Thursday, February 25, 2010

Even Steven

"Don't ever say, 'I'll get you for that!'
Wait for God; he'll settle the score."
Proverbs 20:22 (The Message)

If any of you have more than one child, I'm sure you've heard this , "But they started it!" or "They did it to me first."

Maybe my home is the only one. But I just had to deal with this. My response is this, "Well, you know, it takes two. Just ignore him and then the fun of teasing you will go away." Such wise words of motherhood! (not) But then I do end by asking, "What would Jesus do?"

When the chips are down and our primeval instincts are running rapid--what do we think, even if we don't say it? "I'll get them for that." "Just wait--they'll get theirs." "Don't let me catch them in a dark alley."

Don't you know that it's not your place? It's a normal human response when someone has really hurt us or someone we love--but it doesn't justify the response.

What an example Jesus is to us. Could anyone do half of what they did to Jesus to you? Could anything be so degrading, so traumatic, so uncalled for--as what was done to Jesus? Did Jesus retaliate? Did Jesus make threats? Did Jesus wish evil on His adversaries? No. He just did what His father told Him to. To love unconditionally, to turn the other cheek, to forgive 70 times 70 times.

Do you know the best way to getting even with your adversaries? Kill them with kindness. Love them in the name of Jesus. Pray for them, their hearts and their spirit. In the end, you will be in the winner seat. You can be at peace with your spirit and your Father. Isn't that the greatest revenge of all?

You do your job--God will do His. With God on your side, who can be against you?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Passing Shadows

"We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace."
1 Chronicles 29:15 NLT

I don't know about you, but to me, I am amazed at how fast time speeds by. It seems that we are in a month for about a week and presto, all of a sudden, it's the last day of the month. I remember summer vacations that seem to go on forever, and now summer seems oh, about a month.

I keep thinking--one of these days, I am going to be able to get everything done that I plan. Am I just fooling myself? How about you? Do you think that next week you will start that exercise program? Tomorrow you will get the checkbook balance?

Somethings you can put off--but not everything. Don't put off making that call that will mend a relationship. Don't put off writing that thank you note. Don't put off telling someone that you love them. Most off all, don't put off having a relationship with your heavenly Father.

Think about it. We have time to get our hair done. We make time to go shopping. We surely don't want to miss our favorite sports show on T.V.--but when it comes to making time to get into the word, or to have quiet time with our Lord or going to church on Sunday--oops! So sorry, too busy--not enough time. Next week. Heaven knows how busy I am. Excuses--Excuses--Excuses!

Where would you be if Mary said to the angel, "Thanks for the offer, but I'm too busy planning my wedding to have a baby right now." What if Jesus said, "Father, I would love to go praying in the garden, get arrested, be crucified and rise up in three days, but I just checked my daytimer and I'm totally booked up until next year."

Jesus deserves our 100%. Not the last 1%. Make your shadow mean something. When your shadow has passed by, don't you want it to be known that you were one of His. That you lived your life to the fullest for Him? Didn't He live His fullest for you?

Make the most of this moment--this very moment! Make it count. You never know, it may be your last.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stinkin' Thinkin'

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."
Colossians 3:2 NLT

Do you find yourself in this scenario? You're in this situation and the thoughts in your head are just circling. They are going around and around--both the good thoughts and the bad thoughts. Getting all jumbled up like you're on a crazy carnival ride and you can't get off. You want to do the right thing, but your mind is thinking the opposite. What do you do?

"Think about the things of heaven," What? That's too easy. It has to be more difficult than that. It's not. How? You try to think about heavenly things and then all of a sudden, a Satan thought creeps in there and you have to start all over again. Pray & try again. Why? Because as you know, your mind and your spirit are very connected. They, at times, can also be total opposites. Your mind is controlled by outside forces, while your spirit is controlled by inside forces--the Lord. So, which one would you trust--your mind or your spirit--when it comes to a disparity? And how do you keep your spirit healthy? By praying.

So the next time that you find yourself in a mind storm--stop, pray and listen to your spirit. You will do the right thing and the thoughts will all calm down.

Monday, February 22, 2010


"Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness."
Proverbs 14:22 NIV

Today, we discovered that someone had robbed our church of the Lord's tithe that had been collected yesterday. What a horrible feeling! You feel violated, you feel angry that someone would do that to the Lord and to the church, you just feel bad.

Of course your mind goes who could have done this? Why would someone have done this? Were they mad at the pastor or his sermon? Were the upset at the church in general? Were they trying to teach us a lesson? Or, on the other hand, were they just desperate? Were they hungry? Did they have a family to feed? The what ifs could go on.

