Here’s the Deal

So I found out today that the cost to repair the transmission on my Jeep is $2700. I almost needed the smelling salts as I typed that sentence. I’ll be sans car for up to four weeks. Pass those smelling salts, please.

That’s a lot of money. All for some itty bitty parts that decided on their own without consulting me or anyone else to stop working. All for some unseen mechanical gears that I didn’t even know existed until they decided to break down. Rude.

A lot of life is like that. Things break, people die, situations change. What seemed like a sure thing vanishes like the morning mist and what you thought would last forever ends abruptly without any warning.

It’s easy to let those things make you cynical, believing that only the very worst scenarios will play out and that nothing good can ever happen and that people are only out to get you.

Or it drives you deeper into all the Mystery that is the Abba Father.

As big as my car bill is, God is bigger.

As big as the void that is left by the passing of a loved one is, God is bigger.

As big as the hurt caused by the rejection of a friend or a family member, God is bigger.

As big as the accumulation of scars and wounds from a broken relationship are, God is bigger.

God is bigger than anything you will face today or tomorrow or the next day or any day after that.

God is bigger than any problem that you will ever face.

God is bigger than your fears and your doubts and even your unbelief.

Whatever circumstances, God will prove that He is enough. Everything you could possibly desire or want or hold in your hands without God is less than holding onto nothing but God.

That’s a lesson that all of us learn eventually, whether that means losing everything in a literal sense or in coming to the end of your own schemes and plans.

God is enough. God will be enough.

That is enough.


Those Wildflowers and Sparrows

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matthew 6:30-33).

That’s the key to dealing with worry.

Remember that God provides for wildflowers and sparrows. He will provide for you.

Worry says that God is not enough. Faith says that He is.

Worry says that I have to be in control of figuring a way out of my problems. Faith says God already has.

Worry kills. Faith renews.

If I’m given the choice, the obvious is to choose faith over worry.

Yet I still choose to worry. It seems like it’s hard-wired into my human nature to want to worry and to give into anxiety.

Let’s just call worry what it really is– unbelief.

I need to repent every time I give into worry and pray for God to grant me faith to believe.

I’m not saying I’m 100% there, but I’m closer today than I was yesterday.

So to recap: remember those wildflowers and sparrows and choose faith over worry.

The end.


Just Ask

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” (Luke 11:13 MSG).

I wonder how many times I’ve used prayer as a last resort.

How many times have I obsessively worried about something and tried to figure out ways of handling it myself and it never even dawned on me to pray about it?

You’d think for as long as I’ve been a believer that I’d be quicker to prayer than I am.

I’m guessing you feel the same way.

I think it points to a lack of faith. It says that I really don’t believe that God can handle my problem. Oh sure, He can deal with everyone else’s issues but for some reason in my own mind, my circumstances are different.

I look at it this way. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can handle pretty much anything I’m ever going to throw at Him. He’s not going to be shocked or surprised at the needs I lay before Him.

I keep up with Ann Voskamp, a fantastic writer who also happens to put some of the best posts out there on social media. She usually ends them with the hashtag #preachingthegospeltomyself. For those who are unskilled in reading hashtag-ese, that means “preaching the gospel to myself.”

A lot of what I write is me reminding myself of what I already know. Scratch that. Nearly all of what I write is me preaching to myself and stirring memories of times before when God was faithful.

All it takes is the tiniest yielding, the most hesitant agreements, and God can show up and do what He does best– amaze.


Joni Mitchell and Another Wednesday Evening


It was a perfect Wednesday evening. Here in the glorious state of Tennessee, we’re in that wonderful time of spring, just before it starts to get sticky hot and humid, where the temperature is just right.

I love driving home when the weather’s like that. There’s something about temps in the low 70s and a cool spring breeze that awakens all my happy memories from childhood and makes me hopeful for the future. What is it in the springtime air that makes me feel a little less anxious and a little more assured of God’s plan for me?

Also, I had Ms. Joni Mitchell playing in the car, which always makes everything better, especially her albums like Clouds and Blue. Those are currently my top two favorites of hers.

