Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts: True Satisfaction

I was reading in Isaiah this week, which I love.  Isaiah is so rich with good words from the Lord.  I am always challenged and encouraged by this book.  I was reading in chapter 55 and camped out on verses 1-3

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

There is so much good news in this passage that encouraged me and a lot that brought up a list of questions to ask myself.  First - the good news.

Every one is invited to come to God  


No exceptions  

That means you and me and every other person in existence.  Now that is a wide open invitation.  When you look around yourself, remind yourself that everyone you see is invited to partake of God's riches.  

Yep - even that person.

This message is free.  You don't have to have a certain balance in your bank account or live in a house or drive a nice car.  In fact, your bank account balance is irrelevant.  It could be plenty and it could be small.  It just doesn't matter.

There is no satisfaction apart from the Lord.  


Everything else will fade away.  The thrill of getting whatever it was you wanted it short lived.  It simply isn't enough. When we seek satisfaction apart from the Lord, we find ourselves seeking more and more.  Once a goal is reached - we still hunger for more.  One we fill ourselves up, we quickly find ourselves empty again.  

There is no satisfaction apart from the Lord.

The Lord wants to covenant with me.  His faithful mercies are the binding agent.  He is committed to me.  His end is always held up.  He always keeps His promises.  Only in Him will I find what I need - what indeed I crave.

Because when you get right down to it - what we need is  





and the forgiveness of our Heavenly Father.  

We need relationship.  
We need to hear His voice.  
We need Him.

So - that leads me to ask myself (and perhaps you can ask yourself) the following questions:

How am I trying to purchase satisfaction?

Am I snacking on the fare of this world while the Lord is inviting me to a banquet of His abundance?

How and I trying to buy what the Lord wants to freely give me?

Am I really listening to Him?

Am I delighting in what He chooses to give me?

Am I delighting in the abundance of my relationship with Jesus?

I so want to "get it".  I want to embrace the richness of my relationship with Jesus and live it out in a way that will truly impact those around me.  I want to invite my neighbors to this banquet and enjoy sitting next to them.  I want to bring light to the dark places around me.  I want my delight in the Lord to spill over onto my world.

Come to the waters . . .

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday: My Boys

I worked with teenagers for many, many years  . . . and I loved it.  Every student holds a special place in my heart.  One of these special ones - Justin Elis - is getting married this weekend.

I had the privilege of having a group of boys in different groups or youth events for a span of three years.  Their senior year, we spent a lot of time together.  They came over to lunch at my house every Tuesday and then we were together every Sunday.  I also spent a great deal of time at their events.  In other words, we got really connected.  As they went through college, I visited their campuses and got to see them grow up into truly fine men.  They have graduated from college and one by one . . . they are getting married.  Justin is the first, with Joey following closely behind.  I feel like one, proud momma.

Here are all 6 boys at graduation.
Joey, Chris, Justin, Nick, Grant and Evan

Evan, Joey and Justin cheering on the Warriors.

I should mention that I'm not sure if any of these boys would have made it to graduation without Courtney.  She kept them in line.

Justin, Joey, Grant and Chris

Justin, Grant, myself and Nick

Evan and Justin one Halloween

It has been such a privilege to watch these boys grow into such amazing men.  They have blessed my life in numerous way and boy have they made me LAUGH.

Justin - I am so proud of you and so happy for you and Darryl.  She is such a perfect choice for you.  I am praying for the Lord's very best for you both as you begin this new journey.  I am so thankful for you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Musings: Okay

Everything is going to be okay . . . I have heard that phrase a thousand times and I have said it a thousand more. 

But you know what?

I believe it.



If it were not for Him, this would be an empty phrase.  If not for Him, I would have no idea how this story ends or if indeed, everything is going to be okay.

"And He will be the stability of your times.  A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge.  The fear of the Lord is his treasure."  
Isaiah 33:6

"Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble.  Say to those with an anxious heart; take courage, fear not."  
Isaiah 35:3

He is my stability.

He is my treasure.

