Monday, September 10, 2012


  • "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,  bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."      Ephesians 4:1-3
I’ve always loved the exhortations Paul gives in his letters. I think because I’m a “doer”. If you give me something to “do” I feel like I’m actually making a difference. I think this is a good thing—most of the time, unless of course I’m told to do something that I can’t do. For instance, if I’m called to encourage a hurting friend or host and serve a house full of guests, I’m on it. But, to walk like Jesus, well, not so much. Yes, my desire is there. You could say that I am even willing to do what is commanded of me; but, there are many times when I just can’t. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he is straight-forward and concise. Another thing I love about Paul’s language; there’s no guessing.  But, his expectations are unrealistic—without the power of the Spirit that worketh in me. {...had to throw in a little english with the eth…it just sounds better!}

So, I’m learning to call upon the Spirit of the Lord moment by moment. It’s neccessary. Without Him we can do NO-THING! I’m learning that my humility isn’t so humble, and my gentleness is quite rough around the edges; my patience is a little thin in spots and my “putting up” with others in love, well, not so Christ-like far too often. But, I’m learning. And I’m growing. Because of Jesus.

Then there’s the challenge to maintain the untiy of the Spirit through peace; a long-term course for me. {Let’s just say life-long.} And I’ve always thought this verse meant, “Don’t cause trouble,” “Don’t say anything to make anyone uncomfortable,” or “Always be sweet, non-confrontive, and agreeable”. For certain this is in contrast to how Jesus lived. He wasn’t brutally beaten & crucified on the Cross for being sweet and agreeable.  He came here to testify to the Truth and His radical message of redemption through repentance was raw and cutting, clothed with love, and hope, and compassion. Repent and be saved! Make peace with God.

The peace He spoke of is not what I’ve always understood it to be.

I think the peace that Jesus spoke of is forgiveness.  

What if Ephesians 4:3 read, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace  forgiveness.”

When I think about being forgiven I maintain deep peace. When my husband forgives me for being harsh—I am filled with peace. When my Father in heaven forgives my sins—I drown in the peace of His grace. And when I forgive someone who has hurt me—peace. Just simple yet incomprehensible peace. 

So, I think this: peace with God and others is always about forgiveness.

And this is how to walk like the Prince of Peace: forgive as He has forgiven me. Through the power of God that worketh in me! Praise the LORD!

 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Temptation to not take God at His word has always been Satan's most enticing, yet most destructive, weapon. Since the first Adam walked the earth, the enemy of God was at work. His manipulative tactic of attempting to convince man that he can "be like God" has worked well for the devil and dreadfully continues to. 

In the beginning, when Eve considered the serpent's provoking question, 
"Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?", 
she instantly corrected his error of "understanding". 
"We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 
Eve knew the boundaries God had set. She made it perfectly clear to the serpent, but he pushed further to weaken her and swiftly intercepted her statement--
"You will not certainly die...for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil..." (Rf. Genesis 3:1-9).
And so it was, the fate of man, determined by the will of self in choosing to believe a compromising truth, in order to justify disobedience to God's command.

The Fall of man in the Garden reveals a stark approach to Satan's wicked scheme: teach them first to doubt, secondly, tempt them to disobey, and finally, lead them to deny.
This is certainly a sobering and fatal formula!

But, I also see the catastrophic errors of Eve and her husband, and those frighten me even greater than that of Satan's attacks. Disobedience, unbelief, discontentment, and pride. Each workings of the flesh designed to destroy the relationship between man and God.

In the back of my mind I coolly wonder, "Is this not what they wanted?" After all, they chose to believe sin was a good idea.

My heart shifts to further pleading questions:

Why was Eve near the tree in the first place--the one and only forbidden tree?
Why did she allow the serpent's taunting dialect to weaken her to cave?
Why didn't she flee from the tempter as he insidiously provoked her with lies?

And, what about Adam? He knew God's command and warning with regard to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God was clear-- "Do will die." God was firm-- " must not touch it..." Adam was with his wife when she saw and took, so why didn't he stop her? Did he even try? Or did he concede just to make her happy? Or was he seduced like Eve, by the temptation to have more, and be more?

