Fun Facts about Van Walton
My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.
My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
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Proverbs 31 Speakers
I turn to the Psalms and automatically give King David the credit for having written them. Fact is: he didn’t write all the Psalms.
The author of Psalm 130 is anonymous. Some scholars, though, believe King Hezekiah wrote this Psalm.
I can believe it. He had lots to despair during his life time.
Listen to the words that begin this Psalm:
From the depths of despair, O Lord
I call for your help.
Hear my cry O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
Do you ever cry out like this after spending time in God’s Wait Room.
Maybe He has kept you in His Wait Room far too long.
Possibly you can’t take another piece of bad news. The daily reports have begun to weight you down. You feel you can’t wait any longer.
From the depths of despair you cry out!
But WAIT – dear fellow Wait Trainer. There is something constructive you can do while passing away the time in God’s Wait Room.
Put your hope in His Word.
How, if you are paralyzed by fear of the what if’s if your wait doesn’t turn out the way you hope it will?
How, if you are immobilized by uncertainty.
How do we put our hope in the Lord, when all our energy is gone, spent on the object, the “thing” that is making us wait.
Pick up your Bible.
Pray. Ask God to speak to you in comforting words.
Open your Bible.
Let me give you an example: This year I have decided to “Get to know Jesus.” I mean, really get to know Him.
How? Read the best biography ever written about Him: the four gospels.
I am reading through the gospels several times this year. I am on my second reading. Tomorrow I begin Matthew again.
Now, simply reading about Jesus has not caused the door to the Wait Room to swing open. I am still in God’s Wait Room.
But while I am in there I have decided to turn my eyes on Jesus.
Knowing Jesus means that I follow Him. Following Him means that I obey his commands.
His last words to his disciples challenged them, especially Peter, to “Feed my lambs.”
In other words, reach out to others and meet them in their need.
I happen to know lots of people who are waiting in God’s Wait Room. They are lonely, scared, and some are misguided.
So what will I do while I wait?
Pity my circumstances and turn inward…
or participate in others’ situations and walk with them?
I have often wondered why God has moved me so often! I knew He had his reasons. As I continued to study His Word and His nature, I accepted the fact that there are lessons to be learned in the move.
It has been two weeks since we celebrated the resurrection of Christ, you know that emotional day we vowed to focus more on Him and what His life on earth means to us.
My daily reading through the gospels brought me to John 17-“The high Priestly prayer” the prayer Jesus offered to our Holy Father the night before he was captured and crucified.
I never tire of reading His words. He prays for me. He prays for you. He prays that we would live in unity.
It's really easy! Live in unity with others. That is what please our Father.
Has God moved me because I am not living in unity within the body of Christ? Did God move me to teach me how to live in unity? Did God move me so I could show others how to live in unity? I believe the answer to all three questions is “yes.”
So what does living in unity look like?
I think living in unity can be compared to a garden, to a landscape, to a carefully arranged pot:
What about you.
By the way ~
This is not a picture of living in unity! See how the vines have crept along the ground, under the bush, and into the branches. Is the vine living in unity or working to take the glory from the boxwood? It is one thing for the vine to blend with and benefit the bush. In this case, I think the vine is getting out of control. Its creeping, curling nature will eventually choke the bush.
Is my nature one that blends and benefits or am I choker?
Got any thoughts?
Wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land… Psalm 37:34
Everywhere I turn I run into people who are waiting:
Two very close friends announced parents’ diagnosis – Parkinson’s! They are waiting for further evaluations.
My neighbor’s husband is waiting for a job to come through – him and several hundred thousand others.
The college graduating class of 2009 is filled with students waiting for call backs, hoping and praying for second interviews.
My sister is waiting to hear from her doctor about her skin cancer.
A friend with severe depression is waiting for it to lift so she can regain her life.
I know too many people who are brokenhearted due to severed relationships and they wait day in and day out, praying for a way to mend the rift.
I am waiting too – on many fronts.
What has you sitting on the bench, lifting ‘waits’?
So what do we do while we wait? Do we sit down, drum our fingers, watch the clock, pace the room, cry out, “Enough!”
Last fall in the midst of my waiting, while going over my notes on Wait Management, my book manuscript, Bible study, and retreat topic I determined to spend my time in God’s Wait Room getting to know Him on a deeper, more intimate level.
I did so because while I was searching around in the Old Testament, trying to get a grip on how our ancestors waited and why God put their lives on hold, I read that God is displeased with His children because we do not know Him. Consequently, we misbehave, are mislead, live in deceit, travel crooked paths…
My plan was to read, not through the Bible in a year, but to read through the gospels all year long. Sometimes I read several chapters in a sitting; other times I read a few verses, or a simple phrase. I don’t allow myself to get hung up with a reading or study regimen. I simply let God guide me as I read the life of His Son.
