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A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.  A time to be born and a time to die.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

As a kid living in southern California, I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland a number of times.  Before each visit my brother and I would plan out how to strategically use our tickets – yes, back then we had ticket books for rides.  That’s where the saying, “It’s an E ticket ride” comes from, meaning the best ones.  In the ticket book there’d be loads of A tickets for the kiddie rides and shows.  But only a few, valuable E tickets.  I imagined how much fun I was going to have spinning around the tea cups and travelling through the Haunted Mansion.  But when I got to Disneyland all I could think of was the next ride.  And the next.  When we would leave, I felt a sense of disappointment.  Like I hadn’t really been there at all.  So, I looked forward to the day we could go back and begin the process of yearning for something better around the next bend all over again.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverb 27:1

That has been a lifelong problem for me – always looking for tomorrow to bring me joy and peace.  It’s also brought me a lot of worry.  And although God wants us to be good stewards of our life, planning and preparing, He doesn’t want our hearts and minds to be absent from today.  Or worse, trapped in the past.  During difficult seasons we can so easily project our life to what we hope it to be or catastrophize our life to what we are worried it will be.  We often also wish we could just go back to the way things were.  Back home, back to a perceived better or safer time.  

On my rides home from the Magic Kingdom, I would wish I could go back.  Go back and relish each ride, each experience to its fullest.   And while I was doing that, I was probably missing out again on what was happening right then and there.  I can only imagine Elijah, a quiet, rugged mountain shepherd on day 50 or 100 or even 200 in Cherith Ravine letting his mind wander back home to Gilead.  Being just a man, he probably once or twice longed for his old way of life where kings and queens weren’t threatening his life.  Where he could pick berries and drink fresh goat milk each day instead of relying on ravens for food.  But God needed him right there, right at that time paying attention.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

It’s a hard lesson when we are in pain, suffering through bad news, or being persecuted.  We are admonished to trust in God for tomorrow and not yearn to go backwards to home.  And yet, in the midst of my Cherith I found myself doing just that.

Both my children had returned to their own homes after saying their final goodbyes to their beloved grandmother.  My husband too had returned back to a job that needed his presence.  That next day, after a particularly hard few moments and, to be honest, watching my brother-in-law’s little family gather closely together, I needed to escape.  I felt so alone and incapable of the task of helping shepherd my mother-in-law through her final days.  I took my eyes off the Lord and placed them back on myself.  A phone call home had me crying out to my husband, “I can’t do this.  I’m not strong enough.  I want to come home right now.”

I wanted to go back to before the cancer.  I wanted to envelope myself in my comfortable routine back home.  Fear and loneliness wrapped around me like a heavy blanket.  And then I remembered Elijah.  I looked toward the majesty of the Colorado Rockies and remembered God can do all things.  And He needed me right there, right now.  Not longing for home or better times.  Not worrying about the future. Instead, paying attention to the beautiful moments and lessons He had placed before me for today.

22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

I still will battle looking for the next “better thing” around the corner.  But the time between that search and remembering to enjoy this day has reduced to mere moments as I pull my thoughts back to looking for Jesus right now.  There is a time for everything. To prepare and to sow, to cry and to laugh. To keep and throw away. To mourn and to dance. When we step outside God’s timing we find ourselves at odds with His plan. But when we live in His moments, His seasons, we find ourselves in harmony. That is God’s promised peace.  And that my friends, is exactly where the joy is.

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The Midol Woman

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5

I love watching the British tv show Midsommer Murders.  I’m a detective fan since my young girl days of hiding my Nancy Drew books inside my school desk and sneaking it out when the teacher wasn’t looking.  I pay extra on my Amazon Prime account to get these shows.  Recently however, they’ve added commercials – dropped in at odd places in the show.  One such commercial keeps popping up, show after show, day after day.   It’s for Midol, the pain reducer typically suggested to relieve cramping and pains due to menstruation.  

The commercials themselves are a testament to where we are at in society.  You see, each of the women are portrayed as victims.  Not necessarily of having a period but of having to deal with the pain and therefore their related behavior.  I call them the Midol Women.   One actress states, “If I don’t stop apologizing for my period behavior (apparently she’s quite a bear during this time) then it’ll never stop for future generations.”  Another states, “I’m not going to keep apologizing for being a ‘mad black woman’ just because I’m on my period.”  Period.

