Watching & Waiting

Eyes on Jesus. Watching His eyes to learn how He loves everyone on whom His gaze rests. Jesus is a Good Shepherd.

Listening to His heart as He blesses, teaches, corrects, and sings with delight over His sheep.

Watching the love and delight in His countenance as He hears the varied and distinctive voices of His beloved ones in worship.

Reading His word back to Him. Singing praise to His name. Grateful to receive the gifts of His hands. Loving the sheep next door.

Waiting at His feet. I choose to calm and quiet myself in peace. I choose to rest. I choose to learn. I choose contentment. Not because I am calm or quiet or content, but because Jesus is.

Eyes on Jesus. Watching. Learning. Choosing. Surrender.

So be it.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Bye bye, American Pie?

This is a “no judgment” zone. These words below are worthy of being shared. Gary and Patricia are my parents. They are elderly, and have lived more of history than I, and maybe you.

I’m sharing this very small platform with my parents because they matter, and their voices are important. We have somewhat lost the wisdom of learning from our elders, and our society is the worse for it. If you choose to read their story and mine, please do as my parents taught me.

If you have nothing nice to say, keep your thoughts to yourself.”

However, should you desire to engage in respectful and honoring dialogue, please let us know. And thank you in advance!

Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
Psalms 139:4‭-‬5 NIV

Gary & Patricia Milford                                  October 19, 2020

Here’s our story….

A few weeks ago my wife was having a conversation with a Christian neighbor / friend.

During the course of that conversation the subject turned to the upcoming 2020 election and our friend made the following comment; “I believe this election will be the most important election of my lifetime and I further believe that if Biden / Harris win this election, it will be an indication that GOD has turned His back on America.”  (I don’t know if that’s true or not, but this is what I do know………..)

Later, as my wife was telling me about that conversation my mind went immediately back fifty years to a young man, Don McLean who in 1971 wrote, recorded and performed his now famous song, “Bye Bye Miss American Pie”.  The long version of that song is about various events (some tragic) that had occurred in America and how those events impacted the young man’s life.  The last verse, however, is about a future event which had not yet occurred.  He could not foresee the event, but evidently some foreboding caused him to write it down and include it as the final verse in his song.  

  • “I met a girl who sang the blues
  • And I asked her for some happy news
  • But she just smiled and turned away.
  • I went down to the sacred store
  • Where I’d heard the music years before
  • But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.
  • In the streets the children screamed
  • The lovers cried and the poets dreamed.
  • But not a word was spoken 
  • The church bells all were broken
  • And the three men I admire most
  • The Father, Son and The Holy Ghost
  • They caught the last train for the coast,
  • The day………….the music………died.
  • And they were singin’…..
  • Bye bye Miss American Pie
  • Drove my Chevy to the levee
  • But the levee was dry
  • And them good ol’ boys 
  • A drinkin’ whiskey and rye
  • Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die.” 
  • Bye Bye Miss American Pie

Final verse; Don McLean 1971

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalms 139:16 NIV

The next generation of American Pie.  By Lisa Brittain

Hopefully, you’ve read Mom and Dad’s story, and I hope you will take a moment to read mine from the point of view of the next generation.  My hope and desire is not to persuade you; rather to cause you to ponder before God. I hope you will ask Him all your deepest and most relevant questions.  You, in the next generation, please will you write your story? I pray we, people of all generations, will continue to share our stories even when we disagree regarding the bigger picture of life on planet Earth.  

Our stories are unique.  My parent’s story is their story.  It is part of history, and God always meant for Mom’s story and Dad’s story to be single threads in the fabric of the greater portrait of God’s design.  My story is unique as well, and my story is a thread also.  Your thread is important.  Please receive this truth.  Your thread, your story is unique and important.

So, with that… here I go… jumping in the deep end!

Even though American Pie was released by Don Mclean in 1971, most likely you’re fairly familiar with this song.

Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die”
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

Dad started singing it while we worked in the shop weaving a new seat on a chair. He stopped singing, and proclaimed, “It’s almost 50 years old, you know? That song came out when you were 9.”  These memories of our shared days gone by are precious to me.  I love stories!  I love true life stories, especially the ones which contain a part of my family history.

Often times, the truth from God’s word mixed together with life experiences and distant memories mingle together with a glistening in Dad’s eyes. Sometimes, as we both get older, the stories are more animated with emotion, and many times shared from a place of growing grace and gentleness.

I can usually tell when a story is about to come forward. His hands get still, and he’s quiet for a moment. The story begins in his eyes, and I can tell that what I am about to hear is important. I want to listen and learn from Dad’s hard earned wisdom for as long as possible.  So, together, we take a moment.  He talks and I listen.

“I remember that old song,” I agreed.   

And I do. American Pie in the fullness of it’s 8+ minutes is etched in my childhood memories. There’s a whole soundtrack of Eagles, Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, and the like; which play behind all the memories of warm days and breezy nights, bikes and trees, the sun and surf of my South Florida childhood. Isn’t it interesting the way a particular song can take you right back to a moment in time?

