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Saturday, May 14, 2016

"What are you doing here?"

The great contest on Mount Carmel has ended. The fire fell, Almighty God was proven true. The people shouted, “The Lord, He is God!” Now the drought was broken, and the dry parched ground soaked up the rushing rain. 

Surely after this great display of God’s power, the wicked King Ahab and his consort Jezebel would turn away from this idol baal who was proven to be nothing more than a stone carved by men. Now there would be a nationwide revival and all would repent.

Elijah’s huge exceptions have seemingly fallen flat. None of it happened. No one changed. He had failed. Now Jezebel wants his head. She killed other prophets, now she’s after him. 

Elijah ran for his life. He fled into Judah, a safe refuge from Jezebel’s reach. But it wasn’t far enough. He left his servant, and fled even further into the wilderness. He finally stopped at a tree, sat under it and fully engaged himself in a pity party. 

“I’m done, Lord I’ve had enough. I’ve failed completely. Please let me die.” 

Ever have huge expectations just fizzle out? Have people disappointed you? Does it seem as though God isn’t doing anything concerning your prayers? 

Do you feel as though you are living in obscurity? Unseen, unknown and ineffective? Do you feel your influence unnoticed? Has it reached the point where you don’t want to try anymore? Why even try when disappointment  will hit again? 

I’ve felt that way sometimes in the past couple of years. I’ve stood at the kitchen sink and wondered if my life has made an impact at all? I feel like Moses in the wilderness tending sheep. My best years are behind me and this is all I have to look forward to. 

Depressing I know. But I’m just being real here. I don’t want to act fakey with you. I want you to know today that there is more going on than your physical eyes can see right now. Elijah felt so disheartened and ready to chuck it. Yet God stepped in and reaffirmed him. 

The victory on Mount Carmel seemed so far away. But God was so close to Elijah. He sent an angel to touch and strengthen him. The same God who fed him by ravens and a poor widow woman now once again fed him a sustaining meal. He dealt so gently with Elijah. And I’m so glad He does the same with me. How many times have I felt that gentle touch? Enough to sustain and keep me going. 

Finally he stopped at Mt Sinai, the mountain of God. And there he saw a great wind, a earthquake, and a fire. Powerful events that shook the mountain and surely him. Yet after all of the clamor ended a still, small voice spoke to the depths of his spirit. 

What are you doing here Elijah? 

Wow. I can picture God asking me this question when I have put myself in a pit. When I’m at my lowest and at the end of myself. What are you doing here girl? 

Elijah answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”  1 Kings 19:14

You know, I can see myself in his response. Can you? I’ve been here and all I have to say is that I’m so thankful to have a Great High Priest, Jesus, who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses...let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Elijah found on Mount Sinai that God was not done with him yet. No, by no means. God reaffirmed him, picked him up, dusted him off and told him to return. He gave him new missions and even sent him to Elisha who was to be his assistant. 
Can I tell you today that God is not done with you? By no means! 

Oftentimes we think God only works in the earth shattering events, i.e. wind, earthquake and fire. But He doesn’t only work in the big ways. It’s usually in ways we don’t see. His greatest work is often a “quiet” work. Deep within, a silent process. 

It’s crazy, but even though I’ve struggled with feeling obscure and ineffective the past couple of years, I’ve have seen God do awesome things. Unexpected things. I’ve felt weak, vulnerable, and have witnessed God working. I’ve stood in wonder. 

But perhaps that’s the point entirely. It’s less about me, and more about His glory being seen. More about the deep work done within me, so that it can flow from me effectively. 

I’ve been feeling restless the past few days. I just haven’t been able to write. So last night I put my ear buds in and worshipped God. Just closed myself in with Him. I felt His reassurance, His gentle touch. So I sit here this chilly Saturday evening and this flows out to you. 

Wherever you are in your journey today. Please know that you don’t live in obscurity. You are not unknown. Don’t be discouraged. God is indeed working. Your life is not in vain. Get alone with Him and feel that still, small voice. Know He is your God and He knows you. I love you friend. 

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rambling Thursdays

This year is the One Hundredth year for our National Parks. It all began in August 25, 1916. There are 59 national parks that belong to you. That’s right...they belong to us. 

I have visited many of them. Some of my fondest memories includes beautiful landscapes and surreal moments. Times when the words, “wow, how beautiful, amazing” just don’t do it justice.

Standing on the pillar at Perry’s Victory National Monument with my Son and looking over Lake Erie.

Gazing in awe at the Milky Way spread out over the night sky at Agate National Monument in the Nebraska prairie. And an added bonus, the Northern Lights made an appearance.

Seeing the wagon ruts at Scotts Bluff National Monument. 

Awestruck at the immense Yellowstone valley and its beautiful waterfall. 

Seeing a Buffalo for the first time in the Badlands National Park and realizing it’s not fenced in. 

The reflection of the Tetons in Lake Jenny. 

Standing on a mountaintop in Rocky Mountain NP. Breathless and amazed at the widespread 360 views. 

Watching the sun creep into the vast Grand Canyon and enlightening the various rock walls. The sun glistening in the river gorge. It truly was surreal.

Walking amongst the red glowing rocks at Arches NP. I never knew the desert was so beautiful. The snow covered mountain in the distance added drama to the landscape. 

Looking over a otherworldly landscape at Canyonlands NP. It looked like something from Mars.

I dream of these moments many times and wish I could be there again. 

My son has been a Park Ranger the past few years and he loves showing off the Parks where he’s served. He has introduced me to the National Park Passport book. 

Every park sells them, but also you can get them on Amazon. There’s a section for each park, and it comes with a map showing the parks. 

It’s really fun to collect stamps when you visit each park. Each visitor’s center has a station where you can stamp your book. I also collect pins and display them in my office. Each park has their own unique pin. 

Our National Parks are a great destination or just a stop-over on your vacations. I’m sure there are some within driving distance of your home. Or go on that epic road trip. Get out there and make some memories. The memories I have collected are priceless.