Wednesday, January 30, 2008


"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you....." Jeremiah 29:11-13

When God tenderly formed us in our mother's womb, He had a plan. Each life has God's fingerprints upon it. Each of us is a unique creation, fashioned by the Master's hand to accomplish the purpose for which we were designed.

Along the journey we call LIFE, God brings many circumstances to bear upon our life that will chart the course of our direction. IF we are cooperating with Him, He will lead us and show us HIS way. And, even when we are NOT listening, He still has His hand upon us, often pulling us out of messes we have gotten ourselves into or rescuing us from poor decisions and giving us second, third, and fourth chances to get it right.

From the time I was a child, God has been a very real part of my life. How I thank Him for that! Not that I have always done everything He wanted me to. Not by a long shot! the center of my heart has been a desire to please Him, to serve Him and to obey Him.

When I read through the PUROSE DRIVE LIFE by Rick Warren the first time, one of the things that struck me was one of the last chapters entitled SHARING YOUR LIFE MESSAGE. In this chapter Warren writes, "You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into His family." He further stated that those experiences included four specific areas:

* Your Testimony
* Your Life Lessons
* Your Godly Passions
*The Good News of Jesus Christ

He encouraged the reader to think back over their life at the experiences that they had had and see how God had brought them to this particular moment. As I did that, I was suddenly awestruck to see how God had used one experience to build upon another throughout my entire life. Two things stood out....writing and speaking!

Looking back I can see how God has put me in different situations that required me to both write and speak or teach. I had never seen them all together, but as I looked down the corridors of my life I began to see that God was teaching me, molding me, expanding my horizons and stretching me with each new experience. I was amazed at how each experience along this journey had equipped me for the next.

When my "nest" became empty a few years ago, I began to seek the Lord about how He would choose to use me during this last quarter of my life. That was just the time I read Warren’s book. I began to get a vision for writing and speaking. Slowly it seems, God is opening doors and shedding light upon His way for me along this path. Do I know the final destination? No, but I seem to hear Him constantly whisper to me "Just take the next step, Beloved", and so I do.

Now the next step could POSSIBLY be a trip to North Carolina to the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference to be held in June of this year!! Only I will HAVE to have a scholarship to go! The exciting part is that one is being offered by Lysa Terkeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries and I am certainly hoping to win it! Please check out the link under Don’t Miss the Blessing on the side column of this blog to read more about this amazing conference. Not only is this year’s conference for writers and speakers, it is also for BLOGGERS!!! So even if you do not see yourself pursuing a writing or speaking career, God can use you through a blog!

I think one of the reasons I have never seriously pursued a writing career is because it seemed egotistical to me to think that anyone would want to read what I wrote! However, I do recognize that whatever talent or abilities I have are God’s. He has lit this passion in me for a reason and I believe that reason is to glorify Him and to "write His answer". (Habakkkuk 2:2)

In her wonderful devotional for writers, WRITE HIS ANSWER, Marlene Bagnull made a statement that reverberated through my heart and soul "We are literature missionaries! While we me may never go more than a few hundred miles from our homes, our written words can go around the world and make a great difference for all eternity." If one word that I write or one lesson that I teach can bring someone to know the all encompassing love of Jesus Christ then my purpose on this earth will have been fulfilled.

My desire is to write His answer in a way that will please Him and draw others to Him.

Monday, January 28, 2008


"...and put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness..." Ephesians 4:24

My son loves football!! As much as he loves watching it, he loved PLAYING even more! He started playing football when he was just 8 years old and played all the way through high school. His freshman year, his team was undefeated. Man...what a thrill! In high school, because their team was the DRAGONS, they would run through a tunnel and burst onto the field in a cloud of smoke....VERY dramatic!!!! He lived for that moment every week when he would don that #40 jersey and run out on to the field with his team. What wonderful memories!

I thought of that yesterday as our pastor was preaching. No, I wasn't daydreaming. Our pastor is a former football player himself and loves to use football analogies. He talked about putting on his jersey and how his coach reminded them that as a football player for that particular team, they represented their school every day of the week...on and off the field.

I remembered that our son was told the same thing by his coach. Our daughter was a cheerleader, and she was reminded that in or out of uniform, she was a representative of that school so it mattered how she acted all week long.

