Monday, November 26, 2012

Priorities in the Journey

We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:2b

I enjoy planning trips. I check out where I am going on an atlas, often using MapQuest to gauge how long it will take to get to where I want to go. The magi started out on a journey unsure of their exact destination, but they had heavenly directions- a star to follow. They understood that this star was no ordinary star, but one that would lead them to someone special. Their journey begins with the star and ends directly underneath the star (Matthew 2:9).

The magi had their priorities in the right place- to journey as long as it took to carry gifts to the new king, to worship Him. They sought the king and worshiped Him, the highest priority a man should pursue. They also illustrate faith in the journey. They did not know where they would arrive but had faith that by following the star they would find the king. The wise men humbled themselves and paid tribute to the Christ child! these were not token presents; they were extremely precious and rare. These gifts illustrated the depth of their love and devotion. God received the very best that they could offer.

Matthew Henry writes “Those who live at the greatest distance from the means of grace often use most diligence, and learn to know the most of Christ and his salvation. But no curious arts, or mere human learning, can direct men unto him. We must learn of Christ by attending to the word of God, as a light that shineth in a dark place, and by seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit”.

Where do your priorities lie today? Where do mine? It is never too late to journey in the right direction, to get your priorities right. Confess to the Father (1 John 1:9), spend time in the word, and worship the King. The greatest gift you can give to Jesus is your life. The greatest journey you can ever take is the one following Him. Why not go on the journey? We are assured that “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (I Chronicles 28:9). There is no better Christmas gift than that of salvation.

Digging deeper: Jeremiah 30:9; Psalm 48:14; Psalm 8:3-4; Numbers 24:17: Isaiah 60:3

Friday, July 6, 2012

Doing My Job

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40 (NIV)

I was headed to the grocery store with my daughter, when she received a text from her husband. As she was driving, she asked me to respond to it. Problem was, her phone was an iPhone and very different from mine and I did not know how to use it. My daughter started laughing and said if one of the kids were here, they could do it. So very true! My not-quite-three year old granddaughter can get around that phone like it is nothing. I was chagrined to have this really brought to light, yet it was my fault. See, my husband had an iPhone and I could have easily learned to use it, but I just did not want to. Hubris stopped me from being a help. In not learning something that would have only taken a few minutes, I was unable to do “my job” and help my daughter.

 Luke 19: 37-40 tells of Jesus was approaching Jerusalem and a crowd of disciples were praising God for the miracles they had witnessed. The so-called righteous Pharisees were objecting to their praises and had asked Jesus to rebuke them. The Pharisees wanted to silence the praises of Christ. Jesus, in answer, told the Pharisees that His praises, God’s praises will be sung, if not by man then by the rocks of creation.

I don’t know about you, but when I am given a job to do, I want to do it to the best of my abilities. I do not like it given to someone else because of a lack in me to do the job. It was humbling enough to have a not-quite three year old able to do my job, but to have rocks, inanimate objects do my job- well, that is beyond insulting. However, I must ask myself, am I truly praising God? Or am I just giving Him lip service so that rocks must do my job? How about you, are rocks doing your job too?

Digging Deeper: Habakkuk 2:11; Joshua 24:11; Matthew 6:21

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where Is Your Focus

Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”

Breakfast, back packs, lunches, permission slips, finished homework, special snack for after school, meetings, seminar notes, commute, dry cleaning, milk- just a running list of things to do and items to get, take, etc.. runs through my mind like a fast moving train as I try to get out the door in the morning. Life is busy.  It is filled to the brim of people to care for, things to do, and places to go.  It is difficult in the deluge of life to keep my focus where it should be.  

Most humans are not content to take one step at a time.  We want to take several and we want to know where the steps are leading, how many we need to get there.  The journey for us as Christians has many steps, twists and turns.  Too many times we become focused on the journey instead of the one leading the way. 

The journey entails learning to trust, to ignore the distractions of life and focus on God.  Frequently we start out on the journey gung-ho, full of energy and drive.  Then, the journey becomes tiring, requires some effort, takes time, and often is not easy. The conditions of the journey no longer appear as inviting as when we first started out. So, put little effort into it or quit. Ecclesiastes 11:4 tells us that “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done”.

Proverbs 24:16 tells us that “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” God does not reject us in our weakness; rather He is there to carry us, to help us, and to love us.  Philippians 1:6 says “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” So dear one, continue the journey, though it may be hard for God is at work in you, He will work out His plan for you.  The journey may be long, but the final destination is worth it all. So, focus on the One leading the way.

The song by Helen Lemmel says:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
  In the light of His glory and grace.”

