Thursday, December 31, 2020

Your body's lamp

The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34 NKJV) 

In a little over twelve hours from now, we'll enter a new year. A year in which we all pray will be better than this one. A year in which we've set new goals and cast new visions. A year in which we desire God to guide our steps.

In Luke 11:34, the Bible tells us that our eyes are the lamp of our bodies, therefore, what we allow in determines the status of our spiritual health. I'd like to encourage you to guard what you allow into your spirit, what you read, what you watch, and what you see. Though so many little things can seem insignificant, they often mount into something much greater and having a larger impact than we expected. Some books, TV shows, social media posts, etc. may be innocent, but it all plays a part in forming your thoughts and bringing forth either light or darkness within.

So, protect your lamp so that you won't dim the light within. Protect it by filling it with God's Word. And six months from now, you'll still hold fast to the vigor and zest you had for the new year, no matter what comes your way. 

What are you looking forward to the most in 2021?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Too busy for Thanksgiving

 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:17-18 NIV)

In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten men with leprosy. Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem when the men called out to Jesus from a distance and asked that He have pity on them. Jesus spoke to them and said to go show yourselves to the priests. As they were on their way, they were healed. Of the ten, One of them saw that he was healed, turned around, delayed his trip to see the priests and subsequently his family, so that he could tell Jesus thank you.

Jesus questioned the whereabouts of the other nine. Like we can be at times, they were too excited about what God had done and didn't make time to say thank you. Perhaps they assumed Jesus knew they were thankful? Perhaps they figured they'd express their gratitude later?

So about that new job, healing from covid, protection from covid, food on the table for Thanksgiving and every other day, shelter, clothing, necessities, peace, material things we don't need, protection of unseen danger, God's love, and so many other things - let's not get so caught up in it all that we become too busy or comfortable that we don't take a moment to say thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

 Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. (Psalm 40:5)

Monday, November 16, 2020


Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:48 NKJV)

But he cried out all the more... I could not get the image of a crying baby out of my mind as I read this. If you have any experience with babies, at some point, you've tried to console them with a shhhh and cradle rock, but the child kept crying (probably louder) because it had a need that hadn't been met. 

Now in the above Scripture reference, blind Bartimaeus cried louder despite those around him trying to keep him quiet, because, like that image of a crying child, his need hadn't been met. This thought lingered in my heart for a while. What or who do I allow to shush me? What about you?

Could it be people? The current environment trying to make me believe that God doesn't care? My sin that screams I don't deserve God's mercy? Unbelief that God will do what I ask?

There are many internal and external things that attempt to grab us by the throat and force our silence. But not today, satan! I encourage you to push past anything that wants to quiet you! If you continue reading Mark 10, Jesus asked Bartimaeus, What do you want Me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51) Bartimaeus asked for his sight and Jesus granted it to him with the response, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." (Mark 10:52)

What if Bartimaeus had gotten quiet when the folks around him tried to shush him? Tucked his head between his legs and allowed Jesus to walk on by? What if he'd never shown his faith? He would have remained blind.

The enemy wants you to remain quiet and keep your faith to yourself because in doing so, God doesn't get any glory. My friend, allow your faith to make you well - live it and cry out all the more!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Help my unbelief

 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:22-24 emphasis added)

In the Scripture text, a man took his son with a mute spirit to Jesus' disciples for healing. This spirit would throw him down to the ground and have him foaming at the mouth and gnashing his teeth. (v. 17-18) Can you imagine? His disciples weren't able to heal the boy and I suppose this caused the man to question whether or not the boy's healing could actually happen. Because, how could the people who hung out with Jesus every day not help? 

By the time the man meets Jesus, he says, But if you can do anything. I had to pause and meditate here. What's up with the "if?" He had to believe Jesus and/or disciples could do something because he took the boy to them. But his experience taught him that perhaps healing wasn't possible. I had to ask myself if that's my attitude in approaching Jesus. Is that your mentality?

Jesus responds by telling the man his son's healing rests on his belief. Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." The father admitted he wrestled with unbelief and asked Jesus to help his unbelief.

Have you been wrestling with unbelief? I can imagine that the current events may have something to do with that or perhaps you have something more personal you're dealing with. 

