The Bouville Diarist Morning Brief for 28 February 2017

I am not in control.  

Say it out loud: I am not in control.

How we choose to spend / invest our time and energy and resource?  Yes, that is our choice.

What we say, do, think?  How we (re)act?  Yes, our choice.  

But, ultimately, the end results of our labors?  Nope.  That’s in God’s hands.

We are not called to succeed (at least not by the world’s standards).

We are called to follow.  We are called to faithfulness.  We are called to love.

We are called to be Christ followers: humble, gracious, and loving.  We are called to do whatever we do as if we were working for God Himself.  Which, really, we are.

Don’t worry about the outcome.  Don’t sweat the obstacles.  Don’t let the thorn in your side stop you.  

Keep walking the path the Lord has set before you in faith.  He is in control.  We don’t have to try to run the show.

The Swimming Hole

For thus says the L ORD : “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream… – Isaiah 66:12 (ESV)

The Pearl River looked spectacular.  Looking out our hotel window at 1:00am, the neon lights danced on the shimmering ripples below, glimmering in a bright, colorful glow.  To these newly arrived first time travelers to China, the view was inviting.  

Then came sunrise.

Looking out the same window, at the same river, in the light of day, the reality of the river set in.  The beautiful light show of six hours before now had been replaced with what looked like coffee.

With huge tree trunks floating in it.

Nearly six weeks before our arrival in China, and over 1000 miles upstream, the Sichuan province had been rocked with a magnitude 8.0 earthquake which shook much of the country (including Beijing, itself 1000 miles away from the epicenter.  The area was still experiencing aftershocks while we were there.

And a lot of silt, earth and debris was flowing down the Pearl River, through Guangzhou and past our hotel on its way to the South China Sea.

There was something else we saw that was quite surprising.  There were people swimming in this tree trunk ridden coffee water.  Not just once.  Every morning.  They were undeterred by the poor state of the river.  The obstacles and dirt weren’t getting in their way.  This was their urban swimming hole.  And nothing was going to keep them from it.

I wonder how many of us would remain that resolute in the face of obstacles and ick.   When the Lord shines His light on the reality of the situation and the beauty we saw the night before turns to nastiness, do we run away?  Do we become disillusioned and just leave?  Do we find our peace and comfort gone?

I’ve done it.  I’ve let situations – obstacles, other people, the thorn in my own side, difficulties – derail me.  I’ve lost my peace and let others run over me.  I have forgotten Who my solid rock and firm foundation truly is.

I know how it feels to lose one’s swimming hole.

But what we all need to remember when trouble comes is this: despite the debris, the junk, the floating tree trunks in the polluted water, we still need to jump in and swim.  God has placed each of us where we are for a reason.  What is that reason?  I don’t know.  That’s between you and God.

Not only are you where you are for a reason, you are there for a season.  Don’t get too connected to your swimming hole.  Get connected to God.  Follow Jesus.  Know that He is with you always.  Know that your circumstances are not too hard for the Lord.  Know, grow and hang tight to Christ.  It may be ugly.  But the victory is not up to you.

Shalom dear friends.

From the Bouville Archives: No Appointment Necessary – Bold Grace and Mercy

The Bouville Diarist

14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

The grace of God is an amazing gift to behold. You cannot earn it. It is a gift – a gift from an infinitely loving and compassionate Father Who understands what each of us is facing at any and every single moment.

In faith, we have the ability to go to God and talk to Him at any time. He…

View original post 553 more words

The Bouville Morning Brief for 7 February 2017

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:17-18 (ESV)

That verse came to me while I was praying last night.  I haven’t read or heard it years.  But, having been reminded of Isaiah 54:17, I want to share three great reminders this reminder brought to mind:

1. God is in control of everything.  Therefore, being His children, we have no reason to fear anything.  There is no place too dark, no enemy too ferocious, no cavern too deep for God.  The Lord created everything.  That means He knows all of creation intimately – even when the enemy twists and misuses God’s creation to try to trip us up.

2. There is great power in reading, studying and memorizing scripture.  It you aren’t storing God’s Word in your heart, start doing it.  Now.  Today.  You’ll be amazed at what – and when – the Lord reminds you of just what you need to know.

3.  Simply trust in the Lord.  Place your whole faith in Him and trust in His strength.  His wisdom.  His love, mercy and grace.  Don’t worry about the outcome.  Do what God says, follow Jesus with your whole heart, and never stop seeking Him first.

God bless you today and always!


Uncertainty is part and parcel of the world we live in.  It has to be. 

Why?  Because we are flawed human beings.  We do not with a God His attributes goof omniscience, omnipotence or omnipresence.

We don’t know everything.

We aren’t strong over everything.

We cannot be everywhere at the same time.  (Ask any parent with little ones.  They will confirm that one.)

Uncertainty can be scary.  It makes us feel vulnerable.  It exposes how little control we have.

But uncertainty is good, as long as it leads us to the One Certainty we need to embrace: the Certainty of God through Jesus Christ.

You can read His a Word with certainty, knowing God keeps His Word.

Knowing that, in Him, we can embrace uncertainty, because He is in control.

No matter what we face – without exception – there is nothing too hard for our Father.  No task too great.  No pain beyond healing.  No trial too fierce.

In all things, at all times, just trust God.  Don’t give in too anxiety.  Don’t stare at the problem.  Cast your cares on God make Him your certainty, your solid rock, your sanctuary.