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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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Unswerving Faith

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we 
profess, for he who promised is faithful.  
Hebrews 10:23

We sing songs about God being our Rock.  We hear sermons about not living as though on shifting sand.  And yet so often I find myself having days where my faith feels more like something I’ve placed in a box to access at a later date and time.  I rush about “doing life,” not as a Christian but as a citizen of the world.  I let go of my Rock and hold on to my to do list.

But what do we, as Christians, really want to accomplish in our lives?  If it’s simply completing to-do lists every day, we miss out on some of the greatest human qualities God gifted us – the ability to dream and grow and have hope. 

When I was in high school, I wanted to be an astronaut.  I met with Air Force recruiters who were enthusiastic about me joining up.  But when I sat down with my parents, they immediately discouraged me.  They thought I couldn’t handle the rigor and discipline of training.  I had two choices – to ignore them and join anyway or give up my dream.  Had I a strong prayer life, I could’ve lifted up this quandary to God.  And then be guided by Him.  At each roadblock I could’ve held fast to the knowledge that He put me on that path.  But I’m sorry to say, I neither prayed nor kept my dream alive.

This verse today harkens back to Abraham and Sarah’s unswerving faith in God.  They went through terrible trials in which it would’ve been understandable had they given up on God’s promises.  We see throughout the Old Testament when the Israelites did give up hope.  They grumbled to Moses and set off in directions which brought death.  And who can forget Lot’s wife – looking backward rather than forward to God’ promise?

How often do we pray for help from Jesus, knowing that He answers prayers, and then after things get a bit tough or we feel the wait is too long we give up on our hopes and dreams?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under 
trial because, having stood the test, 
that person will receive the crown of 
life that the Lord has promised to those 
who love him. 
James 1:12

God never breaks a promise.  It’s always us.  It’s us that needs to take our faith out of the box and place it at the top of our list each day.  We need to hold fast to the knowledge that God is working for us and not against us.  Whenever we are tempted to give up or get discouraged about our dreams, we need seize the promises that God has shown us.

Here’s a prayer from Sparkling Gems from the Greek that might help you, through faith, “hold unswervingly” to your dreams!

Lord, I am well aware that events will occur in life that will tempt me to release the dream You put in my heart.  So right now, I ask You to fill me with the courage I need to refuse to let go of my dream.  Even though my mind and the circumstances around me may send signals that the dream will never come to pass, I know that You are faithful to what you have promised.  Help me wrap my arms of faith around your promises and never let go until I see them come into manifestation!  I pray this in Jesus’ name!  

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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

A Promised Return

The desert and the parched land 
will be glad;the wilderness will 
rejoice and blossom. 
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2

It was only just recently that I heard the concept of a “return to the Garden.”  I mean I’m quite familiar with the promise of eternity but I just never made the full circle of an opening of the guarded Eden gates.

These past few weeks as myself, Todd and Madison have been reminded of the many promises of God, I keep hearing the word I have heard for more than a year – “obey.”  With each promise there is a covenant agreement.  God is sure and trustworthy about His side of the covenant.  But we “mule-like” humans struggle to hold on to God tightly and sign at the bottom line.  I wonder if it really just boils down to that little bit inside of us that doesn’t fully believe.

On March 26, 1997, San Diego Sheriff’s deputies discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group, Heaven’s Gate.  The home where the bodies were found is just a stone’s throw from my own home.  If you don’t recall their beliefs, I’ll give you a brief summary.  The leaders, using the Bible and science fiction works by Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke convinced their followers that extraterrestrial beings were clearly mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  And the comet Hale-Bopp, was the sign for them to give up their early bodies and hitch a ride to the heavens.  They twisted a lot of theology to meet their beliefs.

Sometimes when I’m talking about the concept of Jesus, salvation and eternity I think about those Heaven’s Gate souls and wonder if I sound just as crazy to non-believers.  I shy away from talking about God and loosen my grip on Him. Of course, one of the large differences is that God never asks us to speed up the date and time of the end of our days here on Earth.  And we have been constantly assured that we cannot know the hour of Jesus’ return.

