Fun Facts about Van Walton
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from Proverbs 31 Ministries.
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Proverbs 31 Speakers
I may not want to listen. I may be too busy to stop and listen. I may not know how to listen.
Doesn’t matter… this morning the thunder that rolled over my neighborhood forced me to sit up and listen. In fact, before the first light of day, before the first chirp of feathered friend, I crept downstairs to watch the display of lightening and listen…
“Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right and righteous people live by walking in them.” Hosea 14:9
I finished reading Hosea this morning. I chose to read Hosea because this prophet of God prophesied to the people of Israel during King Hezekiah’s reign. If you have been following along with my Wednesdays are for Waiting posts, you know that King Hezekiah was the ultimate Wait Trainer.
So… what to do while we wait?
Listen to God, that’s what!
Besides rain drops, I hear God’s encouraging words- “stay on my path.”
His path calls me to repent, return to Him, and receive His blessings.
So-in addition to standing with outstretched arms, praising God for the so-badly-needed-falling-rain-on-our-parched-state blessing, I pour over the amazing chapters of Hosea and listen to God’s words:
“I will be like a refreshing dew from heaven.” Hosea 14:5
During our draught, we have not been able to water our lawns or wash cars. This has been going on for almost a year! I watch literally as my garden turns into a desert. I see with my very eyes how God’s Word and His discipline works its way thorough my life, illustrating what life looks like without God.
If I would have listened I would have been wise, “understood” and
It’s no surprise that I find myself back in God’s Wait Room. There God reminds me to repent, return, and receive more of Him.
Then I hear God telling me:
“I will heal you.”
“My love will know no bounds.”
“I am the one who answers all your prayers and cares for you.”
Next time you want to hear from God, read a chapter or two from the book of Hosea. What do you hear Him telling you while you wait?
While I wait, I can use my time wisely. In fact I can take the most important opportunity of my life during this time. I can become more intimately acquainted with God.
If you have read any of my entries on waiting, you know I learned to wait by studying the life of King Hezekiah.
His biography in Chronicles and Kings reminds us of his greatness. He clung to the Lord. As I pour over his life, I learn that one of his activities while he waited was to dig deep. He dug deep under the city of Jerusalem channeling water from outside the city to a place inside the city so its citizens had a steady supply of water.
Digging deep, finding springs of living water. That is what my role model, wait trainer King Hezekiah did while he waited.
So I spend my time, while I wait, digging deep, deep into God’s Word.
Lately I am driven by Hosea’s prophecy. I read what God told him to tell the people in Hezekiah’s time and I relate it to me, today, in the United States. What I find, loud and clear is God’s desire for His people to know Him.
Hosea 4:6: “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.”
As I sit in God’s Wait Room, I have a choice: either train and grow spiritually stronger or allow my circumstances to destroy me. It is a battle. Sometimes the waits are so heavy, they threaten to crush me.
That does not have to be the case, though! If I spend my time becoming more intimately and deeply acquainted with God, my Father, I will not be destroyed.
So… I read on in Hosea and learn so much about the God of the universe.
First lesson I learn about God I find in Hosea 1:2. He goes to great lengths to show us how much he loves. He uses an illustration that grabs our attention. He says we have acted like a prostitute!
Instead of remaining faithful to our Creator and worshipping Him, we have turned away, focusing on the blessings He showered upon us. Most of chapter 2 lists the gifts God gave us and then points out how we have misused everything He gave us, “the grain, the new wine, the olive oil, silver and gold…” (Hosea 2:8)
I think, “ How do I feel when my gifts to others are not appreaciated?” No wonder God is angry and seeks to discipline me. I need to be taken to His Wait Room where He can get my attention, teach me to grow stronger so I am not swayed and tempted by the world’s ways.
God doesn’t stop by merely calling us names. At the end of chapter 2 He calls out to us:
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gatewy of hope. She will give herself to me there…” (vs 14-15)
God’s Wait Room may seem like a desert, but it is there in that dry and desolate, lonely place where He knows, we will finally listen.