Certain things hinder our belief: circumstances, experience, change. We often fear change. To believe Jesus can do anything and that all things are possible means that things will be different after healing takes place or prayers are answered.  It means we will have to do some things differently: be different,  think different, speak different, believe different. And that can be hard because we've been holding on to a certain pattern, sin, etc. for so long. We want Jesus to make us new and believe He can, but that often requires something of us.

Earlier this year, I decided to lose weight. For me, that meant giving up the cookies, cakes, and bread that I loved and craved. I had to be different. If you've ever attempted weight loss, you know it isn't easy because oftentimes, the excess weight is a culmination of bad habits. I'd been "losing" weight for a year before that time, without result. Why? All things are possible, right? I believed Jesus would help me maintain portion control. But that wasn't enough, I had to put my belief in action.

Your belief, your faith requires action from you. The weight loss is a rather simple experience compared to something heavier you may be battling with, but I'd like to encourage you to look within. What's hindering your belief? Time? Waiting can be a downer but stay the course. Whatever is hindering you, remember Jesus can help with that, too. Just ask.  All things are possible to him who believes.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Fear of rejection

 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:2-6a NIV)

As I read the above passage of Scripture, I could visualize the whispers among the people. In present day, it would sound more like, "Who does He think He is? Ain't He Mary's Son from down the street working as a carpenter?" They were probably shooting slugs about his brothers and sisters, too. I'm sure you know how the gossip mill works.

But do we allow the gossip to keep us from sharing who God is in our lives or His love for us and others? Most of us have at least one person in our lives right now who need Jesus, but who we are and what we've done prevents us from sharing the Good News of salvation because of our past.

Do you fear you may be rejected? Truth is, you may be rejected, but you would have planted a seed, a seed that someone may come along and water in that person's life. Jesus was also rejected, in His hometown! We would think that would be the place He'd be most welcome, but that wasn't the case. So if Jesus faced rejection, you and I can count on it, but we shouldn't let that stop us. Just think of the state we'd be in if Jesus stopped preaching and teaching the Gospel, or eventually decided not to die on the cross because of man's rejection of Him?

Even more jacked up today.

But the great news is He didn't allow that rejection to stop His ministry. He knew His purpose and I pray that you know yours, and if not, that you'll seek Him for it. God is forever pursuing you and desires intimacy with you. Pray that He leads and guides your steps and help you to overcome any fear you're facing that prevents you from being who He has called you to be.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What's keeping you away?

 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. (Mark 2:4NKJV)

Here we have a paralytic man whose friends took him to Jesus for healing. First of all, what a great group of friends! Right? Friends who saw his need and had enough compassion to take action.

But that's not what I want to talk about today, but I thought it worth pointing out. We all need friends like that.

When the friends made it to the place where Jesus was, they couldn't get through to him, so they took the roof off the building to get their friend to Jesus. Again, great friends! Talking about not letting anything stop them from getting where they needed to be - a great example here.

We live in a country where we're free to worship and have access to God through Jesus, but the question comes to mind - what do we allow to keep us from Jesus? In the text, the friends had a physical barrier to overcome, but what about us? For the majority of us, I'd say the barriers are spiritual and mental, whether it's fear of the unknown, sin, perceived busyness from daily activities, or lack of relationship with Jesus. The good news is that Jesus is filled with compassion, ready and willing to forgive, and desires an intimate personal relationship with His children.

Today, I encourage you to ask Jesus' help in tearing down anything that keeps you away from an intimate relationship with Him.

P.S. My new Bible study is available now!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Pursuit (Exploring God's Endless Quest for My Heart)

Instead of our regularly scheduled devotional, I'd like to take a moment to share more with you about Pursuit, my Bible study that releases on October 15, 2020. 

Here's a short video explaining what to expect!

Monday, September 14, 2020


“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:12-14 NIV)

What is the last thing you turned your house upside down to find? Keys? Though you have a set of spare keys. An earring? Though you have a jewelry box filled with earrings. (I know what you're thinking here. Yea, I have more but none of them match the one I lost or the one I lost is my favorite pair.) Was it the remote control? A pen? Though you have a drawer full of them.

For me, I believe it was a hair accessory. I rummaged through my bathroom drawers several times before I found it. And though I have others, I needed to find the one that was missing. I couldn't let myself walk away knowing I had somehow lost it. Or maybe it was nail polish? Either way, the same mindset applies.

