Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

Slow to Speak

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 
But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.  Mark 14:61

I sat in that meeting surrounded by men.  I was the only woman on the coaching staff and that alone put me at a disadvantage.  But I never have had an issue with being “the only one.”  I frequently have found myself in the position of being the youngest, the woman, the questioning, the sober, the only one to say “no.”  So that evening was no exception.  What was uncomfortable was the man in front of the room threatening me.  He also threatened to have the softball program thrown out of the community center if I remained a coach.  

Something inside my head told me to do something I rarely do – keep silent.  I typically will speak up and defend myself but it was almost as though tape were placed over my mouth.  Partially out of a sense of shock and fear that this man might physically attack me and partially because of that voice I remained quiet as he ranted and raved.

When the ranter was out of steam, the president of the league stood up and with his large physical presence made it clear the man was done and needed to leave.  A vote was taken and I stayed part of the coaching staff.  When the meeting came to an end I was shocked again when the other men, many who had rarely given me the time of day, approached me and congratulated me on standing strong and being so “tough.”  As I walked to my car that night my legs turned to jelly and I collapsed in my car in tears.  The ranter’s words were painful but the words of congratulations also overwhelmed me.  I had finally done something they could all respect.  And it was all because I listened to that small voice to keep quiet.

Even though I experienced success that evening with my silence it can drive me bonkers reading how Jesus took the abuse from the Pharisees.  Of course, unlike Him, I couldn’t rain hellfire down on my accuser and work a miracle.  But Jesus knew exactly when to speak and when to stay silent.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... James 1:19

And that’s my topic this week on being resolute in Christ – when to act or speak and when to rest or be silent.  Because frequently doing the exact opposite of what the world expects is exactly what we need to do to serve God righteously.

But how do we know?  It can be difficult to discern between our wants, needs and fears and the Word of God. I have found over the last few years, however, that God does make things clear when it is important.  Plus, knowing the character of God and Jesus and what is expected of us is tantamount in making good decisions.  God never speaks to our fleshly desires, encouraging us to indulge.  He is prudent, loving, kind, careful with resources, seeks justice and forgiveness, and above all He is holy.

Study the three main traits of Christ (justice, goodness, holiness) for thirty days, begin to practice them in your daily life, and see what God does…you won’t be disappointed.

Joyce Meyer, God’s Character

I’ve found it fascinating that people who want clear answers from God aren’t willing to actually know the character of the “person” from whom they are seeking answers.  Yet, I won’t go to a friend who clearly has difficulty with their finances and ask them for financial advice!  And I won’t seek fashion advice from someone that looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed every day.  

So much of obeying God’s and His Holy Spirit nudgings must start with knowing the road signs to even look for.  And then when we have accomplished that we must start paying attention and actually acting on those directives.

I love reading Sparkling Gems from the Greek each morning.  It’s a yearly devotional that takes scripture and studies it in the original Greek meaning.  Recently, the author wrote of how he was to attend a gathering of fellow pastors whom he hadn’t seen in awhile. He and his wife travelled to the city where the event was to take place.  As they were about to the leave the hotel a clear word came to him to not attend.  He first told his wife he felt the need to stay in the hotel.  But he went anyways not wanting to miss out on the fun.  Each step along the way he was told over and over to not go.  While at the event the message became almost overwhelming.  He left his wife to keep visiting and he returned to his hotel.  Upon entering his room, he realized they had been burgled.  All their passports, computers, important papers, jewelry and more were gone.  And he realized his fleshly desires overtook that warning voice.

How often have we stood in the midst of a situation that calls us to be an outsider, a dissenter, the weird one, the one to step out of line and answer the call of His voice?   And how often have we brushed it aside thinking we know better?  When we don’t know the character of God that will happen frequently.  But when we do know the character of God there’s no excuse.  We repent and tell God to give us another chance to serve Him rightly.