The message conveyed is “whatever I’m feeling today the world had better watch out!” And, “don’t make me apologize for what I’m about to unleash!”

Isn’t that the loud and clear message we hear so much today?  I’m not required to keep my mouth in check because (fill in the blank – my truth, my pain, my socioeconomic status, my race, my sexuality, my whatever) but YOU had better keep your mouth in check.  It all creates a bit of a neck whiplash.  And the result? Pain, hurt feelings, swelling pridefulness, torn relationships, violence and more.

James 3:10-11 says, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 

When it’s a Christian acting in this way we get the giant stamp of “hypocrite” placed on, not only us as individuals, but the faith as a whole.  It’d be better to live by the wisdom of the Proverbs.

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.  Proverbs 29:11

This concept has really hit home for me these past few months as I’ve battled constant pain in my ears and head.   I want to lash out at my husband at the end of the day when he’s being, well, just a man.  Normally I could laugh and tease him.   But it takes all the strength and patience out of me each day to not give in to the pain.  So when someone close to me does something annoying, my strength needs to come from somewhere else.   Because my tank is empty.

I don’t want to ruin a beautiful weekend by constantly gripping about how I feel.  I may always feel this way if my doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong.  So I have to ask myself, do I want to be the Midol Woman and demand that everyone around me accept my emotional bombs?  Or do I draw on the strength of God which the apostle Paul wrote when he spoke of his constant thorn in his side (2 Cor 12:7-10)?

Believe me, I want to be cured.  And I don’t like that women must suffer during their periods.  I hate that people, like my mother in law, have to deal with the effects of chemotherapy. Migraines, back pain, knee pain, the list goes on and on.  When we lose sight of who we belong to and what is expected of us we fall prey to being the Midol Woman.  We lose control of our tongue and its ability to “set great forests on fire by a small spark.” (James 3:5)

Dear Christian, we are held to a higher standard than the Midol Women of this world.  And yes, it is okay to be weak and cry.  It’s okay to lose our cool once in a while and have a bad day.  But to say we shouldn’t apologize for lashing out in those weak times is of the flesh and we are called to be better.  God expects us to be better, and most of all to be humble.  The world says it’s ok to rant, rave, slam doors, curse others – as long as it doesn’t happen to you.  God says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

It’s at our weakest times that our decision to be resolute in our faith is tested.  Not on the good days, not on the days our pain is masked, not on the sun shining days.  No, throughout the Bible we see we are almost sure to be tested on the bad days, the days we want to stay in bed, the days it takes a full tank and we are living on just a quarter.  It’s those days that when people say to me, “God is just a crutch” that I say, “Great, give me two.”

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Inside Jokes

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverb 21:9

You might be scratching your head with the verse today.  What does a marital fight have to do with praising God?  Well, the fight itself doesn’t.  But God’s view of it does.  The book of Proverbs has some pretty funny sayings that in their humor make a point.  

The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!” Proverb 22:13

Picture the lesson above.  The lazy person makes all kinds of crazy excuses for not taking care of business.  And God turns the lesson into a humorous extreme to which we can all relate.

Praise God that He has a sense of humor!  I think so often people view religion and God as a super serious path we are to embark.  And yes, our ultimate salvation is pretty serious.  But a dour, colorless, and humorless life is not the example of God.  How can it be when God created the penguin?

A few years ago, when I was deep in the work of obeying God, I got to experience His sense of humor.  He had called me to serve the homeless in our downtown through providing about 100 lunches each week.  The test He presented to me required my complete submission and trust.  Submission in that I would do whatever He asked.  And trust in that He would not only show me the way but also provide the resources.

And so began my communication with God through signs.  No, not “signs,” actual signage like billboards, grocery store signs, small and inconsequential street signs.  Each time I prayed for direction, I kid you not, within that day I would drive by a sign that told me exactly what to do.  I started looking forward to how He would talk to me and the strange places I might hear Him.  It became my daily, out loud guffaw as I would drive by a billboard and look up to say “sounds great!” It was our own set of inside jokes.