As believers, we are to PUT ON Jesus Christ each day, just as my son put on his #40 jersey. He was a representative of his high school. We are "ambassadors" for Christ! We may not wear JC on our chest....but we represent Him nonetheless. What does that mean exactly?

Ephesians 4: 26-32 tells us: "put away lying, speak the angry and sin not...don't let the sun go down on your anger and don't give the Devil and opportunity. The thief should steal no more, he must do honest work with his own hands so he will have something to share with those in need. No corrupt talk should ever come out of your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need in order to give grace to those who hear....all bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you along with all wickedness. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you".

Today as you dress for work or for school or for whatever is on your TO DO list today....remember to PUT ON JESUS! You are his ambassador today in the workplace, in the grocery store, in the post office, in the restaurant, in the classroom, in the board room, on the air plane and on the highway. You are his representative. Others will judge HIM by how you act. May we be mindful of that in all we do today.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Election year. I HATE election years. If it were up to me, candidates would have 1 month to campaign and that would be it. Enough already of 2 years of campaigning, backbiting, signs, debates, caucuses....yada, yada, yada!!! I think just such as that is the reason so many people just quit going to the polls altogether. That, and the fact that so many think that their one little vote would not matter. But hear me....YOUR VOTE DOES MATTER!!! ONE person CAN make a difference!

Not only does ONE vote matter, but ONE person can turn the tide. How often do we oppose something and do nothing, thinking that as ONE our opinion could not change a thing? That is probably the norm, rather than the exception. But one little 11 year old girl has proven that theory is pure BUNK!

In 2004 Ella Gunderson went shopping with her 16 year old sister, Robin and her mom. As Robin tried on one pair of jeans after another, little Ella watched and listened. Robin was frustrated because all of the low slung jeans exposed her belly button and were way too tight. The sales clerk tried to help by assuring her that buying them one size smaller so they WOULD be tight was appropriate, because that was the popular "look".

No one even realized that Ella was taking all this in until she showed her mother a letter she had penned to Nordstrom expressing that it seemed unfair to her that an unacceptable style was presented as the only choice available. She very politely told them that she saw girls "walk around with pants that show their bellybutton and underwear" and "even at my age,I know that this is immodest". Ella told the corporation "I'm hoping to get the message across that you can be modest and still be fashionable, cool and comfy."

Her letter made it all the way to Pete Nordstrum, executive vice president of Nordstrum. He then read "With a pair of clothes from your store, I would walk around showing half of my body and not fully dressed it seems. Your clerks suggest there is only one look. If that is true, then girls are supposed to walk around half-naked. I think you should change that look."

Did anyone listen? Yes! Corporate responses assured Ella that she had been heard. A lot more people responded as well in agreement with Ella's plea for more modest attire. Her letter also brought her a platform on which to take her stand. She was featured on CNN and NBC's Today Show.

Ella is a quiet young lady and this publicity was NOT what she was seeking. It was really outside her comfort zone. But, according to her mother, she had a relationship with Jesus Christ and a prayer life of her own. So when God presented her with an opportunity to speak out, she obeyed Him.

One little girl. One voice. Yet when God commanded, she obeyed and a giant corporation listened. What is God is asking YOU to do today? Are you willing to be obedient like Ella?
"And a little child shall lead them..." Is 11:6

Friday, January 25, 2008


Just a few short days ago, I wrote about the new year, wondering what it would bring. We are now 25 days into this new year and in just the last week I've heard about the following:

A young missionary couple returned to the States due to unrest in Ethiopia, but the husband/father had to return briefly to tend to some business there. While he was gone, his wife and 2 children, ages 6 months and 4 years, were in a car accident. The mother was killed, but thankfully the children are OK. However, the husband was unable to be reached. He did not receive the news until he landed at the airport in Memphis Wednesday night.

Two neighbors were out for a walk through their neighborhood. Suddenly one of them began to complain that she had a severe headache. Then she went into seizure. She has been hospitalized and is waiting for results.

The widowed aunt of a good friend was honored with a huge birthday party on Sunday, celebrating her 80th birthday. Over 100 friends and family gathered to honor this former Rockette and she had a ball!! Today she is in ICU with severe pneumonia. Having just gone through multiple heart bypass surgery a few months ago, this is extremely serious.

