Hurricane Softened Soil & Hearts

 Softened Soil & Hearts — We Interrupt These Blog Posts to Bring You A Hurricane via www.jeanwilund.com

We Interrupt These Blog Posts to Bring You A Hurricane

As soon as I made my plans, Hurricane Irma came and wrecked them. Thanks, a lot.

I’d planned to finish my Enoch blog posts last week, but then we had to jump into Hurricane Irma Readiness mode. My blog instantly became low priority. 

My heart breaks at the sight on the news of all those who lost so much in Irma — especially those who lost their lives. It’s devastating!

Thanks, Irma

I’m grateful to report, though, that we weathered Irma incredibly well. We only lost our power for a few hours. Long enough to remind me how much I depend on it. Thanks, Irma.

How did Abraham Lincoln read by candlelight every night? It’s hard. I had to get out my book-light, which wasn’t much brighter than a candle anyway. 

We almost lost a tree, too. Our Chinese Elm is now leaning at about a 45º angle. This is good, though, because it’s been growing at an 85º angle since the beginning. Thanks, Irma.

I kept meaning to straighten it out and stake it while it was still small, but one thing led to another. By the time I got around to it, the tree was rooted into the hard clay soil and unwilling to budge an inch. 

I thought about forcing it but was afraid of damaging the tree — maybe even breaking it. But now it’s just a mess. We’ve got to fix it. Its roots won’t survive being above-ground.

Fortunately, we can pull it up with ease because it’s now loose in the Irma-softened soil. We can give it a fresh start and new life.

Softened Soil & Hearts

Hurricane Softened Soil & Hearts — When a Hurricane actually did something good. www.jeanwilund.comWhen I told my friend Debbie about our poor tree, she pointed out how much our Chinese Elm is a picture of the work God does in our hearts.

Unless God softens the soil of our hearts, no outward pushing or pulling will move it without damaging it.

I’m probably guilty of hurting a few people with my well-meaning attempts to force their hearts to move in a direction I felt was best.

I’ve tried to help God rather than wait for Him to do the work only He can do.

Why do I keep forgetting I’m not God?

God’s Perfect Work

God’s work in our hearts is perfect. Only He knows best what we need.

Sometimes God sends a long, gentle rain to soften a heart.

He’ll speak to us through His Word or and open our eyes to a truth we’d missed or misunderstood. Painless.

Other times, He sends a rainstorm that breaks up the soil of our hearts in ways we wouldn’t have chosen.

Painful, but effective.

And then, when necessary, God sends an all-out hurricane to flood and blow against our hearts until they become putty in His hands.

PAINFUL, but perfect.

God’s Work in our hearts isn’t always fun. When it’s painful, let’s remember:

God never allows the storms to blow beyond what is absolutely necessary to cause our roots to grow deep into His marvelous love.

New Life — New Look

If my Chinese Elm continued to grow at an angle the roots couldn’t support, a strong enough storm would’ve eventually knocked it down to its doom.

With the soil now properly softened, we can give our tree new life that’s able to weather the storms to come.

We can give it a new look, too. A strong look, rather than looking like it’ll fall over if the wind sneezes.  

I’m thankful for the storms God has sent or allowed into my heart. He’s used each one to mold me more into the likeness of Jesus.  

Softened Soil & Hearts — We Interrupt These Blog Posts to Bring You A Hurricane via www.jeanwilund.comI know I’ll never look just like Jesus. I’ve got too many twists and turns in my trunk. But that’s ok. My roots are now growing down into the soil of His marvelous love, and I’m filled with new life. 

And hopefully a new look — one that smiles more than it grumbles or grimaces.

My hope is when I’m old and gray (instead of just young and gray — or more accurately, middle-aged and gray) people will meet me and know what Jesus is really like.

At this point, I make Jesus look more like a Picasso painting. But He’s not done with me yet. More softening of my heart to come!