I think I am on my third reading of the gospels – I started mid November. I am reading John and today read John 15.
I got an answer to my question. “What am I supposed to do while I wait? How can I survive this wait?”
Jesus said to his disciples, “Remain in me.”
At this point in his ministry He was giving them His final words. He knew that in a very short time they would be left alone, alone to wait, wonder, and worry.
Often times I too feel alone- waiting for Him to show me the way and get me out of the Wait Room – the wait is too heavy I complain.
The longer I wait the more I wonder. “Why? How can I survive this wait? When will this come to an end?”
The longer I wonder and ask all the silly questions the more I tend to worry, but…
If I wait with the proper perspective, with God’s Word in my heart my questions are answered, I survive another day, and He takes my worry.
Now, back to “Remain in me.” Jesus thought it pretty important that we get it – remain I mean. He repeated that word at least ten times (depending on the version of the Bible) in 17 verses.
The Life Application Study Bible says the following about remaining:
“Remaining in Christ means
1) believing that He is God’s son- John 4:15
2) receiving him as Savior and Lord- John 1:12
3) doing what God says- 1 John 3:24
4) continuing to believe the Good News- 1 John 2:24
5) relating in love to the community of the believers- John 15:12”
Suddenly I don’t have time to wait. I lay my wait at the foot of the cross, asking Jesus to pick it up for me.
Then I run off to fulfill steps 3,4, and 5 because knowing God means knowing what He expects from me and then acting upon it. I don’t believe He wants my wait to immobilize me. He asks me to trust Him with my wait so I can do His will here on earth.
Where are you on the remain-in-Christ list?
May we be found actively remaining instead of idly waiting.
I also love the looks of my house, turning the corner and pulling into my driveway.
“Thank you, God. It didn’t burn down or blow away!”
Ah – just to see my safe house, to know that within its walls all is secure, familiar, dependable.
Oh yes – I fancy adventure AND I am fond of my home.
There is joy in coming home! I know my house is waiting for me. The walls are meant to keep me secure from the outside perils. The roof protects me from threatening weather. My bed gives me rest. My garden points me to God.
I find joy in coming home.
Home is more than my house. It includes the church where I worship. It includes my friends who love me. It includes the community that gives my life purpose.
Excitement mounts the closer I get to home!
Coming home --- It has another meaning.
Some day I am going to turn a corner. What I see ahead will not be my earthly dwelling. I hope to see a heavenly mansion. Will I be as excited to run toward that front door? Will I easily enter, feel at home, welcomed, at peace? Will I belong?
Part of my life’s journey, in addition to enjoying God’s magnificence, is to prepare myself for the day I find myself entering the gates to eternity.
Will I run with excitement or will I feel fear or trepidation? Will I find comfort in my eternal resting place?
What about you? Once you have traveled the face of this earth, are you confident the gates will swing open when you turn the corner and find yourself outside the gates to eternity?
I have spoken with people who don’t believe we can know for sure that we’ll spend eternity in heaven. They tell me they hope so, but don’t know for sure.
1 John 5:13, I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
If you are not completely certain that you will spend eternity with God in heaven, why not take a few moments to talk to Him right now. Then read about His Son, Jesus. His story is amazing. I am sure once you have read about Him you will believe that He is the Son of God. You will believe and want to follow Him all the days of your life. Just tell him that you trust Him to be Your Lord and Master. It is a decision you will never regret – never ever.
2 Corinthians 7:10, For the kind of sorrow (turning the corner, putting the past behind, asking for forgiveness of past wrongdoing- my words) God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.
Ah – yes. I love coming home and I also look forward to going home - spending eternity in my Lord’s Holy City.
Are you ready for that move?
Three weeks ago I left home on a journey toward the Grand Canyon. I had never visited what I now believe to be the most awe-inspiring natural wonder in the world.
I was moved! Moved - speachless.
"Sometimes there simply are no words."
A fellow visitor to the canyon spoke to me as I stood and stared.
One evening while visting the Grand Canyon I decided to watch the I MAX close up and personal views of this splt in the earth, this place where the finger of God traced and carved and painted.
This is what moved me:
A scene about the discovery of the canyon portrayed the Spanish who galloped up to the rim of the canyon. One of the men jumped off his horse and ran out to the edge. He took off his hat, fell to his knees and bowed to God.
Why was I repenting?
I too had been moved by God's mighty act of creation, the beauty, the magnitude, the vastness, the color...
Oh how I wish I had fallen to my knees in praise of Almighty God.
But I didn't.