For each of these, one minute everything was fine; the next their world has turned upside down. These are life's "interruptions". We are never prepared for them, yet they come to each of us at one time or another. Jesus told us they would. " These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

But how does one get through such horrible tragedies? When I think of that poor young husband and father returning to the airport to learn that his bride was no longer alive, it just breaks my heart. He had no idea when he kissed her goodbye and boarded that plane for Ethiopia that he would never see her alive again. If anything, he was probably in greater danger returning to Ethiopia than she was here at home, or so it seemed. takes turns and twists that we are not expecting. Then what?

First of all, knowing that this young man is a believer is paramount. He will find comfort first and foremost in Jesus Christ. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He has given us the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and He will hold this young man in the palm of His hand. He will experience "treasures of darkness" he had never known and would not have known had he not had to walk through this dark valley. (Isaiah 45: 3)

Second, he has the love of his family and friends. They will surround him and be there for him, I'm sure.

Finally, he has his church family. They have already demonstrated their love by meeting him at the airport and breaking the news to him. He has a family in them who will love him, support him, encourage him and seek to meet the needs that he will have in the days to come.

What do people do without a church family? I believe that is one of the reasons God established the church so that we would have a "family" of believers who God would use to minister to us in time of need. I have been the recipient of that love many times and wondered then as I do now, how do people make it without that family?!

Some often argue that they don't need church, that they can commune with God anywhere. That is true. You CAN commune with God anywhere. Others argue that they can listen to good sermons on TV or the radio. That is also true. Some of the best preachers around can be heard on TV and one can learn a lot from them. But sitting alone in the woods or in front of the TV does not unite one to a "family".

God knew that we would need that family and that they would need us. He gave each of us gifts to use within that family to help it function and thrive. Some are gifted with the gift of administration. They know how to organize and get everything going. They will be the ones on the phone, organizing the preparation of meals and childcare for this young husband. Others have the gift of mercy. They will be the ones who know just what to say to him, how to comfort him and this young woman's family. They will be the ones to go to the hospital to visit those who are critically ill and minister to their families. Others have the gift of helps. They will know what to do to help these families in practical ways in the days ahead.

Therefore, it is crucial that we align ourselves with a Bible believing church. No, you won't find a perfect church. And....if you DID....and you joined it, it would no longer be perfect! But it is still imperative that you find a body of believers that you can become a part of and allow God to use you there. He is not looking for pew warmers. He is not looking for "secret shoppers" to come and critique every aspect of the church and those who are in leadership there. He is looking for a believer who will get heart deep in the ministry of that Body and make themselves available to Him as He uses their particular gift (and EVERY believer has at least ONE!) to build up and encourage the Body.

So if you are not in a church today, I encourage you to find one. Begin to pray now and ask God to direct you to the place where He would have you to serve. If you are in a church, but not actively involved, ask God to show you how you can get involved. You may not like every little thing about it, it's highly unlikely that you ever will; but remember to keep the MAIN THING THE MAIN THING! You are there #1 to worship the Lord, the God of the Universe. With that in mind, everything else should pale in comparison. And, you are there to be part of a whole, so get involved...plug in....get connected. Some day in the near future someone in that body is going to need you and you are going to need them! Life's interruptions guarantee it!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Being Changed Into His Likeness

by Max Lucado

The reward of Christianity is Christ.

Do you journey to the Grand Canyon for the souvenir T-shirt or the snow globe with the snowflakes that fall when you shake it? No. The reward of the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon. The wide-eyed realization that you are part of something ancient, splendid, powerful, and greater than you.

The cache of Christianity is Christ. Not money in the bank or a car in the garage or a healthy body or a better self-image. Secondary and tertiary fruits perhaps. But the Fort Knox of faith is Christ. Fellowship with him. Walking with him. Pondering him. Exploring him. The heart-stopping reali-zation that in him you are part of something ancient, endless, unstoppable, and unfathomable. And that he, who can dig the Grand Canyon with his pinkie, thinks you’re worth his death on Roman timber. Christ is the reward of Christianity. Why else would Paul make him his supreme desire? “I want to know Christ” (Phil. 3:10).

