it’s time for me to start playing ball

Recently, I began to think about one of my all time favorite movies, “Hoosiers,” It’s a movie about the small town of Hickory who makes it to the finals of the Indiana State High School Basketball Tournament. It was historic because no school of that size had ever made it to the finals before. A huge turning point in their basketball season was the return of Jimmy Chitwood. He had made a decision not to play basketball that year. In the course of the season, first year coach, Norman Dale came under fire and at a special meeting was voted out. But in walks Jimmy, who asked to address the gathered townspeople. He looks out and says, “I don’t know if it’ll make any change but I figured it’s time for me to start playing ball.” The townspeople roar in approval. But then He says that he would play only if Coach Dale coached. They took another vote, Coach Dale was reinstated and the rest is Indiana basketball history.


This morning, as I spent time with God, a clear thought entered my mind. “It’s time to start writing again.” I wondered about that. Why now? I haven’t written a word for over a year. I had thoughts about starting up again but things kept coming up. I even revisited my weekly schedule and made time to write. But…

As I pondered whether God was leading me to start up again, a familiar passage entered my mind. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

I continue to learn that abiding in Christ is resting in God’s perfect timing. There are times when I can’t see the perfection of His timing. There are so many times when I want to just charge ahead. There are times when the urgency of something pulls me away from trusting in God’s timing. And then there are times when, out of the blue, He leads me to do something. Oh how I long to hear clearly the voice of God and fully rest in His timing.

So, like my friend, Jimmy Chitwood, I figure it’s time for me to start writing again, trusting that this is God’s perfect timing.

another step….

Let My Son Shine in!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a month since our return from Japan. How quickly time has flown by! The joy and wonder of being in the city where my family is from, now fading into the busyness, activities, challenges of being back home.

Amidst all the things swirling around in my mind, thoughts wander back to Don’s message we heard as a family in Japan. Whether in Japan visiting a part of my heritage or back home in Hawaii, or wherever I find myself, the question, and really, my challenge is: Am I continually seeking Jesus and walking on that narrow path or am I just taking the easy, comfortable and convenient way? Only two options. I am either on one or the other. There is no third road. Too bad. Don’s challenging questions come to mind often:

  1. Is my response to sin characterized by repentance?
  2. Is my will surrendered to God’s will?
  3. Does my life show forth the fruit of obedience?
  4. Do I sense the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit?

On our last full day in Niigata, my family’s hometown, I spent time with God in the peacefulness of the rice paddies bordering our hotel. It was a good time. It was a time to honestly reflect on those four questions.


  • Is my response to sin characterized by repentance? I wrote in my journal that day, “On a scale of 1-10, I would say a 6, maybe. But it should be way closer to 10. So often I choose to ignore sin.”
  • Is my will surrendered to God’s will? Continuing my reflection and evaluation, “6 again. But sadly too often, only when I want to. In those weak moments, the answer is no.”
  • Does my life show forth the fruit of obedience? “Not sure how to rate this. I often try to put my best foot forward. But is it obedience to God or a show to the people around me? Is it more a sense of duty or an expression of my love for God?”
  • Do I sense the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit? “Succinctly put, no. It’s hard to hear His voice above the din of my feelings of guilt, condemnation, and lies from the accuser of the brethren.

I thoughtfully considered my words written on that page, reflecting upon the condition of my heart. As I shook my head in disgust at sad excuse for a follower of Christ I was feeing at that moment. I closed my eyes in prayer. Then, sensing the gentle voice of my Father, I began to write words I felt whispered in my ear:

“Mark, see how refreshed and alive you feel sitting along these paddies? You are so often worn down, stressed, fatigued, sick and weighed down because you don’t take time to just be with Me. Even 30 minutes rejuvenates, doesn’t it? My word to you, “Remember to take time and let the Son shine in. Let My Son shine into your life. Make time to let My Son shine in. Do that and you will experience the health and vitality you will need for this decade. Remember this. Even in the midst of the busyness of your life, let My Son shine in on your life.”

“I am the light of the world.Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Jesus in John 8:12

“Let My Son shine in on your life!” Special words on a very special day in a very special place. Words of hope, encouragement and instruction. Words from a loving Father to his discouraged son. What a moment! That day and that place seems like a million miles away right now. How quickly I allow stuff to come in and steal the preciousness AND My Father’s exhortation that day! But today I remember. I choose to remember. Today I go that special place in His presence, open my heart, my soul and my arms and let the Son shine in.

