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Time Well Spent

We do not want you to become lazy, but to 
imitate those who through faith and patience 
inherit what has been promised. 
Hebrews 6:12

If today’s verse sounds familiar, it should!  The King James’ version was our stepping off point for this new series – “That ye be not slothful…”  Remembering that the Greek word for slothful, nothros, means slow or sluggish, Paul urges us to grab hold of our inheritance and be diligent to the very end (Heb. 11-12).

What does this look like in our everyday lives?

I had an acquaintance tell me the other day that she would like her church group to start back in studying the Bible.  You see, with the chaos from the pandemic their family lives have been turned upside down.  Kids are constantly home and constantly needing help with getting the education our schools have neglected to provide.  And so studying the Word has fallen by the wayside.  They are waiting for a “better time” to reboot their studies.

Hours for the world!  Moments for Christ!  

Charles Spurgeon

But if we are to be honest if it weren’t the pandemic, for many Christian believers there would be something else keeping them from regularly attending church, going (prepared) to Bible Study, sitting quietly studying His Word.  For my family it once was youth sports.  We abandoned church for softball tournaments.  We saw it as a season that would eventually change and God probably didn’t really mind.

Had I truly valued what God wants for me I would have realized that during that season I especially needed His Word.  It’s when our lives seem most chaotic that we need to grasp hold of God.  He is our center, our Rock, our plumb line.  He puts the swirling world and all its stresses into perspective.

The world has the best of our time and our prayer closets the leftover fragments.

Charles Spurgeon

So, when Paul reminds us to not be lazy or slothful or sluggish with our obedience to Jesus he especially means during difficult times.  To not turn to the flesh for solutions and comfort.  He chastises us to finish strong by keeping close to God.

I’ve invited many friends and acquaintances to participate in Bible study.  And every time I hear multiple people say they are too busy with “life.”  Work, family, hobbies, other obligations take precedence.  I get it.  I’ve been there many, many times.  But when I look back to those times I do so with a measure of regret.  Because those times are gone forever.  Times when I could’ve really used the Word of God to comfort me and to reignite my faith.  There are so many instances where I needed God’s wisdom to make better choices – both for myself and my family.

We do not forget to eat.  We do not forget to be diligent in business.  We do not forget to go to our beds to rest.  But we often forget to wrestle with God in prayer and to spend long periods in consecrated fellowship with our Father and our God.

Charles Spurgeon

Our days are numbered here on earth.  Christ sacrificed Himself to a horrible death so that we may have a close relationship with God and the gift of salvation. When our ledger is opened at the end will it show that we have made God the primary focus of our time or will He be a footnote?

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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?  

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Mighty Growth

A few weeks ago, I told my husband the following: “I can’t wait to get back to the way things were before the pandemic.”  And then I stopped.  I realized that wasn’t really true.  My good friend and I were having lunch this week and I shared this moment with her.  I went on to explain that yes, there’s a lot I’m hoping will “get back to normal” in the coming weeks but God uses every single moment in our lives for His purpose – good and bad.  He uses non-believers and believers.  I heard a pastor the other day explain that we shouldn’t be asking “why” to God when faced with difficulty but rather, “what can I learn about God or what does God want me to learn about myself?”

My BSGs (Bible Study Girls) were asked recently to draw a sanctification growth chart.  Sanctification meaning our faith journey toward being more like Jesus.  I drew some small spikes, a few flat lines, and then two large spikes.  From the day I clearly recall my daughter (about 2 years old at the time) spurring me to answer her questions about God and angels to today I can thankfully say my growth chart has well, grown.  The two large spikes include a large test Jesus put me through when He asked me, through a vision, to drop much of what I thought was important in life and instead feed the homeless for a year.  The second spike?  It started in February 2020 – the start of the COVID pandemic.  

My church shuttered their doors.  My old Bible study group went on-line.  And then all other communication with my church ceased.  Yes, they offered a weekly video but that is not fellowship.  A cold, impersonal video just isn’t “church.”  It’s not a communion of the saints.  

My new BSGs, however, stayed in constant contact.  Some of us came together in person with walks and distanced lunches.  And together we made a commitment to not let each other go and to help each member delve deeper into His Word.  We have been open about our sins and our dreams.  Our hopes and our failures.

But more than just this group, I have fallen often on my knees in prayer.  Sometimes crying out in fear and sometimes in sadness.  Other times in thankful hallelujah.  Had I been left to attending Sunday church for one hour a week I’m not sure I would’ve made the same progress.  But I can tell you this, of all the things I’m most grateful for over the past year is what I now understand to be the most important – God’s never ending love for me.  

His Word has been revealed to me in so many amazing ways.  I’ve discovered the majesty of the Lord and His faithful promises.  I’ve learned about the perils of disobedience and the joys of freedom that obedience brings.   Through His Word I’ve learned how to hold the line of faith and to recognize when the devil is trying to loosen my grip.


