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finding meaning in the mundane

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Stop Striving, Start Listening

hearing from GodBe still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46:10

I love that verse.  In fact, I love that whole passage.  The whole Psalm is amazing.  It is such an awesome reminder to me.  This morning I woke up and did my daily routine.

  • turned off the alarm
  • got out of bed
  • tried to quietly sneak down the creaky steps
  • flipped on the keurig
  • waited with arms crossed for the keurig to say, ‘ready to brew’
  • fixed my cup of coffee
  • headed to my office

Every day that is my routine.  Yet this morning I heard God whispering to me saying, “Be still and know that I am God.  I’m the one who holds this world together.  I’m the one who woke you up this morning.  I’m the one who is going to give you strength to make it through the day.  I’m the one who is going to protect your family.  I’m the one who is going to be the provider.  You don’t need to do that. Continue reading

Too Big For Fear

fearWhat would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  I love that question because it allows me to dream.  It allows me to let my mind go wild.  If there is nothing to hold you back, it’s amazing how many things you’ll end up dreaming about.  Too often our dreams and passions are limited by what we think our realities are.

What if God has a different set of realities for you than you think have?

Too often we get inspired by a message, or by something we’ve read in scripture and we look at it and say, I could never do that. That would require me to give up my financial comfort.  Or it would make me standout and look like the weird guy in the office.  Or my family would ridicule me if I really put myself out there and lived out the dream that God has given me.

Fear prevents so many people from following God’s dream for their life.  

In the book of Exodus the Israelite people are in slavery to the nation of Egypt.  Every day they wake up, make bricks, and go to bed, only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.  Making bricks, baking bricks, and stacking bricks.  That is the life of the Israelite slave in Exodus chapter 5.

BUT GOD…

I love that.  I love when the Bible says ‘but God’.  But God heard the cries of the people and stepped in to rescue them.  His plan to rescue His people included one man named Moses.  Moses was living on the backside of a mountain taking care of sheep and God speaks to him and says, “I need you to go and tell Pharaoh to let my people go.  Go to the most powerful man in the world and tell him to release his entire work force.”

Moses was afraid and insecure to do what God had asked him to do.  The dream was too big for Moses, too frightening, and too overwhelming.

What dream has God been laying on your heart lately?  What is it that you think that God is asking you to do for Him?  How are you responding?  Are you afraid of what will happen if you do it?  God won’t give a dream, a calling, a command, or a vision, to you just so that He can then hang you out to dry when you start to act on it.  God is faithful in the big and the small things.

Moses said, I am not a skilled speaker, how will Pharaoh listen to me?  And I love what God says back.

I am the Lord; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you.

In other words, don’t worry about what you are going to say.  I’ve got it covered.  You just need to do whatever it is that I have laid out for you.  Just listen and repeat after me.

Too many of us rationalize and explain away what God is impressing on our hearts to do.  Don’t be concerned with how following the dream, vision, or calling that God has given you affects what you need to do 3 years from now.  Be concerned with how it affects right now.  What do you need to do right now to live out the dream that God has given you?

Which is bigger, your calling, or your fear?

~Peter

 

Caves, Hideouts and Tree Forts

A Psalm of David, while he was in hiding.

“Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord that to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Psalm 118:4-9

We traveled to Ein Gedi to see the land and all of the mountains around. We are traveling through an extremely arid climate where everything went from being lush and green to being sandy and dry. We pull into the park and we begin to hike up the mountain towards the source of a waterfall. Along the way we are looking all around us and are noticing the caves that dot the mountainsides. These are the same caves where David came to hide from Saul in 1 Samuel. King Saul is ticked off at David and he has come to hunt him down. He wants him dead. Where does David go? To Ein Gedi. He and his men are hiding in the caves there when all of a sudden Saul comes along. Saul enters the cave that David and his men are hiding in to “cover his feet”, or “use the facilities”. David cuts the corner of King Saul’s robe and lets him live.

These are the caves where David was hiding. This is the same location that it is thought that David wrote Psalm 118 from. It gives a new perspective to the thought “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in __________” Here is David hiding in these unbelievable caves and yet he cries out from the depths of his soul, it is better to take refuge in the Lord! Those rocks are so strong, and protective. That is why David was there after all. Yet, those rocks do not hold a candle to the strength, the power, nor the refuge that our God will provide for His children.

