Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hang in There!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Cor. 1:4

Your suffering is not senseless, Daughter of God.

 It may seem He is deaf to your cry for rescue from your pit, but be sure He  has heard every syllable and is sensitive to your every whimper. It isn't even that He hasn't answered you---He's just chosen to answer with something better than a "yes". His answer is, "Just you wait and see. You are gonna be so glad I didn't do what you asked."

Sometimes it's not about the rescue but the work God does while you wait for the rescue.

The beauty that your difficulty is fashioning will put you on His runway. Your testimony will make you shine in a way that makes future sufferers want to interview you. Then, because God didn't pull you out till you were golden, you will be ready to give an answer that's better than what you heard somebody else say. You'll be telling what you know firsthand.

 Somebody out there is going to need what you are learning. Don't let them down by giving up. Don't cheat yourself of the utter joy of being the tool God reaches for when He wants to comfort someone.

Stay put.


 It is SO gonna be worth it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stay Focused

"For our struggle is not against flesh and bloodbut against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

Don't you just hate being lied to? How do you feel when you catch someone in a lie? Angry? Betrayed?

I recently worked an election. The word "deceived" became a sad caption that would fit perfectly on the forehead of so many I encountered. I was not allowed to respond to voter comments as an election official, but it saddened my heart to hear the passion behind their efforts to let wrong win while thinking they were right. They had been lied to and had a zeal without knowledge.

It's easy to get mad at those who oppose what is right or mistreat us, but is that the correct response? They don't know what you know. Satan has blinded their eyes, and they are sadly deceived. There is an unseen system at work, and people are caught under its spell.

You were once like them till Jesus found you.

Instead of anger toward these people, stay focused! Why not redirect that emotion? Put that anger in the tank of your prayer life, and allow God to recycle it into the fuel of compassion. More is at stake than your reputation or politics. If these souls do not see the truth, they will continue their march to the death camp of a Christ-less eternity.

 Talk about anger and a sense of betrayal! They will feel both on that Great Day when they realize too late that they were duped.  Pray for a turnover in their hearts. Pray the scales of deception will fall.  Don't allow anger to blind you to the spiritual side of the flesh and bone you encounter every day.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Go Love!

"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." 2 Corinthians 5:20

We live in a mean world. Have you noticed? The young especially seem to have a galling lack of compassion at times. It's not just the young, though. People in general seem rich in anger and poor in patience. The tongue is quicker to find fault than give the benefit of a doubt. Shoulders carry chips so big it's inevitable that they get knocked off.


People are hurting, that's why. Many rarely experience genuine kindness unattached to ulterior motives. Folks are afraid to trust so they wear the breastplate of meanness for protection. It keeps hurt out, but it locks love out, too! What a lonely way to live!

Enter you to their rescue!

Yes, you! 

You're riding on a white horse of humility, and your face shines with the love of Christ.  In your hand is a taste of love and kindness that is your unique recipe. The world is starving for it. 

They may be suspicious for a while, but you have nothing to hide. You are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10) so you have no ulterior motives for caring other than to show them where they can find love too. 

There is a shortage of people like that so you might seem like an alien to them at first.  Love on, My Sister! Be an outpost of kindness in the desert of meanness and indifference at your workplace, in your neighborhood, and even in your family.  

Where else will they see it if not in you? If you don't reach out, how will they know hope? Yes, it's that serious. 

Your offering matters because they need what God has given you--Himself. 

Now, go love!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When You Do Your Ugly Cry

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me." Psalm 27:7

It's true.  People can get tired of you, or maybe they don't have time for you. They have problems of their own, and the weight of them oftentimes leaves no room on the scale to add yours. Sometimes they love you so much that listening to you cry makes them uncomfortable because there's nothing they can do to help. They are human, and they were not built to be everything to you.

 Only God can do that.

So go to Him. Take your wig off and do your ugly cry. Babble on as long as you need to, He doesn't have somewhere else He needs to be. Walk-ins are always welcome, and both sides of His sign on the door say OPEN.

He's not limited by time or space so He's with you in the car as soon as you call, and He's in that tight space when your head is under the covers at 3 a.m. Bless His Name!

You can't wear Him out or fear He'll label you "needy" and gradually pull away.

No need to preface everything with a history to bring Him up to speed. Jump right in and pour your heart out. His Spirit even fills in the right words when your heart can't find them.

Go ahead.  Call on Him.

Your ugly cry isn't ugly to Him!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Don't Ever Forget It

 "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19

I have been car shopping, and I hate it. Trying to find a good car that fits my budget is like making a skirt in size 3 and then searching for a hippo that can fit in it!

The cars I CAN buy do not seem worth it. They are ugly, or they have too many miles, or the stories surrounding them sound fishy.  I cannot throw hard-earned money away on this. Even when the price is low, it's too high considering the trouble I'll have later.

You were like that when Jesus found you. I was, too.

 We were ugly in our hearts; the black mold of sin was so thick it was hard to see anything else.

The itemized spreadsheet of all our daily wrongs could cover too many miles of highway. If you and I could read the story God read of what He'd be getting into if He got involved with us, "fishy" would be a mild word to describe it.

