Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: landmarks

Live By It [Motto #142]

I already have a motto.

But I write new ones constantly anyway.
Because I live best by truth thus synthesized. And because they come back when I need them when I do.

Seek nothing until you have sought God;
            Seek nothing you cannot seek for God.

Because if what you are after can’t be pursued for the sake of Jesus Christ,
it isn’t worth pursuing.

The Blind Cannot Lead The Blind [Glorious Fast – Part II]

“…to loose the bands of wickedness…”

If hacking chains is exhilarating work, it is also gut-wrenching. Tear jerking.
Soul taxing–

And full-filling.

It is neither for the faint-hearted, nor for the half-committed…

But it is brilliantly, brilliantly rewarding.

Little wonder then that many an eager recruit has taken to the field with clumsy grip and misfit armor to seek fame in such brave exploits. Only, without first counting (or even knowing) the cost.

These first six words betray one of the best-kept secrets of the dark side.

As regards [im]morality*:

License is bondage.

Lust is an iron chain.
And many, many beautiful people are wearing such fetters.

But these, my friends,
These are the first chains to go.

Only, they will never fall helpless before the faith (or the fervent fuming) of the faint-hearted,
or the half-committed.

From these same six words rings out to every soldier sharpening his sword for such a battle, this thundered imperative- a charge commanding every anguished drop of a soldier’s undying commitment:

Be. thou. pure.

Be thou pure.

Because only purity is stronger than vice.

*Strongs: [“wickedness” from 7561; a wrong (especially moral)…]

The Anointed


I love that word.
David says they’re the strong ones, and the free… (Ps. 28:7, 8)
The kings and queens, and priests… Royal. Privileged.

I personally can’t get over the fact that they’ve been touched, prayed over, blessed by God Himself.

The rabbit trail I took through Strong’s landed me in a familiar place, quite possibly the single most memorized chapter in scripture.

But familiar words took on unfamiliar meaning as I saw in them the God that is everything, increasingly (the everything that has no end) to me.

I know the words in english. But if Strong’s is correct, (my soul believes it is) then those words are deeper than our contemporary use of them, by far.

I read them, speak them, love them. Eyes flit back and forth between the open page, and the Strong’s app. And my heart sings something like this–

The LORD is my Shepherd;
And He? He is absolutely everything I need.
His home is my home. 
He leads me (literally: “to run with a sparkle”) towards peaceful waters.
He returns my soul to joy…
He walks right with me in the path of righteousness, 
because that’s the kind of Person He is
And even when I walk through this deep abyss–
This deep gorge where death lives and reigns,
I fear nothing. Absolutely nothing.
 Because God is here too. And He never leaves.
Because of Him, because of His comfort and support,
I thrive even in the presence of my enemies.
He anoints my head with oil,
while my joy overflows

But not for a throne. Not in this verse.
This one is a relatively rare word, used 12 times, and only translated this way once.
Go look it up.
The reference is to ashes… Ashes, and fat. And “acceptance”…

He prepares me for sacrifice,
And all the while, my joy overflows.

Surely… Surely, this is the best life. 

Afraid of Nothing… But Forgetfulness

I truly am not.

Not when I trace the working of God in boyish cursive now 15 years old…
Not when I ask a question, hear in His gentle whisper a familiar strain, and then find the original answer… Written 7 years ago, to the week. 7 years before I asked.

Not when I can understand in retrospect (as if it were the simplest thing in the world) why there was always reason to praise through bleeding days. Always.

I promise you, if you can’t trust Him with your today, it’s because you’ve already forgotten yesterday.

Write. Read. Remember.

You can’t tell the future. That’s why God has given you your past.

Go get yourself a journal.

Just a Pebble…

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today. For now, let’s just say it was one of the best days of my entire life…

I step out, zipped and buttoned. Black wool and cashmere reach earthward almost to my knees. The very air is alive with vigor, somewhat like my insides… I go to meet my God in a beautiful field, on a beautiful farm, this beautiful morning of mornings.

I sit on sandstone at the spot where two friends of mine became one months ago, and read…
And my journal, this spiral bound book with my handwriting in it, this book that records the secrets of my broken-hearted moments, this book my Nana gave me, it opens my eyes to the goodness of my God.

Every moment I have lived, every mercy I have tasted, every tear I have shed, every battle I have fought, every dream turned to ashes, was for today.


Without them, the new dreams springing up would have nothing to root in; to feed on. Because of them, I love my God more than I love anything else in this great wide world. And I love all that is (are!) His…

Hours pass and I wander around the pond; ponder why my heart is here today anyway

It was just a pebble.

Just a friend who doesn’t even know it happened. But just because they love Jesus, because they love what is high and holy and pure, and just because I was blessed to catch a glimpse of it when I was momentarily unsure of what to do with my sword, just because of that; them…..

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today.