To anyone else, I'm sure I seemed crazy for spending so much time searching for one small item, but it was important to me. The same can be said about you and me in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. We are important to God. When our hearts and ways are far from Him, He cares. It is in those times that we are the "one lost sheep" He will seek to bring back into His loving arms, even when the world will throw us away.

Be encouraged in knowing that even if it's only you that God needs to restore unto Him, He will do what it takes. My friend, you are loved by God.

I'm excited to share that, Pursuit, my new Bible study, will be available on 10/15/20. Pre-order it now:

Monday, September 7, 2020

I Come to the Garden Alone (Part 3) - What's holding you back?

 Isaiah 6:1-8 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
    The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Is there something you've done that keeps you out of God's presence?

Isaiah says he saw the Lord high and lifted up which tells us two things: He was in the presence of God and he saw God’s dominion. And being in the presence of God in all of His glory showed Isaiah how unclean or sinful he really was. Isaiah says in v. 5 “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” He’s like I’m unclean, my lips are filthy. He started thinking of everything he’d done and began to deem himself unworthy to be in God’s presence. Lord, I’ve said ugly things about my brother or sister in Christ. I’ve cursed. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated, and my crew does the same thing - I live among the same kind of people. But yet you’ve still allowed me to be here.

And this is my favorite part, v. 6-7 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”

No matter what you’ve done, your guilt has been removed. Believing Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead removes your sin. You have a clean slate. So don’t allow what you’ve done, any guilt or shame to keep you from making yourself available. Psalm 103:12 reminds us that, “He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.” That’s far. Where does the east and west even begin and end? We’ll never know and just how awesome is that? God is not holding on to it, so neither should you.

Think about King David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and tried to cover it up when she became pregnant by bringing her husband back from battle to sleep with her to make it seem as if the baby was her husband's. Then he set him up to be killed! That’s terrible, right? But yet, God still used David in a mighty way, in fact, Jesus was born in the lineage of David. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart.

Or consider Saul, who persecuted Christians and the church. I don’t know if there’s anything you could have done that’s worse than that because to me, that would seem like the ultimate reason for God to disown Him forever, but after Saul’s encounter in God’s presence, he made himself available. See Acts 9:1-18. 

We know Saul’s story. God even changed his name to Paul and he went on to do great things for the kingdom of God, preaching and winning souls for Christ. So no matter what you’ve done, don’t allow it to hinder you from entering the presence of God. Oftentimes when we have sinned, we choose that time to step away from God, when we should actually be drawing closer to him so He may cleanse us and renew our mind and spirit. So today, I encourage you to take the first step in making yourself available by entering the garden alone to pray.


Monday, August 31, 2020

I Come to the Garden Alone (Part 2)

 Matthew 26: 36-39 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.  He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Prayer time is preparation, a recharge. We have to prepare our spirit and our mind for the attack of the enemy. All the enemy needs is one little opening and he’s all in. So Jesus encourages us and His disciples in v. 41 when He says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Have you ever used the rechargeable batteries? Not sure if they’re still on the market, but they never lasted too long without needing to be recharged, at least mine didn’t. I almost had to recharge them daily or else, if I was listening to a CD player, the song would start to drag before the batteries gave out. What would happen to your spiritual resolve if you didn’t recharge? You’d probably be cursing somebody out in traffic by the end of the day because you didn’t recharge, you probably wouldn’t even be listening to your praise music to keep your mind right. 


See that’s just the opening the enemy is looking for. Or you’d be home upset with your spouse or children over the most insignificant thing, (example?)see that’s an opening. Remember that the enemy is constantly seeking a way to kill, steal, and destroy your spirit. Prepare so that you don’t let Him in. Remember go a little further in prayer and prepare your spirit at all times.

So have you ever felt groggy or like you just needed a day off or away from everything to clear your mind? That’s likely an indicator that you need to recharge and spend more time in God’s presence. 

Tired? Recharge with God.

Frustrated? Recharge with God.

Anxious? Recharge with God.

Depressed? Recharge with God.

Need direction? Recharge with God.

Lonely? Recharge with God.

Afraid? Recharge with God.

Confused? Recharge with God.

Need comfort? Recharge with God.

We can go all day with this, but the crux of the matter is that answers are found in time alone in God’s presence. Though we know this, it is often neglected, rushed through, or low on our priority list.