He bought us anyway.

He turned your price tag over and it read... BLOOD. You already know it was not just any blood.

He said, "I'll pay it."

Aren't you glad?

On the days you feel frustrated that you failed again, don't forget this.

When you feel like the least of the least, or you wonder why you should even try, don't forget  the price He paid for you.

In His eyes, you were not worthy, yet you were worth it.

Don't ever forget it.

Tell Me: What do you do in response to this truth? It makes me want to kiss His feet and live to make Him proud. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


"And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."  1Kings 19:12

I was sitting on my patio one morning when a hummingbird flew so close to me, I could've touched it.  It was so beautiful! I didn't dare breathe too deeply for fear I would shorten its visit.  

I knew this tiny creature would not stay long so I drank in every second he hovered eye-level to me.  I took quick mental pictures of its iridescent colors, the amazing speed of its tiny wings, and that bee-like buzz those wings let off. 
Then it was gone. 

I let out the breath I was holding and scrambled to relive the rare encounter. I wanted more! How could I make it happen again?  

Stillness was the only way. 

Same with hearing the voice of God.  He's everywhere at once, but if you want Him to visit you one-on-one and speak to you, you must make your heart and life quiet enough.

God often speaks in a still, quiet whisper. Are you ever still enough to hear it? Could it be that an answer you're waiting for has been spoken over and over by the Father, but you can't hear it over the clamor of the radio in your car, the television in your home, and the standing open-door policy you have with your cell phone and social media?

Lack of quiet is a breeding ground for anxiety, confusion, and the accusing voice of the enemy.  

Quiet and stillness send an invitation to the Father to come over and have a talk.

Be encouraged to make pockets of quiet a priority in your day. The loving interaction God has with your spirit is  sweeter than anything, even the buzzing of a hummingbird's wings.

Shhh...God is speaking!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Big Day

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." Eccl. 9:10

She was a beautiful young woman.

We only took a few classes together, and we ran in different circles, but it was obvious even from a distance that she was crazy about Jesus. Anyone could tell God had embedded in her heart a deep love for a particular race of people in a land far away. She was studying and saving to bring them Jesus upon her graduation.

What impressive passion!

What devoted love!

What heartbreak when she died a few months after learning she was incurably ill.

 I couldn't believe it! Why call her home early when the laborers are few as it is, and so many are waiting to hear the truth?

The answer is none of our business.

What IS our business is pulling out the hope chest and serving Him on the good china of TODAY.

Have you assumed that because your goals are noble and Christ-honoring that God will give you enough days to fulfill them? He may not. All you have is today. Nothing else is promised.

Purpose to go to bed empty each night because you left it all on the stage of your TODAY.

Determine to allow God to extract every drop of glory from every moment of your life TODAY by His grace.

 Don't hold  back. Because there's no promise of another day, every today IS the  Big Day!

Talk About It: I have been holding back, saving some things for when my dream comes true, but I've discovered that was bondage. God deserves my best today. What does that look like in  YOUR life?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Take the Stairs

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. --1 Corinthians 9:22-23

I already know I'm risking being misunderstood, but please don't let it be because you didn't hear me out.

Ever seen a person who needs to hear about Jesus, but you ask yourself,  "Why in the world would they give me the time of day? Why would they listen to me?"

Perhaps you approached a stranger and they were put off by your "religious question". Admit it, you felt awkward just approaching them.

Hear me when I say that you don't have to do this with everybody, but I am discovering that the awkwardness can sometimes be eliminated if we took the stairs of relationship-building instead of the quick elevator to rush straight to the God-talk

Would the odds they will listen increase?

Could it be that the elevator is at times more about us "just getting it over with" instead of choosing to take the time to earn the ear of a lost person?

Caring takes time. It is a decision to work a relationship into the folds of our busy lives instead of crashing in from a helicopter, delivering the goods, and being airlifted before they know what hit them.

God can do anything He wants anyway He pleases. People do come to know Jesus through elevator talks and helicopter drops ; however, some, nay many, need the gentler approach of a friend over a stranger.

Bottom line: let's be just as sensitive to the Spirit's leading to take the relational stairs as we are to His nudge to take the elevator.

Talk About It: I was once led to reach a group of teens at a bus stop in my neighborhood. I was a 39-year-old mother. I had nothing in common with those teens. God showed me over that next year that a listening ear and a caring heart cause people to lay out the welcome mat on subjects that otherwise would be off-limits. Have you found this to be true?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Shut Down

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises."

Whatever you do, don't shut down.

Is life going well for you? Let your mouth and heart send love notes of thanks and praise to God. Do not have an affair with good times and cheat on the Lover of your soul. Any good going on comes from Him. Allow the gift to champion more love for the Giver, not compete with Him.

Are you in a season of suffering? He can handle your anger, absorb as many tears as you need to cry, and understand your questions about why He didn't fulfill what you believe He promised.

Bring it all to Him.