Do you desire the same? My idea is simple. Let’s look at some places he went and some people he touched. Join me on a quest for his “God-manness.” You may be amazed.

More important, you may be changed. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

As we behold him, we become like him.

I experienced this principle firsthand when an opera singer visited our church. We didn’t know his voice was trained. You couldn’t have known by his corduroy coat and loafers. No tuxedo, cummerbund, or silk tie. His appearance raised no eyebrow, but his voice certainly did. I should know. He was in the pew behind mine.

His vibrato made dentures rattle and rafters shake. He tried to contain himself. But how can a tuba hide in a room of piccolos?

For a moment I was startled. But within a verse, I was inspired. Emboldened by his volume, I lifted mine. Did I sing better? Not even I could hear me. My warbles were lost in his talent. But did I try harder? No doubt. His power brought out the best in me.

Could your world use a little music? If so, invite heaven’s baritone to cut loose. He may look as common as the guy next door, but just wait till you see what he can do. Who knows? A few songs with him might change the way you sing.

The Great House of GodFrom Next Door Savior
Available in Hardback or Paperback
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2003) Max Lucado

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Tom Brady, renowned quarterback of the undefeated New England Patriots, is a superstar by anyone's definition. He will be leading his team as they go up against the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. He is a household name to many.

I'm sure there are many young men who would give anything to be him. After all he has it all...........








Yes, it certainly would appear that Tom has it ALL. But appearances can be deceiving. In a recent interview, Tom himself lamented that he had it all and he SHOULD be of the happiest guys in the world. Yet, he feels there has to be more. He just can't figure out what it is!

Well, Tom, I wish I had your phone number because I could tell you what IT is! It is JESUS! As I heard a woman put it just last week, there is a "GOD HOLE" in each of us and no one and nothing else can fill it but Him! It's like trying to fit a round peg into a square just won't fit!

Tom has tried to fill his GOD HOLE with success, fame, money and all the toys it can buy, popularity, beautiful women, career, and who knows what else. But those things do not fit the hole. Only God can fill that void within him. Only God can fill that void in each of us!

So as Tom takes the field on February 3rd, please be praying for him. Not that he'll win the super bowl, but that he will find something much more precious than a super bowl ring. Pray that he will find JESUS!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008



How would you feel if you opened your INBOX this morning and found a message from God that read "YOUR ACCOUNT [debt] HAS BEEN CANCELLED"? Every sin you have ever committed erased. Every ugly or hateful or vulgar word you ever spoke, deleted. Every immoral thought you ever had, forgotten. How would you feel?

I got that email this morning....not from God, of course, but from a website that I had cancelled. Yet those words just hit me in the face! That is what is written across my life. Not because of my goodness or because of anything I have done. But rather, because of what JESUS has done! He paid a debt He did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay! And across my account in His books are written the words YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. And the wonderful thing is, it is cancelled for all eternity!!!

You see Jesus paid the debt that I could not pay at Calvary when He died on the cross. My sin had sentenced me to death. But Jesus took my place. Though perfect and sinless Himself, He took my place. He died the death, paid the price, that I should have paid. And by believing what He did, putting my faith in Him that the debt IS paid, and receiving the life....eternal life....that He has offered to me, I am FREE!!

Today Jesus offers the same to anyone who will receive what He is offering. There is nothing....hear me.....NOTHING that God won't forgive. He offers this free gift of eternal life to anyone who will accept it. He will cleanse you...wipe your slate clean and write across your account PAID IN FULL.

If you want to know more, contact me by clicking on the COMMENT button below or call 1-800-NEEDHIM.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Our Sunday School class has been studying through a Max Lucado series. Sunday's lesson was the title of today's blog (Thanks, Max!) In his book, Just Like Jesus, Max wrote, "If the heart is a greenhouse and our thoughts are seeds, shouldn't we be careful about what we sow? Shouldn't we be selective about the seeds we allow to come into the greenhouse? Shouldn't there be a sentry at the door? Isn' t guarding the heart a strategic task?"

