When We Need a Psalm 23 Solution


CONTEST WINNER:
Congratulations to Betty Marschner for winning a signed copy of new book
"Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul." I will reach out to you today!
_____________________________________________________________________

The first time I recall reading Psalm 23, it was printed on the back of my grandmother's funeral service folder. Dad's mom was my favorite grandparent, so her death when I was in high school left an indelible impression.

After that day, each time I saw Psalm 23 it reminded me of loss. Of death hovering low. Of women dressed in black, shedding tears that washed off their makeup in streaks.

I didn't associate Psalm 23 with peace.

Interestingly, one of the first things I did as a new Christian at age 23 was to memorize Psalm 23. Reciting those words by heart made me feel like part of the club. That I belonged, somehow.

But over time, and experiencing some road bumps of life, God gave me a new understanding:

The dead don't need Psalm 23. It's for the living.

It's for you.

It's for me.

From churches to hospital rooms, in jail cells and across cultural barriers, Psalm 23 has blessed countless millions. Whether in times of peace or tumult of war, Psalm 23 is the most memorized and memorialized set of verses in Scripture. In our hectic, addicted-to-speed lives, it provides peace and comfort in the depths of our soul.

Psalm 23 relays God's promises to His children that no matter the strain of our days, we can close our eyes and find renewed strength in His words. Resting in Him is the key:
  • Without restored souls, we hurl toward hopelessness.
  • When we neglect green meadows, we are plowed under by anxiety.
  • When we pass by still waters, we're destined for the desert.
In short, when we abandon the Shepherd, we are lost sheep flinging ourselves at the prowling lion.

Regardless of how far we veer off the paths of righteousness and become tangled in life's briars, Psalm 23 provides the assurance that God's goodness and mercy follow us ALL the days of our lives.

Psalm 23 speaks universally, but touches individually because its real power is in the Shepherd it describes.

He's not out to deplete us.

He's out to quench us with His living water.

How has Psalm 23 affected your life?



{**This is an adapted excerpt from my new book, "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul" that released on last Thursday. As of this posting, Quenched is still ranked in the Top 50 Kindle downloads for Christian books -- PRAISE BE TO GOD!**}
Order HERE.
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A Joy, a Junk, and a Jesus {plus a Giveaway!}


On Sunday, I heard a fresh idea during the sermon that has been stuck in my head every since.

Sharing three Js at the end of each day. 

Some of our church's high school youth just returned from a mission trip to Moore, Oklahoma to help the ongoing rebuilding efforts following last year's devastating tornadoes.

Each evening the adults would gather the youth in a circle to process their day together, in order to grow closer as a group and grow spiritually.
  
Each one was asked to share three Js: a joy, a junk, and a Jesus.

For the joy, they shared something that gave them joy that day. Whether it was encouraging a fellow youth or feelings of accomplishment, the joys flowed freely with exuberance.

For the junk, they were asked to share something that bothered them during the day or got under their skin. In other words, emotional junk. 

For the Jesus, they were asked to share a moment where they experienced or witnessed Jesus move in a specific, powerful way.

The adults were amazed at how little junk was shared. There was plenty of joy and a whole lot of Jesus, but not much junk. It made me wonder:

When we focus on helping others and their needs, we don't have a lot of time to complain about our circumstances or inconveniences.

If someone were to ask me about my day, would I automatically jump to the joy, junk, or Jesus aspect? I wish I could automatically say, "Jesus, of course!" But honestly, it depends on the day.

I didn't like that answer, so I need to make a change. I want to see more joy each day. I need to see more Jesus each day.

So...

I pulled out a blank journal and free-handed an ink cover (don't laugh at my effort above!), and last night I began a new spiritual discipline. Before turning off the lights, I stilled my heart and mind, reflected on my day, and recorded my three Js.

Because I want to see more Jesus. 

Sometimes our days fly by with precious little time for prayer, much less intentionally reflecting on those Jesus moments. But I don't want to miss them! Do you?

This journal provides one way that I want to intentionally dive into God' Wellspring of Life each day to be Quenched through His grace, love, and provision.

