An Audacious God?

Consider the audacity of a God who claims to be the “I Am.”

The essence of our Creator is beyond what we can comprehend with our limited one hundred billion neurons—give or take a few. Our brains possess enormous power to conceive and believe, but only to the extent of our innate potential. And we do not have the potential to fully understand or explain God. Human logic is incapable of explaining divine truth.

Our Creator defies human explanation. He said so himself (remember, we’re talking about an audacious God). “‘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 higher than your thoughts'”(Isaiah 55:8-9).

Many of us have probably made our own bold claims that we can explain the mysteries of God, but we can’t. Our finite brains can never fully comprehend the infinite mind of the One who set the world—make that the entire cosmos—in motion. We like to use analogies, especially parent-child analogies, to explain how God operates. But every example or illustration or analogy falls short of explaining the essence of God. The best we can do is offer a glimpse of who he is…by the way we reflect him in our day to day lives…

Ouch…I needed that!

Crying girlKids get hurt. And we as parents try to shield our children from the natural consequences of being kids. Listen to parents with their kids on the playground. The reverberating theme: “Be careful!” And we do need to teach kids to be careful – to some degree. But we also need to teach them how to live wild and adventuresome lives with a bit of wisdom. We need to let them learn the lessons of life by experiencing the natural consequences of their choices.

Q: How does a child learn the meaning of hot? A: By touching something hot.

Our youngest granddaughter, Braylin, recently learned the meaning of hot that way. Now when she’s told something’s hot, there’ll be no need to tell her to be careful. She will know to be careful because she knows what hot means.

Parents sometimes try too hard to protect their kids from germs. Kids need germs in order to develop immunity to germs. Sterilized kids are more vulnerable to inevitable contact with germs in a germy world.

What if we were to switch our focus from insulating and isolating our kids to inoculating them with truth? What if we were to allow them to experience the consequences of their “dangerous” behavior while they’re young—while the consequences are relatively trivial? Possibly they would be better prepared to navigate life with a bit of experiential wisdom. (

Our Father does not shield us from pain. He does not cause pain, but neither does He protect us from the natural consequences of our choices – or the choices of others. Why? Because He loves us, and a Father who loves His children allows His kids to experience the consequences of choices.

Just as our kids run to us when they’re hurt, we are designed to run to our heavenly Daddy when we’re hurt, too. But our tendency is to do life our way rather than God’s way. So when we feel pain and grief, what are we inclined to do? Make the discomfort go away. We have a pill for that, or an addiction. We gorge ourselves…we spend too much money…we compromise our values sexually just to try to sooth the ache and the pain.

But when we run to our Daddy, He will not only comfort us – He will also teach us the life lessons of what it means to live life His way rather than the way of the world. The bumps and bruises of living in a fallen world are inevitable. We get to choose whether or not we will trust our heavenly Father to comfort us along the way, and to guide our steps.

“The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” ~Psalm 32:8

Thanks Family Life Coach Mike…!

It was about three weeks ago I had a conversation on the phone with Mike Fendley, Manager of HomeBuilder Coaching at Family Life. It was one of those delightful conversations you know has been arranged by our Father. Mike and I had met briefly in February on the “Love Like You Mean It” cruise.

Mike’s gift is to encourage people to maximize the giftedness and opportunities God has entrusted to us. He’s good at what he does. By the end of our conversation, Mike had tapped in to the desire God has placed in my heart – and in the heart of my wife Rose – to share with others the flow of His Spirit in our lives. We love to talk and write about the Life Lessons we are learning along our journey with each other – and with Jesus.

Toward the end of our conversation Mike asked me what my next step might be. He also reminded me – kindly – of the fact I’m no longer a whippersnapper, and essentially told me I need to get on with the plans God has put in my heart.

So…Rose and I started our blog and I started tweeting—the same day. Like I said, that was about three weeks ago, and we now have about 450 people following us on Twitter, and our blog has had about  900 views. Rose is nearly bursting at the seams with happiness – LOVING the opportunity to write about her joyfully rejuvenating journey with her PapaGod!