But on the Sunday, Pastor Eric was teaching with an emphasis on living a 'new' life, in Christ, not just a 'changed' life. How we shouldn't be happy with just being a 'changed' person but strive to becoming a 'new' person in the love and blood of Jesus. How we shouldn't be gossipers or throw stones or be a hypocrite--because even though we think that we are hiding all of our secret bad habits--and we all have some--the Lord and the world sees them all. They're not hidden at all.

And then this happens. We all could be gossiping about who could or could not have done it. We could be full of anger or even hate, at who did this. But, as the old saying goes, "What would Jesus do?" He would love the offender. It is not up to us to judge. It is up to us to pray, as our church has been doing--for the soul and life of the person or persons who did this. Satan can try to have his day with us, but in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is again, not victorious. Our church family has once again, arise to the occasion, with forgiveness and prayer.

So, take a lesson in this. When someone has wronged you, don't attack wrong with wrong--sin with sin. Attack these things with love--God's love. That way you don't fall into the same trap as the offender--you rise above. You can stand proud and look your heavenly Father in the eyes and be confident. Knowing that you weren't a hypocrite---that you did what Jesus would do.

And He could look you straight back and say to you, "Job well done, my child, whom I love." What a moment!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Thank You Card

"Thank you! Everything in me says 'Thank you!' Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
and say it again: 'Thank you!'
Thank you for your love,
thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
you made my life large with strength." Psalm 138:1-3 (The Message)

Did you have to do this? When I was growing up, my mother made my 11 brothers & sisters and I write 'thank you' cards after each birthday, Christmas, graduation--whenever we got something from someone, we had to do this. And from some reason it wasn't fun--it was a chore. Oh, it wasn't that I wasn't grateful. It was just that I didn't like taking the time to write all of them. And it had to be readable. If it wasn't, we would have to write it all over again. To this day, I try to write my 'thank you' cards and have my boys do it too.

What made this psalm jump out at me tonight was that it was such a happy, nice 'thank you' card. The words just seem so joyful--like David really meant what he wrote. It was genuine--from the heart. His mother didn't make him write it, he did it because his soul told him to and he just couldn't not write it.

So often, we ask, implore and beseech our petitions to our Father. We ask and we ask and we ask. But do we remember to thank? He loves our petitions, as He also loves our praises.

Do you remember to thank Him? And a true, genuine, joyful, 'thank you', shouldn't be reserved just for the times that you get what you prayed for. What about those times that you don't get what you asked for? Do you turn away and become a doubting Thomas? Do you pout? Throw a tantrum? Of course not!

There's an old country song sung by Garth Brooks and it's titled,"Thank God for Unanswered Prayers." And it's so true. Sometimes we pray for stuff that may, at the time, seem so right or perfect, but in the big picture of your life, God knows it's not. You don't know, because you can't see that far out--but your Father can. It's called faith.

So please, whether you have an answered or unanswered prayer, write a 'thank you' card on your heart for your Heavenly Father and send it to Him in a prayer. Both He and you will be so blessed!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Faith in Action

"Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" James 2:14 (The Message)

Do you remember the advertisements of used car salesmen? They are usually sleazy, obnoxious people, but apparently they say the right things because out the customer walks, with a new car.

What's their secret? They know the right words to say, even if those words are not true.

That is how it seems sometimes with us Christians. We know the right words to say, but are they really a reflection of our hearts? On one hand, we know that we cannot 'work' our way into Heaven--on the other, doesn't what we do, or don't do, act or don't act--speak volumes to those around us?

Where are you? Are you into the faith talk but no action? Are you in the driving with a 'Proud to be a Christian' bumper sticker on the rear of your car--yet driving 85mph in a 65mph zone, honking your horn if someone slows you down or cutting someone off?

God doesn't want us to be the loud, brass car salesman, talking just to make ourselves feel important. Nor mouthing the words we know we should be saying without any true spirit or heart behind them. Sometimes it is the quiet prayer--the appropriate word spoken gently--the good Samaritan act done anonymously.

He desires us to be true to Him and ourselves. If you don't know what it means exactly to be a Christian, be honest and brave and tell someone that you trust. Then ask that person if they could lead you down that path in a Godly way.

Faith is an action, a verb--not a noun.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Moment

"'Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.'" Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

It's O.K. you know. It's really O.K. to admit you're tired, burned out, disillusioned. It's what you do with it that counts.

