I want to start with that question.
How much do you want it?
Did you answer alot? Good.
Now I have another question for you.
What are you willing to do to get it?
I am convinced that when we want something enough, we will do whatever it takes to get what we are after. If we don’t, then we don’t want it that much! And if we want something enough we will also do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get it.
In the Bible, God promises a lot to those who believe in Jesus. A lot. When I look back at our 12 years as a Christian, I can see many, many of those promises have come true. I also see that Jesus has changed both Robert and me. I also see that while many promises are true in our life and God has blessed us; I also know that God has tested us and taught us. Each time we have been tested, we have been blessed. Each time God has taught us a lesson and we stopped doing what we were doing and starting doing “it” God’s way we were blessed. So, this has made us want more. More of God in our life. More living God’s way. Our life, as we have gotten closer to God has improved exponentially and that is a major motivator!!
So when we read the Bible and then looked at our life, we realized things had to change in order to experience more of God. Compared to how we were living, living in relationship with God and doing life His way has brought us much more happiness, joy and peace! We wanted the tsunami to change from American culture and this world crashing in on us to Jesus crashing in on us! We wanted it and still want more of it – a lot. A whole lot!
I will now speak strictly for me. The first “shift” was taking a look at how I spent my time. A good hard look. How much tv did I watch? How many hours did I train? How much was I reading the Bible? How much was I studying the Bible with others? How much time did I spend on facebook? Twitter? The internet? How much time was I spending alone with God? How much was I looking for opportunities to help others? What was my mind busy thinking? What was preoccupying me? I realized that in order to get more of God, I had to give up a lot of other things – perhaps temporarily. Perhaps long term. I didn’t know. I had to start focusing on God! Over the course of about 2 years, I really stripped my schedule down. Sometimes I wondered just how much I would need to cut out of my life! What I learned was God really wants to spend time with me and wants to be with me. This was stunning to me. Me? God wants to be with me? So, I began to tell myself, “The God of the universe is asking for your attention. You. He wants to spend time with you, so what are you going to do? You better spend time!”. And this is one of the big shifts that starting causing the J-Wave to roll in my life.
Once I began to say yes each time God asked me to let go of something that took my time and my interest, it got easier to say yes. And this caused a big shift. I believe with each yes the J-Wave built momentum!
This is my story. My experience. Your experience may differ! See God created each of us uniquely and He plans to relate to us just as uniquely. There is no one more inexhaustibly creative than God! If you will quiet yourself and look and listen in His direction you WILL know that God is asking you to spend time with Him and give Him your attention because He wants to spend time with YOU..yes YOU. What could be a better investment of your time and attention? The answer is unequivocably, nothing.
I pray that you will take the offer God gives below in Jeremiah 29:13 and that the J-Wave will gain momentum in your life!
Jeremiah 29:13 (the Message translation)
When you come looking for me, you will find me. When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I will make sure you won’t be disappointed.
(How’s that for an exciting invitation?)
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
I John 2:15-17 (the message translation)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you don’t have the love of the Father (God) in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see and pride in our accomplishments and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.
Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
A wise person is hungry for knowledge while the fool feeds on trash.
Tomorrow: Shift #2 – 11 yrs in the dessert finally ends
During our stay in Houston as we began to live in and use the Tsunami, we experienced a hot water problem – there wasn’t any! Now, the Tsunami has a super cool and spiffy instant hot water system, so we were looking forward to experiencing it. But it wasn’t working like it should.
So, we went to tell the boss lady, Marilyn and Al, the guy in charge of getting the Tsunami ready to go about this problem. They called a certified service tech to come out and take a look.
About an hour later, Rudy the certified service guy arrives and begins doing the appropriate testing and diagnostic work to figure out what is wrong. He can’t quite nail it and there are two steps that must be taken to eliminate possibilities and hopefully resolves the issue. These two steps involve the purchase of parts. Expensive parts. Parts that need to get replaced anyway but may not solve the problem.
Visualize, in a small office Robert and I, Marilyn and Al and the service guy, Rudy. As Rudy explains the situation and his analysis and as Marilyn and Al realize there are expenses involved and then possibly more expenses involved, a little tempest begins to brew. Rudy wants to sell the parts he has in his truck. Marilyn and Al know they need to get this fixed for us and yet they know that they are also spending other money on our Tsunami. Robert and I are thinking, “Hey, we should be able to buy the Tsunami with full working hot water” so we don’t really want to pay either. The room is full of talking and discussing and a few sparks begin to fly because this involves money! Robert and I are quiet as the other three keep going round and round. Finally, Robert and I look at each other with the look no longer requires words. The “look” means, “time to pray. Much prayer. Much power.”
