Thoughts from Wim Hoff.

I know what you are thinking, who in the world is Wim Hoff? And why should I care what he's thinking? Well in brief he is this Dutchman that goes running around on the sides of mountains in nothing but a pair of shorts and occasionally, sandals. I saw a documentary about him last night on Discovery. They called him "The Iceman" because of his uncanny ability to withstand temperatures for periods of time thought impossible for humans. He once spent 1 hour and 17 minutes packed in ice, remaining alert the entire time. He's even taken a stab at Mt. Everest wearing nothing but his shorts and sandals. Which again begs the question, why do I care what he's thinking? Well, I will tell you... during the course of his interview last night he said something that I had to write down:

I am not afraid to die... I am afraid not to live.

You see he's faced quite a bit of eyebrows-raised-criticism for what some would think of as dangerous, frivolous, antics. But to him, running through ankle-deep snow in a pair of cotton shorts is living.

Now I'm certainly not advocating stripping to the bare essentials and jogging around in the snow, or even the sun for that matter. But this mantra of his, "I am not afraid to die... I am afraid not to live" got me thinking. It got me thinking about a story I recently read in the Bible. It's a story that has haunted me in a way, challenged me. You can find this story in Numbers 13-14. I encourage you to read it for yourself... but here it is New Revised Becky Paraphrase:

Almighty God has delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea, protected them during their passage through the dessert, met them on a mountain, fed them from His very hand... you get the idea. God has been there for His people. In every detail He has provided. He has not failed them a single time. He had proven Himself a trustworthy, faithful, generous God. And He has done all of this to deliver them into a land flowing with milk and honey.

Here we find the Israelites camped at the border of this Promised Land. God tells Moses to send in 12 leaders to scout the land and bring back to the people a report, and so they do. Among those sent are Caleb and Joshua. These twelve spies go into the land and when they return they bring with them fruit as evidence of the bounty of the land they have seen. They tell Moses and the Israelites "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!" (13:27) You can picture it, can't you... "It's just like God said it would be! Look, here is the fruit of the vine... and it's everywhere!"

and then it comes.

the but.

"But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large." (13:28)

So human, huh? Out of the twelve that went, ten were convinced that the people inhabiting the lands were too large and powerful for them to overtake. The fatal flaw is that they didn't have to do it at all... their God would go before them and behind them! He had promised them this land and He had demonstrated Himself to be a Father who never breaks His promises! He had parted the sea on their behalf! What could He not do? But their faith was not in Him, it was in their own ability.

Dang it.

But there were two, Caleb and Joshua, who stood up to the crowd and proclaimed "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us." (14:7-9) They proclaim if God is for us, who can be against us!!! (Romans 8:31). They beg the Israelites to trust the God who had already shown up in so many ways, to trust that He would provide, to believe that He would go before them. They tore their clothes and cried out to the Israelites who were by this time in full freak-out mode.

Despite all He had already done for them, the Israelites could only see the obstacles. They were so sure they couldn't go any farther that they petitioned one another to choose a new leader and... hold on to your seats here... return to Egypt. Seriously! They wanted to return to slavery!

But Caleb and Joshua thought differently, and God said "But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." (14:24) Caleb demonstrated the heart God would have us seek after- a heart that trusts in HIS promise and provision! And because Caleb had this heart, God said "I will bring him into My Promise!"

Boy do I ever want to be THAT guy.

But instead so many times we end up being the masses that writhe around in doubt and unbelief, the ones about whom God said: "As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say" (14:28). Over and over again God had heard them whine and moan that God had only brought them into this desert to die, over and over again God had heard them doubt His provision, over and over again He had witnessed their unbelief... and finally He said "That's it! I've had ENOUGH! I will give you exactly what you have asked for over and over and over again! Here! Have your death if that's what you want so badly!" And He declared that not one of the unbelieving Israelites would enter the Promised Land.

I do NOT want to be that guy.

I do not want to be the one that only sees the obstacles, and fails to see the one Who has already overcome those obstacles! I want to be CALEB. I want to be the guy that says "No! Don't turn around! Press on! With GOD all things are possible! He said He's going to do this, and He will!"

Now, some of you may be wondering, what in the world does this have to do with Wim Hoff? [and the rest of you, weary from this long post, have already forgotten all about him, right?] You see, Wim isn't afraid of dying... he doesn't see an obstacle... he sees an opportunity to LIVE.

My friend, if you are alive in Christ Jesus, you are ALIVE. You need not fear death, but relish every opportunity to live out your life in the light of His grace! We are going to face challenges- that's a promise... but take heart because each of those are an opportunity to shine, grow, and learn. Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).

When I worked at Hartland I would often go into Steve's office with the proclamation "Steve, I have a problem"... to which he would promptly (and quite annoyingly) reply... "is it a problem or an opportunity?"

