In the Garden of Eden, we see humanity make a massive mistake – disobeying God’s one and only direction. Immediately, they experience consequences – shame, fear, blaming others, loss of connection, and more. WATCH VIDEO…
As the Bible continues on, we see that the story has only begun. God continues to move in pursuit of the heart of humanity. He reaches down to individuals and nations, gives opportunities to change their way of perceiving reality and return to Him. Some do and others don’t.
But His heart is always for restoration, redemption, reconnection.
Paul wrote: “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Not after we cleaned up our act – because we don’t have the power to do it anyway. Not after we checked off all the boxes of requirements to get into His good graces. While we were still living lives defined by sin, He died…for us…to restore that connection.
His heart longs for us regardless of our performance.
Think of someone in your life who can uplift the atmosphere of a room just by walking into it. Suddenly, dull becomes vibrant. Sullen becomes joy-filled. Negative complaining turns to hope-filled conversation. WATCH VIDEO…
In the Garden of Eden, we see that God made a habit of walking with humans in the garden. He created a space where He could connect on all levels with His creation. God’s intention was and is to have relationship with humanity. Not merely collectively, but also individually, uniquely.
This life we live on planet Earth is filled with daily opportunities to connect with God’s presence. Moment-to moment we can experience His nearness if we will seek Him out.
In Genesis 1-3, we see that God spoke to His triune self, to humanity, and to the serpent). He stated His intentions and reasons to create, declared a reality that being alone is not good for man, called out to the humans who hid from Him, confronted the man, woman, and serpent with Truth, gave consequences of their rebellion, and gave a promise of a future redemption. WATCH VIDEO…
God’s Voice was literally heard by others in both the spiritual and physical realms.
All throughout scripture, we discover times where God spoke and people heard. Sometimes it felt normal, sometimes they had no idea what was going on at first. And, His Voice came in various ways to various people in various situations.
Communication is vital to any good relationship. And what God wants most for us is that we live in relationship with Him.
Imagine a couple in love, separated by war. One goes off to fight, while the other stays home. They exchange letters, reminding one another of their love, commitment, and promises for the future. Even though they can’t physically feel the one they love, they sense their nearness inwardly and they are reassured of their character.
That’s what the Bible is for us. It’s not a list of rules to oppress us. It’s a love letter; God reminding us of His love, commitment, and promises for the future. It’s one way we can remember His nearness and be reassured of His character.
He didn’t stop speaking when the Bible was canonized.
God is still speaking today. And we can hear Him. We also have the benefit of the Bible to both help us get more familiar with the sound of His Voice and the character of His nature. Anything we hear, we need to weigh against proven scripture to test its validity because God’s is not the only Voice speaking. (We also hear ourselves, other people, and the enemy.)
Let’s lean in further to the sound of His Voice.
Where does life come from? Eden, the original place of perfection, where we have our first glimpses into the Source of life. The intention for Eden was to be a place where intimacy lived and moved freely. WATCH
“…the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)
The “breath of life” points us to our Source. God’s original intention, and ongoing intention, is to be our Source, our only Source. WATCH MORE HERE…
Every day, I hear from others their declaration to stand strong, to live unshaken. Usually it comes right after some kind of upheaval in their life has turned things upside-down and they are determined to never let that happen again. But, can we truly live unshaken? What would that look like? (WATCH VIDEO HERE)
Imagine a mountain, hugged by a curving road below. Cars zip along, occasionally stopping to take a picture. Metal netting protects smaller debris from falling down the mountainside on the people passing by below.
On rare occasion, someone will decide to get out of the comfort of their car and begin to climb the face towering above them. They bring their ropes and harness and anchors to stay securely pinned to the side.
As they climb, the mountain begins to shake. Strong quaking knocks loose small rocks first, then the larger rocks tumble. The metal netting is ripped free by huge boulders.
No longer is the road below the safe place and the mountain the danger. Now, the only place to stand secure is anchored to the towering mountain face.
Daily life is a constant shaking, an upheaval of things that make me comfortable.
Often in life I allow feelings to affect my foundation and I treasure the destination more than the journey, but that’s not what God does…He treasures the journey, not just our arrival on the mountain-top moment.
Hebrews 12:28 reminds us to be grateful for a kingdom that cannot be shaken…The kingdom can’t be shaken, but everything else can be.
So, when I find myself too comfortable in the everything else, then I feel jolted when I’ve got my anchors and ropes stuck into loose rock which are the comforts of this world, when the shaking happens, those comforts falter and my grounding is insecure.
What I need to stay pinned to is that which cannot be shaken: the kingdom.
We’re to seek most the kingdom of God, but sometimes that feels like the most elusive thing in the face of the daily shadow. When we remember that this shadow – this world we experience every day – this is simply an illustration for that kingdom that cannot be shaken, it helps us keep our ties to comfort and our reliance upon emotions in check.
