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Not Me, Lord

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Exodus 1:22

Whenever I picture Moses, Charlton Heston comes to mind.  For those of you too young to know that reference, Mr. Heston personified Moses in the blockbuster 1956 movie The 10 Commandments.  He was sweaty and swarthy and muscular.  He was bold and without fear.  Some of his final scenes show him standing fiercely on top of a mountain, wind blowing his impressive white beard and long gorgeous hair as he calls on the name of God.  A hero.  A rescuer.  A man not to be trifled with because God was with him.  As usual, the big screen skips over a few of the finer points of history for the sake of the storyline.  Like the fact that Moses, even though God Himself had been his rescuer many times, really didn’t want the job of Israel’s savior.  Of being the leader of the new beginning for an entire people.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

That interaction alone might lead the reader to think Moses well, he’s just being humble.  But by my count Moses tries to turn God to someone much more suited, much more capable than him eight times!  I can’t! What if!  I’m not!  Why should I?  Sound familiar to anyone out there?

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”  Exodus 4:1

My BSGs (Bible Study Girls) and I have embarked on a new study by Shirley Giles Davis called, God. Gifts. You.  In our first week we were asked: “Where are you hearing God, but your excuse for delaying sounds a lot like “Lord, I’m afraid.”?”  Moses afraid?  Not that guy.  God saved him from death as a baby.  God placed him in the care of royalty.  God gave him incredible opportunities for gaining knowledge and physical strength.  He saved him from capture.  There’s no way Moses was afraid of yet another challenging new beginning, right?

Eight times.  Standing in front of bush that was talking to him even!  I don’t know about you but if I told my husband when he walked in the door from work that one of my bushes in the yard was on fire and speaking to me about going to the governor’s office demanding, “let my people go!” he’d be very, very concerned.  In fact, this was a point of discussion with my BSGs.  Not burning bushes mind you but whether or not God still speaks audibly to us.  And if he does, do people think we are crazy?  It’s an unfortunate state we are in that some pastors and biblical teachers try to assure us that God doesn’t speak out loud to us anymore.  We must discern His word in other ways.  And while I agree we need to use God’s character, gleaned from His written Word to verify the voice we hear I completely disagree that we no longer hear His audible voice.  I know.  I’ve heard Him.  Some of my BSGs have heard Him.  To me the real question is now that you’ve heard Him, what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to accept the challenge of this new beginning or find another excuse?

Moses, although a pretty amazing and instrumental piece of God’s plan, stumbled even with God’s past provisions clearly given to him and the promise of God’s presence and help spoken to him.   Moses, sometimes called the “Lesser Jesus,” is so often seen in parallel with the Messiah.  Their birth stories are almost identical with a king demanding their death.  Moses was to rescue people from slavery.  Jesus from the slavery of sin.  Moses led the Israelites through the parted waters toward the promised land.  Jesus is our living water giving us the promised land.  Moses was tested.  Jesus was tested.  So, where’s the problem with his hesitation?

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Exodus 4:13

If you remember from Noah or even Abraham when called they went.  And in Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah raises his hand proudly and says, “me Lord, send me!”  It’s hard for a lot of people, I believe to relate to those guys.  We regular folks sometimes are more like Moses.  We list our reasons God’s plan won’t work.  We aren’t smart enough, strong enough, likeable enough, talented enough.  But like with Adam, if God wants us in His service He won’t let go.  He wants us to be part of a new beginning.  And so, he nudges us to the right people and places.  He puts other saints in front of us to help open doors.  For Moses?  He said, “Fine, I’ll give you Aaron to use as your spokesperson.”

But here’s the thing.  Even though Moses is the one remembered and exalted, it was Aaron that got to wear the priestly, holy robes.  It was Aaron that was allowed into the most holy place.  Think if Moses had responded like Isaiah – “Me! Me! I can do it Lord because you have rescued me so many times!”  Moses would’ve been allowed into the whole glory of God, the first priest of Israel.  True, his relationship with God was pretty amazing.  But God clearly wanted even more for him.  

His new beginning, as Moses led the Israelites toward the promised land, would require him to call on the Lord for strength and rescue many times.  I find it interesting that Moses had to listen to all the people constantly complaining to him about why he took them down this path.  Do you think he occasionally thought, “That sounds a lot like I was with God.”? 