I'm not sure where this new discipline will lead. But I have a feeling I'm going to notice a lot more Jesus moments than before. And regardless of how tough a given day may be, I am confident that I will still find at least one Jesus moment.

I wonder ... will you join me? 

Let's call it: "Three Js for Thirty Days."

Each person who joins me for the Three Js for Thirty Days challenge will get your name in the hat to win a signed copy of my new book: "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul." Just comment below by answering:

What do I anticipate God will accomplish during my Three Js for Thirty Days challenge?

I'll announce the winner on Thursday's post (I trust you to keep it up!). I'll follow up on this post in 30 days, because I can't wait to hear how God blessed your new endeavor!
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Secret Givers (and Ways to Pass the Blessings Forward)

 

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:2-4

In these verses, Jesus describes a type of giving that is known only to the Father. It's a giving so uninhabited that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing. 

The idea of giving without keeping a record or expecting praise is lofty and appealing, but it can be hard to find practical ways to live it out. Yet here we are in the middle of summer, perhaps with a wee bit of extra time to get creative in blessing those in need.

Here are a few ideas to be a Secret Giver to bless others - both outside and inside your home:

Blessing those outside our home:

1.   Instead of writing a personal check to a someone (those struggling financially tend to decline help because they see help as a hand out), send an anonymous cashier’s check. Gift cards can easily be sent anonymously in the mail as well. You can include a typed note that acknowledges the purpose of the gift: “For your house payment this month”, “For your car repair”, etc. This helps the receiver know how intimately and completely God meets their every need.

2.   Help anonymously with upcoming school-related expenses. Secretly pay for a child’s new backpack filled with supplies they'll need to start school. Or perhaps contact the grade school of a struggling family and ask to anonymously fill a child’s lunch account. Nothing says love to a struggling parent like someone who blesses their child.

3.   Send a lawn service over to mow the yard of a single mom or ill friend. Or send maid service to clean their house.  Speak to the service provider to set up the arrangement and pre-pay. Then mail an anonymous note to the recipient giving them the name and number of the person to contact to schedule their appointment. These gifts bless two-fold: (a) they meet a need; and (b) gives a tired mom some much needed rest. 

4.   Send movie ticket vouchers and a restaurant gift card anonymously to a young couple who need a date night. Give symphony or theater tickets to a family that might not ever be able to afford to go. Think specifically about how a particular person or family could be blessed by your anonymous giving. What gift would they choose themselves if they had the money?

5.   Bake a treat and leave it on a co-worker's desk with an encouraging note. 

Now what if there were ways to practice secret giving without spending money and without leaving our homes? 

Secret blessings are not only for our community, they begin at home. Parents, you are especially well-positioned to be secret blessings, but the entire family can get in on the fun. Any time you are home alone provides an opportunity to bless anonymously. 

Think creatively. Look for (but don’t be limited to) things that need to be done, but that often go unnoticed: 

Blessing those inside our home:

1.   Fold and put away someone else’s laundry, even if it’s not your job.
2.   Put fresh sheets on someone else's bed and hang fresh towels in the bathroom. Restock the toilet paper.

3.   Mow the lawn one weekday before the person responsible has a chance to do it.

4.   Unload the dishwasher or take out the trash, even if it’s not your turn.

5.   Organize a closet that everyone uses. Or organize the garage.  

Public giving certainly has its place, but so does secret giving – both outside and inside the home. The real trick to secret giving is to keep no record – to give expecting nothing in return – not a name on a building, not a sense of indebtedness in the receiver, not a tax receipt, not even a thank-you note. 

One day all of our giving will be known – those we have blessed in secret will know the instrument of their blessing was us. Our recipients will look back and say “It was you!”

And isn’t that a picture of how God gives to us? For our God is a Secret Giver – He gave us Christ before we knew we needed him, a Secret Gift whose value is immeasurable. 

God gives us grace throughout our lives in large and small ways that we will not see clearly until we see Him face-to-face. On that day we will look back and say “It was you!” for a thousand graces. 

I pray that you embrace and live in light of that truth today. 
Freely you have received. 
Freely give.

