Monday, March 30, 2015

Where's the Fruit?

If you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, He’s there. (So, think about where you take Him every day…….or what you’re saying that breaks His heart, or the actions you take daily that displease Him. I’m glad He’s so forgiving, but, are we taking His grace for granted?)

If He’s alive in us, so is the fruit of His Spirit! By fruit, I mean, the manifestations of His Spirit; the evidence He’s in there.  The New Living Translation says it this way: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” – Galatians 5:22-23

These are the attributes that will manifest in our lives when we allow God’s Spirit to take over.

When we go through trials in life, as Christians, these are the things God is cultivating within us; the things He wants us to see in ourselves. Sometimes these are the very things we deny about ourselves.  “Oh, you think I’m faithful, eh? Well, let me tell you this…….” Or “Me? Good? How can you say that about me?” or “I have so little patience it’s ridiculous!”

 To prove to us that He’s alive in there and that we now possess His attributes, the facets of His love, He allows us to go through tests and trials so that we can see for ourselves what He already knows; that He’s really in there, producing all kinds of great fruit in us and through us. We may hate that we have to go through certain things in this life; perhaps if we were so stubborn and tough to convince of His promises, we’d face less trials.

God’s Word tells us, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” – 1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

Testing will bring us great joy because Jesus is really alive in us! Hallelujah!

Without testing, we don’t believe we can use that fruit in our lives. Just as when David fought Goliath, he went with what he trusted; his own weapon. “So [King] Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.” – 1 Samuel 17:38-39 (NKJV)

David, instead, chose to take his sling and some smooth stones into battle with the giant. To me, armor and a sword sounds more like what I’d want, but, David wasn’t convinced they’d do him any good, but rather, might hinder him.

God tests us for our own good; to prove to us that His power is real, and is actually within us!

Look for Him and the fruit of His Spirit as you go through your day. He’s there, and all that He promises will be revealed to us!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Good News

(photo mine)
So, what’s the point of having an Old Testament if the whole story of Christianity is wrapped up in the New?

While listening to one of our special guests, Fred Markert, at church Sunday morning, I took particular interest when he passionately brought up “healing the Gospel”. Whatever could he mean? As I intently took in his words my heart resounded with every point he was making. He expounded on Ephesians 3:8 – pointing out that “God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when He said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” (NLT)

If God proclaimed the Good News centuries before Jesus was crucified for our sin, why do we start with the book of John?

(Fred Markert teaching at CFAN)
I love Fred Markert. His joy is unbridled. I want to seek him out and become close, personal friends with him. Mind you, not in a stalker kind of way. I’d love to absorb the contents of his heart and his brain! He has more knowledge and wisdom than most of the people I know all rolled into one. Google him, he's an amazing man. Here's just one link: Fred Markert YWAM )

Here in America, our Gospel generally begins with the New Testament; with the short, pointed message that we are sinners in need of a Savior. I suppose as “westerners” we’re inclined to make it more about us than the God that created us and loves us. But, that’s not where the Good News begins! As Mr. Markert so perfectly reveals, it begins with God and all that He is, not with us or our sinfulness.

How can we assure joy to those we’d seek to make known the message of salvation when we start with our own condemnation? Romans 8:1, another one of my favorites, heralds the news that in Christ, there is no condemnation. Yet many of us who declare we are in Christ often reach out to those we perceive as “lost” with empty hearts; no joy in our soul and no love in our message. Ouch!

Not pointing fingers at others, not even the ones who may have sternly presented the Good News to us, but looking inside at our own hearts; what is our mindset? Why do we share the message of salvation? Do we “preach Jesus” out of love for our fellow man? Or because “that’s what we’re supposed to do”? Do we even understand the Gospel we believe we’re sharing?

Do we look past the loving, creative God Who literally gave us life because we want to “spare someone the agonies of hell”?

True. I hate the very thought of anyone finding themselves facing Satan and the fires of hell.

But, let’s marvel at the diamond in front of us, lest we freak out over the idea of washing our hands before we reach out and touch it! Let’s stand in awe of the One Who gives life before we even look at ourselves. Let’s take notice of God’s love.

God’s salvation comes gift-wrapped in His love. He IS love! Before God even sees our sin, He loves us. Before He sees our accomplishments, He loves us!

Let’s aim higher; think bigger; open our eyes wider and expose our hearts more deeply. Let’s lay fear aside for the moment and seek to take in the awesomeness of our Creator and His creation. Then perhaps we’ll forget what we were afraid of in the first place.

“In the beginning, God……” Genesis 1:1


Monday, March 16, 2015

Wait Just A Minute Now

I used to wait – for the kids to be born, to walk, to be potty trained, to be in school; till the work day was done, till the kids were old enough to leave at home on their own, till the kids graduated, till we “settled down” instead of moving from base to base….

Now, we’ve retired from the military life. The kids are all grown with kids of their own; some of the grandchildren are almost ready to graduate from high school.

Now, hmmmm….. what was it I was waiting to do?


