Monday, December 29, 2014

Here Comes 2015

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What if?

You can say it any way you’d like. You can tack on anything imaginable.

What will you imagine?

Human nature often begs us to imagine something bad or negative to finish the question with, such as, “What if – something bad happens to me or to my children or my finances, etc…?”

But, what if – it’s something good? What if it’s something great?

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God’s Word tells us it IS something great! “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV) The writer is quoting Isaiah 64:4 from the Old Testament.

Our frail, human hearts can’t even begin to image all the good God has for us; good things, good plans, good beyond our finite comprehension. He does go on to say in verse 10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

So, though we can’t imagine it without divine intervention, we can know what God has in store for us. And we can be reassured that it’s all good. A verse that many consider to be their favorite is in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” In the NIV we read, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I’ve included both versions because I want us to know that God’s thoughts toward us include His plans for us. He didn’t just map out our lives and then walk away, hoping we get it right. He’s here with us every single step of the way, unfolding His plans and loving us, whether we allow ourselves to accept and feel that love or not.

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Our pastor defines imagination as image-formations; the images we form in our minds. When we allow God to take hold of the images we form there, we can see the good; our minds won’t always impulsively run toward the bad. Instead of what if something bad happens today, we can ask, what if something great happens? Then, we can begin to dwell on the good and form good images. Ah, yes, my favorite scripture instructs us to do that: think on the good things!  (In case you don’t know it yet, that’s Philippians 4:8.)

Even humanists that don’t call on the Name of Jesus chime in with the knowledge that what we think will determine what we are. (“for as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 NIV)

I count at least seven times in scripture where Jesus asks, “What do you think?” (Mt 17:25, 18:12, 21:28, 22:17, 22:42, Luke 10:36 and 13:4)

How cool is it that He cares about what we think? He cares about it, because He knows the power involved with our thoughts and words.

When we form images in our minds around what could happen today or tomorrow – or this coming year, 2015, what will we allow? Yes, again, I bring up choice. We get to choose what we allow into our minds!

What if – [negative] = worry
What if – [positive] = peace
Which would you rather live in, worry or peace?

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“…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” – 2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV)

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultess before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25 (KJV)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rejoice Much?

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The other day while pondering the book of Luke, reading many of the stories therein with fresh eyes, chapter 15 humbled me and brought me to my knees with rejoicing my heart has needed for a long time.

Years ago, I turned my back on God; some might call it backsliding, who knows what others may call it. It vexed me terribly that I could do such a thing. I repented, I cried, I groveled, I rose up and followed Jesus again, more quietly.

Satan beat me up with scriptures like Luke 9:62 (Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.") And, Romans 11:21-23 (For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.....) And Hebrews 10:26-31 (For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.....)

Scriptures that should have brought the God-kind-of-peace didn’t quite rescue me from the guilt and shame the enemy pours over us; 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

As I wrestled with the enemy, I'd say things like: "Well, I don't care, Satan, I'm going to serve God anyway, I'm going to praise Him and love Him and honor Him and share Him....and if, in the end, He chooses not to let me into His kingdom, that's His right, I submit myself to God, therefore, now flee from me!" (James 4:7)

While reading the story of the prodigal son with a seasoned heart and yearning that’s been growing, I realized that, years ago, when I repented of my sinfulness, I came back to God just as the prodigal son went back to his father, asking, not to be treated as a son, but as a servant, hoping for morsels that even the animals might receive.....

In verse 21 we see the prodigal son say to his father, just as he’d rehearsed, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

My heart began to dance with delight as revelation flooded my being. This story came alive inside of me!

How did his father respond? Did he delegate this wayward son to the outer fields to tend sheep or to the servants lodging? No! The very next verse his father’s response comes with so much joy and excitement he can barely contain it.

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“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (verses 22-24)

Can you feel his father’s excitement? I CAN!