 Your flesh will want to turn your back and give Him the silent treatment. He will be there when you are ready to come back, but you cheat yourself when you pull away. Suffering is hard enough. Why add loneliness to it?

 Invite Him to the party and the funeral.

No matter what, don't shut down.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Driving Yourself Crazy

"for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:5

Can you imagine driving  the expressway with one hand on your steering wheel and the other on the wheel of the car in the next lane? I know it's physically impossible unless your neighbor is driving one of those foreign cars with the wheel on the wrong side.

 Stay with me, please.

If you were to accomplish this feat, how well would you be driving your own car? Swerving and bumping? Barely arriving at your destination in one piece? Sounds dangerous and exhausting!

 Cars were not designed for that, and neither was your life.

 In your desire to be caring toward others, you started out lending a helping hand, but now you've become an unpaid workhorse. You're pacing the floor worrying about someone who is not as concerned about their problems as you are. You're driving their car when they should be doing it themselves, and you're driving yourself crazy. It's too much!

God has a wonderful to-do list for your life. Have you cut from the list of another and pasted it to yours?

   Only the Holy Spirit can help you discern the fine line between Christian caring and codependency. Ask Him to highlight the line so you know if you've crossed it.

Talk About It:
  How have you been able to draw the line? How do you think God helps us handle the guilt that can accompany setting boundaries?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


"...yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

 In all our excitement and joy about the manifold promises our gracious God makes us in His Word, sometimes we overstep.

We can allow our joy to spill over into places God has issued no invitation.

We may assume our dreams are God's dreams for us when they may not be.

King David dreamed of building a house for The Lord ( 2 Samuel 7). Nothing wrong with that, right? He was a man after God's own heart--what a beautiful gift to dream up!  But David's wonderful, God-honoring desire was not God's desire. That dream had someone else's name on it.


  What if what you are dreaming of is not the Father's plan? What should your attitude be in the face of this brand of disappointment?


There is freedom in surrender. It rolls the responsibility for outcomes onto Bigger Shoulders.

Surrender remembers there is a bigger program at work than just the part of the map her shadow falls on.

When a dream makes a brilliant and persuasive proposal, Surrender casts a child-like glance toward the Father for His nod of approval or His thumbs-down.

A dream is a beautiful thing, but it's an ugly step-sister when compared to the splendor of surrender to the will of  our First Love.

Talk About It: Do you find it frightening to surrender your dreams to God?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This Just In

Ephesians 5:16 (AMP) - Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

Hello Friends,

It is Election Day today (Thursday) and I am unable to do an official blog post. I would like to give you something to meditate on, though.

If you knew you were going to die seven days from now, how would you live differently? Who would come to mind that you'd wish you had done more for, thanked, forgiven, or spent more time with.

Why wait til you get bad news before you begin making your regret-list shorter?

Start today redeeming the time you have left.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When You're Overwhelmed With Stress

"Take my yoke upon you and learn of me...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30

I will never forget the day I heard God use a rather ethnic tone with me. (He made all ethnicities, so why not?)

I was knee-deep in motherhood, neck-deep in academics and up to just below my nose with an activity I saw as essential to my kids' future.

I was crazy with stress.

I cried out to The Lord in the middle of my multi-tasking mania.

"God, how in the world will I get  everything done?"

God may have smelled a trace of accusation in my breath-prayer that day because I'll NEVER forget the reply He breathed in my spirit.

I can almost see His holy eyebrows raised as He said something like, " Um...Didn't nobody tell you to take on all that extra stuff. I told you to ______________."

  God usually speaks to me in short sentences and then leaves me to draw the logical conclusions to what He has said.

That day I concluded that my brain was pickling in stress because I'd brought it on myself.  Jesus never was frantic with stress, yet He said He fulfilled all God assigned Him. Because He lives in me, I can complete all His assignments too.

He said His burden is light. If my knees  are buckling, it is because I have overcommitted myself with surplus elective responsibilities.

What about you? Do you have so many irons in the fire you can hardly see the fire?

I encourage you to re-evaluate...declutter... simplify...delegate.

I am LOVING the freedom this brings.

You will too.

Talk About It: What is God calling you to throw overboard to keep you from sinking in stress?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Join In!

In my quiet time today in 1 Corinthians 16, I  couldn't help pausing to chew on the verses below:

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it (1 Cor. 16:15-16).

Our American culture tends to assign a rank to everything, but here, Paul encourages a sense of partnership. Notice he calls them brothers and sisters? He reminds them they are family. Why would he need to urge them to submit to everyone who joins in the task God has given? Could it be that there was a bucking or competitive spirit among them? Perhaps there was an attitude of wanting to be independent or just plain uninvolved in ministry. 

Friends, we are all in this together! Yes, God values us as individuals, but He designed individuals in the Body of Christ to be interlocking  pieces of a whole puzzle. 

What can you do to be more of a partner than a competitor with those serving The Lord? Is there a need at your church or in your community waiting for you to step up and do your  part?

Perhaps you think someone else can do it better. You're right, but they aren't doing it either.  Meanwhile, the Lord's work goes undone. 