Or, I’d buy a pretty dress and save it in the closet for a special occasion; when an occasion finally came along I deemed worthy enough for the special dress, alas, I’d either gained or lost weight and it no longer fit me.

Even short term waiting sets us up for failure. I’ll wait for just an hour to go for my walk, until the sun is hotter or the clouds roll out. Alas, that hour turns into several hours and other things crowd into my day; no time for a walk today. I wasted all that sunshine piddling around indoors.

Even waiting to make that mad dash for the ladies room can be detrimental, if you know what I mean.

Yes, sometimes we need to wait. If we pull the cinnamon rolls from the oven after just a minute or two, the dough will be raw and uneatable. If we pull the clothes from the dryer too soon they’ll be too wet to wear. If we drive away while the gas is still pumping into our tank, God only knows what disasters that could create.

But, sometimes waiting is just an excuse; putting off the inevitable until it’s too late. We’re either rushed to fit in our plans, or our plans are completely ruined. We shake it off and wind up playing the same game the next day.


What are we waiting for? The proverbial “engraved invitation”? Are we waiting for someone else to do it for us? Are we waiting for someone else to run with that great idea we had, or thinking that no one else would come up with it?

Are we waiting for “the right time” or “waiting on God’s timing”? Sometimes that’s legit. Sometimes God is waiting on us! Sometimes, yeah – it’s just another rut in our path that procrastination makes deeper. If we let putting things off create enough deep ruts, our road to success will become harder to travel; and that can lead to giving up completely.

Although we can have lots of fun in this life, it’s not much of a game when we’re sitting on the losing end of all the potential we’ve been given. Yes, there’s a time for everything. And our time is NOW!

Rise and shine, Buttercup! Today is not a day for sitting around waiting. 

“…I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” – Romans 13:11 (NLT)

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Simple Challenge

Here’s an experiment. Slow down. Just for today. After my yoga practice the other day I challenged the women in my class to slow down for the rest of the day. That could mean chew your food slower, drive slower, talk slower, breath slower or read slower, shower slower… we do so many things in a day.

The day before, I was getting a massage and thought several times, “She’s doing this so slowly!” As if she weren’t going to get to my whole body before our time was up, it got under my skin. Then I realized, “She’s not in a hurry, why am I?” Seriously? Was I in a hurry during a massage of all things? That’s messed up!
What would it look like to take up the challenge to slow down? Just for a day? Might we be surprised at how much we enjoy the simple, routine things we do every day? Maybe we’d stop calling our everyday tasks “chores”.

As I left yoga that morning, I purposefully and mindfully drove one mile per hour under the speed limit. It was a challenge, indeed! I’m not saying I have a lead foot, but, let’s just say I giggled. A lot!

This meant:

*Letting others get ahead of me! Ouch! Am I really that competitive? Yes, I’m laughing at myself right now, but, sheesh – I didn’t realize how important it was to me to be in front of the other cars!
*Using the right lane, you know, the “slow” lane!
*Not “gunning it” at the traffic signals; either to beat the light (skating through on pink) or to be the first one off the mark when the light eventually turned green for me.
*Laughing at myself all the way down the street. Who knew I was such a control freak when it comes to road travel? Well, my husband probably knew that. I always have a better or faster route to take, or would be in a different lane, because, clearly, I am an aggressive driver.

Eating slowly meant I got full faster. Well, not faster, but before my food was gone. Wow, who knew? It really is true. And, of course, getting full before my food was gone challenged me to leave some on my plate. I’m learning to do that, too.

And eating slowly also turned into eating more mindfully. Chewing each bite slowly, actually tasting each bite, instead of scarfing it down. One reason we love to eat - food tastes good! So why do we rush through this pleasure?

Breathing is something we do without thinking, every minute of the day. Our bodies just do it on their own. However, if we pay a little attention to it, we can breathe more deeply and bring instant stress release to our bodies. You know, the stress that comes from being the most aggressive driver on the road? Or having just devoured our lunch standing up or sitting behind the steering wheel because we’re in such a hurry to get to the rest of our chores.

Stress can melt away quickly and easily with a few slow breaths. Now, will all stressors in our day fall away? No. Well, I doubt it. But, in the few moments you take to breathe deep, mindful breaths, you can sort out the real stress factors from the ones you’ve created in your own mind while you were hurrying through your day. Hmmmm…..the ones that fall into that last category may be the bulk of the tightness in our shoulders.

How much beauty escapes us, simply because we’re in a hurry?

What else might you slow down, today? What will that look like? Slow down and let me know what it meant to your day!

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (I lack nothing.)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
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 runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  -  Psalm 23 (NKJV)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Considered Lovable? Part II

(photo from
For the believer, it’s now very easy to Google lists of scriptures that tell us who we are in Christ; scriptures that reveal God’s great love for us and the grace and mercy He pours over us. There are many, here are just a few: 

But, even before we come to believe, when our understanding is lost in the lies the world perpetuates, there are plenty of scriptures that reveal God’s love for this people He has created in His image.

