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige.  I’m excited.  Actually, I can’t wait for the test run.  Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan.  Wow!

It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy.  I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”  My translation became,  “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.”  The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart.  My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.

Now, here I go again.  When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.

I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.

What I’ve learned…

All believers can overcome jealousy, insecurity, and pride using my new  favorite words in the arsenal of God’s kingdom: Believe and Yield. First believe in the accomplished work of the Gospel. The complete Gospel says: Jesus walked a sinless life to show us that “yes it can be done.” Jesus’s death on the cross absorbed ALL the wrath for our sins. His burial and resurrection give us victory over death and assures a new life in Him. He now sits on the Throne interceding for us and assuring our victory.

That is amazing but there’s more…He gave us His righteousness, therefore we are no longer guilty of sin but we actually hold the identity of Christ. He poured out His Spirit to fill us with all the power, strength, love, grace, mercy, compassion, and whatever is needed to live the victorious life until we are forever united in Glory. Now that’s the Gospel. If we believe only the parts that say our sins are forgiven and He’s coming back for us THEN we are not believing the parts that we need to live each day. He insures our sanctification. We must believe He saves us from the penalty of sin but we must also believe He gives us victory over sin each and every day.

In the blog, I used the term: besetting sin. But once I began to live out what I wrote and believe the complete gospel, I began to see I should never ever have a besetting sin. In God’s opinion, the only one that matters, I don’t!!! I only have Jesus’ record and it is perfect as He is perfect. So once I begin to believe this truth then jealousy, pride, and insecurities die as I yield to the God that lives in me.

Oh how good He is. Oh how He loves me and you.

Now how is that lived out practically,  Get up each day and declare with all the faith of a mustard seed, “God loves me as He loves His Son.  Jesus paid it all.  It’s done.  He lives in me to complete His Kingdom work.  He receives all the glory when I yield to Him.  So therefore, may the God-in-me love others, may the God-in-me serve, may the God-in-me move mountains.  I believe your promises.  I put my faith in your Gospel.  I yield to Your presence.  Your will be done this day. Amen”

Pride and Insecurity go Together

imagesI seek prestige.

Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”

Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.

James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride.  The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.

Prestige.  “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.”  “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.”  “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.”  Prestige is a consuming need for recognition.  It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back.  It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so.  It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are. 

 

The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem.  I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came.  I want people to tell me I did a good job.  I want people to think I’m special.  I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.

How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.

If you can relate, you’ll want to read on.  God’s grace covers this sin.  His grace offers power to overcome it.  God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit.  I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue.  I’ve had moments of victory.  I remember more agonies of defeat.

Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart.  I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation.  Here’s the plan:

Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.”  The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige.  I’m excited.  Actually, I can’t wait for the test run.  Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan.  Wow!

It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy.  I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”  My translation became,  “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.”  The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart.  My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.

Now, here I go again.  When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.

I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.

What Your Children Need to Hear from You

IMG_1995I discovered a blog offering words to communicate to children. No doubt the list would challenge children, encourage them, and motivate them.  I would not be surprised if  any child who regularly heard such praise and motivation would not grow to be leaders among their peers as long as life’s hard blows didn’t outweigh the praises of their parents.

I marked the blog as a keeper but after a few reads, I was certain something major was missing.  There was no mention of the creator, our need for a savior, or our eternal purpose.  Yes, we can motivate children to conquer this world but in doing so, they lose everything in the next world.

So I decided to do some tweaking.  The bold italics are mine.  These I intend to teach Eli and Caleb.

IMG_21091.  I love you!  But Jesus loves you more.  There is nothing that will make me stop loving you.  Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.  I know this because God loves you through me.  My love may fail, but His never will.

2.  You are amazing!  I look at you with wonder!  Not just at what you can do, but who you are.  There is no one like you. No one!  God made only one of you because He has a special purpose for your life.  You were made in His image and because of that you are amazing and wonderful.  Without God, you and I are worthless.   But in Him we are amazing.

3.  It’s all right to cry.  People cry for all kinds of reasons:  when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely.  Big people cry too.  I do.  Jesus cried too.  God gave us His emotions so they are okay.