Just as his father dismissed the idea of treating his son as merely a servant, MY FATHER, didn't consider it either. I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE -------- HIS DAUGHTER, whom He loves unconditionally!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Choosing to Cling

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 During a wedding the other day, my mind wandered a bit; my eyes were drawn to a statue of Mary. Unlike any statue of her I’ve seen, I can’t even find a photo of this statue on line, the one pictured is not it. Her face was sculpted to capture love and compassion, yet it was filled with wonder and questions. She held a crown of thorns in her hands, clutched to her heart.

My mind wandered further to imagine her, collapsed to the ground, holding the crucified, dead body of her Son, having gently removed the crown of thorns from His bloody head, setting it aside to wiped blood and tears from His precious face. No doubt her breaking heart wept, even if she didn’t have the physical strength left to sob over his ravaged body.

It didn’t help that I was already emotional, simply because I was at a wedding, but, I fought back my tears. If it was my son, I believe I’d be holding him to myself for as long as I could.

Even as we stand beside a loved one, laid out at their funeral, longing to hold them in our arms one more time, our heart breaks in a way we could never have imagined before. We may cling to memories, or even to a token of their lives.

What did Mary cling to? Did she clutch that crown of thorns? Did she grapple in the sand for the bloody nails that held Him to the Cross? Did she reach deeply into her understanding of what God had spoken to her through an angel and displayed before her throughout the years? Did she pull out God’s strength through a joy miraculously placed in her heart? She recognized her own salvation at the announcement of her pregnancy (Luke 1:47); did she have an even greater revelation at the finality of His death when He uttered, “It is finished”? (John 19:30) By His grace and mercy, did God allow her a glimpse of eternity, removing the veil of time so she could see her son sitting at the right hand of her Father? (Acts 2:33)

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We don’t know. Imagine what we will, we don’t know.

What do you cling to and clutch to your heart that connects you with your Savior? Or what is it you run from? (I suppose Mary could have thrown that crown of thorns in anger and run from the bloody scene that had just unfolded before her.)

Perhaps, it’s not something tangible, but a memory. Maybe the memory is so vague you can’t even put your finger on it. Or maybe this is an easy question, the memory or point of contact is illuminated in your mind as you read this.

Whatever it is, it’s something that penetrated your heart; whether the pierce was a prick like that from a thorn, or broke your heart wide open; you let Jesus peek into the places there where no one else is welcome - your secret place. Could it make a difference if you shared your treasure with someone else; if you told them how Jesus brought His Light to your darkness?

If you’ve never asked Jesus into that private place, perhaps it just feels like your heart has been beaten up, broken, cracked and stomped on; crushed till it’s unrecognizable, dark and lifeless. That’s how it will remain until you allow the Light of Jesus Christ to redeem you; to bring life from lifelessness.

The whole point to the Christmas story is that Jesus took on flesh to be like us, so that we could find life in His Spirit and be like Him.

Find a quiet place and think on this. Ask Him to show you your heart, if it’s filled with His Light – share it! If it’s still filled with pain and sorrow and anger and grief, it’s time to invite Him in to help you find the courage to forgive those who’ve hurt and betrayed you, and the courage to accept His forgiveness for your sin (“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” -Romans 3:23-24/If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9 NIV)

Yes, it will mean allowing yourself to become vulnerable. But, He’s not going to blab your secrets to the world. It’s all between you and Him…… if you’re not quite sure how to pray, ask Him. He’ll meet you right where you’re at.

His Word (the Bible) is filled with promises for those who believe Him. Find your promises today.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014


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“When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets.” – Luke 5:4-5 (NIV)

Personally, I find Peter’s words to be extremely powerful. How often do we mentally argue with God because we’ve already done what we believe He’s telling us to do again? How often do we fail to obey, simply because we don’t see the point in the actions required? How often does it look to us that God doesn’t know what He’s talking about?