God will frequently call us in our everyday lives to do something that may help us or help others.  That cashier you want to be rude to because she is talking to another co-worker about her personal life? Ya, God might be telling you to say something incredibly kind to her or just keep silent.  That neighbor who yells at you because he doesn’t like where you put your trashcan?  God might be telling you to keep your mouth shut.  That trip you are about to take? He may be saying, “cancel it.” You won’t know if it’s your own worries or desires unless you know Him and His ways.

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.
“‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.  Zachariah 7: 11-13

God calls us to action and He calls us to inaction.  He calls us to speak and calls us to stay silent.  But if we worry too much about the world and what they will think if we obey those words, then we are sure to be judged.  We must stand resolutely when we hear that voice and through knowing His mind we will be assured He has our backs.

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

She Counsels with Truth + Love

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

“We are pretty much the only hope that God has for reaching people who need him.”

Joyce Meyer

On a recent visit with my daughter back in St. Louis, Missouri, she invited me to her friend’s 50th birthday gathering.  It was to be just a small group as her larger party had already taken place.  My daughter, who is 23, is blessed to have a number of women in her life who are not only mature in their marriages and in life in general, but in their faith.  As I sat listening to them, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God.  He, once again, put me right where I needed to be.

I listened as these Christian women of varied ages shared memories of shared events and the joy of being disciples to younger women.  You see, their church encourages all ages to seek being discipled by more experienced Christians – something I haven’t experienced in the 20 years I’ve been an active Christian.  

The birthday girl’s good friend suddenly announced we were to all take turns expressing what we loved about the newly christened 50 year old.  She turned to me and said, “You don’t know Renee well so you don’t need to say anything.”  I disagreed.  I definitely had much to love about this woman that I had just met.

As each woman spoke, I felt the love flow throughout the group.  It was sweet and brave and authentic.  And at my turn I’m sure they all wondered what I would have to say.  

“As a mother I miss my daughter terribly.  She’s so far away.  She has no family for hundreds of miles.  And now with a baby on the way it grieves me that she is alone out here.  But I realize she isn’t.  I am so thankful she has Renee as her friend and godly counsel.  A mother couldn’t ask for anything better besides being here herself,” I said.

You see my daughter’s friend, Renee, has taken her under her beautiful wings.  She provides wise counsel about marriage, faith, motherhood and more.  I could be jealous when I hear my daughter talk about her relationship with Renee.  But my faith progression has brought me instead to a place of thankfulness.  My daughter is incredibly blessed to be surrounded by Christian women who are prepared and ready to offer Biblical counsel.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" Luke 4:18

That’s Jesus in the above verse.  Jesus our wise counselor setting us free from our prisons.  And He trained up His disciples to spread His message of salvation and freedom.  Like the old shampoo commercial goes, “and they told two friends and so on and so on.”  Which brings us thousands of years later to this little group at a café in Missouri. 

Here’s what I noticed about those six women I sat with that night.  1) They didn’t gossip 2) They lifted each other up with genuine compliments 3) They showed love and concern for each other 4) They were confident in expressing their faith and 5) They were eager and willing to take up being disciples.

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

These women are living the Great Commission.  Teaching and guiding and loving Jesus’ flock.  I sat there like a fan-girl marveling at being in the midst of ordinary women who were so extraordinary.  Yes, ordinary women.  They aren’t pastors or scholars although one is in fact a trained Christian counselor.  They are students of Jesus.  It gave me hope of what I could achieve with faith and the blessings of God.

I took the opportunity to ask a few of them a Christian counseling question.  

“If I find myself in a situation with a fellow Christian who is struggling with an issue, what’s your best advice?” I inquired.

Without hesitation three of the women, including my daughter who herself disciples young women, said: “You need to really get to know the person.  There needs to be a sense of trust that you come from a place of love.”   And the birthday girl?  She emphasized my old favorite, truth plus love.  Not being afraid to speak God’s truth into someone from a loving perspective.   Remember that Jesus trait of having a warrior spirit?  Renee takes it to heart.  She knows the end game – saving a soul. 

