Faith’s Impetus

“For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

In Genesis 22:2-3, [God] said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ So Abraham arose early in the morning…and went to the place of which God told him.”

Abraham had learned what it was to walk by faith. A ‘literal’ walk was a sojourn over road and rock, a long meandering journey by foot from one known place to the next unknown place, step by step listening, watching for God’s direction. In Genesis 12:1, God had called Abraham to “go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” He went.

Cornwall coast 2013

God knows the end, God knows the way; we must know God, that is enough. Hebrews 11:8 tells us “Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going, for he was looking forward to a city whose designer and builder is God, and considered…that God was able.”

Do I question the call? The task? The possible discomfort, unease, challenge, or even suffering? Or do I listen to the Caller, and embark, knowing He Who called is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and that is enough?

Lord on high, engage my mind and will to trust, and propel my feet to walk at Your bidding, fully believing that You are able. And that is sufficient.

God’s Right

The sky is clotted with grey this morning, with slits of white light showing through, evidence of a risen sun. It is true, even in cloudy times, the Light is there, evidence of God’s presence, although we cannot see Him or His ways clearly. It may be His measured grace that keeps us from seeing too much. His unseen hand is always at work to perform His bidding with care and perfection and lovingkindness.

“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” Matthew 20:15


“I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working on his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good for the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me, ‘Can I not do with you as the potter has done? Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.'” Jeremiah 18:3-5

Pots at Austin succulents, Austin, TX

Help me trust Your guiding, shaping, orchestrating hand, O LORD. When I cannot see what You are doing or making, I believe You are good, and do good. (Psalm 119:68)

The Pelican, Lot, and the Lost Sheep

I watch a pelican glide across the water– regal, wings spread, eyes keen. Fluid seconds pass. At just the decisive moment, in an instant, he ascends a split second then plunges straight down and pops up with a fish in his beak. That fish, oblivious to its captor’s pursuing flight and watchful eye, is grabbed out of its own kingdom forever.

Pelican above the water


In Genesis 19, Lot has become settled in wicked, depraved Sodom, and two angels, disguised as men, came to rescue him. When “he lingered…[they] seized him, the LORD being merciful to him, and brought him out and set him outside the city. One said, ‘Escape for your life, do not look back.’” (19:16-17)

Jesus describes one lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7. “What man, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulder, rejoicing, saying, ‘I have found my sheep that was lost.’”

SHepherd and sheep

God has His watchful eye on His beloved children. He serenely and supremely rules, never flustered, always perfect in His providential timing and mercy. At His right moment, He rescues and saves His own out of the kingdom of darkness to be His forever. May I trust His watchful care, His merciful heart, His perfect timing and ways, and ever rejoice.

I was lost in utter darkness, ‘til you came and rescued me;                                                           I was bound by all my sin when your love came and set me free.                                            Now my soul can sing a new song, now my heart has found a home,                                     Now your grace is always with me, and I’ll never be alone.                                                           – Ron Keen

Look and Listen!

I marvel at the fact that God speaks personally.

In Genesis 18:1, Abram is resting by the Oaks of Mamre in the heat of the day, and the LORD appears, and they spend the afternoon conversing. In Nehemiah 7:5, “God put it into [Nehemiah’s] heart to assemble” all the returned exiles and enroll them.

In Matthew 16, the Pharisees ask for signs, and Jesus renounces their fickle ways, saying He does speak but they don’t take the time to discern and understand. His disciples, after listening to Jesus, understood (16:12). They spent time with Him, answering His questions that brought them to discovery. In Matthew 17, “Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.” Peter acknowledges, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” It is there Jesus reveals Himself, and God declares, “’This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’ When they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

In Acts 16, the Spirit of the Lord led Paul, Silas, and Timothy, preventing them from speaking in Asia and Bythinia, but directing them to Macedonia where He opened Lydia’s heart in Philippi. The Bereans, in Acts 17:11, “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily.”

