The Spigot

As my husband, Gary,  watched from a distance the way I served others, he often described it this way: “You get to help people, who’s cups are depleted or empty, place themselves under the spigot of God and His Word so that He can fill them, restore them, guide them and use them.” 

Through these bi-weekly posts, move your cup under the spigot of God to receive encouragement in life and truth from God’s Word to live the full life offered by Jesus (John 10:10).

Questions

How is it with your soul today?

When was the last time someone asked you this question or one with similar depth?

Jesus asked questions, a lot of them. He entered into conversations that brought about lasting change by asking thoughtful and meaningful questions.

  • “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
  • “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. (Mark 10:51)
  • “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)
  • “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
  • “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)
  • “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28)
  • “How many loaves do you have?” Matthew15:34)
  • “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew16:26)
  • “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17)
  • “Do you love me?” (John 21:17)

How often do you ask questions in conversations? Questions followed by silence invite others to consider their response and enter into a reflective exchange. These discussion-starters open the door for further familiarity in relationships. When questions flow in dialogue, vulnerability and honesty emerge.

Children ask a lot of questions. The inquiries of kids arise from curiosity, wonder, and longings to understand. Perhaps the perpetual barrage of questions by the little people in our lives becomes exhausting, but their inquisitive spirits teach us as we age. Do we live with curiosity, wonder and longing to understand?

The Bible records the story of Priscilla and Aquila. They engaged in thoughtful conversation with Apollos. When these three met up, it became evident that Apollos didn’t have the full picture of Jesus death and resurrection. Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos into their home. They offered curiosity, hospitality and shared the way of God more accurately (see Acts 18: 24-26).

I imagine this mighty couple asking Apollos a lot of questions to initiate deeper understanding of the wonder and power of God. This interaction changed the story for Apollos. He became a bold follower of Jesus Christ and a great help to those who believed in Jesus. Confidently, Apollos refuted his Jewish opponents in public debates demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-6).

When we develop relationships by asking questions, we learn and grow together. We humbly set aside preconceived ideas and expectations, and learn the heart of others as God created them. When we query each other, we respectfully acknowledge we don’t know everything about the other person. This leads to growth, interesting conversation, and honest sharing.

Frank Lauback, a missionary to the Philippines in the early to mid 1900’s, poignantly urged people to move into sincere honest conversations. He desired authentic interactions that offered space to pose questions, listen, and respond to the wonderings and longings of the soul. He moved dialogue beyond mere facts and shallow musings to profound soul revealing engagement.

I love Lauback’s exhortation in Letters by a Modern Mystic from January 26, 1930.

“In defense of my opening my soul and laying it bare to the public gaze in this fashion, I may say that it seems to me that we really seldom do anybody much good excepting as we share the deepest experiences of our souls in this way.

It is not the fashion to tell your inmost thoughts, but there are many wrong fashions, and concealment of the best in us is wrong. I disapprove of the usual practice of talking “small talk” whenever we meet, and holding a veil over our souls.

If we are so impoverished that we have nothing to reveal but small talk, then we need to struggle for more richness of soul.

As for me I am convinced that this spiritual pilgrimage which I am making is infinitely worth while, the most important thing I know of to talk about. And talk I shall while there is anybody to listen. And I hunger – O how I hunger for others to tell me their soul adventures.”

Do you struggle for more richness of soul in your conversations?

Let questions open doors to sharing soul adventures.

The next time you find yourself interacting with someone, listen and ask questions. Purely pay attention to their heart and words. Experience the unveiling of their soul. Just as Jesus posed questions to instigate awareness and growth, allow authentic curiosity and wonder to flood your conversations.

Not sure what questions to ask to lead into the sharing of soul adventures? Here are a few ideas:

  • How is your soul?
  • Who is God to you right now?
  • What is on your heart today?
  • What do you need?
  • Describe a high and low today.
  • What gives you life?
  • How are you stuck right now?
  • Where do you notice God?
  • What is your prayer life like?