“As you being the process of bringing correction into someone’s life, put yourself in his shoes.  If you were the one sitting there, would it be easy or difficult for you to hear what is about to be said?  If the person you are correcting acts closed at first it may be that he’s just embarrassed or reacting out of insecurity.  Therefore don’t stop the conversation unless you can see that he’s just being combative.  You need to be patient and slow in judging their reaction to your correction.”  

Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek

Isn’t this the reaction we worry about the most when we need to speak truth to our Christian friends or family members?  A fear of making someone angry or embarrassed?  But here lies the reason why “Wise Counselor” sits at the end of our faith progression.  Without love, without a sense of serving God, without courage, without knowledge of the Lord’s will, we will probably fail at being what our friend, child, sibling, co-worker, or sister in Christ truly needs.  

So, when Jesus asks us to “follow” He isn’t just offering Himself up to save us from eternal damnation which by itself is a pretty amazing gift.  He’s saying “join me in a journey.”  He’s saying, “we’ve got work to do together.”  And if we stop partway on the journey and decide we are “fine” where we are at, we miss the opportunities He wants to put in front of us to free more captives.

I don’t know about you but I need wise Christian counselors in my life.  And if I could be like Renee and be a blessing in other’s lives, I know it’d make Jesus smile.  My imperfect progress, as my friend Betsy likes to say, is still progress.  I want to know and live out having the mind of Christ.  I’m not where I was when I started and I still have a ways to go.  Thankfully, I can trust that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are my guides and cheerleaders.

When we started this journey, I invited you to say a prayer of confession I found in Sparkling Gems from the Greek.  And true to God’s ways He put another in front of me to close out this series.  Please join me in this prayer and confession.  I pray that you seek love, humbleness, courage, and wisdom on your journey.

“Lord, I ask you to help be kind and patient when it is essential for me to bring correction.  Help me to not be offended if the person I’m trying to help doesn’t respond at first the way I wished he would have.  Help me put myself in that person’s shoes and to sympathize with how he might feel.  I ask You to give me wisdom to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.  I also ask that You give the other person the grace to hear what I am telling him so he might see that I have his best interest at heart and that I am only trying to help him.  I pray this in Jesus’ name!”

“I confess that I have the mind of Jesus Christ!  When it is needful to me to speak correction to someone else I do it with love, kindness and patience.  I refrain from allowing anger to rise up inside me.  I am careful about the words that come out of my mouth, and I refuse to participate in vain arguing.  I remain in control of myself as the Holy Spirit works mightily inside me.  My words bring life to all who hear and receive them! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!”


Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, Christian women, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Are You Prepared?

Lesson #12: God’s kingdom will be established and we need to be prepared.

“But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; 
it will be holy.  Jacob will possess 
his inheritance.” 
Obadiah 1:17

My current BSG Bible study focuses solely on Easter and the days leading up to Jesus’ death.  The other day we were asked to read Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:19-20.  And if you do, you’ll find almost the same words written in each about Jesus’ instructions to the disciples in His final hours.  As Christians, we should be very familiar with what took place – the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the wine.   What I love about actually studying the Bible is you see all the ancient links back and forth and the promises for the future, supported by those fulfilled promises.  

While they were eating, Jesus took 
bread, and when he had given thanks, 
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, 
saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 
Then he took a cup, and when he had given 
thanks, he gave it to them, saying, 
“Drink from it, all of you. This is my 
blood of the covenant, which is poured 
out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  
I tell you, I will not drink from this 
fruit of the vine from now on until that 
day when I drink it new with you in my 
Father’s kingdom.”  
Matthew 26:26-29

“When I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Jesus is drinking from the traditional third cup of the Passover meal – the one representing the blood of an animal sacrificed for sins to be “passed over.”  He establishes not only himself as the sacrifice for all eternity for our sins but then gives us the promise of reuniting with us.