I’m Sorry

To those of you that I’ve hurt by my pushing and pulling, “Forgive me.” I hope you know it was only because I love you — or because I was temporarily an idiot.

And to those of you who’ve been hurt by other Christians who tried to force your heart to believe in Jesus or look like Jesus — on their behalf, I say, “I’m so sorry.”

And to those who are facing a Heart Hurricane, I say, “Embrace it.”

Hang on, but embrace it. Let God have His way with your heart. Let Him soften and move your heart to where it needs to be. If you don’t, one day a big storm is going to come and knock you flat. It may even break you.

An Encouraging Word From the Word

I now leave you with the incredible encouragement of Ephesians 3:16-20, one of my favorite passages in the Bible:

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 


Time to go finish the last part of my Enoch Walked with God and Had a Methuselah Moment blog posts. And to pray for those who are still feeling Irma’s ire. 


If you want to help victims of Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision are great organizations. They provide help to many and are supported by donations.  

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Enoch Walked With God & Had a Methuselah Moment — You Can, Too! (Part 2)

Enoch walked with God & had a Methuselah Moment (You Can, Too) Part 2 via www.JeanWilund.com

My Methuselah Moment

Ever had a Magic Moment, the kind that the Drifters sing about?

I have. But even better than a Magic Moment is a Methuselah Moment a moment in time when your walk with God changes forever. 

By that I mean, you walk with God. If you walk away from God, that moment would more likely be considered a Gomer Moment. I’ll have to write about that another time.

My first Methuselah Moment came when I first heard the Gospel message. I’d grown up hearing about Jesus. I celebrated His birthday every December and His resurrection every spring. I loved Him because every time we celebrated something for Him, I was the one who got presents.

Finally, in 1973, God drew me to Himself and led me to a summer youth camp where I heard the Gospel for the first time. I embraced it and began walking with God.

My next Methuselah Moment came when I saw The Red Thread — the presence of Jesus and/or His Work woven from eternity past into eternity future. 

The moment I saw a timeline showing Jesus woven through God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation, I was stunned. It was like I’d found the missing piece of Christianity that made Christianity stop seeming so hard. It changed my walk with God. Forever.

I saw God in a new light. Actually, in more light — as if a veil had lifted. I saw His heartbeat — Jesus.

I saw that Christianity isn’t about living a certain way and then going to heaven. It’s about Jesus. Everything from eternity past into eternity future is about Jesus Christ and His amazing love for the Father and the world. It all starts and ends with Jesus.

When I say it’s all about Jesus, don’t think I’m leaving out God or the Holy Spirit. They’re the inseparable three-in-one.

From first to last, it’s all about Christ, who lives to glorify God and is revealed by the Spirit.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
~ Revelation 22:13

Enoch’s Methuselah Moment

We don’t know what God said to Enoch, but I wonder if his Methuselah Moment came when he saw The Red Thread. There’s no written record that he “saw Jesus threaded through God’s plan for the world,” but we know from Jude 14-15 that he prophesized about Jesus’ Second Coming. And we know Enoch’s ancestors and descendants saw The Red Thread, even though the full reality of Jesus’ first coming remained a mystery.

Adam and Eve received the promise that Jesus would come to save the world from sin (Genesis 3:15).

Abel discovered the importance of the right sacrifice, which points to Jesus, the perfect and final sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-7; Hebrews 11:4).

After Enoch, his grandson Noah experienced the joy of being saved due to being counted as righteous through faith (Genesis 7:1; Hebrews 11:7).

Surely, as Enoch walked with God for 300 years, he came to know God’s heartbeat — that God would bring everything into unity under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10) and give Him first place in everything (Colossians 1:18).

Walk Like Enoch

Enoch had a unique relationship with God in those days, but we have something he didn’t. We have God’s Word in written form — God’s Word, the Bible.

If we dig into God’s Word — and let it dig into us — it will change us.

