Figuring It All Out

When our boys… who are now nine & seven… know we are going on vacation, they try to figure out all the details of the trip. They want to know how long it will take to get there… when we will leave… which route we are taking… if we are going to stop at places we have stopped before… where and what we will eat… where we will stay… who will sleep where… how many times they will get to do the things they want to do… what kind of clothes they will need… what will happen if the weather messes up our plans… how they will pay for souvenirs… when we will leave to come home… etc… etc… etc.

They want to figure it all out. Sometimes we tell them that we have all of the details taken care of… or will have them taken care of in time for the trip to be successful. And yet this doesn’t always satisfy them. They still want to figure it all out. Even though we try to assure them that we know what we’re doing and that we will take care of all the details, they still want to go over everything with us. They want all the details. We just want them to relax, look forward to the trip, enjoy the journey and have fun.

Funny thing is… as amazing and smart and resourceful as our boys are… I don’t think they could plan out our vacation. They might be able to Google a few things if we got them started, but they don’t know how to route travel… book a place to stay… buy enough food for meals or find out which restaurants will be nearby… secure tickets for activities… fill the vehicle with fuel… or any of the other myriad details it takes to pull off a vacation trip. They would do better to let us handle the details, and accept things as they come.

It is so crystal clear to me as an earthly dad that I will work out the details in a way that is best and that will bless my kids, and yet I sometimes treat my Heavenly Father the same way my boys treat me. I expect Him to give me all the details before I even get to the point in life when I would need to know them. I try to figure it all out instead of trusting Him fully. I keep asking Him about the same details over and over, even as He reassures me that He has it all under control.

Interestingly, Jesus spoke to this very issue when He said that we don’t need to worry about tomorrow… that our Heavenly Father knows what we need… that He cares about flowers and birds, so He will definitely take care of all the details in our lives. In fact, Jesus said that we can’t add an inch to our height or a moment to our lives by trying to figure it all out on our own.

My encouragement to you… and my reminder to myself… today is simply this… relax, look forward to those good things God has in store for you, enjoy the journey and have fun. Let’s quit trying to figure out how God is going to get us from where we are to where need to be… you know, where He says we need to be and not just where we think we need to be. He’s got this! It’s going to be great! And all our trying figure it out isn’t going to help a lick. Let’s stop estimating, calculating and speculating… and let’s just let God take care of ALL the details. If we will, it will make the trip a lot more enjoyable.

There… that’s better. Now, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy today!


Waking Up

Note: Straight-up spiritual post with a hope-filled word of prophecy for someone who needs it today

We live on four acres in the woods… as you can tell from the view from our front door in the picture above… and we love it! Living in the country like this affords us the opportunity to really experience the seasons (such as they are in Louisiana).

It’s definitely Springtime here right now. Azaleas are blooming in vibrant pinks and Dogwoods in their brilliant whites. The dull grays and browns of Winter’s “lifeless” sticks have, in the last week or two, almost suddenly become lush with all shades of bright green foliage. I’m sure they had budded, and it probably took longer than I realized, but I keep catching myself telling PR31 how those leaves seemed to come out of nowhere practically overnight.

Then, in just last week or so, PR31 came through the living room around 6:40am and told me that she had to go outside and listen to the birds. When she did, she said she heard so many different birds singing and chirping. I believe her exact words were, “It’s like the whole world is coming alive at that moment.” I began listening for that each morning during my time alone with the Lord, and she’s right. In fact, more than one morning, I went outside to hear it for myself. Sure enough, sometime between 6:35am and 6:45am all the birds in the trees around our home… along with the neighbor’s rooster… welcome the new day with their song.

Then yesterday, as I was thinking about all of this, I believe the Lord spoke something to my heart to post for someone today…

“Like the birds all starting to sing at once between 6:35-6:45am… and like all the flowers blooming and trees turning green as they once more they put on new leaves, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead says to you today that He is causing you to come to life again after a dark night… after a dreary winter season.”