Steve, I get it now.

When the Israelites stood on the shores of the Red Sea, they saw an obstacle, and God saw a chance to SHOW OFF. When they cried in the desert that they were starving, their eyes were on the problem, but God used it as an opportunity to demonstrate His grace and provision. On their own, they could not have made it into the desert. On their own they could not make it through the desert. And on their own they would not make it into the Promised Land, but with God ALL THINGS are possible. And He eventually did lead a new generation into the land flowing with milk and honey.

When we face obstacles, we should be like Mr. Hoff, and Steve Hart, and Caleb... and instead of focusing on the problem look for the opportunity that lies within that problem. Who knows that God won't call any one of us home this very night? Who knows that we will live just another week, or month, or year? That, my friends, doesn't scare me at all... what scares me is the thought of not living a life devoted to Him in the meantime.

I am not afraid to die... I am afraid not to live.


Submission is...

Scary blog title, huh? It's okay, you aren't going to have to sit through my definition today! But God has given me a testimony about this topic, and some day I look forward to sharing it!

The last two days I have listened to a broadcast from Beth Moore by Focus on the Family entitled Embracing God's View of You Marriage. It's been SO good. If you go to the Focus on the Family website you can listen to this two part series online. To find them I did a search on their site for "Beth Moore" and this broadcast was first on the list... or you can see if this link works [no guarantees, folks... and this is only for the first half. the link appears to be broken for the second half so you'll have to go through their site to find it].


It honestly doesn't matter if you are or are not married- if you are in a relationship you should listen. There's a lot more to the message than Biblical submission, so go and listen.

But this is the quote that sealed the package with a little bow for me. I love it...

Submission means learning to duck, so God can hit your husband.
-Beth Moore


I want to know You

Exodus 33:7-23
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp... 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

12 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."
14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." ...
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

I love, love, love, love this passage of scripture. There is so much here about the kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him... and the richness of relationship He is ready to pour out to those willing to receive Him, for those willing to surrender to Him and His will.

There is a lot here, and could go on and on about these verses, but I want to focus in on a couple of key points. First, in verses 10-11 we see three different reactions to God's presence. Moses enters boldly and there he talks to God face to face, like a friend talks to a friend. Now we know that he didn't LITERALLY stand before an infinite God, looking at His face and having a conversation (see verse 20)... but this means that they talked intimately. Directly. That Moses asked and God answered. But what about the others in the community? Did they enter boldly? No... instead they stood at the openings of their own tents and bowed down. They watched Moses enter God's presence and then worshipped the LORD vicariously through him. And the one who was there with Moses, Joshua, never left the tent... He just stayed there in God's presence all of the time. I'm sure Moses would have stayed in the tent if he could have... but he knew the calling of the LORD, he knew that he had to GO and DO.

Think about that for a bit. Think about who you are. Nothing in this scripture says that what the Israelites or Joshua did is wrong, so be honest with yourself. Are you like Moses, entering the presence of God boldly, talking with him like you do your BFF? Then taking His Word to the world and leading them back to His presence? Or are you Joshua, the one who soaks in the presence of the Almighty God but never leaves the tent to share what he's experienced with others? Maybe you are among the many standing in the entrance of your own tents, unwilling [timid? unworthy? afraid?] to approach Him on your own, living vicariously through the ones who tell you how good it can be? Where are you when it comes time to worship the Almighty God?

It's comfortable to stay in the doorway of your tent. And of course it's great fun to be Joshua, basking forever in His presence. But studying this passage of scripture again I’m challenged by what Moses’ response to God is… he meets with Him face to face and then he takes God from the tent to the people. He enters the presence, he soaks in all that God has to offer him, and then he goes and acts as God's hands and feet in his community.

That doesn't mean that experiencing God personally, intimately, powerfully is a bad thing. That doesn't negate the importance of having God Encounters on a regular basis. It just means we have work to do too! Our friend, Moses had an unquenchable thirst for God and His presence. Despite the fact that he was with God for 40 days on the mountain, met with Him regularly in the Tent of the Meeting, talked to God directly and intimately… He still hungered for MORE. And in verse 18 he makes one of the most bold statements we’ll find in scripture… God agrees to go with Moses and Moses responds by asking...

Now show me your glory.

He wanted more. No matter how much he knew of God, he wanted to know more. Just before this request, Moses said to God "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you." Moses clearly knew the Lord, many times he has experienced the power, might, and intimacy of the great I Am. In fact we just read a verse before that he met with God as a man meets with his friend, yet he was wise enough to understand that no matter how much he knew about God, there was always more to know. No matter how well he understood the ways of God, there were still things to learn. So BOLDLY (you agree it's bold, don't you?) he asks God... Show me your glory! I want more! I want a new revelation! I want to experience another facet of Who You Are! Show me your glory!!!