4.  You’ve made a mistake.  That was wrong. People make mistakes.  I do.  Is it something we can fix?  What can we do?  It’s all over.  You can start fresh.  I know you are sorry.  I forgive you.  It wasn’t a mistake, it was a sin.  Everyone sins.  A sin is when we don’t do what God wants us to do.  We can ask God to forgive us and He will.  What can you do to make sure you don’t do that sin again?  God will help you if you ask Him.

5.  You did the right thing.  That was scary or hard.  Even though it wasn’t easy you did it.  I am proud of you;  you should be too.  God gives us strength to do the right thing.  When we are scared or facing hard choices, God helps us.  We should trust God to help and then thank Him for His strength.  This gives God glory.

6.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.  I made a mistake.  I sinned against God and against you.  I asked God to forgive me, now I’m asking you to forgive me.

7.  You can change your mind.  It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change.  Always ask God what He wants you to do.  When you know it is God’s will, then stay firm no matter how hard it gets.  God will bless you for keeping your word.  

IMG_20928.  What a great idea!  You were really thinking!  How did you come up with that?  Tell me more.  Your mind is clever.  Did you pray about that?  Isn’t God good for giving you such a great idea.  What’s even better is now He will give you everything you need to make that idea work.  Let’s praise God.

9.  That was kind.  You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person.  That must make you feel good inside.  Thank you!  When you do kind, helpful and thoughtful things for others, you are acting like Jesus.  Jesus delights when you do His works.  When others ask you why you did that say, “That’s Jesus coming out of me”

10.  I have a surprise for you.  It’s not your birthday.  It’s for no reason at all.  Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.  I love to surprise you with presents just like Jesus surprises me with blessings. 

11.  I can wait.  We have time.  You don’t have to hurry this time.  I’m sorry I often rush you to keep my busy schedule.  Today, let’s do things slow and enjoy our time together.  God says if we wait on Him we can make us soar like the eagles.  

12.  What would you like to do?  It’s your turn to pick.  You have great ideas.  It’s important to follow your special interests.  God’s word says He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Let’s ask God for a special thing to do today.

13.  Tell me about it.  I’d like to hear more.  And then what happened?  I’ll listen.  Can you imagine that the powerful God of the universe bends His ear close to hear us.  He’s enjoying this story as much as I am.  Keep talking.

14.  I’m right here.  I won’t leave without saying good-bye.  I am watching you.  I am listening to you.  Jesus will never leave you.  He will always protect you.  He will always listen to you.  And because you are little, He uses me to let you know He is close.  I’m happy to know that we can trust Jesus to watch over us.

IMG_221915.  Please and thank you.  These are important words.  If I forget to use them, will you remind me?  I want to treat you with respect because you are made in God’s image like me.  I will use words that build you up and encourage you to be all that you were created to be.  When I fail, please tell me.

 16.  I missed you.  I think about you when we are not together!  I missed you so much but I knew God was with you.  Sometimes I can’t be with you but Jesus never leaves you.  

17.  Just try.  A little bit.  One taste, one step.  You might like it.  Let’s see.  I’ll help you if you need it.  I think you can do it.  With God all things are possible.  Let’s pray and ask Him to help you.  

18.  I’ll help you.  I heard you call me,  here I am.  How can I help you?  If we both work together, we can get this done.  I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked.  Just like you asked for my help and I am happy to help you, God loves to help us when we pray.  Let’s pray that He helps us do this together.

get-attachment.aspxThe ways of the world are good but when we add God into the equation, we give our children supernatural security.

He Sees Jesus in Me

imagesWhen God the Father looks at a believer, He sees His Son, Jesus.”

I’ve said that truth countless times.  My head knows the doctrine of justification.  Sadly because I’ve never defined it, I exhibit no power in those powerful words.

Until now!

After reading, “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitspatrick, I can define what the Father sees when He looks at me, His beloved daughter.

Read slowly; don’t miss this.  Imagine each statement as you look at your reflection before a Holy God.

Jesus’ perfect record has become ours.  Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus’ perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who

  • Always does the things that are pleasing to him
  • Is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food
  • Doesn’t seek your own will but seeks his will instead
  • Doesn’t seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others
  • Has always kept all his commandments;
  • Lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others
  • Loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis
  • Lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavenly Father more than anything else
  • Seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.

 …In God’s opinion (the only one that matters!) that’s your record today.

Page 74  “Because He Loves Me”

Anyone saying, “wow, wow, wow” with me right now?  If not, then you’ve missed the astonishment of these truths.

