Your Health: God's Way

Trying to keep a healthy balance in life is like looking for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but I have good news for you… God has a plan of grace to help you. The world tells you that your life should portray an image which is driven by unrealistic goals of airbrushed pictures & magazine articles that promise a 6-pack of abs in as little as 2 weeks by following a specific plan.

God has so much more for you than chasing the dream of a perfect body & it’s found in a balance of spiritual, physical & emotional health which can only be found by walking in His love & grace.

Go on a 5-day journey with me & let’s walk through this getting healthy thing together.

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Gratitude seems to be something everyone talks about during this time of year but I believe that God wants us to live our lives every day with a heart of gratitude.

This 5 day downloadable devotional is based in Psalm 100 & looks at how our thanksgiving {gratitude} can become a practical every day occurrence.

Feel free to print this or save it as a pdf file to your phone or tablet. Please remember all content contained in this download are the copyrighted property of The Nourished Body & Soul.

Faithfully Free

I’m really glad you are joining me on this 5 day adventure of going deeper into God’s word. There is nothing more valuable you could do with your time than to seek Him & His ways for your life.

I pray this small step you are taking to complete this 5 day study will bring big revelation as you seek the Lord & His ways for your life.

The format of this study asks you to pull out your Bible or Bible app & do a small bit of scripture reading before you read the devotional for the day. Then there are a few questions following each day’s reading & last there is an action step of prayer. This study also assumes you already have some sort of relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don’t or you are not sure if you do, then please use the ‘Contact Me’ form & send me a message. I would be happy to have a conversation with you about what it means to have a relationship with God as your Father & Jesus as your Savior.

5 Scriptures to Pray for Your Pastor

Your pastor & the people on staff at your church carry a heavy burden.  Not only are they under constant attack from the enemy, who would love nothing more than to take them down, but they also carry the burdens of their own family & life, plus those of every person in the church. 

The things that happen in your life, truly impact the thought life & prayer life of the people on staff at your church.  

Your pastor loves you & prays for you on a regular basis

Our prayers for our church's staff matter.  It matters to God that we would care enough to lift up the shepherds He has ordained for us, but it also matters to God because it's an outward sign of our submission to His order.  God established the order of the church.  Leaders & congregations both have special, ordained roles in God’s plan & when we pray for our leaders we are communicating to God that we believe His ways are right. 

Many things happen to a pastor in the course of a week that can mentally, emotionally, physically & spiritually tear him/her down.  Unfortunately, this often comes directly from the people that our pastoral staff is serving.  Unless our leadership is asking us to do something against God's commands, we need to lay aside our personal preferences to follow our leaders with joy.  We should make their job easier by the way we view their leadership & honor them by our words & actions.  

We need to remember as a people of God that our preferences aren't God's or our pastor's primary concern.  Decisions & vision must be given through leadership that is for the betterment of the whole church & often those don't line up with our desires.  This is not the time to complain to your pastor or anyone else, or even to leave the church.  This is the time to humble yourself before God in prayer for your church staff & ask God to protect them & line your heart up with their decisions.

Here are some ideas of where to begin praying for your pastor:

Ø Pray for Protection from the enemy ~ If Satan is able to destroy a shepherd of a congregation, then he has a way in to scatter the people of that congregation.  Roots of bitterness, wounds & confusion can quickly take hold of a people whose leader falls prey.  Your pastor needs divine protection because he or she is on Satan’s radar constantly. 

            Father, I pray for my pastor’s complete protection from the devil that roams around like a roaring lion trying to destroy him/her.  I pray that my pastor would be alert & watchful for any area of his/her life that is open to attack.  Give him/her supernatural protection.  {1 Peter 5:8}

Ø Pray for Spiritual Encouragement for your pastor ~ Ministry is brutal & pastors are in the middle of stressful situations constantly because they are the ones who help others through life's issues.  Because of this, it is common for pastors to be discouraged especially when they don't get encouragement from the people they work so hard to serve & shepherd. 

            Lord, encourage my pastor through Your Spirit. Let me be a source of encouragement to him/her & let others come alongside him/her to lift him/her up in spirit.  Let my pastor see his/her work as eternal & not temporal.  Let him/her be refreshed through knowing that Your grace is sufficient for him/her.  {Romans 1:11-12, 2 Corinthians 12:9}

Ø Pray for your pastor to have a healthy body ~  The stress of ministry can take a dreadful toll on a pastor's body. Long days & nights of ministry, high-stress situations & constant discouragement can wear down the physicality of a body.  Pastors need both spiritual & physical strength.  They are, like everyone else, made up of body, mind & spirit. 

            Father, please give my pastor supernatural strength but also wisdom to know how & when to rest so that he/she can stay physically healthy.  Sustain him/her by your strength.   Keep him/her from any sickness of the body & any instability of the mind.  {Isaiah 40:31}

Ø Pray for a strong marriage & family ~ You would be surprised how easily a marriage or family can fall apart when someone is involved in full-time ministry. Satan wants to damage & disrupt all families, but the ones of those involved in full-time ministry are especially crucial to the unity of the church as a whole.    