Maybe I’m alone in this. But, sometimes, it seems to me that God really isn’t all that much in control. Now, I realize that’s largely because I cannot see the “big picture”. If thread had eyes to see, each stitch in a quilt or garment wouldn’t make sense at all if the thread could not see the entire creation from their vantage point.

But, Peter, though weary beyond measure, in his attempt to have faith and relinquish control of how he thought things should work, obeyed Jesus, saying, “…but because You say so…..”

Though I can’t remember the circumstances, I can recall rolling my eyes when instructed to do things that didn’t make sense to me. Whether it was a parent, my husband or a teacher giving instruction, it didn’t matter. What they were advising made no sense to me at all. But, because they said so – I complied. Someone I loved or respected gave a directive, and I, perhaps begrudgingly, did what they asked. At this moment, I don’t recall any “aha” moments when what seemed like nonsense to me proved to be beneficial, but, I complied because of love or respect.

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Of course, in the very next verse of scripture, we’re immediately told about the phenomenal haul of fish Peter and his co-laborers pulled in together, almost sinking their boats. They saw right away that Jesus knew His stuff; He could be trusted. Seeing the rewards of complying with His instruction, Peter was awe-struck by whatever it was this man Jesus compelled. Did Jesus put the fish there? Did He just know they’d be there? Did He somehow draw the fish to the nets? Was this wisdom, heavenly power or magic of some sort?

Luke 5:8 shows us just how much fear Peter felt, when he, falling to Jesus’ feet, declared, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Like Adam and Eve felt exposed in the Garden of Eden and tried to hide from the presence of God when they disobeyed Him, Peter now felt naked before this Man, Jesus and wanted to hide from Him.

Fortunately, Peter didn’t run and hide, he and the other disciples with him took heed to the next words they heard from this new Master, “Don’t be afraid.” (v 10)

How often we need this reassurance from God to not be afraid! Yet, He always provides the peace and reassurance we need in our hour of crisis. Yes, we still have the option to panic and run the other direction. But, we’re rewarded greatly when, instead, we run into His arms, whether we’re still panicking or not.

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Just a few verses later we read where a leprous man encounters Jesus and quite boldly approaches Him, falling with humility, his face to the ground, insisting, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Luke 5:12-13 NIV)

How does Jesus respond? Can you imagine all the love in the universe being focused as light through a magnifying glass, shining straight into this man as Jesus says, “I am willing, be clean!” and seeing that immediately the leprosy left him?

In my own walk with Jesus, I’ve murmured the same words, while reading through Luke one day in the late 80s. My heart was black with sin, rebellion and betrayal, and I wept, Lord, if You’re willing, You can make me clean…..” Before even another breath could enter my lungs, I felt the release of all my guilt and anguish as He lovingly poured into me, “I AM willing, be clean…..”

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What is it that you don’t understand? Can you find the faith (even as small as a mustard seed) to submit to God anyways, and say something along the lines of, “…not my will, but Yours, O God….”? Can you muster the strength and courage to allow the idea that your understanding isn’t going to solve the dilemma you’re in right now? But, perhaps…….God is greater than your understanding?

Are you…..willing?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Just Wrap Me In Cellophane, Pink Please!

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Do we ask? Generally, no; we jump in with both feet – flesh and all.

Quite frankly, most of what I blog about relates to me, personally, whether you’d think so or not. I uncover my flesh for the entire world to see. In my own way, I guess, I’m creating my own version of intimacy with you all. If you’ve read many of my posts, you know my favorite definition of the word intimacy is: in-to-me-see. Bluntly put, I’m allowing you to see into me, whether you reciprocate or not.

I’m not cloaked with a heavy mantle, I sit here wrapped in cellophane (pink please). If you look back over my posts you’ll see a picture of how I’m growing in Christ. I’m not light years ahead of the game. I may be right beside you, perhaps one step ahead or a whole block or two behind.

We all take certain steps faster than others and we all come up against those steps that stir up great hesitation. It’s not a race. I rejoice that we’re walking together in The Way!