 Do you have stories about or ideas for secret giving? Let's hear them!
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Hope for When You're Exhausted and Can't Take Another Step {and the Contest winner}


CONTEST WINNER:
Congratulations to Anne Hartman for winning my book release launch basket and signed copy of
"Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul." I will reach out to you today!
_____________________________________________________________________


I woke up that morning with only one thought: I never want to get out of bed again.

I tried to fall back asleep. Too late, the film had started. My brain began flashing moments of the previous day's events like a black-and-white movie. The drive. The courthouse. The bailiff calling order. The lint on my sleeve when I couldn't look up anymore. 

I tried turning it off to no avail. The judge. The pen in my hand. A perfectly round tear splashing on the divorce decree as I signed my name. It wasn't supposed to end like this, God.

'Til death do us part. That's what we had promised thirteen years before. But I never saw this death coming. I don't know if actual death would have been worse. At least when you're dead, you don't feel anything. This was too much.

I slid off the half-empty bed to my knees. The sobs came in waves. Oh God, I can't do this. I don't know how. The last four months had taken their toll. Discovering betrayal. Dividing stuff that didn't matter. Believing I would never smile again. The thought of getting off the floor seemed too great a task.  

I was just so exhausted.

Have you ever been exhausted to that degree? When the thought of taking one more step seems like climbing Mount Everest? Then you need to hear about the brook Besor.

Perhaps it's been a while since you read past the brook Besor in Scripture. But this story needs to find shelf space in the library of God's soldiers. At the intersection of exhaustion and rest, this babbling brook runs through the crossroads of two possible futures.

In 1 Samuel 30, we find David and his six hundred soldiers dismissed from Philistine army after a long war, returning home to Ziklag to a horrifying discovery:

"And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire,
and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive." 1 Samuel 30:3

After weeping until they can't anymore, they set their sights on the Amalekites who caused the destruction, and set out to rescue their families. But they are weary. They still carry the stench and grime of a long war.

David and his men travel south and reach the brook Besor with its cool, refreshing water. Yet when it's time to remount and move on, two hundred men decide they can't take another step (1 Sam. 30:10). How weary does someone have to be to abort the mission to save his loved ones?

David takes the remaining four hundred soldiers, finds and defeats the Amalekites, rescues their loved ones along with much plunder, and returns victorious to the brook Besor. But David's men don't want to share the plunder with the two hundred who stayed by the brook and didn't fight.

Does that ring a bell in the Church today? Church pews overflow with those who have opted out of the latest raging war (like what color to carpet the sanctuary, and how many choir hymns vs. praise songs to sing). And as those wars rage, the exhausted, broken, and disheartened litter the water's edge.

As fellow warriors, we must decide what to do with the brook Besor people. Belittle them? Ignore them? Leave them where they've fallen? David chose the best option: He let them stay at the water's edge to rehydrate at God's wellspring. 

He extended grace to the weary. Jesus does the same with you.

David could have made those who remained behind feel guilty, or shamed them for opting out. But David set an important precedent: brook Besor sanctions rest for the worn-out soldier.

Do you find yourself on the roster of the weary? Unable to take another step? If so, listen carefully: it's okay to rest. Jesus said so: "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 

Jesus invites all to rest in Him. When life leaves us sobbing by the bed, Jesus doesn't abandon us. When the black-and-white reels of heartbreak, failure, and brokenness begin playing in our minds, we need to take a seat by the brook. Sometimes we become most exhausted just by trying to stay strong.

Are you battle weary today, fellow soldier? 
Sit down.
Lean against the Wellspring of Life.
Drink deeply.
Close your eyes, mighty soldier.
Breathe.
Take as long as you like.
The Church needs you.


{**This is an adapted excerpt from my new book, "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul" that released on Thursday. As of this posting, Quenched is currently sitting at #23 on the Amazon Christian best seller list for Kindle -- PRAISE BE TO GOD!**}
Order HERE.

Book Release Day! {plus an exciting Giveaway}



This day has finally arrived!