Let’s share soul adventures by engaging in conversations that change through the powerful use of questions.

How is it with your soul today?

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Luke 17:17
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Mark 8:27-29
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Martin Copenhaver. Jesus Is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered. Nashville, TN. 2014.

Joanne J. Jung. The Lost Discipline of Conversation: Surprising Lessons in Spiritual Formation Drawn from the English Puritans. Grand Rapids, MI. 2018.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

October 26 – Denver, CO
My son, Sammy, gets married to a beautiful young woman, Emily, on October 26th. Would appreciate prayer for a blessed celebration. Thank you!

Spur

What are you reading that encourages your soul? How is the Bible bringing life to your day? Have you shared it with anyone lately?

The verse, Hebrews 10:24 reminds us to consider the ways we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. When we share the ways God moves within our soul, the impact and power of prayer, and the significance of Scripture, we spur each other toward depth with God. Opening our hearts and sharing our journey with its ups and downs stimulates others, motivating them to move closer to Jesus in their own spiritual journeys.

So, where have I been sitting with the Lord, lately? Among other passages, Psalm 23 has been a place of consolation. While perhaps one of the most familiar Psalms, God, by His Spirit, has used these God-breathed words to impact my soul.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

The first verse reminds me that God is my guide and that I have everything I need. In Him all my needs are met. I am not deficient as He satisfies me. Do you realize you lack nothing?

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

This verse illustrates my experience with Jesus. The Lord makes us lie down. This isn’t a request. There is power and authority in His movement toward us. He prevails upon us so we are still. In what areas of your life is God making you lie down?

Green pastures sound lovely. It causes me to think of a lush, verdant field. One of the practices my nutritionist suggests is walking barefoot in the grass. So, on evening walks with Joy, I enjoy strolling through the field with my toes touching the grassy blades. For centuries people walked barefoot everywhere, but today we cover our soles with rubber. I think we’ve lost something along the way. Try it. Walk in the grass for a few days and notice how it impacts you.

He leads me beside quiet waters,

I love that our God who is present with us leads us beside quiet waters. The waters provide peace and nourishment to our parched souls. I imagine God taking my hand and leading me. I am thankful that He leads and I follow. I can trust the way He takes me.

Erroneously, I assumed the path beside the quiet waters would also be “quiet” or free from debris and turmoil. I now understand that although God leads, the path is not always clear and smooth. Thorns, pebbles, and twigs often litter the route. Pain and peace coincide together along the way with Jesus, yet, the gentle hand and presence of the Lord never leaves our side. In what ways do you follow the Shepherd?

He refreshes my soul.

Do you desire refreshment? I know I do. Too often, I desire refreshment from God before being held to the ground or while following a twisted path. Refreshment follows both God’s direct intervention in our lives as well as His gentle leading along calm waters.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Again, God guides. He leads us along right paths so that He is honored and glorified. Do you trust Him to lead you? Is your faith in God’s direction, or do you attempt to sort life yourself? How are you experiencing God’s glory along the path you currently tread?

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Walking through the dark valley is not optional. It will happen, we just don’t know God’s timing for the treacherous encounter. Fortunately, God’s very companionship in the midst of the agonizing time offers comfort, correction, and connectedness in the space of suffering, confusion, shame, conviction, and uncertainty. His perfect love casts fear away in the darkness.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

God lavishes His abundance upon us in our time of need. He takes care of the preparations and knows what is needed to nourish our souls. God often does this while others look on, those who have intentionally and unintentionally participated in wounding our souls. God’s focus is our presence at the table. His tender care and planning attend to us when we feel beaten and broken by others.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

God blesses us in our messiness. He causes our emptiness to be filled and then we overflow with His goodness and grace. Our cup spills over because God is generous. He bestows favor and dedication upon us as we embrace His presence and protection. In what ways do you notice God’s blessing in your life today? Do you thank Him for blessing those around you? With what is your cup overflowing?