I need to stop and listen to his tender words.
While in God’s Wait Room, I am becoming acquainted with my God.
What have I learned about him as I grow to know him? He wants me to know that He is a husband to me.
What do you know about God?
Be warned, the world's depiction of God does not necesarily agree with The Word's description of God.
So, let’s talk about Him. What is your favorite fact about God? You confidence in Him will only grow stronger if you, not only list His attributes but, site the location in the Bible where you found that portrayal of God to be true.
BTW- Why not begin an exercise with your children! As you read with them from the Bible have them make a list of God’s attributes. What a way to build a child’s confidence!
So Moses and his band of pilgrims, not Bedouins (nomads roaming in circles), not hermits (holding out in caves), the Israelite pilgrims moved toward God’s Promised Land.
Like each one of us on the move, they encountered detours and halts. And like me, they whined and complained all the way. First they wanted to go back. Next they got thirsty and longed for the Nile. They missed the gourmet food ( Really ?) of Egypt. They missed their former comforts. Give me a break! They had been slaves for centuries.
Crossing the Sinai they turned north toward Canaan.
Have you ever been on the right path? Going right where you felt God had led you?
The Israelites had one goal in mind – the Promised Land.
If you are a pilgrim and a child of God, you too are headed toward the Promised Land He has prepared for you.
Unfortunately I have made the same mistake that my forefather Hebrews made.
I have arrived! I’ve stood at the walls. God has promised to open the gates, but I made the mistake of looking over the wall, seeing or experiencing something uncomfortable, and have chosen to stop in my tracks.
God was willing, I was not!
We all know that the Israelites sent spies into the land God had promised them. They returned with reports that scared everyone into believing…
“There are giants in the land!”
So! God is bigger than my giants. He brought me here for a purpose. Am I going to turn around and go back? Will fear paralyze me?
What false stories have you believed?
What has kept you from moving forward?
Sadness, insecurity, doubt have all been my “giants in the land.”
In Deuteronomy Moses wrote, “ Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time.”
The Israelites could have walked into their new homes and taken charge, begun their new lives, trusted God. Life would have certainly been different.
But no—they doubted Him. So they wasted 40 years wandering around.
I too have wasted lots of time wandering around.
What about you? Are you settling in to your new home or calling or are you wandering around biting your fingernails, questioning your next move?
I have been waiting for change:
If God would answer my prayers I could move on…
Really? My list of prayer requests keeps me close to Him and BTW, will I ever be satisfied?
If it would rain, we could escape this horrible drought…
Oh? It is raining right now, Praise God!
If I understood why life is so complicated I might relax…
Let’s see… didn’t I read somewhere that I can choose to be content in all circumstances?
I have learned that waiting, if I let it consume me, can become so oppressive I become immobile. I am sure that is not God’s plan. I believe He wants me to learn to press through the wait.
Sometimes pressing on seems impossible.
Then I read in my daily devotional, Streams in the Desert:
August 12th: The author writes about the shipbuilder who builds a vessel strong, to withstand the powerful seas, the winds and storms. The boat isn’t hammered and assembled just to be placed in the shipyard to be admired. It is sent to sea!
In the same way God builds believers strong – not to sit around and look good, but to be useful, to be tried and tested. God, also is to be used, tried and tested. He begs us to reach out to him in times of troubles and sorrows and doubts, in the midst of our storms and droughts.
When God ushers us into His Wait Rom to develop us, strengthen us, make us more capable to withstand the trials that will certainly come our way, He goes with us, just like a dedicated coach.
In the mean time we have His Word of Promise- He will never leave us or forsake us.
What I have to ask myself is, “Do I believe Him?”
When He asks that I trust Him, can I give Him my heavy wait, believing He will take it and deal with it for me?
If I believe He is in the Wait Room with me, then I can turn to Him, hand Him my time trials.