I certainly grasp the awesomeness and majesty of God.  It’s why I decided last year to do the first 30 Days of Praise.  But we need to remember all the faces God presents to us.  All the ways He loves to communicate with us.  And all the ways He wants us to enjoy His world.  And if you aren’t joining with God for a daily moment of laughter you are missing out.

God’s love for us allows us to laugh at ourselves because of our imperfections.  If we joined in on that laughter a bit more, we just might gather a few more to His Kingdom.


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I Call Him “Lord”

From the west, people will fear the 
name of the Lord, and from the rising 
of the sun, they will revere his glory. 
Isaiah 59:19 

I admit it.  I have a difficult time with authority.  I don’t like being told what to do and when to do it.  I’m not sure how this developed in me.  It’s not like, as a child, my parents encouraged me to question.  In fact, we weren’t to question at all for fear of punishment.  I’ve heard it said that we either grow up to be like our parents or work so desperately to be the opposite.  For me, I think I so wanted to be heard and to be “right” for once that the desire became my personality.

This desire has helped me in many ways.  At work I was always seen as someone with new solutions and ideas.  I could cut through red tape and simplify processes.  And until I garnered some maturity, I did all that like a bull in a china shop.  But this way of living life can make it difficult to submit, especially to a force that is unseen.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and 
instruction.  
Proverbs 1:7

When you read Proverbs the very first words are about wisdom and instruction.  And sure, we can study our Bibles, listen intently to our pastors while scribbling notes in our Bibles but true submission to our Lord is more than that.

For a long time, I really just didn’t understand the concept of “fearing the Lord” and submission.  Of course, given my nature it wasn’t like I was interested in the first place.  I also wonder how many pastors these days even talk about “fearing God?”

If God is love, then why does He command us to fear Him? The fear of the Lord isn’t about being afraid of God; it’s about revering Him above all else. When we do that, we position ourselves to receive all the benefits that come with putting God first in our lives.

Dr. Charles Stanley

We humans are afraid of a lot of things – some of which we don’t even realize.  We fear being made fun of, we fear being left out, we fear being unloved.  I saw a movie that really brought this concept home called Defending Your Life.  The main character, played by Albert Brooks, is a worrier.  His fears become so overwhelming that he is stuck in a never-ending loop of inaction and regret.  And then he gets hit by a bus.  He finds himself in a waystation of sorts where he needs to defend the pitiful life he had on earth.  And he meets a wonderful woman played by Meryl Streep.  She’s opposite of him – jumped in on all that life had to offer.  

It struck me that our days are filled with decisions that are made either based on fear of the world or fear of God.  Do we go about our lives trying to keep our head down so the world and people around us won’t take issue with us?  Or do we acknowledge that our Lord is sovereign over all and He has behavioral and moral requirements of us?  Do we submit to the flesh or to the spirit?

Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort. 

A. W. Tozer, Pursuit of God

I’ve come to acknowledge that while it is okay to call Jesus, “Rabbi,” or teacher I also need to call Him, “My Lord.”  Because when I do it places Him above me, above all.  When I call Him, “My Lord,”  it means I need to submit to His will.  My fear comes in as a concern that I want to be sure to serve Him and Him alone.  Am I living a life that would please Him, not the world?

I don’t want to be like that Albert Brooks character when I face my Lord.  Full of regret for having missed opportunities to place God as my life director.  

I have a friend who is fascinated by all things British royal family.  She knows just about everything you’d want to know about the monarchy.  Shouldn’t we be that way about our one true Lord?  Sitting in awe at His feet.  Anxiously awaiting His orders.  At the ready to do His bidding.  Hoping to please Him at every turn.  And fearing His disappointment.

By faith Noah, when warned about things 
not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark 
to save his family.  
Hebrews 11:7

If there were ever a man who had a lot to fear when it came to being judged by the people around him it was Noah. I mean, what a lunatic! Building a giant boat with no water to be seen. His “holy fear” kept him aligned with the will of his Lord.

It’s so easy to fall into a humdrum world-centered life.  And it’s easy to make our prayer and worship life be rote.  But if we can just picture that each morning when we rise, we step into our Lord’s magnificently built palace.   Are you ready to approach His throne and submit to His Holy authority?  Are you sitting in awe at His feet today, marveling at His awesome power and might?  Let’s all sing at the top of our lungs today in worship of our Lord — and let the world tease us. We know who is smiling.