Let's say you are unable  to be active in the work directly. Remember that prayer is a price anyone can afford. A word of encouragement is a booster shot everyone can administer. 

God gave the charge to reach the whole world to all of us. Your corner of the world is equally as important as the  remote village a missionary is assigned to; however, you and the missionary need each other to be successful. 
 The whole world is an enormous field to mow.  There's too much work to be done to have a competitive spirit--too many folks in despair to be idle. Partnership is the only way to get it all done. 

Join in!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When You're Struggling To Believe

"Every problem a person has is related to his concept of God. If you have a big God, you have small problems. If you have a small God, you have big problems. It is as simple as that." ~Walter A. Henrichsen

Have you ever revisited a place you saw as a child and realized how small it looks now compared to how big it seemed when you were little? What changed, you or the location? You did, of course.

If you are like me, sometimes you find your "faith arms" are too weak and flabby to lift a "boulder problem" up to God in prayer. The boulder is like a pebble to God, but you approach Him as if He were the pebble!

What to do?

Go to the Scriptures for a perspective adjustment. The Word magnifies God to His true size, shrinks your burden, and lightens your heart.

Here are a few verses to get you started:

"God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?"  (Numbers 23:19, NLT)

"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

"The one who did not spare his own Son, but offered him as a sacrifice for all of us, surely will give us all things, along with his Son, won't he?" (Romans 8:32, NIV)

"Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness...." (Nehemiah 9:32,  NASB)

You get the idea. Can you feel your burden shrinking,--your faith growing?

Your Heavenly Father wants you to view today's challenges from the perspective of a mature daughter instead of a frightened little girl. When He puts His listening ear to your praying lips today, may it be tickled with the sweet breath of confidence and faith in Him. 

Talk To Me: Do you have another verse or practice that bolsters your faith when it is weak? I'd love to hear it in the comment box for this blog or via email ( .

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Feed That Child!

1 Corinthians 4:2 "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."

God put a dream in your heart. As a parent is given stewardship over a child, so God gave you stewardship over your dream. Your dream is like a child. How are you treating it?

Are you ignoring it in hopes it will go away because you are afraid of the responsibility?  Take it from me, it won't go away. That child needs you to feed and nurture it, but the Spirit of God is keeping it alive. Please give up trying to kill it. It may become weak due to your neglect, but it won't die.

Do you hurl accusations at it? "You are not from God, you're just a subtle form of selfish ambition. If I feed you, my own heart will grow fat with pride. No thank you. Go away!"

You say this because you fear the good feeling of succeeding at your dream. If imagining it brings you this much pleasure, the fulfillment of it might make you float to the sky. Oh no, we can't have that, can we?

Have you considered that the euphoria may not  be pride, but joy because you're doing what God created you to do?

How do you make dreams come true? It requires more than wishing on a star.

A dream becomes reality when you give it oxygen. Let it out in the open by telling people you trust about it. It can be scary, but it's necessary. Talking about it with others can make it seem less like a freak of nature. Hiding your dream stunts it's growth, and you've wasted enough time doing that. Let your dream breathe!

Nurture it by teaching it the promises of God. The devil can't stand that. Nurture that dream.

The most nutritious thing a dream can feed on is time. Not the one-of-these-days-I'm-gonna kind of time. I mean time investing in learning ways to develop the dream through honing  skills and gathering information on moving forward. If the dream was important enough for God to grant it, it's important enough to have priority on your calendar. Ask God what that should look like and how to carry it out. 

No more starving and neglecting your dream. Let it out to play. Introduce it to the promises of God, and by all means, feed that child! 

What challenges do you face in taking care of your dream?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

There's Still Time

 " Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Remember back in January when you made yourself a promise to do or become better in a specific way?

What happened?

 Did you start out strong--determined that this time wouldn't be like all the others when you petered out?

Maybe you did go farther this time than others, but you still ended up losing sight of your goal. You didn't intend it to happen; you got busy, sidetracked, discouraged, or just lazy.

Whatever the reason, you still have time to make it! You still have six more months in this year to reach your goal. A time will come when it's too late to try again, but that day is not today.

Jesus spoke a parable of two sons who were told to do something (Matthew 21:28-31). One said he would, but didn't. The other said he wouldn't but changed his mind and did it. Then Jesus asked which one obeyed.

Your goal may not be a matter of obedience or disobedience, but the same principle applies: a late start has more horsepower than the shiniest good intention any day.

Who's to say you won't work better under the pressure of a late start?   If God granted Samson his heart's desire on his last day alive, why would He not give you strength to start again mid-year?

   No more moping about time lost. Start hoping and trying and doing.
                                  How to Get Going Again

• Write down your realistic goal. Post it where you will see it everyday.

•Next, write specific steps for how you will get to the finish line. Steps create dots to connect so you know where you are in the process and what to do next.

•Then tell a friend who will cheer you on.

•Finally, ask The Lord, your biggest Cheerleader,  to give you strength to accomplish the goal for His glory.

