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Prune Strife

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

I’ve never understood the fascination with the show Real Housewives.  You watch as a group of glamorous women gather week after week to go on vacation together, dine in expensive restaurants, shop for beautiful clothing.  And fight.  And gossip mercilessly about each other.  And cry and scream.  I suppose it’s like rubbernecking.  Watching a disaster unfold seems to hold our attention.  Anytime one of my adult children has turned that show or similar ones on at our house all I can hear is bickering and complaining.  It feels so stressful just watching it.  I have to go to another room and close out the strife.

While we may not all bounce around with the rich and glamorous each week in our real lives, how many of us maintain friend groups that cause similar chaos?  That one friend who always picks a fight with the waiter. The friend who demands to have the group plans change to accommodate them.  The two friends who revel tearing up each other behind backs.  It’s understandable to feel the need to invite a close relative to an all family event who acts this way.  But why do we insist on voluntarily bringing that lack of peace into our lives?

Maybe we worry about our social status, being left out, not being “in the know.”  Or maybe we keep these folks around because we think it helps our children or spouse.  Stepping back however, any strife we purposely allow into our midst will affect the rest of our lives and family.


As I’ve grown and matured, God has pruned out a lot of people from my life.  One’s I called dear friends at the time.  Some of that pruning felt painful.  Now, I look at the beautiful women He has brought into my life because I have learned from His Word about humility, pride, trustworthiness, and sacrificial love.  I ate a lot of “dry crust” for a bit waiting for His work in me to show me what was important in who I choose to spend my valuable time with.

Friend, your peace should not be up for sale to people who cause strife.  Bring the people in your life to God in prayer and asks Him to show you where you need pruning.

Heavenly Father, reveal to me the people and areas in my life where strife abounds.  Help me to prune those areas, even it means eating dry crust for awhile.  Amen.

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Taking Offense

Fools show their annoyance at once,
    but the prudent overlook an insult. Proverbs 12:16

This is the second rendition of today’s post.  When I started this blog over two years ago, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak through me.  If writing a particular post felt like I was pulling teeth I knew it wasn’t coming from the right source.  As a result, the post I wrote earlier went into the “delete” pile.  Each sentence I wrote was interrupted either by texts, my husband, timers going off, etc.  I now realize every time my mind wandered to one of those interruptions it was a tap on my shoulder to re-focus and re-write.

You see what was happening in the background of my original text was this very proverb.  I was getting annoyed and offended by problems surrounding an event I am hosting.  It only took me about a half a day to finally figure it out.  The Holy Spirit giving me a real life example of practicing what I preach!  


Being offended has risen to an artform these days. We are offended by other drivers, cashiers, politicians, neighbors, strangers, businesses, faceless people in our social media threads, our friends, our family, our spouses and on and on.  If “they” don’t conform to our wants and needs, it might ruin our day.  If “they” don’t act how we think they should we are hurt and insulted.  No grace and definitely no mercy.  

We take for granted that God won’t do the same to us.  Thank goodness because we all probably offend Him multiple times a day.  While He may allow our sinful actions to suffer the corresponding consequences, He isn’t sending down bolts of lightning to smote us each time we mess up.  He hasn’t washed His hands of us because He’s had it for the last time.

Friends, it’s time to step back and control our emotions.  We have in Jesus the perfect example for us today.  He was whipped, beaten, stabbed, spit on, forsaken by friends, and hung on a cross yet He still loved.  He still asked God to grant mercy.  Today, can’t we do the same with the brothers and sisters around us who are probably doing their best to make it through this day just like you?  I, for one, got this message loud and clear today.

Gracious God, thank you for your mercy.  Help me to deliver that same mercy and grace to those around me who might insult me or cause offense.  I thank you for teaching me how to seek peace throughout my days.  Amen

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Less Babbling, Please 

"Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
    but the prudent hold their tongues." Proverbs 10:19

I was tempted to not write anything for this verse.  It surely speaks for itself.  It’s a lesson I should have tattooed on my wrist so I never forget it!  When I am nervous, angry, excited, or joyful, I talk.  I babble.  I had to apologize recently to a fairly new friend about my babbling.  She introduced me to her friends and I found myself a brook overflowing with silly words.  I walked away praying, “I did it again!  Why can’t I just be normal and stop talking??”  

The Holy Spirit, boy does He deserve a medal in trying to help me with this.  I think He sees progress.  I am being more discerning about keeping my mouth shut when others share their difficulties.  I’m not always jumping in and giving my personal or political opinion.  I’m also refraining from feeling the need to lash out when offended.  I’m seeing the fruit of zipping my lips.  Shocking, isn’t it, when we take God’s Word to heart how it seems to actually work?

