Monday, August 10, 2015


It was a frigid wintery morning, with  a northern Alberta wind buffeting the region with an intense frosty chill. The night before, a fierce bitter arctic blizzard had rolled relentlessly across the prairies. It moaned and howled like something that had crawled out of an unholy abyss. It stalked the farm, rattling storm windows and buffeted the house continuously through the long night. 

The snow covered panorama of the surrounding fields was bleakly windswept with mounds of drifting snow that were not there the day before. It was still snowing hard this morning, and  it was possible that some of the outbuildings housing the farming equipment had been damaged, so I dressed warmly to survey the impact of the storm. 

Stepping into the Storm

As I closed the front door, I heard a truck coming slowly down the debris strewn driveway. It pulled to a stop, and I recognized my neighbor Ken who stopped by to see if I needed any help after the blizzard. Farmers are a family.

He stepped out of the truck, and was followed by his big old white dog named Frost. The faithful companion loved to be out chasing down wandering cattle, lost sheep or any other living thing that he could get a bead on. We set off toward the barn, and as always, Frost ran on ahead, and true to his nature the hunt was on, only this morning, the chase was not like anything I had ever seen him do before.

Chasing after the Wind...

Frost  would leap and bark, spinning in circles, snapping at unsuspecting prey that he appeared to be hunting. I looked at Ken and he just shook his head with a sorrowful grim look upon his face.“He’s not been himself for a couple of months now. The vet thinks he is about at the end of his days…..”

Nothing else needed to be said. Frost had been Ken’s second hand on his cattle farm for a number of years. However, the old hunter's  world at present was intensely focused upon one futile objective…chasing after the wind. It was heartbreaking to see this fearless hunter, skilled cattle herder, and loyal companion, now totally disoriented, and frustrated, as he frantically barked and bit at the cold prairie wind on this wintry morning.

The Futility of a Life without God

It was Late one evening, some weeks later, and I was sitting at my desk, trying to work through several complicated life impacting issues that lay inert on the horizon of my future. I looked out the slightly frosted window, and gazed at the snow covered fields that were luminescent in bright moonlight.

Suddenly a gust of wind swirled the snow covered scene outside my window and the image of an old faithful dog, leaped before my eyes, turning this way and that, and I was struck with an intriguing thought:

Maybe the real issue for me this night was that I was spending all of my time trying to find My strategy to sort out my frustrating real life problems. In reality, like the old dog Frost, I was just chasing the wind. I had spent very little time of late in The Quiet Place. Decision making in the Will of God can only take place when His will becomes the focus of our lives.

Drifting from The Quiet Place

Spiritual drifting leads naturally to Chasing after the Wind. We are created to worship God in the Quiet Place where His will, not ours, becomes our strategic mind-set in sorting through life's challenging problems.
The drifting creates futile patterns in our life and germinates the seed of Apathy which  becomes the critical issue in Spiritual Drifting.

The Apathetic mindset grows slowly, rooting the following attitudes where we become:

Driven in All of our Activities...

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14. 

Principle: Only God gives Purpose to my life.

Exhausted with everything we do...

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind “ Ecclesiastes 2:11.  

Principle: Only work that I do for God’s Glory has Purpose.

Consumed by the pursuit of wealth and overwhelmed by loss of financial security...

“To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:26

Principle: Only God can give me a Biblical Perspective on Wealth. 

Apathetic about what used to be meaningful...

“Toil Is Meaningless, so I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17.

Principle: Only God can give my Work a sense of Value 

Progressively pessimistic with a sarcastic perspective...

“Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:17.

Principle: Only God’s Wisdom has any Meaning

Envious for what other people have that we have lost...

“And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Ecclesiastes 4:4

Principle: Only God frees my Achievements from Envious Competitiveness

Decision Making in The Will of God

Always remember that God's Word is the only compass that never changes, the only Book that will always tell you the Truth, and the only life Road Map to help you navigate through whatever critical time you are experiencing right this moment. 

Decision making in the Will of God becomes a mindset when our primary goal is to please Him. Storms can dim our view of what is best to do in a given situation because often changing our circumstances becomes more important than changing our attitude in the midst of adversity.

Often we miss the beauty and majesty of the winter storms of life, because we only see the storm, and not the creative display of our God's artistic handiwork (Psalm 19). When trials come our way, they can become strategic trails to a deeper walk with God.