We all get that way at some point--even Jesus had to get away from the crowds from time to time. There's times that I just feel the need to get out of the house and stand in the yard and look up at the night sky full of billions and billions of stars and listen to my Father speak to me. I share my deepest fears, frustrations and hurts. I sing my sweetest song of joy, gratitude and contentment. I feel my spirit just fill to the brim with a renewed sense of purpose and peace. I cherish those moments.

Can you imagine when Jesus would go out and just be with His Father. Imagine Him leaving tired and exhausted and coming back positively glowing and completely refreshed.

You think you don't have time--but you do. You think you're too busy--but you're not--not really. What's more important than your spiritual health? A few moments here, a hour there. A walk away from all the distractions. That's all it takes.

It just depends on your criteria of what's important to you. Your Heavenly Father is always ready and waiting for you. He is there--24/7. It's up to you. What are your priorities? He will not come uninvited. Please invite Him to lunch, on a walk, a moment in the laundry room. Anywhere you are--He is.

"Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Worried Hearts

"My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:20 (The Message)

Do you do this? Do you find that you are worried about something, but not quite sure what? Feel a little out of sorts but can't quite put your finger on why? I have.

It seems that ever since our pastor asked us to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit and to bring it into our hearts, I've been struggling.

I've been struggling with this feeling that I'm not sure what to do with. It's like I'm afraid that the fire that came into my heart that day, will go out. I'm not sure how to keep it alive. I want to do so much for the Lord. I yearn to share His unconditional love, graciousness, everlasting peace and sparkling joy with all whom He brings into my path. But I fall short--at least that is what I fear. I feel so unworthy. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to keep trying. Does this make any sense to you?

My God is so awesome and has been so gracious and forgiving of me--I feel the need to give back. But not to focus on me. But to be the "invisible woman" that is just there, supporting others and helping them meet their potential and allowing God to flow through me to help them be what God wants them to be. But I seem to find myself getting in the way.

Are you where I am? Have you been there in the past? How did you resolve it?

I truly hope that you don't mind me sharing this spiritual turmoil. It's just that it is so special when we are going through these kinds of times and the Lord brings just the right scripture to us.

This verse caught me because I especially love the ending, "For God is greater than our worried hearts." And it's so true. God is greater. Our God is greater than worries, insecurities, hang ups and hurts. He does know more about us than we know about ourselves.

What I am reminded by this verse is that God loves me know matter what and He knows my heart and spirit. And as long as I am all right with Him--I should be all right with me. And the same goes with you.

"My dear children, don't just talk about love; practice real love."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Two Wolves

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

There is this old Indian proverb titled "The Two Wolves" and it goes like this:

One evening an old Cherokee told his
grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people.
He said, 'My son, there is an ongoing battle between
two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt,
resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride,
superiority, and ego.

The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence,
empathy, generosity, truth,
compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a
And then he asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied,
'The one you feed.'

Which wolf do you feed?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Power of Love

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT

We are a society of love. Have you noticed that? We crave it. We look for it online. In movies. In books. We have a craving to love and to being loved. Why? Because God designed us that way.

It was out of love that God first created us. It is out of human love that we recreate. That old cliche 'love is what makes the world go round,' is very true at times.

Sometimes though, we--as humans--get the concept of love all distorted. Love, the way it was intended, is a wonderfully powerful emotion. It didn't have strings attached. It wasn't connected to outer beauty. It wasn't depended on what you did and didn't do. Love was love. Pure and simple.

To God, the power of love was greater than speaking in tongues, the gift of prophesy, great wisdom or faith & charity. Love was greater than of all these.

The power of love was so great that it was what made the Lord Jesus come to earth as a baby and as an adult, die on the cross for us to save us from our sins. That is true love.

If the power of love is that important, don't you think we should try it more often? Truly love from the spirit, not from the flesh? If there was more love in the world, there may be a little less sadness, broken-spirits and lonely lives.

Spread the power of love!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Tracks

"The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love."
Psalm 147:11 NLT

There are two words in the above passage that seem conflicting--fear and love.

The writer says that the Lord delights in those who fear Him. Does that mean that He delights in our being terrified of Him? Is he like an abusive father that likes watching his children move about the house in fear of abuse? Certainly not!

Yes, we should fear God. After all, He is God. But the fear of the Lord is out of a reverent respect and honor of our father in heaven. He is awesome beyond description. He is a just God. He does come against the wicked. But He tempers judgment with mercy. He tempered our judgment with mercy at the cross of Christ.

Our father loves us. His love is complete and without prejudice. This is why we can fear and love Him at the same time.

It seems like we make the mistake in one of two warped views of God. He is either a God of judgment just waiting to inflict pain on us. Or the other, which is that He is a kind, toothless old man who is our sugar daddy. Both views are incorrect.

