Thursday, June 28, 2012


If you have gone to church for any length of time, you have probably heard the verse in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

It was the focus of my Bible study, The Shelter of God's Promises, this morning. It's one of my favorite verses and in one season of my life, I seemed to bump into that verse everywhere I went. It was a bit disconcerting, to say the least.

The idea that God has for me a hope and a future is thrilling, but, like many of you, I am doing a bit of waiting on my plan to come to full fruition. Sometimes, I grow weary and discouraged with that wait. (did I mention I'm not a very patient person?)

The thing is, we often have our hope in things other than God. Things like talents, abilities, jobs, or a person or people. We can even get hung up placing our hope in good things like family or the church, but those things are made up of imperfect humans, so we are sure to be disappointed. When our hope is in those things or in a person or people, we get weary.

There is a verse that says, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

When we wait on things other than God, we become disheartened. Like the children of Israel wandering in the desert, we start to grumble when things get difficult or if we run into a difficulty. Never mind that God has provided and come through for us over and over in the past. Never mind that He is present with us to lead us. Nope, we look at whatever obstacle that is in our path on our way to our particular Promised Land and want to give up.

Why do we do this?

Because we are hoping in the what we can see - not in what we can't see. And isn't faith the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen?

Instead of grumbling and complaining or sitting down on the side of the road and giving up (which I feel like doing way more than I feel like trusting), I have to make sure my hope is fixed on the Someone who is solid and sure. When my hope rests in the Lord, my strength is renewed and I can keep going.

This doesn't mean I just do nothing. It means I have to follow where He leads. It means I have to trust in Him. It means I have to be obedient to what He asks me to do, even if it doesn't always make sense to my finite human mind.

I found this interesting phrase in a verse in Romans. It set me back on my heels a bit, to be honest. In Romans 14:23 it says, "whatever is not from faith is sin."

This leaves me to ask myself, what am I doing today that is not rooted in faith? Whatever that is - whatever I am clinging to or putting my hope in that is NOT God is sin. Ouch! No beating around the bush or sugar coating it for Paul is there?

So, where who or what is your hope resting on? How's that working for you?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, June 25, 2012


Over the past few years, I've learned a bit about spiritual warfare. One thing that I have learned is that satan is really, really good at knowing our weaknesses and exploiting them, and he doesn't play fair. He doesn't take into account if you are tired or going through a difficult period of time - nope, he looks for any weakness, any sign of your sword lowering or your shield faltering. Then he strikes.

His goal is to keep you from being saved. If he can't do that, then his goal is to destroy you and take you out of any meaningful part of the battle. He does this in any way that he can.

As I said in my previous post, my summer Bible reading is to read through the New Testament and write down everything that describes my identity in Christ. What can I say? I like lists.

A few years ago, I read through the Psalms and wrote down everything it said about God. It was incredible to go back and read through the list, and I got to know God so much more intimately.

So, last week, I got started with Romans. I was a bit intimidated but was pleasantly surprised at how much stood out to me during my readings.

About this time, I started to feel a bit blue. I wasn't feeling navy blue - just a Wedgwood blue. For some reason, things I had not thought about and had made peace with a long time ago began to come to mind. The fact that I never got a full time job at a newspaper; the fact that my resume wasn't all that hot; the fact that I just worked a series of jobs rather than had a "career." The fact that my adventures seemed more geared toward a sitcom than a travel documentary.

Suddenly, I started to feel like the world's biggest loser (and I don't mean that in a good way either). I started to feel down on myself and was tempted to wallow.

However, as I prayed about this, God helped me to step back from my feelings and look at this situation from a different angle. I mean, why would this feeling of loser-ness be hitting me now? I AM currently writing for the newspaper. I am doing more, right now that has to do with my actual degree and gifting than ever. It didn't really make sense to suddenly start feeling like a loser and all pathetic.

It took a few minutes for the light bulb to click on, but when it did, it made perfect sense. Here I was studying my identity in Christ and satan was attacking my identity - bringing to mind old dreams and hopes that I had long ago packed away because they no longer fit.

You see, when I was little, I did not play with dolls and dream of being a wife and mother. No - I dreamed of doing "great things." Things like going down the Amazon and writing stories that wowed everyone, of travelling around the world and being on the New York Times bestseller list, of being an adventurer.