I don’t know what you’ve been going through exactly. I just know that He put in my heart to say to you that He knows everything in your life has seemed dull and lifeless for awhile now. There have been moments when you have wondered if everything was dead. But in the same way that Christ rose from the dead on the third day… and that suddenly we noticed the birds singing their daily morning wake-up chorus… and that new, bright green leaves seemed to suddenly appear and fill out the trees and bushes… so God is stirring you to life once more! What has seemed hopeless and dreary will soon be blooming with hope and full of vibrancy! Even “rainy” circumstances which come your way now will only serve to produce more depth of color to add to your dazzling display. And others will stand back in amazement and watch as you display the glory of God’s work in your life, singing a wake-up song of your own to Him!

Open your eyes, and look around you at a full-color life. Open your ears, and listen to a song announcing a new beginning… a new day dawning… new life bursting forth! Soon you will see that “Winter” is gone and “Spring” is here. And it begins today!

For All My Friends Who…

It seems like I have so many friends who are struggling and battling tough situations in life right now. Some have lost a marriage… others a ministry… still others their health. Some long to see a hurt healed… some long to hold their own baby… some long for companionship. And it breaks my heart.

So for all my friends who are suffering and struggling tonight, know this…

1) You are not alone. Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. He is walking through this tough time with you.

2) You will win if you stick with Jesus. He said that we would have trouble in this world, but we should be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. He knows what it takes to come out on top, and He will help you do exactly that.

3) I love you… I am in your corner… and I am praying for those of you who have told me about your situations. I’m not Jesus. I know I don’t have all the answers. I know I can’t fix most of your issues. But I can be your friend. And I can encourage you. And I can let you know that, not only is Jesus with you, I am with you also. My heart aches with yours, and so I am keeping your need in front of the Lord on a regular basis.

Some of this sounds so cheesy and trite. I promise that I don’t mean for it to be that way. I mean it from my heart. And I hope you are encouraged by these reminders!

Find A Window

PR31 and I truly love Hallmark Christmas movies. If you’ve read this blog for anything length of time, you know how much our family enjoys and embraces Christmas. Hallmark just adds to the celebration with their feel-good, happy ending movies each week.

On their Hall of Fame Christmas movie last month, there was a terrific quote from one of the characters. It was so good that I typed it into my notes on my phone during the movie, and today I want to share it with you. Joe said, “Hope begins when you are standing in the dark looking out at the light.

Maybe today your life doesn’t look so great. Maybe today you’re facing challenges that are overwhelming. Perhaps everything seems dark and hopeless around you. Nothing is changing for the good.

Let me ask you a question… Can you see a better future than your current condition? If you look outside your life… your situation… if you peer through a window of your soul… do you see something you would like? Do you see something you wish for… the way you wish things would be?

If you do, that is hope beginning in you. And if there is hope, there is possibility. Hope means there is at least the slightest belief inside you that things are going to get better… that the situation is going to turn around… that life will improve when…

The writer of Hebrews in the Bible says that hope is made up a substance called faith. So when you look from your dark situation through the window of your soul and see the light of what could be, you are really hoping… actually having faith… believing… trusting… that somehow, some way, Someone could fix what is wrong and life could be what you dream instead of what it is now.

I know there are situations in life which seem impossible. I know that things like death or divorce or drug addiction can make the room we are standing in awfully dark. My encouragement today is for you to find a window in that dark room. Pull the curtains back. Raise the shade. Peer out, and look desperately for light. And when you see it, don’t look away. Instead, breathe a prayer. Ask for that light to come pouring into your dark surroundings. Soon, options will become visible… help in the form of family or friends will be recognizable… and direction will begin to pull at you to step out of the darkness and into the light.

Find a window… find hope… find joy!

Day One or Next Day?

Happy New Year, everyone! I, for one, am glad to see 2018 arrive. I love New Years. It signals a fresh start… new potential and possibilities… and sometimes the opportunity to try again.

Of course, not everyone views it this way. Some people see January 1st as just the next day in their lives. They view it as nothing special.

I knew a really great older man who would come by our office regularly. He was in terrific physical condition, and when he would be there after having a birthday, I would jokingly ask him if he felt a year older. He would get that sly grin on his face and reply, “I’m not a year older… just a one day older.” I always got a kick out of it. But the truth is that some people apply that to their lives quite seriously.