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We’re not quite as self-centered as we used to be.
We’re not quite as controlling.
We’re not quite as arrogant.
We’re not quite as mean.
We’re a little more loving.
We’re a little more giving.
We’re a little more patient.
We’re a little more faithful.

We pray. We get into God’s Word more often and more diligently, more intently and with greater understanding.

Yet, we can be caught dragging our feet. Me? Sometimes I trip on them, yes – both of them!

Do we ask? Do I ask? Not always. Why? Grrrr…..

Too often I want to jump in and fix things or give my incredible words of wise instruction before even asking what God wants done in a given situation. I presume to know what God’s doing in everyone else’s life….. (Surely I’m not alone in this, right?)

Praise God that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1)

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I need to be asking what God wants of me, every single time; nothing more and nothing less. More from me won’t make things better, I might be intruding on what God’s trying to do in the lives of others.

Sometimes God wants others to step up. If I was a millionaire and every time a need arose in the lives around me, and I met that need, no one else in my circle would learn to give. They’d get mighty good at the receiving part, though.

Sometimes the words I speak into a situation are the last things the person in need wants to hear. God knows their frame of mind and what they need to hear and when; I do not always know that. As a matter of fact, in and of myself, I probably never know that.

Whether it’s words or actions required on my part, I need God’s instruction before I open my mouth.

Eventually, we’ll come to a place in Christ where we’ll hear His voice even before our own. But, the God kind of self-control and humility must come into play. If we allow the Holy Spirit of God to live inside of us, we need to recognize that He’s not a decoration on the walls of our heart. He needs to be granted our permission to speak and move through us!

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)

Fruit is cultivated; it doesn’t just spontaneously appear on the vine or tree. Praise God we are planted in His royal garden, where He cultivates His fruit according to His plans and purposes in us – making us more and more like Him every day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


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Have you thought about?

You have a few things that God, Himself, cannot have unless you give them to Him, He won’t take them without your permission; and yes, they’re all things He filled you with in the first place.

You have a wealth of praise flooding through your soul. You can choose where you aim it and to whom you give it. We may praise our children for their beauty or a job well done. We may praise our spouses for taking such good care of us. We may praise the doctors and nurses for care given to our loved ones or to teachers for bringing out the best in our children. We may praise our favorite performers for their talent.  And, of course, we mean it all with sincere passion.

Believe it or not, there are self-centered, hurting people who have no praise on their tongue for anyone. You see them while shopping or dining out – or even in traffic, hurling anger at everyone in their path. Even their own spouse or children do nothing praise worthy in their darkened eyes.

Yes, our praise is something God desires from us; one of those things He allows us to choose to give to Him or to withhold from him.

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Our thankfulness. Do we thank the one who prepared our meals? Or the ones that pour into our lives daily; the ones who let us have that choice parking spot or to cut in line ahead of them? What about the folks who pick up where we slack off?  Do we thank the ones who meet our tangible needs or the needs of our souls (our mind, will and emotions)?

Yes, we choose to be thankful. And we have to choose to thank God – for everything from the prosperity in our checkbook to our families and the multitude of blessings in our lives, to the very life in our bodies and our eternal salvation.

Our love. Where do we so lavishly pour out this priceless commodity? True, we can only express love to the degree we’ve received it and allowed it to work in our hearts. How I express my love might be entirely different than the ways you do it. Check out the book The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. Here’s his quiz to find out your love languages: Click Here for the Quiz

Upon reflection, from whom do we withhold our love? The neighbor who made us angry? The child who hurt our child? The boss who makes us work too much? The God we perceive as letting us down? Yes – you know, the One Who created us and has laid out the plans He has for our lives – plans to prosper us and fill us with great favor. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Loving anyone is a choice. Loving God – is our choice.
Our hearts. We hold them dear, we hide them to protect them; we build walls around them to keep them safe from hurt and abandonment – sometimes even from the One Who has promised, with a promise that cannot be broken, to never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)

Is it even possible to love without allowing our hearts to become vulnerable? 
I think not.