Most of the time, I look at my life and love what I see - a great husband and two terrific kids. A job where I get to meet a lot of very cool people and then have the privilege to share their stories. A Sunday school class where I get to share God's truths and love on some really great women.

However, satan knows me very well (he's made a career himself of learning how to read people and discover the chinks in their armor).

He knows there are some moments when I look around and worry that I have not accomplished much, and 40 is breathing down my neck. Of course, now-a-days, I'm not nearly as keen to motor down the Amazon. After all, I don't do heat or humidity, and I doubt there is indoor plumbing either. However, I'd still like to be on the New York Best Sellers list someday.

The thing is, a long time ago (probably around my oldest son's first birthday), I came to understand that my plans and dreams for my life didn't necessarily line up with God's plans and paths for my life. Maybe some people can backpack through the jungle with a toddler strapped to them, but I am not one of them. I was just hoping both of my boys would use the potty on their own.

I found being a wife and a mom IS an adventure - just a different kind. Nothing teaches you more about patience, humility and your own weaknesses than having a baby and toddler simultaneously having the stomach flu. Nothing teaches you about unconditional love than being married for the long haul.

However, satan knows my desire to write and speak - maybe not exactly as I had dreamed of it in my youth - but dreams nonetheless. When I was seeking to know my identity firmly - down to being able to point to chapter and verse to prove it - he struck that tiny chink in my armor.

How subtle. How ironic. How like satan to sneak in the back way when you least expect it. You have to hand it to him for his cunning.

Fortunately, I didn't wallow in my pity party because God helped me to recognize what was going on. A few years ago, it would have taken me a lot longer to catch on.

I guess that's why I'm thankful that God has me on the path He does - His ways are always the best ways and they never leave you with the bitter taste of regret.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, June 22, 2012


Do you ever find certain books of the Bible intimidating? For me, one of those is Romans. I mean, I know there is lots of good stuff in there, but the idea of wading through the theology in the first 11 chapters feels slightly more challenging than, even while well-caffeinated, my brain can take on.

Well, this summer, my project is to read through the New Testament and record everything it says about my identity in Christ. I want to be able to point to chapter and verse that say who I am in Christ.

So, Romans was my first book to read through. I was surprised at how clearly the teachings stood out to me as I read through a few chapters each day this week. I was overcome by God's grace in bringing the Gospel to those outside His chosen people - the Gentiles. Unless there is something about my heritage I don't know - that would be me!

I have taught Romans 8 and Romans 12 in my Sunday school class in years past, but to read the entire book in one week gave me a new appreciation for its scope and depth.

As I read through this book, a few verses seemed to leap off the page. Things I had heard or read before suddenly seemed to take on a three dimensional quality this week. Like the verses on not taking revenge I wrote about the other day - those are verses I've heard/read 100 times but for some reason, this time around, they took on new meaning and gave me deeper understanding. God is very cool like that! :)

Another phrase that jumped out at me was in Romans 13:14, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."

If you go back one verse, Paul gives a list of things we are NOT supposed to do: carousing, drunkenness, sexual promiscuity and sensuality, strife and jealousy.

I love that Paul does not just leave us with a list of things not to do, but no practical way to achieve that. Instead, he tells us to do two things: put on Christ and make no provision for our fleshly lusts.

What does it mean to "put on" Christ? This phrase "put on" is the Greek word endyo and it means to sink into or clothe one's self. I love the idea of sinking into Christ. That gives such a word picture of our relationship with Him! God's goal in sanctifying us is to make us like His Son - for us to sink into Christ so much so that people can't tell where we end and He begins.

The second thing, Paul tells us to do is to make no provision for our flesh's lusts. While our old man is supposed to be dead, he has a disconcerting habit of making an appearance when we least expect it. The truth is, putting our flesh or old self to death can be an almost daily process of internationalism.

One way we do that is making no provision for our fleshly nature. If you look it up in the Greek it means no forethought or providential care. What that means is we don't read, watch or do the things that feed into our fleshly nature.