“The kingdom of God has come near.  
Repent and believe the good news!” 
Mark 1:15

You’ll notice throughout the Bible that we humans are warned of how we should behave, what the punishment will be, and in the end those who believe will receive great reward.  In the prophesy of Obadiah, the people of Edom received their warning of destruction because of pride, gloating, treachery, thievery, and violence.  Yet, they did not listen.

“Just as you drank on my holy hill, 
so all nations will drink continually; 
they will drink and drink and be as 
if they had never been.” 
Obadiah 1:16

Obadiah warns the people that what they sought for so richly would be turned against them with voracity.  Imagine now our current world.  And imagine all the sins turned against us two-fold.  The killing of millions of unborn children alone must make God so angry.  I can only imagine that we would be struck barren and childless in an instant.  And therefore, unable to continue creating new generations.

Thank God gives us the warnings.  And in heeding them we can then receive the glorious inheritance.

“Before we can pray, “Lord, Thy Kingdom come,” we must be willing to pray, “My Kingdom go.” 

Alan Redpath

Yes, our kingdoms.  So many of us have built our own kingdoms on the hill – just like the people of Edom.  We look down on our fellow man with a smugness that “we have it all under control.” Our bank accounts are satisfactory, our marriages are holding together, our homes protect us.  And yet we are warned all this will be “stubble” (vs 18).  How many of us live with the anticipation of “Thy Kingdom Come?”

Because it will come.  You may be fortunate to be in a church where that is a focus of the teaching.  Where you are tasked to constantly be in a mode of preparation.  Where you are admonished to gather up as many people as possible for the kingdom.  I have yet to be in such a church.  And yet the entire Bible is a warning of the coming kingdom.  

If this last year, during the great pandemic, has taught me anything is that our earthly time is limited and we are tasked with no more greater act than preparing our hearts and minds for the coming kingdom.  Situations in which I find myself that are not godly become glaring reminders of the coming of Jesus.

How about instead — “Are you prepared?”

Throughout this last year we kept hearing the teaching, “Faith over fear.”  And yet fear held most of us captive.  And fear of what? Death?  If that was the case, as Christians we should have been at the front of the line shouting “hallelujah, our time has come!”  The signs on our churches should have asked, “Are you ready?”

And what of that readiness and our own kingdoms?  

The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “Lord, I cannot even begin to do it.” Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you…” (Matthew 5:11). This is the doorway to the kingdom, and yet it takes us so long to believe that we are actually poor! The knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work. Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers

God has issued His warnings.  Just like with the people of Edom, He has called us to prepare for the onslaught of His power and might.  He has promised us the inheritance of the kingdom.  Are you in constant training?  Are you ready to be called up in an instant?  Which side of the battle lines will you be on?  

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Faith, Jesus Follower, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized

Imma Soul Saver

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 

A prayer that I would share the Gospel with others

Merciful God, your Word has healing power for the sick and your Word gives hope to the downtrodden.  Your promise of eternity is a promise for all who believe.  But I allow my worries and my fears about worldly judgement guide my discipleship.  I keep your holy and powerful gifts to myself, not sharing them with those who need them.  LORD, our one true purpose here on earth is to serve you and by doing so we are asked, even required, to speak of you to all who will hear.  Help me to succumb to your strength and guidance rather than that of the world.  I know you will put the right words in my mouth at the right time.  I just need to be willing to speak them.  Each day place someone who needs to hear from you in front of me.  With the strength of the Holy Spirit urging me on I will be faithful in spreading your gospel of Good News.  In Jesus name, Amen


A few years ago, my husband and I led a Bible study of about ten Christians.  Inevitably the topic of sharing the gospel arose.  All but two people felt uncomfortable with this subject.  Those two people had their own techniques or gifts when discussing their faith with others.  One was able to employ a lot of clean humor while the other was comforting and sincere.  The other members of the group, just like other Christians I’ve encountered, didn’t see sharing the gospel as a requirement of being a Jesus follower.  And yet, isn’t that what the entirety of the New Testament is really about?