Just wondering…what’s YOUR next step? Whether you’re a whippersnapper (like Rose!) or a geezer (like me!), what’s God stirring in your heart? Let’s get on with it. We have lots to do. And in all we do…may we bring glory to our Lord and Savior!

Thank you Mike!

The Exit Strategy…On my way to prison…Sign, Sign Everywhere a Sign!

Jeremiah 31:21“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns.”

Right or left…left or right? Remember the song ‘Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign’ by Five Man Electric Band? Ok…so now I’m dating myself! It was a 1971 hit single. The chorus line…“Sign, sign everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign.”

Sunday afternoon was an adventure for me and my friend Kim. We were headed eastbound on I-40 to Estancia, NM for ministry time at Torrance County Prison. I missed the exit and took us 70 miles (round trip) out of the way.  Once we realized the terrain looked a little unfamiliar, I turned around and headed back toward exit 196.

We were an hour late for our visit. We only have two hours to spend inside open population. By making the wrong turn, I had just cheated the ladies out of one of them!  By 4p the ladies are placed in lock down for mandatory count. That is our cue to pack up and leave. I felt horrible about being late.

The officer in charge of cell #4 was a kind lady – she extended a little grace our way! She approached us at 4 and asked if we wanted to stay until 5. Absolutely! (Even though my friend Kim would be late for a niece’s birthday party…sorry Kim!) We were grateful! So she took a manual count of the ladies that attended our session and allowed them to remain “in church!” Hallelujah…a redemptive moment!

Getting off course–missing the exit sign! More often than I care to admit,  over the years, I’ve made decisions without consulting Papa God. I’ve opened my mouth when I should have remained silent…I made choices that changed the trajectory of my life…decisions that had an impact on the lives of my loved ones.  I’ve gotten off track…wandered aimlessly, until my brokenness finally led me to crave wholeness…more than anything!

My inner craving always takes me back to my GPS…God’s Positioning System. The Word from my Heavenly Father is forever there for me!  All my questions answered, all my burdens lifted and all my hopes restored! Whether a minor or a major adjustment, He changes my trajectory back to the goal to win the prize. I’m heaven bound once again!

So I urge you my friend…if you are feeling lost, if you’ve missed the exit sign, if you are wandering aimlessly, if you feel hope fleeting…turn around! Papa God is patiently waiting for you, longing to show you the way. Dust off your G.P.S. and ask Him to reignite the passion within that is longing to be set ablaze. Remember…you can’t always trust your feelings, so go with what you know to be true. His Word is TRUTH!

“Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow” – Psalm 5. “Those who love your instructions have a great peace and do not stumble” – Psalm 119.  So take time right now…Pray, Ask, Listen and heed His instruction!  He will lead the way!


“Hey Dad, do we need this!”

Hey Dad..!

Hey Dad..! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was in the irrigation department at the Home Depot when a scene unfolded that drew my attention…and my heart. A dad was searching for whatever he needed when his little guy – maybe 3 or 4 years old – grabbed something that caught his eye. It was a bubbler head on a small plastic stake that attached to a 1/4″ tube. The price tag was $1.04. “Hey Dad, do we need this!” It was more of a statement than a question. There was no doubt in this boy’s mind it was indispensable to the success of their project.

Barely looking up, the dad flatly told him “No.” With sadness, the little guy put it back in the bin.

It reminded me of the time I was at Lieske’s Hardware Store in Davison, Michigan with my youngest son Ryan. He was about 7 at the time. Ryan spotted a 4 1/2″ Makita grinder he thought we needed. (I don’t remember exactly how much it cost, but it was more than the bubbler head:) My first thought was the same as the HD dad… “No.” But I could tell by the look in Ryan’s eyes this was a time I needed to decide with my heart rather than my head. We bought the grinder, and he carried it to the truck – like it was some kind of trophy.