Digging deeper: Psalms 62:8; Isaiah 40:11; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 6:33-34; Hebrews 12:1-3; Psalm 138:8; Psalm 37:3; Philippians 4:8

Friday, May 18, 2012

Faith Filled Friday

From the Message Bible: "That clinches it- help's coming, an answer's on the way, everything's going to work out." Psalm 20:5

Believing it, claiming it today. How about you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seasoned with Salt

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 I love the taste of salt. I like salty foods and often pour more salt on foods already seasoned with salt (like crackers). Salt makes food palatable for me. To be without salt, is to have bland food. It can be eaten, but it is not very enjoyable. Leviticus 2:13 says “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings”.

 In offering my sacrifices to Christ to be of any meaning, they must be salted. This requires them to be flavorful and of virtue. The same must be of my words. Matthew Henry writes “Though it be not always of grace, it must always be with grace. Though our discourse be of that which is common, yet it must be in a Christian manner. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, and keeps it from corrupting. It is not enough to answer what is asked, unless we answer aright also.”

Jesus tells us in Mark 9:50 "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other." Like salt is good for seasoning foods, we must be seasoned with grace. This means that love, forgiveness, gentleness, a servant-spirit towards others, and patience, along with faith and hope should be our makeup and come through in our conversations. To do this, spend time in the word and with the Father. Ask for His seasoning.

 Digging deeper: Ezekiel 43:24; Matthew 5:13, 12:35; Job 6:6; Ephesians 4:29; I Peter 3:15

Friday, May 11, 2012

Faith Filled Friday

The other day on Facebook, someone posted an encouraging scripture verse for a friend. Only God knew that I also needed to read that verse and claim it. Sometimes this journey that I am on is very discouraging, tiring and leaves me to question whether or not to press on to the finish line. Right now has been a time of questioning, stressing about the next few months rather than leaving it in the Father's hands. Like me, perhaps you too, need to hear this verse: "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded" 2 Chronicles 15:7

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Invitation to Dine

“God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on the guest list?” Psalm 15:1 (MSG)

I am not a huge fan of eating at people’s homes. The reason is simple; I am a picky eater and rarely is fixed anything I like. I do not want to hurt my host’s feelings after they have gone to so much work by not eating what is fixed, but…. Sometimes I can get away with it if my husband is with me; by covertly placing “whatever” on his plate (he is definitely not as selective as me). But, he is not always able to be with me. Sometimes the host really knows me and fixes me something special and invites me to dine with them. What joy to participate and to truly be invited to dine.

I love to be invited. Who doesn’t? A Nazarene pastor, Charles Widmeyer wrote a song and the first verse and refrain so eloquently invite us to the Lord’s table:

Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God are fed
He invites his chosen people come and dine
With his manna he doth feed and supplies our every need
Oh tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time.

Come and dine the Master calleth come and dine
You may feast at Jesus table all the time
He who fed the multitude turned the water into wine
To the hungry calleth now come and dine.

“And Jesus said to them ‘Come and dine’” (John 21:1a). We are invited to come and dine at the banquet table, a meal of which we cannot even conceive of the bounty and goodness waiting for us. How hungry are you today? We can be fed by the Master. Revelations 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.” Just open the door and be fed.

Digging deeper: John 10:9; Luke 14:15-24

Monday, March 12, 2012


“People thought evil, imagined evil- evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart.” Genesis 6:5b-6 (MSG)

Growing my vocabulary has been a continual part of my educational endeavor. When I come across a new word, not a neologism, I write the word with the definition on an index card that I review until the word is embedded in mind. A few weeks ago, a new word that I encountered was onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is defined as “word that imitates the sound it represents”. A few examples are zip, gush, drip, splash, and kerplunk.

As I was pondering onomatopoeia and its meaning, I thought of the word sin. Sin is like it sounds; dirty, nasty, ugly and yet, none of these adjectives nor the true meaning of sin can really be defined and sound like it truly is. Sin breaks the heart of God. Its cost is more than we can pay, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The cost of sin is Grace: God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Grace- it sounds like something that cannot be purchased, something hard to truly grasp, a beauty in it that defies description. God is grace, of grace and grace comes only through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). I do not really think grace sounds like what it is, for true grace cannot be heard; only known.

Does sin make your ears hurt? Do you know grace? You can. I John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” From evil to forgiven, from experiencing sin to experience grace has been paid for us by Christ; all we need to do is to be truly repentant and then accept what is freely given (Romans 3:24). What word do you want your life to sound like today?