Then the disciples went out and 
preached everywhere, and the Lord 
worked with them and confirmed his 
word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20 

One of the group, whose husband loved sharing the gospel, went so far as saying that sharing the gospel was too pushy.  Like being a used car salesman.  It wasn’t her “right” or “place” to share the message of God’s love and salvation.  And while you may scoff at her, she’s not alone.  

I had us do an unusual activity that night to try and get people more comfortable about what sharing the gospel really looks like.  Hint: it’s not standing on a street corner screaming “the end is near!”  I paired everyone up and gave them a scenario to act out with each other – a role play.  For example, one pair were to be a couple of longtime friends.  Friend A, the non-Christian, was to share a problem that she kept having over and over and over.  Nothing she did seemed to work to fix it.  And the other, Christian friend B was to share the way her faith had helped in a similar situation.   Sounds simple enough.  But boy did that make people uncomfortable.

If we cannot figure out how to infuse our everyday conversations with our faith, why do you think God will give us the responsibility of helping Him save a soul?   

As we found out in 2020 being a Christian cannot be limited to a Sunday church service.  Because that church might be taken away from you at any time.  Our friends need to know we turn to prayer when we are in distress.  They need to hear us talk about God’s promises.  They should see us acting in Christ-like ways.  And when we fail to obey God, they must hear us ask for forgiveness.  That, my friends, is sharing the gospel.  At home, with our neighbors, at work, while we volunteer, at school and wherever we live our lives. 

Our personal testimony of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness of sins is the gospel.  It’s not a bunch of fancy words.  And if the fear of being asked a tough question about God holds you back, just remember we can say the magic words: “I don’t know.  I just have faith.”

I for one, am asking God to place people in my life that He can trust that I will speak the words He wants me to speak.  We should wake up every day asking Him to give us the opportunity to speak in His name.  

If you want this too, add the prayer to your daily prayer list and watch and see how God works in your life!

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Faithful Healing

I have seen their ways, 
but I will heal them; 
I will guide them and 
restore comfort to 
Israel’s mourners.
Isaiah 57:18

In our lives we all have had instances of brokenness, despair and desolation. Those times when we feel we are on our last leg, at the end of the rope about to lose our grip and fall on our last gasping breath before we give up and begin to drown.

Where we go from that point and what we do next speaks volumes about your current state of faith.

Do we lash out and blame those around us and our circumstances for the state of our woundedness? Or do we reach down into our inner core and summon the power of God’s promise to deliver us to a better place?

What I have learned about myself from facing trials in the workplace is that my faith, when strong, protects me with an armor of perspective. When I am weak and not connected with my faith, I am vulnerable to believe false accusations and claims of harm and wrongdoing. I recognize it, I know the feeling and know the damage it can do if I accept and embrace the crushing doubt.

When we are hurt we can reach in or reach out to God

What my defense mechanism triggers is a quick accounting of the facts: what do I have control of and what do I not have control of? Next, I better get right with God and do it quick. I remind myself — I am not in control, He is. Then and only then can I respond and act. Any other process, for me, is futile and ineffective.

One of my favorite scripture verses I lean on in times of introspection and self-assessment is this one:

And which of you by worrying 
can add a single hour to his 
life’s span?
Luke 12:15

Uhhhh, guilty!

And if I am on my game and thinking clearly my first response is to slow everything down and pray. Asking for discernment, clarity, and focus surprisingly works like a gem. Once we slow our racing mind, cool our sweaty brow and take control of our breathing in an effort to focus on who is in controls then the problems diminish, and the solutions come into clearer perspective.

God is that lens of clarity we all need. We are many times our own problem. But as Jesus promises, we –as in me and Jesus together– are the solution. “Don’t be afraid; just believe”- Luke 8:50

He said to her, “Daughter, 
your faith has healed you. 
Go in peace and be freed 
from your suffering.”
Mark 5:34 

Time after time in scripture Jesus proved and made examples of the power of healing through faith in the Lord. Jesus was the conduit, but faith was the pathway to the healing and rebirth.