One key thing through Jesus’ prayer throughout the text was that He rested in God. He trusted in Him. We know this because He was mature enough to say, not My will, but Your will be done. In order to get to a place where we are in agreement with God’s will, we have to have a personal relationship with Him, and relationships are built by spending time with one another. 

So my encouragement for you today is to go beyond your normal routine with God. Take your relationship to the next level by spending intentional time with Him. (That’s what we do when we’re in love, we’re constantly spending time with and talking to our mate) Spend more time in His presence alone and pray without ceasing. If you’ve been looking for answers or needing to hear from God, get in His Word and in prayer. Remember that God speaks through His Word. This is how you set yourself up to make yourself available to Him. It begins in His presence - communing with Him, listening to His voice and direction. God never asked us to be perfect, but He does need our availability in order to use us. James 4:7-8 says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” See that’s a promise from God. He will draw close if we draw close. God is waiting on us to move toward Him.

Monday, August 24, 2020

I Come to the Garden Alone (Part 1)

 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.  He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26: 36-39)

Sometimes we can become so troubled that we need to take our prayer time with God to the next level or go a little deeper or go a step further as Jesus did in v. 39. It says, “He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” See, His disciples started with Him but scripture says that He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. So for Jesus in this text, going a little further meant stepping away from His disciples, going to God alone and pouring His heart out. Though He knew what He was called to do, that didn’t stop Him from feeling overwhelmed, afraid, or even wanting God to change His mind about sending Him to the cross.

Our burdens are not even close to what Jesus was experiencing but we can learn from Him. It is okay to be scared or overwhelmed with sorrow sometimes but we must know that we need to take that sorrow to God. We’re often quick to tell our sisters to pray for us and yet do not take the time to pray for ourselves. There are times when those closest to you just can’t quite grasp how heavy your burden is or how badly you need God to move in your life. Look at the disciples. Jesus had an “I NEED YOU NOW” situation. He asked his disciples to pray, and yet they went to sleep. Sometimes our friends “sleep” on praying for us. Not in the literal sense, but because they don’t do so with urgency or don’t pray as fervently like we need them to.

In this text, Jesus went to God three times, back to back, about the same thing. And this just brings to mind that sometimes life can be so tough that our only option is to stay on our face in prayer.

Some situations require us to step outside of our normal daily prayer routine. Or even our daily routine. This could mean skipping out on the next gathering (which I hope you're not gathering at this time anyway), turning off the TV & internet, powering off the cell phones, and giving that time to God.

But what do you do when it seems you don’t have the extra time to go a little further? I mean from the moment you’re out of bed until you’re back in it again, your day is filled with activities and things to do. You’re just so busy. I can recall about five years ago, I started getting up an hour earlier than normal just so that I could pray and meditate on God’s Word. At the time, my oldest daughter was five and we know that kids that age have questions about everything. Well, she started getting up early as well and I would send her back to bed. And she’s like, its morning and you’re up. Why do I have to go back to bed and why would you want to be up all by yourself? She wanted to be my company I guess, but what she didn’t understand is that I already had company; I wasn’t alone. And since she started waking up early, I had to start getting up even earlier until that wasn’t working and I started staying up late at night. So whatever going a step further in your prayer time looks like for you -whether that’s waking up early, using your lunch break or staying up late, take some time to go the extra step in seeking God. And it doesn’t matter if you’re currently going through a rough spot in life or not we all need a daily refreshing of being in God’s Word and in prayer.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Why Did You Doubt?

 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31 NKJV)

This is quite a familiar passage of Scripture, Peter walking on water and sinking when his focus shifted to his surroundings instead of Jesus. Peter is often used as an example of lacking faith in this instance, which he did, but I think we ought to cut him some slack, right? He was in unchartered territory. It isn't like he was going around walking on water everyday. No, he asked Jesus in verse 28, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

Jesus called him and he went. I think it takes a great amount of faith to step out of the boat in the first place, not knowing what would happen, but trusting that Jesus would care for him. It is not unnatural to get distracted by our surroundings, but we can't get stuck in our distractions. Immediately Peter called out to Jesus to save him and He did.

We've all had doubting moments in our lives, but today I ask, "Why did YOU doubt?" Was it because of external circumstances? Lack of faith? Unchartered territory?