Or maybe the serpent presented his "suggestion" in such a marvelous way as to blind Eve of what she knew to be true--that God loved her, that God was trustworthy, that He provided for all her needs, that He commanded obedience to His word and tacked on a most severe consequence if disobedience occurred. In other words, "The devil made her do it." (Another lie!)

I try to make sense of my "whys" that led to our first parent's deadly ruin, (being that hindsight is always 20/20), while attempting to fill in the blanks in order to feel a little bit better about their wrong choice, (uhhum, sin.)
But, I can't, and I shouldn't. The Bible makes no concession for these details. Therefore, they are not the focus of the story.

What we must be awakened to again is what the Bible does reveal: Satan is a liar, and his craftiness in undermining God's word as to make it unclear or unreasonable was and still is widely used.   And we must recognize who's really accountable when the seriousness of God's Word is not taken seriously--the only one who hears it.

Jesus Christ is the Word. Look upon Him and live. Look long enough upon the tempting idols and sooner or later, we will become discontent with what God has given us, prideful to think we deserve better, and willful to justify compromising our Lord's commands which most assuredly will cultivate disobedience. Disobedience to God separates us from God. 

That should be enough.

"Show me Your ways, Lord,
    teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long."
 Psalm 25:4-5  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Holy Surrender

"If you love Me, obey Me."   

Are our prayers and petitions to God ever substitutes for our obedience? 

Take a minute to ponder the question. 

Do our prayers reflect your conduct? 

It is true that actions speak louder than words. 

Do we live in the flesh of willfulness or in the spirit of willingness? 

These are straight to the heart examinations if we allow them to be. And even if our conscience testifies to our innocence, our ignorance can no more testify as sinless than an infant who knows no better.

Frankly, it's easy to know the difference between my own will and God's, whether my will matches up with His will; our Father in heaven is not slow to provide all that we need to know and achieve righteousness.

Has He not given us His Word? His Spirit of Truth? 

[These] are power to know and to do His will. The power to overcome worldly temptations, the devil's schemes, even our own sinful nature that so easily ensnares us. The Word and the Spirit are divine and invaluable gifts.  

Do we always revere them as such?  

Or do we take for granted the "God is in charge" thrown-around-all-too-loosely slogan so to deceive ourselves that we have little to no responsibility in our relationship with Him & His commands? Is it too easy to rest in the truth that because Jesus died for our sin, past, present and future, that we sometimes forget our responsibility to submit to God and resist the enemy so that we can freely believe and obey His sacred commands and promises today?  

If we as Christians aren't actively seeking God's counsel & power through Jesus Christ to do His will, to sin less, to overcome the wretched old man, then I wonder,  

what's the point? 

Are we not, at times, the answer to our own prayers for God to move, to bless, to encourage, to change our own hearts, to be rid of habitual sin, to help keep another from sinning, to help ourselves be better at one holy habit or two...?  

I think so.  

All praises and thanksgiving belong to God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ, who meets all our needs to attain godliness, to walk in victory, to overcome. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

Because He loves us He does not answer our prayers in the way we selfishly desire. And many times we simply do not recognize that our prayers reek of self.  If we pray not in Spirit and in Truth, according to His will, are we not deceiving ourselves?

We must ask the Spirit to teach us to pray aright. 

And then we must act. We must pray. 

God's ways are perfect. 
His Word is perfect.

Do you, like me, quickly forget what your eyes have read or your ears have heard? I am even so easily deceived by my own understanding.  So how can I, we love God unto obedience?
My earnest prayer is for the Lord to teach us how to love and trust Him with all of our hearts, all of our  strength, all of our souls, all areas of our lives. We desperately need Jesus' help to do this.

We must accept and believe that His love for us is better than anything in this life.  His Word says so.

Read how David speaks of our God in the 63rd Psalm:

O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You;
     my soul thirsts for You;
my flesh faints for You,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
 So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary,
    beholding Your power and glory.