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

Imagine goodness and love trailing behind you every moment of every day. It is as though you are wearing a veil and these traits of God’s character follow you wherever you go. Look at them. Notice God’s goodness; His generosity. Notice God’s perfect love; His sacrifice and redemption.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We get to enjoy God’s presence forever. Now, He houses within us by the Holy Spirit. Soon, we will dwell with our triune God all the days of our lives where nothing is hidden from His gaze. What impact does being with God forever have upon your living both now and in the future?

God meets us as we commune with Him through His life-giving Word. Share your stories of encountering God with others. Receive God’s attention as you listen to the spiritual adventures of those around you.

Spur each other on in their spiritual journey with the Great Shepherd of their soul.

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:12-14
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Louf OCSO, Andre. Grace Can Do More: Spiritual Accompaniment and Spiritual Growth. Dubuque, IA. 2002.

David C. Benner. Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction. Downer’s Grove, IL. 2004.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

October 10 – Denver, CO
Speaking at the ECFA Governance Forum at Denver Seminary

Commitment

It is hard to believe 2019 is racing to its conclusion. Often at the commencement of a new year we make commitments to change, in anticipation of growth and healthy living. Do you remember any “resolutions” you committed to in January? Maybe you chose a word for the new year?

When is the last time you reflected on the patterns you committed to engage this year or notice how you’ve entered into your word for 2019? If you haven’t yet seen positive change or engagement, there are still nearly four months; there is still time 🙂

Commitment

Last Christmas Sophie gave me a new Bible. It is called the Daily Walk Bible. Beginning with January 1 and Genesis 1, the reader is guided through the entire Bible. It’s great. For each day there is a short devotional and chapters to read. I shared the plan with some close friends and together we joined in this practice of reading through the Bible in 2019. Each week we gather to talk about the chapters we’ve read. It has been a blast.

What is remarkable, though, is God’s sovereign timing. He perfectly timed my placement in His Word with the events of my daily living, especially during the past two months. God’s has graciously nourished my soul with timely readings. While attentive to the truth that these Scriptures were written to specific people in specific times, I also notice the Spirit of God gently speaking truth to me in my situation and space, sustaining me.

In July when wrestling with the Lord, experiencing darkness, God consoled my soul with Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” I ponder the hidden treasures of the Lord to this day. Most of all, I find encouragement that He calls me by name.

I found myself resonating with Jeremiah. Poor guy! No one listened to the concerns he shared from the Lord. Ever feel like no one around you is paying attention? Then into Lamentations I identified with Jeremiah’s weeping and yet in Lamentations 3:21, he found hope. I struggled to embrace the hope as I found myself sitting in verse 20, “My soul is downcast.” Nevertheless, I soaked in chapter 3 pleading with Jeremiah: “I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry or relief.” You came near when I called you, and you aid, “Do not fear.”

Ezekiel’s prophetic words in chapters 34-37 connected deeply with my soul. Chapter 34 is all about the Lord being a good shepherd. He searches for His sheep, tends to their needs and shepherds with justice. What a great shepherd we have! Chapter 37 reverberated within my soul as I begged God to send breath from the four winds of the earth and breathe into my weary soul so that I may live. I imagined the way God brought life to a valley of dry bones. He breathes life so that all would know that He is the LORD. Read chapter 37:1-14 and be amazed at the mighty power and presence of God.

The mysterious nature of God jumped out to me in Daniel. While perplexing and somewhat bizarre, God’s ways with Nebuchadnezzar bring glory to God and humble lessons to the people (see Daniel 4:37). I’ve meditated on the mysterious movement of God often in the last weeks. He is beyond understanding. Yet, often we try to put God in a box and figure both He and His ways out.

What would it be like to actually embrace His puzzling nature? Actually, it is freeing to just be with God and not try to sort this crazy life but rest in His greatness.

Then I moved into Hosea. Hosea had a tough assignment. He demonstrated great fortitude. In this small book, I noticed the unfaithful nature of God’s people and extensive means God employed to draw His loved ones back to Himself. In what ways do you live unfaithful to God and your loved ones?