So today my friend, here’s a challenge, unless asked for your opinion, don’t give it.  If someone is sharing a story, don’t add your own.  If you are confronted by a stranger, as Dr. Laura used to say, “smile and wave.”  Zip your lips for a day.  You just might find a bit more peace.

Holy God, although I know you enjoy a joyful noise on occasion, I also know you appreciate the beauty of silence.  Help me today to be silent when needed.  Amen.

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Peace-Creating Discipline

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:23

Charles Spurgeon, one of the most prolific pastors of all time said just a few weeks before his death, “I look back, and remember what I might have done and have not done; what opportunities of usefulness I have not seized; what sins I have allowed to pass unrebuked; what struggling beginners in grace I have failed to help.”  A man who had spoken to millions.  Who brought the good news of Jesus’ healing lights to so many, this man in all humility felt he could have done more.  

How many of us can say we have used our time as wisely for the Lord?  How many of us have instead placed so many other activities ahead of helping others out of their darkness?  Of allowing the Holy Spirit to help us out of our own darkness?

When we hear the words “Christian discipline” it may cause us to cringe or to worry about what will be required of us or what we will have to give up.  It sounds harsh and monk-like.  Our thoughts on it may be borrowed from what the world may think of Christians – joyless, rule followers.  However, we are told throughout Proverbs that God’s idea of discipline is actually a lifesaver, peace creator, and joy maker.  

Because God loves all of us – believer and non – He yearns for us to live on the disciplined path.  One that seeks to keep us from the darkness of sexual immorality, greed, self-importance, violence, and more.  

Christian discipline includes these aspects: spiritual, social, physical and mental.  Each, when practiced close in hand with Jesus, is intended to live the full, beautiful, peaceful and joy-filled life God wants for us.  When we stay in His Word and prayer, when we are careful and loving with our relationships with others, when we are good stewards of our bodies, and when we keep our thoughts free of lust, greed and self, we will find our paths simpler.  Our decisions about life get easier.  That’s not to say we won’t encounter push back from the world or even trials.  But in the midst of all that life will throw at us, our Christian discipline will keep the path forward clear.  

Heavenly Father, help me to develop a disciplined life that aligns with your Word so that I may become more like Jesus and experience the life you intend for me.  Amen

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The Hope That Will Come

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

How many of you need to not just hear these words but soak them deep into your heart right now?  For the last few years, we humans have been through a lot of turmoil.  I won’t say it was the most difficult time ever because I realize the world has been around a lot longer than my 58 years.  In the two world wars alone, it’s estimated 120,000,000 people died.  That doesn’t include the folks who passed from ordinary daily illness, accidents, and old age.  

This year, as so many of us tried to go back to our lives post shutdowns and lockdowns, we found ourselves back in the ordinariness of trials, tragedy, human depravity, illness, lost dreams, violence, and political infighting.  And so, we cry out to God for peace, for healing, for freedom from suffering.

I’ve been pretty quiet this year with my writing as I also deal with the world coming at me from all sides.  With the sudden loss of my beautiful “other mother” I have felt so alone at times.  I scroll back over her last text messages to me and I can hear her voice so clearly.  Since that time, we have celebrated graduations, milestone birthdays, anniversaries, and now the holidays.  In addition, my husband’s business has yet to recover from the financial destruction the last few years have wrought.  We have seen future goals dissolve into mist.  And still we find joy.  We find peace and we find hope.


I listened as my neighbor recently listed all the tragedies that have befallen his family over the past year and I heard the pain in his voice.  What I didn’t hear was how Jesus is helping them cope.  They are going it alone.  On the flip side I sit with my friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  And she is hope-filled.  She is finding joy and goodness in the face of something so scary.  She sees God working in every corner of her life, bringing the right people to her and watching her diagnosis heal broken relationships.  While her earthly doctors will work to heal her body, her faith is also healing her.  Healing her soul and heart.  Comforting and bringing peace to her mind.

I was recently asked in an Advent study to write what I hope for next year.  More importantly it asked how I would react if none of those hopes came to fruition.  It then asked this: list the things you can find hope in that you KNOW will come to pass because of Jesus Christ.  And here’s my answer.  I know that Jesus will never leave me or forsake me.  I know that Jesus has a better, more beautiful place waiting for all of those who believe.  I know that whatever I go through next year God loves me and he loves you.

So I’m starting next year closely tethered to the hope I know will come to pass.  Beginning January 1, I invite you to join me on a 31 day journey through God’s words of wisdom.  His playbook for a life lived as best we humans can.  He is not a god who keeps secret how to more smoothly navigate through the trials and tribulations of life.  No, besides the Book of Proverbs He has given us so much wisdom and insight into the Christian life.  A life that may at times look very different to the rest of the world but a life that is intended to bring about goodness, grace, mercy, and love.