Bid me up the mount, O Lord, leaving behind distractions of phone, schedule, responsibilities, other voices, to rest under the Oak with You, to hear and heed Your voice to me. “Morning by morning, awaken my ear to listen, as one being taught.” (Isaiah 50:4) “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)

Staying the Course

Nehemiah and his men, in chapter 6, had rebuilt the wall, but not yet set the doors in place, and opposition continued with repeated urgency. “Come, let us meet together in the plain of Ono,” but each time, Nehemiah said ‘oh no’ to the distraction of Ono, knowing they intended to do him harm. Then deception hit—a false report on his intent (rebellion to become king), and Nehemiah quickly refused its lie and prayed, “But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” Next came discouragement in the form of a threat for his safety and resulting temptation to take cover in the temple. His constant prayer gave him insight to know he was the target of hired enemies. His refuge? Prayer. He left the issues and the perpetrators in God’s hands, and set his own hands and mind to ‘finish the wall,’ and finish it he did.

“Be strong and very courageous, being careful to do all…commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night. Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

“Arm me with jealous care,                                                                                                              Thy calling to fulfill,                                                                                                                          And may it all my powers engage                                                                                                     To do my Master’s will.”                                                                                                                         – Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

O, Master, when distraction, deception, discouragement come, keep my mind and hands strong to stay in the center of Your will, to do all You have assigned, and to leave all cares to You.


Be Astounded!

“Look, be astounded, for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you would not believe even if one tells it to you.” Habakkuk 1:5; Acts 13:41

In Habakkuk 1, this refers to God’s intent to use wicked Babylon to punish wicked Assyria for punishing wicked Israel. His ways are mysterious and sovereign. In Acts 13, Paul is preaching to the church at Antioch, and urges them to take the freedom offered in Christ, both to receive His marvelous work at the cross and to beware His mysterious work of judgment. God is always at work, His oft-hidden sovereign hand moving the chess pieces and weaving the yarns of the tapestry together. He knows beginning from end, and all in between, and none of His purposes can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring beginning from end and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purposes.’” Isaiah 46:9-10

Naples sunrise 10-16

He is the invisible director of every sunrise (Psalm 19:1-6; Isaiah 40:22), ruler of all nations and kingdoms and history (Acts 17:25-26) who superintends the seating and deposing and authority of presidents and kings (Proverbs 20:1; Romans 14:1), the potentate of time Who numbers our days (Job 14:5), the designer of every storm– “tilting the waterskins of heaven” (Job 38:37) and rebuking winds and sea (Matthew 8:26), the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Father, keep me astounded at You, and expectant for the marvelous work You are doing to accomplish Your good purposes. May my hope in You and Your plans awaken hope in others.

Prepared for Battle

I heard from a beloved friend the other day, “I came unarmed, not practicing swordsmanship by reading the word daily.” How wise to recognize the spiritual reality and the antidote to being unprepared! This individual knows the truth of Ephesians 6:10-18, especially the command to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Reading Nehemiah 4, the bullies are flesh and blood, but the training for their vicious onslaught is the same. On God’s mission, Nehemiah endured anger, great rage, jeering (4:1), public demeaning, criticism, mocking (4:2), belittling (4:3), more anger, plots, fighting to confuse him (4:7-8), discouragement from his own people and his enemies (4:10-12). How did he respond to these attacks meant to harm him and bring him down and stop his work? Prayer (4:4), perseverance (4:6), more prayer (4:9), focus on the Lord, strategizing and staying alert (4:15-23). He knew God’s character, truth, and promises, and turned to his Lord in times of attack. He was a practiced swordsman.

“Each labored on the work with one hand and held a weapon with the other. We labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I said, ‘Let every man…be a guard by night and labor by day.’ So none of us took our clothes off; each kept his weapon at his right hand.” Nehemiah 4:17, 21-23

How am I practicing swordsmanship? How snugly does my armor fit? How vigilantly do I work and watch? Oh God, I dare not go alone against the foe! May I dress in Your word each day, “taking up the whole armor of God, that I may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13)