I didn't bow because I have been trained to keep my emotions intact.
I didn't kneel because I might offend others who don't believe.
I didn't raise my hands to my Creator because we don't do that in the United States.
I didn't want to embarrass anyone, probably myself!
Yet I have watched those who unashamedly pull out prayer rugs in the middle of the mall at the right time of day...
I have observed groups stand on beaches in their meditative poses...
I've seen individuals sit on park lawns cross legged with hands postioned just so...
Why can't I fall to my knees when I am moved by God?
Am I alone in my thoughts?
Would you, could you praise God if you came this close to Him?
What has your life on hold these days? Does it cause you to despair? My time trials have brought me to the brink of broken-ness. I have cried out - "Enough!"
I have thought I could take no more. The torture, the agony, the unknown, the wait...
More often than not my time trials involve my children. Oh how I agonize over them.
I go to my Father and ask Him to speed "the thing along."
"Get me through this. Make it stop, go away, change, get better."
Today I am reminded of the real agony that included torture and the unknown.
Mary waited from the time Jesus was a few days old, when she took Him to the temple and heard Anna's and Simeon's prophetic words.
Mary spent the rest of her life facing the unknown, knowing Jesus' future included a terrifying end. How could she bear up under the wait?
How could she have predicted and prepared for that day that began before the cock crowed, that day when her son would be betrayed, the day the sky would darken as she watched Him suffer on the cross?
She waited - in agony, tortured by the sight her eyes beheld.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25
This week as you wait for whatever tortures you or causes you to agonize, remember...
- the women who waited at the cross kept their eyes on Jesus.
They waited and watched as he suffered, died, was burried.
And then they recieved their reward. They found his tomb empty.
He was alive!
Alive for them. Alive for me. Alive for you.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will reward you with resurrection joy and the promise of eternal life.
Allow the Truth of Jesus' message this Holy Week to fill you and bring you peace as you wait for the Father. At just the right time the stone will roll away for you and you too will rise.
It is a great joy to share my experiences with you.
This is what I have learned of late:
Life is hard. Days can be dark. Hearts can break.
But ... God!
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18Two thousand years ago he sent His Son - to meet us in our broken-ness.
To explain the plan He has to fix us.
To touch us when no one else would.
To heal us when no one else could.
To walk along beside us when we feel so alone, rejected, worthless...
To save us!
Of late I have learned to smile because I know He is closest to me when I am broken.
So -- when my heart tears, when saddness comes, when clouds darken, I repeat to myself.
"God, I have nothing to despair. You are near me because you are near the broken hearted."
I want to shout it out - not that I am broken hearted, but that today I am special. I have a little secret stored in my heart:
"Today, because I am broken, God is near!"
He comes to repair.
Not ony does he come to repair me. He comes to take me home with Him.
Not only do I smile becuase He is near, I rejoice, because He has placed His hand on me -- chosen me and YOU to be a perfect fixture in His palace on the day He returns and takes us into His mansion!
Come Lord Jesus, come!
Do you find yourself traveling in circles, waiting to land?
Something Beth Moore said in one of her lessons caught my attention. I wrote it down in my notes and I haven’t forgotten what she said.
I am paraphrasing: When God says “no” it is because there is a greater “yes.”
Are you willing to wait for the greater “yes?” It is that greater “yes” plus His Word that gives me hope and strength to wait.
So I open the Bible and begin to read and while I wait I learn, grow more confident, and rest while I trust God to work.
While reading I weave my own thoughts into scripture that “speaks” to me. Slowly I build my spiritual strength:
From Psalm 119: 105-112
(Bible verses are in italics. My thoughts are in regular font.)
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
I will confidently turn to the Bible for comfort, direction, and refuge.
106 I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
So, while I wait I make every attempt to concentrate on obeying You, God, and Your commands.
107 I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as you promised.
It is HARD to trust you and believe that everything is in Your hands, that Your plans for me are to perfect me and not meant for evil. BUT because of Your “righteous regulations” I will obey and trust that each time trial is for my good.
(I also take time while I wait to talk with God.)
108 Lord, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
(I have learned to praise God in the midst of the waiting. I may not feel like praising anyone, but God lives in the midst of our praises and if I praise Him, His presence comforts me. It is a divine design that I find to be miraculous. If your life is on hold and you find yourself saying like the psalmist,
109 “My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. 110 The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
Don’t be tempted to fret, panic, worry, manipulate your circumstances, but believe…
111 Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112 “I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.”
Waiting time is not wasted time. Determine to keep God’s decrees to the very end and be blessed above and beyond anything you could have ever dreamed or imagined.
“I wait for your salvation, O LORD, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.” Psalm 119:166-168 (NIV)