So, with our eyes open and continuing to listen to the brewing conversation, we separately and silently begin to pray for God to move in this situation. I’m not sure Robert’s specific prayer, but God led me to pray in a particular way. My prayer went something like this, “Jesus, I don’t want us to pay. I think Marilyn and Al need to fix it, but I know they are already doing so much for us, so I don’t want them to get gouged. Jesus, I also want to go home tomorrow and not have to stay any longer trying to solve this. Rudy, help him to fix it if we can get him parts that aren’t a fortune. Lord, please move.”
Al and Rudy leave to go out to look at the hot water thing again. Marilyn gets online to find the parts while muttering, “I can find these parts cheaper. I’m not paying that much. I’m already putting so much into this motor home…blah, blah, blah…”.
Robert and I are silent. Not saying a word. Not really moving. Eyes wide open and praying.
In just a few minutes and a few clicks on her keyboard, Marilyn begins to say, “No way. Uh-uh. I’ve never seen this website before. I’ve never heard of this company. Look at that, this part is only $xxx instead of $yyyy.” She dials the phone, talks to them, confirms the $xxx price and it’s so much lower than the $yyyy price. She orders the part and then tells the company, “I don’t know where ya’ll have been or why I haven’t heard of you before today, but I’ll be using you a lot.”
Robert and I look at each other and laugh. God moved. Marilyn got the part inexpensively, Rudy will come out tomorrow morning and do his best to fix it. God has resolved today’s issue.
The part comes the next morning. Rudy comes out to fix it; it doesn’t fix it. Robert and I decide to go run a couple of errands while Rudy does more diagnostic work. We get in the borrowed car, give each other the “look” and we begin to pray, “Lord, we really want to go home. Please help Rudy to find and resolve the problem so we don’t have to stay. Please may no more parts need to be ordered and no more expenses incurred.”
We receive a call while we are out running errands and guess what? Rudy fixed the problem and the Tsunami is now ready for our first road trip!
Lesson: We are often in situations where there are problems, confrontations and even conondrums. We feel we are not in control. We have fear, doubt and stress. We want to protect ourselves. So, we try to get our way, even if it’s “fair”. We try to bring resolution, or get the situation turned in our favor or we sometimes even just decide to take the hit and walk away. The truth is that, we are using our human mind and human possibilities and we aren’t thinking of God. We are trusting in ourselves or trusting in others. But, we need to be trusting in and calling on God! God can do anything! God can make a way where there is NO way! As His child, I know He has promised to take care of me. So, I am learning to call on Him and trust in Him; He has never, ever let me down!!
So, who ya gonna call? Call on God – He can do anything. Who ya gonna trust? God because He is always working everything out for our good! Sometimes I forget and it takes me awhile to call on God. But, as I grow to know Him more, as I remember and record all He has done for me, I am able to more quickly, more often and more confidently call on my God for help!
Next week: I will introduce you to the concept of the J-Wave and how we are learning to ride it! Our motor home being a Tsunami is not a coincidence! Have a wonderful upcoming weekend!!
Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Well, we are going nowhere right now! We will be living at the USI RV Park on 33rd street, near 96 and Hillside. We will move in there on 9/27. Robert will continue to operate his business, Diamond Home Design and do what he has been doing – kitchen and bath remodeling/construction. I will continue to do a little personal training (just trained a client yesterday in the Tsunami and she said it was quite roomy and comfie!) and food educating and cooking classes under the KP Ministry business name. We will continue life as normally as possible while residing in a home on wheels in about 380 square feet! Come up and see us ok?
Ok, so with our “sticks and bricks” home (rv lingo for a regular home) sold, it was time to begin serious looking at motor homes. As we researched extensively online, reading blogs and websites related to living in an RV full-time and purchasing a motor home, we began to form a vision of what we thought would make sense for us. So, with our criteria mostly established we began to look at these things called motor homes. We started locally by touring them at dealerships in Wichita. Each time we went in one, we learned something. There is and was much to learn as you are not just buying walls, plumbing and electrical, but you are also buying an engine, a chassis, a generator and an inverter and all your furntiure and lighting too! What? I didn’t even know what half that stuff was when we started! So, we became immersed and nearly obsessed with learning and looking. Our hope was to find one and own it a few weeks before moving.