We are to have a reverent fear of the Lord, and complete confidence in His great love for us.

Which track are you riding on?

Friday, February 5, 2010


"For the word of the Lord holds true,
and we can trust everything he does.
He loves whatever is just and good;
the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth." Psalm 33:4-5 NLT

What do you hold true? Is there anyone in your life that you can trust everything they do? It would be nice if you could trust everything that someone was doing--but is it possible? We are human and with humanness, we fail. We fail to the flesh, to peer pressure, to what the world visions as true. We are human and humans are fallible.

But our Lord--He is different. His word we can hold true. With Him, we can trust everything that He does. Why? Because He can't betray Himself. He can't be untrue to Himself. He created us in His image so that we would know what true trust and love is all about. We humans try--we think that we know what true and trustworthy love is all about--but in reality, we don't. Not until you go the extra mile like your heavenly Father did, will you ever truly know.

His love will NEVER fail you. It fills the earth. From the beauty of the rising sun, to the quiet stream deep in the redwoods, to the wind howling on a stormy night--it fills. All of these things and so many more He created to help you remember His unfailing love. From a warm hug given by a special person, a sticky kiss from a two year old, to a smile from a stranger--these are the fillings of God's unfailing love in the earth.

Can you trust in your heavenly Father? Yes you can! No matter what has happened in your past, He is and has always been the one person you can trust completely.

Will you? Will you give Him ALL your trust? Do you want to experience unfailing love in your life? Try Jesus.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Someting Great to Put Your Hope In!

"I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
for the glory of the Lord is very great.
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me."
Psalm 138 NLT

What a great passage! What a great God! To think that God's promises to us are backed by who he is; the Greatest One. His love is unfailing. Think about that. His love is without failure. Many things that we put our hope in fail. Failure is a fact of life. But Jesus' love for us is without the possibility of failure.

He gives us his strength to endure. He has great plans for us, and he works those plans out for us.

Are you facing challenges, crisis, or hopelessness? Remember the Greatest One is for you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT

This past Sunday, our church body did a beautiful thing. Pastor Eric was preaching another one of his God-inspired sermons. It was based on Luke 11:14-28. At the end, he invited all of those who wanted to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to stand. He made sure that we didn't feel as if we were "peer pressured" into standing. It was purely to be a personal, spiritual choice.

Do you know what happened? As if on cue, most--if not all--of us stood up. Then he said to hold out your hands as if you were receiving a gift from someone. So we did. Then he prayed for us and told us that this is what the Holy Spirit is to each and every one of us--a personal gift to us from our Father.

And what do you do with a gift that someone special gives you? Do you just accept it and put it in your pocket? Do you accept it and just throw it under your bed? Do you accept it and put it in a closet?

No. Most likely you would open it and admire it. You would hold it and treat it with respect. You would cherish it.

Don't be scared of the Holy Spirit. It was given to us from our Father as a gift to help us--to help you--in your life journey. It wasn't a gift that God picked randomly. No. He spent great thought and lovingly picked this out especially for you. It is to give you freedom. That is why this verse is so beautiful.

Be unveiled! Be real! Claim your gift of the Holy Spirit and reveal the true power of your faith into your life, your world!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Trust Walk

"I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you." Psalm 143:6-8 NLT

There is a friend and she is going through a very dark time right now. I feel for her. She talks to me and I feel her pain. My heart cries for her. But I have come to the realization that I can't physically help her. She needs to want to help herself.

Oh, that may sound cruel, but while I have prayed to the Lord to have me to say some enlightened word that will just wipe all her sadness away, it hasn't happened. If anything it seems to have deepened the mire. And then I realize, it's not up to me. It's not my job.

Do you know why? This is between her and her Lord. Yes, there is some other people involved in this situation, but basically it is between her and her Father. I can keep her uplifted in prayer but she is the only one that can decide when she is tired of this feeling. She is the only one that can decide that instead of looking down into her mire, to look up into the face of her loving Father. To raise up her arms and have Him lovingly pull her out. Do you see what I mean?

Our Father offers each and everyone of us His unfailing love every morning. And while my first response is to spare her--to snatch her out--it would be wrong. It would be like harvesting a crop before it was fully ripen. Picking a rose before it was completely formed.

God has a plan for all of this. He has a plan for all of our muck and mire. But what He doesn't want is for us to stay in it. We need to desire to come out of it. Because, as you know, we are creatures of habit and even miry situations become quite comfortable at times.

If only she could only get to this place again...

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you."

This is where He is trying to take us, don't you agree? Are you there?