I am learning that abiding is not attained the way I too often strive for something, through hard work, determination and human effort. Abiding is simply remaining in the Vine and letting His Son shine in. Simply, not easy. But I’m learning. Today, no more striving. No more listening to the inadequacies I feel in my heart. No more listening to the lies. Today I simply choose to let the Son shine in.

“Thank you Father for your love and patience with me. Thank you for your words. May your Holy Spirit continually remind me to let your Son shine in to my life. I am humbled by your stubborn love for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

another step…

Two options, one choice

Yesterday was Sunday here in Ikebukuro, Japan. I searched around for a church to visit but there weren’t any relatively close by. That’s kind of sad to me. A thought came to mind and I decided to have gather the family to watch a message preached by Don Cousins at Discovery Church. Don is a great friend who God has used much in my life. About a week ago, we were chatting about our upcoming trip as well as things in my heart. He suggested I watch his message from a few weeks ago that was right along the lines of what I was sharing. God has been leading me to read and reread the Sermon on the Mount. Don has been preaching from the Sermon on the Mount for the past several weeks. Great minds think alike. Anyway, we watched Don’s message, “Two Options, One Choice,” as a family. It was so good. Just what we needed. Isn’t it awesome how God meets you right where you are at?

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”                  Matt. 7:13-14

Don’s main point was in life, there are just two options, two choices, two paths to take. The broad way that leads away from God to destruction and the narrow path that leads to life. Jesus said one is easy, wide, with lots of people on it and the other is hard, narrow with very few on it. 

Later that morning, we decided to walk to this interesting place called Sunshine City. You could probably spend an entire day there with the Observatory Deck with VR stuff you can do, an aquarium in the building, shops and shops and shops and all kinds of food, even Kua Aina, a hamburger joint from Hawaii!

One of the fun things getting around in a new place is bumbling around trying to find your way. We started on our way to Sunshine City with Google Maps, which I am horrible at following. As we tried to find the way, a thought came to mind. Just follow the crowd and we’ll get there. It’s crazy how many people are walking around and how few cars there are in a a city of over 370,000 people with a population density of almost 23,000 per km. Following the throng of people, it struck me, “This is like the broad way! It’s easy. It’s wide. And there’s a lot of people walking on it.”

As we walked, I thought about how easy it was. “All we need to do is follow the crowd and we’ll get to where we want to go.” For me, Google Maps was too confusing and too hard. It took too much work for me. It was too easy to get lost, if you took a wrong turn. Following Google Maps took way to much concentration for me. My verdict: Too hard. Following the crowd, so much easier! Then “BINGO!” Ding, ding, ding. Winner, winner, chicken dinner (KCF of course)! There it was! The lesson from Matthew 7 that Don spoke about only an hour or so earlier, literally before my very eyes! Two options, one choice. Following all the people on the broad way was easy! Following a specific source, Google Maps, in this case, was hard, again at least for me! Too much work. Following the crowd, so much easier. 

As I took in the scene around me, some thoughts came to mind:

  • It is so easy to just go with the flow. So easy to just follow popular opinion. You don’t draw attention to yourself. No one if offended because you’re going a different way. It’s easy. You just follow along. 
  • As I watched the hundreds and really thousands of people around me, I wondered how many of them knew Jesus. It kind of broke my heart, seeing the broad way before my eyes and how many people are on it and how many are headed to destruction. I wondered about that as I saw mommies and daddies, smiling and carrying their precious babies. Little children, so cute, skipping along, seemingly without a care in the world. Young people. So many young people. Couples in love, oblivious to the mass of humanity around them. The elderly off to the side, avoiding the rush of those around them, heading in the same direction, at a much slower pace. So many people! I thought, “Is this like that broad way that Jesus spoke about?” My heart was filled with love and compassion and a renewed passion to share the Good News.
  • Am I continually seeking Jesus and walking on that narrow path or am I just taking the easy way and following the crowd? There are only two options, two roads. I am either on one or the other. There is no third road. Don’s challenging questions came to mind: 
  1. Is my response to sin characterized by repentance?
  2. Is my will surrendered to God’s will?
  3. Does my life show forth the fruit of obedience?
  4. Do I sense the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit?