 I'll share my reheated goal in the comments on this page. Feel free to join me by sharing yours!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to Suffer

"Have this attitude in yourselves which also was in Christ Jesus...."  (Philippians 2:5)

No one said it would be easy, but you're finding it harder than you expected "not easy" to be. Maybe you've been on this hard road a long time, and you're tired. Change seems to be so far up ahead you can't see it. You're not even sure it's there. Giving in is looking better than pressing on.

Maybe you just entered this hard road, and your tender feet are bleeding at every rock in the road. The short time you've been here feels like forever; your mind blacks out at the thought of going any farther.

   You don't want to give up, but you don't want to keep struggling either. What other alternative is there?

Take encouragement from Coach Jesus. He knows about suffering.

While on the cross, His eyes looked beyond His present pain. He focused on the joy up ahead. (Hebrews 12:2). He remembered that pain doesn't last forever; it is a hallway with a door at the end. Better days are coming if you persevere, Dear Sister. God has a purpose for your pain. Giving up only produces regret. What's worse, you miss out on what God planned.

While Jesus suffered, His mind was on somebody other than Himself (Luke 23:34; John 19:26). Like a spoiled child pitching a fit, pain gets louder when you give all your attention to it. Find somebody to love on. Listen to them and look for ways to encourage them. Loving others is a wonderful pain reliever.

Finally, Jesus kept the lines of communication open while He suffered (Mark 15:34).  Don't shut down just because you are hurting and don't understand why. Tell Him how you feel, cry on His shoulder, ask for His help daily.  His mercies are new every morning so be there everyday to receive them. His faithfulness is great, so keep your heart open wide so He can load you up.

Yes, life is hard. There's no getting around it, but you can get through it.

 Determine to suffer well the way Jesus did.

Follow His example, and don't give up!


Friday, May 30, 2014

When The Future Is Scary

"I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" Psalm 139:7,(NLT)

God has graced you with many blessings but the ability to see the future from His window is not one of them.

 He describes in His Word the future consequences attached to today's decisions, but much of the not-yet life waits in the shadows of His sovereignty, and that can be scary.

  You tend to feel more confident if you know what's coming. You like to be prepared because it makes you feel more in control, but perhaps you are facing something that has never cast a shadow in your path before. Maybe  there is a health diagnosis, an empty place a loved one once filled, or even a new responsibility that feels way too big.  How will you make it through? Will you make it through?

  Take courage, Daughter of God. Everything is not riding on you. Actually you are the one doing the riding. Jesus said, "Without me, you can do nothing."  (John 15:5) The strength you need to face the unknown is powered  with supernatural fuel. The future is frightening when you look at it with your natural eyes.

But wait, take another look.

Wipe the fog of fear off your lenses.

Can you see now?

There are two instead of one up ahead.

The first has your own silhouette. The other looks like the Son of God. The path still looks dark, but each step is cushioned by the red carpet of His presence. He never sends you into the darkness to tough it out on your own. He always travels with you--sometimes you hear Him speaking, sometimes He is silent, but He is never absent.

Do you think you need more than that? Is His presence shy of what you hope for?

It is enough!

His presence is like an icon that contains more than you realize. "Click" on it, and you'll find amazing comfort, surprising joy, indescribable peace, and many more gifts lovingly hidden on the trail waiting  for you to discover.

Step out, Princess Bride. Take the Lord's hand and walk into the uncertainty. No, you still have no control, but with Him as your constant companion, you don't need it!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Let Them Taste and See

"Taste and see that The Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8

I love trying new foods! They testify to how vastly creative God is and how generous He is to give our tastebuds so many adventures to experience. Every culture has something unique to them in the way of food, and I love flying to a new place from a seat at a restaurant instead of an airplane.

Sometimes tasting something new can be scarey, can't it? You don't know if you will like it, or if the texture will be agreeable, or whether the whole thing will make you sick. We tend to consider all the things that could go wrong and as a result, we often pass up a chance to broaden our food base.

  There is a food you and I enjoy everyday that much of the world knows nothing about. It's the sweeter-than-honey, bone-deep delicious, soul-satisfying love of God. It's strange and exotic to most people. They have never experienced it, and when they hear someone describe it, they suspect it's too good to be true.

  Sometimes, to get a person to try an exotic food, they need to hear that it tastes like something familiar to them. (I was reluctant to try frog legs till my Asian friend said it tastes like chicken.) This is where you come in. Your kindness to a misfit, your forgiveness to an offender, or your patience toward one needing extra time to get it right can be just the sample they need to encourage them to taste and see that the Lord is good.

 The heart is the  hungriest part of any person. Will you allow God to use you to be the bread crumbs that lead them to the cross and throne of Christ? Can someone say the love of God tastes like (your name) doing or being what their heart is hungry to feed on? You don't have to manufacture this love. You can't! You are simply a distributor of what God has placed in you. (Romans 5:5; 1John 4:19). He is your supplier.

You get the joy of serving up His love using your own unique recipe. How does God usually shine through you? Is it through your gift of giving? Is hospitality your thing? Maybe you are great at  providing a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Whatever it is, nobody does it quite like you. Serve it up and don't be shy!