Friend, whether it’s a nudging or a clear directive from God I want to urge you to step up in faith and raise your hand.  To use all your resources (prayer, scripture, pastors, teachers) plus God’s past intervention in your life to discern what He is asking of you.  In your new beginning when you step out in faith you can then say “I overcame my fears and allowed God to take my weakness and turn it into strength.”  This blog and podcast was my big step. Let Him work a New Beginning in you and He will let His glory shine brightly through you!

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Death to My Evil Twin

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

One of the most amazing gifts God has given us humans is our mind.   The brain weighs about 3 pounds and contains around 100 billion neurons— cells that carry information.  There’s an old myth that we only use about 10 percent of our brains.  That has been debunked.  I know that must’ve been false because it seems some people don’t even use that much!  But seriously, new studies show how much of our brain we actively use varies from person to person.

I can tell you without a doubt that my mind runs 24/7 – seemingly all by itself.  And usually, off into thoughts that seem like they belong in someone else’s body.  It’s my destructive thoughts that tell me I’m not good enough.  I’m not worthy.  I’m not loved.  I will never be forgiven.  I’m ugly, fat, wrinkly, etc.  It’s like my mind gets taken over by my evil twin.

Isn’t that the battleground so many of us find ourselves on day and night?  Those anxious thoughts that keep us looking at the clock at 1am, 2am, 3am….?

Praise God that He gave us a shield and sword to fight back the beast who is really behind all those thoughts – the devil himself.

My friend Caroline gave me a great tool last year that helps me in this spiritual battle.  It’s a piece of paper with three columns.  The first column lists the destructive thought such as, “There’s nothing special about me.”  The second column speaks God’s truth against that thought with statements like, “I have been chosen/set apart by God.”  And the third column lists the shields and swords of God—related scripture.  In this example it lists Ps 139, 1 Cor. 1:30 & 6:11, Eph 1:4, and Hebrews 10:10 & 14.

This handy guide is something I can pull out whenever my evil twin brain decides to ruin my day or disrupt my sleep!  The best part?  You have the same tool at your fingertips.  The Word of God was given to us not just to learn more about Him but to help tear down those thought strongholds that want to rule our lives.  His mighty words were what Jesus Himself used when tempted by the devil.

I was recently reading in my Sparkling Gems from The Greek about the difference between using His Word as a “logos” or a “rhema.”  Logos is a “sweeping stroke.”  When we study the Bible this way we get broad and full direction for our lives.  But in Ephesians 6:17 the word “rhema” is used.  That means a sharp and fatal blow to the enemy.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God: Ephesians 6:17

What Paul is directing us to do is have at the ready “fighting words.”  God’s words that we can call up quickly to mind and tear apart any thoughts the devil wants to use against us.  And we can use those words knowing the power and authority that lay behind them.  

God in His greatness knows how amazing our mind is – He created it.  He knows the power and dangers of our imagination and our thoughts.  The devil knows it too.  But with the gracious gift of the Holy Bible we can shield ourselves from the devil’s lies.


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Always With You

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 
Isaiah 43:2

Early in our marriage my husband and I started a lifelong habit of calling each other at the end of our workday.  We’d let the other know ahead of time if we would be late or what our ETA was.  When we both worked it served as a way to talk about our dinner plans.  After 32 years of marriage my husband still calls or texts me when he is on his way home.  It was borne out of an incident when he didn’t call me.  My first reaction was to think he’d been in a car accident.  And as the time slipped by my worries grew.  By the time he got home I was in tears from fear of his demise.  He couldn’t understand why I was so upset.  He’d just been out surfing after work with some friends.

So, while the habit of touching base became a good thing it also became a bit of a fear-based obsession with me.  My husband spent many hours driving for his work.  He frequently drove the more than 200 miles to and from Los Angeles.  I worried constantly he would be killed in a car crash.  I lost sleep over it.  I fretted when he didn’t arrive exactly when he thought he would.

I finally realized one day my fears were a result of the fear of being left alone.  I was certain if I lost him no one would ever love me again. 

The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. 
Deuteronomy 31:8

We hear the words that God is with us always.  A Christian friend, who was struggling with marriage and family problems, confessed that sometimes we need a real, physical hug.  We need to feel like we are loved and belong.  That we haven’t been orphaned.  Frequently in my prayers for people I ask God to help them feel his hand on their shoulder.  I realize it’s what I really need when I struggle – to feel and know His physical presence in my life.  