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Closer Than A Brother

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is 
my helper; I will not be afraid. What 
can mere mortals do to me?” 
Hebrews 13:6

There’s been a number of times in my life when I felt all alone.  In high school the neighbor girl who I had been friends with since I was in fourth grade rejected me.  The kids I hung out with at school always treated me as an outsider, never inviting me over to game nights and other fun group activities.  I wasn’t a nerd, athlete, druggie, ASB, drama, or whatever type person we think of when we remember our high school years.  I was friendly with people in all groups but never a part of a group.

I could’ve really used Jesus.

I was listening to a great podcast recently called, “Talk It Out.”  It’s an offshoot of the Joyce Meyer Ministry where three women of various stages of life take Mrs. Meyer’s teachings and work on applying it to their everyday lives.  On that day they were talking about different times they’d felt alone.  And I realized that probably every single one of us have felt that way at some point or multiple points in our lives.  Some of you might feel that way right now.

One of the ladies spoke of when, in high school, she kept Jesus close to her at all times.  Her only true friend.  She would even talk to Him in the car as though He were a constant companion in her passenger seat.

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

I can’t tell you with 100% accuracy that this proverb speaks of God.  But I can tell you that God is 100% that friend who is “closer than a brother.”  And when we feel alone and as though our faith journey is stuck, we need only turn to Jesus and say, “Hello.”  If you are in a season that you feel alone, left out, far from any quality friendships – including God– it’s time to call to Him with all your heart.

It reminds me of when Mary, having seen the empty tomb, stands outside crying.  She must’ve felt very alone at the time.  When Jesus appears to her, she thinks He is the gardener and demands to know where he moved the body.  And Jesus simply says to her, “Mary.”  She turns to Him and suddenly recognizes Him and grabs hold of Him, crying out “Rabboni!”  My favorite part of this is the fact the text is written like this in the NIV and King James version – “Mary.” No exclamation.  He doesn’t yell out to her.  It feels so quiet and gentle and personal.  “Mary.”  

Now imagine yourself standing there thinking God has let you down.  He’s allowed the worst thing that could ever happen to actually happen.  And you cry out.  He responds.  Standing right in front of you with a gentle, loving word.

Instead of saying with proud lip, “Well, if He leaves me I must do without Him, if I cannot have His comfortable presence I must fight on as best may be,” the soul says, “No, it is my very life, I must have my God.”

Charles Spurgeon

And with that renewed friendship we can add to our request of God, “Help me to find reliable friendships here on earth.”  He may convict of you of your own sins or thinking.  Rest assured when you sit with Him over coffee, while on your commute, or at a quiet lunch at the park, He will be the most honest friend you could ever desire.

The righteous choose their friends 
carefully, but the way of the wicked 
leads them astray. 
Proverbs 12:26

For me, I needed Jesus for a friend in high school as a companion – I was an oddball, a square peg and all the holes were round.  And later, I needed Jesus as that friend who would speak truth into me to show me why I didn’t have close friends, why I’d been rejected so often.  He showed me that my need to control the people around me was not a desirable attribute in a friend.  I was quick to anger and judgement.  And selfish ways pushed people away.

Sometimes when I think about what our lives are like today, I like to imagine what it would’ve been like living as a pioneer woman.  Living a lonely life with just my husband and two kids out on the prairie.  No texting, no Instagram.  Barely any mail even.  Where would I find friendship?  In my days of harvesting and cooking and cleaning I would need to seek out the only person my Bible told me would be with me always – Jesus.

That was true then and it’s still true today.  Friends we had 10 years ago may not even be part of our lives.  Friends we meet today may fade away.  So, it’s imperative we hold close to our hearts our one constant, our friend, our counselor, our Rock – our Lord.

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Be A Heart Changer & Soul Saver

Life Lesson #9: Christians are in the job of changing hearts and saving souls.