Then your light will break 
forth like the dawn, and your 
healing will quickly appear; 
then your righteousness will 
go before you, and the glory 
of the Lord will be your rear 
guard.
Isaiah 58:8

It’s a partnership of pulling together. It is not a miraculous anointment from heaven, a surprise cleansing. It takes suffering, acknowledgement, surrender and faith.

Together, bound by faith and confidence, we are everything and anything we want to be. Alone, divided and broken we are only a sum of the remaining pieces–weakened by trial and doubt.

We all can heal, but only if our belief in the Lord is strong and steadfast.

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

The Amazing Sacrifice

“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

Mark 10:29-31


There was one point in my life – actually a few weeks ago (I hate to admit) – where I would sit on my couch in utter angst and anxiety. No, not about important things, but about wall décor. Yup, you heard it. I would sit on my couch with anxiety about the lack of cute, trendy wall décor and decorations in my apartment. I was so anxious about what people would think of us when they came over, I was so anxious about having cute Fall décor before “Pumpkin Spice Season” hit. What was I going to do? Hobby Lobby FOR SURE by now has already off-loaded all of their Fall décor for Christmas stuff – the best stuff has already been bought and picked through. What was I going to do? As my heart rate started to rise, I heard the Lord say to me “Do you think I care about any of this?” My anxious thoughts stopped. I listened and heard again – “Do you think the things on your walls are treasures you will store in Heaven?” Woah – I heard the message loud and clear. 

I was toiling over useless, temporary, meaningless possessions INSTEAD of spending that time storing up REAL treasures in Heaven. I was convicted. 

Now, I’m not saying decorating your house or shopping at Hobby Lobby is a sin. What I am saying is to consider the weight we put on those things. I’m asking us to consider if we’ve made material things idols in our lives

Jesus’ words in Mark 10:29-31 cut me deep to the core – I hope they do for you too. These verses stir me to ask myself, “How much of my life is spent toiling over temporary gains?” Reading Jesus’ words over again alleviate many of my silly – yet very real – anxieties about possessions and material things. We must remember that the Lord God does not look upon us and see the things we’ve collected, the money we’ve made or the beautiful house we’ve decorated for Fall. No – He sees His son standing as an eternal sacrifice for our sins. He sees us as his prodigal children whom He loves. 

This truth truly amazes me. As the world tells us that we need this, we need that – this will give you favor in the eyes of man and this will surely bring you pleasure and happiness – God says lay it all down. Give it all up. And for those of you that ask, “Does He really mean ALL of it?” I would say – to some extent – yes. Our first fruits (earnings) should always go to the Lord, and as Jesus said in Luke 16: 

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

Luke 16:10

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 16:13

If I am covetousness of what little I have – how much more will sin grow within my heart the more I gain? The Lord was speaking a very important truth to me that day. For material things are not of ANY value to Him. He wants my heart. He wants my attention. He wants my full dedication – things that cost nothing – but everything at the same time. 

The disciples couldn’t believe what Jesus was saying. For their entire lives they saw the Chief Priests and Kings lavished with riches and luxuries. To them, those were the people who were closest to God. They were experiencing a real-time paradigm shift. You mean to say that now the lame, the weak, the poor are the blessed? Not the rich and noble?  Pretty amazing stuff!

What Jesus was getting at here is that the more possessions one has, the more divided his heart becomes. The more his money has gone to things other than Kingdom purposes. He warned his disciples loud and clear that being rich was not the way into the Kingdom of God. No, it was intimacy with the Father, sacrifice and a dedication to seeing salvation sweep across the nations. 