Unending joy gushes as I hold out this offering to you with trembling hands, trusting an uncontainable God to do uncontainable ministry through it.

Because it's all about HIM. 
For HIM.
Because of HIM.
In spite of my messes.

So what's it about? In writing Quenched, I pictured anyone who feels spiritually dehydrated. At some point, that includes all of us. You will find yourself on the pages of Quenched. Seekers or new Christians may feel thirsty for God's wellspring of life but do not understand how to access it. Veteran Christians may become exhausted by hectic demands or difficult trials and have temporarily lost the well's coordinates.

Since I have experienced both, it felt like writing to the person in the mirror. I warn you, the stories shared within the pages are raw and vulnerable, because I wanted to show how far God can redeem the broken, lost and confused when we trust Him to quench our every need.

Each chapter concludes with "A Pause at the Well" to think through some practical application either individually or in a group setting, along with Scripture passages and prayer prompts.

Here are a few brief excepts not yet released: 

"Peter needed assurance that it was Jesus who appeared inside the storm. Peter had no clue how that scene would conclude, but only by trusting...he learned firsthand that Jesus is stronger than any storm. Peter bravely faced the waves. The other disciples just, well...waved. Waved at Peter as he left. Waved at Jesus when He called. Walking by faith and not by sight means moving past simply waving at Jesus to actually following Him."

"Sometimes in our quest to proclaim the Gospel, we get pushy. Don't get me wrong; there is certainly a sense of urgency as we spread the Gospel. But that urgency doesn't need to look like shoving it down someone's throat. No one likes to gag, and we certainly don't want to induce the gag reflex in people when it comes to hearing about God's love." Love is patient.

To celebrate what we are trusting God will do through Quenched, we're offering an exciting giveaway!!
  • Kindle Paperwhite, with 6" High Res Display, Next-Gen Built-in Light, and Wi-Fi
  • Signed copy of "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul" 
  • Tea, to make your very own Southern iced tea
  • Artesian Ministries mug, in case you like your tea hot
  • Exquisite Chocolate, because it's not a prize without chocolate :)
  • Artesian Ministries notepad and pen

TO WIN:
  1. Leave a comment below and tell me why you'd like to read Quenched.
  2. Subscribe to my blog via feed or email [look to the right]. 
  3. Share this Release Day giveaway on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram (be sure to tag me--I am @donnapyletx on Twitter/Instagram) Each time you share this giveaway on social media, you earn another entry into the drawing!
The winner will be announced on Tuesday's blog post, so you have several days to share! If you'd like to order Quenched for you and/or a friend, click HERE.

I pray that Quenched richly blesses your spiritual walk and draws you closer to Christ our Soul Quencher. THANK YOU for the privilege of serving you along this crazy, joy-filled journey of faith.

Time to Comment, Sign Up and Share!
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The Christian-ese Phrase that is 100% Myth


When we struggle with certain areas of our life, some people like to spout one particular Christian-ese phrase: "God will never give you more than you can handle."

Many Christians hold to this as absolute truth. Actually, it's an absolute myth. Even though it's meant to make us feel better when waves of hardship crash over our lives, it's a dehydrating lie.

Can I ask you something? If God will never give us more than we can handle, then what do we need Him for?

We hear that Christian-ese phrase most often when someone we know is enduring a rough season in life. Has someone ever said it to you? How did you receive it?

When I was going through my divorce, I heard that phrase often. Honestly, it made me want to kick the person who said it. Hard. (Just keeping it real.)

All of us face seasons where we are overwhelmed. Sometimes it's our own doing, sometimes not. But ALL of the time, it feels like spinning out of control -- like you've lost grip on the pieces of your life as they are sucked away in an F5 tornado. Then some well-meaning person comes along, with sincerity in her eyes, grabs your arm to ensure she's got your full attention, and then lays that line on you.

Sheesh.

Those words are not welcoming or comforting. In fact, they often create discouragement that suggests the hurting person can't seem to control his or her life.

But most of all, that phrase isn't true.
God never said it. 
Jesus never taught it. 

