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Your Sin Is Known

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Not too long ago I heard a pastor give this advice when praying, “Ask God to reveal your sins that may be hidden from you.”  Our sense of righteousness and pride can sometimes cloud over sins that only the Spirit can bring to full, bright light.  But then there are those other sins.  Those sins that we know we indulge.  We think we are keeping them secret.  The unforgiveness, or even hatred, we hold in our heart (because they deserve it!).  The hoarding of our treasures (because I need it!).  The partaking of bad behaviors (because I deserve it!).  

Charles Spurgeon once gave a powerful sermon on the folly of secret sins.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Pretender, thou art fair to look upon; thy conduct outwardly upright, amiable, liberal, generous and Christian; but thou dost indulge in some sin which the eye of man has not yet detected. Perhaps it is private drunkenness. Thou dost revile the drunkard when he staggers through the street; but thou canst thyself indulge in the same habit in private. It may be some other lust or vice; it is not for me just now to mention what it is. But, pretender, we say unto thee, thou art a fool to think of harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that thy sin is not a secret sinit is known, and shall one day be revealed; perhaps very soon. Thy sin is not a secret; the eye of God hath seen it;”

Friend, we fool ourselves if we think God doesn’t know what’s going on in your private life.  He doesn’t take days off or turn His face away even for a minute.  He knows your heart and your mind.  He knows if you’ve truly forgiven that person or not.  He sees what you are doing with your body, always.  He is like an x-ray into your heart.  To truly renounce that sin start with the help of the Spirit to give you strength to turn it over.  He will forgive you each time you struggle to rid yourself of the hold it has over you. 

Merciful God, shine a light on my sinful ways, both ones I know about and the ones that seem hidden from me.  I know you will love me with grace and mercy.  Amen

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The Great Destructive Force

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?  Proverbs 27:4

When I delved into research about envy vs. jealousy I came across this interesting view from Psychology Today: 

“Although jealousy is a painful emotional experience, evolutionary psychologists regard it not as an emotion to be suppressed but as one to heed—as a signal or a wake-up call that a valued relationship is in danger and that steps need to be taken to regain the affection of a mate or friend. As a result, jealousy is seen as a necessary emotion, because it preserves social bonds and motivates people to engage in behaviors that maintain important relationships.”

Jealousy, unlike envy, is about emotional needs within relationships.  Be it between spouses, children and parents, or even between co-workers and a boss.  “My mother loves my sister more than me.”  “My wife pays too much attention to our neighbor.”  “He’s always playing up to the boss for compliments.”  These are all situations where a person is seeking to fulfill emotional needs through the wrong outlet.  When we feel jealousy arise in our hearts it should be a warning to evaluate where our prideful hearts are seeking to fulfill all its needs.


In the books of Mark and Luke a scene unfolds wherein the disciples argue amongst themselves who is the greatest of them.  They all want to be seen as the “top dog” alongside Jesus.  Who does Jesus love more?  Who does He rely on the most?  All signs of a strain of jealousy woven among them.  And true to Jesus’ ability to cut through the sin of man He reminds them all that they are to be the “least” among men.  To accept His love as little children, with innocence and grace.  James later reminds us of jealousy’s dangerous results: “You desire and do not have so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

Friend, as Samuel Rutherford once wrote, “There is so much in our Lord’s pantry that will satisfy His children, and much wine in His cellar that will quench all their thirst.”  He admonishes us to live on Christ’s love alone.  When we place all our emotional needs in one human relationship we are sure to be disappointed. And disappointment can lead to jealousy.  As Rutherford goes on to say, “Let those who love this present world have it; Christ is the more worthy and noble portion; blessed are those who choose Him.”

Loving Lord, thank you for being a fountain of love that never runs dry.  A place I can return to over and over to refresh me.  Help me to seek your love above all so I can place my earthly relationships in the right place in my heart.  Amen

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Repetitious Folly

As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so fools repeat their folly.  Proverbs 26:11

We’ve all heard the famous quote, “The definition of insanity is making the same mistake over and over and expecting a different result.”  It must have its roots in today’s graphic version of the illogical idea of continuing to beat your head against a wall (or beating a dead horse).  My version of this wisdom was telling my softball players that if you keep practicing something the wrong way, you’ll get really good at doing it the wrong way.

