Tuesday, March 22, 2011


"On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.

Enter with the password: 'Thank you!' Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him." (Psalm 100:1, 4, MSG)

Ever have one of those days where you can’t feel God’s manifest presence, but you’d like to? There’s a secret for coming into God’s presence—thanksgiving.

“Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’” (Psalm 100:4, MSG)

Begin by counting your blessings.

If someone in your family did something nice for you, you’d thank them, either on the phone or in person, right? Either way, it’s a personal thank you. When you approach God with specific thanks to offer, you get personal with Him.

God is a personal God. He creates things around you, forming them in your life, just for you. Favorite foods, gorgeous land- or seascapes in nature, family to love you. When you thank Him, you realize just how personal He is. And your heart softens toward Him. And when your heart softens, you enter into His presence.

When we thank Him personally, we connect with the real Him. We remember how much He cherishes us (which melts our hearts even more).

Thankfulness is humbling—another helpful heart state to have when approaching God.

And thankfulness endears us to Him. We see His goodness in our lives; He knows us so well and answers our prayers specifically. What's not to love?

So, let’s start thanking Him—it’s the key to entering His presence. He’s given us the password. Now, let’s enter.

“Lord, I thank you for breath today, for another day to worship and serve you, for…”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I picked up my smart phone today to call my husband. Cool thing about this phone is you don't have to scroll through all the numbers or worry about assigning speed dial. I can click on “favorites” and he’s right at the top of the list. Moments later we’re talking.

Got me thinking, who’s at the top of my heart’s favorites list?

One of the things that determines positioning on the favorites list is how often you speak to the other person via the phone (they call you or you call them). My husband’s first.

If my soul had a favorites list, would Jesus be first?

I was calling my husband with a question and good news.

Whom do you call first?

When you’re wondering about something or worried about something, do you pick up the phone or drop to your knees?

When you’re excited about something, when a breakthrough hits, do you pick up the phone or shout praises to God?

Is Jesus first on your favorites list?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

He Knows Best

Our dog hates the cold, and if the grass is wet, forget it. You have to toss him into the yard first thing in the morning for him to get his business done. And it’s both businesses he has to do that time of day, if you know what I mean.

When we first got him, we thought he could tell us if he had to do business 1 or business 2 or just one or the other. NOT SO. We learned the hard way that even if he returns after business 1 without having accomplished business 2, we should NOT let him in the house. If we didn’t demand he do both, pretty soon, there on the floor was the mess of business 2.

But Jack doesn’t know himself. He doesn’t know what’s best for him.

This morning, he shivered in our chilly temps from the moment I let him outside. Reluctantly he accomplished business 1, but then wandered back to the patio and stood there shuddering, looking up at me as if I should rescue him (let him back inside) before accomplishing what I knew must come next.

Finally, I had to chase him into the yard with the command and he took care of everything. Whew! Now I could let him back inside, where I knew he’d warm up and stop the violent shivering.

Was it fun to watch him resist what needed doing, even as he suffered? No.

Was I tempted to let him inside so he could warm up? Yes.

Did I worry what the neighbors might think, if they could make out his full-body quaking from the cold? Yes.

Did I know what was best for him (and our carpet)?? Yes.

Oh, so many parallels to our human experience with God. He’s sovereign, and He’s good. He can see what we can’t. And He knows there are no shortcuts. He knows us better than we know ourselves. If we don’t go with His plan, we’re likely to make a mess in our lives somewhere.

So, look to Him. Don’t look for shortcuts.

Trust Him to know you better than you know yourself.

Believe He’s good, even if he asks you to go the difficult route. It’ll work out.

Standing there waiting for our dog this morning, I considered the size of his brain—his intellect/wisdom/understanding/knowledge is so far inferior to ours. Same’s true of us compared to God. He gives us understanding, or we’d have none. So, ask for wisdom. Then follow and trust.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV)

Things’ll work out better in the end. And you’ll be glad you followed.