After I read this, I sat and thought for a moment to answer this question for myself. Obviously there are many times, but I want to share this one time with you:

About ten and a half years ago, I was recently married, pregnant, and out of work. Not exactly the way I imagined starting my newly married life. My husband and I were both working at our church full-time when they decided to make cuts. I was one of three people who were cut that weekend before Valentine's Day. Now, I had left my job at a big four accounting firm to go work at my church so I was disheveled when I received my walking papers. 

How could this be? Surely God had opened that door for a reason, right?

Given my background in accounting, I thought surely I could quickly find a new job. I even considered going back into public accounting for a while! Eeek! Desperation, right?

As my belly continued to grow, so did my job search. I interviewed here and there. As my belly grew and I went to interview after interview, I received weird stares. A time or two I was asked when I expected to start work and how long did I think I'd need to be out after having a baby. I'm certain my bump played a part in me not getting hired a time or two.

But then a friend of mine forwarded me a job announcement for a position with a government agency. I applied and received a notification that I would be hearing from someone about an interview. Yay! Well, things in the federal government can take a while, a long while. So after about three to four weeks, I reached out and received a response saying if I hadn't heard anything by now then they've hired someone else. Go to usajobs and apply for something else!


After repeatedly applying and interviewing, I was at my wit's end. The year was halfway over and I'd already given birth. The constant no was unchartered territory for me. I started to doubt and wonder if God was leading me to be a stay-at-home-mom. Sidebar: I love my children, but I don't think I'm made for stay-at-home-mom-life. :-)

Doubt and uncertainty crept in. I knew that I would find a job again, but when? I could have started writing at this time but there were too many unknowns. 

Fast forward a couple of weeks later. I received a phone call about that government position late one evening. They wanted to interview me the next day! Problem was, my husband would be at work and I didn't have a babysitter. I attempted to reschedule but the manager insisted that it had to be the following morning. The kicker is that she allowed me to interview over the phone. I thought there would be no way they'd hire me from a phone interview.

But they did. I received a call later that same afternoon. :-)

I wanted to share this story because we are all facing uncertainty right now, not knowing how things will look on the other side of the issues we face. No matter what's going on in your life, I encourage you to look back on a time when you doubted God and consider why. Then focus on how God worked in your life.

The same God who called Peter to walk on water, and subsequently saved him from drowning is the same God at work in our lives today. Have faith that He'll save you again, my friend!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

What will it take?

Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matthew 11: 20- 21 NKJV)

As I read this, the question, What will it take, came to mind. In the above-referenced Scripture, many miraculous things took place in those cities, but the people weren't moved by them. Not moved enough to change, repent, and give their hearts to God. If you continue reading the next couple of verses, Jesus says that even Sodom (remember how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin?) would still exist if these mighty works had been done there.

Why is it easier for us to believe or cling to negative thoughts or the evil happening around us as opposed to the good? The God things? The holy things? The miraculous? Why aren't those happenings taking root in our soul? In the passage of Scripture, they chose not to believe and repent, and we are often the same way.

This is really random, but as a child, I didn't get as many whoopings or spankings as my cousins. Why? Usually, they got in trouble first! And after seeing what happened to them, I didn't want to experience the same outcome so I got my act together before I got in trouble. lol. 

As I consider that thought, unfortunately, as adults, we don't always learn from the mistakes of others. Some of us need to personally experience hurt and pain to get the picture. To run to God. To trust in His truths.

Make it personal: What will it take for you to give your [insert issue here] and heart to God? What's holding you back? 

Consider everything happening in the world around us. Can you see God at work? Take a few moments to look back over your life, can you see God at work? Has He done enough to encourage you to follow Him? If not, what will it take for you to repent and give your heart to God?

Monday, August 3, 2020

Are you uncomfortable?

"And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region." (Matthew 8:34)

As I read the above Scripture, I thought, why would they want Jesus to leave their area? So I meditated on this for a moment and then it hit me. Jesus made them uncomfortable. Scared. Fearful. What we do not understand, often evolves into fear, unfortunately.

In the previous verses, Jesus had just healed two demon-possessed men. In fact, he cast the demons into a herd of swine, causing them to run off into the sea, killing themselves. The people who were keeping the sheep fled and told everyone what had just happened and that's when the folks came to see Jesus.

Who is this man, right? What is He doing here? How did He do that? We don't understand and we don't want Him here causing trouble so He must go.