To walk with God like Enoch, we must walk with the Word.

One of the best ways I’ve found to walk with the Word is The Red Thread Way.

I’ll post about that next, so please check back. 


Share this post and check back for our next look at Enoch’s Walk with God & Methuselah Moment. If you missed Part 1, Click Here.

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Enoch walked with God & had a Methuselah Moment (You Can, Too) Part 2 via www.JeanWilund.com




Enoch Walked With God and Had a Methuselah Moment — You Can Too (Part 1)

Enoch walked with God & had a Methuselah Moment (You Can, Too) Part 1 via www.JeanWilund.comEnoch Walked with God

I’m so glad Enoch walked with God instead of ran. I don’t run.

Unless someone is chasing me or there’s only one serving left of the Mint Moose Tracks ice cream. Or Hurricane Irma comes knocking on our door. I’m running then! Otherwise, I’ll stick to walking.

Besides, walking is biblical.

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”
(Genesis 5:24 NASB)

Enoch walked with God, and then God just took him away. He didn’t have to experience death like the rest of us. Of course it took him 300 years of walking to get there. I wonder how many miles he racked up.

 

Enoch “obtained the witness” that he was “pleasing to God.”
(Hebrews 11:5 NASB)

Enoch walked with God and made it into the Hall of Faith chapter of Hebrews.

There you have it. Walking is biblical.

Yes, I know the Bible tells us to “run the race.” But I don’t want to talk about that now. Let’s learn to walk first.

Let’s discover the secret to how a Methuselah Moment led Enoch to such a close walk with God that, after 300 years, God said, “Enoch, We’re closer to My home now than we are to yours. Let’s just walk on home to Mine.”

Ok, God didn’t really say that. (At least it’s not recorded anywhere.)

But Enoch did walk with God in such a remarkable way, God made sure we noticed.

Who is this Enoch?

Enoch first appears in Genesis 5 in “the book of the generations of Adam” (Genesis 5:1-7).

As we read through the generations, a pattern emerges:

“When so-and-so had lived blank years, he fathered blah blah blah. So-and-so lived after he fathered blah blah blahblank years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of so-and-so were blank years, and he died.

The pattern repeats itself until we get to verses 21-24.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

Now you see him, now you don’t because Enoch walked with God.

Enoch lived 365 years — a year of years — but he walked with God for 300 of them.

What happened during those other 65 years?

Who was Enoch walking with then? Did he walk alone? Or with his dog?

All we know is when Enoch was 65 years old he became the father of Methuselah, and it was at that point he began to walk with God.

Enoch had a Methuselah Moment. He had — a moment in time that marked his life between when he walked without God and when he walked with God.

What was so special about Methuselah?

Most people who know Methuselah, know one thing. He lived longer than any other human — 969 years.

Few of us probably know the meaning of his name, though.

Biblical scholars of old say Methuselah’s name most likely comes from the Hebrew word meaning “man of the dart” or “man of the sword.” Its full meaning might be, “When he dies, it will come.”

Sort of the original Field of Dreams except this dream would be a nightmare because the year Methuselah died, God sent the Flood.

Not every Bible scholar is as quick to connect Methuselah’s name to a prophecy of the flood. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that after Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God. Not before, but after.

Something changed in Enoch’s heart after Methuselah was born. Something so big he had a Methuselah Moment.

Enoch’s Methuselah Moment set him off on a journey with the Lord — a journey he never left. And one we should take.

What happened in that moment?

What did Enoch learn as he walked with God that we need to know? 

And how can we have our own Methuselah Moment?

We’ll look at these questions in tomorrow’s post.

Until then, read more about Enoch in Genesis 5, Hebrews 11, and Jude 14-15.


Share this post and check back for tomorrow’s look at Enoch’s Walk with God & Methuselah Moment.