Because Your steadfast love is better than life,

    my lips will praise You.
 So I will bless You as long as I live;
    in Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,
 when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night;
 for You have been my help,
    and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.
 My soul clings to You;
     Your right hand upholds me.

May we delight in the Lord as David did, to do His will and fight the temptations to ignore what He's already revealed. Whether through the Holy Scriptures or through the Voice of Truth, our beloved Holy Spirit, may we abide in Him through a willing obedience and deep gratitude to walk in His ways, to receive with joyful expectation the love of God that satisfies, exceeding all things.   

To walk in a shabby substitute is not only dreadful, it is deeply disappointing and destructive for the child of God. 

Trust me, I know.  

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:12-17


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

it's simpler than we think.

How easy it is to lose focus.
As Christian women we must discipline ourselves to be about our Father's business. Have we forgotten what that is? Sadly, it appears to be for many women in the modern church, playing "dress-up" while leaning closer to self-fulfillment rather than God's, has become big business. In many circles the focus has shifted from living a gospel-driven life to a business-driven life. I understand and agree wholeheartedly that women in the church are to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion, are to be well trained, able to teach, available to meet the needs of the needy, and so on... But, I am certain that as Christian women, more often than I think we'd care to admit, are distracted from our real purpose; to glorify God. I am taking a huge risk in making this statement for fear I will be misunderstood, but if we are honest with ourselves it is evident that our culture, even Christian culture, feeds the notion (consciously or unconsciously), that we as women must prove ourselves worthy in some area or another. This inevitably spawns a drive to do more than we are called, ignore "the call" because it isn't satifying, compete with one another, pick and choose who and what is worth investing our time in according to self interests, plus other unrighteous motives that creep in unwittingly. This self-focus is an epidemic today. Even in the kingdom {Matthew 20:20-23}; I being the greatest of offenders.

 Its time to remember that the Gospel is for the sinner--today. Everyday. I sin everyday. Yes, the Gospel is for me today.

Its time for me, for us, serving the all-encompassing God, to be content with what He has called us to, and to let go of what He has not. We were created for beauty and we were redeemed for beauty. A particular beauty that exudes gratitude, purity, wisdom and self-control. A holy beauty that stands confidently on, rests quietly in, and waits patiently upon Her Lord.

Forgive me Father, for taking my eyes off of You & Your beauty, Your business. May the meditation of my heart and the words of my lips testify that Jesus alone is enough! May this be the goal of women in the church today: to discipline ourselves in trusting Your words, that all we are and all we need has been fulfilled in Christ. We owe nothing but the debt of love to others. To do this well we must take the time to receive all that You offer us daily--the abundant Life. Show us where we serve selfishly, needlessly, and wastefully so that we may learn to allow You to serve our deepest needs. Then and only then are we, as women, equipped to serve one another in love, simply to bring You glory. Amen. 

"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

{photo credit}

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I think a lot about God's love

The Bible has much to say about this peculiar love; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, probably the most well-known, most quoted passage about God's love speaks of a perfect love. More than one verse says, "God is love". In fact, the entire Book is about God's love for us. The more I grow to know God and the more I discover His love for me, I see this to be true: God's love is not a thing or verb, but a Person. The world understands love to be a profoundly deep feeling of attachment in our souls, a warm, heart-felt emotion, a compelling act of selflessness, a passionate desire or affection toward another. The world sees love as an emotion felt or acted upon, yet I am beginning to understand that the way we love is only a shadow, a reflection of what love truly is: God. 

This morning I awoke early, eyes still adjusting to the newness of day. I see God all around me. I see love. The precious husband He has given me, in peace he sleeps in the quiet beauty of heaven's rest. My daughters, tucked in the love of His comfort, still snuggling warm, soaking in the final moments of last night's "sweet dreams". The house is still, a place of contentment and calm built by the Father's hands, not yet embracing His faithful dawn. First rays sprinkle Grace on the cool tile floor, gently warming darkness away. The light and warmth of sunrise beams, just a picture of the Light of the world whose Omnipresence floods every dark corner of our hearts and home. 