Sometimes He will show Himself in the face of a friend.  Sometimes it’s in words from one of my daughters.  He shows Himself in a song that comes on the radio. And sometimes the Holy Spirit will burn inside me.  When needed, I have felt His hand on my shoulder.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 
John 14:18

I was listening to a podcast the other day where the women spoke of this need to feel God’s love for them. They knew the scriptures and could easily quote them.  But they acknowledged that just knowing them wouldn’t suffice.  We need to repeat them and truly believe them.  The devil is constantly looking for ways to tear us away from God’s love.  So, when we feel that loneliness, that fear of being forgotten we need to refocus on God.  We may need to cry out to Him.  We may need to sit in quiet mediation to hear Him. 

There’s been a few occasions in the last couple months where I’ve felt rejected by people who should love me.  Thankfully, in my maturing faith, I’ve turned to Jesus more and more to remind me of the one who always loves me, no matter what.  And He has shown up to comfort me.

Here’s some beautiful scripture to remember and soak in today for anyone who might feel alone.  For anyone who might feel as though they have been left behind or forgotten.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
But whoever loves God is known by God. 
1 Corinthians 8:3
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! 
Psalms 66:20
Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love. 
Psalms 109:26
No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 
John 16:27
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  
Psalms 91:14-16
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9
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A Teaspoon of Salt

Season all your grain offerings 
with salt.  
Leviticus 2:13

About a year ago my husband and I decided to combine our plans of getting fit at the gym with changing what we ate for dinner.  We decided to try out a couple meal delivery services.  Now, let me first say my husband is an incredible cook – creative and eager to try new dishes.  So whatever plan we chose would have to meet his high standards.  

As we made the various meals we discovered some of the “tricks of the trade” of how to make meals have that extra “pop” of flavor.  And the most basic trick was seasoning with salt and pepper throughout the cooking process.  It was amazing how much better our food tasted when we seasoned at the beginning, middle and end.  Salt is so simple yet it somehow releases the intricate flavors of whatever dish it’s added to.

Do not leave the salt of the covenant 
of your God out of your grain offerings; 
add salt to all your offerings. 
Leviticus 2:13

And throughout the Bible we are encouraged, or as in Leviticus, admonished, to add salt to our offerings to God and to our work for God.

Let your conversation be always full 
of grace, seasoned with salt, so that 
you may know how to answer everyone. 
Colossians 4:6

But what does this mean in our daily faith lives?  Adding salt to our conversations means making sure our work of sharing the gospel is pure and properly seasoned – with grace and love.  In other places in the Bible we see salt as something added to make our lives more pleasing to God.

My BSGs had a conversation once about memorizing scripture and prayers – an admirable activity for sure.  But when our faith life becomes a series of memorized verse or monotonous prayers we can lose our saltiness.  We lose the passion and uniqueness of our special relationship with God.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, 
how can it be made salty again?" 
Luke 14:34

So how do we regain that beautiful flavor in our relationship with Him?  Ask.  It’s funny how so often when we struggle with faith issues we forget to do the one thing that works the best – ask Him.  “Show me, Lord, how to reignite and bring passion to my relationship with you!”  He might show you a new way to pray, a new book to read, a new song to sing, a new Christian friend, or a new place in your home to mediate.  

The Holy Spirit is waiting to be tapped for answers.  It’s like He is jumping up and down with His hand up going, “Oooooo!  Ask Me! Ask Me!”  

Average is very acceptable in our society but I don’t think the angels are applauding. If you are determined to be excellent, to not back out of it, you will reap a harvest in your life.

Joyce Meyer

Let’s start flavoring our faith life at the beginning, middle and end of our day with salt, with passion, with grace, and with intentionality.  Let’s dine with our Savior and feast on the grace He gives us.

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The Big Picture

Lesson #2: Commit to the big picture of Christ through the details of His love

So when I come, I will call 
attention to what he (Diotrephes) 
is doing, spreading malicious 
nonsense about us.
3 John 10

My current Bible study, Everyday Theology, has been a great strengthening and clarification of my Christian beliefs.  Starting with what scripture is intended for and delving into the trinity and our role as believers in this big world, the lessons have given my BSGs (Bible study girls) a number of  “ah ha” moments.  We currently are on the section about “church.”  What it is, who is the head of it and what our responsibilities as part of the body entail.  The first question asked was for us to define what we call “church.”  