Perhaps this is the reason he was 
separated from you for a while, 
so that you might have him back 
forever, no longer as a slave but 
more than a slave, a beloved 
brother—especially to me but how 
much more to you, both in the 
flesh and in the Lord. 
Philemon 1:15-16

When I was in college, I was approached by two missionaries on campus.  I believed in God, to an extent, but didn’t know anything about Him or Jesus.   I asked the typical questions – “Why does God allow bad things to happen to people” and “Why did He give us free will instead of just making us all good people?” I’m sorry to say they couldn’t give me even a best guess.  I wonder if you were tasked with talking to a friend about Jesus would you be ready with passable answers to these questions?

I heard a talk by Joyce Meyer the other day where she took up the question of why evil things continuously happen in the world.  She’s seen some pretty bad situations in all of her world-wide missionary work.  She prayed this question one day.  The answer she got back was, “I’m waiting on my people to obey me and take care of each other.”

The righteous know the rights of 
the poor; the wicked have no such 
understanding. 
Proverb 29:7

I’m currently doing a study that takes me through the entire Bible.  It’s fascinating to see in Leviticus how sin offerings are adjusted for the poor.  Even thousands of years ago God was making sure the downtrodden were taken care of.  But notice you won’t find in the Bible that the Israelites or Christians are told to take up arms to eliminate poverty.  Verse after verse we are tasked to do one thing with the poor – to help them.

In Joppa there was a disciple named 
Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); 
she was always doing good and 
helping the poor. 
Acts 9:36

As social justice issues go, the poor are always on the lips of “social justice warriors.”  Their desire appears to be to eliminate poverty and all social injustice via legislation, protests or even through violence.  But as Christians we are shown a different approach.  Take the issue of slavery, as discussed in the letter from Paul to Philemon.  The subject is the slave Onesimus.  Notice in the introductory verse that Paul does not chastise or demand of Philemon the release of his slave.  Paul, instead, appeals to faith principles.  He reminds Philemon that as a faithful follower of Jesus our hearts and therefore, our minds are changed.

“To me, a follower of Jesus means a friend of man.  A Christian is a philanthropist by profession, and generous by force of grace; wide as the reign of sorrow is the stretch of his love, and where he cannot help he pities still.”  

Charles Spurgeon

By teaching slave owners about the power and love and salvation found in following Jesus, the disciples were slowly changing the hearts and then minds of people who, not only owned slaves, but behaved in any number of sinful ways.  The new Christian is tasked with living in a new loving and giving nature.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, 
the new creation has come: The old 
has gone, the new is here! 
2 Corinthians 5:17

Had the disciples come into new cities preaching about abolishing slavery (let’s remember too that slavery in that time was mostly more like indentured servitude) they certainly would’ve been met with resistance.  Slaves were costly commodities – just as they were in the early years of the United States.  To preach that people had to give up much of their wealth in order to follow Jesus would not have been as successful as first telling of the Good News.

Last year, I watched as protests and violence broke out in cities across the United States by self-professed social justice warriors.  To be honest, at times I wasn’t even sure what some of it was about.  In Portland, Oregon, the young people rioting just seemed to hate everyone.  It was a perfect time for the church to rise up and do what we should do best – show love and help change hearts.  I hoped and prayed that in communities hit by violence that God’s people would come together and form prayer chains around the cities – enveloping it in God’s love.  Instead, I watched as pastors led more protests and took to microphones and megaphones yelling about injustice, pointing fingers at different races.

“It is easier to make laws than to make Christians, but the business of the church is to produce Christians and everything else is a by-product of that new creation.”

Vance Havner

The people of Jesus’ time expected a Messiah to come and bring justice.  They wanted punishment of those who had wronged them.  They wanted to see governments and whole groups of people destroyed.  But Jesus was not that kind of social justice warrior.  From town-to-town He cared about one thing – changing people’s hearts.  He did out-of-the-box things like sit with sinners, touch the leper, heal on the Sabbath, talk with the outcasts.  He brought the bread of life and the refreshing water of the Holy Spirit.  

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks 
this water will be thirsty again, but 
whoever drinks the water I give them 
will never thirst. Indeed, the water 
I give them will become in them a 
spring of water welling up to eternal 
life.” 
John 4:13-14

How amazing would it have been if, when our churches closed down in March 2020, they instead remained open.  Not just open but open 24 hours a day with a sign out on the street that said, “Need someone to talk to? We’re always open and ready to listen.”  I know this idea is radical.  And you’re probably thinking of all the reasons why your church can’t do this. But the work of Jesus and His apostles was radical.  So is the work of every Christian you probably admire.