It’s truly up to us to decide whether this will be “Day One”… the start of something new… a new season… a new opportunity… the chance to begin again… or if this will just be the next day in a long line of days that are all the same. I believe God gives us days like January 1st as “hard reset” moments in our lives… days when we choose to clear “the cache” of our past that is bogging us down to make room for the good things about to be brought into our lives.

Choose today to forgive and let by-gones be by-gones. Choose today that you will set realistic goals to achieve that lifelong dream by a certain date this year. Choose to live with a new, great, upbeat, positive attitude every day. Choose to give this year to God, and make this “Day One” of what promises to be what could possibly be the best year of your life. If you’ll choose to live life this way instead of just the next day of what you consider to be a life of drudgery, you’ll find that God will honor that decision and come alongside you in this fresh start.

Welcome to Day One! It’s going to be a fantastic year! Now let’s do this…

It’s Not Too Late

There is still one month left in 2017. Don’t quit. Don’t coast. Don’t give up. There is still time. It’s not too late!

Haven’t lost the weight you wanted to? Well, use this last 30 days as motivation to do the best you can. Haven’t started writing that book? You can still crank out several chapters, if not the whole thing if you’ll make the most of your time. Haven’t spent as much time with your family as you should have? You can use those vacation days in the next 31 days and make this Christmas the most memorable one yet. Haven’t given your life over to Jesus? Pray right now, and start letting Him transform your life before the end of the year.

Here’s the deal. If you write this year off, then you act like it only had eleven months in it to begin with. It’s like giving up before the game is over, and just admitting defeat. I’ve seen Drew Brees bring the New Orleans Saints back from pretty far behind to beat their opponents with only a few minutes left to go in the fourth quarter. The key is that they don’t give up. They don’t throw in the towel just because they’re behind. They hustle, and do the best they can.

I can’t guarantee you’ll hit your sales goal… or drop three sizes in clothes… or become a New York Times bestselling author by December 31st. But I can guarantee this… If you don’t at least try, you definitely won’t stand a chance of coming anywhere near your goal.

Let’s make it a 31-day challenge and do all we can to check that one more item off the New Year’s Goals list. At the end of the month… and therefore the year… you’ll be surprised how much you WERE able to accomplish, and you’ll be so glad you put forth that effort.


Ugh. It was just one of those mornings when I didn’t want to exercise. I knew I needed to. I like to eat. Exercising is a requirement for me to stay healthy and in shape.

Plus, PR31 was in her exercise attire and about to exercise herself. She’s disciplined like that. Consistent. And therefore, healthy and gorgeous. I know because I could see her from my recliner.

But she’s so inspiring. I told her that she had inspired me, and I was going to exercise myself. To this she replied, “Think about it this way… You’re just preparing for your future. What God has in store for you, you want to be ready for and looking your best. Live in the present, prepare for the future.”

Well, what do you think I did? Of course… I put on my exercise attire and got after it. Not because I felt like it. I didn’t. And really not even because I wanted to take in some extra “nutrients” for the day. Although, she is also an outstanding cook, and we never go hungry.

I exercised today because she reminded me of my future. (Thank the Lord for an amazing wife!) I exercised because I want to be my best, and I’m not there yet. I exercised because I want to be ready at a moment’s notice when the Lord says He has something He wants me to do.

Maybe it’s not exercise for you. Maybe it’s education. Or maybe it’s playing an instrument. Or maybe it’s making improvements at your job. Or maybe it’s your time alone with the Lord each day. Or physical therapy to recover from an injury. Whatever the discipline you need to tackle, remember that God has great plans for your future, and you want to be ready when it’s time to take that next step.

So, take some advice from PR31 like I did. It only cost me 30 minutes, and some sweat. I couldn’t tell today when I looked in the mirror, but I had all the strength I needed for the day. And it’ll show soon enough as my midsection flattens out again. As long as I keep living in the present and preparing for the future.

The future awaits… Let’s be ready when we get there!

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