My childhood years were not peaceful days as we sometimes want to remember the “good old days”. There was much contention and unrest in the 1960’s & 70’s.  Our view of the past generally becomes dulled by time and age.  However, the songs of a culture tell the story of the culture and the signs of the times. When we choose to remember honestly, we have to acknowledge that generations of people were anxious, frustrated, angry and afraid because of the destructive atmosphere invading America during those two decades. People of all ages and cultures were desiring peace and love – seeking hope and unity.

The current atmosphere of division, hate and destruction with all the emotions that go with it, are not new. Unfortunately, we have been here before. Maybe there’s more to learn…

The evening news of my childhood contained graphic pictures of the Viet Nam war, civil rights marches, destructive protests, and a president under investigation.  Hatred, bloodshed, and division invaded our home through the television during my childhood. Current events are not new. And so American Pie was one of those songs that gave people living in that era a ballad with which to express their emotions, questions, and angst.

Suddenly, my Dad pondered out loud, “What if these words are for now?” He was specifically reflecting on the last verse of the song – American Pie

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The father, son, and the holy ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

We wondered together: What if this young man wrote, prophetically, of a time when God would actually give up on America? Perhaps in 1971 it seemed to the young song writer, as it seemed to many Americans then, that the fabric of our land was irreparably torn. It’s a relevant question, and I’m so glad Dad brought the question out into the open air.  We rolled the question about – tossing circumstances back and forth. 

Yet, in the end we strolled confidently back to the truth we both know.  He and I both have built our lives on the foundation of God’s truth – the solid rock – and that’s exactly where we landed.  We walked right back to Psalm 139 – the scripture we are currently memorizing together – and stood there smiling in the assurance of God’s love for us.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

Dad pondered the question…  “What if the upcoming 2020 election results decide whether God (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) gives up on America?”  I honestly do not know the answer to that question.  No one knows the answer to that question, except well, God Himself. However, it is a good and honest question.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NIV

This I do know.  Whether God ever gives up on America, He will NEVER give up on His children.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  His promises are trustworthy and true. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5)

It would be awful to live in America if God should choose to take His hand of favor from our land. Dad, Mom and I are not the only people asking these questions.  We’re all asking, seeking, and knocking in search of the TRUTH.  Just as in the days of my birth and youth – the turbulent 60’s and 70’s or the war torn years of WWII, into which my parents were both born –many today are asking the same questions again and again. 

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate His rule with trembling. Kiss His Son, or He will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Psalms 2:10‭-‬12 NIV

Have we as a country gone too far? 

I personally believe that is the wrong question. I believe we’re suffering in our country because the family of God is broken. The bride of Christ has been caught in adultery. The children of God are sleeping. The Church of the Living God has been unaware, uninvolved and selfishly looking for Jesus to step out of heaven signalling the eternal exit route.

Have we, in America, crossed the point of no return? Or has God’s family become so lukewarm that we’ve lost our first love?

God’s greatest commandments are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. We’re not seeing a whole lot of love in our country right now. The Church should be leading the love parade, but many churches are closed, hiding in fear, and just as divided in speech and action as the unbelieving world around us.

People of God, wake up! Come alive, dry bones! Awaken to the call of God on your life. All of the unbelieving world, in one way or another, are still seeking and longing for peace, love, unity and truth. (Matthew 7:78, Jeremiah 33:23)

Why aren’t we taking them by the hand, loving them where they are and introducing them to Jesus? Why aren’t we obeying the commands of God? Why aren’t we loving the One who saved us from ourselves?

What if 50 years ago a young man was inspired to write an 8+ minute song, so that all these years later awakening hearts would remember and begin to pray? Do you know Don McLean was told that his song was too long? He was told American Pie would never get radio time. It was just too long and people wouldn’t listen. Yet, fifty years later this song is still getting air time, and another generation knows the words by heart.

Do you know that God called many people such as Noah, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah (just to name a few) to proclaim a message of truth and salvation to the people of the world?  God has spoken His message through faithful servants throughout all the years of history, but the majority of people didn’t listen.  The message was discounted and scoffed at, but the messengers sent it forth anyway in obedience to God’s calling. I’m worried about being called “weird”; but truly, many people have paid for their obedience with their lives.

Do you know that God sent forth another messenger; this time His very own Son?  The Son of God left His Throne in heaven and put on the lowly flesh of our humanity to proclaim the good news of God’s deliverance.  He came into our world to love and heal, to declare truth and to redeem the broken, and the people He created and breathed into life killed Him for His message. 

Jesus came with a message from His Father that we could, if willing, be adopted into God’s family.  Jesus said that His Father would be our Father.  He would love us as the Father and Son love one another.  Jesus promised that if we were adopted into God’s family we would be united with God as Father and as Son, and that the Holy Spirit of God would come and dwell with us until the end of the age. (Ephesians 1, 1 John 3:1)

I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23

So, is it the end of the age?  I don’t know.  Are the three we admire most – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – about to take the last train for the coast?  I don’t know. But I have some thoughts…

Here’s where I’ve landed after this whole American Pie pondering…

Curious about the song from 1971, I went to Google. Interestingly, I found a verse which had been written in the song writer’s notes, but never included in the recording. This deleted verse, I think, is more important than those included in the recording. Reading the verse below, I recognize a reminder that God is a God of second chances and more. 