But that return is definitely promised.  And if we believe that God is the creator, the sovereign LORD overall, then we must also believe in our return to the Garden. 

The prophecy from Isaiah in 35:1-2 was written as a message of hope for the people of Jerusalem.  It’s likely the Assyrians had ravaged all the nearby cities and had made the roads too dangerous on which to travel.  The people, as Warren Wiersbe says in his commentary, “Were cooped up in Jerusalem, wondering what would happen next.”  Sound familiar?

He goes on to write that the faithful were praying continuously to God for hope and relief.  And God answered their prayers.  As He had done so many times before and since. 

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

How many jokes have we seen and heard related to this verse?  And yet it is surely true.  Jesus himself makes this statement.  I heard an evangelist pastor say once, “I don’t know when Jesus is returning and we will see the Garden again, but the time is certainly nearer than it was yesterday!”

It’s said that the new Garden will be even more magnificent than the first.  And although that sounds wonderful, I’ll be joy-filled just to be able to have my name written on the list to enter any type of garden God has for me.  

Each day I am here on this Earth is another day to hold on tightly to God’s promises and obey and believe.  Each day we are here is another gift God gives us to step out of our comfort zones, out of our cooped up lives and work on putting just one more name on that list. 

I hope you have enjoyed these 25 Promises of God through the Book of Isaiah.  Please join me for our next series titled, “Pray It Till You Make It!”  It’s a focus on praying to be the people we know God wants us to be and watching the transformation work He does in us! 

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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.

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The True Story of God With Us

Therefore the Lord himself 
will give you a sign: 
The virgin will conceive 
and give birth to a son, 
and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

At the time that Isaiah spoke this prophecy the nation of Judah was under a large threat from Assyria.  Alliances were being pressured and formed.  King Ahaz of Judah refused to align himself with the northern tribes because he had secretly made a pact with the Assyrians.  He didn’t grab hold of God’s past deliverances and trust God to save him and his people.  

Isaiah made his prophesy about the coming savior to the entire House of David as a warning to trust God and no one else.  God is with us (“Immanuel”) in so far as we are willing to trust and believe Him.

God is with me.  I hold on tightly to the knowledge that His Holy Spirit dwells in my heart, mind and soul.  It’s a promise completely fulfilled with Jesus.  And yet, I still occasionally fall into the trap of looking for a savior outside that promise.  A chance to make more money, a politician who scatters promises like birdseed, a new diet to get me “back on track” or a vaccine that will make the world “normal” again.

Promise made and promises broken

My BSGs just finished a section in our study of Everyday Theology.  It focused on scripture – its validity, relevance, purpose and origins.  We discussed how our modern times reflect Biblical times in so many ways.  Warring political factions, the lack of faith, and how the promises of God still stand true for today.  

Our world needs to grab on to the truths of scripture.  The Bible isn’t just some book some random guys put together.  It is what the study author calls, “God-breathed.”  There is no other book on the planet that has as much historical evidence to support what it says.  I asked the group why did the author choose to start a book about theology with the topic of scripture rather than say, God?  

One member responded quite rightly, “Because the Bible gives us the character of God so we can better understand who He is.”  

I gave the visual of using an encyclopedia book – yes, the actual book.  In the ole timey days we would hear about something and turn to the encyclopedia to learn more about it.  We knew what was written in that book was true.  No doubts.  After reading all about say, Marie Curie, we could be assured we knew just about everything we needed to know.

That’s how we should view the Bible – the true and relevant encyclopedia about God.  And know that it’s all true.  So, when Isaiah prophesizes the birth of Jesus hundreds of years prior to his birth, we can see it as confirmation of the whole story being true.

All Scripture is God-breathed 
and is useful for teaching, 
rebuking, correcting and training 
in righteousness, so that the 
servant of God may be thoroughly 
equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

And knowing it is true – that Jesus came to be our savior and the Holy Spirit would dwell in us for all time – should cause us to look toward Him and hold on to Him as our only savior.