Once we got passed the research phase and into what I call the consideration phase. God began to teach us a new way (new way to us) to make decisions. Let me briefly describe what this entails. First, He has called us to use the mind He has given us and operate in wisdom. In one of my favorite devotional books, Jesus Calling, the author refers to the human mind as the pinnacle of God’s creation and it’s primarily purpose is to use it to know God and His Word! Second, He has called us to listen to the Holy Spirit, our Wise Counselor. It is in the use of both our minds and the counsel of the Holy Spirit that we are to make decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message translation says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do and everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume you know it all.” So, before we went into each motor home , Robert and I paused to pray for the wisdom to use our minds and the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit.
We looked at a lot of motor homes and traveled many miles to do so. The ones we traveled to see looked like princes online but when we got there – FROGS. Big fat, slimy frogs. In frustration, at one point we really thought we were supposed to go purchase one in San Antonio, TX. But, God stopped that purchase dead in our tracks and we are thankful (that is a story for another blog). At one point we thought we were supposed to buy locally and not go to all the risk and trouble and time to purchase out of state. But, once again God stopped that from happening too! How did God stop us? Through the caution of the Holy Spirit. When in a listening (aka quiet) state with eyes and ears and heart and mind and will turned to Him, you will see and sense and know what the Holy Spirit is telling you. The hard part sometimes is that it may conflict with the logic of the human mind, at least temporarily! So, which one, my human mind or the Holy Spirit, has the “override” button? In other words, if these two don’t fully agree, which one do we make our decision in accordance with? The Holy Spirit. The verse above tells me I can’t figure everything out on my own! That I should listen for God’s voice wherever I go.
Example of the Holy Spirit stopping us
We found a great, high quality, right sized and well priced motor home. The owner was motivated to sell. We went up to look at it. We toured it and while all the important mechanical stuff seemed right, the interior seemed worn for it’s age and it was kind of well, not so attractive inside. But, we thought with our human mind, “what a great price for such a quality vehicle. We probably won’t find everything we want in our price range and if it’s not so pretty, then so be it.” Robert began to talk more seriously with the owner and work a little harder on price. Meanwhile, I went back inside and really looked and prayed. As I walked through this motor home, I just didn’t get the seal of approval and ease in my spirit. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first and then I could. I stepped out and asked Robert to come back inside with me. We prayed and talked and felt a caution; so we left and told the guy we were seriously interested but couldn’t commit. Once in the car, we realized that when we are making decisions in agreement with God then we will have a certain peace and joy. Neither of us felt this. We just felt – good deal. See, it wasn’t the right one for us and it certainly wasn’t God’s best for us. With our human mind, this motor home made sense – it was close to home, priced right and of good quality; it didn’t agree with what God’s voice was saying. So, we had to pass.
Example of Holy Spirit leading us
About a week into our search, we found online the Tsunami. When we first looked at this we were wowed and felt like it was perfect for us. It’s the same way we felt when we found the little house we’ve lived in for the past two years. Wow, this is perfect for us. And like this little house, when we saw the Tsunami, we thought, “nah, it’s too beautiful. It’s too…well, it’s just too…” Also, the truth was the price was above our upper limit.
The morning after we saw the Tsunami for the first time, I pulled it up online to look at it again. Between 7:00 p.m. the night before and 8:00 a.m. the next morning the price had been lowered by 16% putting it right at the top end of our budget. But, we thought, “No, it’s in Houston. That’s risky and a lot of work to go get. This can’t be the right one. Plus, we haven’t seen a lot of these Tsunami’s and that seems risky too.” But, to even see if it could be right for us, I called. The woman on the other end of the phone was brisk but nice. I asked her to send me the details. She did and included an invoice in case I wanted to present it to the bank to for financing purposes. When I opened up the invoice, she had made a typo in the price. Robert called her and said, “Hey, you’ve made a typo in your price.” She said she hadn’t. Robert insisted that she had. She insisted that she hadn’t. So, we sent the paperwork to the bank. Later, she called back and realized she had made a typo in the price. The typo had lowered the price now to a full 20% off the initial price we had seen. She said she’d honor it. We began to realize that the Hand of God was working in our favor. To make a long story short, God was leading us to Houston to buy the Tsunami. Here’s a short list of how He did that:
- The price was lowered 20% to fit right into the top end of our budget.