Mean time, I will never again underestimate the power of influence…
Even if it does seem like just a pebble

“Throw a pebble into a lake, and a wave is formed, and another…
until they reach the very shore. So with our influence. 
Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others 
in blessing or in cursing…
If by our example, we aid others in the development of 
good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn 
they exert the same influence upon others, 
and they upon still others. 
Thus by our unconscious influence many may be blessed.”
Signs of the Times, Oct 21, 1903

Consuming Treasure

I sit on black leather watching the day wake up past curtains drawn back on french doors. My thumb in the COL on my lap, my other hand behind my head… Countless yellow flowers sing “September!” in the morning sun’s first glow. 
My mind is far away.
I know God gives back. You’ve heard it said He never closes a door without opening a window– Never takes anything away without giving something better in its place.
I know.
But what of the times…

You know what I mean? Sometimes God grants that the fire should burn through our lives, and take away the dross…
And other times God grants that fire should burn through our lives, and completely consume the treasures.

And He doesn’t give them back.
I’ve had my share of fire over the years. And I’ve held on to more than my share of promises.
[The sun creeps across the floor and up the side of my desk; warms the cover of my journal.]
And I’ve probably written miles of ink lines in those books.

But this week, this morning, I’ve learned something. 
Something that gives me chills up and down my spine… and makes my blood surge jubilance.

The times when the fire burns through and takes treasures, leaving nothing to hold on to but memories of fire and smoke–
God has still given. 
He did give you something better. 
He gave you the fire.

My soul tingles.
If I am a soldier, if I am a victor, if I am free…

It is thanks to the treasure of losing everything, and never getting it back.
I sigh and smile.
I am free.
Blaze, Spirit blaze. Set our hearts on fire…”

Lingering at Sunset…


My favorite color.
(That’ll be on a quiz someday. :))

Few things stop me dead in my tracks more quickly or rivet my soul more completely than God’s fingerprints across the western sky.

I always, always linger…

And if I’m compelled to tear my gaze away before the color is gone, my heart lingers. My heart sings…

Sometimes there’s a twinge of loss too… After all, the day is gone.
But there’s so much to be thankful for.

Well, I watched a “sunset” today.
The last teenager in our house turned 20.

And my heart is lingering. 

Our day started early– or late yesterday, as the case may be. I got my first “Happy Birthday!” in way before you were awake this morning between blasts of my siren at herd after herd of obtuse elk on the highway.

But it’s been a happy day…

Happiest because of the joy we find in a God Who is faithful. . . and sister and daughter who is following where He leads.
And also happy because in the gather darkness that necessarily accompanies a sunset, we have begun to learn things we never could have learned in the light. 

The next dawn is still shrouded in mystery.

But we’re all-out excited.

Excited about the altars that await us…
And the promises that sustain us.
And the joy of Jesus being All Sufficient.

It seems I’m seeing more sunsets in life of late…
Saying more goodbyes to yesterday.
But that’s ok.

The stars are coming out now.

we kinda went “all out” this year, and planned a once-in-a-lifetime surprise party with beloved friends and neighbors…

Chantée’s brainchild, the product of several girls’ culinary art and creativity.

Thanks for loving Jesus, sweet girl…
All photos: © Joshua Nebblett


I have this little theory: 

Remembrance is the better part of Thanksgiving.

It’s far too easy to say “thank you” for the blessings in front of our eyes, 
while forgetting the sacrifices that purchased them for us. 

I’m pretty sure when the pilgrim fathers sat down to that first feast, 
their thankfulness for the provision was sharpened by their
memories of starvation.

(as indeed, they ate within sight of the graves of more than half of their original number)

It would be well for us to remember…

…remember smiles as well as tears. 

And be thankful for them both.

There’ll Be More Leaves Next Year…

Stepping out into the 7-degree morning reminded me–
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
As I stood there sniffing air so cold it tickled from my nose to my throat, I thought of something…
The change of seasons is really a constant cycle of life, growth, and total surrender. 
I’m reminded of Bigger Dreams.
But this time the focus is a bit different. 
Because before the young tree can hope to grow taller and stronger, and spread more leaves to the sky, it must first let go of everything it has. 
Everything it has worked so hard for. 
The very current of it’s life…
Every leaf must fall, to make way for a brighter tomorrow. 
Those who don’t, might not have a tomorrow.
I’m somewhat a Michigan native, and I remember many times when the snow or ice came before the trees had made their total surrender. Too many of those trees never saw another spring… 
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
In life, and in the weather. 
So while I await the unfolding of the next season of my life, my duty is clear:
Readiness. Willingness. Surrender.
There’ll be more leaves next year.

Smartest move we ever made…

Maybe for you it’s just another week in history… For us it’s much more.
In addition to the numerous birthdays our neighborhood has recognized in the past 7 days, one large landmark keeps us thanking our Father…

When we moved to this little place we call “Sweetwater” 10 years ago this week, we had no idea what we were getting into. We only knew that Heaven had some surprises in store… and ready or not, we were on our way!

It can truly be said that we’ve “grown up here”. Never before have we stayed in one place so long… But durational roots are not what bind our hearts here. We’re bound by a love for our Father that has grown, and a love for each other that has deepened because of the many moments – easy and hard – that are now behind us.

We love it here because it is here we learned to love…

And tomorrow we’ll wake up to the first day of the next 10 years.
Oh Lord Jesus, teach us yet more… We really do love You.