We all need days like these when hope seems like a precious and rare commodity. We need little God-winks to remind us that God still cares and still watches and still provides.

I’ve seen too many times where God came though at just the right time to doubt, yet somehow I still do. I think somehow this time will be different than the other 99, that maybe God will be caught napping or away from His desk. Or maybe that He’s decided that I’m not worth the effort anymore.

I remember those thoughts and feelings. I know where they come from. Not from the Father but from the father of lies. I let these thoughts pass right on through without heeding them at all. I remember the promises of God that are always YES and AMEN in Jesus and then I have hope again.

I have to remind myself that every moment is grace, even the lonely moment or the anxious moment or the doubful moment. Every moment that I’m alive to see what God will do next in my life is grace.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.


Snapshots of Grace

I went to a birthday party of a friend of mine tonight. She turned the big 3-0. Been there, done that, found out it’s not so bad.

She had helium balloons floating in one of the rooms with pictures tied to them. Each one was a picture of her at some point in her life, with some showing her as a kid, some as a teen, and the more recent ones showing her all grown up.

I was captivated by that idea. I think each of us are defined in many ways by defining moments in our lives– snapshots, if you will. Those are the events in our lives that we remember as if we’re looking at a Polaroid taken at that very moment.

For me, it was the moment I found out about my granddad’s passing. Or when my boss called me into his office after the first plane had struck the World Trade Center building on September 11, 2001.

I can also remember walking across the stage to accept my diploma in my graduation ceremony from Union University.

That’s just it. You don’t get to pick your memories. You don’t get to pick how many good or bad ones you’ll have. You do get to choose  what you do with those memories and how you look at them. How you look at life through them.

The old cliche is true. You can take the bad memories from your life and either let them make you bitter or better. You can choose cynicism and unbelief or you can choose forgiveness and faith.

Some of my best memories are of the friends I’ve made, including the friend who just turned 30. Others involve my family. More often than not– nearly all of the time– the best memories will involve people and not possessions or accomplishments.

I choose to believe the best about others and bring it out of them because that’s what Jesus did for me. I choose to trust that God can take the worst moments of my life and make them the first part of my testimony to how good God is and how He can turn a wreck into something beautiful.

I think I’ll have one more good set of memories after tonight.

When You Forget


As often as I’ve been doing this whole blogging thing– very nearly four years– you’d think I’d remember. But I went all day yesterday and forgot to write anything. Again.

How could I be so forgetful? The same way you and I are forgetful every day. The same way those pesky Israelites kept forgetting those miraculous interventions from God and kept complaining.

Stress and worry have a way of causing amnesia. It’s hard to remember what God did for me last week or last year when I have an unpaid bill due today.

There’s a verse in 2 Timothy that talks about how God remains faithful when we’re faithless because He can’t deny Himself. That’s what worry is. Unbelief.

God is faithful. Period. Whether or not I have a good memory about all the other times God provided, He still provides. That is very comforting.

It’s a good thing tomorrow’s Friday. Today is Thursday, right?

Spring Storms


This is the time of year for what I like to call spring. Actually, I’m sure everyone calls it spring.

It’s also the time for changing weather patterns and all those fun storms that come out of nowhere around this time of year.

Today was no exception. I think I saw warnings for tornados, thunderstorms, and flash floods, but I didn’t personally witness anything much more than some heavy rain.

I remember the old adage that April showers bring May flowers. Paul wrote something in Romans that echoes those words:

“And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love” (Romans 5:3-5).

All the bad stuff we go through is not in vain. It makes us better people. Not only that but it leads to better things down the road.

There’s nothing bad that happens to any of us that God can’t turn into something good. Nothing. That’s one reason why I love God so much. I’ve seen many examples of that in my own life.

As always, I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

A Nice Surprise


I got a pleasant surprise today. No, it wasn’t my birthday and no, it wasn’t a surprise party, although I do like those. Hint, hint. . .

My iPhone’s been acting up. By that, I mean, I couldn’t get it to charge properly. I took it to the Verizon store where the rep told me I probably would need a new phone. He told me to try the Apple Store first.