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Is it worth pondering? Is it possible we’re withholding our hearts from God today?

In this season of Advent (advent means – the arrival of a notable person, thing or event), let’s seek this new adventure – exposing our hearts to God and giving Him what He so richly deserves and desire more than anything; our praise, our thanks, our love; our hearts.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” – Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” – Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV)

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40 (KJV)

Sunday, November 23, 2014


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Is it fair to respond, “I don’t know…” when someone asks how you’re feeling; or to just shrug your shoulders and look away?

I suppose it depends on the why we think they asked. But, by presuming to know the motives behind their asking, we put ourselves into their mind, where we don’t belong, because, truthfully, we don’t know what really goes on there.

We believe we can safely surmise what someone’s thinking or what their intentions are, sometimes based on their past subsequent responses to us.  If, in the past, they seemed not to truly care, we conclude that this time is no different. But, what if in the past they did truly care, but didn’t quite know how to communicate their concern to us? What if their “care button” isn’t broken, but their “communication button” works differently than ours?

There are many reasons we turn from the attention of others. Perhaps we don’t think they actually care, or their personality overwhelms us. Maybe we don’t have the time or interest to reciprocate that care. Sometimes we may just feel like our concerns don’t deserve a spotlight or we’d rather keep them to ourselves, insisting that no one could help us anyway. It could be pride or it could be privacy.

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It could be that we honestly don’t even know in our own heart why we run from the love or attention others offer us.

Personally, the way thoughts often jumble together in my own mind sometimes causes me to panic, not finding the “correct” response fast enough, forcing me to emotionally shut down to keep from exhibiting an emotional response that others might not find acceptable. Of course, rightly or wrongly, I probably base what is “correct” or “acceptable” on past responses or my own imagination.

I guess I’m writing this post to probe: Why do YOU run? Am I alone in my feelings? Am I basing my actions and reactions on deceit?

Logically, if forcing things down inside myself hasn’t worked to “fix” things in the past, why would I (or we) think that this time that’s the fix we should reach for?

Yet, if reaching out for help in the past hasn’t yielded the results we hoped for, why would we continue to reach out?

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I believe that God created us with a need for each other; a need to connect with each other, as a means of meeting our other human needs. If this is true, then it makes sense that the enemy of Life would want to sever our relationships wherever possible. No? Satan’s most effective tools against us include deception; false illusions, and cleverly created evidence to back up those deceptions. As people, we can be very vulnerable, perhaps to the point where we run from the very help we seek.

The Word of God instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, while a few verses later we read that we have to bear our own burdens. (Galatians 6:1-5)

The King James version of the Bible uses the word ‘burden’ in both places. Upon looking into the meaning of the Greek words behind the word burden, we find that in verse two, where we’re instructed to help bear the burdens of others, the word reveals a weight, something heavy bearing down on us. The word burden in verse five divulges a task, or a service. So, while we are to help each other with the concerns/burdens that weigh us down, we are each expected to perform the tasks and services God asks of us. We’re each to fulfill our own purposes; our own destinies, but will likely require help along the way when the weight of being human becomes too heavy for one soul.

Throughout scripture we read over and over again that God is our help in time of trouble.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us greatly:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:6 (KJV)

God often chooses to meet our needs through the hands and hearts of those around us. The only need I can think of that God provides Himself, personally, is that of redemption. When He redeemed us, saving us from sin and eternal destruction, He did that through the cross.

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Even as Jesus commanded Lazarus to come from the grave, He turned to those around him and instructed them to release him from the graveclothes that bound him. (John 11:43-44 KJV)

The burdens of this life serve as graveclothes. Through the grace of His redemption, we’re further blessed with the body of Christ - each other - to help tear away the confines of binding graveclothes.