I have to think there’s so many versions of this admonition because we humans struggle with both breaking bad habits and the fear of the unknown.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s better to live with the pain you know than the pain you don’t.”  If, as a Christian, this speaks to you let me put what you are doing into a faith perspective.  You aren’t trusting God to take care of you.  God doesn’t desire for you to live downtrodden and joyless.  It’s why there’s proverbs like this one.  It’s why Jesus came to us.  He came to shake us up from our repeated follies.  It was time to take a different approach to life.

Jesus told us to stop hating our enemies.  Stop being filled with vengeance.  Stop viewing others within a hierarchy.  Stop giving over our bodies and minds to immorality.  Stop hoarding our wealth.  Stop being afraid.  Stop returning to our own vomit.  And start living for His Kingdom.  Start looking towards the New Eden.

My friend, if you feel stuck ask yourself what do you keep doing over and over expecting a different outcome? Turn your issue over to God.  Listen to His answer which will come either through His Holy Word or through the most unexpected way.  And then take new action.  Start a new habit.  One that God will infuse with joy and goodness.  

God, you know my habitual ways.  You have a better plan for me.  I lift up my repeated sins to you.  Please show me a different path and guide me with your Spirit.  Amen 

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Reliable Friends

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

She is the sweetest person I have ever called “friend.”  A gentle and kind woman who doesn’t have bad things to say about anyone.  And she was always late.  That is, if she didn’t cancel the morning of or an hour before we planned to meet up.  I knew the second we scheduled a lunch date to not be disappointed when she gave me the “oops” text.  Sweet and completely unreliable.  And although I tried not to let it bother me it did.  

When we are younger, automatic friend groups pop up because of school, work, volunteering or your kid’s activities.  As I grew older, I found myself realizing that not all but many, friends were out of convenience.  Many of them weren’t ones I could truly rely upon.  

It all came to a head one day when I was desperate for someone to take me to the doctor.  I had gotten word that my knee injury was in fact a serious fracture and I was urged to get to the orthopedic doctor immediately.  My husband was out of town.  I contacted my mother and was turned down (a longer story for another time).  Then my “best friend” who also turned me down.  I asked yet another friend and was told no.  Instead, I found myself driving home from a doctor’s appointment with a hip to ankle brace and crutches.  To this day I’m not sure how I made it home without crashing.  It was my “ah ha” moment about my lack of reliable friends.

I spent the next few days alternately feeling sorry for myself and evaluating the people in my friend sphere.  I realized there were people around me that were reliable.  I just hadn’t cultivated them as good friends.  After prayer and putting together an action plan I set about changing this situation.  

Friend, since that time I’ve had a number of friends tell me they wish we were friends back during that time of my injury.  They tell me they would’ve dropped everything to help me.  They are my new sisters, most of whom are also sisters in Christ.  Isn’t it time to make sure you have a few reliable friends too?

Holy God, you are my first and foremost reliable guide, friend and helper in my life.  I thank you for the reliable people you have placed around me.  Please always help me be on the lookout for other, earthly friends with whom I can walk through this world together.  Amen

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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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Who Rules Your Day?

All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Proverbs 16:2

We’ve all had the opportunity to be arm-chair decision makers while watching a movie.  You just know that she should not, absolutely not, open that door and peer into Pandora’s Box.  But because their curiosity or desires are so great they ignore every good sense they should have.  The 1988 movie, Indecent Proposal, must have had movie goers at the edge of their seats shaking their heads in exasperation.  A married couple meet a billionaire while in Las Vegas.  He offers $1million to sleep with the wife for one night.  After deliberating, the couple agrees to the proposal.  I mean, it was a million dollars!  That kind of money can paper over any possible issues that might arise, right? 

Even though this scenario was fantasy on the silver screen how many of us make decisions every single day thinking we know better than God?  We see the immediate benefit of our choice.  Our desires and emotions outweigh or even obscure the possible consequences.  This is especially dangerous when the consequences may not be seen for years – say through the actions of our children.


I heard a pastor recently break down how to live at peace – with our decisions, the world swirling around us and more.  First, seek God’s help, advice, and intervention.  Then don’t take it back.  That’s what Abraham’s Sarah did.  She prayed for children then decided she probably could handle the problem better.  She had her husband sleep with Hagar.  And like the results of the decision in Indecent Proposal, people’s lives were ruined and changed forever.