This phrase likely originated from Paul's first letter to the Church in Corinth where he addressed temptation:

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Paul never suggests that WE have the strength to overcome all temptations; rather that GOD faithfully provides us with the strength needed to resist and be victorious. Also, Paul specifically addressed temptation -- not suffering, illness, pain, or affliction.

The quote dangerously implies that WE can handle the situation on our own. Again, that's just not true. May I suggest a new phrase?

God will never give us more than HE can handle!

When our soul thirsts after God, He meets us in the midst of our pain, mess, and suffering. He demonstrated His willingness to be our ultimate comforter by coming down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus knew that our sin was something that we couldn't handle -- even on our best days. Even when we're playing our A-game. He knows that we have no way to get ourselves out of our sin situation.

We cannot handle it, but He can. And He did.

When we are suffering and remember His promises, we will find Jesus right there in our time of need. In the hospital room. In divorce court. At the cemetery. In the unemployment office. In the prison cell of addiction.

So the next time you're tempted to spout to someone who's hurting, "God will never give you more than you can handle," switch it up for the truth: "God will never give you more than HE can handle!"
   
Then be His hands and feet -- pray with them. Offer to meet them for coffee to talk. Let them know that they are not alone. Then be prepared to witness God accomplish incredible ministry through HIS strength.

Have you ever offered or been on the receiving end of this mythical phrase?
What happened?




{**This is an adapted excerpt from my new book, "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul" that releases THIS Thursday, July 10th. Stay tuned to Thursday's blog post for launch day fun and giveaways!!}
Releases this Thursday, July 10th!

20 Soul-Hydrating Scripture Passages


God’s Word is full of inspiration and encouragement. When the demands of our hectic world leave me feeling dehydrated, there are certain Bible passages that flow like a river through my dusty heart.

As I wrote "Quenched: Christ's Living Water for a Thirsty Soul," I marked and highlighted soul-hydrating verses in my Bible for quite some time. Now, I want to share the top 20 with you.

If you're feeling like a parched desert traveler, I pray these passages hydrate you today:


Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

"Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." Ephesians 1:4-5

On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem ... and the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one." Zechariah 14:8-9

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35

"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat." Revelation 7:16

"He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers." Psalm 78:15-16

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." Psalm 42:1-2

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink." John 7:37

"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:11

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35

"For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." Revelation 21:6

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:27-28

"...and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. " 1 Corinthians 10:4

"And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

"And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:5


I cannot think of a better way to head into the July 4th weekend than to start out quenched by Christ. I pray that your celebrations connect you closer to God, family and friends as we celebrate the freedom of our nation and our freedom in Christ.

Which of these passages did God use to hydrate you today?
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Pre-order my new book here!
(Releases July 10th)

When Delays Help Us Remember


When I received a call from my publisher yesterday stating that there would be a 10-day delay in my book release due to unforseen circumstances, my first reaction was disappointment.

But not for long.

The delay was not their fault, so we spent time together brainstorming how we could work toward a making the release of "Quenched" even better for readers. {Stay tuned on July 10th!}

After we hung up, images began flashing through my mind of the incredible ministry that God has allowed me to be a part of through traveling to teach the Word between February and June 2014.

I must confess, tears flowed. He has done marvelous things!

Allow me to share a few snippets (I wish I could include all of them!):

February 2014: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO; "Single Again" - sharing insights with future pastors/church workers about how to minister to the divorced demographic in their future churches.

April 2014: Lutheran Women in Mission convention, Utah-Idaho District; Studying Psalm 8 about God's majestic name:

May 2014: Lutheran Women in Mission convention, Sacramento, CA; Studying Ephesians 6 about the armor God has given His warriors for spiritual battle:
  
June 2014: Lutheran Women in Mission convention, Rocky Mountain District, Colorado; Studying Luke 9 about God's harvest fields and His call for laborers:

June 2014: Lutheran Women in Mission convention, Oregon District; Studying from Isaiah 12:3 about the drawing water with joy from God's wells of salvation and a pre-release party for "Quenched": 

And the most amazing thing? God isn't finished. I'm privileged to see God moving powerfully in the Church today as people are excited about Bible study and mission work. 

