His Perfect Wave

His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there.

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The warmth of the sun and the sand, along with the rhythmic movement of the ocean’s waves – just feet away – will easily lull the senses into a peace and calm not found many places. But as you lift your eyes and look out into the ocean you perceive a different story, one of tension and expansive movement.

Previously unnoticed a lone surfer has passed that calm warm sandy beach and persistently slogged through the shallow waves, reaching deeper and deeper. Soon, the only way to go further and deeper was to climb onto his surfboard and push against the pressures of the current. He continued his arduous outward endeavor, going further and further from shore. Seeming to either find the right place or just tiring out; he settles on the board – now sitting and surveying his newly acquired territory. Expecting him to stand and take each incoming wave, it is a wonder that he allows them, one by one to pass by as he waits. What is he waiting for? What is it he sees? How will he know the right one? When will he move forward?

These questions may never get answered for as if on queue, he slowly stands as a single – not so big – swell begins to form. He slowly lifts as the wave takes on a life of its own – growing in height and power. The sound of its approach is exhilarating. The waves upward movement, the slide forward and the beautiful delivery down to the waiting warm sand is exquisite. The surfer, like a dancer on a ballroom floor, sways with each move and sound that this incredible wave produces. This was the wave worth waiting for and this patient surfer reaped the joy found within her – riding this wave upward, forward and through the completion as he is delivered right out onto the warm sand. What a spectacular ride!

This picture of a very experienced surfer is played out differently as new surfers make many unsuccessful attempts to catch the perfect wave – getting dumped before they reach the top, being pulled under, and even eating and drinking both sand and salt water in the process. Learning the part that patience plays in this sport is what makes it worth the ride.

As we walk in our own life journey, it is much the same – learning to hear His voice, stepping out, moving forward and sometimes actually catching the “perfect” wave. His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there. You ride with HIM as the wave moves up, slides forward and beautifully delivers you onto the waiting sand. When we find that rhythm – we can’t wait to slog back out, arduously paddle deeper, push further and further out, for we know as we wait patiently – His perfect wave of HIS plan, HIS direction, HIS purpose – for this ride – will come. And when it comes – WOW – it will be one spectacular ride.

Philippians 3: 13b-14 But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Photography courtesy of J.K.Sanchez Photography

What a Ride – Let’s Go Again!

Walking in faith is rather like that roller coaster ride.

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The roller coaster looms ahead, growing larger as you move closer to the ticket taker.  Your heart begins to race as your sweaty palms clasp around the cold steel that locks you into place. Is it to late to get off, run the other way? The gears begin to clunk under the car, grinding forward as the ascent begins. “OH NO – here we go”. Your heart seems to stop and your eyes shut tight as you reach the top. Suddenly, the wind whips your hair back, the scream erupts from your throat, and the exhilarating rush of speed courses through every cell as the rattling coaster car descends, only to find it beginning the upward climb of anticipation again and again. The end comes sooner then you desire but the ride was worth every emotion that you experienced. The unexpected joyful cry is “what a ride – let’s go again”.

Walking in faith is rather like that roller coaster ride. We must be willing to accept and pass over our ticket, climb into the seat with shaking clammy hands, trust that the gears, car and steel will hold us and get us to the end safely. The uphill grinding and the downhill exhilarating rush are expected each time we step out and say YES, Lord! But when we take this ride of faith, we get through one ride and our excitement for the next is one of great expectation. Our hearts joyfully cry “what a ride – let’s go again”.

for we walk by faith not by sight. II Cor. 5:7

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. II Cor. 1:20

Your Spring Will Come

Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming

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Walking past barren, deciduous trees in early spring, a reminder of the past harsh winter is visible all around; however, an interesting event occurs as day after day you make the same passing. One day they are barren and suddenly, the next day they have burst forth in color. Hidden for those fleeting months life was sleeping deep inside; it  was producing energy to bring forth buds and conserving power to erupt with new life.

We too, live through times that are harsh, barren, and cold. Life circumstances seem to swirl around us and strip us from all hope, joy and motivation; emptying our leaves and leaving us standing just like those barren deciduous trees.

When our lives are dry, barren and broken we must look to the spring. Our spring waits for the warm touch of our Lord. He knows what is hidden inside of each of us, what is ready to flourish, what is ready to show forth His glory. His timing and our humility will change our mourning into dancing and produce what He has ordained from the beginning of time. Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming, rejoice in the hidden buds being created, and at the right time move in faith into a new flourishing display of His glory.

Psalm 30:11-12. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Walking Between Belief and Faith

As we listen to the Holy Spirit, are directed and encouraged, it then only takes a tiny bit of faith to say YES LORD. Then we take full flight in all HE has created us to be and begin to fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of our Lord.

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It’s spring and the birds are busy with preparation for the new life within their nests. Each step for those little lives requires a physical adjustment.

They find strength within to begin the pecking process to come into the world, if they never worked at pecking that shell, they would die.

Once they break free from the protective shell they must be fed from parents. They can believe and expect that food but unless they have the faith to open their little beaks to receive it, they will die.

As they grow stronger, and fuzz becomes feathers they must then take another big step of faith. They have seen mommy fly in and out of the nest, but just peaking over the edge is a scary thing. They get encouraged and nudged by mommy but believing still isn’t enough; they must have the faith to step over the edge, free fall and lift off. If they choose to stay in the nest, they will eventually die.