There is strength and courage that we receive when we immerse ourselves in God's Word. He wants each of us to discover the vital importance of spending meaningful time meeting with Him in.... The Quiet Place

It is only there that we discover that decision making in the Will of God flows out of our heart desire to please Him, and enjoy unhindered communion. That is where our thinking must be centered, otherwise we are more often just going through the motions in our spiritual walk and finding ourselves...Chasing the Wind.

Please take a moment to listen to this inspiring song that gives insight in how to overcome seasons of Apathy, and the challenge to resist Spiritual Drifting in our lives.

The Motions   By Michael West

Friday, August 7, 2015


When we lose hope, life feels like it is over. Whenever we are faced with the challenge of living through a difficult tragedy or loss,  it takes everything we have to just face tomorrow. To somehow see how life can possibly work now that our plans are shattered, or when a relationship has ended. It makes starting over seem like an overwhelming impossibility. In that winter of the soul, we deeply feel the loss of hope.

We know that we cannot live in the shadow of past regrets, but we can be tempted to. We can and must find ways to live in today's new beginning. Starting anything over is no easy task. To have the courage and confidence to create a new beginning calls upon every inner resource that we possess.

Life is Painful when you Lose Hope

Sometimes, circumstances happen that we have no control over, yet we have to live with the impact of the consequences nonetheless. Our hope might have been placed in someone or something that went wrong, or has come to an end; what we had hoped would happen is suddenly laying at our feet in broken pieces.

When you lose Hope you must not give up

It just doesn't seem fair to have your heart broken, to lose a cherished family member, or find that recent financial problems have led to seeing one's home foreclosed upon. Every piece of our life is connected to another piece of our life. It is devastating to lose hope that nothing will ever turn out like we had dreamed. We must find the raw courage to go on. In reality... yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here yet, so we must find a way to live for today. 

When you lose Hope you must allow yourself time to Heal

It is no easy thing to pretend it just doesn't matter to have lost something precious that was important or meaningful in your life. To wake up each morning and put on the happy face, the serious face, or it really doesn't matter face, only works for a little while. All too soon you find yourself time drifting back to the past, lost in a sea of regret, or caught up in the worries of tomorrow, that just leaves you broken once again. You must allow yourself time to heal.

It can be so difficult to move on when you cannot see a way to rebuild a shattered dream. In truth, we may just have to let that dream go. We will need to give the pieces to God, and seek His will for whatever is to come. The Will of God never leads you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.

Only a life with Jesus Christ can give us the wondrous capacity to live in the present, while being painfully grieved with a tragedy that has crushed our hopes. This is specially so when we are filled with anxious uncertainties about the future. How is that possible? 

What did Jesus do with men who had Lost Hope?

One day two disciples of Jesus Christ were walking along the Road to the city of Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. Their hearts were overwhelmed with events that had taken place just a few days before. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, had been crucified, and was dead and buried in a tomb in Jerusalem. With that tragedy, so were their hopes and dreams. Time had literally stopped for these disciples.

“Now that same day, two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.”  Luke 24:13-14.  They desperately needed some way  to make sense of what had happened.

Jesus drew near and walked with them

“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Luke 24:15-18

Jesus encouraged them to verbalize the reason for their lost hope

Jesus Christ stepped into real time as it was happening in the present, and met with two confused, hurting disciples. Sometimes we fail to remember that God reaches out to us at the point of our deepest felt need.

Even though He already knew, He wanted to have them express their own perspective on what was specifically troubling them. “What things?”  Luke 24:19a

Jesus allowed them to share what was heaviest on their hearts

We can so easily cut people off and give eloquent advice, applicable verses from the Bible and even offer to pray for hurting people, but we far too seldom are patient enough to allow them to share the depth of their heartbreak or the impact of their shattered dreams upon their lives. What a confusing time it must have been to so many people when Jesus Christ, the expected Redeemer, the Lord of Salvation, was crucified.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
Jesus Understands what it is like to lose Hope

"And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find His body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” Luke 24:19b-24

Jesus brought truth from the Scriptures to reach their troubled hearts

We can encourage people with poems and songs, gifts and hugs, but people only truly feel genuine comfort when God’s Word enters their troubled hearts and minds.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

Jesus never pushes Himself upon us but wants us to invite Him near

“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” Luke 24:28-31  
Jesus ignited their troubled hearts with New Hope

When people are open with God, and allow His Word to impact them, they will never be the same. The Lord is present with us and He will reveal truth to our troubled minds and catch our hearts on fire with new hope if we will allow Him to be the Lord of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He alone holds time in His hands.