“Behave at them.”

Ken Blanchard

As Christians we are not tasked to be worldly “social justice warriors.”  We are commissioned to be God’s soldiers.  When we are tempted to join a protest march and carry a sign we should first think how we can directly help those for whom we are marching. God’s plan for the world will only be accomplished through our active showing of love, grace, charity, and forgiveness of others — while espousing His truth. The spreading of the message of Jesus brings the changes we so long for – maybe just not as fast as we like.   He designed us this way.  

I do get outraged by many things going on in the world.  And then I remember to pray to God for peace in my heart so that I can listen for my marching orders.  When I feel overwhelmed by the problems we face, I remember that God works out-of-the-box in radical ways.  It’s up to me and it’s up to you to be in the heart changing business when God puts opportunities right in front of us.  We will always find ourselves on the right side of “He who is most important” when we obey God.

The Apostle Paul worked on one rich, slave owner at a time.  And over time, our Christian faith has led to a world-wide abolishment of sanctioned slavery.  What small step can you do today to help change one heart?

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Work It for God

Therefore, I urge you, brothers 
and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, 
to offer your bodies as a living 
sacrifice, holy and pleasing to 
God—this is your true and 
proper worship.
Romans 12:1

A prayer to keep my body strong and dedicate it to serve God

Heavenly Father, I regularly make the commitment to keep my spiritual life active and strong.  However, when I make choices about exercise or my diet, I rarely see that as part of my devotional life.  My spirit, my soul and my body all belong to you.   You ask us to be your warriors in the name of Christ.  And warriors are strong spiritually, mentally and physically.  Starting today, LORD, I recommit my entire body to you.  When I am weak and want to forgo exercise or eat food I know just isn’t good for me I ask that your Holy Spirit remind me that I need to be strong to accomplish all that you have planned for me.  I lift this up in your Son’s Holy Name, Amen.


I heard a pastor speaking the other day about our bodies being a “living sacrifice” and how so many of us Christians focus solely on the spirit part of our being.  But there are three key parts that make us, well us.  Our spirit, our soul (emotions and mind), and our physical body.  And when one is out of balance then we haven’t fully committed ourselves as a living sacrifice.  We may be saved but some of us are downright miserable either because of what goes on in our heart and head or because we just don’t feel good about our bodies.

We make that New Year’s resolution to lose that famous 10 pounds.  Which in reality is probably more like 15 or 20.  But resolutions are only so good as our own personal commitment to ourselves. Recognizing that our bodies belong to God and He has a divine purpose for them is key to taking control over our physical health.

There’s a funny movie featuring Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep called, “Death Becomes Her.”  In it the two women take an immortality potion.  The two women have despised each other their entire lives and spend much of the movie trying to outdo each other.  But prior to taking the potion they are warned to take care of their bodies.  Once broken, their body remains damaged – but they continue to live forever.  The famous scene in the movie is called the “shovel scene.”  The two women get into a fight and begin bashing each other with all manner of devices including shovels.  The destruction they cause to their bodies is hilarious.  And they will be stuck that way for all eternity.

Oops, you gotta little hole right there…

When we look into our mirrors, we should heed the same warning.  This is the only body we have and we should take good care of it, not just for ourselves, but in God’s name and purpose.  If we are not in our best fighting shape (no matter our God-given physical situation) then how can we expect God to give us every opportunity possible to serve Him?

My current Bible study group (My BSGs – Bible Study Girls) is made up of two women I met at the gym and another with whom I walk regularly.   Now, lest you think the two from the gym were longtime friends I want to clarify.  I started working out at this particular gym because my daughter was a physical therapist there.  It was a different type of workout than I’d ever done.  Their small classes are crossfit style, in addition to weight training.  There’s not a lot of time to sit around and chit chat.