I drank down the last bit of delicious vanilla coffee strong, tied on running shoes secure and headed out into the cool morning, looking forward to one of my favorite things to do with God. Ear buds plugged in tight, I began a run I will never forget. As I passed fresh rose blooms and dewy wet lawns, magnolias bursting big white and clouds even more, my mind was brought around to the thought of God's love over us, the newness of His mercies and loving kindness each and every day. O the joy of a run in the presence of love. 
I found myself wondering what others thought of God's love, not just the saints and prophets of old, but the saints of today, those living in His love today. I immediately slowed my jog to put the question out to more than 50 people: 

Please reply with one word: "What is God's love?"

{If iPhone is for anything it's for texting thought-provoking questions...}

Before I began to pick up my pace again, text responses came in one after another...ding...ding...ding...ding... and within the first 30 minutes of sending out my question over 40 responses packed my message box! Excitement flooded my heart! I couldn't help but slow my jog to a consumed walk the rest of the way home. With worshipful melodies of Hillsong praising the SAVIOUR in my ears, my eyes blurred with tears as I read each beautiful response taking in the weight of it's meaning, each and every word, over forty, one following the other, describing the love of the Infinite, Sovereign, and Everlasting Creator of all, the Precious, Forgiving, Merciful Savior of the world, the Unfailing, All-consuming, Never-ending, Long-suffering, Unconditional love of the Lover of our souls, I knew more than ever, God's love is alive!

God's love is Life, 
God's love is Constant, 
God's love is Freedom, 
God's love is Just, 
God's love is Grace, 
God's love is Truth,
God's love is Discipline--for the Father's disciplines those whom He loves, 
God's love is Peace,
God's love is Hope and Honor and Holy, 
He is our Anchor, 
He is our Sacrificial Lamb, 
He is a Consuming fire, 
He is Eternal. 

God's love is alive! 
God's love has but one name that encompasses all: JESUS!  

In that place and time God revealed Himself to me in such an overwhelming way. I was undone! 

Who can understand it? Who can explain it? Who can fathom the depths of this great love, a love so radical, so undeserving, so pure?

Only those who come humbly to the foot of the Cross and receive it.

"and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

The love of God is alive! 

His Name is Jesus Christ!

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. And we have known and believed that love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:7,16 
{From a heart of deep gratitude to all who inspired me to put God's love into words; a gift that impacted me in a way I had never ever expected, thank you! May you know the greatest love in a deeper way today!}

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I just love what God thinks of me. 

He is enthralled by my beauty! 

Because of this I can trust that no matter where He leads or calls me to do He sees me as beautiful. 

By His favor I am a wife and a mother. 

Through His Spirit I am given strength to raise my family up in His ways. 
From persevering in endless prayer, endless virtues defined, 
to laboring in dirty dishwater and through long carpool lines. 

This is beautiful to Him. 

Through His Son, Jesus, I am able to practice and teach forgiveness because I have been forgiven much. 

This is beautiful to Him.

Through His Word I am able to learn what it is to 
build my home on wisdom, 

to be strengthened by heaven's hope to endure in love, 
and to be stilled by His Divine peace resting assured that 
I am deeply loved. 

And this is beautiful to Him.

"The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him for he is your lord."
Psalm 45:11

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Broken and Alive

There are many Bible verses I recite often in the quiet of my heart. They are power-filled words I have taken ownership of to guide my daily life. Different verses for different reasons. The Holy Spirit continues to be faithful in encouraging and comforting me by bringing to my mind the Word of God; a light unto my feet. 
I call them my "life" verses.

Psalm 46:10James 1:2-4, James 4:7, and Nehemiah 8:10 are just a few muscle-packed verses that speak holy strength, wisdom and peace to my soul. 

And, then there's Psalm 139:23-24.

I don't recall how long ago the Holy Spirit planted in my heart the passage written by the man after God's own heart, however, I will say it continues to be one of the Spirit's favorite choices for me. 

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."

I've prayed the Psalmist's words so often I must admit, at times, they have been rattled off in bland habit. 

