Quiet Places

My favorite place in the world is probably my parents’ lake house.  It’s in the middle of nowhere, my cell phone doesn’t get signal, and my 4G slows to the speed of dial up.  I am actually able to say that I couldn’t get someone’s calls, texts, and emails when I’m there. 

Remember a time before cell phones?  When you could leave the house for a while and nobody would be able to get a hold of you?  No one would know where you are.  Today this is a foreign concept.  We live in a world where we are accessible at all times.  We hold at our fingertips the ability to communicate via phone calls, text messages, social media, and so much more.

But when I am at my parent’s lake house, there is nothing but silence.  I can sit down by the water, and it seems as though God speaks a thousand times louder while I’m there.  In thinking about it this last visit to the lake house, I realized that actually God’s voice isn’t any louder by the lake. I am just quieter.

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.  (Luke 5:16 MSG)

If Jesus, the Son of the living God, needed to get away to pray in quiet places how much MORE do I need that time away?  So often we think God isn’t speaking, but I think we just aren’t listening.  My daughter, Brailey (who is 9 years old), and I were talking the other day.  She was telling me, “Mom, I have learned that every time I talk to God, He always talks to me in return.  He may not do it right away, but He will respond to me.”  Our greatest privilege in life is that we are able to talk to the Creator of the universe!

I challenge you this week to get away for an hour, just you and God.  Begin to open your heart to Him.  I promise when you talk to Him, He will talk back.


Investing in What Matters

We have all done it; you run into somebody you haven’t seen in forever, and you say something like “We really should get together for dinner sometime.”  The other person agrees it’s a great idea, then you get into your cars and drive away.  Six months later you see each other again and repeat the same lines, all the while never making a plan to actually get together.

Now consider this, when my husband saw me for the first time, he didn’t come up to me and say, “It really would be good to get together sometime,” and just walk away.  NO!  He approached me and asked if he could take me out on that Friday night.  We made a plan, and I have been going out on dates with him for nearly 14 years since then.

My point is this:  Relationships are intentional not accidental.

God never gave you friends.  He gave you TIME.  When you invested that TIME into the right people, you received a harvest of FRIENDS.

“Make the most of every chance you get! These are desperate times! (Ephesians 5:16 MSG)

Nothing that is healthy exists by accident, and your surroundings today have everything to do with what you have invested into in the past.  Everything healthy became that way on purpose, through somebody exerting their effort to make a plan for success.

Time is God’s gift to help us to get what we want, but if you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always had.  If you’re unhappy with your current situation, make an inventory of where you are investing your time. It really is the most valuable resource we have.  You can always make more money, but you can never get more time. Where you choose to invest this resource has everything to do with what you’ll be getting out.

-Crystal Sparks


Lord of the Valley

Have you ever had a prayer answered?

You asked God for something and then you got that job, passed the test, received unexpected income, or a sudden blessing? You’re so excited, and you call everyone you know to tell them the great news! And at the end of the day you lay in bed thanking God once more and telling Him, “God, I will never doubt you ever again.”

But then some time passes, and you get a bad break.  You hit a wall, things start to go south, and all of a sudden we get spiritual amnesia.  We quickly forget all about the mountain top moment we experienced and about our promise to never doubt God again.

In the book of Kings, there is a story about a man of God who delivers this message to the King of Israel:

Thus says the Lord: Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills but He is not God of the valleys, therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hands, and you shall know and recognize by experience that I am the Lord. (1 Kings 20:28)

See it’s when we find ourselves in a valley moment that the enemy tries to convince us of this same message. He wants us to believe that God is only God at our highest moments, but not at our lowest points.

If you have ever felt this way, I want to encourage you that God is Lord over the mountains AND He is Lord over the valley.  His kingdom has no borders, no limits, and no end. Nothing can ever cease to be under His control.

I love what the Lord told his people here: “You will know and recognize by EXPERIENCE that I am the Lord”

Your valley moments are actually an opportunity for God to show your enemies how strong He is!  Your lowest moment is never so low that God isn’t able to reach down and pull you out. In fact, that’s when his love and power is best demonstrated.

If you read on for a few more versus in this text, the scripture says that the Lord brought about a great victory that day. In your life when you are in a LOW place remember that you are just a few verses away from a great victory.

God is still in control.  He is still well able!  He is Lord over the valley and the mountain top!