If you’re like me, you will need to lean in a bit closer to that reflection and probe for any evidence of these virtues.  If we can’t see Jesus and others can’t see Jesus in us, then maybe, there is a pride issue.

I have to remind myself over and over that his righteousness is now mine and that the way my heart harasses me is more a function of my pride and self-sufficiency than a sincere desire for godliness.  If godliness before him is what I was really after, then one look at the cross and empty tomb would suffice. 

 But I can see that I’m frequently more concerned about whether I approve of myself than the fact that he approves of me.  I sinfully long to be able to look at my life and feel good about my personal accomplishments and it is that desire that spawns crushing guilt.

 The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. 

Page 75 “Because He Loves Me”

 

The Gospel is our life, our hope.  We must daily review Bethlehem, Golgotha, Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives.  Until we are convinced that because of His great love, He came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried then rose from the grave, and is now seated in Glory.  He loves that much.

“I believe He won’t stop loving me until He stops loving His own Son.” 

How can we not passionately love and obey such a God?

Singular and Sovereign

I’ve discovered the secret to true joy.  God is not predictable.

That may not be the answer you were hoping to hear. I’m sure we’d rather have something like, God will answer your every prayer or God meets all your needs.  Though there is truth in those statements, they are still dependent upon ‘you’.  You have to pray.  You have to know the needs you want fulfilled in order to experience the joy of receiving.

True joy is absent of you.  True joy is only found in the Lord.  True joy is possible in the best of times and in the worst of times.  Solomon and Job depict both extremes and they came to the same conclusion.

Solomon had all the wealth and pleasures this world could offer.  They were a gift from the Lord.  His life journey is summarized in Ecclesiastes.  When you get past all the meaningless ‘life is meaningless’ phrases, you find a deeper secret.  It is possible to enjoy this life of confusion, disillusionment, injustice, and despair.

Job is a perfect example.  He above all others in his time loved and served the Lord.  Yet for no apparent reason to him, everything was violently stripped away.  He is in agony of soul and body.  The opposite extreme of Solomon for Job lost his beloved children and all he owned including his health.

He argues with his friends on the injustices of this world.  His friends try in vain to make God predictable.  They want to prove, ‘if a then b’.  If we pray enough, love enough, give enough, obey enough, then God has to respond appropriately to us.

Here’s where we get into trouble.  We lose our joy when God doesn’t respond to our asking and pleading, when God doesn’t act like the god of our image.

Job felt like he was completely in the dark, so dark that he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.  Yet he knew what his friends didn’t know.  God does what He wants, when He wants.   That truth terrified him.  Can you imagine meeting such a God?  Job dreaded the thought of it.  He lived in holy fear.

Live in holy fear.  That’s the same conclusion to life Solomon discovered.

I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always.  No addition, no subtraction.  God’s done it and that’s it.  That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.  Whatever was, is.  Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God.  Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 The Message

 

Notice the line I highlighted.  Stop asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.  Is it really that simple?  Only when we take ourselves out of the equation, only when we are focused on God and God alone, can we know the joy of real worship.

If He slay me, so be it.  If He bless me, so be it.  He is God.

This makes me ponder:

Would the religious leaders of His day have accepted Jesus if they had stopped asking questions and simply believed God could come as a baby and die on a cross just because He is God?

Why I think church growth strategies fail

If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve participated in at least a few of the latest trends.  They come and go.  Some work, some don’t.  It really doesn’t matter because the creator of the latest and greatest strategy got rich either way.

I find it all very frustrating.  Reminds me of the crazes that trap us into yet another diet, a few lost pounds, then regaining more than we lost, forcing us to search for the next sure thing.

Each church growth craze I’ve witnessed has gained a few believers (Praise the Lord!) but it soon mellows out and life returns to the normal often times dead Christianity until a next strategy motivates us to temporarily act.

Does the Bible give God’s perfect, no fail strategy?  I studied all the passages in Acts that stated something like, “and the church grew in numbers.”  It sounded like a church growth strategy to me.  Yet what I found was each time, the strategy was different.  God was not limited in how He worked.  I hope that doesn’t surprise you.

Consider the following examples.

Acts 2:41:  a mighty move of the Holy Spirit with the preaching of the Truth and God added 3,000 to their number that day.

