A Decade of Desire

I have been trying to get to Sedona, Arizona for ten years.

I’m not kidding.

When I got married twenty years ago, my husband and I decided to travel all 50 states together before we die. It’s harder than it seems and we go someplace every year – not always in the U.S. – but we try to hit at least one new state a year. The one place I’ve always wanted to see is Sedona. I can’t explain why. I’ve never been there, but it attracts me like a magnet to metal.

So a few weeks ago when my husband said, “Where do we go next?” I gave him the standard answer.

“Sedona.”

“Ok, book it.” (yeah, right).

So, I pretended to do research. Again. We went back and forth about dates and blah, blah, blah, I thought. Same ‘ol, same’ol.

But he surprised me and my patience paid off. With the exception of Palestine and Paris, I’ve never been so excited!

And when we landed in Phoenix and he didn’t feel well, I didn’t panic when the paramedics were called. Nope. I waited patiently while five paramedics/EMTs hooked him up to an EKG machine, right there in the middle of the terminal.  A couple of the cops made small talk and I could tell they were trying to assuage my fears. Instead, I peppered them with questions about Sedona.

And my kids took selfies.

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I’m pretty sure, they thought we were a little too casual about the situation. But you have to understand, we’re used to stuff like this. Almost every year before or during a trip, we have to call the paramedics for him. We have an enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10)

Our dreams are his for the taking unless we stand firm, trust in God and believe that only He holds the key to life.

Pursuing my dream was worth it and I have so many stories to share with you. As soon I recover from my jet lag, I’m going to post photos of this incredible area so please stop by and visit again.

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The gorgeous view from my room!

 The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: To do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

How do you get your best rest?

By Erika Rizkallah

“There are no second acts in American lives.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control an estimated 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from sleep deprivation.

I think the often debated quote by Fitzgerald explains part of the problem. By “second acts,” I don’t mean second chances. American life offers plenty of them. I’m talking about the stage of life in which the fruits of our labor finally pay off.

For example, I’m a stay at home mom. I’ve spent the last eighteen years diligently investing in my marriage, children and family life. At this time, the fruit of that labor isn’t always obvious – especially in the teen years. In reality, I may not see it until my third act of life when I’m a grandmother.

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Maybe you know what this feels like. Maybe you’ve spent years investing in a career, education or hobby that’s produced more uncertainty than fruit.

What happens then? We can overcompensate and do and do and strive and spin in order to let everyone see we’re productive.

The church can also contribute to the exhaustion of its members.

I commonly hear church leaders say things like, “If you can picture what God wants to do through you, your vision is too small.” Or how about this one: “You’re not fully alive if you’re not serving on a team here at . . . ”

Well no wonder we can’t sleep!

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How can I relax if I’m supposed to have an unrecognizable vision? If I’m not fully alive?

That can leave us fearful and worried that we’re missing out on our calling or the thing that will remain undone if we don’t “step up to the plate” or “step out in faith.” Instead of becoming leaders of world-changing overcomers we end up exhausted and burned out underachievers.

Fortunately, God has an antidote for this problem. It’s called the Sabbath, a.k.a. known as a weekly day of rest. This practice was instituted by God for His people and is the fourth of the laws known as The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). I love how it’s subtitled in my Bible in Exodus 23 as The Laws of Justice and Mercy.

This scripture explains why God made it a commandment: Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed. Exodus 23:12.

This law is a law of love to prevent the abuse of people and animals by and for the community.

It also puts us in our place: we’re God’s creation and find ourselves most satisfied when we love, walk and rest in him.

Personally, I love a good nap, a great cappuccino and taking pictures of the world around me.

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How do you get rested and refreshed on the Sabbath?

Finding comfort in a “messy” world.

Yesterday our President said, “…The world has always been messy.”

He’s right.

As I watched the news and lamented over the brutality of ISIS, one picture filled my mind. It’s a scripture from the book of Isaiah:

…All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:6

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Think about it. Whatever ISIS is doing and whatever our government is not doing, this is the truth – God is watching over us and his ears hear our prayers for peace. 

Here’s more truth to comfort you:

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. Isaiah 40:23-24

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Regarding barbarians like ISIS: We have nothing to fear. Our God is stronger and His ears hear our prayers.

Jesus never worried about men and what they could do to him. We are His followers. So today Lord, we ask in your name that you blow them away like chaff. Blow them all away.