[Deleted Verse]
And there I stood alone and afraid
I dropped to my knees and there I prayed
And I promised him everything I could give
If only he would make the music live
And he promised it would live once more
But this time one would equal four
And in five years four had come to mourn
And the music was reborn
(https://genius.com/Don-mclean-american-pie-lyrics)

When we’re afraid we’ve gone too far, when we feel all alone, and we feel we’ve blown it one too many times; there’s an opportunity to fall to our knees and pray. We might make a promise to give everything we have to give, but really all that is necessary is to give our soul in full surrender to God.

I don’t have all the answers for myself, my family or my land. I’m not quite sure what, if anything, all these words mean about yesterday or today or our future. And quite honestly, I’m not sure why God hasn’t given up on America, or me, way before now.  All I can surmise by His forbearance is that God is exceedingly gracious, merciful and kind.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good ; His love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

Has God turned away from America? Is He about to do so? I honestly do not know.  Nor do you.

What I do know is that if we, who bear Christ’s name, are simply looking for the escape route to heaven, we are living disobedient. We’re not following God’s command to love Him and to love our neighbor. If we’re looking for our way out of all this mess by hiding and staying silent, we’re not following Jesus’ command to go into all the world and proclaim His name. If we’re not healing the sick, clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry with the Bread of Life; we’re simply living disobedient. Why shouldn’t a good Father be upset about that?

God is good and merciful and long-suffering. And I know that whether God gives up on America or not, He will NEVER turn away from His children. He is a good Father, and so He does discipline His children out of His abundant kindness. (Deuteronomy 8:5)

God, our Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may simply be waiting at the coast for His children to turn and run into His loving arms of forgiveness.

Is it bye, bye to America as we have always known her?

Perhaps.

Is that necessarily a bad thing?

Maybe not.

However, Church in America, yes – I mean The Bride of Christ –  it is time for us to wake up and arise. It is time for us to wash the sleep from our eyes. It’s time to go out to the fields and joyfully, triumphantly, bring in the harvest of ripened souls.

It is time for us to purify our thoughts, our lips, and our hearts, our hands and our feet. It is time for the Bride of Christ to consecrate herself and dress for the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

It is time to prepare invitations and make them ready for those who will receive the good news of the Bridegroom. 

It is time for the music to be reborn. It is time to glorify our King, Jesus.

Great is the Lord , and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Psalms 48:1 NIV

If you made it this far, thank you for reading my very long pondering message.  Just like Don McLean, I’ve most often been told, “Your stories are too long.  No one will ever read them.”  That’s okay because you just did.  

Thank you, and may God, our Father, His Son and our Redeemer, and our Comforter, Holy Spirit be glorified.  May Almighty God’s Name be magnified and made famous.  And may I spend eternity in Heaven with you, my friend, so that we can praise God and tell stories forever and ever.  Amen.

PS – I just completed 80 days of reading out loud the word of God from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22:21. Our Zoom community (Healing Strong) began reading on August 1, 2020, and we completed the reading on October 19, 2020.  I highly recommend this journey to all who have questions. 

The reading of God’s Word out loud in community is powerful.  God’s Word is powerful for transformation.  So, if we’re seeking transformation in our land, I recommend we start with personal transformation through the reading and declaring of the Living and Active Word of God.  Give it a try. Take God at His Word. See what happens.

May God bless you with all the richness of His Glorious Light; may you receive His healing and life abundant, and may you spend the rest of your life making His name famous! Amen.

Kindly Correction

I love this verse so much. What if the people who speak to you honestly actually help you the most? Even better, a true friend loves you best by speaking the truth. What do you think about that?

One of the things I appreciate most in life is an honest conversation. Unfortunately, these are rare in today’s world. Rare things only increase in value, so there’s the silver lining, I guess.

Truth speakers help me grow in Christ, in love, in wisdom and in humility.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taking a stroll down memory lane this morning. I’ve had many supervisors in my life. Many of these leaders had my best interest at heart, and some clearly did not. Yet, I learned valuable life lessons from each one.

One woman stands out particularly as I think back. She heard me (on the job) bragging to coworkers about my exceptional spelling skills.

{By the way, this was 1986 and well before spell check technology. We had no laptops or smartphones. Dictionaries, in hard copy, were part of our workplace resources. And our work was documented in pencil on paper. The large eraser was also our ever present help.}

Perhaps my supervisor had not heard the entire conversation. Several of us 20-somethings were enthusiastically discussing our strengths, but mostly weaknesses regarding the written English language.

Apparently, our supervisor agreed with my self-assessment regarding my lack of grammatical expertise, and so, she let that go. However, she did not hold back as I touted my spelling skills.