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Enoch walked with God & had a Methuselah Moment (You Can, Too) Part 1 via www.JeanWilund.com




Jesus Keeps His Appointments on CBN.com

Jesus Keeps His Appointments on CBN.com

I admit that title may be a bit confusing.

It sounds like Jesus only keeps His appointments on CBN.com. And what kind of appointments does He have there anyway?

Let me clear this up. Jesus Keeps His Appointments is a devotion I wrote for CBN.com — and you.

Check it out. You may even relate to an experience I share, although I hope not my exact experience. 

But surely I’m not the only person who’s envisioned authorities notifying the Department of Social Services about their parenting skills — or lack thereof. 

Click on this link to read the devotion and find out about my parenting skills and Jesus’ appointments:

Jesus Keeps His Appointments on CBN.com

And while you’re there, check out some of their other great devotions and articles. 

May you discover the faithfulness of Christ today!

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Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On!

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Trust God and take it on. (Ephesians 3:20) via www.Jeanwilund.com

No Fear

The bodyboarder on the island of Kauai had no fear — or perhaps no sense.

He crouched on the beach and studied the waves.

Ignoring ones reasonable men would choose, he waited on the ridiculous waves. Waves that would tower over his head and possess the power to crush him.

Only then did he charge. Straight into them. Fearless.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
-Helen Keller

Some of us stand before crushing waves and see terror. Others see a daring adventure.

As a staunch member of the former crowd, I snapped the bodyboarder’s picture from the safety of shore.

In fact, I took all the pictures in this post from the safe sidelines.

Particularly at the Pipe Masters Tournament.

Pipe Master Surfer -- Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.comI had a blast taking their photos, but I suspect they had more fun.


What if I Couldn’t Fail?

If I couldn’t fail, would I have charged into the waves, too?

Yes, I would. All. Day. Long.

But few people ever go from zero to hero in one day. It’s a journey. 

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com

Oh, to have the courage and power to take on a wave. 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Ephesians 3:20


Life is a Big Wave — Take It On!

We don’t have to go to Kauai or the North Shore to face waves.

Life is a big wave.

God is teaching me the exhilaration of taking life on.

It’s not like we have much choice. In life, the waves find us.

But we have a tremendous surf instructor in the Lord.

You know that wave you’re facing that makes you want to run?

Take it on. Follow the Lord right into it. With Him, you cannot fail.  

You may land upside down at times, but it doesn’t mean you failed — or that God failed you.

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com


Success Isn’t Always Neat and Tidy

Sometimes it looks suspiciously like failing.

The apostle Paul endured planned shipwrecks (Acts 27:27-28:5).

In fact, he endured much more than shipwrecks and all for a greater purpose than he could have experienced without the perceived failures (2 Corinthians 11:23-12:10).

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

In the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, take on your wave.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Trust God and take it on. (Ephesians 3:20) via www.Jeanwilund.com

Fully expect God to do something great.

And hold on for the ride of your life.

Don’t worry about the scuffs or even an occasional body slam into the surf. 

If God is in it, it will all be worth it.

If God’s not in it, get out of the water! Just sayin’.

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com

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Do you know someone who’s facing a wave and could use some encouragement? If so, I hope you’ll share this post with them.

Now, go and take on the day!




When God Isn’t Meeting Your Desperate Need

What If God Doesn't Meet Your Desperate Need (via www.JeanWilund.com with Callie Daruk and MercyMe's song Even If)

Help! 

When I heard Bobby’s desperate scream from his room, fear shot through my heart. I couldn’t get to him fast enough.

My ten-year-old son had fallen on top of a folding chair which collapsed onto his right thumb and crushed it.

The pain paralyzed Bobby, making it impossible for him to lift himself off the chair. His thumb remained imprisoned in a vise grip.

I rushed to Bobby, snatched him up, and gasped.

What once was a thumb now appeared to be a spatula. A short, flat, bleeding spatula.

His thumbnail — now split down the middle — gushed blood. His flesh pushed through the crack in his nail.