Good questions for me as I continue this adventure in Japan and more accurately, as I continue this adventure to truly abide in Christ. There’s just two options and one choice. Am I walking on that narrow, harder, path less traveled? 
Another step …

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

We have been walking a lot from the minute we landed in Tokyo. A lot! Walking is great as it gives you time, or maybe more accurately, gives God an opportunity to speak to you. The big question is will I listen to what He says. As we continue our adventure, I think I will really focus on this. 

more than a football game

Well, it’s been a couple days since our return from Phoenix. I thank God for His refreshment and goodness. God blessed in so many ways and it was truly a testimony of what life looks like when I choose to abide in Christ.

I find it funny that only now, I’m taking time to reflect upon the football game, which was the reason we went up in the first place. But again that is what abiding in Christ does. It puts everything in perspective. So what about the game? What was the blessings from being there? What did God teach me?

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Ps. 25:4-5

What comes to mind are a number of things. First, I thank God for the opportunity and the blessing of being there. It was only the second NFL game I attended in my life. For Jo, it was her first. Having someone you know personally on the field playing is almost surreal. No, not almost, it is really surreal. Early on it was unbelievable to me, watching the game and realizing that it was Kirk Cousins on the field! It was exciting. But that excitement was quickly overtaken by a real sense of nervousness. Why? For the same reason it was exciting. It was Kirk on the field! It was Kirk trying to lead his team down the field. It was Kirk surrounded by huge, muscle bound men, attempting to plant him into the ground. Yes, excitement turned into nervousness. And I’m only an “uncle” from Hawaii. I can only imagine what his parents, Don and MaryAnn must feel every single game.

As the game progressed and the Cardinals continued to lead, a gnawing feeling filled my heart. I began to pray and ask God to bless Kirk and help him lead his team to victory. Not necessarily a bad thing, right? But I realized that the motivation was, well, weird, for lack of a better word. It was weird because I began to feel that if the Redskins lost, I would have let Kirk down because my prayers were ineffectual. I felt that he would be disappointed that we came all that way to pray and support him and we came up short. I came up short. If only I prayed more. Or better. Or like Aunty Sally! Now, as I write down my honest feelings, I feel like an idiot. I mean, who do I think I am, really. Do I really think that I have the power to control a game with MY prayers? So, so silly! But in the spirit of full disclosure and being totally honest with myself, that is what I felt.

But isn’t it like God to use situations like that to teach us? When we choose to humble ourselves and be honest with ourselves, God can come in and teach us valuable lessons, in this case, another lesson in abiding in Christ. I realized that when I am truly abiding in Christ, He puts things into perspective. He’s in control and I can just rest in Him and enjoy, in this case, a football game with a friend of ours playing. Even if they lose, God is in control and has the bigger picture in mind. Following the game, we visited with Kirk and although he was disappointed, majorly disappointed, he had come out of a really physical game healthy. I could see an inner strength and peace from God, a humble yet strong heart, and growing conviction that he was walking in a manner worthy of his calling. And I felt that even in the aftermath of a tough loss, there was so much to be thankful for because it’s than just about football. It’s about life and the journey of following and learning from God. I’m learning that abiding in Christ puts life in perspective.

I also learned how I can better pray for Kirk. The pressure and stress I felt about letting him down was but a miniscule taste of what he goes through week in and week out. The stress he feels day in day out, as a leader of the team and not wanting to let his teammates, family, friends, fans, and whoever else down. That weight must be almost unbearable. Now I can pray with a better understanding and feel for what he goes through. I find myself praying more that he would experience the joy of the Lord throughout his day and week. That he would experience the joy of abiding in Christ in a deeper way.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Ps. 86:11

Looking back, I thank God so much for this now completed trip. In many ways, it has been life changing for me. Why? Not because of a football game. Not because of visiting a new place. Not because of a refreshing mini-vacation. It has been life changing because I experienced a taste of what it means to truly abide in Christ. A taste of the kind of life God wants me to live. I prayed that God would teach me and He did. I learned to rely on His faithfulness in greater ways. I pray that God would give me an undivided heart that I may fear and trust in Him and Him alone. I thank God for the taste of what it means to abide in Christ and to rely on His faithfulness.And having that taste, I want more. May I walk the rest of my life wanting more. More of a Savior who loves me with an amazing, unbelievable, and crazy love. Yup, it’s more than a football game.