Here’s the crazy thing. Many of us turn towards our own caves, hideouts, tree forts or safe places when we enter into times of trouble. Can you say along with David, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in _____________”

I am learning to…

~Peter

Dead Sea

Caves of Ein Gedi

Caves in the Rock face

Rock Caves

Fear Cripples

What are you scared of?  Noah has been lately saying that he sees things crawling out of the heat vent on the floor.  I’m pretty sure that nothing is crawling out of there, but it is his mind that is saying, what if something crawled out of there?  And I agree, what if something creeped, crawled or slithered out of the heat vent.  That would be pretty scary.

Fear is that thing that creeps into the back of our mind and offers up the idea that something unsettling might, could or will happen.  Fear is felt at all ages and in someways it grows with you.  The older you are the more there is to fear.

As a child I never feared that we would have enough money for the necessities of life.  I never feared that our cars would break down.  I never feared that my home would catch on fire.  I never feared for anyone else’s safety.  As a college student I didn’t fear that I would hurt myself when playing sports.  I didn’t have any fear that the cafeteria meal was heathy enough.  As an adult we have a whole new level of fear.  In this economy there are many people who are deathly afraid of job loss, market shares dropping, and mortgage payments being made.  Fear is everywhere.

Fear is not uncommon.

The Old Testament shares a story about Isaac’s son Jacob.  Jacob had tricked his father into giving him his brother Esau’s blessing.  Jacob had previously purchased Esau’s birthright for a bowl of soup.  This made Esau very angry, to the point that he was ready to kill Jacob.  Check out more of this story in Genesis 25, 27-28.  With fear for his life, Jacob fled from his father’s country.

Many years later Jacob is living with his father-in-law, Laban.  The time comes for Jacob to leave Laban and he becomes fearful of seeing his brother again.  His fear of Esau is building.  Jacob sends some messengers to his brother to let him know of his intent to return.  The messengers return with this message, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

I love that last part.  I can almost hear it.

Messengers: “Yeah Jacob, we saw Esau.  He said that he is coming to see you.”

Jacob: “Oh, cool.”

Messengers: “Um… Yeah, about that.  He is also bringing 400 men with him.”

Jacob: “Gulp…”

It is right there, in the four hundred men, part that Jacob’s fear grips him and grows within him.

I love what Jacob does.  Jacob prays.  Jacob speaks to God and says,

‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’  … Deliever me I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.’

FOR YOU SAID, ‘I will surely propser and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’

Do you see what he did there?  He remembered God’s promise in his life.  See, God had previously promised Jacob that he would be a great nation.  So far he was not a great nation.  I guess it means that Esau was not going to kill him.  If God said it, it was sure to happen.  Jacob clung on to that hope.

In the times of your most intense fear what do you do?  Do you cling to the hope that you have, or do you throw up your hands and grasp at the wind looking for answers or any ear that will listen to you whine?

Have you ever been in a situation where like Jacob you had to cling to the promises of God’s word?  

I have.  It has been a scary but safe ride.  Fear cripples, but faith clings!

~Peter

Hero to zero- FEAR

Okay, so what truly scares you?  I hate spiders… They creep me out, scare me, and just all around bother me like nothing else.  Several months ago, I hear my name being yelled from the basement of our townhouse and Tiffany says, get down here now!  So, of course like any good husband would do, I bolt down there to aid my damsel in distress.  I get down there to see a monster spider just chillin’ in the middle of our carpet, hanging out like I wanted him there or something.  So, upon seeing the sight, I said, what do you want me to do about it?  You kill it!  Talk about manly, knight in shinning armor momments, this was not one of mine.  I hate spiders…   Did I mention that?  I think I threw a stack of magazines in that general direction in hopes that my shot gun approach would in fact disable the spider to the point of death.  I was successful.  

So, we are back to Acts today.  Acts 9:10-19…  Check it out here…  

Here is this guy Ananias who gets a call from God to go and do the scariest thing possible.  Go and visit Saul.  Saul (later Paul) had permission from the High Priest to take out any of the believers that were following “the way”.  Ananias says, “God, I’ve heard the bad things this guy can do to me… Like for real?  You want me to do that?”  God replies yes!  I have called you to this…  This is for you.  Face your fear, and be obedient to me.

Ananias, a normal guy, we have no idea where he comes from, or where he goes after this, but God has called him to this task.  To face his fear and obey God.

What scares you?  What do you think God is asking you to do that just terrifies you?  Let’s hear em…  

~Peter (still scared of spiders)

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