In a way, it was a trophy. It proclaimed, “Your little voice matters!” It was a priceless moment. The money I spent was an investment in him, and in us – as father and son.

As a dad and a grandpa, I’m sure I’ve missed many more opportunities than I’ve gotten right. So all the more, I wonder when the next opportunity to invest in a precious life – to hear the voice – will pop up.

“The Call”

The glimmering city lights of Nairobi were spectacular as the plane banked toward the runway. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of the two-week adventure that lay ahead of me. I took in a deep breath, and then exhaled slowly. I recalled the distant yet emotionally vivid memory of myself as a young boy, holding on for dear life to the back of the pew in our little country church. It was the altar call, and I was scared to death I might get “the call.”

You might know what I’m talking about—the “missionary call to Africa” we get when we decide to “give our all” to God.  The altar calls demanded every ounce of strength I could muster to stand my ground, even though everything inside me wanted to be God’s little warrior. But I had to stand firm. I couldn’t risk full surrender, knowing it could mean the end of life as I knew it. I liked my life just the way it was. A sentence to some remote jungle of Africa, never to see my family or pony again, would ruin everything.

It didn’t help that the song leader – and everyone for that matter – always seemed so somber, like someone had just died, or was about to die, as we sang songs like I Surrender All, and I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go, Dear Lord!

Now here I am, about to land in Africa.  My pulse quickens as I rehearsed my mission: Deliver thousands of dollars worth of drugs and medications to an orphanage near Kobare, north of Lake Victoria and a little north of the equator, not too far from Uganda. In essence, I’m an international drug runner, and I don’t know a soul where I’m going. But I’ve never felt so alive in all my life!

Fools Rush In ~

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14).

I woke up with some heaviness in my heart…too many thoughts…anxious thoughts….the little frets that overcome me when I don’t see quick results to my prayers. It was pre-dawn…the usual time I begin my day with Papa God. I took my usual place on my window seat, the Word at my side, coffee cup in hand, iPad and laptop poised…not knowing if I would have anything to journal this morning.  Starring out the window, looking eastward in anticipation of the sunrise, I petitioned my Father….opening my heart to Him. Then I sat back and allowed His Spirit to awaken in me, listening intently to what He had to say. I began to read His Word.  The clarity of His voice in the passages He gave me resounded one distinct theme, “Patience…wait on the Lord’s timing”.

He took me to Acts, chapter 27. There I read the story of Paul’s warning to the officer in charge of the ship that was headed to Rome. “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” But the officer did not listen. As the story unfolds–as you may have guessed–Paul’s intuition is proven to be right. The storm raged to typhoon strength and the ship was blown out to sea. The Word continues…“The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone. No one had eaten for a long time.” Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place. We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship – the ship itself is doomed…but don’t give up!”

Wow! Not only did Papa God say “wait patiently” in His Psalm, but also in the Book of Acts, He painted a clear picture of what to expect if I don’t wait patiently. Trouble ahead….a shipwreck of unparalleled proportion! Hope would be blotted out because of disobedience. And I would suffer from a lack of strength to resist the enemy if I didnt’ eat.

My Spirit smiled wide…the anxiety lifted and joy took its rightful place in my heart! The necessity of spending time in His Word…the need to daily “eat” the divine portion of His truth that will lift my doubt and carry me through any storm, penetrated my soul! And the blessings that He will pour out if I simply OBEY…and wait patiently!

Oh how I love you Papa! I love spending time with You…listening to Your voice!

As the sun rose and its rays warmed my skin, I began to praise Him, thanking Him for His everlasting presence in my life! O how HE loves me….how He loves me so!  Be blessed today…allow HIS SON to warm your heart….eat…be still and hear His voice! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose


Hissings of Gossip…

“My name is Gossip. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and I gather strength with age. The more I am repeated, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I wreck marriages, and ruin careers — cause sleepless nights, heartaches, and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses…I’m gossip.”