Another step…

reflect not regret

One of the blessings of my journey to grow in abiding in Christ is reflection. Webster’s defines reflect as “to think quietly and calmly.” As I learn to abide, it leads me to times of reflection. I am learning how good it is to reflect. Too often in my past, I would look back with much regret. “Shoulda.” “Coulda.” “Woulda.” When you’re me, with all my quirkiness, impulsiveness, insecurities, and sinfulness, looking back can be pretty discouraging. But as I am learning to abide in Christ, I am learning to reflect and think quietly and calmly about all the things God has done in my life despite or maybe better put, in spite of me.

Very recently, two verses really gripped my heart as I reflected upon God’s involvement in my life. In Jeremiah 31:3, I reflected upon the unbelievable truth of His Word, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Yesterday, in the midst of facing a long time fear of mine, I kept thinking, “My Father loves me with an everlasting love.” He knows me inside and out. He knows my fears and lack of faith. He knows my sinfulness. He knows everything about me and still, He loves me with a love that will last forever. He actually loves me!! That is unbelievable! That’s called grace upon grace upon grace!

I have loved you with an everlasting love. ” 

Another passage I have been quietly and calmly thinking about is Ps. 139:17-18. The more I think about this passage, the more crazy it is. It is truly unbelievable! “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Okay, I can understand that God has thoughts about me. Even me. But how many? They only outnumber the grains of sand! I once heard that 1 cubit foot of sand contains over a billion grains of sand! Just 1 cubit foot! How much would all the grains of sand be on just one beach! Or just one playground sandbox. Just one! Not all the beaches or sandboxes in the world. And God’s thoughts about me outnumber that amount? Really? How can that be? This is me we are talking about. But as I reflect and think quietly and calmly at the truth of God’s Word, it begins to sink in. That my God, knowing who I really am, the good, the bad and the ugly, loves me with an everlasting love and thinks about me more than I could ever imagine!

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

As I pondered all that, a very precious thought came to my mind and into my heart. On September 21, 1992, God’s everlasting love was demonstrated to me with the birth of my son, John. The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord. On that day, I received a very special gift. 24 years later as we celebrated his birthday, I was reminded of God’s innumerable thoughts about me and His everlasting love, as I reflect upon His gift called John. He has been a source of great joy, a very articulate and sensitive young man, an outstanding school teacher and leader, who at 24, is honestly and truly, a far greater man than I was at his age. And you know what that is? It’s a joy. It’s the joy of a father when he sees his son mature into an amazing adult. It’s an answer to prayer that my ceiling will be my children’s floor. That they would go far beyond where I have gone. It’s an affirmation of God’s everlasting love and yes, how precious His thoughts about me.

Yes, there are many challenges I face. Yes, life can be stressful. Yes, I get worn down and discouraged. Yes, I give in to too much fear, more than I would care to admit. BUT, oh the joy of abiding in Christ. How precious it is to abide and reflect upon all that God has done, is doing, and will do, in and through the life of someone as imperfect as me. That’s crazy! But that’s God. Thanks, God!

another step…

“Come to Me”

I must say it has been a good start of this journey, these past few months, of learning to abide in Christ. Am I consistently abiding in Christ now? Not yet, but better than I was before this journey began. More than anything, I am more  aware when I’m wrapped up in the busyness and stresses of life. I’m more aware when I am drifting away from my Savior. Unfortunately that still happens far too often. I am more passionate about meeting Him intimately in His Word. I am more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in my life.   So, it’s a process. A good one, I might add.

Something continues to be a quite a challenge for me. Often,  when I head off to bed after a really great day, where God showed up in amazing ways, or a really tough day where it was quite the grind,  truly resting in Christ is tough. Yesterday, I saw God show up at a very important meeting. There is so much I could write about that meeting. (I probably will.) After the meeting, I was so excited about the possibilities as a result of that meeting. I love possibilities! Thoughts and ideas flooded my mind. Good thoughts. Good ideas. I would even dare say, God thoughts and ideas. And therein lies the challenge for me. It’s hard for me to turn all that stuff off and go to sleep. After tossing and turning for awhile, I fell asleep only to wake up about 3 hours later. One reason is the natural consequence of being an older male. But that’s a tale for another day. I got up and immediately began to think of the possibilities following that meeting! I looked at the clock and tried to go back to sleep. But after lying in bed for almost an hour, I gave up and got up.

