Friday, September 25, 2015


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

In August. I spent a couple weeks with my daughter who'd just had surgery. One day I bundled up the dirty clothes and headed to the laundry in her apartment building. I was welcomed by this sign.

I nodded my head as I read the list:

  • Shapes - good because I'm not sure what shape I am!
  • Sizes  - tall, short, size 2 or 4X
  • Colors - what does the song say? Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.  
  • Languages - They might sound like gibberish to me but He understands them all.
  • Ages - no age discrimination with God, 10 or 110.

But I squirmed a bit at the rest:

  • Sexes - even those who have a distorted view of their sexuality?
  • Beliefs - how about those who belligerently declare that there is no god?
  • Faiths - surely not the ISIS member who'd beheaded Christians!

Certainly God didn't really mean whoever, did He?

Am I willing to hang this sign on the door of my church?

Do I have a list of people who can't be included in whoever?

God whispered to my heart: Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1

God's Son was lifted up on a cross so that He could draw ALL men and women to Himself. (John 12:32)

He doesn't ask us for a list of acceptable   candidates.
He doesn't mark some sins as unpardonable.
He looks through the sin to the agonizing heart.

No stain is so dark that it is beyond His power to cleanse.

He opens his arms to all who turn to Him, brokenhearted and repentant, and He says:

"Welcome. you are home."

Lord, give me your heart.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Papa Bear's Chair

"No servant can serve two masters." Luke 16:13

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to 
serve the living and true God." 1 Thessalonians 1:9 

A friend of mine has a beautiful pond surrounded by lush trees, a little playground for their kids - and now their grandkids, and, my favorite, the 3-bear's chairs. 

I had to get a picture! Which one did I pick? Papa Bear's chair, of course! No one chooses a small chair when they have the best and the biggest.

It looks like I'm seated on a giant throne, doesn't it? All I'm missing is my crown.

My throne. My crown.

Should one called to serve God claim the throne for his own? 

Serve. None of us like that word. We are masters of our own fate. We are captains of our ships. We command our destinies.

I think we miss the meaning of the word serve in these verses. Webster's Dictionary has many meanings. I was surprised how many had to do with waiting on a customer. But, buried deep in the list was the one I think we are looking for:

To give the service and respect due. (to serve God) 

Why do we serve God? How can we not?  

We were slaves to sin and Jesus died to release us from slavery to freedom as God's child. We are filled with a desire to grow closer to Him and to walk with Him in love and obedience.

We serve Him because we love Him.

Master, Idols. Whether we admit it or not, we all have masters. We aren't truly free. We are controlled by what we value. Our actions reveal what we find most important.

I've had lots of masters: money, success, possessions, Facebook, TV...the list goes on and on. As I sat in Papa Bear's chair, laughing, I thought about that often-asked question:

Who is on the throne of your heart?

All the earthly masters I have served have been harsh and demanding. I'm driven to chase them until I am exhausted, never satisfied.

And then I turn from my idols to God. 

  • My Father
  • My Savior
  • My Confidant 
  • My Guide 
  • The Lover of my soul

My heart floods with such love, peace, and gratitude that it is pure joy to follow Him, to serve Him, to obey Him! 

Occasionally, I'm tempted by the Enemy to pursue one of the world's idols but it's not long before the sweetness of God's grace draws me back to Him. 

Lift your hands in praise to your Father! He has set you free from the cruel masters of this world. He has called you His child. 

Serve Him with joyful abandon!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Big-Headed Selfie

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Go ahead. Laugh out loud. This must be the worst selfie of all time.

In August, my closest friend, Joanna, and I spent two weeks in England. We had an amazing time. (Eat your heart out, everyone!) We did all the tourist things, including a visit to King’s College in Cambridge, a 500 year-old building that’s part of Cambridge University. The architecture is amazing and the interior is breathtaking. Can you imagine studying history in a place like that?

Anyway, we wanted to get a picture of the two of us standing in front of a wing of this beautiful building. So we decided we’ve give this selfie thing a try. Neither of us had done it before. Well, I had, with similar disastrous results.

Later, when I looked at this picture, I realized that, sometimes, this is an image of my life. Too many days, the beauty of Jesus is hidden behind my big head. I can be: 

and a whole list of other self-words.

My light doesn’t always shine because it’s shaded by my words and actions.

A few years ago, my sister and I were traveling to a Christian writers conference – remember the word Christian. We got to the airport late (my fault) and the poor lady at the check-in area told us that, although we would make the flight, our bags would not. I had a fit. I said my favorite airline wouldn’t have any trouble getting my bags on the plane. I think I must have used the word stupid about ten times.

Talk about light-less, that was me!

That poor woman didn’t see Jesus, she saw me – and it wasn’t a pretty picture.

We all have light-less moments. Gossip spread in the form of prayer requests. A slightly off-color joke. Anger when it’s unwarranted.  Unforgiveness because we’re too proud to admit we were wrong.


When we feel the urge to slip into self-centeredness, let's remember the words of this childhood song:

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

When you are in a situation where you want to show self rather than Jesus, how can you focus on His light?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Desperate Prayers

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3

We’ve all been there. Crying out in desperation to the Lord. 
  • A crisis that almost destroyed my family and, even now, the pain hits me, without warning, like the proverbial ton of bricks.
  • My sister, who’s caught in a horrible job that threatens to cripple her.
  • My closest friend Joanna who struggles with the death of her husband; lonely days and even lonelier nights.

Desperate prayers: for deliverance, for miracles, for new jobs, for emotional or physical healing. 

Sometimes, we feel abandoned and wonder why He doesn’t step into our circumstances and answer our prayers.

In those panicked moments, we might hear God whisper, “Don’t pray only for the work of My hands, pray also for the work of My Spirit.”

He doesn’t promise that He will intervene. He promises that He will indwell.

What do we need most when we face a new sunrise?
  • Strength to get out of bed.
  • Peace when things make no sense.
  • Energy to make it through the next hour, or even the next five minutes.
  • Clarity to remember how to do the daily tasks ahead of us.
  • Guidance to make decisions and to respond to the situations we face.

Above all, we need the fullness of God’s Spirit to well up within us and do through us what we are incapable of doing on our own.

We need God Himself.

In those desperate times, He gives us His Word to guard our hearts and minds.

Strength: It is God who arms me with strength. Psalm 18:32
Peace: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Energy: But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. The will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Clarity:  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version)
Guidance:  Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:3

When you are desperate, pray for God to move in your situation, but don’t forget to ask Him to express His grace in your mind, heart, and soul.

Share with us:
How has God's strengthened your heart and guided your thoughts through difficult times?