Gossip has become what I call a “winkable” sin. It’s so commonplace—so socially acceptable—we make jokes about it. It’s like gluttony and laziness, and other sins we’ve adapted to…to the point they no longer seem like sin. How quickly do we stand in judgment of the athlete who gets caught texting peep-show pictures, or the pastor who gets caught with his pants down. Do you know that when we gossip about that person, our gossip is just as sinful as the sin we’re condemning?

There’s something within us that wants to talk about the dirty laundry. So the cause is in our heart. The problem with gossip is not so much that we do it. The bigger problem is that it’s in our hearts to do it.

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” ~Luke 6:45

LIFE…out of the dirt…

I’m fascinated by our Creator—what He’s really like! I see evidence of Him all around me…every day. I look often toward the mountains and am reminded of His majesty. At times I’m spellbound by what appears to be His glory hovering over the highest peaks of the Sandia Mountains. And when I look at the intricate beauty of a flower, and smell the fragrance, and realize this thing of beauty grew out of the dirt, I am amazed! Still…I am even more amazed that He loves me—and that He has a Plan for my life, and His Plan is good. In fact, it’s PERFECT! (Jeremiah 29:11)

I squandered several years of my life because of my deceptive and self-destructive ways. I perverted the precious gift of life, and I was compelled to live in the shadows of guilt and shame. I hurt people by my foolishness. I felt as though I had disqualified myself from ever finding real peace and meaning in my life.

But…God invited me to come back home to Him. And I accepted the invitation. I was given yet another chance.

By His grace He has healed my heart. And He has not only restored my life, but He has given me an Abundant Life…far beyond anything I ever imagined…and far beyond anything I deserve. That’s His Amazing Grace! And I am astounded that He has invited me to share in His Plan here on earth. I get to tell my story of mind-boggling peace…and of a purpose that is eternal.

The good news is that He loves to forgive us and restore us to a relationship with Himself. He only asks that we admit to our need for Him, and humbly ask for the gift of His grace in our life, and receive the New Life He has prepared for us–Eternal Life that begins the very moment we are set free by our amazing Creator!

The Exit Strategy ~

When your heart aches with a longing that cannot be tamed… and you know where you’re at  is no longer where you want to be….it’s time to develop your Exit Strategy!

Have you ever felt stuck in a place or in a situation you know is wrong for you? Have you told yourself over and over and over again, “It’s time to make a change…time to move on….time to get right with God?” The clock keeps ticking…on and on…and at the end of the day you find yourself in the same place you were when you started your day! Discouragement sets in and you go back to bed with that empty feeling…once again. The cycle of frustration continues as the minutes melt into hours, the hours into days and the days into months… and there you are…no further along than you were when you started.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Have you considered that you are trying to do life in your own strength? You’ve gotten into the bad habit of not waiting for instructions from theCommander in Chief! You rush into the battle unprepared, only to come out of it at the end of the day all bloody and bruised!

When will you listen! Don’t you know that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords was there the second you opened your eyes in the morning! Yes…Christ Himself was right there with you! He is saying;  “Humanly speaking, it is impossible; but not with God. Everything is possible with God!” (Mark 10:27).

Learning to be still…to listen for His instruction…is the key that will open the doors of the impossible. Learning to pray in a new way….to wait upon the Lord for His instruction instead of rushing into the day unprepared…naked! Would you do that?! Would you go out the door naked? No! Just as you take time each morning to shower, dress, and drink your first cup of coffee, how much more important it is to connect with our Heavenly Father! He’s there…waiting in the pages of His Word…patiently longing to empower you for the tasks ahead…waiting to give you the pep talk you need…waiting to show you a better way to get things right…waiting to see if you’ll invite Him to go with you on today’s journey!

He’s there…patiently waiting. The Resource is ready! Why in the world would you set out naked! Don’t you know that “In His presence the mountains quake and the hills melt away; the earth trembles…The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust Him” (Nahum 1:6-7). So let Him in… “Be still and know that He is God.” He has your best interest at heart. Don’t rush out the door without Him. Begin your daily exit strategy with your Commander in Chief by your side!  ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

To be continued…


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