Joel and Amos followed Hosea. I recognized God’s just judgment toward His wayward people and also His intense love and care for the poor. Interestingly, on September 11, I read Amos 9:1 which says: “Strike the tops of the pillar so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people…” Crazy, right?! My heart grieves for those effected by the events of 9/11.

Likewise, Micah proclaimed an unpopular yet necessary message. I found Micah 7:7 becoming my current simple prayer: “I watch in hope for the Lord. I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” I experience conviction and comfort from Micah’s words as the posture of watching and waiting while knowing God hears connects profoundly within me.

All this to say, God is mysteriously and intentionally involved in the life of His followers.

I did not know when I made the commitment in January to read through the Bible the ways God would connect so personally His Word to the place and state of my soul. Reading it has been a source of sanity during this time. The words have actually helped give voice to the inner turmoil and provided reminders of God’s sovereignty.

So, what about your commitments for 2019? Are you continuing in them? Do you notice their impact in your journey today?

Interestingly, In January I attended a mini soul care retreat during which I chose the word “deeper” for the 2019 year. I’m not sure why exactly, but that was the word bubbling from my soul. A little sign I made at the retreat has hung along the refrigerator since then. It was just a few weeks ago, I “saw” the sign and realized, deeper is exactly what God is doing with me. He is taking me deeper with Him. I am moving in deeper communion with my living Lord. Wow!

Whatever your commitments – never discount their impact. Whether the commitment seems small and insignificant or insurmountable and life changing, the promises we keep and the resolutions we make affect us and those around us in ways we could never dream.

Let’s live fully committed to the commitments we make for God’s glory and our good.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

The Daily Walk Bible. Carol Steam, IL. 2013.

Eugene Peterson. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. Downers Grove, IL. 2019.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

September 25-October 1 – Guatemala City, Guatemala
I will be speaking multiple times for women’s groups and leading two full-day retreats. Thank you!.

Remember

Have you ever had someone say something like this to you? “The past is in the past, move on.” Or maybe, “The old is gone, live in the new.”

Jacob definitely had a past. A past he likely wanted to forget. But, Jacob remembered. Jacob’s past testified to God’s faithfulness. Additionally, Jacob walked with a limp for many years – by my calculations at least 50 years. The limp represented a reminder of Jacob’s past wrestling match with God. The past exists in the present. God used the hardships of Jacob’s past to become the fertile soil for a new man and a new nation. A nation that would remember their past whenever they enjoyed a meal: they did not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon (see Genesis 32:32).

Paul also had a past filled with great promise but overflowing with much pain as he persecuted followers of Jesus. Because of his past, God positioned Paul to be a mighty vessel of evangelism and transformation through the ancient world. Yet, he too lived with a physical malady. He carried with him a “thorn” – a reminder of his humble dependency upon God Almighty. Paul remembered, and this propelled him forward in service of his Savior.

To recognize the past; its impact and influence, is necessary and profitable for growth in the present and the future. To disregard joys, sorrows, celebrations and hardships from the past is to miss the glorious movement and redemptive work of God.

Reflect for a moment on your past. Perhaps consider the highs and lows, the victories and defeats, the pain and pleasure. Remember conversations from yesterday, actions and interactions made in the last few months and memories from years ago. Each of these reside under the sovereign presence of God.

In what ways do you allow the past to speak into your present? How have you grown because of the past, or do you deny the past and shut it out?

Throughout the Bible God exhorts His people to remember. Remember is used over 230 times in the Bible. In the Scriptures, sometimes God remembers and at other times, He exhorts His children to remember. While He is perfect in His recollection, we are not. Many times we want to flee the past. We are often either a forgetful people or a people living in denial.

God instructs us to remember. Remember the Sabbath. Remember the LORD. Remember whose you are. Remember the ways of your ancestors. Remember where you came from. Remember to obey. Remember the prophets. Remember God’s great mercy and love. Remember through the cup and the bread. Remember.

God invites His people to remember. But why?