My weaknesses in the flesh are probably different from your weaknesses. I struggle with anxiety sometimes (duh!) so if I spend a lot of time reading about various health issues or world problems and inundate myself with all the negative things that could go wrong (but haven't as of yet!), I am providing for that anxiety to rise up in me. This is why I no longer listen to political talk radio. Yes, there are good things on there, and yes, as a citizen I need to be informed. However, the bottom line is, unless I start a second career in politics or start campaigning for someone, the only thing I can really do is vote. So, I research the candidates, pray about it and vote when the time comes. I pray for our leaders.

It's one thing to be informed and it's another to listen to Glenn Beck every day and freak myself out on a continual basis over things I can do absolutely nothing about.

For you, maybe your struggle is with material things you can't afford. In that case, don't spend your time with Better Homes and Gardens or watch TLC programs about people buying new houses - that only feeds into your discontent.

If you have a juicy piece of gossip and you know you struggle in this area, that is not the time to invite your friend for coffee!

We can either feed our flesh (make provision for it) or we can starve it. Sinking into Christ is infinitely easier if we aren't stuffing ourselves on things that feed into our old nature.

This is one of those common sense, practical things that can help us in our walk, but sometimes we - at least me anyway - gloss over.

It's time to put our old selves on a diet!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I have been reading in Romans this week, and I came across a few verses that gave me a light bulb moment. They are probably very familiar to those of you who have gone to church for any length of time.

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you heap burning coals on his head." Do not repay evil for evil but repay evil with good." Romans 12:19-21

I had this sort of epiphany when I read these verses that nobody can do this on their own. In our own strength and our own wisdom, we can't forgive like this - bless your enemy by giving them what they need; avoid the desire to get even. In our human nature, even the kindest of us can't aspire to this kind of forgiveness all the time.

It was today that realized that the answer lies in trusting God. The only way we can forgive like this is to completely and entirely trust God in meting out perfect justice.

Up until a few years ago, I would have told you that forgiveness is not something I struggle with. I tend to look at why people do the things they do, so I get into their shoes and try to walk a mile or two. Usually by the time I'm done, instead of anger or hurt, I feel compassion. However, a few years ago, I came up against a wrong that I had a really hard time forgiving and letting go of - probably because the consequences continued to ripple out long after the wrong happened.

As I struggled through the process of forgiveness, I learned a lot of things. The first one is that I am not quite as naturally forgiving as I previously thought! The second one is that forgiveness is a choice and not a feeling. If I had waited until I felt like forgiving, it would have never happened.

The third thing I learned was that forgiveness is often not a one time event, but a choice you have to make over and over again. Just when you think you are over it, something comes up that stirs up all those feelings again.

The fourth thing I learned is that we often cling to unforgiveness because it gives us the illusion of control. It makes us feel that we have some control over the person or situation. Logically, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but if we forgive then we hand over our right to exact revenge.

Part of this comes from the mistaken belief that forgiving someone means saying what they did was all right. This is kind of backwards. The first step in forgiving anyone is acknowledging the fact that we have been wronged or hurt. It's no use trying to stuff down any negative feelings and try to act like they aren't there. That's not forgiveness. That's denial.

When we look the hurt or wrong right in the face and really acknowledge to God how much it hurts or angers us, we are taking the first step on the path away from bitterness.

The second step - and probably the hardest - is to give the entire thing over to God, and not keep going over and over the wrong in your mind. He alone is the perfect blend of justice and mercy. We can shove whatever it is, whatever hurt, betrayal, rejection - whatever it happens to be - right into His lap and the burden rolls right off of our shoulders.

But this takes trust in God - in His goodness; in His sovereignty; in His perfection. This is where that whole issue of control comes into play. Usually, if something happens that is big enough to cause us to cling to unforgiveness it is something that makes us acutely aware that we really aren't in control of things. It's a scary feeling to realize life is out of your control.

There is a verse that has been a big comfort to me. II Peter 2:23 says, "and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (emphasis mine).

In order to feed our enemies, to give them a drink when they are thirsty, to bless them and not curse them, we have to entrust ourselves to God and believe that He judges righteously.

Forgiveness is not about stuffing all our feelings down. It's not about refusing to acknowledge we are angry or hurt. It's not about having control by continuing to hold whatever it is above the other person's head. It's about trusting that God has the whole situation under control - whatever the outcome.