Charles Spurgeon encourages the Wait Trainer – that would be me, don’t “treat God’s promises as something to be displayed in a museum but to use them as everyday sources of comfort. And whenever you have a time of need trust the Lord.”
You want to know what I think? I believe God is pleased when I simply give it up and give it all to Him. That is what I am practicing these days. I hope he finds pleasure in my trust because it is one of the most difficult disciplines I deal with every day. It isn’t easy!
Why should something so simple and generous, coming from a totally trustworthy God be so hard to accept?
Got any insight?
When I look at my life, I see one long journey from a place where I have been held captive - by one circumstance or another, to freedom and liberty. I cross deserts all the time. Sometimes my crossing is swift. Other times it takes me forever to conquer my life's challenges. I have often reached the 'promised land' only to walk away because of unbelief, sin, misunderstanding, impatience, disobedience, or refusal to follow God's plan for my life.
I return to the desert and there I learn more lessons.
I am reminded of my dad's too-many-times admonitions: "Why don't you go to your room until you figure it out? When you think you understand and can act rationally, come back. Then we will discuss your options."
This is the phrase I heard too many times. Either I had thrown a tantrum becuase I wanted something and he didn't think I should have it. Maybe I wanted to stay out late. "Why don't you go to your room...?"
Maybe my grades were unacceptable and I had become defensive. "Why don't you go to your room...?"
I remember getting into trouble and not wanitng to admit my disobedience. "Why don't you go to your room...?"
In my teenage years, "your room" was my desert.
Today- confusion, misunderstanding, disobedience, impatience... continue to take me to the desert! My dad isn't around to send me to my room. Life! Everyday life is often my desert.
One of my favorite books about life in the Sinai - the piece of land between Egypt and Israel, is A WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS. Jamie Buckingham teaches his readers a lot about life of the desert wanderer. His knowledge of life in the place where Moses and the former slaves wandered is fascinating.
In the desert there are three types of citizens:
The hermit who moves into the cave, stays there, meditates, communes, goes nowhere, touches no one.
The nomad who follows his flocks and, season after season, moves from one location to another, actually traveling around in a circle year after year- never moving forward or changing location.
The pilgrim who sets out on a journey with a certain goal in mind, a fixed destination.
Which kind of desert dweller are you?
Often I want to run and hide, just ignore the world, turn my back to others, do my own thing. Afterall wouldn't life be easy that way? Just me, no one else.
Too often I find myself just going round and round in circles, never accomplishing much of anything! Chasing after dreams, following others' ideas instead of my own, aimlessly wandering, season after season...
Really I long to be a pilgrim, focused on a set goal-walking on a straight path, traveling toward Jesus and the promise He has set before me. Waking each day with my eyes set on one destination, falling asleep every night, confident I have made progress and come a little bit closer to the place where God would have me abide.
Which kind of desert dweller are you? Are you content where you are? What are you going to do to become a pilgrim like our spirtitual and national forfathers?
I began my day this morning glued to ABC and Robin Roberts, waiting for the interview with Steven Curtis Chapman. For me it served as my morning devotion...
on many levels:
First-an opportunity to pray for my brothers and sisters who have suffered such a grievous loss. As Christians we are called to pray for one another, to lift each other high to God's throne as we wait for Him to heal.
Secondly-an opportunity to learn from other, stronger Christian saints, an opportunity to watch and model what it means to give grace in the midst of horrible circumstances, what it means to forgive and comfort when the world would condemn and judge.
Thirdly-an opportunity to praise God, praise Him because no experience in His economy is in vain. He uses the ashes of our miserable lives to show the world how faith in Him and trust in His perfect love can transform ordinary lives into divine circumstances where those who hurt and don't understand can come to drink and be refreshed.
Fourthly-an opportunity to thank God that He has made Himself available to all who would seek Him. It is no coincidence that the Chapman family shares their story on Good Morning America. God will go to immeasurable lengths to get the attention of all creation. I wish it didn’t have to be them. I wish no would have to suffer. The unfortunate circumstance is that the world will sit up and listen to the Chapman saga. The world could care less about the saga of an ordinary family. The world is curious to see how Christian celebrities handle trials. I pray God’s double portion of love and blessings on the saints who live in the Chapman house.