  • When we remember, our spirits are strengthened. By remembering we can see God’s activity in ways we missed in the midst of the event. We witness the movement of God.
  • Remembering offers space and opportunity for God to infuse His healing grace into tough circumstances.
  • Our trust in God and confidence in His goodness grows strong when we remember.
  • God’s character reveals itself through the past—his faithfulness, mercy, presence, peace, and sovereignty fill the moments of former days. We learn more of who God truly is in the midst of the ups and downs of life.
  • By remembering, we can spur others on and encourage them when life seems harsh, uncertain, and hopeless. We offer stories of God’s redeeming work and transforming power.
  • We testify to God’s abundant grace and kindness when we remember.

Do not fear the past for God is in your story.

It is healthy to acknowledge our stories, colored with both brightness and joy and also darkness and desolation. This promotes authentic living with Jesus, ourselves and others. When we refuse the reality of the lives given us, we accommodate and hide from the past rather than grow, heal and exhibit transparent living. God values authenticity & vulnerability (see Philippians 1:9-11; Romans 12:9-21; Hebrews 4:12-13).

Just like it did for Jacob and Paul, the past leaves a mark. If you’ve ever broken a bone, you likely feel it when the weather changes. If you’ve made a delicious meal, you plan to remake it in the future. If you’ve gotten stung by a bee, you avoid them at all costs. If you visited a beautiful park, you anticipate returning someday. If you’ve experienced trauma, you have a heightened awareness to actions and attitudes connected to it. If you celebrated significant milestones, you encourage others to pursue their dreams as well. The past remains a part of our present.

Consider the marks of the past that impact you today. Have you allowed God’s healing presence to descend into the space and situation?

Remember the joys and celebrations. Offer gratitude to God for His gifts and grace. Remember with the Lord and allow His healing presence to penetrate the darkness, the questions, and confusion of the past. Look for His redeeming companionship offering hope, healing and understanding.

Jesus delights to restore the broken messy aspects of His followers. And, these shards of sorrow create newness and life under His tender care. You are always on God’s mind—“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand” (Psalm 139:17-18).

Remember and marvel at God’s presence in the past and the present. He faithfully journeys with you.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Deuteronomy 5:15
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Lamentations 3:19-21
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.

Ephesians 2:11-12
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Judith Hougen. Transformed into Fire: Discovering Your True Identity as God’s Beloved. Grand Rapids, MI. 2009.

Dawn Eden. Remembering God’s Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories. Notre Dame, IN. 2016.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

Aug.24-Sept.22 – Gary continues his travels oversees for two more weeks.I would be grateful for your prayers for the ministry God has called him to, as well as prayer for peace, protection, healing and growth for me as I serve others at home.

September 25-October 1 – Guatemala City, Guatemala
Please pray for my preparation for an upcoming trip to Guatemala. I will be leading two full-day retreats as well as speaking to multiple groups. Thank you!.

Wrestle

Have you ever watched a wrestling match? I recall watching a tournament years ago. The activity didn’t really appeal to me. The guys were hot and sweaty, maneuvering around the mat and aggressively attempting to pin their opponent. The challengers faced each other and in the struggle for victory held each other skin to skin asserting individual strength and skill. Some matches seemed unending while others came to a quick conclusion with one competitor tapping the mat to declare submission to the victor.

To “tap out” is to submit, or forfeit, a match. The term “tap out” refers to the action of tapping either the mat, or the opponent, to signify surrender.

Wrestling comes into view when reading Genesis 32. Jacob prepares to meet his brother, Esau, by sending his servants and family ahead of himself. Jacob enters the night alone. Scripture tells us that Jacob wrestled with a man until daybreak. This was one long wrestling match. Imagine the sweaty struggle. Envision the intimacy between these two opponents. They are skin on skin, exerting muscle and maneuvers. In the end, Jacob “tapped out.” He submitted to the man, receiving a blessing, a new name, and a dislocated hip. Pain and praise filled Jacob’s lips as the wrestling match concluded.

Have you ever wrestled with God?