“They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24: 32

One of the most difficult things to do in life is to live in the reality of the present. We need to lock into the now of our lives. We struggle most with the discipline of being present and accounted for. These disciples finally stopped in their tracks, stepped out of the past, forgot about the future, and grasped the critical reality that was theirs in the present. 

Allow God to Create New Hope Within

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread.” Luke 24:35 

When you are dismayed over the lose of hope, always remember that there is no problem in your life that God cannot help you find the answers to, so that you can begin to create a new pathway for your life.

  • When your heart is heavy, remember that Jesus is near
  • He will walk you through how to sort out of your concerns
  • He wants you to be honest and open about your fears
  • Be open to hear what the Scriptures say about your troubles
  • Invite The Lord to draw near as you sort out what to do
  • Ask Him to set your heart on fire, not just fix your problem
  • Determine to follow through and apply what He has revealed to you

Thoughts to Ponder:

Why is it so hard to release to God what has caused so much pain in our lives?

What is it about a loss of hope that makes it so hard to trust again?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Take a moment to listen to this encouraging song by Plumb entitled " Broken Places"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Where is God When I need a Miracle?

Why do miracles happen for some people and not for others? In life, there are simply times when no matter how hard we pray, how long we choose to fast, or even how many other faithful friends steadfastly pray about something, our circumstances may not change or even get better. In fact, to our dismay, they might even get worse. 

Miracles do not always happen that change our circumstances, no matter how much faith we may have. In fact, the Scriptures teach us that when there is no miracle, that does not mean that God does not have a plan. They also teach us that having our way, is not always a good thing (See Numbers 11; Psalm 106:15).

Our request for a miraculous change in our circumstances may not be granted. Some stubbornly refuse to let go of a request for God to intervene and heal or deliver someone we love, from a tragic set of circumstances. Over time, one can become disillusioned in the prayer of faith, and God's faithfulness to act on our behalf when we need Him the most.

The Lord's Prayer and God's Sovereignty

Jesus spent much time alone so that He could pray to God the Father and have His own Quiet Place.  It is a model for personal time with God, that provides insight into how He lived His earthly ministry under God the Father's Sovereignty.

He made Time for The Quiet Place

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone.”   Matthew 14:23
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  Mark 1:35

He found a Quiet Place to be Alone
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”  Luke 6:12

“Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses, but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  Luke 5:15-16

His Priority for The Quiet Place

It is insightful that no matter how busy and exhausted Jesus became, He always found time to go to The Quiet Place to meet with His Father.

The time or place was not significant. He found the time and He made a place.What an encouraging example this is to make time for The Quiet Place no matter what is happening in our lives.

Yielding to Gods Will in The Quiet Place

The Lord wanted his disciples to really grasp the reality that life for them as His followers was not about maneuvering God’s will to fit their plans, but rather submitting to God’s Sovereign authority to discover how to live under His plan. 

He taught them what to center their prayers upon as they sought God and served Him in days to come.

 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matthew 6:9-13

They would later be Apostles who would wield miraculous power and authority as the New Testament Church was established. They all would suffer, and many would die painfully. Their plan had to give way to His plan.

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”Matt. 6:9b -10

There is a critical step in this model prayer that directs us to humble ourselves and bow the knee in reverential submission to the Sovereign will of our Heavenly Father.

God's Will must Reign over ours in The Quiet Place

We all have a tendency in life to want everything to go our way. In The Quiet Place God wants each of us to learn that our way may sometimes be in direct conflict with His will. Our life will sometimes have seasons of difficult trials, discouraging disappointment and painful devastating suffering. Regardless of our feelings, our circumstances or our dreams, His will must reign over our will. 

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:  “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."  Isaiah 30:15

Christ Submitted His Will to God's Sovereignty

Jesus later modeled this truth at a time when He was soon to face the greatest test of His earthly ministry. He prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the horrific circumstances that were to come as He prepared His heart for the coming agonies of the cross.

We will never know the sweetness of precious worship and intercession with God until we are brought to a place where we kneel alone before His Glory and Majesty as our Sovereign Father.  It is often in the darkest hour of sorrow and suffering that the Holy Spirit makes His presence known and we fall prostrate before His Holiness.

Christ went to The Quiet Place to Commune with His Father
Christ had but one place to be on that terrible night in Gethsemane, and that was to seek out His Father and shut out the world around Him. The only way in suffering that we can rise above the pain, and despair, is to draw near to God, and share our heart with Him alone. 