When I hear media-types chastise the “church” or “Christians” for not condemning some action or stance it makes me wonder what church spokesperson they think will step up to a microphone.  Of course, for Catholics that would be the Pope or a regional bishop.  But in the non-Catholic world we are so dispersed, with varying types of faith, traditions, even morals and values.

In John’s letter to the church elder, Gaius, he juxtaposes the elder’s immense love for his brothers and sisters in Christ with another church leader, Diotrephes.  These brothers and sisters are strangers to Gaius but he welcomes them readily into his home.  These travelers are doing the good work of Jesus – spreading the salvation message.  And then there’s Diotrephes.  John describes this leader as one “who loves to be first.”  He doesn’t welcome strangers but even worse, he refused to welcome John.

Imagine that, a church elder who wouldn’t welcome Jesus’ apostle!  You’d have to think about the reasoning behind this.  This elder even kicks out other believers who welcome new people.  And why? Because, as what Warren Wiersbe calls a “church dictator,” he lost his focus on Jesus’ Big Picture of love and instead became focused on the details of man-made doctrine.

“All true Christians can agree on the fundamental doctrines of the faith and, in love, give latitude for disagreement on other matters.”

Warren Wiersbe

I’ve read there are about 34,000 different Christian denominations in the world.  The Wikipedia page on Christian denominations (Catholic and non) is an almost endless list.  Sub groups within sub groups.  People who have followed a pastor’s or priest’s particular issue with “the way things are done” and split off from their home church.  And as active members of church we have all seen the after effects of a change in leadership – numbers dwindle and people divide.  Some churches survive and even thrive while others fade away.

But avoid foolish controversies 
and genealogies and arguments and 
quarrels about the Law, because 
these are unprofitable and useless.
Titus 3:9

The Greek word zelos means something very fervent as with Spirit-fueled zeal to serve the Lord. Zelos is used both negatively (“jealousy”) and positively (“zeal”) in the Bible.  

For where you have envy and 
selfish ambition (zelos), there 
you find disorder and every 
evil practice.
James 3:16

Because when we put our ideas about “the way thing should be done” above the big picture of Jesus and His commandment to love one another as He loved us, we will fail every time.  And what is showing that love? To live in obedience to His will.  

As I’ve worked through studying the Bible, I keep coming back to my knowledge of how churches work and how they don’t.  I’m mystified by the lack actual Biblical based decision making.  And how so many people forget the message of 1 Corinthians 13 — the people in our church or faith family are all gifted by God but the use of those gifts must be in love.

If I speak in the tongues of men 
or of angels, but do not have love, 
I am only a resounding gong or a 
clanging cymbal.
1 Cor 13:1 

I once sat on a church marketing committee that included a wide variety of talented people — many of whom had been members of the church for eons. The pastor welcomed us and gave us our charge. I asked a few questions seeking clarification. Within seconds of him leaving, so we could move on with more planning, an older woman who sat across from me immediately pointed a finger at me and said, “Who do you think you are? And what makes you think you know anything about what needs to be done?” Fortunately I was comfortable enough about my background (I have worked in public relations and marketing) that I almost laughed. You see, because I wasn’t part of her “known” circle I was a nobody to “her church.”

We are so often led by the flesh – what sounds good, what feels good.  That’s how someone like Diotrephes was allowed to be a dictator at his church.  He said enough of the right things to convince enough people to support him.  Had they backed up in their thinking and measured his actions against Jesus, the Truth would’ve been revealed.

Notice this Life Lesson isn’t just about the Big Picture.  It says, “through the details of His love.”  As Christians we must be students of the Word.  If not, we are easily led by apostates and dictators and anyone else in our church who appears to be in charge.  Jesus didn’t come to erase the Law.  He reminds us of the simplicity of the Mosaic Law, without all the human-made rules and regulations placed on it.  He constantly chastised the Pharisees for behavior that we find today throughout our Christian churches.