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

He Prepares The Way

This is what the Lord says to his 
anointed,to Cyrus, whose right hand 
I take hold of to subdue nations 
before him and to strip kings of 
their armor, to open doors before 
him so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you 
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze 
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons 
you by name.
Isaiah 45:1-3

When I was 17, I moved across the country, away from my family to the Midwest for college. I was unsure what God had planned for me there, but I knew that I needed a new adventure and was excited to strike out on my own. It is difficult to describe with words that first feeling I had when my parents dropped me off at school and drove away into the distance to go back to California. I watched their car drive out of my university and eventually out of sight. For the first time, I was truly on my own. I felt my stomach drop and tears welled up in my eyes. Reality hit and I began to immediately doubt my decision. 

One more hug from dad!

Those first months away from home were difficult. I spent many nights deep with sadness, missing my old life at home. Other nights I would be filled with joy at the exciting new venture I had bravely took head-on. Amidst the rollercoaster of emotions, I always had one underlying questions – What did God have planned for me here? 

I wasn’t really a believer at the time, but I had gone to church my whole life and *generally* knew that God had a plan for our lives. Being from San Diego, I knew it was no coincidence that I ended up in Saint Charles, Missouri. It was random and I had zero connections to the area other than being recruited to play field hockey there. Despite not proclaiming Christ as my Savior yet, something inside of me knew there was a reason God brought me to this place. 

St. Charles — A Water Tower Town

Rewind back to the initial verse I kicked off with. Isaiah 45: 1-3 discusses a prophesy of Cyrus, who is a pagan leader God chooses to deliver the Israelites from their captivity. These verses were written 200 years before Cyrus was born. Meaning, Cyrus’ life was already planned out way before he was ever a thought in his parent’s minds. God had a plan for Cyrus’ life – He has a plan for yours too. 

God planned to use Cyrus in mighty ways, even though he was no mighty person. God chose him, predestined him to be the deliverer of God’s people. God wasn’t particularly favoring Cyrus, rather he was caring for His people as a whole by providing them a way out of their suffering through Cyrus. 

I know that God loves me, cares for me and sees me as beautifully and wonderfully made. But just as much as he sees me as His child, He also sees me as an instrument to His Kingdom, a vessel for which he can work through me. Just as he did Cyrus. 

I quickly found out that God’s plan for me in Saint Charles was to find salvation in His son Jesus Christ and to dedicate my life to serving Him – no matter where I was living, working, etc. God saved me so that He could use me on my field hockey team, amongst my roommates and in my workplace. Just as Cyrus’s plan for his life was written 200 years before he was born – so was mine, and yours. 

When I look back to my years in college, I am reminded of the good and perfect plan God had for me during my time there. Every day was certainly not good and perfect, but the things He brought me through and the lessons He taught me showed me that He truly is a good and perfect God. 

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

God has already prepared a way for us. This truth alleviates me from worry and stress about tomorrow – something to which I still occasionally fall victim. God wrote the story of our lives generations ago, and has every intention of carrying out His good and perfect plan for us. All we must do is surrender control and open our hands to His authority. 

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

A Promise of Triumph

The Lord will march out like 
a champion,like a warrior he 
will stir up his zeal;with a shout 
he will raise the battle cry 
and will triumph over his enemies.
Isaiah 42:13

Like you, I’ve dealt with a lot of difficult people throughout my life.  Whether it was at work, my children’s school, youth sports, or even my church, I encountered people who just wanted to be adversarial.  And I am certain I was someone’s “difficult person” at one time or another.  But I think the most painful experiences surrounding adversaries are when they are part of our family.

I was talking with a good friend of mine the other day about our two families.  We both struggle with difficult parent situations.  One day she and her sister had a heart to heart about a disagreement from a few weeks prior.  With my Christian friend’s kind and gentle approach she spurred the revelation that they had become their parents.  Each sister taking on the personality and fighting style of one of their parents.  That revelation started a healing process in both of them.  Truly a small victory.

In my own life I have transitioned through the stages of grief when it comes to my relationship with my parents.  I denied there was a real problem in my family.  When I finally recognized the problems, I became angry and fought constantly with my mother – trying to change her.  I even had my own way of bargaining to try and create a Hallmark-style mother-daughter relationship.  I would do things for her to help her see what a good person I really was.  But my expectations and hopes were always dashed.  I became depressed for awhile when I realized we would never be a family that loved being together. I just wanted to untie myself from my parents and let them go adrift.  All of this was before I finally surrendered.  I raised my white flag.  But not to any human.  To God.