Please join me for 31 Days of God’s Wisdom and invite your friends, families and neighbors.  Be sure to have them sign up at www.emboldened.net to receive their daily email.  In this way you can be a part of spreading His message around the world!

God bless you and Merry Christmas.

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Miracle Worker

23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:23

Father in Heaven, you are a God of miracles.  You bring light when I am in darkness through your healing powers and in ways I can never fully understand.  Help me to see even the tiniest miracles that you perform throughout my day so I can lift up my voice in glory to You. Amen

If you were asked if you believe in miracles, what would you say?  Your answer would probably depend upon how you define a miracle.  Some might call it a rare event.  What if instead, you changed your perspective and recognized that God works miracles in our lives every single day?

A standard definition of a miracle is  “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”  And again, how would you define “extraordinary?”  As I’ve grown closer to God and understanding His ways, my view of the world has certainly changed.  When seen through the lens of creation being the work of God, we can find any number of impossible things made possible.

37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

I’ve been blessed with being pregnant and giving birth twice.  Each time I marvelled at what was occurring in my body.  A tiny human being built from microscopic pieces of the universe in a body that itself is the perfect factory for human creation.  The parts all fit perfectly, just about every single time for thousands of years, millions upon millions of instances.  You don’t need to know statistics to grasp how impossible that should be.

Many say “that’s just science.”  Of course it is!  Science is the study of God’s amazing work – where the impossible happens all the time.  But let’s set human biology aside.  I can state for a fact that miracles happen regularly because I have experienced them.  Oh, if you had only known me 30, 20 or even just 10 years ago. You wouldn’t have seen Christ in my life.  You would have seen a woman desperate for peace.  Longing for joy.  Fearful of not being loved or appreciated.  A couple of years ago, a friend who has known me for some time commented how she could now see the work of Jesus in me.  Truly a miracle.  I’ve seen the same work in a few friends.  Ones I thought would never change.  And the change that has occurred is one that only the hand of God could’ve accomplished.

When you think “miracle” do you only think of cancer being healed?  A death avoided?  A financial windfall?  If so, you need to rub the scales from your eyes.  Just the fact that the sun rose again today was God’s miracle of creation.   His glory is revealed in so many ways.  Some include our continuous acts of human creation.  While other times through the medicines He has placed here for us to “discover.”  His miracle work is revealed each time a sinner recognizes their sin and asks God to change her and He does.  And yes, whenever we are blessed financially when we need it most. 

Friend, God’s glorious miracles are at work right now in your life.  Like our future Eden, He doesn’t need any outside source to cause the light to shine because He makes impossible possible.

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Promise Keeper

“Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40

Faithful Father, you have never lied and you never will.  I believe you.  Amen

I had a Christian woman tell me this once: “I know God has forgiven me.  But it’s hard for me to believe it.  It’s too hard for me to forgive myself.”  That’s why I nodded along when I heard a Christian teacher once say that there’s too many of us out there that have accepted our Lord as Savior but we just aren’t living our lives like we believe His promises.  It’s even hard for me sometimes when I look in the mirror to see what God sees.  To believe He loves me, blemishes and all.  It’s hard to believe He will take care of me without my striving and worrying.  But He will.

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

He has never, ever lied my friend.  He never, ever will.  What might happen, however, is that He will fulfill a promise in ways you didn’t expect.  Or in ways you may not agree or understand.  In fact, when I was doing a bit of research about God’s promises I found a blog that refuted God fulfilling promises.  In truth, the person sounded very wounded.  He also sounded poorly educated about God’s character and His ways.  His first example was of Genesis 2:17 when God admonishes Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, “…for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  The blogger explained that not only had they eaten the fruit but they went on to live for more than 900 years.

What he missed is 1) their immediate death was a loss of the close spiritual relationship with God and their sinlessness and 2) they did, in fact die.  You see, when we look at God’s promises without a knowledge of Him and through our own broken lenses we can miss God at work.  If we, instead, believe that God is the only perfect being to exist and His ways are always right then we ask better questions and submit to Him in trust.  

I recently had a conversation with a godly woman about women as pastors.  Having become more educated about scripture I felt confident in holding my own – as she said the Bible has conflicting lessons about this topic.  My first comment was this: “God’s Word is never in conflict.  If you see conflict you are either misunderstanding context, historical meaning, or having translation issues.  Understanding that parts of God’s will and God’s promises may be difficult to accept also helps us to realize our sinful desires rarely line up with God.

Friend, if you are struggling to accept that God will not back out of a promise to you, turn back to His Word.  He is faithful.  More faithful than anyone will ever be in your life.   And for that we can celebrate with glory to Him!