Warning: your lovees may be suspicious at first. Likely, every dish  of kindness they ever tasted has been laced with selfish ulterior motives and has left a bad taste. Give them time. Keep loving them in the way God has gifted you. The aroma of Christ in you will be hard to resist, but in time that aroma may may break down their defenses and draw them to His table of mercy.

Talk About It: Did anyone lead you to Christ by loving you first? If so, who and how?

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Wanted: Gray Hairs And Wrinkles

"The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old." Proverbs 20:29

"Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. " Proverbs 20:5

When I have a problem and need to find answers, I've learned the value of consulting older believers.

Our culture does not place much value on aged folks.  They aren't sexy or charismatic. Their weaker bodies are assumed to house weak minds and dusty, irrelavent memories. Even those who respect the elderly can seem to do so with an undercurrent of patronizing condescension at times. They defer to older people out of manners, and that's ok, but I wish people would see silver hair as a tiara to treasure and wrinkled skin as a garment of honor.

Like a badge on a policeman indicates he or she received training for her duties, gray hair says, "Ask me, I've been there."

 Wrinkles should not be a turn-off, but a magnet that pulls you close enough to to  find confident answers that trump educated guesses any day.

As a good lasagna becomes better after a night in the fridge, so the older woman has been seasoned by life, and her aroma is sweet like the Jesus Who brought her this far. She has not always been as peaceful and God-assured as she is now. Those virtues were forged in the kiln of time. She's ripe for the asking. So, please, ask her!

  Many, however, do not ask. They reinvent the wheel and waste valuable time duplicating mistakes rather than learning from hers.

  Of course wisdom does not always accompany old age. You must consider an individual's worldview and whether she has stayed on God's easel. She doesn't have to be perfect for you to recognize God's workmanship.

All I am saying is this: you and I would do well to drink deeply of the wellspring of wisdom hiding under heads of gray and covered by crinkles and lines. The Word of God provides a map for every life, but an older sister in the faith can be a precious guide for how to walk out those instructions in the hard places, the gray areas, and the jagged terrain of real life.

Talk About It: Who are the older people in your life who can provide godly guidance for you?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When You Feel Overwhelmed

"Two are better than one...if either of them falls down, the other can help him up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to lift him up." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Overwhelmed. Have you been there?

Did you know the Bible uses the same word for overwhelmed as for drowning? 

What are you drowning in today?

Got too many things to do? Wishing you could clone yourself to get it all done?

Maybe your list is just fine, but grief, discouragement,  conflict, fear, or just plain not knowing what to do have grabbed you by the ankles and threatened to yank you to the ocean floor.

 You have too much to lose if you just give up, so what other options do you have?

Cry for help!

You were never meant to go it alone. Enlist the help of dependable people to divide the list, share the heartache, offer advice, or just stand with you. Friendship is God's lifesaver against drowning in discouragement. Grab it! Call a friend. See a counselor. Reach out till you find someone.

Of course you need to call on The Lord for help. If He doesn't pull you out of the water, He'll jump in with you!   Trade yokes and swap burdens with Him. His are easier and lighter, and He tends to throw in a bonus of peace in the exchange. He loves you so much, Dear Friend.

 Don't assume you are crying out to Him just because you're crying. Direct your prayers to Him intentionally. Don't stop till He sends comfort.

It's possible to drown in your own head. You need to get to higher ground where a different perspective can fill you with life-giving encouragement.  If you are overwhelmed, you don't have to stay that way. Cry for help and listen for it. Help is on the way. God is faithful to dispatch a friend or He'll come Himself by His Spirit.

Talk About It: Don't drown in discouragement, tell us how we can pray for you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's OK To Say It!

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:2)

If you had an open yard, and you put up a fence, would you feel guilty?

If your hairstylist put foil on the parts of your hair you don't want colored, would you feel the need to make excuses for those unchanged hairs?

Of course you wouldn't!

Why not? Fences and hair foil are about protection, that's why not.

Why the guilt, then, when you use one of God's greatest protection tools- the word "no"?

It's not a dirty word, it's actually a gift.

When you say no, you are freeing yourself up for God's agenda instead of your own or someone else's.

 Someone makes a request of your time (Would you like to volunteer for the Monster Ministry project?) or your money (Will you support the American Hangnail Society today?) or whatever. To avoid appearing selfish or stingy, you say yes when you should say no.

What's wrong with that?

You create stress for yourself, and worst of all, you embezzle time and resources God earmarked for something else.

Everyday, He entrusts you with whatever you have. You are His steward.

Everyday, someone or something will ask you to expend those whatevers.  I encourage you not to be too quick to say yes without considering what Your Father planned for what's being requested.

At times, yes will be the right answer.

When you must say no, guilt is not appropriate.  Like hair foil and fences, saying no protects what should not be touched. It's part of being a faithful steward.

"No"---it's ok to say it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Everything Is Different Now!

"Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Before, you had no hope.

You had no choice but to give in.

You were a slave with a merciless master.

Your future was bleak, and the best you could do was limp along and muddle through.

Then came The Resurrection, and EVERYTHING changed!