My question is how do you turn off the thoughts and ideas after a great day? Or how do you turn off all the worst case scenarios, the “what ifs” and those “shoulda, woulda, couldas” after a tough day? It’s something that I can’t seem to do thus far in my life. I still need to learn and grow in that key area of giving everything to the Lord at the end of the day. I feel is a huge learning point for me. I think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Jesus’ words to me are simple: “Come to me.” When I am weary and burdened by the day or when all those thoughts and ideas fill my mind, Jesus calls to me, “Mark, come to Me.” And if I open my ears to hear Jesus, He promises to give me rest. He replaces the heaviness I feel on me and replaces with an easy and light one. Then Jesus says something remarkable to me. Jesus asks, “Let me teach you.” Imagine that, Jesus, the Son of God, asking to teach me. Not, “Come here you knucklehead, you still haven’t learned!” King Jesus says, “I’ll teach you how to rest. Just come to me and  ask. You can trust Me, I’ll be patient and gentle with you. And you will find the rest you are looking for.” That is amazing!

So here is what I realize: It’s not for me to figure it out. It’s not for me to learn how to rest. What is up to me? Going to Jesus and allowing Him to teach me.  It’s funny how you think you know things but then you realize that you really don’t anything at all. I’ve read and declared and even taught those words of Jesus. But now it’s time to truly go to Jesus and learn from Him. “Jesus, I come asking with a single word prayer, HELP!” 

another step…

a special day

Learning to truly and fully abide in Christ has been a challenge. I often feel like it’s three steps forward and two steps back. Being the impatient person that I am, I wish my progress would be quicker. Being the semi-realistic person that I am, I know that my progress, or lack thereof, is on me. Will I follow through and put into practice what God is leading me to do? Will I let go of things, even good things, that distract me from truly abiding in Christ? Honestly, it’s really my kuleana (responsibility).

Yes, it’s been a challenge. But in a greater way, it’s been so awesome! There is a fire and a deep yearning in my heart to walk this path, to continue to journey to truly abide in Christ. I know there is so much more God wants me to experience than what I am right now. There’s so much more that God wants me to accomplish during my short time here on earth. Yet I know  I cannot experience or accomplish anything on my own. It will come as I truly abide in Christ.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Phil. 3:13-14

Today is a very special day. As I reflect upon this special day, it is clear that this adventure of learning to abide in Christ started way back in 1982. I know, I know, why has it taken so long? Knowing me, it’s really no big surprise. It takes me a while. But thankfully, I’m pressing on!

It all started in a one bedroom apartment across the Kuakini  hospital. One night, while I was watching television, something caught my eye. Or probably more accurately, God pulled my eyes away. There on a a makeshift desk, made with hollow tiles and a piece of plywood, was my wife, Jo. We had just gotten married and were settled into our first (of many) home. With her Bible on that desk, her head bowed, she seemed oblivious to anything going on around her. Engaged in her beloved Psalms, there she was, abiding in Christ. Yup, me watching something that was probably forgotten days later and Jo, in the presence of Almighty God, intimately enjoying His company.

I was intrigued by that  and later that night I asked her about what I saw. She explained how special the Psalms were to her. How reading the Psalms led her into worship and the closeness she felt with God. Again, me being me, shared how I never could get into the Psalms, not like how she did, anyway. But I never forgot that night…and all the other nights I saw her on that desk. That’s where my journey to truly abide in Christ began. It began with a glance at someone special who was further along the journey than I was. Or probably more accurately, someone who was on a exciting journey that I wasn’t. And it lit a spark in my heart to join her on that journey.

Why is today a special day? It’s special because it’s my wife’s birthday! I thank God for her and the life-changing impact she has made in my life. I am where I am, I’m headed where I’m headed, in large part because of her. Thanks, Jo! And Happy Birthday. And thanks, God! So thankful for bringing her into my life!

And by the way, I love the Psalms now! Thanks Jo!

the journey continues…




weakness is, well, weak

I am enjoying the challenge of reading Andrew Murray’s book, “Abide in Christ.” Being that Murray lived from 1828-1917, one of the challenge is understanding the style in which the book was written. It has taken me a number of chapters to get the hang of it, sort of. But the biggest challenge has been trying to digest and apply what he presents. It’s a challenge but I must say that it has been one of the biggest blessings. I thank God for His leading to read this book. And I thank His Spirit for leading me to understanding. Thanks, Father!