Just recently, during devotion and quiet time with the Lord, I was met with one of my "life" verses; Psalm 139:23-24, as God would have it. Delivered by His faithful Spirit, I was compelled to think intently on the familiar expression. With deep earnest I wrote out David's words and made them my prayer to my Lord.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my ways; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

That very day God answered. And He answered me again the next day and the next day and the next. And today He is still answering me.

"...and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

It is humbling to be corrected by another person. However, I find it quite different when it is God speaking correction straight to my heart. Still yet, it's a whole other story when both take place simultaneously. Talk about brokenness.Talk about love. Because of His great mercy and love, my Father in heaven, opened my ears to take notice. And by His steadfast grace I am moved to repentance. 

Victory for the Lord. 
Victory for me. 
Victory over sin. 
Sin in me.

Holy brokenness.

This is grace.

It is interesting to know that the Hebrew translation for the word "wicked" in verse 24 means the image of an idol.

In reflection, I realize what God has been doing, revealing to me what He sees in my heart--images of idols. My selfish motives, ego-driven thoughts and "good" works that I have prepared for myself, all the while half-heartly walking in the good works He has chosen for me in Jesus. O how easy it is to get off track, to move into what I want and what I think is best while self deception and clever disguises ignore what God wants and has prepared beforehand for me to walk in.

I am His. 
And I desperately need His grace in this life.
And I am deeply grateful for His love that covers, His Spirit that leads and His Word that gives life to my life.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
          Ephesians 2:10 

photo credit

Saturday, March 31, 2012

d-i-y Easter Banner

There's Always a Reason to Celebrate!

I'd been waiting for any good reason to create 
a new celebration banner, and Springtime, 
specifically Easter, afforded the perfect occasion! 
I typically don't do much decorating this time of year, 
especially since the true meaning of Easter seems 
to have lost its place in the retail stores. 
There isn't much celebration inventory out there 
proclaiming the Easter message of hope for our world: 
the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.  
So, I went to work. 
With random scraps I already had, 
lots of hot glue and a few craft tools, 
I was able to create this sweet expression of joy 
in celebration of our Risen King.

Provided below are simple steps that will 
help you create your own celebration banner. 


Here's what you need:

8 pieces chipboard approx. 5"x7"  {I found some precut at Michael's}
 Decorative card stock {use any color combinations you like}
Press-out chipboard letters {I used Jim Holts idea-ology}
Fabric remnants
Paper cutter
Jute twine
Black permanent marker
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Hole puncher
2 dried flowers {any kind looks beautiful}
Acrylic paints {I used dark brown, terra cotta & cream}
Paint brush or sponge



After I gathered all the things I wanted to use, 
I popped out the appropriate letters h-e-i-s-r-i-s-e-n.
I then chose the card stock for matting behind the letters and cut (8) 4"x 6" pieces.


Each letter was colored with a black marker.


I painted the chipboard pieces to give them a richer look with watered down paint wash; 
this dries quite fast.

Then began the hot glueing. 

First, the card stock was glued to the chipboard.
Second, I layered a smaller square of remanent fabric; this was an after thought--
I really like the organic feel and depth it gives.
Thirdly, I glued the letter on top. 

{For the word "is" I layered a bright orange strip of card stock 
before the fabric for a punch of color and to distinguish the separation of words.}


Finally, I added a dried flower to each outer corner of the first and last letter of the banner.



This is such an easy, inexpensive, and delightful way to share a message out loud; 

And, what better message than the Resurrection Message!

"But God raised Him from the dead, 
freeing Him from the agony of death, 
because it was impossible for death 
to keep its hold on Him."
ACTS 2:24

"I am the Living One; 
I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! 
And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

{All items and tools can be found at a craft store such as Michael's or Tall Mouse
Don't be shy to look through what you already have (like I did). 
Since this is a d-i-y project, you can use different materials in place of what I used;
 ie: ribbon instead of twine, stencil letters instead of press-out letters, etc. 
Have fun & create "your own style" banner!}