She sets about her work vigorously; 
her arms are strong for her tasks.
Proverbs 31:17

I found that some people have the unique ability to actually talk to others while dying, I mean working out, on the rowing machine.  It was during these times I discovered some of the Christians in the group.  They were open with their faith journeys.  So, when my walking buddy urged me to start a new Bible study, I prayed about who to invite.  God urged me to ask some of the ladies I sort of knew from the gym.  Two of them immediately said, “yes.”

Had I not stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the crossfit craze, had I not made a commitment to working out every weekday at 6:30a.m., I wouldn’t have met these amazing women.  God used me and my body to serve His kingdom.

I’m currently working on losing a few pounds I gained during the lockdowns.  But I have a renewed commitment, not to me, but to God.  I want to be in the best physical shape I can be so that He opens more doors and places me where I can do His work.  I know with this new understanding of my body being a living sacrifice and the help of His Holy Spirit I will be in fighting shape soon.

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, Faith, Jesus Follower, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized

Our Inner Wizard Of Oz

Be completely humble and gentle; 
be patient, bearing with one 
another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

A prayer to be a patient person

Faithful Father, I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I forget that my needs and desires are not the same as everyone else’s. When I’m running late, I want to yell at the drivers in front of me for not moving quickly enough.  The slow grocery store bagger receives my glare when she doesn’t work at the same speed which I expect.  Or when a friend doesn’t respond to my text as prompt as I need, I get frustrated.  I’ve come to realize, LORD, through your holy Word that my impatience is an outgrowth of my lack of humility.  Your admonishment to love one another needs to be on my lips when I feel that frustration and anger well up inside me.  LORD, I know there is nothing more important to you than having your children express compassion and love for each other.  Rest your loving hand on my shoulder as a reminder for when I forget this.  Quell my impatient heart and mind and replace it with grace.  In your Son’s name I pray, Amen.


When my children were younger, I found myself praying daily for patience.  My youngest had the unique ability to press all my “hot buttons” at one time.  But patience seemed to allude me.  I heard a pastor during this time give the advice to stop beating our heads against the wall if something we prayed for wasn’t manifesting and to pray for something else.  It made me realize that maybe God wasn’t answering my prayers because He had other work still to do in me.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve finally come to realize, through God’s nudging and conviction, that I first needed to figure out why I was always so impatient.  And as the verse in Ephesians today tells us we need to be “completely humble and gentle.”  It was a hard pill to swallow when I pulled back the curtain to see my inner Wizard of Oz working away trying to control everything.  And when people aren’t acting as I want them to, I become angry and impatient.

Whoever is patient has great 
understanding, but one who is 
quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Great understanding.  Understanding of our why’s – not just because we obviously have somewhere much more important to be than everyone else – but our “why” of why we think that.  Why do we think our time and our talent or even treasure is so much higher on the scale of importance that we need to tap our feet in obvious disgust?  Or we need to blare our horns and use our fingers in un-godly ways.  If we are late, who’s fault really is it?  If we are up against a deadline, who needs to truly take responsibility for that situation?

God’s Word is great at convicting, correcting and revealing our “why’s.”  The next time you find that old foe called “impatience” welling up inside you stop and dig deeper.  Pull back the curtain on your wizard and ask God to show you what’s causing so much distress.  He will show you.  And then He will test you, over and over.  

We see you Mr. Wizard!

If we all can learn, through a renewed humbleness, to be patient and bearing with one another in love just think how much kinder this world will feel.  I’m asking God to start with me.

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, Faith, Jesus Follower, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized

Pessimist or Pollyanna?

I have told you this so that 
my joy may be in you and that 
your joy may be complete.
John 15:11

A prayer to live a joy-filled life.

Gracious God your gifts and blessing to me cannot be counted.  And yet so often I turn to the negative parts in my life and place my constant thoughts in them.  When I rise I forget to be thankful that I have yet another day in which to serve you and be blessed by you.  And as I go about my day when you place joyful moments at my fingertips I take them for granted.   When I lay my head down to sleep I can easily recall all that went wrong in the day rather than what went right.  But your joy is there for the taking.  I want to live basked in your greatness, your beauty and your joy.  I can and will, with your help, find joy in every circumstance.  You are working for my good at all times and I just need to remember that promise.  Thank you for giving us your Son who implanted the Holy Spirit in us – a spirit of joy and of goodness.  I pray this in your Son’s Holy name, Jesus.  Amen


I always called her a Pollyanna.  The term comes from the movie of the same name in which a young girl arrives at a small town filled with bitter people.  But her neverending, cheerful spirit wins them over.  Nowadays, a “Pollyanna” seems to be said as a negative.  That, along with wearing “rose-colored glasses” are attributed to people who just want to see the positives in everything.  I know, makes you sick, doesn’t it?