An interesting train of thought when you really think about it. Whenever Jesus is doing something in our lives that makes us uncomfortable, we're quite the same. We may not say, go away with our lips, but our actions will do the talking for us. It is manifested in our disobedience to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit or God's Word. It is when we intentionally act out against what we know to be true.

The Good News is that God still loves us and is giving us chance after chance to get it right. If God is doing something in our life that makes you uncomfortable, I encourage you to run closer to Him and not further away. Remember that ultimately, God wants your heart and desires a relationship with you. I believe everything that happens in our lives can be reconciled to that fact.

Prayer: Ask God to search your heart and reveal to you any area where you may be running from Him because of discomfort, fear, or uncertainty. After He has revealed it to you, I encourage you to be intentional in pressing in toward God and surrendering that area of your life to him. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The small things

“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” (Zechariah 4:10)

In the above-referenced Scripture, The Lord was encouraging His people from despising what seemed small in the rebuilding of the temple.

We often ignore the small things that appear to be unimportant, but yet have the greatest impact if missing or not functioning. Big toe, baby toe, tongue. What about tasks? Washing dishes or scrubbing toilets? Or what about having experience in your career field but having to start at the entry-level? Or what about ministry? You really want that solo but instead, you have to sing in the choir for years before you're ever handed a mic? Or maybe you've been called to preach/teach, but somehow you're serving in the infant room every Sunday during church service?

Or shoot, look at what's happening around us. Could this be a time of rebuilding? Though it is uncomfortable, I challenge you to be still and see the value in the "small things."

God is always moving, even when it doesn't seem like it. Stand in hope that the small things are part of His big master plan. Don't despise them because they have purpose. Instead, ask God what He wants you to learn in the small things.

Monday, July 20, 2020

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me, 
and what answer I am to give to this complaint. (Habukkuk 2:1)

Habukkuk is questioning God about what he sees before him - the destruction of Judah, the lack of justice, and evil prevailing. Why isn't God stepping in? God does answer the prophet with a response that gave me pause. See verse 1:5. God is working but told Habakkuk that he wouldn't believe His work even if He told him.

"God, why aren't you doing anything" can be the cry of many of our hearts during this time. Is evil prevailing? Why is our justice system broken? Lord, where are you in the midst of this madness?

God is a Holy and just God. I believe He is working. And as in verse 5, we wouldn't believe what He was doing if He told us. Though what we perceive as normal has been twisted upside down, that doesn't change who God is. In fact, everything changes except God. There is an appointed time for every season of life (see Ecclesiastes 3), we must only trust in God's love and character. Habukkuk 2:4 reminds us that the just (us, God's children) shall live by faith.

Our faith, our hope, is not in things of the world, a government, a church, or any other institution, but in the Lord Jesus, our Savior. He is loving and He cares for His children; so don't be weary in doing the right thing, but keep a posture of love, humility, hope, and peace. Be led by your faith in Christ Jesus. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Running to God's voice

 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. (Jonah 1:3)

Jonah's story is familiar. God gave him a direct command and he ignored it, hoping to flee from God. Is that even possible? This was my Bible study recently, and I want to share my notes/thoughts of encouragement/observations.

*Run to God's voice and not away from Him when He speaks. Even when what he has said seems scary, trust Him.

*There is no place we can go to escape the Lord. He is omnipresent.

*My disobedience can cause storms in other people's lives and vice versa. Is there anyone in my life running from God?

*It's funny how Jonah was the person to cause the trouble, yet he was on the boat resting peacefully during the storm. (Think about that)

*If the crew knew Jonah was running from God (Jonah told them so), why did they allow Him on the boat? Money? Because they didn't know God or His power? (Have you encouraged disobedience in the life of those around you?)

*Only after the storm did they question Jonah about who he was. He told them to throw him over the ship, yet they refused and the storm became rougher. Once they finally overthrew Him, the storm calmed. They vowed to serve God after this. I suppose Jonah running wasn't all bad. Several men were saved that day and witnessed the power of God because of Jonah's disobedience.

Though God can use even our disobedience to draw others to Him, we shouldn't make it a practice to walk in our own way. My sincere prayer for you and me is that we'll make it a practice to run to God's voice and not in the opposite direction.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Let love lead

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

I recall the story of Daniel in the lion's den but it had been so long since I've read it that I'd forgotten the details. He was sent to the lion's den because other nobles who were jealous of him, tricked the king into signing a decree that anyone who prayed to any God for the next 30 days would be thrown in the lion's den. This decree backfired on those who tried to destroy Daniel.