He is my strength.

He is my courage.

All my days were ordained for me even 
before I existed.

My God sees the big picture - 
He goes before me, beside me and behind me.

Nothing is beyond His control.

I am the apple of His eye.

He uses suffering, hardship and pain in my life.  
It is NEVER wasted.

He makes sense out of the randomness of my life.

He orchestrates my days in ways I could never plan.

He thinks I am beautiful.

He is working all things for my good.

He has plans and purpose for me.

His grace is sufficient.

His mercies are new every morning.

He has my back.

He will bring me into His presence for eternity.

Everything is going to be okay.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Painting at Prescott

My latest Chicago painting project has been a preschool room at Prescott Elementary.  This has been so much fun to do.  I have also been able to make a better connection with the principal and the preschool teacher.  It has been a great open door to loving on this school.  I thought you might like to see the end result.  I am so very thankful for the Lord leading me to paint in the schools here.  It has been such a JOY.

Hey diddle, diddle
the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moon

The little dog laughed to see such sport

And the dish ran away with the spoon

These illustrations are based on Mary Englebreit's book of nursery rhymes. She is one of my favorite artists.  I love her whimsy in everything that she does.  What can I say - whimsy suits me!

I could have never imagined all that awaited me when I moved to Chicago.  Painting is just one of those wonderful surprises.  I am more and more convinced that the Lord has a great plan - and I need only to listen and respond to His promptings.  I love living life this way.

I wonder what surprises He has for you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Musings: Trust ---> Peace

I have had some very busy, yet fun filled days.  Alan has been out of town, so apparently that means I kick it into high gear and stay busy 24/7.  I finished up a painting project at Prescott Elementary (I'll share that on Thursday) and spent the weekend painting a friend's apartment.  I'm still working on that today.  I get to paint a tree on the wall, so I'm really excited about that. 

In the midst of the busy times, I have had some sweet time with the Lord.  I've been reading through Isaiah and Hebrews.  They have both been speaking to me about my trustworthy God and peace.  Here is what I have learned.

The steadfast of mind, 
You will keep in perfect peace, 
because he trusts in You.  
Trust in the Lord forever.  
For in God the Lord, 
we have an everlasting Rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

Trust and Peace are partners.

You really can not have one without the other.

Peace, apart from trusting the Lord, is hollow. It is at best a fleeting emotion and at worst, a flat out lie.  The very foundation of peace is the trustworthiness of the Lord.  

He is the ROCK.

He is ever FAITHFUL.

He is GOOD and He is for you.




You can count on this.  Peace is the fruit of this knowledge.

How is your peace these days?  

I'm going to venture to say that if you do not have peace in your life, you have a trust issue.  I would encourage you to go out to and put in the word trust.    You will see many, many references come up.  Begin to read those scriptures.  Soak in their words and meaning.  Put in the word peace - you will find many more references to peace.  Arm yourself with this truth.

I believe that you will find your trust in the Lord growing and that His peace will be close behind.  

What if things are not going well?  

What is life is extremely chaotic or you are 
grieving over someone or some situation?

TRUST.  Arm yourself with what you know to be true.  God's character is always the same.  Our circumstances and situations change - but He does not.  You can count on Him.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

We have all been betrayed.  Jesus was.  He understands what that is like.  He beckons us to trust in Him.  He will not betray us.  He can not lie.  He can not be anything but Who He is.  

That is Someone you can trust.

That is Someone who brings you peace.

He is our ROCK.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Door of Hope

I came across this verse in Hosea this week and the phrase "door of hope" grabbed my attention.

Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope and she will sing there as in the days of her youth.  
Hosea 2:15

Hosea is a mind boggling book.  God uses Hosea's life as His prophet to give us a picture of His great love and pursuit of us.  Hosea marries a woman who is a prostitute, named Gomer.  This marriage symbolizes the covenant between God and Israel.  Israel had been unfaithful to God - worshiping idols and picking up pagan practices.  God wanted them to see what their unfaithfulness was doing to their relationship with Him and to their children.  