From the far end of the conference table her voice arose. I froze hearing my name like a child unaware of a parent’s listening ears. Charlotte corrected me in front of all my colleagues. She listed 2 or 3 words for which I was habitually guilty of misspelling.

My coworkers chuckled. My cheeks became hot and I am sure my entire face was as red as ripe cherry tomatoes. I was dumbfounded. And I was truly frustrated with my supervisor, but not for the reason you might be thinking.

When I was able to speak without tears choking my throat and stinging my eyes, I addressed Charlotte, “Why haven’t you told me this before now?” I sincerely wanted to know why she would know for a fact I was doing something consistently wrong, but had not enough care for me to correct me. Now she, Charlotte, sat dumbfounded.

I asked her to circle the misspellings on my workpapers. Once she returned the papers containing her red marks circling my errors, I grabbed my dictionary to find the correct spelling for each misspelled word. She was correct, and now I had the opportunity to make my own correction. I re-wrote my workpapers ( yes, pencil and paper) and submitted them back to Charlotte.

Since we were working out of town, Charlotte asked if I could visit in her hotel room after dinner. I went and we had a longer than expected conversation about the events of the day. Charlotte was still intrigued by my desire for truth and correction. Perhaps, she had counted on me being offended rather than grateful.

I explained to Charlotte that I had lived deceived regarding truth for the most of my life. However, in those 20-something years, I met a young man who was willing to be a true friend by telling me that my life was on the wrong path. He honestly and painfully addressed some of the reasons for my obvious sadness and frustrations with life. He was willing to challenge me to read the Bible.

Before I left, I thanked Charlotte for speaking up, and I asked her to address anything she saw in me that might need correction. I hoped she would do it from a sincere heart. And I challenged Charlotte to read the Bible for herself.

I’m not sure I ever worked under Charlotte’s supervision after that week. Honestly, I don’t know what ever became of Charlotte. However, I promise you, every time I begin to spell those certain words I think of Charlotte with a smile, and gratitude.

Thank You, Jesus, for the many people You allow to intersect my life’s path. Help me today to be a friend seeking truth, and sharing truth in love. I thank You, Jesus, for Charlotte, and pray she is now adopted into Your heavenly family. I thank You for every Charlotte I am yet to meet. Continue to grow me up in wisdom, truth, grace and humility for Your glory, and to exalt Your name in my corner of the world.

Eyes in Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Refreshment

Are you needing some refreshment? It’s only the middle of the week, but it feels like a full week of stuff.

Although I have no idea what stuff has overwhelmed you lately, I imagine you could use some refreshment. I need some too. This word of God from Jeremiah 31 has been the best bread to chew on while I drink my coffee this morning.

Refreshment brings to my mind thoughts of peace. Symbolic of peace, doves are one of my favorite visual reminders. So it didn’t escape my notice when doves began to appear on the power lines in front of our home. I recognized them as significant and a refreshing assurance of Father’s peaceful presence.

He is with me. His Holy Spirit dwells in me. And the Prince of Peace rules and reigns right where I live.

As the virus became a threat and our world shutdown, I began to pray for peace on our street, especially for our elderly neighbors. Daily as I walked and prayed for those behind the windows and those behind the masks, doves began to show up on the power lines. Doves seemed to follow me; one on this street. Two waiting around the corner, and then down into another cul de sac, I spied three more.

So obvious and significant has been their daily presence that I intentionally turn my eyes to acknowledge their presence. I say right out loud to them, “I see you doves of peace!”

Occasionally they are absent, and I am prompted to prayer. I want to know why they’ve left. I have wondered with God, “Did something happen here to break the peace.” Wondering why the doves are hidden can lead me to ask Jesus to search my own heart and bring to mind any offense needing forgiveness. I end my ponderings by asking Father to call the doves back and restore to me the tangible presence of His peace.

You might think all of this odd. It’s not strange to me at all. This communication style exemplifies the relationship I have had with my heavenly Father since I was a little girl.

Even before I surrendered my whole heart and life to Jesus, I experienced a unique way of seeing God’s interaction in my life, and subsequently developed my own way of communicating with Him. He spoke my child-heart language then and still grabs my attention decades later.

God doesn’t find His unique communication styles odd. But then again the very essence of God is wholly other. He is holy. There’s none like Him.

If you read through the Bible, you will find some amazing and rather interesting encounters God has with His creation. Check it out for yourself. God spoke out of a burning bush, in dreams and visions, through a donkey and by way of angelic messengers – just to get you started. He’s creative. He’s God!

My Creator knows me personally, and I have come to trust that He is highly personal. He designed me to understand Him in a way that is as individual as my fingerprints. My relationship with the Holy Trinity is not odd. It’s simply unique, personal and consistent.

Peace, unfortunately, has not been consistent over the many months of this strange year. Just in our tiny corner of the world we’ve experienced some of the most bizarre situations, which have threatened to pit neighbor against neighbor. However, the doves keep showing up to remind me to pray, and to remind me that my Prince of Peace is here.