Every physical aspect of creation has a spiritual counterpart…this world points us to the realer real.
In your life, is there anything you’ve told God to leave alone? Something that you know you could “never” do? WATCH VIDEO HERE…
A couple of years ago, many things were up in the air in life. So many circumstances we didn’t know the outcome of. Finally, I reached my last straw in “what if” conversations with Steve, my husband always up for change. And I told Steve that I wanted to table that conversation. Too much was in flux. Too much was uncertain. Can’t we just keep this one thing solid, unshifting?
Even as the words tumbled from my lips they felt wrong.
Will I limit God by my lack of belief? Will I tell Him that He may only go so far in my life? Or, will I submit everything I have, even everything familiar, to His shaking? Will I be open to and ardently seek the kingdom, or will I continue in what is known and safe and predictable?
The Lord brought me to Hebrews 12…challenging me to be open to the shaking. I had to ask myself: is anything in my life off limits to Him? If so, then it stands as an idol in my heart, more valuable, more trusted than my precious Jesus.
Putting limits on the areas God has permission to touch limits His work in our lives. Yes, we have the ability to influence God’s access to us, His ability to work through us, through the boundaries we put up. (See Mark 6:4-5) Jesus – the Son of God – was limited in His works because of the people around Him. Their unbelief hindered His work.
Are we limiting God’s work in our lives because of unbelief? Or because of fear? Will we tell Him He can only go so far?
Living limitless is as basic as surrender…surrendering that so-called “right” to tell God where He may or may not interfere in our lives.
Our surrender opens up the limits of our lives to the boundlessness God wants to work out through us. Our surrender opens the window from the here and now into the present kingdom of God, inviting Him to have His way in and through us.
My latest book, The Sacred Shadow, is an invitation to enter into this daily mystery of God’s kingdom…an opportunity to see past our limits into the limitlessness of God and all He is doing and longs to do in our lives. Get your copy here!
Have you ever wondered if your presence makes a lasting difference? Can we really affect change in the world around us? (WATCH HERE…)
Did your mom or dad ever tell you, “Leave it better than you found it”? In one way or another, I’m constantly telling my kids this. When we visit a friend’s house, we always try to leave a few minutes at the end for the kids to help clean up any messes they made. It’s just good manners. But, what if it’s more than mere manners?
As humans made in the image of God, we are designed to take dominion. We have the ability to affect change. And not just in the places we go, but also within the people we encounter.
So, I want to adjust this manners-focused message and make it mission-focused: Leave People & Places Better Than You Found Them.
With places, yes, tidy up any messes you made. But, also, bring the Presence of God with you. Bring peace. Bring joy. Your attitude affects the atmosphere. When I have a sour attitude, it affects the atmosphere of my home and anywhere I go. Which then affects the people in that atmosphere. So, let’s leave places better than we found them.
And, with people, while we are not responsible for the emotions or behaviors of others, we are responsible for the life or death that we speak over them. What brings death? Gossip. Slander. Judgment. Negativity. Simply, the words of the enemy. What brings life? Encouragement. Faith. Positivity. Acceptance. Expressed Love. Hope. Simply, the words of God.
Imagine how different things could be if everywhere you go today you planted seeds of life, hope, love, positivity. If you encouraged another person. If you really looked at a stranger in the eyes and smiled like you know how precious they are to God.
Imagine if you prayed for the people and places you passed by while on a walk instead of only focusing on your number of steps.
Let’s go beyond manners and be mission-minded. Let’s leave people and places better than we found them.
Have you ever wondered if there is something beyond what you experience with your five senses every day? Beyond bills and dishes and to-do lists, is there a deeper reality we’ve become blinded to?
I don’t know about you, but I love minor chords in music – those sounds where a tension is felt, but you know that the tension is leading to a release. There is hope in the middle of that felt tension.
Every day, I feel this tension between the urgent, in-my-face things and the deep longing of my soul for more. Earth is this beautiful tension between the physical and spiritual realms where we can experience both to a degree right now. Just as a shadow reveals to us something of the substance making the shadow, so does this physical existence reveal to us something of the kingdom of heaven reality. We live in the shadow, but can sense the substance on this side of life.
The Sacred Shadow is an invitation to enter into the daily mystery of God’s kingdom…within these pages you will find windows to see into the reality of God’s present kingdom. Click HERE for more information. WATCH HERE…
Have you ever felt so caught up in your to-do list that you feel like you’ve lost some sense of who you’re meant to be? When we walk in constant busy-ness, we can quickly lose our sense of being. Let’s walk in the reality of who God has called us to be, taking dominion over this world rather than living dominated by it.
When is God? Was He only active in the time of the Scriptures? Is He sitting idle in heaven in some future timeframe? When I pray and hear no immediate response, has He heard me? When is God? WATCH HERE…