Digging deeper: Isaiah 63:9-10; Ephesians 4:30; Psalm 11:5, 7: Micah 7:18-19; Titus 2:11; Ephesians 1:7

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


“Be strong and finish the task” Zachariah 8:9a

"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I Chronicles 28:20a

When I was growing up with three older brothers, one brother in particular seemed to always leave the bathroom a mess. For some reason, I seemed to be the one who always followed him in using that room and I would clean it up as it drove me nuts. The rest of the family always seemed to wait to use the room until after I was done.

I miss our daughter living at home, for many reasons, but one reason oft comes to mind. When she was bored, she cleaned, deep cleaned, and she was bored often. Rarely through her teen years did I ever have to do much cleaning.

My husband has determined that our marriage has endured because of the fairies, his fairies. As long as he does not mention them very often (they are a little temperamental- too much talk about them and they tend to disappear for a while), but acknowledges that they are beneficial to him, they quietly go about their way making his life a little bit easier. Now for me, these fairies have very rarely done much of anything.

There are definite times that I would love to have his fairies, but really, what I would prefer is to have some different fairies. For the next eight months, I would like a work fairy; one that would go to my job and work so that I could stay home and use that time to concentrate on my dissertation. Another useful fairy would be a menu fairy; this job includes creating menus every two weeks and see that the necessary ingredients are in the cabinets to make the selected dishes. One other fairy I would like is one who saw to the vehicle needs, such as gassing the vehicle up, washing and vacuuming it regularly, and seeing to its many needs (such as oil changes, new battery, brake work, and such).

However, as much as I would like these different fairies, I am thankful that I am able to do most of these jobs. As I watch other folks struggle with some of these things, my heart is grateful for all I have and can do. I am employed and my job is interesting; I work with terrific folk. I have a cupboard and refrigerator full of food for which it only takes me a little effort to put together different meals. Plus, I admit to enjoying grocery shopping. Our vehicle may have some issues, but it is running and is so fun to drive (and I do love driving), so putting forth a little effort to enjoy it is so minor is the vast scheme of life.

So, in the absence of fairies, I am giving thanks for what I can do, am able to do, and for what I am given to do. And, I am going to be looking for ways that I can be a fairy for someone else, a way to make someone’s life just a little easier.

Digging deeper: James 2:14; Philippians 2:4; Hebrews 13:16

Monday, February 20, 2012

Count Your Blessings

“O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” Psalm 40:5 (NIV)

The old favored hymn refrain, Count Your Blessings, by Johnson Oatman goes
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

Have you ever tried to count the many blessings you have received in your life? For me, the list is never-ending. I am blessed. Blessed means fortunate, favored; it does not mean that everything in my life is perfect, nor am I perfect. Life has not been and is not a smooth road without potholes and in need of major repairs. Yet, I am so blessed.

Sometimes the blessings are so hard to see. It oft seems that what I pray for, what I think I want or need is ignored by God. Does He not want me to pay my bills? For good health of loved ones? Endurance to continue the journey He has set before us? To paraphrase Laura Story, sometimes the blessing comes in the absence of what I am praying for.

Blessings are not earned; they are given. Malachi 3:10b says that the Lord will (has and is) “open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in!” (NIV). He has surely done just that! How can I not declare His praises, give Him the glory. “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for unfailing love and faithfulness” Psalm 115:1 (NIV).

Today, I am counting my blessings and giving Him the praise. You are one of those blessings.

Digging further: Psalm 13:6; Psalm 10:6; Ephesians 1:3

Friday, February 10, 2012

Making a Difference

“And on some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22 KJV)

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.Approaching the boy, he asked, "What are you doing?"
The youth replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back they'll die."
"Son," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?You can't make a difference!"

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, "I made a difference to that one."
- attributed to Loren Eisley

The problems of poverty, sweatshops, child labor, human trafficking, illness, and heartache are overwhelming. They are overwhelming in scope, in complexity, and in emotion. All across the world, even in our own neighborhoods, under our city bridges, and in the alleyways people are in need of someone to reach out to them. When we see such need are we moved to compassion? “And when He saw the multitudes, He was moved to compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36a)

What would our world be like if Christians got serious about being a servant, about showing compassion towards others? Making a difference to/ for just one? Jesus did more than just being moved to compassion for the multitudes, He took action. He reached out to those in need, both spiritually and physically.

Sometimes all that is needed is for one to take action, to speak a few words of kindness, to give of time, of yourself to make all the difference in a life that joins the kingdom of God instead of turns away. Am I willing to take action, make a difference? Are you? It is about eternity and what we do today makes a difference, both for ourselves and for others.