Power replaced weakness.

Dreams that had been out of reach became possible.

Hopelessness would have to find a new address because our Savior's resurrection posted an eviction sign!

Good Friday is a reminder of the high price Jesus paid to purchase your freedom. Now, what are you going to do with it?

A taste of the resurrection should make you never want to go back to mediocrity. Because He lives you can do more than face tomorrow, you can soar and roar today! Fear can come along if it wants to, but it can't have the final say anymore.

Victory is your birthright because Jesus got up. Are you taking hold of it?

What better way to thank Him for what He did than to put what He gave you to good use?

Give Him an incredible return on His investment.

Serve wholeheartedly.

 Love sincerely.

Let the dreams He's put in your heart morph into doing.

Worship with abandon. Believe boldly.

All of these will make Him smile.

Happy Jesus, happy you, right?

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bring It!

2 Cor. 8:12 "For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have."

You have something the world needs, but you think it's not good enough.

Do not waste anymore time downplaying your gift, bring it!

Please stop comparing it to what others have. You won't realize how special it is until you use it.

You may think what you have to offer does not amount to much. In the eyes of those who have nothing or less, what you bring is priceless. Besides, a little given over time adds up, and if you can encourage others to do the same, you create an entire field from each person's blade of grass.

There will always be more need than you can possibly meet. You may never get over the longing to bring more than you have in inventory. Keep in mind that God will not fault you for not giving what you don't have. He does have an issue when you do nothing with what He has granted you. Choose to  delight Him by giving what you can.

  I am becoming convinced that a key strategy of the enemy is to cause us to do nothing just because we can't bring what we dream of offering.
Where does that mindset leave the people who would be perfectly happy with what you bring to the table?

Back to that unique gift of yours.

 Don't belittle it.

Do not hide it.

Don't delay in sharing it until you feel it's perfect.

Bring it! Do it today!

Talk About It: What is one small way you can make a difference in your own unique way today?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fall, Don't Jump

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" Romans 6:1

 Dressed in dazzling costumes, a man and a woman are flying high on a trapeze. They do frightening feats with amazing precision as show lights follow their every move. With craned necks attached to heads angled upwards, the crowds suck in a collective gasp whenever the athletes' hands leave the swinging bars. Everyone understands that gravity never takes a vacation and a tiny slip will send the artists plummeting.

The performers seem fearless. Is it because they know the net below will catch them if they fall? Why don't they just jump to the net since it's there?

They don't jump for the same reason a growing Christian doesn't sin on purpose just because she knows the net of God's grace will catch her.

Jesus came so that you may have abundant life. I am sure that does not involve jumping to the grace net with the excuse that nobody is perfect and God will get over it when we ask for forgiveness. 

What about you? Have you slowly become a jumper? Perhaps a grudge has lingered too long in your heart and has started to sprout roots. Have lies become easier to tell? Maybe you've let your standards slip about gossip or foul language. Have God's commandments become only  suggestions? Have you slowly begun compromising where you once were committed to remain pure? 

If so, your Father says it's time to come back home. It's time to leave the crowded net of jumpers who have quit trying. It is time to allow His Spirit to empower you to once again soar toward Christ-likeness.  

Yes, you will fail sometimes. But let His net of grace catch you because you fell while trying to fly, not because you bypassed the Spirit's gravity (i.e. sin)- defying power and jumped straight to the net. 

Fall, don't jump.

Talk About It: What advantage do you think there is in falling through trying as opposed to being sloppy about your walk with God because His forgiveness is there? Or do you even believe forgiveness is granted if you are not really trying?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ugly Poster Children

"In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

When you think of church, do you think of being beaten up and cussed out? 


As a result, I wanted nothing to do with it. If Christians were in the church and THIS was what the church was turning out, then I wanted nothing to do with church or Christianity.

I avoided going whenever I could.

  I did not know that those church bullies were just UPC's (Ugly  Poster Children)  for Christianity. How was I, as a lost person, to know all Christians were not like that? 

Just to think that their ugly behavior could have caused me to miss Heaven is a sobering thought.

 O don't think that's being melodramatic. How is anyone to know Christ is real if no one loves and lives like He is?

Because of verbal and physical abuse from the UPC's at two churches, I had to be bribed by free ice cream to give church another try. When I got there, the people were kind, friendly,  and accepting. They made me want to return. I became a Christian, and the whole course of my life changed. Their actions had an impact on my hearing and believing Christ's love was more than just religious talk.

   Maybe you haven't thrown any punches or cussed anyone at church. Do  you welcome strangers who come to your church, or do you assume it is somebody else's responsibility?

Do you do the minimal "hello and a handshake" or do you engage them the way you would a guest in your home? 

 Ladies, the Ugly Poster Children are running people away from the church and Christianity.  Please let's determine to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

Let's let our light shine and decrease the UPC population. 

Talk About It: What ways can you let your light shine toward visitors at your church? 

