Posted in (in)courage, Breathe, Busy-ness, Devotional Life, Forgetting, Goal, god is with us, God's Voice, Jeremiah 29:11, Rest, Straining

God Speaks

I went to the kids’ award day for the third nine weeks, watched Kathie Lee Gifford’s last Today Show, walked the dog with my husband, Mike, and cleaned out my car.  I haven’t washed or cleaned the car since we left Mt. Pleasant in July.  It was gross.  When I found this devotional book that I’ve had in there for a year or more. IMG_2570 (1) I put it in there because I often have a busy schedule.  Well, if I’m honest, I ALWAYS have a busy schedule and I need to get in my devotions when I can.  Stuck in traffic, waiting at the doctors’ office, waiting in a drive thru line, before I go into work – you get the idea of why I put it in there.  You know what?  I have used it approximately 3 times.  I check emails or I’m calling someone or ….. I’d forgotten it’s in there.

I thought about taking it to my office where all the other prayer books are.  But then, I would never use it….except for maybe a staff devotion or a devotion for church.

I subscribe to the (in)courage blogs and I know I’ve not taken enough self-care by how many blogs I have in my inbox.  (I have many.). As I was in the massaging pedicure chair, I was reading this blog titled “Here, Take a Moment to Breathe,” and at the end, lo and behold it’s the book that’s been riding around with me for years under my console.  Much cleaner, I must say.  I got the message loud and clear.

The sermon on Sunday is based on Philippians 3:12-14. The verses are about pressing towards the goal.  If we (I) don’t take time to breathe, if we (I) fill up our calendars, even if it’s doing great and worthy stuff, then we’re missing out on the richness of living the daily Christian life.  It’s not about getting little Jesus fixes, but it’s about the day to day spending time with our Creator, our best friend, the Spirit that intercedes for each of us.  

I’m going to live into these verses, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Not rear view mirror living, but windshield living.  Taking it ALL in and straining/leaning/inching/muscling toward what lies ahead.  What’s our goal?  What are we pressing for?  The prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus?  I think it’s what Matthew 22:37-39 says “37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  

First, we HAVE to stay connected to the TRUE VINE with every ounce in us.  Otherwise we are short-changing ourselves in the abundant life that Jesus wants to give us.  Second, we have to love people enough to show them Jesus in our every day lives.  “Go ye and tell ALL the world” that I have an abundant love for them.  I want a relationship with them.  If they seek me, they will find me.

I think that’s the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus – to have our essence be so in tune with the Lord that it shows.  That IS our greatest goal in life – our greatest prize!  In her final words, Gifford referenced a Bible verse. “Jeremiah 29 says, ‘I know the plans I have (for) you, declares the Lord,’ ” she said, getting choked up, ” ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.’ That’s not just true for me, you guys, that’s true for everybody watching. Trust Him. Let Him love you like He wants to love you,” she continued. “Like I am loved by all of you.”

Looking forward to Sunday, my friends!


Kathie Lee Farewell

Peace Over Productivity by Becky Keife




Posted in 5 Things, Breathe, Music, The City Harmonic

Spark and Mountaintop

One of the Gator Wesley bands is going to be playing both of the songs that I’ve included in this post. They’re both by a band called The City Harmonic and they are called “Spark” and ‘Mountaintop” respectively and Gator Wesley hopes to book them in late January. I share these songs because I shared them both in a closing worship that I did at Duke’s Foundation of Christian Leadership, a week before my surgery. I have no clue what I said at the time. But, reflecting now, these things jump out at me so I share them with you, in no particular order.

1. Breathe – There’s nothing a few deep breaths won’t solve. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Have you heard people encouraging you to take deep breaths if they have just said something that they think will make you mad? The lines of “Spark” that say “When I breathe in hope/And breathe in grace and breathe in God/Then I’ll breathe out peace/And breathe out justice, breathe out love” make sense don’t they? So take a couple of deep breaths. I’m not talking about shallow breaths. I’m talking about using your diaphragm. Visualize you’re breathing in God and breathing out peace.

2. Have you heard that John Wesley said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” Well, he didn’t actually say that. It makes for a great quote though, doesn’t it? If we all come together and share our “sparks” we CAN set the whole church on fire. Are you with me?

3. Our spark sometimes gets snuffed out. By life, by stress, by midterms, by tragedy, by doubt, by what we say as the very nature of God. It’s never too late to ask like the lyrics say, “Light a fire here in my heart.” If you ask God surely will answer. Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

4. Have you ever had a “mountaintop” experience? I like that the song talks about “The valley low, that’s where we make our homes” and God is present in that valley low. I love the line, “He’s here, I feel it in my bones, our God.” So God is WALKING WITH US EACH STEP OF THE WAY.

5. I like the image of no matter what walls or temples we can build, we can’t hold God in. That’s so powerful. So many times we try to put God in boxes of our own making, but God leaks out and CANNOT be CONTAINED. No matter what. God cannot be contained, no matter how the world defines God (“they”) or how we define God (“we”).

What jumps out at you in regard to the two songs? You may have noticed that music plays a significant role in my faith walk. What are the songs that have shaped your faith?