While reading Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on the book of Jude I came across this powerful yet simple message to Christians everywhere:

Every Church = Bible Institute

Every Christian = Bible student

Every Pulpit = Teach the positive words of Biblical truth AND denounce error

Are you a student of the Bible?  We are well-versed in so many other unnecessary aspects of life: the details of every episode of Downton Abbey (or pick your favorite show), the stats of our favorite baseball (golf, basketball, etc) player, the ins and outs of Joanna Gaines’ life.  You get the picture.  But can we say the same about every single book in the Bible?

My same friend I mentioned earlier asked me what I thought about the books that weren’t included in the Bible.  I told her, “To be honest, if I could just become extremely knowledgeable about the ones in it, I think I’d be doing pretty good.”


And that’s I why I chose for my next series, Tiny But Mighty: 15 life lessons from the Bible’s smallest books.  If you have never read these five books you could tackle them in about an hour (or less).  But I’ll be honest, my first read through these left me thinking, “There’s a lot more than 15 lessons here.”  

During the next 5 weeks we will discover more about how to confront a difficult situation, why love is obedience, how to really make social change, the effects of disloyalty, our role as God’s soldier and much more.

So, jump on board, join me in this sanctification journey!  We may be just one Christian on this path to glory but God is sure to use us and the more we know about His will, the more He can do with us.  We may be tiny but we sure can be mighty.

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A Mustard Seed

Do not repay evil with evil 
or insult with insult. On the 
contrary, repay evil with blessing, 
because to this you were called 
so that you may inherit a 
blessing. 
1 Peter 3:9 

A prayer to be a blessing to those around me and my community

Holy Spirit I get so wrapped up in my everyday problems and to-do lists I forget to pause and look at the world around me.  I rush out in my car and don’t stop to say “hi” to my elderly neighbor.  I see the trash someone has left behind at the nearby lunch table and I assume someone else will pick it up.  I watch the mother with two kids struggling to get her groceries in the car and I think, “thank goodness that isn’t me.”  Oh, how I know you keep whispering to me to stop and do your work.  But I prioritize my list and sometimes you aren’t on it.  LORD, I say I want to be a blessing to others and yet I let so many opportunities pass me by.  Today, I will be that blessing.  Today I will recognize the need to slow down, reach out, and do your work.  I will be your mustard seed and help build your Kingdom into all it’s glory.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


One of my neighbors is a quiet, older gentlemen.  He lives by himself in the largest house in our development.  He and his old dog, Scooter, are fixtures in our community.  And yet, most people probably don’t know that he supplies all the doggie poop bags for a dispenser in our neighborhood.  For Christmas, he always gives me and my dog, Tucker, a box of our own doggie bags.  You could say he’s in the dog poop ministry!  An unlikely blessing to so many of us.

In the same way, let your 
light shine before others, 
that they may see your good 
deeds and glorify your Father 
in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

No matter how many Bible study groups I’ve been a part of or how many churches I have attended, the one thing about “ministry” people seem to fear is being called to give up all their possessions and move to the outback of Africa.  And yet, Christ calls us to be a blessing starting in our own homes and neighborhoods.  If all of us would just start there, imagine the transformation that would take place!

If you really keep the royal 
law found in Scripture, 
“Love your neighbor as yourself,”
you are doing right.
James 2:8

At the beginning of the Covid pandemic I was called to start what became The Joy Challenge.  I invited my friends, family, Bible study groups, and neighbors to take part in a variation of Max Lucado’s effort to raise the joy level of 100 people over 40 days.  About 20 people said, “yes!”  It was fascinating to hear people struggle with the idea of being that tiny mustard seed who could affect others.  Some said, “How can I do anything if I’m locked away in my house?”   Others said, “But I don’t really know anyone.”  While even others said, “I can’t afford to buy things.”  

But the ideas began rolling in.  Some started writing little notes to friends and neighbors.  One lady painted smiley faces of all sorts on rocks and placed them in her yard.  My walking buddy just started waving and yelling “hello” and “have a great day” to an endless supply of UPS, FedEx and Amazon drivers.  Some had their kids write chalk notes out in front of people’s houses.

And me? I thought I had a great “in” on some toilet paper from China.  When it arrived, the rolls were tiny travel rolls about 3” in diameter.  After a good laugh I decided God wanted me to give these little rolls way so, I tied a note to all of them with a funny quote and randomly dropped them off at people’s doors along my walking route.

Months later one of those neighbors stopped me and said, “Aren’t you the lady that gave us that toilet paper roll?  We saw you on our security camera!  Thank you so much – we thought it was hilarious!”

It shouldn’t take a world-wide pandemic for us Christians to seek out ways to spread joy and be a blessing to our neighbors and our community.  I’m re-committing myself, no matter the busyness of the day, to be on the lookout for ways to be someone’s blessing.  It might mean I take an extra minute to roll my neighbor’s trash can in or I stop and pick up that plastic bag that’s rolling down the sidewalk.  It’s a mustard seed.  And I know each one I plant will help build His Kingdom.

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