Thankfully, I did. The issue, as it turns out, was only some pocket lint that got into the charging port of the phone and kept it from connecting. That was all.

Those are the little blessings that I used to take for granted. Now, I try to look for the good, the little blessings, and the joy around me. I usually find at least something every day.

I do think you get what you look for. If you’re always looking for things to go badly, they most likely will. If you look through eyes of cynicism, you’ll see what you want to see and find enough wrong with the world to keep your unbelief going strong.

I don’t think my optimism makes me any better than anyone else. It’s just less stressful and less tiring than the opposite. Beside, I dare you to read the Bible and not see how the Good ultimately triumphs in the end.

Oh, and a big thank you to Laura, who figured out the whole lint issue. I have to give props when they are truly due.

Life is still good, God is still great, and I am still blessed.

PS As it  turns out, I needed a new charging cord as well. That’s still waaay cheaper than a new phone. Still a win in my book.

Where My Trust Is Without Borders


I think I’ve alluded to this in previous posts, but I am currently unemployed. I haven’t worked since January. There have been times, some of them very recently, when I wondered how I was going to pay my bills. That’s a scary place to be.

Then I sang a song during the 11:11 worship service at Brentwood Baptist Church. It spoke of keeping my eyes above the waves and walking out on the water to wherever God calls me to where my trust is without borders.

I honestly never thought until just now that that’s where I am. When you utterly reach the end of your resources, you find out where your faith and trust lie. You really understand that old cliched saying about never knowing how much you need God until He’s all you’ve got left.

So many can’t find jobs. So many probably have felt worthless and useless and unemployable. Like no one wants or needs what they have to offer.

But as I sang those words, a sweet peace came over me. My faith will be made stronger and I will know more deeply than ever how near my Savior is to those who cry out to Him in desperation. As weird as it sounds, the butterflies are still there. My stomach still feels tied up in knots. But I also know it will be okay in the end. No, more than okay. I will end up EXACTLY where God wants me to be and all this will totally have been worth it to get there.

So as much as I sound like a broken record, I’m still thankful for my life. I’m grateful for waking up this morning and living another 24 hours. I’m thankful for the best family and friends a guy could ever ask for who have stuck with me through good and bad, thick and thin (and through all sorts of other overused phrases like these).

Sometimes, faith really is believing when common sense tells you not to. It may not always look courageous. Sometimes, it may look like barely holding it together and summoning every ounce of strength to not quit on God. It may be praying the most honest prayer ever recorded in history: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” and making it through the next five minutes.

All I know is that I have never seen God forsaking His own. I have never seen their families abandoned or left wanting (my paraphrase of a Proverb). I haven’t seen God fail me or let me down or let go of me.

I do still believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Amen.

A prayer for My Future Wife in 2014



You know how tired I am from waiting. You know how weak my faith is and how unstable my belief can be.

I’m still holding onto that mustard seed-sized faith, clutching it with everything I’ve got, with all my heart and strength and soul and mind. I want to rest tonight not in Your promises or provisions, but in Your person, Your character, in You.

Lord, I’m still believing in the miracle that some woman will fall in love with me and want to spend the rest of her life with me. It seems impossible sometimes, but then I remember the words of a pastor: what seems impossible to me isn’t even remotely difficult for you.

I’m praying you will be with her tonight and envelop her with your peace and surround her with your everlasting arms. May her joy be full as she rests in you, completely comfortable in who You’ve made her to be and in Whose she is– Yours.

May she cast aside every hindrance, every distraction, every clamoring voice, and run only after You, her true heart’s desire. May she keep a single-minded focus on Your Son, Jesus, and not fall into the lies and deceptions that tell her she is not enough.

May you bring her into my life, but not until the time that both she and I are ready– and not a moment sooner. Help her faith not to falter and her trust to remain stedfast and secure in You only.

Help me to be the man who can win her heart and guard it until the day you ask for it back. Help me to become the man who will help her to unveil all the beauty and wisdom and lovingkindness you have placed in her so she will become all that you created her to be.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief. And hers, too.