Continuing the thoughts from Saturday's blog, it SO very important the thoughts that we allow to take root in our minds. As Max says, we must be selective of the seeds we allow in our garden. As we used to tell our kids "Garbage in, garbage out". If we feed on the things which lead to discontentment, bitterness, anger, greed, and a critical spirit, those are the very things we will find ourselves living with.

How do you feed on those things, you ask? Start with what you watch on TV. There is not much healthy fare there any least not on the prime time networks. Either you will be feasting on sitcoms which are filled with sex, homosexuality, ungodly attitudes toward husbands and wives, children and everyone else in general, and are void of any morals whatsoever or you can watch news broadcasts and documentaries such as 48 Hours, 20/20, etc. which are so filled with bad news and alarming stories that you come away filled with fear and anxiety! Now I'm not suggesting that we live with our heads buried in the sand. Yes we need to know what is going on in the world, but we do not need to SATURATE ourselves with it. A little dab will do ya! However, I will not say that everything on TV is bad. Quite the contrary. There is much good on television, too. Cooking shows, shows to teach you how to organize your home, how to decorate, how to prepare your home for sale, how to landscape your yard, how to quilt, sew or paint and much more. There is the history channel which many people love. I enjoy the travel channel from time to time, seeing places in the world that I will probably never travel to. There are lots of old movies that are wonderful! But it is all about being SELECTIVE!

What do you read? Do you read racy romance novels or magazines? Maybe you just like novels or biographies, home improvement or gardening magazines. What you are filling your mind with is very important. If what you are reading is not immoral, it can still be dangerous if it makes you covet what someone else has or makes you discontent with what you have. Or if you are spending so much time reading these that you never have time to read God's word, then there is not a balance. Again, being SELECTIVE is key!

Who do you spend time with? If you find that you are spending time with people who are negative and critical, who never see anything but what is wrong with someone, then maybe you need to find a new group of friends. Negative people, critical people are draining. I once heard a story told by Florence Littaur, Christian author and speaker. She and her son were driving down the expressway. In the center between the two sides was planted a wide stretch of wild flowers. Florence pointed them out to her son with great excitement because of their beauty. Her son quickly pointed out a solitary weed in the center of the expanse of beauty. They rode in silence for a few moments when the son said,

"Mom, why do I do that?"

"Do what?" Florence asked.

"Always see the weeds, when everyone else sees the flowers?"

Some people's personality type is such that they are prone to see the weeds instead of the flowers. But I truly believe that if we ask the Lord to help us see the flowers more often that we see the weeds, He will do that.

We live in a world that is tainted by sin and it will be that way til Jesus comes back. But we do not have to plant weeds. We can plant flowers of joy, goodness, mercy and grace. We can look for the flowers in others, instead of looking for the weeds. Believe me, if you look for the weeds you can find them! None of us are perfect. No matter how hard we try, we will NEVER be perfect this side of Heaven. We are "trophies of God's grace", however, and we should be willing to extend grace to others.

Today I urge you to begin to plant seeds, seeds of beauty and not weeds. Listen to yourself. The next time you find yourself being critical, pointing out all of someone's faults or all the things wrong with your job or your church or your spouse....STOP! Ask yourself what kind of seeds are you sowing. Try instead to see the good, the beautiful, the miraculous things around you. Paul put it this way:

"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatosever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report....focus on these things!" Phil 4: 8.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


"forgetting those things which are behind, [I press forward]..." Phil. 3: 13

The past can haunt us til the day we die IF we choose to let it. All of us have a past....some worse than others. We have all experienced hurt, disappointment, and/or rejection of some form or another at the hands of another in our lifetime. Some have experienced far worse....abuse, torture, murder of a loved one, death, suicide, etc. Yet if we continue to live in the past, we choose to miss the blessings of TODAY! Yes, I know how difficult it is to let it go, but let it go you must. The longer you cling to the hurts or failures of the past, the longer you will be in bondage to your past.

The past can so paralyze you that you are no good for what God has in store for you TODAY. God says "Sufficient for today is the evil thereof!" (Matt. 6:34) One of my favorite quotes says:

Release the regrets of yesterday
Refuse the fears of tomorrow
Receive instead the peace of today

2008 is a new year. What happened in 2007 or 1997 or 1957 is GONE!!!! LET IT GO!!! It is a choice. You can choose to wallow in self pity, hurt, anger, bitterness or regret for the rest of your life, or you can choose to turn your back on those things and press on for all that God has in store for TODAY!! Which will you choose?