Yet……we hide. Why do you hide?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

All I Need

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“The riches of Your love [O LORD] will always be enough…” – a line from a song we sing in church, got me pondering.

Are the riches of His love ever enough for us? For the most part, we’re a pretty discontented people.

When we women fall in love with the man of our dreams and he becomes our husband, we pledge “…as long as I’ve got your love, that’s all I’ll ever need.” Very romantic, but, soon we find ourselves realizing we also want a secure roof over our heads, good food on our table and as many of our tangible needs met as possible. We may also discover that in married life, the man of our dreams may not pour out his love in ways we recognize as love. Sure, he may work hard to provide for his family, but what about the affection and attention we assumed we’d get, too? Or hey, what about a little help with the half a dozen kids you helped me bring into this world? And, oh yes, I need some “me” time, please pencil that into your schedule.

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As wives, for the most part, it’s probably safe to assume that we believe most, if not all of that comes with the marriage package. (Not to imply that we can’t help make all of that happen.) Am I wrong? Most of us don’t think we’ll be sheltering under a bridge or waiting in lines at a food pantry or taking care of the kids like a single mom, or starving for affection like the single girls at the club. After all, isn’t marriage about provision, too? Now, of course, I realize catastrophes come into our lives; lost job, disabilities, etc. But, when we vow “for better or for worse” – who seriously imagines “the worst”?

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When we enter into the relationship with God that redeems us, it’s tempting to expect things to be all rosy and sunshine as we walk with Him and grow in Him. But, being a Christian doesn’t mean life’s path will always take us where we think we need to go.

“The riches of Your love will always be enough…” While in essence, this is true, the riches of His love is truly all any of us need, for in those riches we have everything, yet, as humans, most of us continue to want more than we have. It can be hard to be content right where you’re at, especially for long periods of time in less than ideal circumstances.

Sometimes we expect God to change the will of those around us. Yes, He gave us freedom of choice, but, those around us don’t make good choices like we do! (Yes, I say that jesting.) But, wouldn’t life be easier if those around us didn’t disagree with us so much, or if they could see what we perceive to be the “greater good”? This is where we take on a God complex, thinking (consciously or subconsciously) that if we were God, we’d run things more smoothly here on Earth.

Sometimes we expect God to “get us that promotion” because, after all, we’re His children. Or we may expect that convenient parking place to open us just as we get there, because, yes, we’re His child. Or maybe we expect our teams to win, whether at sporting events or in games of chance. Maybe we just think life shouldn’t be “so hard” for us if we’re “in His Word”.
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In reality, the riches of His love will always be enough… is only true when we let God be God and bring ourselves into His plan, instead of wanting to write the plan for Him.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12 (NIV) “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation….”

We can learn contentment, too. It comes with trusting God, without reservation.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’S word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” – 2 Samuel 22:31 (NIV)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Other Boots

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Today we rightly give honor to our veterans near and far, those who’ve gone before us and those we stand beside daily. We should do so every day. God bless you all. Thank you for everything you’ve done for America and her people, and for so many others around the world. Thank you for every sacrifice and every sorrow; for every moment of frustration and every moment of fear. We celebrate with you every moment of victory and triumph and every moment of pride and your safe return from service. We salute you and bless you from the deepest parts of our hearts. And as you do, we bless and salute the ones you love.

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To those you’ve left behind –

Your love is never forgotten.

Your sacrifices are not invisible.

Your hearts are bigger than the world will ever know.

Your voice is energy; your words are dynamic, even when whispered.

Your tears are saved in a special place as God’s treasure.

Your patience has been tried.

Your questions have gone unanswered.

Your faithfulness is often overlooked.

Your understanding of longsuffering is over-the-top.

Your songs, in your heart - carry tremendous meaning; unfathomable power.

Your pride is deserved.

Your creativity saves the day.

Your dreams are valid.

Your pain is real.