Once the flight ability occurs they still have much to learn, and each step in the growth process requires belief in what is being taught to them as well as faith to step out and do it. But, once they do- oh, what a beautiful world they have to enjoy. They fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of creation.

The whole process takes a short time but is one of walking between belief and faith.

II Cor. 5:7 for we walk by faith, not sight

Spiritually we too live a life walking between belief and faith. We can walk a life full of believing in the Bible, in who God is and what Jesus did for us. But, somewhere faith must begin to churn inside where belief changes and faith emerges. This faith begins pushing us to step into a place where we take the step over the edge, free fall and lift off. It is here that the transformation of the blood of Christ changes us to BE HIS representative in the earth. As we listen to the Holy Spirit, are directed and encouraged, it then only takes a tiny bit of faith to say YES LORD. Then we take full flight in all HE has created us to be and begin to fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of our Lord.

Let’s join our feathered friends – step out, free fall and lift off to higher places.

I Thess. 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – I Don’t Know This Person at all!

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away.

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I recently was given a birthday gift that shocked me to my core; a simple blank black notebook. It had been lovingly filled with comments from people who know me – those from high school, those from different states and different churches, those I have worked with as well as family, friends, kids and grand-kids. It was a very special gift. The next morning I picked it up with tea in hand and proceeded to enjoy this gift. Not expecting the impact it would have, I sat down to read this little book.

For the next hour I sat with Kleenex in hand as tears seeped down my checks, a few smiles and chuckles erupted and one or two outright sobs escaped my heart. I was confused – these descriptions didn’t match whom I see. It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the reflection looking back.

I set the book down – contemplating, meditating and asking God’s explanation of this dichotomy placed before me. Soon this question was stated as I prayed – “Ok, God what are you showing me?” “I don’t know this person at all, is this who I really am?”

I soon realized that this little book was a gift that was a glimpse of me through the eyes of Jesus. The person I have seen is so different. I have been looking at me with an out-dated blocked lens. Who I have become is no longer me, but Jesus in and through me.

As a Christian we always hope our light will shine and that the love of Jesus will permeate our lives but my thinking has been “it’s just me”, “it’s just who I am”.

“How do I see this person when I don’t know her”, I asked? His quiet loving response resounded in my heart like an explosion, as He whispered, “It’s just me – it isn’t you. It is my transformation as you have yielded time after time to my love”

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me.  As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away. Over years of life, this faith has created and transformed me into who I never really saw. The emerging transformed person is no longer “just Judy” – but has begun to shine out as “just JESUS”.

Do I shine out Jesus every day? Nope – I have to lay my human thoughts, words, desires, and actions down every day. But I believe He has shown me a glimpse of me through an unexpected mirror held up in the hands of those in my life, and I am humbled by that possibility.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV))

Faith Like Honey

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

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I recently pulled out a bottle of honey and noticed it had begun to crystallize. I dipped my spoon in anyways and it quickly adhered. However, it was so thick the spoon wouldn’t lift out, but as I placed the jar in a pan of warm water it soon softened back to it’s normal yummy consistency.   As this little morning event transpired I was drawn to a spiritual parallel.

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

Faith requires only one thing – that we believe. With honey we must believe it is sweet before we reach out to taste it; so it is with Faith.

Once we believe, faith is ignited and begins its transforming effect.

As we have looked at honey’s qualities so should our faith qualities parallel. Our faith in Christ should also be deep and thick – a relationship that has substance. A substance that transforms who we are and everything we touch. Our faith should be contagious – drawing others to us. Our faith should be sincere not pushy or overly sweet in its presentation, but full of love. Our faith should be addictive both to us as well as those around us.

This transforming effect isn’t something we can “work at” but just is – as we walk by faith not by our sight. Our love of Christ and desire for his presence will ignite our mustard seed faith and produce a tree of faith that will draw into our lives all that the Kingdom of Heaven has for us, just like the honey sucked in my spoon.

How is your faith consistency? Is it rich and thick? Is it crystallizing?

If it is rich and thick then keep it flowing and watch the transformation around you. As you dig deeper into His presence it will keep flowing, it will draw others and its addictively sweet flavor will fuel your desire and love for His presence more and more.

However, sometimes we carry our faith through years of life without using it. Like the honey, it becomes crystallized, thick and unusable. But, just like my honey; it only takes a little warming to adjust its consistency. Our faith can be re-warmed by simply stepping back to the place our faith began – the feet of Jesus.

II Cor. 5:7 (ESV) for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I John 5:4-5. (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

“You Better Soak That”

As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

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Today words that I have spoken probably a hundred times in my lifetime – “You better soak that” – jumped out at me as a source of pondering.

To soak something means that it becomes saturated for a purpose. We soak a grim covered pan, a stained piece of cloth, and even a dried up pot of soil. The purpose is to change it – remove the grim, the stain or, in the case of soil to till it – prepare it for something new to take root.

In the Christian church culture the word “soak” has run its course of the “in thing” – but in reality it is where we are changed. As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

Our busy lives find it difficult to slow down and take that time to be still but if we don’t, we live in a constant spin of chaos. Peace comes from that quiet place of trusting our Jesus.   It is during these times that we allow our grim and stains to be removed and our dried up soil to be saturated and tilled; then we are ready to receive something new that will take root and bloom in our lives.

Take time to “soak” – sit, be still, listen and receive – you will be amazed how his presence will refresh you, give you strength for the day ahead, and transform all areas of your life.

Ps. 46:10a “ Be still, and know that I am God.” (ESV)
Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)