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Devil's Playbook

Be of sober spirit. Your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
I know someone who can't stand you.
Since you gave your heart to Jesus, this someone knows he can't mess with your eternity. All he has left  is your life here and now. In your enemy's efforts to steal, kill, and destroy, he uses intimidators, abusers, and oppressors in your life. You know who they are. And you know who this enemy is, don't you?
The good news is that your Heavenly Father knows who they are too, and in His Word He has given you strategies to overcome every scheme.
From various places in God's Word,  I came up with what I call  the top 5 methods the enemy uses to knock you down and keep you there. Imagine your enemy is having a meeting with the abusers and intimidators  in your life.  On a big screen, he has the following excerpts from his playbook. This meeting is about you. Listen as he reads:
  1. Get into her head and make her give up. Discourage her, and she will become like a puppet on a string. Control is everything!
  1. Play up her weaknesses and don't mention her strengths. This takes persistence  so stay on it!
  1. Lie to her. No lie is too terrible to tell if it will get you what you want.  Rewrite her past so that everything is her fault. You can even tell her God says things about her that aren't really true.  No lie is off limits!
  1. Keep her away from anything and anyone that could help her. Paint those helpers in a bad light or simply make her so afraid, she won't even try to get help.
  1. Pressure her! Play on her emotions, insist on immediate decisions. Never give her time to think things through or to consult wise and dependable friends for advice. Overreact about the slightest mistake so she lives in constant fear and uncertainty. This tears away at her confidence in her ability to make good decisions.
Do you recognize any of these tactics at work in your life?
Daughter of God, how are you going to overcome all of that?
 You are not to be ignorant of the enemy's schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). You need to know who you are in Christ if you are going to win. If you have gotten away from spending daily time reading God's word, please get back to it. It's your daily battle-plan meeting with God and your only hope of standing firm in the face of everything in the devil's playbook.
Talk About It: Look at that list again. What Scriptures would you place beside each one to counteract Satan's plans to bring you down?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Frog In Your Pocket

"In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33
Mama had bought me a pink polyester suit. It sounds ugly now, but a pink polyester suit with pretty flowers embroidered   on the  front pocket was a delight to a fourth grade girl back then. I remember my excitement at wearing my new outfit and the special curls my mother put in my hair to make me look extra cute.
At school, students had to wait  in the parking lot for the doors to open, so we amused ourselves to pass the time. That day, the boys discovered a frog and started tossing him around like a an egg in an egg-toss. Grossed out at the thought of even seeing a frog, I kept my distance. Somehow the air-born frog   landed in the pocket of my new suit!
 EEEK! I was horrified! I panted in disgust as one of the boys reached into my pocket to retrieve the frog. Grateful when the bell rang and the doors opened, I recall processing what happened. Why did such a thing happen to me? What had I done wrong to deserve having that frog fall in my direction? It sounds silly now, but don't we still ask God the same kinds of questions when hard times seem to have hand-picked us?
I offer three truths to encourage you.
First off, why does a bad thing happening to us have to mean we did something wrong? God has told us that bad stuff is part of life for everyone (Job 5:7).
Second, if you are a Christian, your pocket is extra big  for catching trouble because Jesus in you automatically puts you on Satan's radar. Peter admonished us to not behave as if something strange were happening to us when we undergo trials(1 Peter 4:12). It's part of being in the Family.
Third, (and this is the best part) Jesus warned us that troubles would come, and in the next breath He reassured  us (can't you hear the love in His voice?) that we can be of good cheer because He has power over the whole arena where the battle is happening.
So what is the frog in your pocket?
Financial, marital, or health problems? Stress at work, at home, or at church?
 Whatever it is, resist the urge to think it's not fair and shouldn't be happening to you. Choose instead to take hold of Jesus who is in this trouble with you. He's got you and your frog in His pocket!  Is there any better or safer place to be?
Talk About It: Which of the three truths do you most need to keep in mind when difficult times come?
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stubborn Sin Update

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. James 1:14

Back in January, I shared that I had a stubborn sin I wanted to finally gain victory over in 2014. I was doing so well and was excited at what I was learning (well, relearning) about gaining victory over a sin that has plagued me for years. I began crying out to God in earnest to help me whenever the temptation grew intense.  Remembering His promise to always provide a way of escape, I realized the escape hatch has always been there, I just didn’t want to take it. This time I took it, and it felt good to win for a change. Yaay Me, and thank you Jesus!

But then I fell. 

Enter guilt sprinkled with a little depression.

Know what I learned? I had locked all the doors to my temptation, but I left a window open. See, I didn’t realize it, but I had a loophole in my heart I didn’t know was there. It read something like, “It’s wrong, wrong, wrong to EVER give in to this temptation… unless… you are especially down or tired or hungry or angry or (fill in your loophole).”  Looking back, I see how the Tempter whispered, “Hey, these are special circumstances. Nobody would blame you for taking the edge off just this once. “  Because I had left that tiny window open, sin slithered in.

Friends, we’ve got to lock all the windows, plug up any air holes, and bolt every door. We must have a made-up mind. By God’s grace, my heart is now air-tight. No more excuses.

What about you? How are you faring in your battle against your toughest sin? What have you discovered in your journey? I’d love to hear from you.