Your wounds are many.

Your confusion is misunderstood.

Your comfort is coming.

Your peace belongs to you alone.

Your joy is sometimes hidden.

Your self-control is tested.

Your prayers have often felt like they were ignored.

But, you are heard.

You are loved.

You count.

You are honored.

You are admired.

You are an over-comer.

You are victorious.

You are envied.

You are important.

You are fulfilling one of your greatest purposes, right now.

You are indispensible.

You are the mortar between the bricks; without you there is no strong tower.

You are the reason love marches forth to protect and defend and conquer evil.

There are no heroes without you, for without you, there is no need for heroes.

Thank you!

I give you all my love, now and always. 

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Bless are all who wait for him!” – Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” – Psalm 23 (NIV)

Sunday, November 9, 2014


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Somewhere in my past I heard it said, when you sing, you pray twice. Maybe because it takes you twice as long to get the words out of your mouth, but more probably, because putting melody to our praise and prayers seems to make them a little more powerful, at least from a human perspective. We can allow ourselves to take it further, to enjoy it more and to lift it up higher, and even to receive more from God. In receiving more (more freedom, more encouragement, more healing, more of God’s power released into our lives) the more easily and freely we share it.

Just typing “I will sing” into the browser at Bible Gateway (KJV) brings up twenty-five scriptures, some of which are songs I’ve sung for a long time. And those I haven’t sung have probably been sung by someone at some point. This morning in church we sang  a song that caused my soul to rejoice greatly. It brought to mind a lot of old scripture songs I’ve sung over the years, and it also brought to mind all the reasons I have to praise God through song.

Some of the scriptures I know as song include:
“I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider’s thrown into the sea... The LORD my God, my strength, my song has now become my victory… The LORD is God and I shall praise Him, my father’s God and I will exalt Him….
Miriam grab your tambourine and praise the LORD and dance and sing and tell the people to shout the victory… The LORD, my God, my strength, my song has now become my victory… The LORD is God and I will praise Him, my father’s God and I will exalt Him...” Exodus 15:1-2 & 20 paraphrased.

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“Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me; Thou hast put off my sackcloth. Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise unto Thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever…” – Psalm 30:11-12 paraphrased.

“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever, I will sing; I will sing. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever, I will sing of the mercies of the LORD. With my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness; Thy faithfulness. With my mouth will I make known, Thy faithfulness to all generations….” – Psalm 89:1 paraphrased.

“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, I will give thanks to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet, I will be glad, I will be glad in the Lord! Bless thou the LORD O my soul, praise ye the LORD. Bless thou the LORD O my soul, praise ye the LORD…” – Psalm 104:33-34 paraphrased.

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Other songs that are no doubt in scripture as well, but just don’t pull up with that tag line include:
“I will sing, I will sing a song unto the LORD, I will sing, I will sing a song unto the LORD, I will sing, I will sing a song unto the LORD; hallelujah glory to His Name.”

“Sing unto the LORD a new song, sing unto the LORD all the earth; sing unto the LORD a new song, sing unto the LORD all the earth. For God is great, and greatly to be praised, God is great, and greatly to be praised……”

Scriptures, such as Psalm 103:1 (paraphrased) may not use the words, sing unto the LORD, but we sing them anyway: “Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy Name.

And Psalm 103:2 (paraphrased) “Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget not all His benefits, Bless His holy Name, Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget not all His benefits…”

“Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge the LORD in all of your ways, He will make your path straight.” – Psalm 3:5-6 paraphrased.

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Psalm 61 is a beautiful song, as well. There are so many beautiful songs in scripture that as I look over them, my soul can’t help but rejoice and celebrate, taking me back to when I learned them and the blessings I was receiving at the time. Not only does my mouth sing, my heart sings!

How many of these songs do you know? Others you’d like to share with us? Where do they take you back to and what did God bless you with at the time? Where do they allow your spirit to soar now?