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A Time of Rest

“To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”  Romans 16:27

Thank you, Lord for a good night sleep.  As I wake today I recognize the wisdom of the gift you gave us of sleep.  So that I may be re-charged each day to serve you, to spread your message of love and to give you all glory. Amen

When I woke up this morning my first thought was of God’s perfection and wisdom.  His perfect plan for us and all the animals that roam the earth.  It wasn’t an accident that there was night and day.  There first was the darkness and then God created our alarm clock – the light.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." Genesis 1:2-3

God’s plan for us has always included a time for re-charging.  Haven’t you ever contemplated on the fact that we have a world-wide understanding that at night the majority of the world sleeps?  If there’s anything that we have all mostly agreed to do as part of His plan is to tuck ourselves in and give it a rest. 

The restless nights, worried-filled staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning are not, however, part of His plan.  He tells us over and over in His Holy Word to turn it over to Him so we can be at peace.  So we can rest.  So we can sleep.  

Friend, we can be so thankful to God for giving us the night.  For weaving into His plan a time of rest.  When you lay your head down think on what He has given you as the light turns to dark.  And when His alarm clock rises, give Him glory for another day to serve Him well.

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Everyday Glory

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

Holy Spirit, whatever decisions and choices I make today help them to be in service and glorification of God. Amen

I read an Instagram post the other day that asked this question: “Are you doing what makes you happy or what glorifies God?”  I would venture to say on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis we probably lean toward what makes us happy.  Sure, when it comes to bigger more difficult decisions, we may seek God’s counsel.  But how often when we are choosing what to eat, what to do with our free time, when we go about our chores and errands, before we open the door to enter work or school do we think, what’s God say about this? What could I do in this very situation that would make God happy?  What could I say to my spouse/friend/adult child that would sound like a word from the Lord?

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

We can take this piece of scripture and use it as a sort of “out” when it comes to our everyday lives being aligned with God.  We can never know all that God is thinking so we just go about our lives as best we can, right?  That may be true if we never study scripture or pray for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom.  Because when we do those two things, God will constantly be on our minds and lips.  He may even want that mundane day you have planned turned into something that glorifies Him.

We will never be fully satisfied with making our own choices about our lives.  It may appear that some people who have fame and fortune without God “have it all.”  As Christ followers we know true satisfaction, however, comes from the only constant thing in the world – God.  He knows what’s best for us.  He knows what will work in our lives to glorify the kingdom.  

Friend, when we change our daily thinking to God’s plan, not ours, we will also enjoy the fruits of the spirit – peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. And that sounds a lot better than anything I might’ve planned for my day.

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Beauty In The Battle

"Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to our holy name and glory in your praise."  Psalms 106:47

Holy God, the heavens are your battleground!  You fight against the cosmic forces over darkness.  Your power and majesty are at work all around me through the unseen world of the spirit.  And through my earthly worship I take up your sword each day to withstand any evil, in your Son’s name.  Amen

One of my favorite lines by Jesus in the Bible is, “Get behind me, Satan!” as He rebukes Peter for having the wrong mindset about Jesus’ work. His exact words are repeated in Matthew 16 and Mark 8.  Jesus also uses similar words in speaking directly to Satan in Matthew 4:10 with “Be gone, Satan!”  I jokingly use these phrases when donuts appear in front me.  Recently, however I heard teaching about spiritual warfare and I realized I had the completely wrong approach to it.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7

We so often talk about rebuking Satan or fighting our “Goliaths” when in reality we shouldn’t be speaking to the devil at all.  It’s dangerous work that I would venture to say most of us are not prepared to withstand.  Even the archangel Michael used God as his shield rather than his own words.  Instead, we should be relying on the incredible power of the Trinity to fight our spiritual battles.  

Along this same line I once told a friend we shouldn’t be asking, “What would Jesus do?” but rather what would Jesus want me to do? We are not fully man and fully God.  We are just man.  And we need to acknowledge that alone we only have the power given to us through the Spirit.  God, through His great love for us, will take care of the rest.  Isn’t that beautiful and amazing?

So what do we do?  We enact the famous lines from Ephesians 6 and put on our armor of God.  We stand firm in God’s truth.  We fit our feet with Jesus’ gospel of peace.  We arm ourselves with the shield of faith and the sword of God’s Word.  In other words, we allow God to fight His glorious fight with the devil while we do the seemingly mundane acts of worship, studying our Bibles, praying for intercession, baptizing in His name, and spreading His Word of peace and salvation.

Friends, we need to start saying, “Get behind my Lord and Savior Jesus, Satan.”  He is the blinding shield, the kryptonite against evil.  He is the most powerful weapon we could ever imagine to ward off the arrows lobbed at us.  Each time we open our Bibles, go to church, show love to a stranger, speak the Gospel truth into a friend we place that shield firmly in place for God to enter into battle.