Peace, I’m learning is not the absence of conflict; it’s a determined resolve to be controlled by it. Trouble is guaranteed this side of heaven. Jesus said so.

Jesus also said He would be with us always. He stands holding a firm grip on me when the storm winds howl. He’s never leaving. Jesus is never turning away. Even when chaos threatens our community, Jesus speaks, “I am here. Do not be afraid.”

I’m receiving His refreshment today. I’m watching for doves in my neighborhood. I’m thanking Him for being here.

You’re invited to receive His refreshment. Join me below for some of your own ponderings.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
Lisa

Ponders:

1. From what do you need refreshment? Are you willing to tell Jesus how undone you feel and why?

2. What visual or what other of your five senses helps you recognize God’s presence? What symbolizes the peace of God for you?

3. If this very personal form of communication with God is a new concept, are you interested in experiencing more intimate interaction with your heavenly Father? Why not ask Him today to speak your heart language?

4. Schedule time for your favorite form of refreshment. Invite Jesus to come along. Expect to experience His presence.

Tethered

Day 130. Focus – Jesus. Eyes on Him.  How else can I live in peace?

Unless my heart be tethered to my Lord, I will lose heart. Unless my feet remain within my Good Shepherd’s pasture, I will lose my way. Unless my eyes remain trained on His eyes of love, I will stray for the acceptance of another.

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your unending love and for Your long-suffering devotion to me. You are faithful and good. Your character exemplifies all that I want to become as an image bearer of my Creator Father God.

Yet, You are Higher than my ways. Your perfection and holiness is beyond my comprehension. Your thoughts are greater than my thoughts.

Jesus, passionate Pioneer. Author and Perfector of souls. Teacher. Warrior. Intercessor. Savior. You are my King. My love. My hope. My way. And my peace.

May the fire in Your holy eyes draw me closer and closer. May my devotion to You increase moment by moment. May I not divert my eyes or catch my feet wandering. May my life remain steadfastly anchored in Your love and may I remember that Your name has sealed my heart for eternity.

I’m grateful that I am Yours and You are mine. For Your glory… I pledge my love and allegiance to You. Amen.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Day 124 Psalm 124

Day 124. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Cry out to Him. In His name is your only forever home.

Psalm 124. Where does your help come from? In what name do you place your trust? Your security? Your hope?

In what, in whom is your eternal security? Do you know Jesus? No, not do you know about Him. Do you know Him personally? Intimately? Relationally? Do you bear His name?

Look up. See Him as life, love, defender, protector and security beyond this short life. As I walk and live and visit with people all around me I feel as if I am living out a role in a 60’s Twilight Zone episode.

People everywhere are masked, eyes wild, making muffled sounds I can barely understand, grabbing children to stay close, and moving quickly. Cancelling life again. Seeking safety. Security. Protection. In what?

I want to cry on their behalf, bid them come, reach out and pull them into safety under Jesus’ blood. Surrender. Please. Give your life to Him and He will fill you with an inexpressible joy.

Does Jesus guarantee you won’t get sick or that you will never suffer financial hardship or lose your job? No, He doesn’t guarantee an easy life nor does Jesus promise an American dream of worldly freedom and prosperity.

Jesus Christ is King of His own eternal Kingdom. He is Creator and Author of our very existence. He’s allowed us to live at this time in a world that is fading away so that we will look up. So that we will cry out to Him for help.

Jesus through His word is declaring that He has already made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross and conquered death once and for all time. His Kingly invitation is for all humans to receive His invitation to His banquet table. He bids us come. Surrender under His Lordship. Receive His free gift of life with Him beyond this lifetime on Earth.

Listen. He already knows your name. Jesus is calling you by name. Do you hear? He’s knocking at the door of your heart right this moment. Please open the door.

You can be unmasked with Him. You can tell Jesus everything that you’re afraid of and He’ll listen. He’ll catch every tear. He’ll hold you while you scream and rail against all the unfairness of your life. Jesus understands it all. He sees and hears everything with which you are frustrated. He feels your pain and understands your anxiety.

But He doesn’t want you to stay there. He holds The Key to your freedom. He, Jesus, Good Shepherd – He is The Way and ultimate peaceful life.

“If the Lord had not been on our side when…” Psalm 124:2
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:8

The Lord is on your side. He created you. Designed you. Formed you in your mother’s womb by His loving Father hands. He wants you. He seeks you out. He’s ready to deliver you from darkness.

Are you on His side? Will you say yes? Surrender all the weightiness of your existence in a world in which you control nothing? Lay it down at Jesus’ feet and let Him lift you up to walk with Him unfettered and free. Receive the JOY of His salvation.

If you said yes, welcome to the Kingdom of God where Jesus is King. You are so loved. You are free, my brother and my sister. Welcome home!

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Pondering {release}

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

This scripture popped up recently as a ‘verse of the day’ and it reveals a truth that I keep hearing from the Lord. He’s been speaking this truth to me with an urgency since last year 2019. At various times and in various ways, Holy Spirit is pointing me back, and asking me to look again. Ponder this truth. Take it. Chew on it. Taste it and let it become a part of your being.