You have heard the old saying "The mind is the devil's playground"....Well, this saying is true. You can dwell on things that are hurtful, negative and fearful, allowing Satan to consume you with bitterness, hatred, fear and regret. Or you can focus your mind elsewhere. It is your CHOICE!

When you are alone and have time on your hands, what do you find yourself dwelling on? Are you reliving the past? Are you re-trying all the old hurts or wrongs that have been done to you by another? Are you replaying old arguments in your head? Are you nursing old wounds? Are you beating yourself up for sins that you committed? Are you dwelling on the "what-if's" or "if-onlies"? If you are doing any of these things, you are wasting God's time....TODAY! He has given you THIS day to glorify Him, to share Him with someone else, to bless someone else not to wallow in your past. Satan is doing a number on you and it's time you fought back.

When those old thoughts begin to fill your mind, you must take offensive action. Use them as a tool to turn your thoughts to the Lord. Begin to quote scripture. If you don't know any by heart, then now is the time to commit some to memory. Or write some verses on 3x5 cards and put them where you can see them, keep a few in your purse or wallet, so that you can pull them out anytime, anywhere. Allow those thoughts to immediately send you to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to take those negative thoughts captive. (II Cor. 10: 5b) Substitute praise music for what is going on in your mind. You can't sing praises to the Lord and dwell on the past at the same time!! Soon Satan will learn that trying to take you down that road is NOT going to work. You will find yourself breaking free from the chains of the past that have bound you for so long.

The past is just that....PAST! Today is a new day...a gift to be dedicated to the Lord, to be enjoyed, to be used for Him. Let go today. Do not waste another minute dwelling on the past. IT IS HISTORY!!! Redeem the time...don't waste it! Every second you waste thinking of and dwelling on the past, is a second you could have been focusing on Christ or doing what He has called you to do TODAY.


"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before [ahead], I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ." Phil. 3:13, 14

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


A number of years ago I ran across a devotional by Os Hillman. I subscribed then to his daily devotionals for the workplace, Today God Is First. I cannot tell you how many times God has used these devotionals to speak to me. If you are unfamiliar with Os Hillman, I urge you to go to and sign up for these daily email devotionals. I guarantee you will be blessed! The following is one that speaks volumes:

Blessing Those Who Curse You
Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
..."Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." - 2 Samuel 16:11-12

As David's enemies were increasing and he was fleeing the city from his son who was seeking to take his throne, a man named Shimei began heaving rocks and cursing him as he passed by. Cursing the king was against the law, so David had every right to cut off the man's head -- as his generals were encouraging him to do. Here we see the difference between Saul and David in their response to those who would seek to do them harm. This is the defining difference between a leader who seeks to lead through a vertical dimension with God versus a horizontal fix-it mode. God knew David as a man after His own heart. Yet, David was a murderer, adulterer, and had failed in many areas of his life. But one thing separated this leader from all the rest: He had a heart that sought to please God and be in His will. When David blew it, he repented.

What is the purpose God desires to accomplish with the estranged relationship you may have with someone? Has He brought this affront to find out what is in your heart today? Will you seek revenge and solve the problem yourself? Or will you find the grace to allow God to carry out vengeance in His time if it is needed?
When I learned this lesson to stay vertical with God and avoid the trap of fixing things in my own energies, it was a day of freedom. No longer was it my problem. We must examine our own heart in these matters. But if we are clean, then this affront is for character building. It is the only way God builds the deepest level of character in His saints. A.W. Tozer tells us, "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply." God actually rises up storms of conflict in relationships at times in order to accomplish that deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you willing to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the Kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the Kingdom. You must pass the test first.

Friday, January 4, 2008


A “Dead” Heart
By Tracie Miles

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12 (NIV)


I had been on commitment-overload for the past few months. My obligations of being a wife and mother of three, serving in ministry, and volunteering in the community were starting to take a toll on me. For weeks I had felt discouraged and downtrodden, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.