I am not a Bible scholar so sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my mind around where God's sovereignty and people's free will intersect, but thankfully, I don't have to figure it out - God's got it under control.

For me, I like examples that allow me to wrap my arms around a concept. Abstract thought is all well and good, but a concrete example goes a long way in my comprehension of a subject. To me, this idea of forgiveness is like when my husband coaches and something happens on the floor - a bad call, a missed foul - and the player has a choice. He can approach the ref or he can let my husband take care of it.

My husband has been coaching for a very long time, and one of his rules is that the player does not approach the referee. If there needs to be a discussion, my husband is the one to point out where the ref went wrong (sometimes the ref appreciates this and sometimes he doesn't!). That player has to trust that his coach has his best in mind and will take care of the issue in the best way.

While this is not a perfect example, it helps to give me a visual of what forgiveness looks like in real life.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have this tendency to freak out about things. It takes me being intentional not to get worked up into a fit of anxiety sometimes. I have to stop, take a breath and remind myself that God is trustworthy and faithful and He's got it all under control - even when it doesn't make sense to me.

To say our finances have been tight these past six months is kind of an understatement. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful I was able to find enough work to pay for our health insurance but writing those checks out can be rather painful.

Looking back, every time I got anxious about how we were going to pay this bill or meet that obligation, God always came through. I can look back over the past year and see God's hand of provision over us. Sometimes, it was through a monetary gift that would come out of the blue by some generous soul. Other times, I got more work than I was expecting. I mean, can anyone honestly say it was a coincidence that after 18 months on the sub list without one call, suddenly I became their go-to girl? Yeah, me neither.

For the past few months,I've been waiting on a job opportunity - mostly the hold up is red tape. Well, we have hit the intersection where the need and waiting are reaching the boiling point, and to be honest, I was very tempted to get anxious about it. I suddenly had this intense desire to fix the situation because the waiting sure isn't getting us anywhere! But I keep hearing God whisper to me, "Do you trust me? Be still and watch."

Did I mention I'm not very good at standing still or waiting or watching?

Whew - anxiety overload avoided. But wait - not quite!

Instead of coming in the front door with this obvious, anxiety-producing situation, Satan decided to sneak in the back door.

My oldest son, Brock, will be 14 at the end of July. He was an early bloomer and now -gulp! - shaves his peach fuzz a couple times a week. The problem is - at least in his eyes - is that he's not quite 5'6". Did I mention his favorite sport is basketball and his biggest dream is to be the best player around? As he has pointed out - that's hard to do when you are a short, white kid with slow feet.

The thing is though - you've never seen a kid work harder than Brock. He works out. He has this complicated, intense workout he does three times a week. He's bench pressing his body weight. (It's kind of hard to realize this is the same kid that dressed up as Peter Pan all the time - sshhh! don't tell him I told you that!).

But despite his maturity and despite his hard work, there is nothing he can do to change his size. Sometimes, that is a source of discouragement for him - such was the case this weekend for some reason.

In my effort to make him feel better, I was looking up height indicators and boys' growth patterns to show him that he probably wasn't done growing. Well, in my google frenzy, I came across something called precocious puberty. Apparently, Brock was a really early bloomer and that could be a problem. Notice, I said could.

Well, I got off the internet convinced I had stunted my child for life because I didn't get him checked out when he first started, um, blooming. I was sure I had been a lax parent and now Brock would be super short and it was all my fault!

A few good friends speaking truth to me later, I realized how ridiculous I was being. As if my son's future height teetered on when I brought him for a well check up. God knew all about Brock before he was even born. He has a plan and purpose for him - even if Brock ends up on the shorter side of life.

It made me remember the story of Amy Carmichael. I don't know if you remember who she was, but she was a missionary to India. When she was a girl, she really, really wanted blue eyes - not the brown ones she despaired of. She was bitterly disappointed when God didn't answer her prayer to change them to blue. Well, as a missionary in India, those brown eyes came in handy more than once. Blue eyes would have given her away as a non-native on a number of occasions.

I was reminded once again that satan desires to get me caught up in things that are, in essence, mole hills and NOT mountains. God holds not only my future, but my son's in the palm of His hand. Thank goodness God (and some good friends) reminded me of that before I made the entire trip up that mountain!