So – why are we so enthralled by things of this Earth? I urge you to spend time in prayer today asking God to reveal what you’ve been idolizing recently. I pray that the next time you find yourself coveting someone else’s possessions, you direct your thoughts, your anxieties and worries to the amazing God-given things above – blessings that will reward you many treasures in Heaven. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Amazingly Healed

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So, they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.[a]

Mark 9:14-29


My eldest daughter is a doctor of physical therapy.  That alone is a miracle.  She studied and worked hard throughout her public school years and yet the results were not always reflective of that work.  Once she entered college she leaned on the lessons learned from getting help early and how to study.  She excelled beyond belief.  As a physical therapist she has seen the fruits of her labor – the healing power of her education.  She has helped many women in the specialty of lower abdomen and uterine pain.  I’m so proud of her.  That being said, as my faith journey moves along, I’ve accepted that some healing only comes from prayer.

“Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness.  Worry, fear, distrust, care—are all poisonous!  Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power.”

A.B. Simpson

I like this quote because it reminds me of an amazing healing I saw take place in a friend many years ago.  She had fallen and broken her upper arm.  For many months she went to doctors’ appointments and had all sorts of imaging.  And yet her bone was not naturally re-growing and healing.  It became the usual sight to see her in an arm sling that year.  She was like a baby bird with a broken wing.  Her disappointment after each doctor’s appointment was evident.  And yet she kept praying for healing.  At the end of that painful year I still recall seeing her at church one day and she was full of joy!  Her doctor, on the other hand was so perplexed.  At her appointment that week she had another x-ray.  And her bone was completely healed.  The specialists had no explanation.  But she knew the amazing answer.  Her prayers were heard.

I love how the father in the Bible verse today has the guts to admit to Jesus’ face that he has doubts.  “IF you can do anything” is what he says.  And then asks for help in overcoming his unbelief.  My friend Betsy once shared a powerful prayer technique with my BSGs.  She said if you aren’t ready to believe or take action then ask, in prayer, for help in believing.  

How many of us, when faced with illness or injury aren’t really sure God can heal?  So many of us tend to rely solely on our surgeons, psychologists, specialists, etc. And we forget to turn to God for healing or even to ask for His guiding hands for those gifted doctors.  If you are unsure, pray to resolve your unbelief.  When the disciples asked Jesus why they weren’t able to cure the boy in this amazing Bible event he responded by telling them they needed to draw on the power of God through prayer. 

The disciples had been careless with their personal spiritual walk and had neglected communing with God through prayer and fasting.

Warren Wiersbe, New Testament Bible Commentary

Notice this is not about praying “enough” or being faithful “enough.”  It’s about praying and being faithful and believing.  His amazing healing power is available to the faithful.  And while we may not always know why or when He chooses to heal someone or not, we need to rest in trust that He has a plan far greater than ours.  We must never stop praying and asking for His amazing healing power.

bible study, Christian, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Amazed By His Will

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Mark 7:33-37


I love this story. Not just because it’s a bit humorous in nature, I mean c’mon, Jesus didn’t HAVE to spit and touch the man’s tongue to heal him or shout to the heavens to cure his deafness. He could have healed the man with no words and no actions, with just one look. But Jesus’ actions show that He truly knew the hearts of the people. He had seen over and over again just how feeble the people were in their faith. He knew they needed clear evidence that He was who He said He was. 

Even more amazing than Jesus concealing his immediate power to tend to the hearts of the people is the immediate authority he has over disease. The verses claim that at the sound of His voice, deafness falls and lameness disappears. In the face of Jesus, darkness cowers in fear.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Just as this verse reminds us of Jesus’ power over the dominion of darkness, let it also be a reminder that what He speaks will be done. Even more amazing, everything on earth and in heaven bows to His authority, because he is the one who created it all (Gen. 1:1). 

Jesus told the man’s ears to open and they opened. Jesus told Peter that there would come a day when he would deny him three times – and that day came. What the Lord spoke in prophesies in the Old Testament came to pass through His Son on the cross. 

We see over and over again that God is a faithful God, who fulfills his promises to His people. Are you trusting in that truth today?  Be amazed today that God will keep all of the below promises to you, for He is a man of His Word.