But thanks be to God, who in 
Christ always leads us in 
triumphal procession, and 
through us spreads the fragrance 
of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 2:14

Paul wrote this to the church of Corinth during a very difficult time for him and his relationship with this church.  They were angry with him for changing his plans about visiting.  Some had started false preaching about him behind his back.  And, as Warren Wiersbe states, “When Christians misunderstand each other the wounds can be very deep.”  Isn’t that true of our families as well?

During the last few years, I have experienced that Christ-given “fragrance of knowledge of Him.”  And as I have done so, I finally had to experience that last stage of grief – acceptance.  For us Christians that acceptance comes, more importantly, with forgiveness.  I stopped trying to change the situation by myself.  And I started to rely on God to handle the situation with my parents.  I hold on to the truth of who loves me for all eternity. And I’m learning how to stay tied to my parents without feelings of hurt and anger. As I spoke of this with my friend she announced very boldly, “And now you have VICTORY!”  

..so you should rather turn 
to forgive and comfort him, 
or he may be overwhelmed by 
excessive sorrow. So I beg 
you to reaffirm your love for him. 
For this is why I wrote, 
that I might test you and know 
whether you are obedient in 
everything. 10 Anyone whom you 
forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, 
what I have forgiven, if I have 
forgiven anything, has been for 
your sake in the presence of Christ, 
11 so that we would not be 
outwitted by Satan; for we are 
not ignorant of his designs.
2 Corinthians 2:7-11

I forgave my parents for not being able to provide me with what I was looking for in a relationship.  I realized they had never been the recipients of overwhelming love.  I stopped being angry and instead became thankful for the life which God has blessed me – a loving family of my own.  Had I given up at any of the other 4 steps of grief surely Satan would have won.  But like Paul, I am no longer ignorant of the devil’s designs.  

Thanks be to God for the triumph He has promised us. We can hold fast knowing that, not only will He have victory over those who would do us harm, but also over our own souls which get injured and hurt by the world.  We can have victory because the Spirit of God rests in us.

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

Hanging By A Thread

Can a mother forget the baby 
at her breast and have no compassion 
on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will 
not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on 
the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:15-16

I just was having a bad day.  Nothing really seemed to fall into place.  My husband got some bad news from work which makes me worry about him and our financial situation.  And then we decided to go get my car washed.  My husband was vacuuming the back of my hatchback.  I decided to walk around the back in order to reach the passenger front window.  Unbeknownst to me he had pushed the button to close the hatch as he walked away.  I walked square into the corner of the door with the top of my head.  My husband was completely unaware as he was now on the opposite side of the car.  I bent over holding my head trying to 1) not cry like a baby and 2) stay conscious. 

I cried out to him like a mewling lamb.  My first reaction was to blame him and then I apologized, saying it was just an accident.  But that was the last straw for me that day.  I  wanted to sit down and sob.  It has taken so much out of me to stay in tune with God during the trials and tribulations of the Covid pandemic that I just wanted to give up.  No more joyful grasping for God.  No more peace resting in His Word.  I just was done.  

Come to me, all you who 
are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

And God whispered to me, “I’m still here. And I still love you.  And I know you are having a hard time.  Come and talk to me.”  

I still find it so hard to pray when I’m truly struggling.  But God is so compassionate to us.  He knows when we are holding on by a thread.  He will take even the tiniest snippets of prayer from us to help us hold on.  Like the mother in the Isaiah verse today, He longs to hold us in His arms if we would just run to him – or even crawl.  

The process of sanctification this year made me realize quickly that I was shrinking away from not only God but my husband at that painful moment.  I didn’t want to burden my husband any more than he already was. But after a little while, I shared with him how I was feeling.  I know it’s hard for men to see their beloved wives in pain and not be able to fix our ills.  But he gave me what I needed — a listening and compassionate ear, and a hug.  

That’s what God wants to do for us too.  Although we shouldn’t turn our prayer time into a litany of complaints, we should bring him our pain.  