*The enemy tried to tear down/attack Daniel's faith. His accusers knew that he was faithful and they knew this trick was sure to get him destroyed by lions. They were partially right. The decree worked, but they didn't count on God saving Daniel. They didn't know God's power.

*God is faithful. There are times when things don't turn out well like they did for Daniel, but one thing we do know is that God is faithful. He honors those who honor Him! God will not forsake the righteous - His chosen ones. And we are made righteous through the blood of Jesus.

*Don't be jealous. Sounds simple, but those feelings can creep in and cause you to do crazy things that can/will backfire. See the folks who set the trap for Daniel? Well, they ended up in the lion's den and suffered the exact fate they had planned for Daniel.

*Our decisions affect those around us. Not only were those men thrown in the lion's den, but so were their wives and innocent children. Be careful not to do crazy stuff that will harm the innocent.

*God protecting Daniel in the lion's den drew others to Him and taught them about His power. I'm certain that was an uncomfortable situation for Daniel, but sometimes God allows us to go through stuff so that His power can be demonstrated.

This coronavirus business is madness, but at the end of it, I see more of God's people returning to Him and honoring His name. Everyone is suffering, some way more than others, but we know suffering brings about endurance. (Romans 5:3-5). We must love one another. Daniel 6 would not have happened if love was leading the nobles.
#ChooseLove #ChooseJesus

Thursday, May 21, 2020

I may not show it, but I'm still grateful

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don't let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14)

I may not show it, but I'm still grateful... said my nine-year-old to me last night after I fussed at her and her younger brother about their lack of gratitude. At that moment, I was out of words. I simply blinked...slowly, then turned to walk away. All I could think was how in the world can you be grateful and NOT show it?

You know how children are? Toys that they plead for and finally receive, are found under sofas, in between cushions, or simply lying around on the floor like they mean nothing. Naked dolls. Matted hair. Action-figures missing pieces. Stuff like that. I don't know about you, but nothing about that says, "I'm grateful."

But then I began to think about this a little more. Am I the same way with my Heavenly Father? I don't want my sentiments with Him to mirror my child's. I want to show my thanksgiving to Him and not just give Him lip service. I want my heart and my actions to be in alignment. I'm sure there are things that I've asked for and received that I may not always seem grateful for. What about you? Promotion? Help out of undesirable circumstances? Opening up your womb to have children? A new car? Ministry? Healing? Whatever that thing may be, my prayer for you, me, and this child of mine, is that we'll be grateful and our actions will show it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for being Jehovah-Jireh, our provider, for You have provided so much for us in our lives. Help us to never lose sight of Your place in our lives and Your love for us. May our heart, mind, and spirit be in alignment to show our honor and thanks to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Don't Forget

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:8-9 NLT)

I don't know about you, but when Facebook first introduced the On This Day feature, it was kind of creepy. Actually, it still is rather creepy to see anything you post on Facebook will show up on the yearly anniversary of the original post date, right? However, depending on what you post, it can be a good thing.

A few days ago, a picture popped up in my timeline reminding me of a sermon titled, "Don't forget."(See picture below) At the end of the sermon, we were encouraged to take a picture and post it to social media so that it would appear in our memories. When it popped up, I went to look up the Scripture and I was simply in awe at the reminder, especially in our current environment.

Surely with the rise in numbers of people contracting the virus, the deaths, the lack of toilet paper, and the shenanigans happening at the grocery store, it may seem to us like God has forgotten about us and that He is being slow to act, but we can find encouragement in 2 Peter 3:8-9. His promises are still good and He hasn't forgotten about us. In fact, His Word tells us that He doesn't want anyone to be destroyed (eternally separated from Him), but that He wants us all to repent.

Father in Heaven, we praise Your name in spite of everything happening around us. Help us to keep our hearts and minds focused on You. Forgive us of our sinful thoughts, deeds, and ways and give us strength and courage to return to You. Strengthen our spirit and body. Guide us in Your truth. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

You must go

  Jeremiah 1:5-9 NLT "I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”  Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.”