Gomer marries Hosea and has children with him.  She continues to play the harlot and Hosea continually seeks after her to restore her to himself and her children.  What a picture of our unfaithfulness to God.  I can tell you that I don't see it that way too often - but that is the reality.  We are the bride of Christ.  We wander and we stray bringing pain into our own lives and the lives of others.

The beautiful picture in this book is God's love and longing for His people.  He remains faithful even in our unfaithfulness.  When you get right down to it - that really is our hope.  We know that we can't stay 100% true to Him.  We all stumble and fall.

When I saw the phrase "door of hope" I felt a rush of relief and love for the Lord.  He truly is our hope.  I am so thankful that He remains true to Himself.  His feelings for me do not go up and down.  His love for me is steadfast and true.

Do you feel hopeless?  

Do you desire to remain faithful in your walk, but the voices of this world just keep pulling you away?  

Know that the Lord is always pursuing you and continually offers you a door of Hope.  There is always a way back to Him.  He is faithful, even when we are faithless.  He makes all things possible.

Do not tarry . . . the door of hope remains open.

Come on in.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Musings: He Knows

I headed out on Saturday morning to get the oil changed in my car.  Now, even something simple like that is a BIG deal in Chicago.  I got there by 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning and it still took 3 hours.  YEP

Well, the good news is that I walked to a neighborhood Starbucks and got some breakfast.  I had taken my Bible and my journal with me so that I could hang out with Jesus while I waited.  I had three different passages to read for the day and I felt like the Lord was speaking to me in each one of them.  I finally settled on Hebrews 4:15-16.  It seemed to jump off the page.

For we do not have a great high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I began to pick this apart and just get more and more excited about the richness of this passage.  Have I mentioned that I truly LOVE the WORD.  Here goes . . .

Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses.
Who likes to feel weak?  Well, we may not like to feel weak, but we all do.  I think that weakness can isolate us.  We feel like no one understands what we are feeling or struggling with.  We can even feel judged or taken advantage of as our weaknesses play out in our life.  Jesus - the King of Kings - sympathizes with my weaknesses.  He understands.  He knows.

Jesus was tempted.
He wasn't just tempted, but He was tempted in all things.  All things.  He walked this earth.  He experienced all different kinds of situations and interacted with all different kinds of people.  He understands temptations.  He knows.

Jesus is sinless.
What great news.  He knows how to hit temptation head on and not yield to it, but instead resist, defeat and overcome it.  He wants to help me do this also.

Jesus desires for me to draw near.
He is not repulsed by my struggles.  He wants to embrace me and hold me close in order to help me.  This nearness to Him moves me in the opposite direction of my sin and temptation.  He knows that my nearness to Him is my good.

I can draw near with confidence.
This isn't self confidence.  It is the ability to draw near because of the character of Jesus.  He is Faithful.  His righteousness covers me.  I can be confident in the completeness of His work on the cross.

Jesus beckons me to the throne of grace.
Now that is a throne that I desperately need to draw near to.  Oh, sweet grace.

Jesus says that I will receive mercy and find grace.
These are the gifts that my Savior so generously gives to me, out of His deep love for me.

Grace and Mercy are the remedy for my struggles.
I love to look at the definition of familiar words.  I think that we have a sense of what they mean, but I find the actual definition very enlightening.
Mercy:  compassion shown toward an offender; the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone
Grace:  favor; a manifestation of favor, especially by a Superior; the condition of being in God's favor.

How do grace and mercy help me in my time of need?
I think it goes back to the love relationship.  Jesus' choice to show me grace and mercy when I am at my worst -- teetering on the precipice of failure -- causes me to draw near to Him.  As I draw near, sin becomes more and more unattractive.  I begin to see it for what it is.  Grace and mercy woo me to my One True Love.

I feel like I have had a lot of conversations lately with people who are really discouraged.  Some are just tired, some are plagued by insecurity, some jobless, some lonely and all in need of this encouraging word.  

Jesus understands.

