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Moments of Clarity

Matthew 20:32-33 “Jesus said to them, what do you want Me to do for you? They said to Him, Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”

Outside my living room window 100 aspens were shimmering in the breeze. It was around 5:30 p.m. and the sunshine darted through the clouds dotting the sky. The aspen leaves were a creamy yellow except for the moments when the setting sun would break through and light them up in a dazzling blaze of lemony yellow. A cloud drifted by and everything was back to a dull cream. This kept happening, and each time I would race out the door to take a picture when the sun had lit everything up so brightly.

What I witness in nature God so often uses to speak into my heart. Those flashes of brilliant sunshine through the aspens reminded me that God brings beauty and clarity in a moment and it’s ours to grasp quickly before it’s gone. Maybe we have that flash of insight, hmm, he’s not the one, or this job shouldn’t define me, or I want more creativity in my life. Maybe it’s wow I was short-tempered back there, or our home needs a spiritual reset. Clarity is curative. That bright flash of insight points us into truth.

A friend in L.A recently shared a hard decision she made to pass up a big business opportunity in favor of a more genuine, personal track. Her clarity came when she realized she had missed so much life in the past ten years. My favorite boutique owner in Sun Valley told me that she had taken the risk to close her store on Sundays. Her clarity came because she’d been working non-stop and realized she needed a spirit-focused rhythm in her life. A young man told me this weekend that he had realized he never seriously considered the message of Christ. He said his mother’s negative Catholic experience growing up had shaded everything he had been told. In a moment of clarity, of revelation actually, he realized there’s more to the gospel story than what he had been told, and so he’s investigating Christianity. An older friend of mine shared a new perspective she gained– that her husband had sacrificed so much when they were first married, and now, with his health declining, was her time to sacrifice for him. That clarity brightened her words, actions, and attitudes with new compassion. Each of these friends experienced a moment when God brought their life into clear focus.

Dear ones, don’t we all need God to break through with clarity in some fashion? Are we in a situation like Elisha’s servant, surrounded by enemies and unable to see the mighty army of God protecting us? (2 Kings 6:15-17) Are we like the disciples after the resurrection, walking with Jesus but not even realizing it?  “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him: and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?” (Luke 24:31-32)

I’ve experienced moments when, like the sunshine breaking through the trees, God’s insight gave me clarity. Ideas like wanting to honor all that God has given me in a day—to savor the beauty all around and also to view each obstacle as an opportunity for growth.  To work hard with excellence but keep identity rooted, not in what I do or what I own or what others think, but in the sole fact that I’m a blood-bought daughter of Christ, the King. Wanting to love people the way that Jesus loved people. It’s in the details that I ask for greater clarity and insight. How do I honor God in my day? How do I love people like He did? Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Join me in praying this week, Lord, open our eyes. Break through our cloudy commitments and bring Your bright Presence to illuminate our way. We want to see You, Lord to follow You. Amen

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Spiritual Life Prep

Today I will be twelve miles into the Emigrant Wilderness in California. A group of us will hike into the wilderness to set up camp at Woods lake.  We will be the only group around, as this 112,000 acre wilderness keeps us all socially distanced. Our flyrods are ready, axes sharpened, and all camping gadgets are packed. Hammock? Check. First aid kit? Check. Solar shower? Hell yes. Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, sleeping meds, and sleeping buddies. Yessiree Bob. Every possible scenario of wilderness survival has been considered. Ah, the camping life!

Somewhere in the packing for this trip I felt God nudging me, what if you approached your spiritual life this way? I paused to hear what He was saying. I felt a loving curiosity, what if you applied that same interest, passion, and detail to some of Our life together? Ahh fair question.

What if I applied diligence and excellence to my walk with God? Not a performance thing but a heart thing.  Paul exhorted Timothy, his spiritual son in the faith, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” (1 Timothy 4:15) I’ve read scripture every day for years but is my progress evident to all?  Am I just kind of wandering through my spiritual life or does God hold my full attention?

Listen, if the prep and excitement around a weekend getaway can put our spiritual life prep and excitement to shame, let’s consider making a few adjustments:

  1. God is speaking every day. We must position our heart to be quiet enough and focused enough to hear Him. What is he saying to you this morning?  
  2. Spiritual questions? Research your questions as diligently as assessing an Airbnb for a weekend away! List questions, consider all the options, talk to experts, get clarity. God is not a God of confusion, nor will He cave under your scrutiny. 
  3. Read a first century biography about Jesus.  Study what He said and did as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. His life story is deeply compelling.
  4. Be absorbed in knowing and loving Jesus Christ, the King.

My friend, what a beautiful adventure we have walking with God! I know of no other relationship or destination that satisfies my heart so completely. “In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

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