Don’t faint, Jean. And certainly not onto Bobby. 

I staggered to the phone and called my good friend and pediatrician Lynn.

She decoded my plea for help and said, “Jean, you need to calm down. And you need to squeeze his thumb to stop the bleeding.”

Squeeze Bobby’s crushed, bleeding, pain-inflicted thumb? Seriously?

I want a new friend and new pediatrician.

I took a deep breath and followed her orders. And I prayed a desperate prayer.

“Lord, do you see my son? He needs You. Now! Help him, please.”

The bleeding stopped. The pain didn’t. But eventually, Bobby’s thumb healed, and we moved on with our lives.

But that’s not always the case.

When Our Desperate Needs Won’t Go Away

My friend Callie texted me yesterday morning with a plea of desperation.

“Please pray for Elijah. He is in terrible pain this morning. Moaning and crying. Mommy’s heart is breaking.”

I cried for my dear friend and Elijah, her 10-year-old son.

Elijah has a rare — and cruel — immune disorder called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It causes Elijah debilitating pain. For the past 30 days. Thirty long, excruciating days. 

“Lord, do You see Callie’s son? Do you see Elijah?”

History and God’s Word proves God sees, and He cares.

Our present circumstances sometimes seem to challenge it, but the Truth remains. 

Even if God doesn’t remove our desperate need the moment we pray, He sees and cares. He knows what He’s doing.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
~Psalm 34:17

Really? God delivers them from all their troubles? What about Elijah? He’s still in pain.

Our rescue doesn’t always come when and how we want. But it comes. God never fails.

As humans, we’re short-sighted. We can’t see the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). We can’t see all the moving — and non-moving — parts.

All we see is the small picture in front of us and what we’ve learned.

And what screams at us. 

As Bobby screamed, I couldn’t see anything but his pain and my plea. I couldn’t see the Lord’s help.

I can’t see Elijah’s help with my physical eyes. But I can see it with my spiritual eyes. His help and his hope are in the Lord.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121:2

And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
~Psalm 39:7

Stand on God’s Character

When it seems God isn’t meeting your desperate needs, remember who He is.

Don’t lose sight of God or His unchanging character.

We’ll never understand all His ways or thoughts in this life. But we can always trust them (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Don’t walk away from God in your desperate need.

I know you’re hurt and angry. He knows it, too. He’s OK with raw emotion. Run to Him with it.

You can trust Him. You can trust His character.

This single unchanging truth has held me up when my circumstances threatened to crush me down. It will hold you, too. Don’t let go.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18

Because we can trust God, we can say as Jesus did as He faced the cross:

Not my will but Yours be done.
~ Luke 22:42

Even if God doesn’t remove our circumstance in the fires of our pain and fear, we can trust in Him.

We can hold on. He will deliver us.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.

~Psalm 27:13-14


Elijah’s Story & MercyMe’s Song of Hope “Even If”

I’ve shared a bit of Elijah’s story with you. Now I want you to hear from him. Listen to Elijah speak from his heart. Hear his hope even in the pain of his diagnosis.

And pray for him. Pray for Elijah.

Elijah and MercyMe share a message of hope we all need to hear and remember.

Even If. Even if our we must wait on the Lord, we never wait in vain. 

When our hope is in God, our help is on the way. It will be well with our soul. Amen.

Click the links below to hear from Elijah and listen to MercyMe sing Even If:

Discover the hope of Elijah in the pain of his Diagnosis

Discover the hope of Elijah in the pain of his diagnosis. (Callie Daruk @ APhariseeLikeMe.com)

Elijah: A Diagnosis


 When God Isn't Meeting Your Desperate Need #EvenIf @mercyme @CallieDaruk Click To Tweet

The Never-Ending, Ever-Growing List of the Character Traits of God via www.JeanWilund.comFor a list of the character traits of God, Click Here. I’ll continue to add more to the list, so check back often.