But my mother-in-law truly is such a person.  And this last year that cheerful, joy-filled spirit was truly tested, not only with all the lockdowns but with a diagnosis of cancer.  On her worst days she was a bit dispirited.  Yes, worst days.  I mean the woman seemed to look forward to her cancer treatments because she would probably run into a friend and chat for hours while the poison did its deadly work. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, 
but a crushed spirit dries up 
the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 

At times being a “bit dispirited” can seem like my best day.  I’ve been a well-trained, tried and true pessimist for so long that the concept of daily joy is a lot of work for me to achieve.  It’s easy to sit back and marinate in the mess of life.  It takes work to get up, dust ourselves off and say “oh well let’s make the best of this.”  

Thank goodness our strength comes from the LORD.  I’m committing myself to stopping negative thinking and instead, like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo,” searching for the joy in the moments of my life.  I know they are there because joy is one of the promised fruits of His spirit.  

He’s there somewhere! Just keep searching!

I stood in Walmart the other day waiting in a long line to check out.  Normally, I’d be mentally lopping off all the heads of the cashiers for taking so long and planning my complaint letter to management for not opening more registers.  Instead, I settled in to God’s joy.  I was happy to have found all the items on my long list and the people watching at Walmart is topnotch!  I was so bathed in God’s joy that I even let someone with only two items go in front of me.

I could have turned a simple shopping trip into a miserable experience very easily.  I’m counting on God to keep giving me opportunities to flip the script from pessimist to Pollyanna.  Because when the day comes when I need it most, I want to be well-trained and tested in living a joy-filled life.

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, Faith, Jesus Follower, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized

Wanted: God Expert

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write  for himself on a scroll a copy  of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests.  It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.  Deuteronomy 17:18-19

A prayer to be deeply knowledgeable about God’s Word

“Holy God, I confess that I have spent much of my Christian life hearing your Word and yet not absorbing and living out our Word.  I’ve sat in your Holy presence at church and listened, then walked out of the doors and turned my thoughts solely on selfish and worldly pursuits.  So I often, when I hear a conviction through your Word, I think of someone else who needs to hear the message – all the while it is me that needs to accept the correction.  I allow my endless “to do lists” to take time away from learning more about you, from soaking my soul with your loving spirit.  I allow my “study” of your Word to just be catchy verses that scroll by on social media. LORD, with your teaching and guidance I will proclaim that I am deeply knowledgeable about your character through your Word.  I will be your faithful student.  I lift this up in Jesus’ name, Amen.” 


A year ago, my Bible Study Girls, as I call them, started meeting to study His Word.  We couldn’t have ever predicted the tribulations our world went through just two months later.  As the Covid pandemic swept through the world, we moved from study to study, different books of the Bible and different topics.  We were committed to gleaning something about God’s character, something we could hold on to, from each study.  And we discovered a lot about ourselves.  

Know also that wisdom is 
like honey for you: If you  
find it, there is a future 
hope for you, and your hope 
will not be cut off. 
Proverb 24:14 

I finally became committed to setting aside Bible study time in the morning.  I found just by starting my day with the Word of God rather than the news or Instagram, set my day on the right footing.  But I want more.  I want to know everything I can about the Holy Being who created not just me, but every single living thing on this planet – including the planet.  I want to know what He expects of me and what I can expect of Him.

We spend a lot of our lives getting to know our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  Some of us even know a lot about people we will never meet like movie stars or famous authors.  How about we make that same commitment to knowing God?  We may think we know Him but I’d bet you’d be surprised by a thing or two by truly delving into His character.

I want to be a “God Expert.”  I want to have His promises, His Word, His love for me imprinted on my heart and mind.  I know that in knowing Him I will experience true joy and lasting peace.

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