Earthquakes, prayers, and prophecy

I have been through two earthquakes in my life. They were tiny, but there is something unsettling about the earth shaking beneath your feet. As a child, when the first one happened, I was shocked and unsure. I had nightmares for weeks. If the Earth could shake, what else could happen? This time it was little, but would another one come and swallow my family up? My poor parents comforted my fears brought on by an overactive imagination with incredible patience.

The next one happened shortly after Dave and I were married. I was an adult. Things should be better, right? But that earthquake stuck with me for weeks, months even. It opened questions long left tucked away. If the ground itself moved while we went about our business, how unstable was life?

Yesterday we had the Rock standing strong, today we have mountains quaking. Open your Bibles if you have them to Isaiah 64:1-5 to see where they meet.

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
    that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
    you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From of old no one has heard
    or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
    who acts for those who wait for him.
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
    those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
    in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?

Did you notice the irony? These Israelites are asking for an earthquake. They want the mountains to tremble if it means God would come to meet with them. What I called instability, what created fear in my heart and soul, these people were desperate for, because it represented the mighty act of a God that they thought was all but lost.

So they prayed. These verses and those that follow are a prayer of confession. Repentance and reconnection with a God they loved and longed for. In His absence, or rather in the lifting of His closeness, they found themselves parched, thirsty, and incomplete.

“We long for Your presence, Lord!” is their song. “We need You, Lord. We looked away. Forgive us in Your great mercy, we cry out. Make the mountains shake with Your power and might and Here-ness.”

And God answers. He answers prayers with just that –

He comes here.

Jesus Christ came down from on High to be present with His people. The mountains quaked at His death. They quaked at His resurrection.

The proof is in the pudding, folks. Glance at Matthew 27:50-52 –

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised…

Now check out Matthew 28:1-2 –

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

Yes! Jesus does just that. He causes the earth to shake, the foundations to tremble because He, friends, is the True Foundation. He is the only thing we really have to stand on.

Want to see another earthquake? Just one more? Turn the pages of Scripture to Acts 4:24-31. I’ll insert just verse 31 below for want of space –

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Prayer does crazy things. God does crazy things. His power is not of this world and when we pray, stuff happens, namely, loving tender care in relationship with a loving tender God. The earth may not shake when we pray, it could, but even when it doesn’t, earth shaking things happen in our own life because we are molded and shaped by His Spirit instead of our own will.

He is ALIVE. His Spirit works! I would rather lean on that any day than the floor underneath me that fades like fall leaves.

And so we pray…

Lord, make my earth quake with Your presence. Let not my heart trust in anything but You and You alone. We call upon You. We confess our trust in the things of this world, in the foundations of this temporal place that passes away. We look to You, Lord, and the forgiveness You offer. We thank You for Your Grace and Mercy and work in our lives daily, for seeking us out and bringing us to You, Lord. Thank you for Your Faithfulness every day. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen. 



Have you ever been through a small or large natural disaster? What was your experience?

What comfort does it give, knowing that God sent His Spirit into your life and you will never be without His presence?

Do you have an example of when Jesus shook your life up, metaphorically (or really!), and you drew closer to Him because of it? Your example may be just the witness that someone else needs, so if you are willing please share in the comment section of the blog.

Politics, history class, cruddy elections, Alpha and Omega

Thank you to those who serve and keep us safe! This photo courtesy of Thank you, pexels!

History is our friend Karl’s passion. You get him started and he could pretty much go on forever, recounting vengeful and valiant leaders, epic battles, and the contribution of those left unmentioned in the texts of history books. Karl’s version of history is my favorite. It’s passionate, but purposeful. Everything he shares is spirited and he makes you hungry to know more, hear more, learn more. Better than that, in almost every circumstance, he makes you hungry for God. Karl teaches at a state university, so I’m sure his classroom looks a little bit different, but in private conversation and in teaching at church, Karl is on fire with a message. He lays out history in a way that makes you stand in awe of a God who holds all of it in His hands, from the beginning to the messy middle to His faithfulness in each day we have yet to travel.

Isaiah shares a similar message with just as much zeal in Isaiah 44:6-8. Let’s open our Bibles and read that text –

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
    and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
    Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
    There is no Rock; I know not any.”

The First…and the Last.

And everything in between.