Philippians 2:4 (NAS) “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

If Not Me, Then Who? A Message From My Heart

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14 (NIV)

There are so many needs in our world today, needs in our country, in our communities. Poverty is rampant, major illness of some sort seems to be touching every family, political unrest hovers in nearly every country. Looking at the vast amount of need can be overwhelming. It is also easy to look at one’s own life and see the need.

How can I help with poverty when I can’t even pay all my bills right now?

How can I help take care of others when my health is an issue right now?

How can I give more time out of my day when my day is so very busy and I don’t get everything done now?

How can I step in and do anything when what I do may just equate to a small drop in a big ocean?

Yet, God is calling us, calling me to do something about those in need, about the biggest need of all- hearing about Him. For that need is what the true need of the world is today. How do you answer “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8a)? For if not you (me), then who?

Today, with faith, believing in Him, I am responding “And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8b). One step, one action at a time so that all may here the greatest message of all: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16).

If not me, then who; if not you, then who? If not for the one who told me, who told you..............

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” Psalm 3:5 NIV

Today is Thesaurus day. I appreciate the thesaurus tool that is built into my “word” program and use it with some frequency. Employing the thesaurus helps with eliminating the overuse of ubiquitous or repetitive words. Many times over, it has assisted with increasing my knowledge and understanding of different words. However, something to keep in mind when availing oneself of the thesaurus is that no two words “mean exactly the same thing and are not directly interchangeable” ( One such example is the word “sustain”. I knew that sustain connoted maintain, nourished, but did not understand that it also means suffer.

How do you answer the question, “what sustains you”? What is your understanding of that word? Is the question asking what maintains you, what nourishes you? Or is it asking about how you suffer? The question is best answered through understanding the context within it is being asked. Suffer, though, means to endure. Thus, asking what sustains you can be equivalent to asking how you are enduring.

Living in a privileged world, I enjoy and utilize the many different translations of the Bible. The different translations provide just a slightly different perspective of the word and often clarify something that is hazy. And yet, each translation still offers the same meaning for the verses. Incredible isn’t it?!

So, I ask, what sustains you? For me, the answer is simple. “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” (Psalm 3:5 NIV). Sustains, supports (GWT), watches over (NLT), preserves, protects, upholds, feeds, aids, assists, bears… and the list of verbs can go on and on. God’s sustain is a peace that transcends understanding, resting on faith through belief.

Praying that today you will fully know the peace that sustains through everything can be yours.

Digging deeper: Psalm 4:8; Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 55:22

Friday, January 13, 2012

Faith Filled Friday

"Blessed are all who take refuge in Him" Psalm 2:12b

When you feel like you are being pulled under, take hold of Him!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reflecting on 2011

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

New Year’s seems to be a time for reflection and resolution. Beth Moore challenged her readers to spend time with the Lord reflecting on 2011 and then characterize it in three words. What an incredible challenge. I am a firm believer in that history has much to teach us if we but take the time to look and ponder on the events that occurred. One of the most important lessons that I have been able to take away from participating in such events is that while the season may not have been wonderful, God has always been good and faithful, extending grace beyond measure.

The three words I would use to characterize 2011 are blessed, challenging, and ordinary-extraordinary:

• Blessed: the birth of Faith Evelynn, being able to spend time with all the grandchildren in April and June along with their parents Sarah and Keith, seeing the love and happiness in that family; spending time with David and enjoying his gift of music; spending time (even though it was short) with my three brothers; spending time with my mother and mother-in-law; making it through two challenging parts of the doctorate program; a safe trip down and back to Dallas for residency; connecting with friends on Facebook; new books to read; connectivity to friends and family far and near through the internet; time with Chris; and our needs were always met. The list could go on and on, because the blessings were abundant;

• Challenging: a year of more month than money; work; schooling; family health issues; loneliness; questioning of the journey and all the cost involved; not living right near everyone; unmet expectations;

• Ordinary-extraordinary: life is what 2011 has been, filled with blessings and challenges, with ups and downs, with disappointments and wonderful surprises. And through it all God has been, is and will be (Hebrews 13:8). You see, while my life is ordinary, I have an extraordinary God who calls me His own and that makes even the usual, the mundane, the average, so much more.

How would you describe 2011? Was it extraordinary? You can make 2012 such a year by becoming a child of God. No, all your problems will not go away; yes, there may still be hard times, but you can experience a peace that underscores it all. Just confess to Him that you want such a year, that you want to be His (I John 1:9) and you too can know that ordinary is so much more. Praying this for you.