So, if my sowing determines what I will reap later on, isn’t it important to plan for the seed in advance? I wholeheartedly believe so. I mean I know this truth experientially to be true throughout my lifetime journey. Thus, I believe God’s Word to be true. We do, all of us regardless of our belief system, reap what we sow.

Ask any farmer or gardener if seed matters. The seed I choose to have in my life is the seed I will release as a result of my life. The seed I release is the seed sown wherever my feet may roam. That seed will take root, for the good or the bad, and will grow a harvest well beyond the amount of seed sown. And so I am increasingly aware that my life has the opportunity to produce abundant, healthy, delicious and nutritious fruit to feed myself, my family and even multitudes.

Or my life can produce fields of weeds. The truth that if I am not intentionally choosing good seed to be sown by my one life I am allowing a famine to be sown unto destruction, scares me to my core. The idea of leaving behind me the despair of no good fruit causes me to tremble before the Lord God Almighty. May it not be so, Lord.

“May my life be overwhelmed by Your Spirit, Jesus. Teach me to deny the flesh and fill me with Your Good Holy seed for sowing. Jesus, I want to sow of Your seed and to produce a harvest of Good fruit 30, 60 or even a hundred fold, for Your glory, and to bring in a harvest of souls for Your Kingdom.”

Bold love; Humble heart.

In marketing, this would be called a tag line. Bold love; humble heart. Or possibly this can be seen as a mission statement. However our modern day media driven society would choose to tag this short phrase, it is the phrase Holy Spirit wrote on my heart and asked me to keep in the forefront of my thinking. The words were challenging to say the least. And I received the phrase with an honest desire to pursue daily living which reflects bold love and a humble heart.

Of course, I had know inkling of the world events, which were about to bombard each of us and our way of life in this year – 2020. Only God knew in advance how to train me for such a time as this. Father, God, has shown me day by day that these few words are meant to be my brand in a new era.

The fruit grown from my life of sowing is supposed to be known by these characteristics. This is what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me. Since He reminds me of this phrase almost every day, I’m paying closer attention, and leaning in for deeper instruction. I’ve become, during the virus induced incubation season, intentionally focused on the formation of these two characteristics in my life.

Boldly love ~ This means I face the hard things. It means I look straight into the most difficult relationships. I don’t turn my back or think someone else should “do something”. Loving with boldness means I determine to not be offended, and I choose to live peaceably with all who share my path.

Humble heart ~ This means I recognize and deal with the depravity of my own flesh, and allow Holy Spirit (not me) to bring conviction in the life of another person. Certainly, I should not overlook, condone or partner with sinful choices. However, in humility I must spend more of my life asking my Savior to purify me from my flesh by the nearness of His all-consuming fire. I must purposely choose to walk so close with my eyes trained on Jesus that bold love flows from my life.

I want to reap a bountiful harvest of Good Fruit so that my life feeds many hungry souls. I’ve asked for it. Father God says, “YES!” He also reminds me not to be deceived. God is jealous for His own and He will not allow Himself to be mocked. No imitation of God The Father, Son and Holy Spirit will produce life-giving abundant and lasting fruit.

I hope you’ll read Galatians 6, Romans 12, and Psalm 103 today. Join me with BOLD love and HUMBLE heart.
Amen!

I Have a Voice

From my earliest remembrance I’ve thoroughly enjoyed expressing myself. Mostly, I have really just loved to talk.

If you know me up close, you are smiling (I hope) and nodding in agreement. My dear man says I have more words per day than anyone he’s ever known. “That’s why we fit together so well”, I tell him. He’s a man of few words,  and an excellent listener.

As a youngster I followed my mom around the house talking non-stop until she kindly suggested I should look for a friend and play outside until dinner. I shared my words with friends, our dog, God, but I mostly talked to myself.

Music has always been my second favorite form of expression. By simply stacking a bunch of 45’s on my record player, I could entertain myself for hours singing into my hairbrush. Other times, I would lie in the floor of our family room listening to whole albums. The Beatles albums were my favorite. With pen and paper, I attempted to write my own words to the popular tunes.

I had something to say and I wanted to be heard. Opinionated, yes. A love for conversation, yes. A desire to place hard topics on a table and hash it out, yes. Talk it through, every confusing aspect of life, to find the truth is specifically what I desired to do. A tongue untamed and yet unbridled. Yes!

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5 NIV

And therein lies my dilemma. I talked to process information. Within me burns a passion to understand, to get to the root, and find a solution.  I want to know what is true and live in it.  Thus, for as long as I can remember I’ve been asking exploratory questions.

In my immaturity I didn’t understand that flesh and blood people would not be able to answer all of my questions or reveal deep rooted truths. I truly needed to be conversing and listening to the only One who could add meaning to life. But I didn’t know God was available and accessible.

When people grew weary of listening and questions were left unanswered, I began to get quiet. My voice lost confidence, and became a whisper.  I was self conscious in my teen years and mostly refused to speak in public or group settings.

