John Markum

Bullies, Flashlights, Fire, and Kali

What could possibly have come from the mouth of my precious little 4-year-old daughter, Kali? This story that she dropped on me and Tiff this afternoon:

Kali: “Mom. Dad. We have to go now!”

Tiff: “Why, Kali?”

Kali: “To get the flashlights!”

Tiff: “What flashlights?!?”

Kali: “The flashlights that the bully took!”

Tiff: <snickering> “Uhh, John? You might wanna hear this one!”

Me: “What is she saying?”

Kali: “We have to go to the bully’s house to get the flashlights back! Uh huh, that’s sounds like a good deal…”

Me: “Kali, how are we going to get the flashlights back from the bully?”

Kali: “We’re going to tie him up with the rope and throw him into the fire, and he’s going to get all burned up.”

Me: “WHAT!?!”

<Kali repeats, quite adamantly!>

Me: “Kali where is this bully?”

Kali: “At his house!” <said with an obvious “duh, Dad!” attitude>

Tiff: “And where is his house at, Kali?”

Kali: “It’s far, far away. We have to get a whole million gas in the car and go get him!”

Tiff: “Kali, we can’t burn up bullies…”

Kali: “Yes we can! We have to get the rope, and…”

John: “Kali, if we tie up a bully and throw him in to the fire and burn him all up, then we go to jail…”

Kali: <disappointed> “Ahhh…”

Don’t mess with my kids… They will straight-up tie you with rope and burn you! I laughed so hard at this today, but secretly feel a little worried. Just don’t tell Kali that. I’m afraid of getting up in the middle of the night with a horse head laying next to me.

Blessings (LoL),


Proactive Prayer

In the Christian sub-culture, there is one phrase that seems to have become a stagnant cliche : “I’m praying about it.” What’s discouraging is that it is often a false statement also. “Ok, I didn’t really pray about it, I just thought about it, but God knows what I meant.” Yeah, God understands it: we’re lazy.

But what if there were something different about our prayers? What if we really believed that God was going to show up and respond to our situations because we asked Him to? What if we started living and acting with such certainty in God’s ability to come through for us that our choices after praying reflected an expectation for God to show up? What if we made bold – even risky – decisions for the kingdom of God because we genuinely believed God would be in it? Well that would be proactive prayer, which is not content to just pray about it, but to make plans to see God do it.

There was once a small country church in a rural, farm community where most of the folks’ livelihood came from their crops. The area was going through a drought, and crops were being lost as a result. The situation was looking pretty serious, so the pastor of the country church called for the whole church to pray and fast and ask God to send the rain and sustain them, calling on His promises to be a Provider to His people. They were to fast and pray until the following Sunday, when they would pray together as a church for the rain. But as people were showing up, the pastor was scolding them for their lack of faith in God to provide. They argued back, “But preacher! We do believe God will bring the rain. We’ve fasted and prayed all week expecting God to send the rain. Honest!” But the pastor snapped back, “Then where is your umbrella!?!”

Where do you get that kind of confidence that not only asks God to provide, but then takes action in expectation of Him to answer? How can you be that sure? You pray according to God’s will. How do you know God’s will? Simple: His word. God’s will is in God’s Word. Claim the promises of God’s Word in your life and walk in confidence that God is going to do what He promised He would. The difference between faith and hope is that hope says, “God I’m asking for this, and I want You to do it.” Faith says, “God, I’m asking for this, and You said You would do it.”

What are some things from the Word of God that You can claim as promises? I’ll share some of those thoughts later. In the meantime, look in His Word for yourself and discover what God has promised for His people.



I Know Nothing

That might be a little exaggeration, but not by much! God constantly blows my mind on what He can do. Today was one of those days. I’ve come to realize that the more I learn about God, the more obvious it is that I know nothing. I’m not saying that I’m stupid or ignorant, or uneducated. I’m just saying that I do NOT have God figured out like I think that I do sometimes.

God is so much bigger than my small imagination.

He cannot be quarantined to a formula.

He cannot be measured on any scientific instrument.

He cannot be predicted by any calculations.

He’s revealed Himself to us through His Word, and through a person (Jesus) and yet our ability to know all that we can about Him is limited by our own nature. It’s like trying to describe a rainbow to a blind man, or a symphony to the deaf. We simply lack the senses to fully understand how great God is.

But occasionally there are moments where we get an inkling – a faint brush with the Infinite One – where it dons on us how much we don’t completely get about him. Like the deaf man hearing just a single note, or the blind man catching a glimpse of a sun ray. These are moments that take our breath away, fill us with amazement, and a delightful hunger for more.

Such are true encounters with God that make us say, “What was THAT?!?” and, “Let’s do it again!”

Don’t be discouraged in the pursuit of God. Live for the moments that God shows up in a big way and overwhelms our limited senses with what could be, and what should be. Once you have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” you will long for more of His presence in your life. And don’t underestimate the significance of the small things God does. Allow everyday moments to take your breath away and realize, “That was God.” Not only will you start to see Him everywhere, you’ll also begin to see the potential of all that He wants to do.

If you thought that beam of sunlight was cool, wait until you see the rainbow!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of good and not evil. Thoughts of hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not understand.” Jeremiah 33:3

“Who having not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him, and are filled with unspeakable joy, full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8



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