Try to picture that night in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew He was about to be thrust into the horror and anguish of the crucible of the cross.  

Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, would now humble Himself and die as our sacrificial atonement as The Lamb of God (See Phil.2:6-8).

He was about to give His life, and take upon Him the sin of the world, as mankind’s only atonement for sin. He was about to die for all of us. You and I were in His mind and on His heart at that very moment in time (Luke 22:41-43). 

He sought first of all a private place apart from others where He could lay down His heart and will before His Father in Heaven.

“He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them,” Luke 22: 41a

He bowed His knee to His father in Heaven as an act of complete submission to His Father’s Sovereign will and purpose.

 “He knelt down…” Luke 22:41b

He brought His desire and request before God as a separate singular issue.

  “He …prayed…” Luke 22:41c

He acknowledged that His Father alone had the authority and therefore the power to grant His request or to choose not to grant it.

"Father, if you are willing…” Luke 22:42a

He specifically requested for a deliverance from the tragic and horrific circumstances that were about to come to pass.

 “… take this cup from me…” Luke 22:42b

He submitted to His Father’s will with reverence and obedience.

“…yet, not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42c 

It comes down to this for each and every one of us: God has the right, and does not need our permission, to rearrange our life to achieve His purposes. In the blink of an eye, anyone's whole life can get turned upside down and, like the Old Testament example of Job, you may not be able to make sense of it, others may judge you because of it and, it even may get worse before it gets better. 

It is Not Easy to Give God our Desires and Dreams

For that to be so, we must come to trust Him as Lord above all things. He must have uncontested authority over our hopes, dreams and our plans. This is so easy to say and so difficult to practice. This issue will be tested every single day of our lives. His Sovereignty alone must dictate how we respond to suffering and hardship and everything else in our lives.

Joni Erikson wrote the following insight, reflective of her life and the hardships that she experienced,

“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It's enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren't worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.” Joni Erickson Tada 

Hope must be Rooted in God’s Sovereign Will

His Father did not grant His request. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect upon this staggering truth: His Father did not grant His request. It is without question that His Father heart would be torn and broken by the events that were soon to come upon His beloved Son.  

Even at the expense of His Son’s suffering, knowing Jesus would have to experience humiliation, torture and mutilation before a godless sinful angry crowd of people...God The Father did not grant His request. 

The Father would seemingly step back and witness such horrific events take place. His Father also knew that His Son, amidst the evil darkness and unimaginable wickedness and unholy sinfulness that was placed upon His Son, that His Son would cry out from the cross in anguish and confusion that His Father had not come to His aid and rescued Him.

“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Matthew 27:46

Sometimes the silence of God can be misunderstood as the uncaring negligence of God to help us with whatever it is that we are in anguish about. However, the apparent silence of God may be because He alone knows that deliverance from a difficult circumstance is exactly what we do not need.

God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.” Augustine

Some have reflected that God is not interested in our happiness but in our holiness. That is true. However, let’s take this truth to a deeper core truth: God is not interested in our happiness…He is wanting us to be His.

“I'm not sure God wants us to be happy. I think he wants us to love, and be loved. But we are like children, thinking our toys will make us happy and the whole world is our nursery. Something must drive us out of that nursery and into the lives of others, and that something is suffering.” C. S. Lewis  

"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11

Does God want to bless us, provide for us, and prosper us? Of course He does and the Scriptures are full of His promises to substantiate just that. He also has a Sovereign plan for each of us and sometimes that plan will lead us to unhappy times where it is His Joy that flows through us, and not our circumstances that provide transient happy feelings.

When There is no Miracle we Need His Strength to Endure Suffering

We need strength during tough times. Weariness breaks us down. It is God’s deepest desire that we experience that strength as we yield in The Quiet Place to His Sovereignty and trust Him. It is only then, that His peace will flow to our  troubled heart, and His joy will give us strength to endure.

"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Perhaps you are facing your own Gethsemane in your life right now. You know that to obey and trust God on a matter, will bring about consequences and perhaps suffering that is unavoidable. In that hushed moment when we are transparent and open before God, His love and glory will flow through us, and His peace will sustain us under severe trial, for the pathway to the Throne of Grace is found in the The Quiet Place

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

It is beside the still waters, in The Quiet Place, where The Good Shepherd waits to meet with you and restore the weariness of your soul.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul..." Psalm 23:1-3