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, 
holy and dearly loved, clothe 
yourselves with compassion, 
kindness, humility, gentleness 
and patience.
Colossians 3:12

I like this visual of clothing ourselves.  The fruits of the spirit are God’s way of giving us that spiritual hug and listening ear.  He is compassionate, kind, gentle and patient with us.  And Jesus was certainly humble.  When we encase our minds and hearts in these gifts and then turn those fruit outward toward God’s people, we get them back tenfold. 

My husband is a godly man.  Because of this, God used him to give me the compassion and gentleness I needed that day.  And I was able to pull myself back on track. 

I could have easily given in to my despair.  I mean my head was killing me and felt like I had a concussion.  Nothing I could do would fix any problem around me.  But I have learned to grab hold of the promises of God for my rescue. 

Be on your guard; stand firm 
in the faith; be courageous; 
be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

My head still hurts a few days later but I can almost (almost) laugh about it now.  I’m glad I don’t have to keep apologizing to anyone for losing it – since I pulled back my anger almost immediately.  My husband felt bad enough as it was.  And my compassion toward him helped me to stay in line with God’s Word.

I thank God for His promise to never forget me, always hold me tightly and guide me with the fruits of His spirit. 


Join me starting January 11 for my next series! Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help create a vision of you! The words we speak and think and pray have a great impact on our life. We will embark on a journey of praying changes into our lives. New Year’s resolutions have nothing on what God can accomplish when we ask for miracles to transform us!

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

Vessels of Good News

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it 
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, 
so that it yields seed for 
the sower and bread for the eater, 
so is my word that goes out from 
my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for 
which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

The Gospel is good news. Plain and simple. The actual word “gospel” is translated to mean “good story” or “good news” in Greek. But the question is – if the Gospel truly is good news, why is it so hard for us to talk about it? 

I’ll rewind a bit and start from the very beginning. For those who have always heard the word Gospel, but never heard the story of the Gospel, here it is:

1. God created us for his glory (Creation). 

2. Therefore, every human should live for God’s glory.

3. Nevertheless, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (the Fall). 

4. Therefore, we all deserve eternal punishment (Hell). 

5. Yet, in his great mercy, God sent his only Son Jesus Christ into the world to provide for sinners the way of eternal life (the Cross). 

6. Therefore, eternal life is a free gift to all who will trust in Christ as Lord and Savior and supreme Treasure of their lives (Salvation). 

John Piper

All that to say, the Gospel is indeed good news. It means eternal intimacy in the presence of God, forgiveness of sins and citizenship in Heaven where there will be no more sorrow or pain – ever. For those of us who have been saved by grace through faith and are living testimonies of the power of the Gospel, we are all vessels of this good news. 

As Isaiah writes in chapter 55, God is proclaiming and promising that the good news he has sent down to earth (salvation through his Son Jesus), will indeed be fulfilled and carried from nation to nation until Jesus returns again. 

As described in verse 10, God sent down Jesus like rain, to water a dry and barren earth. God has promised us that this rain would not leave the earth dry and barren, but that it would be fully watered until it is returned to its original perfect creation. Right now, we are still in the watering phase of God’s plan for creation. The land is still thirsty and in need of the living water, and thankfully, we as Christians know just where to find it. 

Those in Christ are not just blessed with knowing the truth of the Gospel, we are called to share it. As the Jesus’ Great Commission states in Matthew 28: 

Go therefore and make disciples of 
all nations,baptizing them in the 
name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching 
them to observe all that I have commanded 
you. And behold, I am with you always, 
to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

We are vessels of good news and have the refreshing drink our thirsty world is gasping for. Sharing the Gospel may not always be easy, but it is always God’s will for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We are a part of God’s redemption story for this world. He uses us, ordinary people, to return to Creation what was robbed by sin. 

I challenge you today to change your perspective from one of fear and hesitation towards sharing the Gospel, to one of joy and anxious anticipation for sharing the good news of salvation. As believers, we exist to serve God – not the other way around. Start today by remembering that God is using you as a divine vessel of good news, created and saved to play an important role in His plan for our world. 

Relish in that promise today.