One morning my brother called, we chatted for a moment and then he wanted to tell me about a dream he had about me the night before. He explained that in his dream, I had somehow passed away, but apparently I was unaware that I was no longer with the living. I walked around smiling and laughing and even attended my own funeral, never once realizing that I was no longer alive. We laughed at such a silly dream (even though I secretly thought it was a little creepy).

I scurried about my chores at home and checked my email that day, all the while trying to put my brother’s disturbing dream out of my mind. Scanned my inbox, I noticed an email from my mother. She had forwarded me a story that had circulated the internet about an 87 year old woman who had decided to go to college.

Due to her vivacious love for life, the woman was asked to give a speech at the end of her first semester. As she concluded her speech, she provided three secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. The last secret caught my attention: Laugh and find humor every day, for there are so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it.

My heart skipped a beat. I read it again, and again. How odd to hear that analogy twice in one morning? Suddenly tears came to my eyes, and I immediately felt the need to go to the Lord in prayer. Now I knew why I felt discouraged lately. Although my body was alive, my heart was temporarily “dead.”

When was the last time I spent any quality time with my Lord? When was the last time I delved into reading God’s word and focused on sincere prayer? Although I had been going through the motions of my every day life, fulfilling all of my obligations and commitments, I felt dead inside. Empty. I had so many blessings, but I had lost the joy of my salvation as I allowed the busyness, frustrations, anger and resentments of life to affect the status of my heart. I thanked God for speaking to me through my family, first in a brother’s dream, then through a mother’s story.

Dear friend, is it possible that your heart is “dead” today? Have you been carrying around a heavy heart and have not understood why? Just as our heart yearns for a loved one who is far away, our soul innately yearns for Christ. If you are feeling empty and burdened, I encourage you to consider what you have been trying to fill your heart with. Have you been searching for joy in your job, your friends, material items, volunteer work, your spouse, etc.?

Those things will never quench the thirst that our soul has for God’s love. Ask Him to revive your heart today and focus on His grace and mercy, or invite Him into your heart for the first time and allow Him to fill that special place in you that is His alone.

Dear Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation and bring back the strength and hope my heart once had. Cleanse my soul with your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Yesterday I talked about starting the New Year with a clean slate. Paul says "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth for those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 3: 13, 14) We must leave the past in the past and PRESS ON!!

Things in our past can so grip and paralyze us that we find it impossible to move on. Yet God wants us to give HIM our past, our present and our future. He is the great I AM. Not I WAS nor I WILL BE...He is the great I AM!! He wants us to live in this very moment, forgetting the past and trusting Him with our future.

Jon Walker puts it eloquently in the following devotional. I hope you will copy this and keep it in a file somewhere for those days when Satan tries to discourage you or drown you in the past. Maybe God will bring someone across your path who needs to hear these words of encouragement also.