Acts 2:47:  A church (devoted to teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, wonders, giving, daily meetings, praise, worship, favor of the community) acting out their faith in love to each other and God added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 5:14:  Believers walking in holiness to the commands of God’s Word not tolerating sin in the body through the practice of church discipline…more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

Acts 6:7:  Effective leadership and the body operating in their gifts of the Spirit...so the word of God spread. The number of disciples increased rapidly.

Acts 9:31:  A time of peace where believers matured in living in the fear of the Lord…and the church grew in numbers.

Acts 9:35,42:  The result of miracles displaying the glory of God…this became known all over…and many people believed in the Lord.

Acts 11:21:  The hand of God upon a refugees spread by persecutionbut preaching the truth as they traveled among foreigners…The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Acts 11:24:  Missionaries who are full of Spirit and faith going out with the Truth…and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Acts 14:1, 21:  Effective powerful debates on doctrine and theology and preaching the good news…and won a large number of disciples.

Acts 16:5:  Churches strong in obedience out in their communities.   The world takes note and wants salvation.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Acts 17:11-12:  Deep biblical Bible studies for those eager to examine Scriptures and confirm the truth of the spoken message.  Man of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent [Gentiles].

The truth is, they all work.  The book of Acts proves it.  Problem is, we need them all.  We even need those no one can make money promoting, persecution and martyrdom.

We fail when we focus on only one verse, only one way.  This creates program devotees, false martyrs, fanatical miracle seekers and over zealous strategist.

 Ponder this.  What would it take in your life and in your church to have evidence of all the above so that we could see great numbers of new believers added to our churches on a daily basis?

Is God Grieved over America?

 

I hear preachers and teachers often speaking of the wrath of God against our nation.  I do not doubt that we deserve His wrath.  Our sins are great, piled as high as the Tower of Babel.  But I cannot speak for the emotions of God.  I simply don’t know.

The Bible is not silent on the subject, God was grieved several times and we should learn from each account starting with Noah.  God’s heart filled with pain over the wickedness of mankind with every inclination of the their hearts and minds evil all the time.  He had to destroy all people.  He chose one righteous man to save the remnant.  Every other living human died in the deluge. (Genesis 6)

In Exodus 32 God is once again grieved.  He wanted to destroy the nation for their worship of the golden calf.  The chosen intercessor, Moses prayed for God to relent His fierce anger.  Moses shared the emotion with God and understood the cost of sin.  We can see this clearly in Moses’ prayer, “Blot me out of atonement, but forgive these people.”

An intercessor once again intervenes; God is grieved He made Saul king and planned to destroy the king.  Samuel was troubled and cried all night.  He mourned for Saul as God mourns our sin.  (I Samuel 15)

Finally, we see God’s anger when David trusted his own pride and took a census.  David’s chosen punishment was three days in the clutches of the death angel.  God grieved the calamity but continued with his plan to destroy the sin of one man.  David understood God’s grief, the cost of his sin as he cried out, “I am the one who sinned…Let your hand fall upon me and my family.”  David paid the price and sacrificed a huge sum to absolve God’s wrath.  (2 Samuel 24)

Here’s what I learned:

  • God’s grief is real.  Sin causes great pain to His heart.
  • God reacts to His grief by destroying those who sinned.
  • Prayer is powerful when the intercessor shares God’s grief over sin.
  • True intercession is costly.

If God is grieved over the sins of America, do we share in that grief?  God’s pattern is that He will relent the destruction when an intercessor will share His grief, offer his life, plead for mercy, and pray it through no matter the cost.

This makes me ponder; if Noah had interceded with a heart like God’s over the sins of the world, would God have relented?  I don’t know. Maybe some judgments are just part of the plan.

But I think with 3 out of 4 examples, God heard the prayers of a passionate intercessor.   This challenges me.   Instead of just pounding the nails of my daily grind in an attempt to save myself, I should…

  • seek to better understand the grief of God over sin
  • see my own sin as grieving the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30)
  • pray as if I am the sole cause of the judgment of God against the nation.

Only God knows what would happen if a nation of believers would become intercessors like Moses, Samuel, and David.

Seasons of Prayer

Your prayer time may not always be an emotional high experience.  Surprised?

I was.

I had read several books on the power of prayer.  I could quote testimonies of life-changing prayer encounters of saints throughout history.  I knew scriptures that displayed glory-filled prayer miracles.  And truth be known, that’s what I wanted, all the time.