Woe to you experts in the law, 
because you have taken away the 
key to knowledge. You yourselves 
have not entered, and you have 
hindered those who were entering.
Luke 52:1

Remember that question in my study about theology?  What is the church?  It’s you and it’s me.  It’s not just a pastor or priest or committee of leaders or even the clique of volunteers.  We need to take ownership of our membership in the church body.  When we see one of our body leading people astray we are to remind them of Jesus’ Big Picture.  And we are to be knowledgeable enough about His Word to help set the church body back on track.  A dictator or false teacher is only successful with willing followers!

Read the verse again in 3 John 10: “So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us.”

Notice John will confront Diotrephes face to face.  He feels the responsibility of keeping the ship on the right course.  He steps in out of love of the Truth.  He doesn’t say, “I’m coming to fire him” or “I’m getting everyone together to run him out of town.”  John also doesn’t tell Gaius to just go start his own church.  It’s an intervention of sorts.  That sounds a lot like Jesus.

Imagine a Christian world where the more than 3 billion of us were one body.  Where our focus was on obeying Jesus’ teachings and His Big Picture of Love.  Imagine the impact we would have on this broken world.  Imagine if we could just get our own heart and our own local church soundly on that Big Picture path.  

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Wonderfully Made

For we are God’s masterpiece. 
He has created us anew in 
Christ Jesus, so we can do 
the good things he planned 
for us long ago. 
Ephesians 2:10

A prayer to love myself

Heavenly Father, so many of my perceived short falls come from my poor sense of self-worth.  I look in the mirror sometimes and to be honest I don’t always see what you see – a beautifully, wonderfully made daughter of God.  And I confess that my lack of love for your creation can spill over to my inability to openly love others without judgment.  But I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit any longer.  My heart, body, mind and soul were created by and belong to you, LORD.  With the reminders found in your Holy Word to love my neighbor as myself I will look into that mirror with newfound love and admiration for your creation.  Thank you for my life, thank you for making me uniquely me.  I lift this up in Jesus’ name, Amen


I sat and listened to her tell me how she feels unworthy, unlovable, lacking talent and more.  It made me so sad because she was none of these.  What made me even sadder was I realized I’ve frequently thought the same about myself.  I look in the mirror and think, “You look old, unattractive, chubby, wrinkly – very non cover of Vogue-like.”  And then I turn to my closet and evaluate which clothes will fit me that day.  Tearing myself down for gaining those few extra pounds.  And the piece d’ resistance?  Wondering if what I’m going to accomplish that day will be of any value.

I was listening to a pastor the other day who was in the middle of a series on committing our whole bodies – heart, mind and soul – to God.  She went on to talk about how when we struggle with self-worth it affects everything about our lives.  If we get into a mild argument with our spouse, we might believe they obviously think we are stupid or worthless simply because they disagree with our opinion.  We grasp for people outside ourselves to build us up but when they do, we don’t always trust their motives.

For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my 
mother’s womb. I praise you 
because I am fearfully and 
wonderfully made;your works are 
wonderful,I know that full well. 
Psalm 139:13-14

How many of us can truly say, “I know that full well?”  We easily quote scripture proclaiming that God loves us.  But do we really believe it?  

Some of us were fortunate to grow up in loving homes which shot us out into the world with a great sense of belonging and love.  That sense gets attacked regularly by the world.  And those of those who didn’t start out that way also experience those attacks of the world. It’s no wonder, starting from a lack of a filled bucket, that so many of us plunge into self-destruction and self-loathing.

When, during a particularly difficult time of false self-evaluation, I looked in the mirror and realized how dishonoring I was being to God.  And that if I could just start with the acknowledgement that God made me and knows me then maybe, just maybe I could grow to love me just as He does. 

We must rest in the glory and amazing work of God in order to fully be His warriors.  That starts with us.  No matter your thick or thin hair, your smooth skin or wrinkles, your short or tall stature, your past, the job you have (or don’t), your ability to arrange flowers or pick the perfect wall color, your knowledge about science or the humanities, God loves you.  He loves me.  I am wonderfully and beautifully made.  I just need to keep telling that to the girl in the mirror.