God Meant It For Good

by Jon Walker

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result " (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
~~~ ~~~ ~~~

The life of Joseph was anything but peaceful. It was filled with youthful folly, broken dreams, and the mean-spirited actions of others. Yet he remained a man remarkable for his lack of bitterness or regret, always seeing God as the "Great Engineer" behind even the worst of circumstances.

In a final confrontation with his brothers, he graciously noted,"You meant it for bad; God meant it for good."

The theology packed in that statement is astounding. "God meant it for good" means
you can accept the past. No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle or too big to be worked for the good of those who love him and are called according to his name. Just ask Joseph. Better yet, ask his fearful and famished brothers, who were forced to rely on him for survival.

You can embrace the present. There’s no need to play the "what if"game. The past is gone, and no energy you expend will ever change it. The future is in God's omnipotent hands, so you’re free to focus on the present. Your job is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, trusting him to forgive the past and transform the future. Martyred missionary Jim Eliot once wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there… not living in the past and not fantasizing about the future. God wants you in the present because that’s where his grace will flow.

You can look expectantly toward the future. Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Walking in the Spirit, you can live life to the fullest, unafraid of making mistakes and unconcerned you may stumble into some terrible circumstance that takes you out of God's control. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is working out some divine plan through you.

What does this mean?

· No matter how bad things get ,God is still able to bring good out of it. Today, thank God that nothing " no disaster, no delay " is bigger that his ability to turn it into something good and godly.

· Thank God and let go. Thank God that he is sovereign over your past, your present, and your future. Give God the circumstances, disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins from your past. Give God your current situation, your disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins of today. Praise God that he can work anything in your future for godly good, that you can walk in confidence that there is nothing anyone can do to you, or anything you can do that will be beyond the reach of God’s Grace and redemption.

· Look for God’s hand . Walking by faith means you see God’s hand even in the most difficult of circumstances. You trust in his ability and his willingness to transform the bad into godly good. God is not limited by people’s motives. In other words, it does not matter why someone hurt you; God can still transform a deliberate, mean-spirited situation into something for his good.

· What will you allow God to change? There it is: some situation, or event, or person in your life who, as far as you can tell, meant it for bad. How do you think God meant it for good? Ask God what he wants you to do with this situation (event or person). When he answers, do it.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

NOTE: On October 1, I shared a poem I REFUSE TO BE DISCOURAGED. I did not know the author. I have since learned that the author of that poem is Lita Kurtzer, copyright 1991-1992.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


New beginnings. They're wonderful, aren't they? A clean slate...a blank canvas, all waiting to be written upon. That is what the new year is like to me. "Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new." Out with the old and in with the new. No looking back...just looking forward.

Yet as we stand at the precipice of this new cannot help but wonder what the new year will hold ? When we stood at this same spot last year, looking into the face of 2007, none of us had any idea what the New Year would hold for us. As I think back, I've seen lots of good things that have occurred in the past 12 months...none of which anyone saw coming on Jan. 1, 2007:

A good friend found her soul mate, and is now happily married....

Our son-in-love was offered his "dream job" out of the blue and begins today....

Two of our daughter's friends both thought they would never hold a child, now are both new to twins!

God moved upon the heart of a woman at church to begin a Christian Writer's Circle...a REAL blessing to me and to others at our church!

I started this blog!!

All of these are wonderful things that have brought great joy and happiness to me and to those I love. Yet, there were also many things that happened this year that have brought great pain and distress to many, things they never dreamed would come their way.

A cousin's cancer spread to her bones and took her life. Less than a month later, her daughter also died of cancer. A husband and father, mother and grandmother were left devastated and alone, experiencing the pain of double loss.

A friend's mother suffered a fall in February that caused her health to steadily decline and she went to be with the Lord shortly before Thanksgiving. This friend entered a world of caregiving and struggles she had never known as well as slowly watching the life of her precious mother ebb away.

Another friend was out for a morning walk, when struck by a car. Her life was nearly lost, but she miraculously survived, but did lose a leg in the process. Now she is faced with the ordeal of healing and learning to adjust to life with an aritificial limb.

Our son and his wife, married only a few short months, had their house flooded during the Christmas holidays of 2006. They had just barely recovered from that when their home was burglarized in March.

Our son's co-worker fell on the job, severely breaking his leg. The leg has not healed properly, workman's comp refuses to pay for the needed bone graft to promote the healing process. He is left without a job and unable to work while his wife has quit her job to care for him and her mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

None of us knows what the next minute, hour or day holds for us. It may be a HUGE blessing or it may a devastating blow. One thing we can be sure of is this....GOD IS IN IT and He will not leave us or forsake us. He has promised to walk with us through the storms of life, to hold our hands, to never let us down and to never let us go.

Helen Steiner Rice, one of my favorite poets, wrote the following poem. It is one of my favorites. May it be a reminder to us to live THIS day, to rejoice in THIS day, for it is all we have.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow…

Yesterday's dead,
Tomorrow's unborn,
So there's nothing to fear
And nothing to mourn,
For all that is past
And all that has been
Can never return
To be lived once again...
And what lies ahead
Or the things that will be
Are still in GOD'S HANDS
So it is not up to ME
To live in the future
That is God's great unknown
For the past and present
God claims for His own..
So all I need do
Is to live for TODAY
And trust God to show me
THE TRUTH and the WAY..
For it's only the memory
Of things that have been
And expecting tomorrow
To bring trouble again
That fills my today
Which God wants to bless
With uncertain fears
And borrowed distress...
For all I need live for
Is this one little minute,
For life's HERE and NOW
And eternity's in it.

---Helen Steiner Rice