I have had some pretty amazing God Encounters. I have studied His character in His words and deeds. I know my Abba, Father. I love my Savior. I walk daily in the Spirit... yet this knowledge of mine is like a drop in the ocean of the vastness of His personhood. We have to remember that there's always more to know, that God will never fit into our narrow, human definitions... no matter how comprehensive we think that definition is, God won't fit into it. So we need to expect that this big, big God will act on us, and in us, in ways that we cannot understand or comprehend! Are you willing to surrender to that? Does your heart burn with a passion for Jesus? Does it burn with a passion to know Him more?

[btw for a great sermon on that topic go here to listen to Seth's sermon from Sunday. click on Burning Heart. it's sooooo good.]

We need to cry out to God, teach me your ways so I may know you! We should desire to talk to Him face to face! We should have a heart for taking His Word to the people... and then leading His people into His place of promise! And even after we have experienced his power and might and intimacy over and over and over... we should cry out to Him... show me your glory!

And guess what... He will.

Freedom in Worship

Loved this blog by my Turtle Sister, Jennifer...
Be Challenged.

Freedom in Worship


Prayers Please

One of my coworkers husband has been having severe medical issues for the last year... and was just recently placed on a transplant list for a multiple visceral transplant...

Well they got "The Call" today and he was just taken back into surgery! He will be receiving SEVERAL organs and the surgery is expected to last 8-12 hours.

Please be praying for Brock, his wife Brenda, daugther Sydney and the doctors.

Also pray for the family that is suffering great loss today so that Brock may go on to experience life.


how ironic....

that every time you've checked my blog lately the only post you found was one that said "the silence is deafening"? LOL

just so you know, i've not fallen off the face of the earth or into a pit of depression! just am without internet access right now so am checking my email sporadically and not having the time to blog like i wish i could... but let me say WOW... God is good!

i stand back and look over the last couple of weeks and the ways He has moved in the lives of my loved ones and i can't help but be AMAZED by his goodness! i look at the way He carried me through the spiritual attacks i have faced and can't help but fall on my face in thanksgiving.


The other day I brought home an impulse bag of Nacho Cheese Combos. The pretzel kind. You know, the best ones. I love those things and only buy them occasionally because I WILL eat the entire bag. Apparently Zach loves them too. He kept coming back to get one or two more. And again. And again. And again. After a few times, this hungry mama was like "those are my combos!" LOL so the next time he came in he was really stealth about it. I was sitting on the couch, bag of combos on the floor in front of me. I was on my computer and so he came in and slowly crept down (right in front of me) and slid his hand in to get get a hand full of deliciousness. I watched him the whole time, not saying a word until he slowly stood and turned to walk away. Then I said "That was pretty sneaky" and he looked over his shoulder with that patented Zach grin and off he went with his Combos. (don't judge me here. maybe i should have taken the combos back from him, but i was completely disarmed by his cuteness).

This morning as I meditated on the last few weeks, I was thinking about those things that we lay at the feet of Jesus and then later go back and pick up. I know I'm not the only one who does that, so maybe this will minister to you also today. The thing is, we don't march to the throne boldly and announce to Jesus "I really want that discouragement back! It's MINE!" no... we creep in quietly, crouching, grab that thing we shouldn't have and run away like a child. But you know we aren't getting a handful of goodness (like Nacho Cheese Combos)... we are going to steal back depression, offense, financial problems, prodigal children, hurt, unforgiveness, guilt, blame, shame, self-hatred, pride... So this morning I was asking Jesus why He didn't just smack my hand away when I tried to pick things back up. And He immediately brought that story of Zach to mind. How I sat there and watched him "sneaking" right in front of my eyes. I saw everything he did but for whatever reason felt the need to let him follow through with his stealth act of combo-sneaking.

In my mind I could see Jesus standing there with things scattered around His feet and me creeping up to him. Not approaching His throne with great boldness, but rather timidity and apprehension, because lets face it, we know our mission is one we shouldn't be on. Glancing out of the corner of my eye to see if He's watching me. Crouching down and reaching my hand out to grab those things better left in His care. The me in my vision never looked up to His face, that me couldn't bear to see Him... but in my minds eye I could see the tears streaming from His eyes. The hurt as He let me take the things He knew I shouldn't have. His eyes upon me, and His heart aching for me to leave it alone.

Yet He doesn't force us back or yell at us. He allows us the choice to leave things at His feet, and the choice to pick them back up. And He loves us anyway. Then when we come back to Him, He graciously takes those burdens from our backs again.

I've given my burdens back to Jesus. This time I'm going to do my best not to sneak back into the throne room to pick them back up. Instead I'm going to approach Him with great boldness, feasting on the banquet of good things He has prepared for all of us who know Him. Seriously, who wants the filthy scraps from the floor when we could instead feast on divinity prepared by the hands of the Most High God?