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

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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, Uncategorized

Powerful Prayer


Last Christmas, my new son-in-law sat reading a large paperback book.  I asked him about it.  He introduced me to “Spurgeon On Prayer & Spiritual Warfare,” a 575-page book filled with Charles Spurgeon’s sermons on prayer.  There are prayers on why to pray, how to pray, what to pray, and even when to pray.  After skimming over my son-in-law’s copy, I decided I needed my own copy.  I’ve only scratched the surface of the 54 sermons, but I’ve come to realize two important things about prayer: 1) Do it and 2) Do it earnestly.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16

How many of us truly believe in the power of prayer?  Let’s back up a bit.  How many of us Christians truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light?  Unfortunately, I know quite a few people who say they are Christians but won’t stand up with assuredness that this statement is true.  We are so wrapped up in the idea of being judgemental – telling people their way isn’t the right way – that we are willing to give up this foundation stone.  We want to put the capstone on our faith by calling ourselves “Christians” without the foundation.  In doing so, we shove aside all the teachings of Jesus and how to express our faith out of love, rather than judgement.  We also tear down the place Jesus holds in the eternal world.


Let’s say we accept the statement that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light.  We are now miles ahead of the Pharisees.  This was their stumbling block.  So, if we accept this, we need to then look at prayer from that vantage point.  When Jesus is our Way and our Truth then we also accept God as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And throughout scripture we are almost begged by God and Jesus to bring Him our trials, our joys, our sorrows, and our sins.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

Notice scripture doesn’t say “well, only when you feel you need to pray.”  It also doesn’t say to just pray when we are sick or worried.  In EVERY situation we are to pray.  Upon waking, eating breakfast, hopping in our car for work (or on our computer), when a friend or colleague starts gossiping, when a friend texts you with bad news, when you look out your window and see a blue sky, when you eat lunch, when you are working on a project, when you head home from work, arrive home safely (or after an accident), when you eat dinner, when you start worrying about things on the nightly news, when you lay your head down to sleep.  EVERY situation.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.  Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them.

James 5:13-14

I have to confess that God has revealed a painful truth to me about my prayer life.  When I am most worried about a situation is when I have the most difficult time praying.  I have a hard time slowing my mind down, focusing on Jesus, and asking Him to take control.   Back when I was a softball coach, I couldn’t stand watching a game when I was off the field.  I wanted to yell out directions to the players (I yell at the TV too).  But when I took my seat in the head coach’s spot, I would become calm.  It’s because I had some control over the situation.  So, when I need to give up my worries it’s like standing outside that fence, letting someone else be in charge. And that is very difficult for me.


We have an agreement, a covenant that God enters into with those who pray to Him and are helped by Him.

Charles Spurgeon

In other words, we must acknowledge that God is trustworthy and has delivered us before and He will do it again.  Our part is then to glorify Him through prayer and praise.  Glorify – that sounds more than just a passing “thanks, God.”  I’ve been guilty of that – if I even remembered to thank Him.  Which brings me to being earnest.

If we believe that Jesus is the Way and God is the powerful King of Kings, we must honor this exalted position.  Would you walk into the Queen of England’s throne room casually and just say, “hey, what’s up Queenie?  If it were at all possible would you be able to help me find a new job? I get it if you can’t but maybe you can try.”  Casual, and not very expecting.  God is God.  The One most High.   We should come in reverence and expectation.  He CAN do all.  He has done it all.  We need to plead with him, put our heart into it, and rap our knuckles as hard as possible against heaven’s door.  


How many of us actually have such low expectations of our prayers?  We say them with rote numbness.  My family used to say the exact same prayer at dinner time.  It comes to mean absolutely nothing and is usually expressed with that same nothingness.  My husband and I started praying in earnest this year over our evening meal.  We express thankfulness and joy for good things that happened.  We ask earnestly for healing of friends and family members.  And we ask Him to use us and place opportunities to be His light in this world in front of us.  It not only has helped us be in communion with God but it has also strengthened our marriage.

An earnest pleader comes out of his prayer closet rejoicing like a strong man ready to run his race.

Charles Spurgeon

I love that visual.  After praying all my prayer cards in my “war room” I frequently feel emboldened to take on the world as one of God’s blessed daughters.  How many of us who have children (or co-workers) and we’ve needed them to complete a task?  We mention it half-heartedly. They pretend not to hear us or just roll their eyes.  As a parent and coach, I eventually perfected “The Look.”  That’s the look that says “mom is serious about this so it’d better get done.”  That’s the look we need to have in our prayer life.  Expectation that God will answer our prayers.  It may sound sacrilegious to “expect God” to do something in our life but He himself has said to us over and over to trust Him, to ask Him, to plead with Him.