  • Amidst your worry, anxiety and fear, I will give you rest…. (Matt. 11:28)
  • Through my Son’s wounds on the cross, your brokenness has been redeemed (1 Peter 2:24)
  • I promise that your trials will produce joy (James 1:2)
  • I give strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29) 
  • I give wisdom to all those who ask of it. I will provide you everything you need for the situations you are in. (James 1:5)
  • I promise, that if you resist the devil HE WILL FLEE. (James 4:7) 

Rest in these truths today. I encourage you to find more on your own. Take time to remember all of the things that have come to pass, the promises that have been fulfilled and ask God today for the strength and faith to believe that what He says, will be done, today, tomorrow and the next. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Uncategorized

His Amazing Peace

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.

Mark 5:36-42


I’m writing this post on the United States’ election day.  When you read it, you’ll know much more about who may be the next U.S. president.   There’s a lot of anxiety and fear swirling around the world right now because of this election.  Unfortunately, so much of it is based on misinformation or downright disinformation.  And a lot of it is designed to create fear and distrust. What’s so different for me this presidential election is the peace I have, which is solely due to my trust in God.  I am not afraid; I just believe.

In Mark’s retelling of Jesus bringing this young girl back to life he starts out with her father, a leader in the synagogue, coming to a large gathering around Jesus.  He urgently pleaded with Jesus to come and heal his sick daughter.  He believed that just by touching his daughter, Jesus will heal her.  As Jesus walks through the crowds towards the man’s house a woman, who had been bleeding for 12 years, reached out and touched Jesus’ clothes.  She thought:

“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:27

Jesus knew at once that someone had put their faith in him.  He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30) Of course, a lot of people had probably touched him because they were all crowding around Him.  We so often want to be “fans” of Jesus, His groupies.  But how often do we turn to Him in complete and total surrender and ask for His healing power, His peace?  How often do we put limits on His ability to “make all things work together for our good?” (Romans 8:28). In fact, the simple act of turning to the crowd, searching for the woman who touched Him, caused the disciples and friends of the girl’s father to be almost annoyed.  He was taking time away from what he “should” have been doing which was healing the girl.  In other words, we think Jesus as all knowing, all powerful and yet in the same breath assume he can’t do all things.  

We should not be so astonished, so amazed that Jesus can, by just being, heal us.  We should not be so astonished that He also chooses to take action in His time.  If we believe and have faith in the truths of the Bible, we must expect that, if Jesus can raise a little girl from the dead, if he can raise Lazarus from being many days dead, then He can handle anything else this world throws at Him.

This knowledge and trust is what has brought me through, not only this election season, but through the unrest brought on by Covid19.  Each time I try and take back my fears and worries I am reminded in my Bible studies and through my amazing Christian relationships that peace can only be fully achieved by placing those fears back in God’s hands.  A good friend has been completely transformed this year through this same process.  My BSGs (Bible Study Girls) were reflecting today about how few times this friend speaks of “her anxiety” — which she used to wear like a favorite coat.  Imagine that – with all the mess that is 2020 her anxiety has all but disappeared.  Pretty amazing.  Those trials and tribulations that James writes of have been hammered home this year.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James 1:2-3

Have you taken these “opportunities” of trials to grow in your faith?  To grow closer to God?  To grasp the promise of Jesus’s peace?  Another of my BSGs, who in a difficult trial, begged for God’s help and felt that peace descend over her.  She described it as a weighted blanket – warm and calming.  Isn’t that more of what we want rather than living in constant disarray, discombobulation and wailing? 

So, as I wait for the results of this important election, I use each time my mind wants to lean into worry to instead lean into Jesus’ words – “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  And His amazing peace never fails to come over me.

The Lord bless me and keep me; the Lord makes his face shine on me and is gracious to me; the Lord turns His face toward me and gives me PEACE.

Numbers 6:22-26