For the past few months I have felt like I am in a wrestling match with God. I am in the midst of change, big change. Gary, my husband, launched a new international ministry championing accountability to unleash global generosity. Then recently, my health has experienced great strain. And, all this is happening while my two adult children, Sammy and Sophie, are preparing to marry the loves of their lives this fall and winter.

Like Jacob, I have found myself alone a lot. I, too, have experienced intense and intimate wrestling with God. Most of the time I’ve sensed God holding me to the mat, waiting for me to tap out. In the struggle and pinned down by His great strength upon me, my soul contended with the Lord. My being wrestled with confusion, wounds, loneliness, and betrayal. Simultaneously, I have felt far and yet so very close to my Savior at the same time. While wrestling, God invited me to trust Him, to let go and release every concern to His attention, even the feeling that I had lost myself.

Just like the man with Jacob, God did not let go of me, but gently and powerfully held me to the mat awaiting my submission and surrender. My soul grew weak; I was tired of struggling. I longed for peace and grace.

Finally, I yielded. I surrendered all that was within me to the careful attention of Jesus. I tapped out. I lay on the mat with my King holding me quiet in His strong clutches.

After months of struggle, I submitted my place and pain to the care and authority of God. It’s tough though, as I continue to wait for Him to lift me to new life. I am confident that in His time, fresh life awaits my soul. For now, however, I continue on my back, flat on the mat, stilled by the strong arm of my Savior. Peace covers me. His presence and power overwhelm me.

Have my circumstances changed? No. But, God is changing me in the midst of the struggle, hardship, and surrender. His presence is ever so close. I can smell His sweat. He has my best good in mind. He is powerful and trustworthy.

  • With what do you wrestle?
  • Is God inviting you to tap out and surrender your ways to Him? Talk to Him about it.
  • Where do you need to submit to the purposes and plans of God?

During the struggle, I have clung to what I know to be true.

God is…Redeemer, Healer, Sanctifier, Challenger, Peace-giver, Friend, Present, Lover, Reconciler, Blesser, Victor, Real, Safe, Refuge, Hope, Trustworthy, and Faithful.

I am…beloved, forgiven, chosen, secure, adopted, known, saved, accepted, a new creation, sealed, loved, justified, alive, free, rescued, redeemed, called, and God’s temple.

Cling to the truth as you wrestle. Experience the reality that wrestling transforms us into who God desires us to become. May we each receive blessing, newness, and even physical reminders of God’s presence with us in the struggle. Let pain and praise flow from within our soul as we submit and surrender to the Mighty One, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Genesis 32:24-32
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Psalm 34:17-19
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all…

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Frederick Beuchner. The Magnificent Defeat. New York, NY. 1985.

Ronald Rolheiser. Wrestling with God: Finding Hope and Meaning in our Daily Struggles to be Human. New York, NY. 2018.

Lauren Daigle. You Say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI   The album Look Up Child has been a balm for my soul.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

Aug.24-Sept.22 – Gary is traveling oversees for the next month, The longest time ever for us to be apart. I would be grateful for your prayers for the ministry God has called him to, as well as prayer for peace, protection, healing and growth for me as I serve others at home.


September 25-October 1 – Guatemala City, Guatemala
Please pray for my preparation for an upcoming trip to Guatemala. I will be leading two full-day retreats as well as speaking to multiple groups. Thank you!.

Pickles

Recently, Gary and I visited a friend at his family’s cucumber farm in Puyallup, Washington. After walking through the farmstead filled with supplies for canning and seeing boxes of harvested cucumbers, we enjoyed the privilege of each making a jar of pickles.

We added several ingredients layer by layer into a large mason jar: grape leaf, dill, onion, garlic, spices, cucumbers, red peppers, jalapeños, chili peppers, vinegar and water. The cucumbers marinate in a brine mixture which preserves their freshness while deepening their flavor. After vigorously shaking the sealed jar, the cucumbers soak in the savory mixture for a month. The jar must be turned weekly so the spices don’t settle in one place, but flavor all the cucumbers. When the process is complete, we get a delicious jar of pickles to eat.