One of my favorites, very familiar to those of us with a pro-life stance is found in the book of Psalms. It’s a portion of scripture we fall back to in support of the idea that God knew us before we even came into this world and points to the great love He has for us, even before He formed us in our mother’s womb.

“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; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thought, God! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.” – Psalm 139:13-18 (NIV)

In the preceding verses, the psalmist explores the notion that there is no where we can run to get away from God, because He’s everywhere and knows everything, even our thoughts before we think them.

In these verses, the psalmist declares the awe surrounding our creation, that God was there with us, knowing us and forming us before we took on human flesh; He created us with purpose and on purpose. Our days were ordained and written in some heavenly book before we took our first breath of air.

Whisper this to yourself or say it out loud: I was created on purpose, with a specific plan that only I can fulfill. I am the only key that unlocks certain doors in this universe. Without me, they’re left unopened.

How many doors in our world (of opportunity or beauty or revelation) are left unopened simply because life was snuffed out; perhaps even before birth or because sin distorted our lives for a season. If you’re still drawing breath, there’s still time to fulfill your destiny.

None of us was accidentally dropped onto planet Earth without a reason. Though we may often feel useless and unnecessary, which will make us feel unlovable – those feelings are driven by lies.

Just because someone doesn’t believe in our common enemy, Satan, doesn’t mean he doesn’t lie to them.

If I were never taught about the affects of gravity, it would still pull me to the ground if I stepped off a rooftop.

Satan must laugh loudest when he manipulates those who declare he isn’t real.

“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” - Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV)


Before He clothes us in flesh, He knows us!

Before He placed us in our mother’s belly, He loves us!

Before our parents came together intimately, God already has a plan for us!

Before anything good or bad in this universe happens to us, God values us!

And while we’re walking along through this journey of life and all there is to discover along the way; all the things that mess us up, all the things we mess up – He’s continuously loving us. He’s wooing us, He’s teaching us, He’s holding us, He’s providing for us. (If you’ve never read the short book Acres of Diamonds, now might be a good time.)

Knowing how messy our lives would become, He made provision for all of it through His grace.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NIV)

And only He can love us like that. Our loving Creator atones for our mistakes.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Considered Lovable? Part I

(A photo of a card I recieved)
I think it takes courage to let someone love us; to let them see behind the walls we’ve erected to protect ourselves; to become intimate. Incidentally, by intimate, I don’t mean sexually engaged.

I think we’re sometimes too busy trying to prove our self-worth to believe we actually have any.

I think that without self-worth, we think of ourselves as unlovable.

I think this, because this is how I’ve thought of myself for many years.

I think – I’m not alone.

God’s been teaching me about my own self-worth. A few years back He gave me the phrase intrinsic value. I looked it up, pondered it, wrote about, and shared it. But, did I believe it? Intrinsic value is the value someone is created with; worth we were already possessing when we showed up in this world. We don’t decide our value; our Creator gets to make that call.

The world around us dictates what we mean to society, or in comparison to what is perceived as valuable. But, we all value things differently. I place no value at all on a five pound bag of cocaine, yet those who deal it consider it of great value; many will give their lives in pursuit of obtaining it to sell or use.

Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, our value is imposed by our Creator.

When we begin to dictate the value of human life, we, as a people, begin to embrace the idea that we can assume the role of God in our world. We make the rules. We find it acceptable to kill our unborn and easier to defend physician assisted suicide, calling it mercy killing. For that matter, if someone doesn’t value their life, why should suicide of any kind bother us? How does it impact our lives if they throw theirs away? Really, why care about anyone, especially if we perceive them to be valueless?

Was it Hitler who proposed seeking out those with abnormalities or handicaps and “putting them out of their own misery”?

When we take on the authority of assigning value, we begin to self-destruct.

I don’t believe we can make ourselves any more or less valuable to God. He created us with purpose, on purpose. That intrinsic value we showed up with only increases or decreases in the eyes of those who judge us, and if we accept their appraisals instead of the Word of God, our self-worth can completely disappear. Without worth, what is there to love? Without love, we die.

I think we need to get beyond the idea that we’re not pretty enough, or helpful enough, or friendly enough, or thin enough, or productive enough or in-demand enough…..

As I observed the residents in my father-in-laws nursing home, I saw one person after another that many no longer value, some that never even received visitors. They contribute nothing to society; many of them drain the financial resources of agencies like Medicare and Medicaid. Many can’t take care of themselves, or even speak; they don’t appear to contribute anything to anyone. So why do they have value? Why are they here?

Why do I have value? Why am I here?

Is that not the question at the core of our being?

For those who have discovered their purpose, celebration is in order. For without purpose, it’s hard to accept that we have value or that we’re worth the effort to love. Without love, we waste away, whether we’re being productive members of society – or not.


Love heals.

We all need healing.

No wonder the enemy of our souls is determined to convince us we’re unworthy of love. That leads to unworthiness of a God Who IS Love. And God SO loves us, that He sacrificed His Son for us…. (John 3:16)

I think I’m onto something. As it grows in me, I’ll share it with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and input on this. Comment or message me, please!