So I'm thankful for this downtime to breathe before "Quenched" hits the shelves. It provided me time to remember what God has accomplished, and also peek ahead at the doors He's opening in the future.

How do you spend unexpected downtime?



Pre-Order "Quenched" today. It's available for immediate download on Kindle!
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My Favorite Things and Quenched and Feeling Small


We thank You, God, we thank You—
Your Name is our favorite word…
~Psalm 75:1 (MSG)

There are days when one feels hushed and small.

Like when a bit of your heart is about to be released into this crazy big publishing world.

And you feel small and vulnerable before an uncontainable, beautiful God –
and you wrap your hands around a mug of your favorite coffee…
and look around at the crazy joy of favorite things.

Like the whiskers on my two cats. Tucked in with each other like love and grace intwined.



Like the mug given to me by a dear friend, that holds coffee or hot cocoa as I study and write.


And this beautiful, Jesus-loving BFF, who walks this crazy journey with me.
Face right before Jesus, praying constantly
— encouraging me to lean right into this journey
— leaning right into Him.


And on the days when I feel small, I look to Him, the Soul Quencher extending His living water, and this astounding truth for the parched and grateful:

"But whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never be thirsty again." John 4:13

Tomorrow, I'll fly to Portland, Oregon to open God's living and active Word with women who crave His quenching. And in the midst of it, my publisher's book launch celebration on Saturday night, where I will hold this finished labor of love for the very first time.

So today, in these wee morning hours, I spend them on grateful knees. The calm before the whirlwind. Incredulous at this privilege. Overwhelmed by His grace.

And with all praise rising to the Father who holds His child hushed and small…

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On Those Days We Need a Harvest


"The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the
Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Luke 10:2-3

As a little girl, Grandma's garden was a magical place. Rising early, I would open the low picket gate, hands trembling with anticipation. High adventure awaited.

I loved pretending that beautiful oasis was my kingdom. I ruled over butterflies, bumble bees and fat red earthworms. My scepter was a floppy stalk of mint that smelled delightful every time it waved. 

Grandma puttered around in her floppy hat, earth-encrusted gloves, and apron patiently weeding, pruning and keeping the kingdom delightful. By the end of our lazy mornings together in the garden, her small basket overflowed with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and other delights we would enjoy later in the day.

Flowers were my crown, a little summer dress was my ball gown, and life couldn't get any better all the way around.

Although picturesque, when Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, He meant something entirely different than my childhood kingdom. He spoke of souls, not of garden knolls. Instead of butterflies, bees and worms, He spoke of laborers bringing in the harvest.

That's you. 
And that's me. 
That's every Christian who calls themselves a disciple.

Harvest denotes a time of urgency, not lazy summer days. It means a precious short window of time to pluck what the Lord of the harvest has already prepared: souls for His kingdom.

As His laborers, do we adopt the same sense of urgency? With over seven billion people on planet Earth, the harvest field is massive. When Jesus spoke these words about the harvest field, he looked upon that generation and saw people open and ready to receive the Gospel.

 You and I live in a generation ready for harvest. 

Look around, what do you see? I see thousands coming together at youth gatherings and Passion conferences. People say the church is declining. I say we have lost focus on the harvest.

Instead, what if:
  • ...we focused on reaching the lost instead of counting heads in the pew. 
  • ...we focused on ministry initiatives instead of placating the comfortably saved.
  • ...we focused on mobilizing God's laborers into the harvest field instead of moving someone out of the White House.
Being His laborer means I need to stop being a hypocrite and start loving people like Jesus did. It means I have to be willing to risk it all and get my hands dirty to bring in His harvest. 

It's HIS harvest. You and I just have the privilege of being His gardeners. We believe by faith based on God's Word that the harvest is plentiful.

It's a great big world. 
We have a great big job.
But we have a great big God who has equipped us to accomplish His great harvest. 

So we believe. We pray to the Lord of the harvest and step out in faith, trusting Him bring in an overflowing harvest. 
  
You can even wear a floppy hat.
 Thoughts?
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