A Much-Needed Wilderness

Stumbling into GRACE:

Are you walking in the Wilderness?

Originally posted on Dancing to God:

ivan-nikolaevich-kramskoy-christ-in-the-desert1Scripture Text:  Luke 4: 1-2

 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.


Yes, as a matter of fact, this IS the third time we’ve heard this account as part of our wilderness journey. But we haven’t heard it from the same Gospel-writer.  All three of the synoptic Gospels include the account of Jesus being led into the wilderness following his Baptism. It’s one of the few passages that was not only included by each writer, but actually was included within pretty much the same sequence in the happenings of Jesus’ life. There doesn’t seem to be any need on the part of any of the writers to “rearrange” things…

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World Changers

Stumbling into GRACE:

Please watch this Student’s video on bullying .. I think we may see more from Corey … Move over Steven Spielberg

Originally posted on Wings of the Dawn:

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do.”

I want to encourage a young man who has set his goal in life to change the world. All I want to say to him is, “Go for it, dude!”

He recently made a movie with his classmates. Life does not have to turn out a certain way. I believe God has given us the power to break chains, and pierce into the darkness of this world.
Here is this young man’s short video. I happen to think that this is just the beginning for him.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness,
but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity,
show yourself an example of those who believe.

1 Timothy 4:12

Picture and video by Corey Viars    

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The Wilderness of Ourselves

Stumbling into GRACE:

Forever and Ever Love

Originally posted on Dancing to God:

Three Crosses and Silhoutted Person in Prayer at SunriseScripture Text:  John 3: 14-17


14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This is it: THE verse.  So what we do with THE verse?  It’s on street corners and billboards and T-Shirts and tattoos and faces and signs at sporting events.  I think it is often read as some sort of great reward for doing the right things.  You know, if you do everything you’re supposed to do, you’ll be rewarded…

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HOME!  I love that word!

When I get home in the winter I change into my sweats and during the summer into a cool sundress.

I relax, de-stress and settle down. Anxiety seems to melt away. Hubby and I sit outside in the summer with a glass of wine and listen to the sounds of evening falling softly around us.

In the morning, we read our Bibles and say our prayers.  Then we grab a couple of cups of coffee. Hubby reads the paper and I catch up on all my morning blogs.

We wake up with praise-filled words in our hearts, “Thank you God for another day.”

Of course, there are days when nothing seems right, everything is out of sync and the waves of struggle and doubt keep rolling in.

But we are home, with each other and we can face anything together with God leading the way.

Truly, I am not trying to sugar-coat any of life’s problems. Sometimes we just want to go back to bed and hide under the covers.

ISAIAH  43:18 (Message) Forget about what’s happened;  don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new

MATTHEW 6:34 (VOICE) So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today

Go Home today – Believe – Spread a little goodness wherever you can – Live – Rest


PSALM 37:3 (VOICE) Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good— live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness


My New Book on Trials & Suffering: “Mad About God”

Stumbling into GRACE:

Good Morning .. Pastor JS Park has written a book about Trails and Suffering called “Mad about God”. It was my pleasure to read the ” draft” of Pastor Park’s book.
Pastor Park writing touches on some very tough human emotion. His book does not sugar coat the trials. Pastor Park weaves real human stories with applicable Bible verse. His book guides the reader through the range of emotions like anger, depression and doubt.
Consider reading “Mad about God” by JS Park. I recommend this book.

Originally posted on J.S. Park:

Mad About God final cover

This is my newest book, on persevering through trials and suffering, called Mad About God: When We Over-Spiritualize Pain and Turn Tragedy Into a Lesson.

You’ve heard others spiritualize pain by saying, “God is doing this for you good” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “God has an amazing plan for your life” — but in the middle of the mushroom cloud, even the best theology doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, you just want to be angry with God. We want to shake a fist and shout against the dark.

This is a journey through our heartache, where we’ll discover a safe place to vent and to grieve without formulas. I also go over depression, sexy cancer, second world problems, misquoting verses for inspirational Instagrams, the hijacking of Jeremiah 29:11, and the theology of True Detective, Louis C.K., and The Shawshank Redemption.

Here’s a video on the themes of…

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Broken Lives in Search of Glue

Originally posted on Karen Foster...Even in This:

She told me, “The man committedsuicide.”

Just couldn’t live on this planet one more day.

I didn’t know him, but a knot forms in my gut while I wonder about the people in my life.

Is someone in despair? Would I recognize the signs?

I’ve talked with people who tried, without success, to help a loved one…

Change his behavior. Make her happy. Seek counseling. Point them to the Lord.

Forever haunted “If only I had done this, said that.

Haven’t we all been there?

Been the person with good intentions who knows what’s best for another person. Only the other person won’t listen!

We stand there with a tube of super glue in our hands. Looking at the mess of a person; fallen and broken. Realize that even Humpty Dumpty’s men couldn’t put him back together again.

So how do I help a human…

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A Healthy Death . . . .

Stumbling into GRACE:

LIFE is at work in you

Originally posted on hisglorysm:

When I picked up the phone, I thought it was going to be one of those “catching up” conversations that occur when longtime friends have not communicated for a while.  Straight off, Pat told me she had cried when she read our New Years letter about Luke and Shannon’s battle with cancer. Feeling bad about making her cry, I attempted to shift the focus from the pain of the previous year, to the hope we have as Luke and Shannon re-enter the normalcy of jobs and ordinary life. Then I heard Pat say:

“You aren’t going to believe this Kathie, but last October I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  Regular exams and tests never picked it up . . . they think I may have had it for several years but just didn’t know it.”

Stunned by Pat’s words, I heard little else as the words stage 4 cancer assaulted…

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I’m Stressed

Stumbling into GRACE:

Stress strategy

Originally posted on Built with Grace:

As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Psalm 119:143 (NLT)

20140825_073143My family and I love to camp. One of our favorite spots to spend a few days is in extreme northern Minnesota. Just miles from the Canadian border, we are without electricity except for our camper batteries, have no cell phone signal and are 50 miles from the nearest hospital. We enjoy taking the boat out, playing games, taking naps and just getting away from all the stress of the ‘real world’ in our hidden paradise.

The only connection we have with the world outside is a weather radio that we listen to each morning so that we know what to expect weather-wise in regards to going out on the lake or taking hikes through the forest.

Last summer, on the day before we were going to leave, we listened to an ominous…

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Ten Reasons to have a Retreat in 2015: Reason #2 — The Power of Fear

Stumbling into GRACE:

Fear … Depression … Rest

Originally posted on The ARC-ives:

Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT)

power of fearFear is an amazing thing. It can cripple our ability to reason wisely and focus on reality. I remember one time in particular when I learned the power of fear in a very real way and also the way in which it can affect us.

I was about seven years old and due to a family relocation, got to live for a summer at a borrowed cabin on a lake. I became friends with one of the…

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