God sat on His throne and created humankind. He created every flower and every tree. He set the planets in motion. Countries and constitutions sprang up, kingdoms and territories came to be, and God was God over all of it. Wars are fought, lives lost, and His faithfulness continues. New nations form, cultures live and grow, languages develop. Disasters come upon the Earth, dictators oppress, and God’s heart breaks. But He sees the bigger plan unfolding. To us, it’s like the slow unrolling of a tapestry. To Him, it’s the blink of an eye, in all eternity.

He is the First and the Last and everything in between.

Humankind makes gods out of idols and build temples made by human hands. We chase wealth and power and success. We destroy one another to be the best, be the biggest, be the greatest, when we were never intended for those purposes. And all through it, there are the faithful ones. God leads His people from ancient times (v. 7), appointed for His purposes, setting them apart for Kingdom work. The wheels of the clock turn, time marches on. The Word goes out, the message never changes.

“…besides me there is no god.” 

He is the First and the Last and everything in between.

God alone sits on the throne. We think we have all this power and authority. We think the next election will make or break mankind. It may break a nation, but it will not break us. It will not break His message, His Spirit, His Word. Through the sands of time the Word continues to go out, leading people to Him in the dark and in the light, in the triumph and in the defeat, in the famine and in the plenty.

We are simply witnesses.

We are called to declare His purposes in all of it. Like our friend Karl, may our message always be of the hidden things, the works done faithfully, rarely written in textbooks. When we witness from the vantage point of believers in a faithful God, nothing is lost in the drama, every bit of the tumult and the turmoil has a purpose. As cheesy as it sounds, it really is His story anyway.

Listen to the promise of the final words of Isaiah 44:8 again –

“There is no Rock; I know not any.”

Look up the following verses and rest in the promise of this God, our Rock.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my     deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 31:3

Psalm 62:6-7

Luke 6:47-48

I don’t want to know any other gods, Lord. I want to follow You. I don’t want to trust in anything else, Lord. I want to follow You. I want to see you in every piece of history, every trial and every glory. Be my Rock. Be my Fortress. Be my Defender, and let me never look to another person, thing, idea, or place to provide that for me. Only You, Lord. Only You. 

He is the First and the Last and everything in between.


What parts of history come to mind when you think of God sustaining His people?

When thinking of history how is it helpful to be reminded that God is faithful and watching over His children? What parts give you the most angst?

The book of Revelation really has a lot to say on this subject. Check out the following three verses for further reflection that He really is the first and the last and all the stuff in the middle too.

Rev. 1:8

Rev. 1:17-18

Rev. 21:6-7

Rev. 22:13

Why do you think the book of Revelation returns to this concept again and again?

The gut punch of left alone

Alone. As a mom of four kids, therapist, and pastor’s wife, I love me some alone time. Give me a cup of coffee and a good book, a glass of wine and a fire in my backyard, or a bathtub and a cup of earl grey, and it’s like a tiny window of heaven. Alone time is a precious resource around here. You don’t take it for granted. But I also know what it means to feel truly alone, as in left alone…and there’s a big difference.

Have you had that moment? That moment when it feels like everyone has walked away. Maybe a loss leaves you wondering who will fill the gap, who else will share your secrets. Maybe you have been left by a loved one, a father, a mother, a husband, a brother – someone who walked out the door leaving you behind with the tears, the shock, and the anger. Or maybe you have been left standing to face the bully of life on your own, and when you looked around, not a single person stayed to fight alongside you.

Whether in little or in the big moments of life, we have all experienced the stomach drop of left alone.

My therapist is fond of saying, “There are two sides to every coin.” Today, let’s return to Isaiah 62:12, our passage from yesterday, and remind ourselves of the titles bestowed on us by Christ, once again. There is so much in this snippet of Scripture:

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

One side of the coin is being sought out, being chosen and loved, someone running after us. The other side of the coin here is that to know what Not Forsaken looks like, we need to experience left alone.

Words associated with the word forsaken in the dictionary include – abandoned, deserted, to disown, renounce, refuse, or discard.

This is so often the world’s message to us – you aren’t worth the time or energy, you aren’t important enough, you are insignificant. This is never, never, God’s message to us.

Flip the coin…

Sought out means not forsaken, not abandoned, not disowned, not renounced, not refused, and never, never discarded.