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

and forgive us our debts, as 

we have also forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation but 

deliver us from the evil one.”

Matthew 6:9-13

Do you see the glorification and exaltation of God in the first sentence?  Then, the trust and reminder that God’s will is meant to rule the earth.  We then ask him to provide for us.  Really, using the word “give” is like demanding.  Pleading with Him to forgive us.  And giving us hope for the future.  Man, was Jesus so great with words!  How many times have we recited this and not thought about what we are saying?  Next time we speak these words make it in earnest, bring some emotion to it!  Beg Him to forgive you and help you.

We are ordinary people asking extraordinary things from an amazing, loving, faithful, and powerful God. Throughout the Bible, people just like us asked for victory over large armies, the rain to fall and the rain to stop, for loved ones to be healed and even raised from the dead, for our never-ending ailments to be taken away, for our life of sin to be cleansed.  And God abided.   He healed us.  He saved us.  He made it rain.  He has showered us for centuries with answered prayers. 

If Jesus could lift a man from the dead, imagine what He can do with our prayers?

We must pray in earnest.  It is a supernatural, powerful tool that Jesus gave us.  Some of us use prayer like we are brushing our teeth – rote and without remembering all the benefits.  Something we have to do.  It’s time to take it up daily like a torch against the darkness, a sword against evil, and a golden gift presented to our Lord Most Exalted.

30daysofpraise, christian encouragement

The 3 O’s of God


Day 10

How often do you talk with others about your faith and God?  I once was in a Bible study where a wonderfully kind woman described talking about Jesus as an uncomfortable used car transaction.  You walk onto the lot wanting to browse and the used car salesman starts his schtick trying to get you to buy something you really don’t want. 

A few years ago, I had a profound encounter with Jesus which led me on my path toward a bold faith.  One of the “side effects” of this bold faith is how often I find myself talking about God with all sorts of people.  It’s through these conversations that I’ve seen varied views of God.  


Omnipotent God

One very close friend, who happens to be Catholic, pictures God as an altar. She’s currently seeking a more personal relationship with Him but for a long time God has been more of an authority figure. What I love about this God is He can move mountains. He can set the world back into order. He performs miracles the world couldn’t even imagine. God the King, the Lord of Lords – it’s who we press our faces to the ground in submission as we seek His grace and deliverance. It’s who we offer the only true gift we have, ourselves, as we approach His throne.

Definition of omnipotent

1:often capitalized : ALMIGHTY

2: having virtually unlimited authority or influence

Omnipresent God

I know a number of people who feel God’s presence constantly.  One woman, in her early 80s, told me He is always with her, like a friend.  She talks with Him throughout her day. He guides her with gentle touches.  He comforts her.  My sweet friend Janet, who I tease and call her Earth Mother, is finely tuned into God.  Her “God Antennae” picks up His signals through visions, feelings and dreams.  He is never far from her because she sees Him all around her – in nature, in people, in animals and in the every day.  The wonderful thing about this God is He never forgets me.  I am never lost.  He always knows where I am because I am always with Him.

Definition of omnipresent

1: present in all places at all times

Omniscient God

My friend Betsy and my mother-in-law Bev trust God completely.  That’s because they know God has a plan.  They know deep in their hearts that all things do truly work for our good and somehow, someday their prayers will be answered.  This omniscient God is above our thoughts.  He knows what we truly need, even when we think we know better.  This is the God who sent His son to teach us His ways because He knew we needed someone who had a “human experience” yet was without blemish.  Jesus intimately knows man’s ways and God’s ways.  In my current Bible study, there are two separate “life principles” which focus on obeying God.  #2 is: Obey God and let Him handle the consequences. #5 is: Obey God even if it seems unreasonable.  Why? Because God knows the ultimate outcomes.

Definition of omniscient

1: having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight 

2: possessed of universal or complete knowledge 

The three O’s of God –omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient – create one unimaginably powerful force.  This King, this Friend, this Teacher asks for two simple acts in return for all His gifts to us, to obey His Word and to return His love. 

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the Lord God Almighty is his name.”  Amos 4:13

Which God characteristic do you most identify with today? Join the praise conversation!