- This company was the only company that provided a one year warranty and 4 new tires included in the price.
- We had kissed a lot of frogs and it was exhausting. We drove and drove and drove and spent HOURS looking at all kinds of motor homes that looked good online, but when we got there were absolutely horrible.
- We consulted with our bank and afterwards, reviewed our excel spreadsheet with the motor homes we were considering and all their data points laid out for comparison and the Tsunami did stand out as one of the top three best choices.
So, God was showing us that what had at first seemed ridiculous – a motor home out of our budget and 600 miles from home was really becoming possible. So, we prayed and felt as much human wisdom as you can feel buying a motor home, sight unseen, 600 miles away from someone you don’t know! We called her back, said we wanted to come down and planned to purchase the Tsunami. Now, here’s the short list of some of God’s favor once we took the leap of faith and followed His voice to do what seemed a little crazy to our human mind.
- She asked for only a 5% deposit to hold the Tsunami instead of her usual 20%.
- She insisted we stay 3 days and live in the motor home on their property and they would teach us all about it. See, we knew nothing about living in a motor home! She also put one of their cars at our disposal while in Houston so we wouldn’t have the cost of renting a car once we got there. All of this would be free of charges.
- One morning before heading to Houston, Robert and I wondered if the bed would be comfortable since the Tsunami is a 2005, making the bed 9 years old. 90 minutes later, she called Robert and said she wanted to put in a new bed for us and would we want a sleep by number or a tempur-pedic?
- We found a review online of Tsunami’s and realized that this motor home was one of the highest quality ones to be found and it had more features than we knew.
- Once we were down there and walked into it….the joy. Pure joy and peace. We felt at home right away. It was as beautiful in person as online. No frog here!
Lesson: Learning to make a decision with this kind of unity and prayer with Robert has been one of the most amazing experiences. Learning to follow God’s voice and the Holy Spirit and let our thinking take a back seat to God’s voice was a little unnerving. As we followed God’s voice, His choice for us became clearer and then began to make total sense to our human mind. If we hadn’t taken that step of faith and taken that risky trip to Houston, God wouldn’t have been able to fully reveal to us the wisdom of the Tsunami nor would we have received all the blessings of the Tsunami.
On many occasions in the past we have seen God bless us not only with what was practical, but also with our hearts desires. He has done it again with the Tsunami. I wanted a certain kind of very rare bedroom floor plan – the Tsunami has it. Robert wanted certain mechanical things like a big horsepower engine and he got them. I cook a lot and the Tsunami has a residential size refrigerator and a dishwasher – very, very rare things in a motor home.
We don’t know everything. Our minds are limited. But God knows all and sees all and will lead us to what He has prepared to give us and where He wants us to go; we just need to allow His voice to override the limitations of our human mind so we can take that step of faith!
Believe in His word. Believe in His voice. It will make the step of faith easier to take!
Tomorrow: Praying in the heat of the moment and seeing God answer instantly. I promise it will be a much shorter blog than today’s!!
(the picture above is of the living and kitchen area in the Tsunami. Decorations are not mine!)
Discouragement. Not one of the more fun human emotions is it?
Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Boy, that verse makes it sound easy huh?
We become discouraged when we begin to lose hope. Discouragement leads to fear (false evidence appearing real) and to doubt ( in self, in others, in God). Discouragement, fear and doubt are created when we color in options and outcomes for situations and circumstances that have not yet happened.
Discouragement is when we start to believe that God’s purposes and ways are too difficult or don’t make sense to us, His promises seem too late and His power seems to weak.
Discouragement is when we begin to doubt who God is, what He is capable of and how powerful He really is. Discouragement is when we begin to count on self more than God. Discouragement is when we don’t remember what God has done for us in the passt.
So, how do we win over discouragement?
1. Remember – remember what God has done for you in the past. Remember the circumstances or condition you were in and what God did in His power on your behalf.
2. Read and accept and pound into your brain the Truth in God’s Word. (Yes, I have to pound things into my brain sometimes and I’m thinking and hoping you are a bit like me!)
3. Remember that discouragement, fear and doubt are all emotions that are not grounded in truth, but are grounded in lies.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (msg)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do and everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Psalms 18:30 (nlt)
God’s way is perfect. All the Lords’ promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.
Isaiah 26:2 (nlt)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.