Look up the following verses and hear God’s message of Not Forsaken –

Deuteronomy 31:8

1 Chronicles 28:20

2 Corinthians 4:9-10 …persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Hebrews 13:5-6

We may undergo trial. There may be good days and bad days and rotten days and complacent days and joy-filled days and everything in between, but there will never be forsaken days.

You, my friend, are Not Forsaken. It is your name, placed on you by God Himself. Notice the capital letters in the Isaiah text. Sought Out, Not Forsaken. He will be with you each day, in the wonderful and the hard. Cling to that. Let it seep into your soul.

Not Forsaken.

Father, we thank you that You sought us out and that You bring us to You, that You treasure us enough to make promises and follow through, especially when the world goes it’s own way. Charge us to be faithful, Lord. Help us to live in Your promises and find the value and worth of each day in You and You alone. Thank you for Jesus, who makes us new and holy and free. Forgive us when we forsake You, and lead us ever back to Your mercy and grace. We stand on Not Forsaken in You, today. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 



Martin Luther and other commentators apply this verse also to the Church on earth. The Church being God’s people here and now, and across time. How has God sought out His people in history? What historical moments come to mind when you consider that the Church is not forsaken? What promise of the future is there for the Church in Not Forsaken and Sought Out?

The first verse of the hymn The Church’s One Foundation speaks directly to this topic of Sought Out. Sing this message to yourself or with your family today and be reminded of His Faithfulness.

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died. (public domain)


You are never forsaken

Have you ever loaned out a book and never received it back? Or maybe you’ve been on the other end and stopped borrowing books from friends because a borrowed book is as good as lost in your house? What is it with loaned books? We return them to the library, but if a friend loans us a book it suddenly goes MIA overnight. I have been on both the receiving and the losing end of this strange book conundrum.

I have one book I loan out like candy. I hand it out like a grandma hands out butterscotch candies, just waiting for their rightful recipient in the bottom of her purse for a good three years. I don’t honestly care if I ever get this particular book back, it’s that important to me that people read it. (Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret.) I may keep Amazon in business with the number of copies I have bought and “lost” to people over the years. But in the end, who cares. The message of this book for me was so powerful, that I press it on people,

“You must read it.”

“It’s life changing.”

“Let me send it to you.”

What was the message? The same as our passage in Isaiah for today. Please read Isaiah 62:12.

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

Circle the titles listed below in your Bible, if you have it out.

Sought Out
Not Forsaken

My book, mentioned earlier, is a historical retelling of the message, life, and writings of the prophet Hosea, a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. Their messages overlap and are in concordance with one another, but just as each of us have a different testimony of Christ written through our lives, so does the work and words of each prophet. It’s helpful to dig into them side by side when we get the opportunity.

Hosea has something to say about Sought Out. My personal opinion is that His message of sought out, of not forsaken, is stronger than any other Biblical book. But maybe that’s just because my book found me at just the right place, at the right time, with the message I needed to know more than any other:

You are sought out.
You are not forsaken.

You see, this is the message of redemption, of the Holy One not only coming to us in His Son and His Word, but seeking us out, searching our hearts and our lives until He gets ahold of us, literally chasing us down with His Son and His Word.

Read the following verses from Hosea to piece together his story. Rather, it’s the story of his family and God’s great forgiveness working in all of it:

Hosea 1:2-3

Hosea 3:1-3

Hosea 6:1-3

Sometimes, I need to know that at my worst, I am sought out. This message…this, is what brings me up from the ash heap. It brings me back from ugly sin and creating messes wherever I travel. It finally shuts my mouth when words are flying left and right and edification is far from my heart and mind. While we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us. He died for me and you and Gomer and Israel, at our worst.

Read Isaiah 62:12 again, adding 63:1 this time. Remember, there’s no chapter and verse numbers in the original Hebrew. It is a fluid passage.

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
    in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
    marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
    mighty to save.”

Mighty to Save.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

1 Timothy 1:15

Mighty to seek. Mighty to Save.

You are Sought Out is the message that you are worthy of saving, worthy of seeking, finding, and showering with Grace, not because you look like you have it together, but because you don’t.

Hosea loved in the hardest circumstances, in unimaginable grace and mercy, he sought out his wife because she was precious to him, because God seeks in places you and I wouldn’t even think of it going.

He is mighty to save.

You are Sought Out.