"The Lord's has established his throne in heaven and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalms 103:19

~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, June 16, 2012


My Sunday school class is between studies. We just wrapped up a couple month study on the spiritual gifts. That was a lot of fun to research, study and teach for me because it's something I've always wanted to know more about.

Being the nice Sunday school teacher that I am, I gave my class a list of ideas to choose from for our next study. I had everything from a full out Beth Moore studies to picking a book of the Bible and going chapter by chapter.

We settled on The Shelter of God's Promises by Shelia Walsh - not the least because it comes with 20 minute dvds which fit really well into our hour long class time. I'm really looking forward to listening instead of talking over the next few weeks - that's good to do sometimes! :)

However, until everyone got their books and the dvds came in, I had to do something in the intervening two weeks. I looked at the books of Philemon and Jude because they are each only one chapter long. As I read through both books, I felt pulled into the book of Jude.

To be honest, I've read Jude but it's been awhile, and I've never studied it in depth. I found a lot packed into those 25 verses. The book is sort of divided into two parts.

First, I was interested to learn that Jude was a half brother of Jesus and the brother of James (the writer of the book in the Bible). Jude was not some pillar of the church but he felt compelled to write for a specific reason - to contend earnestly for the faith.

The reason was that "certain persons had crept in unnoticed." Thus begins the next 19 verses describing these "certain persons." They are doing three things that are causing all kinds of problems: defiling the flesh , rejecting authority and reviling angelic majesties. In other words, they are engaging in various kinds of sexual immorality. They don't want anyone telling them what to do, and they are maligning the principalities and powers that they really had no business messing with in the first place (never take on Satan directly - you will lose)

Then, they top it all off by excusing their sin by claiming God's grace - in other words, we can sin all we want because God's grace will cover it. If you look in I Thessalonians, Paul basically says, Do we continue to sin so we can get more grace - never! Jude then goes and gives Old Testament examples. If you have time, look them up - you can learn a lot of what NOT to do.

However, my favorite verses come at the end, when Jude addresses "the Beloved." He gives the believers in this church four things to do specifically contending earnestly for the faith.

They are found in verses 20 and 21 - "But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life." (emphasis mine)

The original words for build here mean build up or upon - so we have the foundation and now we need to build upon it. How do we do this? By being in the Word and encouraging each other in our faith.

Next, we are to pray in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is not some mystical rite. It is simply praying through His power and not our own, bringing ourselves into submission rather than insisting on our own way.

Third, we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. The word keep here means to attend carefully. In other words, we are to do what keeps us close to God and then show that love to others. (see a couple posts before this on an in depth look at what God's love is supposed to look like).

Finally, we are to have an eternal perspective. Our home is not here. We will have difficulties, sorrows and hurts in this life, but we have a better place awaiting us - eternal life with Christ.

The next few verses (22-23) basically are telling us to help the unbelievers among us to know Christ, to come to a saving knowledge of Him. Everyone won't be the same, but the end goal is the same - salvation.

The final two verses are my very favorites in the entire book of Jude. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."

Did you catch the two things we have in Christ? First He is able to keep you from stumbling. In this verse the word keep means to guard and from stumbling means standing firm or exempt from falling. That means Christ guards us so we can stand firm and be exempt from falling. We are no longer slaves to sin as Paul so eloquently tells us I Corinthians. We are free - free indeed!!!

The next part made me catch my breath in wonder - Christ makes us blameless in the presence of God's glory. Did you catch that? Blameless! This word means without blemish or faultless. Christ's blood covers me so completely that when I stand in the presence of God's glory, I'm faultless. Christ's righteousness becomes mine through the transaction of His death in payment for my sins. I really can't get over that - can you??

The final verse is just praise to God - glory, majesty, dominion and authority be given to the ONLY God our Savior, yesterday, today and forever.

Let me hear an amen!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, June 11, 2012


As you can see, I have redesigned my blog. My youngest son, Brody, helped me with it, but I'm not sure whether it will stay this way or if I'll mess with it even more. :) We'll see. The good news is that with just a few clicks of a button, I can have a completely - and I mean completely - different looking blog. Rather cool.

