When it’s time to ARISE

Once I met a woman with the soul of a preacher and a Jesus-love that made me lean in, just wanting to catch some of it. That night we met, I was her only congregation. She sensed something empty in me, and she sought to pour into it, into me, words budding with life and with hope. What this woman didn’t know is that that morning, I found myself on my knees, bent over with my face on the floor. I was desperate, begging God to ease my fears, to calm my anxiety, to heal my wounded way of living. I was so, so tired of dealing with health issues and the endless unknowns. But God didn’t exactly meet me in my humility, didn’t comfort me in my distress. In the midst of my turmoil, I sensed His gentle voice, “Arise, my child.” Yet, for some reason, everything in me preferred to remain kneeling, broken and begging. And, it was then that I realized I didn’t know how to arise. In fact, I had gotten comfortable pleading. I suppose I just wanted God to do a miracle in me. Poof! Just like that, I could be changed and given a heart of courage. That was until that evening when I sat across from her in a simple living room. Her brown eyes looked at my soul and didn’t let me squirm away. “Too many Christians be forgetting their identity is in Christ,” she huffed, hands open and imploring the ceiling. “He’s already provided it, honey, He’s already provided it! Don’t be praying for something He already gave.” And as...

In High Motion

Jesus said {to Peter}, “Don’t be so sure. Today, this very night in fact, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” {Mark 14:30 – MSG} This morning, as I’m reading about Jesus’s impending arrest and betrayal in the gospel of Mark, I’m drenched in fresh conviction. Peter never planned to deny the Lord. His intentions were such that ‘even if everyone else is ashamed of you when things fall to pieces, I won’t be,’ {said Peter to Jesus…vs. 29 MSG}. I’m much the same. I never intend to deny Jesus. Yet, I do…in actions and behavior. For the past three days, I’ve essentially done that. I’ve ignored His presence. Forgotten He was there. Discounted what He may have wanted to speak to me. Why? Busyness. My own affairs…my schedule…my agenda and standards. You know what I do when things begin falling to pieces? I hunker down…act on impulse, push others aside and set my stride. Recently, I read an article about the cheetah with my 9-year-old son. Did you know that this amazing creature, one with speed and agility, rarely gets to ‘keep its prey’ after a fascinating and high speed kill? Why? Because the pace itself, from start to finish, is energy depleting. Usually, in the end, other rivals come along and devour it, and the cheetah is left hopelessly exhausted and defenseless. {The analogy-lover in me took notice} For a second, I saw myself going in for the kill… I’m GOOD at the hustle and bustle, the grit and the grind. I can reach a goal. I can orchestrate a set of circumstances....

Perched on Fear

 ‘That day, when evening came, He said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” – Mark 4:35 – NIV In this scripture, Jesus is leading His disciples to the ‘other side’ of the Sea of Galilee. It was His invitation…His idea. But, a violent storm would soon threaten to overtake their boat. And, Jesus would be found asleep near the stern, while the disciples were quickened with panic. How often do we feel led to move, only to feel as though God has fallen asleep on us? All we see are the swirling winds above and the charging waters coming our way. Maybe you’ve found yourself asking, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that I’m going down?” {Mark 4:38 MSG} I’m always a little surprised about how ‘surprised’ I get when I follow Jesus and become tossed in the barrel of a furious storm.   I remember a particular moment when I was nine years old. I was perched on the top step of my family’s carport, toes white in a pinched grip. Lightning surged across the sky, reaching and bending towards the Earth in a bright burst of yellow and white. Like the disciples, I was perched on fear, my sights set on the fury and threat of the storm. Though I tried to look away, I found it impossible. Have you ever experienced this? Moments where you knew you needed to turn away, look to Jesus, yet, the sheer magnitude and power of the storm demanded your attention? And what happened then? Your eyes were stamped with bright white dots which served as...

Starting Your Day With An Attitude Of Gratitude

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. -Charles Swindoll The alarm clock sounds, soon after my feet hit the floor, then it is a scurry of activity for the rest of the day. Listen, I get it, life is busy. It sneaks up on you and before you know it, an entire week has gone by and you haven’t even taken a minute to stop and say thank you for all the incredible blessings in your life. Yes, I mean to the people in front of you, but more importantly to the One who gave it all to you. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:20 NLT I see you shaking your head right now. You’re thinking to yourself, “well, that’s easy for you to say, Melissa, but you don’t have any idea what’s going on in my family right now. There’s not much to be thankful for.” And you would be right, I don’t know, but I do know this, that no matter what trials you are experiencing in your family in this season, there are still things you can be thankful for. I’m not discounting how hard it is. Believe me, I know. We’ve had some of the most painful, heart breaking storms in our lives these last six months, but here’s the trick–I’m not focused on the storms…I’m focused...

Look at Me…

Grabbing my face with both his hands, my son Luke said, “Mom! Look at me when I’m talking to you.” He then slowly closed my laptop saying… “Mom, you know I don’t like it when people aren’t looking at me when I say something to them.” “Honey, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just good at listening and typing at the same time, but I will not do that anymore…promise.” Luke shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay Mom…but, remember you promised.” It was hard to believe that my almost thirteen year old had a pet peeve, but he did. And come to think of it…it’s a good one to have. When you speak to someone and they’re looking everywhere but your eyes, you feel very unimportant to them. I do know how that feels and felt really bad that he felt ‘ignored and unimportant’ because I didn’t stop my multi-tasking and look at him while he spoke. Sitting in my ‘quiet chair’ I pondered on that for a while realizing that God, I’m sure, felt the same way. Maybe this was His pet peeve too. When we, as His children, speak to God our Father, we have his full attention, his entire presence is amongst us. He doesn’t ignore (although sometimes we may feel that way) and never do we feel unimportant to Him. But, what about when He speaks to us? Do we listen? Are we so busy with our busyness that we forget to look up and listen to what He says to us? I know at times I am. Wouldn’t it be great if God would grab...