In our culture, “I’m not worthwhile” or “I’m not enough” is a difficult lie of Satan for people to overcome. What message would you share with a friend struggling with not being good enough for Jesus? (May I suggest sharing our image for today as a message of hope, online or privately?)
What “least of these” people do you have a heart for?
When has God ministered to you and sought you out or hunted you down to show you His grace?
Sought Out Scripture Engagement Tool

*My book = Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, check it out at your local library

Clay accepts: Am I a coffee mug or a vase?


If you pictured yourself as a clay vessel, formed by God, what kind do you think you would be? A cup, a mug, a vase, a bowl? What do you imagine the potter forming you into? The Biblical picture of clay reminds us that we don’t all look the same. We all have different shapes and sizes, colors and bumps. Perhaps most importantly we have different purposes. Sometimes I like those purposes. Sometimes I’m in love with those purposes, and other times I’d like to take those purposes and shove ’em.

God addresses the issue of my jaded heart in Isaiah 45:9-11. Please open to that passage, if you have your Bible out. If not, read below:

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

11 Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?

Gotta love a passage that starts with a good “Woe to him…” Yikes.

Let’s be honest for a moment –

Does the clay say to the pot? How often do I say to God, what in the world are You doing?

Your work has no handles? Are you sure you’re doing this right, God? I think it might be better if you gave me this or we went over here and did this instead.

What are you begetting? Why? Why? Why, God?

With what are you in labor? What are we making here…it better be something worthwhile, God.

These are pretty convicting phrases when we look at the verse for ourselves and not just as a problem those Israelites had long ago.

My heart can be mighty hard. As soon as I think I’m all over this spiritual maturity thing, thank you very much, life happens. I learn pretty quickly that I’m talking clay, wanting handles when I’m meant to be a bowl.

The problem isn’t our questions, really, it’s the hardness, the “I know better than You.” The “My ways are better than Yours, God.”

Jesus instructs us in a different posture in Matthew 7:7-8 –

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

We still get to ask questions.

We still get to come to God because of all Jesus did and Who He is, but we do so knowing that His ways are better. His ways are Life and Salvation. His ways are True and Honorable and Lovely and Just.

There’s another passage about our life as a pot, a jar of clay. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:6-9.

For God, who said,“Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

God’s light has shone in our hearts. Our hearts are different because of Jesus. We are bearers of Christ’s message in everything we have and everything we do and every single purpose we fulfill. We know this now. When things happen in our lives and our steps seem unsure, we rest in the Potter. Our security is in the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that beautiful? I’d really rather be Jesus’s face to someone than my own, wouldn’t you?

Isaiah 45 is actually about a guy named Cyrus and some stubborn people, but it bleeds God’s promises across the page in a way that reaches us in the 21st century beautifully. Cyrus would be the King who would loose the yoke of exile for the Israelites, opening the doors of the kingdom of Babylon so that the people of Israel could return to their homes and their lives. Many of the Israelites were resistant to this plan. They liked their own lives, even in captivity. Babylon was a nice place, a comfortable place. Never mind the bondage and all that, it was cozy.

Sound freakishly familiar? I really like cozy. Sometimes when God asks for us to get un-cozy, the best thing we can do is let the Holy Spirit remind us of His promises. Back up in Isaiah 45 to the verses preceding our theme verses for the day and read God’s promise to Cyrus in Isaiah 45:1-2, 5-6 –

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
    and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
    that gates may not be closed:
“I will go before you
    and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,

I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God;
    I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is none besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.

God opens doors.

That’s who He is. And He levels the road we walk. He promises to equip these jars of clay and not leave us to our own devices. And along the way, He opens our own hearts to His Word and His people, His work.

What doors has God opened for you in the past? What uncomfortable thing has He brought you through into the light of the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ”? How do you see things in your life differently through Christ’s message?

All of these questions are good. They help us to know the Potter, but not tell Him what He think He should do with the wheel.

Ask away, but let Him pot.

You are a treasured vessel, lovingly created and formed from the beginning and each day since. Entrust it all to Him, who molds and makes.

*photo made with the fontcandy app, using photo from


What do you like in life that’s cozy? What are you most attached to- certain people, a place, a few items you own, etc? (This is a fun question, so choose anything that adds a little cozy to your life, big or small.)

Where have you seen God bring you through the uncomfortable to see a greater purpose?

What open door are you asking God to open right now?