Jesus knows.

Draw Near.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Bliss Hangover

I can't think of a better term for what I am feeling today.  Yesterday was the 4th of July and we had a party here at the Goad house.  I can get a bit carried away when I start inviting people over - probably because it is my favorite thing to do.

As Alan likes to say - How many people are coming?  I usually say - Well, I'm not sure.  This is a very familiar conversation at our house.  I bought plenty of hot dogs and brats  - all the yummy toppings and made a few other things.  I had asked our guests to bring something to share.

5:00 came and our friends began to show up.  Did I mention that it was BLAZING hot here on the 4th?  

With each buzz of the door, more people, that have touched our lives here in the big city, came streaming in.  We ended up with about 50 adults and 11 kids.  We had plenty of food, plenty of drinks and a whole lot of fun.

There were moments when I just stood back and observed people that I love enjoying each others company.  That is just a sweet thing.  There was a lot of laughter, some shrieks and screams from little ones and some really great conversation.  There was genuine caring and good natured kidding.  

This was life in all its glory - lived out on a day to celebrate Freedom.  To be free in Christ is to be free indeed.


I can't think of a better word to describe it.  When I woke up this morning, I felt a little bit like a truck had run me over - but it was a great feeling.  I like to call this my bliss hangover.  I may have been tired - but I sure was happy.  

I am feeling so blessed and so fortunate.

What gives you a bliss hangover?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Musings: Sing a New Song

I had a truly amazing weekend.  Our church, Destination, had a special guest in this week.  His name is Tommy Stanley and he is the pastor of a New Frontiers church in Lee Summit, Kansas.  

Our initial time with him was in a leader's gathering on Friday night.  We all shared a meal together and then Tommy spent some time with us talking about worship.

Now you have to understand that just being in a home with all these young men and women that I LOVE in my church was an amazing blessing.  We shared a meal and got to catch up with friends and then to top it off, we got to hear Tommy.

He began by talking about Romans 12:1-2 - a very familiar passage that I love.  He was talking about coming into worship with an expectation.

Expectation:  a strong belief that something will happen

He asked us what we expected when we walked into the worship service on Sunday morning.

So - I'll ask you that same question.  What do you expect when you walk into your church?

Hmmm . . . there are a lot of possible answers here.  When I thought about it, I thought of things like fellowship, singing, worship, hearing the Word and being challenged.

But . . . do I expect God to show up in a BIG and UNEXPECTED way?  Is there room for that?

It is a challenging thought.  What if it messes up the timing?  What if the service runs long (yikes!)  What if it gets messy?  

It was challenging and it was so good.  

We started with the phrase in Romans 12:1 - "in view of God's mercies . . ."  

Wow - just ponder that for a moment.  God's mercies.  Now that is a solid basis for a thought on worship.  It is all about His mercies.  In view of all that He has done for me - worship is my natural response.  In fact, it is the only response that makes any sense.

I want to wake up on Sunday morning with a holy expectation about what the Lord is up to.  Actually, I want to wake up every day of the week like that - but this was specifically talking about worship at our church.

One of the ways that we were challenged was to sing a new song to the Lord.  This does happen from time to time in our service.  Someone will speak to the pastor and then come up to a microphone and sing a song that the Lord has given them.  It is pretty amazing.

At this seminar on Saturday, we were all challenged to read Psalm 91 and then one by one, sing a song to the Lord.  Adam, our worship leader, played his guitar and we took turns singing.  

Can you say INTIMIDATING?  But really, it reminded me that it was about singing to the Lord, not putting on a concert.  It didn't matter if your voice was beautiful or if you were making a joyful noise to the Lord.  It came from the heart . . . the heart of worship.

It was a freeing experience.  It gave us a better understanding and appreciation of one another's heart.  It was a sweet time.

I walked into worship on Sunday morning with an expectation that God was going to show up and do something that would surprise me.  I expected that He would touch hearts and that the Holy Spirit would speak.  I expected to meet Jesus.

I was not disappointed.

What are you expecting?