Friend, God doesn’t need you to ask permission for everything in life.  If you stick close to Him, you’ll know the right and wrong in most situations.  But when it comes to the big stuff or situations where emotions and desires are strong we need to submit them to God.  We need our heavenly Counselor to give us better advice than what our flesh is telling us.  And then take it.

Lord, I can get blinded by my explanations for why I need to do things my way.  Please shine a revealing light on those times where I need to fully commit my choices to you.  Amen 

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Cleave From Fools  

Stay away from a fool,
    for you will not find knowledge on their lips. Proverbs 14:7

I imagine today’s wise advice has everyone shaking their heads in agreement.  If a spotlight were pointed at your gaggle of friends, however, would there be that one person you know you should limit your time around?  The one always making bad decisions, dragging you into uncomfortable situations, struggling in their marriage because of their behavior, and the list goes on and on.  

Why do we keep these folks on our Christmas card list or included in our party invitations?  Unfortunately, some are a bit too close to home as relatives.  But those other ones, those are head scratchers.  Maybe you think they are funny, your kids are on the same sports team, you’re in a Bible study group with them, or they are a neighbor.  As Christians aren’t we to show kindness, compassion and grace?  

Yes, to all of the above.  However, nowhere in scripture will you find the Lord advising to bring into your close sphere a fool.  As scripturally well-informed Christians we should be able to spot fools fairly quickly and make wise choices about boundaries.  According to an article in Sharper Iron, look for these traits: arrogance, overconfidence, lacking shame, braggart, reckless with words and choices, self-indulgent, quarrelsome, and insulting.  It doesn’t matter that they also have an amazing talent for scrapbooking, working out, wine collecting, or whatever mirrors some hobby or interest of yours.  Stay clear.  Smile and wave.  Be kind and gracious.  Protect your heart, mind, family and wallet.

Friend, a fool is no friend.  In the end, you will most likely look the fool along with them.  Take what they say with a discerning ear.  Surround yourself with people you can trust and help you on your sanctification journey.  God will cleave the fools.  You just need to let them go.  He will place the people you need in your path.

Holy Father, open my eyes to the foolish people I have held on to in my life.  Help me to be discerning with my time and boundaries concerning them.  Bring me wise mentors into my life.  Amen

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Stop Pretending

One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
    another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. Proverbs 13:7

According to an article in Psychology Today the advent of social media brought about a terrible case of lying.  Lying about our weight, our age, our financial status, social standing, looks, and well, just about everything about ourselves.   In a study that reviewed 80 online daters, researchers found that two thirds of participants lied about their weight by five pounds or more. In a large sample of over 2,000 people in England 43 percent of men admitted to making up facts about themselves and their lives that were not true.  Most commonly, participants said that they only shared “non-boring” aspects of their lives (32 percent) and were not as “active” as their social media accounts appeared (14 percent).

Some might say, eh, what’s the big deal?  While we humans like to think we are individually responsible for our own health and well-being we actually are in a giant social contract with each other.  When a young teen looks at people online having the time of their lives 24/7 they may think, “why is my life so boring?”  Unhappiness, dissatisfaction, loneliness, or worse, thoughts of harming themselves are paths many may take when evaluating their own “normal” lives.

I remember having this very conversation with my youngest daughter her first year of college.  “Everyone else that went off to school seems to be so happy.  Why am I struggling?” she once said.  I reminded her that very, very few people post the other 12 or 18 hours of their day when they are studying for a test, sitting alone having lunch, or crying from homesickness.  


Our wise words today speak to how we show our wealth or lack thereof.  But in the larger scheme of things, it’s about pretending to be something we are not.  I can’t help but think this comes from a place of looking for love and affirmation in the wrong places. God loves you when you have money and when you don’t.  He loves you when you are doing boring things like taking out the trash.  He loves you when you are on a fabulous vacation or quietly reading a book on the couch.

Friend, God loves you when you are being true to your situation.  You don’t need to pretend to be something you aren’t.  So stop trying to keep up with the influencers who stood in line for three hours to get that perfect shot in Malta.  If all you can do for a vacation is take a hike in your nearby woods, enjoy every single minute of it.  God is with you and loves you right where you are.

Lord, help me shine for the person you made me to be right now.  I want to be thankful for the blessings you have given me.  I know you love me whether rich or poor.  Whatever you have blessed me with help me to bless others by being genuine and true.  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.