Don't you wish it was as easy to put on all those virtues it talks about in the New Testament? I wish I could do some clicking with the mouse and put off the old woman and put on the new.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

I am reading The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter. If you have never done a Bible study or read one one of her books, I highly recommend her! She is just very real, yet has so many good things to say.

It should be fairly obvious if you have been a believer for any length of time that putting on the various virtues of love and kindness and patience and gentleness is not a matter of will power alone. I know I've thought, "Today will be different - I will be kind" - or loving or patient or fill in the blank. Then I run into real people.

However, it isn't just God working in and through me either. It takes some effort on our part. How that melds together, I'm not sure.

I loved Minter's analogy of Michelangelo and how he would sculpt things. He'd get a big block of marble and he'd "see" the angel or David or whatever he was going to sculpt in the marble. He would chip away the marble to reveal the sculpture that was there.

She gave another analogy that maybe makes a better mental picture if you aren't artsy at all. In Brazil, there is a point where two rivers come together. one is the color of coca-cola and the other is the color of milky coffee. When they meet, they go for about six miles flowing next to each other but not mixed together.

When we believe, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. It isn't until we start to grow that we "mix" together so that we no longer resemble a totally separate identity. Instead, we start to take on Christ's identity.

Anyway, as I revamp my blog a bit, I find it interesting that I'm reading The Fitting Room. Hopefully, both makeovers will be successful.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, June 7, 2012


What would it be like if no matter what life threw at you, to be unshaken? I feel "shaken" a lot. I think I've confessed on here before my naturally wimpy nature. You know those stories of the ballerinas who basically mutilate their feet for their art? I would have quit. You know the marathon runners who push through to the finish line? I wouldn't even have entered the race.

On my own, I am very, very shake-able.

Recently, I was reading from Voice of the Martyr about Christians who are suffering severe persecution, and as I read about them, I prayed and asked God, "How do they do this? How do they live day to day with this uncertainty and danger hanging over their heads and not lose it? How are they not paralyzed by fear but instead grow and thrive in the worst conditions when I shrivel up at the least sign of adversity?"

God is always patient with me (thankfully!!) and He showed me a few verses in the last few weeks that give me the secret to being unshaken. The first one is in Psalms 16: 8,9, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my hearts is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell in security."

So, the first thing is that I need to set or keep God continually before me. God should BE my life, not be a PART of my life. By setting God continually before me, I am abiding in Him.

There is a book written by a man named Frank C. Laubach It's a very small, slim book called Letters by a Modern Mystic, and it doesn't take very long to read. It is record in a series of letters of an experiment. Frank Laubach decided to try to keep God in his mind every minute of every day. At first he found it difficult and was dismayed that maybe one minute of every hour he was thinking of Christ, but over time, it became second nature to him to keep God "continually before" him.

This is an excerpt from one day that was a success after much failure. "Well, today has not been a failure. The thought of God has drifted out occasionally but not for long. But this day has been a different day from any other of my life, for I have not tried to pray in the sense of talking to God, but I have let God do the talking with my tongue or in my inner life when my tongue was silent. It has been as simple as opening and closing a swinging door. And without any of the old strain, the whole day passed beautifully with God saying wonderful things to me."

This is a man who learned to dwell in the presence of God - to practice setting God continually before him.

The results of doing this are in another set of verses. In these verses, Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, contrasts two different people. "Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trust in mankind and makes flesh his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:5-8

Which brings me to another set of verses, ones that I memorized when I was a kid but packed a new punch when I looked at them recently in light of what God was showing me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3:5-8

The bottom line is that so many times instead of trusting in God, I trust in myself - my intelligence or my solutions or what makes sense to me. It's not just lack of faith (and God tells us without faith we can't please Him). It is pride. It's what caused Lucifer to fall - he thought he knew better than God.

That's what gets me in trouble too - instead of being obedient to what God has asked of me, I get impatient or think I see what needs to be done and rush ahead to do it. I try to come up with my own solutions to help God out. All the while, God is asking me to trust Him, to follow His lead, to stay by His side and not rush ahead out fear or anxiety or pride.

To be unshaken I have to set God continually before me. I have to make a conscious effort to trust God and not rely on my own understanding or reasoning. I have to sink my roots deep in the everlasting water so I don't have to fear times of drought.

How shake-able are you?
~ Blessings, Bronte