The lie built from within.  I could not be understood, therefore I had no voice. If I had no voice, there was no sense in speaking up. If I didn’t speak up, my questions weren’t valuable. A downward spiral of insecurity and fear ensued. I wanted to disappear.

A friend in college offered me a revolutionary solution. For Christmas, our freshman year, she gifted me with a journal. I had never seen anything like it. A whole book full of colorful empty pages.

She told me the book was for me to fill with all my words!

It was during this season of life that I really began to look for God. I needed Him. I had so many questions. Big concerns. Confusion. Fears and doubts. I wasn’t certain if He was able to hear me, but I talked to Him as if He could.

My journal became the place in which my voice came alive. I could “talk” and write and communicate everything within my heart with pen on paper.

Paper and pen were my safe place. No one argued or told me to speak up. No one told me I was wrong to ask such questions. I “talked” onto pages until my heart was content. Peace arose in my heart as I felt heard by filling blank pages with words needing to be set free.

In the first few years of seeking to know God, I learned that I could not only talk to Him and be heard; He would also answer me. After accepting a challenge from coworkers to read the Bible as God’s love letter to me, I began to find the answers to many of the questions I had written in my journal.

At last I had found The Best Friend in all the world; the One who would always listen to every single word, hear, and understand. And then all the better, He would respond with what He wanted me to know and do. His love desire for me was to teach me truth.

A deep longing in me was being fulfilled.

As I’ve matured in my faith I have learned there are words to be spoken out loud, and words to be only shared with my Father. There are times and seasons, and there are audiences as God ordains it.  For anyone who knows me as a woman of many words, only God knows how many words have never been uttered out loud.

1980 to 2019 – my books of words offered to God as an act of worship.


My Lord continually has much to say to me about the way I speak, my tone and the appropriate use of speech for love and blessing. Very early in my discipleship a friend directed me to the book of James. Knowing how much I love the gift of gab, my heart was pricked, and I began to take seriously the many reproofs regarding an uncontrolled tongue.

I still love to talk, especially over a cup of hot coffee with a friend on the other side of the table. And I fully believe my Father created me with a love for communication and a desire to seek truth. I know that I know He’s called me to use my tiny little voice to speak truth and praise Him in the process.

These journals of mine represent my heart wrapped around the promises of God. They also contain my voice lifted up to the only One I have been absolutely sure would listen, hear every word, care intensely, understand at all, and have an answer even if He didn’t share right away.

Because He’s called me and gifted me with such passion, He will also take as long as necessary to prepare me. The pruning times, the fiery trials, and the desert walks without a trace of rain are all recorded on my once blank pages. He’s taught me and then tested me. He’s coached me through increasingly difficult terrain to build my faith muscles.

My Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit have heard every word. Witnessed every tear-stained page. Sipped coffee with me in the wee dark hours. Held my heart and healed the broken places. God has answered in the depth and variety of Who He is as Spirit and Truth.

I have a voice. I have a tiny little whisper of a voice. I have a   voice more bridled than ever. When Holy Spirit nudges me with fire in my bones, I will speak.

God is faithful. His promises are true, and I can trust Him for everything. I can especially trust Him that He made this tiny little voice exactly as He intended for His purposes and for His praise.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

~Lisa

Actively Waiting

We set our alarms for the dark, predawn hour. I slept, but he may not have slept much. Anticipation. A bit of nerves. The tummy rumbles because there’s been no food since dinner.

I had the honor of being the driver. Feeling a bit guilty, I drank my coffee anyway. My boiled eggs were eaten before the pick up. Trying to be considerate, I let the windows down, though the air was frosty; trying to remove the smell of breakfast from the car.

We finally arrived after navigating morning commuter traffic. Bags in tow we found our waiting base camp location. We had snacks and chargers, books and journals, pens and just lots of stuff. Our active waiting would be filled with productivity. Maybe.

We sat with him while he waited to go back. He was wearing the lovely paper cap and heat infused gown, all wonderfully coordinated with the hospital socks. We laughed. Waited. Offered to take his picture. He was not in favor.

And then the time came to kiss, hug and wave a “see ya after” while they wheeled him behind the doors. Nurses assured. The surgeon greeted. He smiled. He placed an assuring hand on her shoulder and promised to take good care of him.

He would wait asleep for good news upon waking.

The time had come. The wait was really on. A once empty room was now quite full. The air nippy outside was warmed by sunlight through windows. Like plants in a green house, we sat with faces turned toward the light and soaked in the sun.

Chairs were rearranged throughout the day to form huddles of loved ones waiting together. Whispering voices created a white noise symphony of various tones. The mood was positive with chuckles filling the air now and again.

Some slept. Snored. Worked puzzles. Many stared at screens. Some read books. All were actively waiting in some capacity.

Waiting. Have you ever noticed that waiting is an activity?

Psalm 37 has an overarching theme of waiting. Wait for the Lord. But in the meanwhile, do these things. Through a particularly long season of waiting, I’ve found great comfort and tons of wisdom for life just in the first 11 verses. Here’s a sample.