As I read the chapter, “As Your Strength,” I could sense the Spirit of God trying to get through to my hard head and heart. Murray writes, “There is no truth more generally admitted among earnest Christians than that of their utter weakness.” I wholeheartedly concur. He continues, “There is no truth generally misunderstood and abused. Here, as elsewhere, God’s thoughts are heaven-high above man’s thoughts.” In now what is ancient vernacular, I declare, “True dat!” Then Murray issues the challenge: “The Christian often tries to forget his weakness; God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it; God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness; Christ teach His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities. ‘Most gladly…will I…glory in my infirmities (2 Cor. 12:9).” The Christian thinks his weakness his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God’ God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).  And there it is, laid bare before me in black and white, my struggle as an imperfect, under construction, follower of Christ.

I confess that weakness has not been a quality that I have strived for. Weakness is, well, weak! Strength! Resolve! Steely determination! Toughing it out! Shaking it off! Now that seems more attractive to me. But what I realize now more than ever is that mentality has caused me more grief and has caused me to drift away from God too often than I care to remember or confess. It has probably been one of my greatest hindrances to truly abiding in Christ.

“… My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness…” 2 Cor. 12:9

As much as I am embarrassed to say, too often my attitude has been, “Hey God, look at what I am doing for you. Look at how hard I am working. Look at what I am trying to accomplish for you. Look how strong I am. Look how much faith I have!” Murray reminds me, and it’s something I know full well, that my attitude should be, “Father, I need You. Apart from you I can do nothing. There’s so much I feel You calling me to step into, and I can’t do it on my own. I really need you. Your power works best in weakness.” True faith is found in my weakness, not in my strength. When I can see things for what they truly are and see me for who I truly am, that I am weak, it leads me to exercise faith to trust God for the help I need. It leads me to humble myself and exercise faith that it is God’s strength and His power that I need. That I cannot do anything on my own. That is true faith. And that is true strength.

I want to see and experience the power of God in greater ways. I want what Murray describes, “It is in the power of the omnipotent Savior that the believer must find his strength for life and for work.” I am understanding more fully that abiding in Christ means admitting my weakness and trusting in God’s omnipotence for everything. And the truth is, as I get older, my weakness is more and more apparent and so is my need for God’s power! Hmm, a benefit of getting old. Imagine that!

another step…



Today is my eldest daughter’s birthday. It’s her 26th birthday. I can remember 26 years ago, holding her for the very first time, thinking how blessed I was. I can remember going from the birthing room to the nursery, walking like I had the most precious thing in the world in my arms. Actually, to me, it was the most precious thing in the world. After 26 years, I clearly remember that momentous day. As Rocky would say, “It was one of the greatest days in the history of my life.”

Looking back, it amazes me how fast time flies by. 26 years, over a quarter of a century, just flew by. It’s crazy. How have things changed in that time? How have I changed? Have I changed? I know I have changed physically, that’s for sure. But have I changed? Have I grown? Again, not physically. Have I matured? I think back on these past 26 years and wonder how many things I have told God that I would do. Things I would start doing. Things I would adjust in my life. Things I would do in response of God’s leading. Things I would start once I had the time. So many things. And so many unfinished things.

As I reflect upon the last 26 years, I realize that the truth of the matter is, waiting to start something when I have the time, really means that I will never get started. The truth is that I will always be busy doing something, beneficial or not. I will always have things to do, productive or not. It isn’t really about having the time. It’s all about making the time. If God is leading me to do something, it comes down to a choice. A personal choice to sacrifice some things, so I can start something else. It comes down to giving up some things to gain some other things. If it’s from God, better things.

I am learning that abiding in Christ requires me  to give up things to gain other things. Abiding in Christ is really a choice. A daily ongoing choice. No gun to my head. No twisting of arms. Just a choice. I wonder about the next 26 years. Will I do better starting and adjusting and incorporating and even completing things, God things in my life? I sure hope so. But again, it comes down to a choice. Will I give up some things to start other things that God is leading me to start? I hope I do better. At the very least, I have 26 years of learning under my belt. Will I do better? Time will tell. I’m excited to try. I’m exciting to continue to abide in Christ.

“Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”       

Ps. 90:12

Yes Father, teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.

another step…

Oh and by the way, happy, happy birthday dear daughter of mine. You are one of the greatest things that have happened in the history of my life.