Finally-an opportunity to pray for the millions who watched GMA and will once again observe the Chapmans on Larry King Live tomorrow night. I pray that the message God has for his children will be clearly read by those whose curiosity will drive them to tune into the television. May God transform their tragedy into triumph. And may all of us who watch this family from afar, gain strength and develop hope, knowing that we too, through our trials and tribulations can take comfort in the fact,
God has the power to transform tragedy and turn it into triumph.
Allison drove Aaron to school for a year before he got his license, because she is a year older. They participated in several church youth events together. She cheered him on in his sports events. He attended her choir productions. When they graduated from college they celebrated in down town Chicago at the restaurant of her choice because she graduated with the higher GPA. When it came time for her to move into her first home, Aaron helped her dad place all the furniture.
A few years after college Aaron married another neighbor – his elementary school sweetheart! Allison earned her master’s degree and went to work in Chicago. Their friendship continued, but with new challenges, the time they could spend together didn’t come as often.
Saturday Aaron will be an usher in her wedding and walk her mother down the aisle.
Their friendship, sealed while still young, has remained true.
I pray for both young couples - that years from now their love and passion for each other will have grown deep and steady, that no matter what storms threaten to pound and provoke them, that they would remain true to each other and the God at whose altar they have said, “I do.”
I pray this prayer because I know its power. Others have prayed for me and my marriage – my marriage of going-on 37 years!! I look back on the storms – how they pounded and provoked us. I think of the hard times, those times I wondered if staying together was really worth it all.
YES! – I want everyone to know. Working it out, staying together--it is worth it all.
I think of what we might have missed had we gone our separate ways after the proverbial 7 year itch. We would have never experienced the birth of our two sons.
What if we had separated after the first decade of marriage? Forgiveness and unconditional love would have never entered our relationship!
And had we chosen different paths after twenty years of marriage, we would not have built our house together, the one where we studied the Bible with other couples, the one where 36 football players lined up for spaghetti dinners, the one where friends came to pray with me when I learned my daddy had entered his last days of life on this earth, the one where church elders and architects met countless times into the wee hours of the morning designing the building where hundreds of people would eventually worship God and study His Word.
It saddens me to think that we might have hung up all our hard work, even after sharing so many blessings, and HARD ships. But we hung in there through cross-country corporate moves that separated us physically and emotionally. We remained true to our vows as we bent over our son’s very sick body and prayed him through the valley of the shadow of death. We traveled together and with our sons experiencing the beauty of God’s creation. We modeled marriage for our sons and for that can smile at the future.
I could continue with a long list of the reasons I celebrate our marriage.
What about you? Can you make a list of the good that has come from your commitment?
And if you have reached a crooked place in your marriage, let me challenge you to consider – what will your life look like 50 years from now? Recently I received an encouraging CD that I would like you to consider. It is titled
Fifty Years from Now.
Here are the lyrics to one song. Click the above title to purchase the entire CD. You will be glad you did!
FIFTY YEARS FROM NOW
Words & Music by John Mandeville, Steve Siler, & Bill Ebert
What do you do when the fire's gone and passion fades away Just being together used to be enough
But now what?
How do we feel what we used to feel
Can we learn how to care when it seems such a long way back
from here to there
Right now it feels like it would be easier
To give up and give in, but
Fifty years from now What will we remember?
Fifty years from now What will we have to treasure?
If we walk away from this
What will we have missed?
Fifty years, Fifty years from now
Dance recitals and T- ball games
The simple joys of the day
Will we let the best of life just pass us by
Graduations and wedding days
Grandkids up on our knees
Will we make a huge mistake or memories?
Do we just throw away what we started
Missing us, missing out
God gave us this love
We need to see it through
The moment's ours
The choice is up to me and you