  • Do not fret or be envious
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Do good
  • Dwell in safe pasture
  • Delight in the Lord
  • Commit your way to the Lord
  • Trust Him
  • Be still before the Lord
  • Wait patiently for the Lord
  • Do not fret
  • Refrain from anger
  • Turn from wrath
  • Do not fret
  • Hope in the Lord
  • Patience for a little while longer
  • Be meek

Did anyone else notice that the admonition “do not fret” was included three times? Go check it for yourself. It’s in there – three times.

Fretting might be the easiest “go to” activity in a waiting room. However, God says don’t fret – don’t worry. Then He offers all of these other activities to take the place of worrying about circumstances we can’t control anyway.

In this current waiting season, I’m choosing to pursue these activities prescribed by God in Psalm 37. I sometimes forget and default to fretting. And you will too. However, the practice of actively seeking God in the waiting creates faith muscle memory. The more I practice, the more I’m likely to seek His face, to trust and wait patiently for the Lord.

Everyone around me was waiting for news. Hoping for good news. Waiting for the updates. Surgery has begun. The patient is doing well. We’re almost finished. Recovery room. All is well. We’ll come and get you when you are able to visit.

Relief began to fill faces as the waiting time was over… one by one.

I don’t know the hearts of all the people in the waiting room yesterday. There may have been some fretting. It may have been hard to be patient or to trust God. That was true for most of us, I’m sure.

Watching though, I witnessed a whole bunch of kindness, doing good, caring, and concern for other human beings. My heart was filled with hope. Love is still active in our world.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

~Lisa

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Today I am joining the Five Minute Friday team in a five minute writing challenge on the one word {active}. I wrote for more than five minutes. That’s fairly obvious. However, I appreciate the five minute timer because it gets me focused and sets me on a course for writing.

Thanks, Kate, for encouraging us to keep writing.

Does He Notice Me?

Have you ever wondered if God notices you?

As I wrote in my post, No Other, I simply don’t remember ever questioning the existence of God or His role as Ruler over all creation. Yet as true as that is for me, I remember wondering if God ever noticed me down here.

Privileged to get to travel by air as a youngster, I often searched the high altitude cloud banks and sunny blue heavens hoping to catch a glimpse of God. Maybe I could wave and He would see me. Perhaps an angel would fly by, see me in the window, and mention to God that He saw me.

I know, right? The tender wonderings of a child! These imaginary conversations often played through my thoughts…

{Angel speaking to God} “You know that kid who is always dreaming outlandish dreams, and lives in her own little world of fanciful imagination? Her name is Lisa. She lives in Miami. I looked her up. She’s always hoping You will notice her.”

I think subconsciously my opening question, Does He notice me?, lay at the root of my desire to go back to California.  Specifically, Victorville, California. 

It’s my birthplace recorded on my birth certificate and passport, but not a home I can remember. That beginning place is a mystery to me. So like searching for the missing puzzle piece, I thought surely a visit to the land of my physical roots would bring resolution.

Resolution to a question buried deep. A question I had not given much thought, yet apparently still bubbled under the surface like molten earth under the San Andreas fault.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

Would the Lord meet me there in the desert? Had He known me as a baby girl? Was God pleased to notice me? And had He already determined then to call me by name until I bent my heart and my knee to His Sovereign love and grace?

As I stood on the edge of the mountain in the Mojave Desert overlooking the valley where I first entered the world, I sensed the Lord’s presence. In the exhausting heat gazing upon a drab brown landscape, I was reminded of the story of Hagar in Genesis 16.

Hagar had become pregnant by Abram as the result of Sarai’s scheme to provide her husband with an heir. God had promised, but Sarai was tired of waiting. Unfortunately, her impatience and Abram’s compliance created division and dysfunction in their family.

Manipulation never turns out well. Yet most of us attempt this form of helping God at some time in our lives. It’s our fleshly desire to control. We tend to look for shortcuts. However, it’s so often the time in the process which completes the good work of God in us.

Oppressed and unguarded, Hagar ran into the wilderness. It was there in the barren land, feeling completely alone and forsaken, the Lord encountered Hagar. He asked her what she was doing? Her answer was honest and God’s response was tender.

God showed kindness to Hagar as He revealed to her His plan to bless her child for generations to come. Though she had sinned against Sarai and was hiding, God made sure to notice her with mercy.

From that day forward, Hagar called the name of the Lord, El Roi – the God who sees me.

The funny lesson I brought home as a souvenir is the acknowledgement of how often I have hidden from God because of my sin.  Like a child wanting the attention of her parent for being good, but then hiding in her closet because of shame. I see it now completely uncovered as my heart lays bare before it’s maker.

God wants me to know, and you too; He notices us ALL the time. When we’re not hiding He’s delighted with our desire to be seen.  And when we’re hiding from God, He stands with arms of mercy open wide and ready for us to draw near in repentance.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

What’s the childlike question you have for God today? Do you think he notices you? Are you willing to ask Him?

I look forward to reading, hearing your answers.

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

Lisa