As I meditated on these verses this morning, I couldn't help but think about the virus that plagues our nation at this very moment. I'd honestly rather hear less about it, but its news is everywhere I turn and affecting so many people. It can be downright depressing. However, the great news is that none of this surprises God.

As we learn in today's verse, He knew us before we were even formed in our mother's womb. (Take a moment and meditate on that fact.) Before my mom conceived me, God knew me, my decisions, and the person I would turn out to be. Considering that He knew me, tiny me, in the midst of this great universe, surely He knew that this virus would come. He knows what we have to go through and when/how this will all end. Even as we all go through this together, we have to remember that we, God's children, have been appointed to speak life and to keep our hope in Him, regardless of what we see around us.

Though you may have an excuse for why you can't speak up for God, perhaps like Jeremiah, you think you're too young or too old, not enough knowledge of God's Word, or too shy, know that God will give you the words to say. By no means am I advocating misquoting scripture or trying to come up with things to say, but I believe that in the right timing, God will give you the right words for the person(s) they're meant for. Today's Scripture is a great reminder that God will put words in our mouths! As God's children, this is certainly time for us to be light in this dark world.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your goodness and mercy. Thank you for your sovereignty. Even in the midst of this chaos, we will still praise Your name because You are worthy. Guide us so that we may be the light of the world and the salt of the earth that You have called us to be. Strengthen us in Your truth that You are all-knowing and all power is still in Your hands. Protect Your children with Your Holy hands. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

#IStillBelieve #TellYourStory

A couple of hours ago, my husband and I went to an advanced screening to see I Still Believe.
In case you haven't heard anything about it, it's a new movie based on Jeremy Camp's early years as a musician, sort of. I was choked up most of the movie trying to hold back tears. I left the theater with a headache because I fought the tears. I knew if I let them loose, I wouldn't be able to stop. Thinking about it now makes me want to cry.

Without spoiling the movie, I'd say One big takeaway for me is that we should all tell our story and if only one life has changed because of it, then what we've gone through would all be worth it. God gets the glory. Often what we go through isn't for us, but for the growth of others, to draw them closer to Christ. Depending on the level of difficulty, this can be a tough pill to swallow.

But as I pondered my takeaway, I started to think of my story. What is it that I could share with the world? What is it about my life that would draw someone closer to Christ? I don't have a sad, heartbreaking story. But is that the only thing that draws others to Christ? Heartbreak and difficulty?

God has kept me. What do I mean by that? I've done some crazy things in my life, but not too crazy. There've been times when I've crossed the line, but I quickly turned around. Imagine life with a toddler who you're constantly yelling, "aht aht!" Yea, those aren't real words, but we say them to get the toddler to change direction. Too hot! Too dangerous! Too cold! Too sharp! Too close to the edge!

Many years ago after starting college, I can recall one of my "church mothers" calling to check on me as I was heading out of town to do something I shouldn't have been doing. Maybe she knew. Maybe she didn't. But I believe that was a warning from God to turn around. I was going too far left. Did I turn around? Literally? No. But her call changed the course of my weekend, I think. "aht aht!"

I can recall when my college classes first began and I wanted to hang out on the plaza. Don't judge me. Everything was fresh and new and I wanted to see what was going on. My new friend wouldn't have it. She looked me squarely in the face and said she wouldn't go with me because she wasn't majoring in Plaziology 101. "aht aht!"

Wrong guy for you. Let him leave. "aht aht!"

The next time you might kill yourself and your friend driving drunk. Be sober. This is not the life I have for you. "aht aht!"

Turn around and take heed to your friend's story. I sent her to you for a reason. "aht aht!"

I have many "aht aht" stories...stories where God let me know many times that He was right there with me when I wanted to do something crazy, but instead, He gave me the courage and grace to turn around. The more I think about it, I guess these were immature times when I hoped God wasn't quite watching and I wanted to test the waters. But God is faithful and I'm thankful for that.

God has kept me. God has proved to me over and over again that He's with me and that He hears and answers my prayers. There are many times that He answers prayers that I haven't even taken the time to pray about. Faithful. He loves me and I am so grateful that He shows me over and over again.

No matter what your story is, I encourage you to share it and the love of God. You don't know who it may help. If it can help only one person, then it would all be worth it. And no matter what, keep the faith. :-)

God has kept me and He'll do the same for you!

Go see the movie and take some tissues so that you won't walk away with a headache like I did. #IStillBelieve