Truth be told, it’s not always like that.  We should never judge our prayer lives by the highlights of others’ testimonies.  They have behind the scenes seasons just like us.  But any encounter with God is a life-changing prayer.

Solomon was right.  After all, he was pretty wise.  He said there would be seasons in life.  In those seasons your prayers will match the mood of your heart.

There will be times when you sing His praises,

There will be times when you scream your frustrations.

There will be times when you confidently ask,

There will be times when you groan in confusion.

There will be times of cheering His answers,

There will be times of weeping the agony of defeat.

There will be times He sits close and instructs,

There will be times when you plead, “Where are you?”

There will be times when you hear, “Well done!”

There will be times when you lament, “Woe to me!”

There will be times when you intercede for others,

There will be times when you beg for yourself.

There will be times of silence and solace,

There will be times of jubilant dancing.

But in all the times, the goal is to behold Him

The Grandest Treasure

“I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.”  Peter Kreeft, author and professor

Amen!

I have no doubt that every word Dr. Kreeft spoke is true.  A simple prayer can toss a mountain into the sea with ripple effects to a thousand generations.  Someday in Glory we will marvel at the tsunamis of our prayers and fall prostrate at His feet overwhelmed by the majesty of it all.

But as grand as all that, prayer power is NOT the real motivation to pray.  I want answered prayers as much as you.  I need a few mountains crushed.  I desire doors opened and pathways worked in neon lights.  But if that’s the heart of why I pray then I’ve missed the grandest treasure of all.

The truest reason to pray, the motivation of every heart is to have a glorious face-to-face with the Almighty God of the Universe.  The Ancient of Days who sits upon the Throne.  The I Am that I Am.  The Creator and Sustainer of Life.  The Holy, Holy, Holy One.

I pray so that I can behold Him.

Even if He sent 10,000 angels to answer my prayer.

Even if He opened my eyes to see those 10,000 angels.

Even if I’m allowed to watch them pummel the forces of darkness.

Even if I view the angels’ dance of victory over me.

I would consider all that nothing compared to the privilege of entering His Presence in prayer.  He is the motivation and He is the very great reward.

Father, forgive me when I lose sight of the miracle of prayer. 

 

If you struggle, as I often do, maybe these tips will help us all.

  • Before uttering a word of petition, read the recorded praises in scripture.
  • Stand as you read them aloud.
  • Sing praises to Him.
  • When you fall on your knees, you are now in a glorious face-to-face.
  • Savor Him.

Road-trip with Eli

With his momma and daddy enjoying a brief getaway in Austin, we took Eli on a road trip.  Thanks to the Gilbert family, we had an adorable beach house near fun sightseeing spots, perfect playmates for Eli with their three wonderful children, cat and dog, and entertaining adult fellowship with delicious food.  It just doesn’t get better than that.

But then it does because I learned a thing or two along the way.  Once again Eli was the professor in the classroom of everyday life.

Did you know that trashcans are just as exciting as exotic fish?  It’s true.  We spent one morning at the Aquarium of the Pacific observing fascinating sea life and Eli is pointing out the pictures on the trashcans.

The same lesson came at the beach.  He had the grandeur of the ocean waves and he had the water puddles from the recent rain.  Both delighted him.

Oh to be like a child.  We don’t need the exotic, the expensive, or the best of everything.  We can, and should be, satisfied with the simple things of life.

We drove the six long hours because we anticipated a grand time on the beach with our grandson.  He disliked the hot sand burning his feet, the wet sand sticking to his feet, and the freezing cold Pacific water splashing against his feet. I think it’s safe to say that Eli will not be a beach bum.  But once again, he taught me what I needed to know.

Only a soul at peace can sleep in the midst of chaos.  All around us were a gazillion squealing kids, surfers in front of us, volleyball games behind us, adults partying, sea gulls diving into the water or landing beside our towels, balls and Frisbees flying overhead, wind blowing and sand flying.

But at the beach, sleep comes easy because drowning out all the chaos were the steady, unending, unchanging waves and wind.  I need to remember this.  God’s power and presence could drown out all the craziness of my life if I would simply listen for Him.

The lesson couldn’t have come at a better time.  Before we arrived home, our phones began to ring and each call brought more heartbreaking news.

Praise God, we are sleeping sweetly in His steady, unending, unchanging Presence