Just as the cucumbers soak in an array of vegetables and spices to be transformed into a pickle, we can soak in God’s Word to become transformed human vessels offering spicy interactions with those around us.

I wonder if I’m becoming a pickle? Do I soak in the brine of God’s Word? Do you? Am I preserved by the Scriptures? Do I offer deep flavor to those around me after soaking in Bible passages? Am I turning my jar weekly to make sure all areas of my life are influenced by God’s Word?

What does soaking in Scripture look like?

Have you ever read a Bible passage in the morning and by lunchtime you can’t remember what you read? At times, we might read God’s Word more like the newspaper or a recipe? Sometimes we read the Bible out of habit with little effect upon our being. Often, we approach Scripture for information. We study it, read commentaries on it, and dissect it; but do we really meditate or marinate in the Bible? God exhorts Joshua in Joshua 1:8: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

While there is a time for Bible study and scholarship, there is also a time to linger with the Bible. Reading God’s Word reflectively draws the mind and the heart together.

What would it look like to mull over Scripture; to ruminate on a single verse or even a short passage? When is the last time you wondered about God’s Word and its impact in your life?

As we meditate on passages from the Bible, our life is formed by God’s Word. In Psalm 119, the writer reminds the reader to meditate on God’s precepts, statutes, and decrees seven times. To God, meditating on His Word is imperative to a healthy soul.

In Colorado, we are closer to the sun and the air is dry. So, at times I like to turn my face toward the sun and just let the sunshine soak into my skin. Or, maybe you’ve watched rain slowly drip into the earth, soaking into the ground?

At Glenwood Springs, Colorado there are natural hot springs. Visitors arrive to this destination to soak. They would never dream of just dipping their toe into the water and leaving, they go to the Springs to soak, to ease their entire body into the hot water so the warmth completely surrounds them.

Likewise, soaking in Scripture is more than just dipping your toe into God’s Word, it is sinking in and letting Scripture surround you and absorb into your very being, your soul, just like a cucumber in the brine. The purpose is deep communion with Jesus.

Here are three ways to soak in Scripture and experience deep immersion with the Bible.

1 – Soak in Scripture by reading the same passage more than once. First read it slowly, listening to God’s Word. Then, as you read it a second time, reflect, listening for a word or phrase that sticks out to you. Sit with that word or phrase for a moment. Read the same passage a third time receiving from God. Wonder and pray about how that word or phrase connects deeply with your soul. Read it one last time, listening again and responding. Thank God for His presence and what He has shown you. Enjoy being in the presence of God.

2 – Soak by allowing your five senses to help you enter into the Scripture passage. As you read – notice what you hear and see in the scenario. Read it again, asking, what can you touch, taste and smell? Read it again, listening to the voices and noticing the people. Let God’s Word come alive by using your God given senses.

3 – Lastly, soak in God’s Word by imagining yourself in the scene. As you read it, ask who would you be? Why are you there? Read it through, imagining yourself as the different people in the passage. What is Jesus speaking to you? Read it wondering how God reveals Himself to you as well as what He reveals about yourself and creation through the text?

The next time you open your Bible, soak in the Scriptures. By the power of the Holy Spirit, use your God-given imagination to allow His Word to come alive. Notice what stands out to you. Talk to God about it. Receive from Him.

You can soak by yourself, with your kids, friends, spouse, small group, and even your church community. Linger with God, soak in His Word and enjoy deeper communion with Him.

It takes time for a cucumber soaking in brine and spices to become a pickle. In the same way, as we soak in Scripture, God transforms and preserves us, adding flavor to our lives, and bringing depth to our journey with Him.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Psalm 119:47-48
For I delight in your commands because I love them. I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers..

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Alice Fryling. The Art of Spiritual Listening: Responding to God’s Voice Amid the Noise of Life Colorado Springs, CO. 2003.

Jan Johnson. Meeting God in Scripture. Downer’s Grove, IL. 2016.