          Lord, I pray that my pastor & his/her spouse will have a strong union in You.  That You will highlight areas of their life that need to be addressed & communicated about & that You will give them time together to enjoy each other.   Let my pastor’s family have fun together & keep any seed of bitterness from taking root. Let them love the church deeply enough to want to stay healthy together & let their bonds be strong. {1 Timothy 3: 2-6, Ephesians 6:4}

Ø Pray for wisdom to lead the church ~  Your pastor is not just responsible for leading his/her congregation because it's his/her job, he/she is actually responsible for answering to God for the decisions made & the words spoken to you under his/her leadership.  

         God, I pray that my pastor will make godly decisions & that You will guide him/her to have a shepherd's heart.  I pray that he/she will yield to You & always speak the truth boldly with love.  I pray that he/she will have the courage needed to speak Your truth & Your ways over difficult & sensitive subjects.  I also pray that You will illuminate scripture in his/her heart so that he/she has revelation directly from you. {2 Timothy 4:2, Acts 20:28}

5 Scriptures to Pray for Your Husband

The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.  {Proverbs 20:7}

It’s easy to want God to be our genie, especially when we want our spouse to change in a particular area.  I prayed for years for my husband to care about his health.  I tried to tell him all the information I knew, nagged him, only fed him carrots & celery, all to no avail.  As long as I was the driving force, it wasn't going to happen.  But when the time came that God began to move my husband's heart about his health, my hubby became active, started eating right & caring about what he put into his body.

There have many other circumstances that I have prayed about for my husband over the years.  And God has always, always come through. He has worked the impossible for my husband in his career, softened his heart toward a decision that he was stuck on & grown my husband's character beyond anything I could've ever even hoped for him.

And in all that praying God did something I didn’t expect.  He worked behind the scenes to strengthen our marriage & show me how to be a wife.  So I benefited from praying for my husband as much as he has benefited from me doing it. 

Only God can be a lasting motivation for someone to change their life.

Here are 5 verses that I pray for my husband on a regular basis; I hope these will help guide you as you walk alongside your man too.

Ø Lord, I thank You for the way You uniquely created my husband.  Thank you for the gifts & talents You have given him.  I pray that You would guard his heart & mind against every dart the enemy launches at him & that You will fill him with Your strength to turn so that he will turn to You for guidance & protection.  Give him a hunger for Your ways.  {Psalm 107:9}

Ø God, I am so grateful that You are the perfect example of a Father.  Help my husband’s parenting to reflect You so that our children see Your heart for them.  Make his relationship with each of our children strong & let them have a deep love for one another.  {Ephesians 6:4}

Ø Father, bless my husband in his work.  Let him be diligent in all he does, working for You & not for man. Give him wisdom & let him be successful so that he stands before men in great authority & that Your light would shine in him in such a way, people would marvel at Your work in his life.  {Proverbs 22:29, Colossians 3:23}

Ø  I pray that my husband would have the courage to stand against any wrongs he encounters in this world.  Let him be an advocate for those in need & for those who cannot speak for themselves.  Give him boldness to stand for Your ways & not back down in the face of a world which wants him to compromise. {Proverbs 19:23}

Ø  I pray that my husband’s relationship with You & his desire for time in Your word would be above all else in his life.  Give him a burning passion to seek Your truth & speak Your ways everywhere he goes.  Let him run the race of faith with endurance.  {Acts 20:24, Luke 10:27}



7 Scriptures to pray for your kids

Prayer is a gift to us from God.  It gives us direct access to our Father in heaven & allows us the ability to worship Him & bring our needs before Him.  The Word tells us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy & find grace to help us in our time of need.” {Hebrews 4:16}  And specifically praying scripture, which in itself is living & active, brings life & healing that only God can provide. {Proverbs 4:20-22}

It is impossible for us to physically & emotionally protect our kids from everything the world, more specifically the enemy, wants to throw at them.  But we can protect them in a more powerful way than our own feeble, physical attempts by bringing them before the Lord & letting Him protect, guide & teach them.  

As parents, our role in our children’s lives is crucial.  But our leading them to the Father is the most important thing we can do.  

Praying scripture for our kids, helps us view their lives as a whole process of god defining moments rather than our desire for a momentary behavior modification event.

Let me explain what I mean:  If my child is involved in a behavior that is defiant, disrespectful or otherwise concerning in any way, then as a parent I most definitely want to correct that behavior. The issue we face as parents is that we can often discipline a behavior but it may still continue down the road.  This is because all humans behave out of the fullness of their heart, {Proverbs 27:19} and only God can change someone’s heart. {Jeremiah 24:7}

I want my children to behave from day-to-day but more importantly, I want their hearts to mirror God’s ways of living.  Praying scripture definitely helps me keep the greater goal in mind & gives me a comfort & peace to remember that God is working in their lives & on their behalf for a greater purpose.

Below are 7 scriptures that you can apply & pray for your kids.  My hope is that these would be a springboard for you to find other scriptures the Lord highlights to you that apply directly to areas your own child is faced with in life.

  • Father, I pray that _______ would have a boldness for You that would cause people to marvel at Your goodness in him/her. {Acts 4:13}
  • I pray that _______ would never be ashamed of the gospel, which has the power to save the lost. {Romans 1:16}
  • Keep _______ from the evil one & let her know Your Word is truth so that he/she will be a world changer for Your kingdom. {John 17:15-18}
  • May _______’s eyes be opened to the ways You are working in his/her life.{2 Kings 6:17, 2 Corinthians 4:18}
  • I pray that _______ would love You with all his/her heart, soul & strength. {Mathew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5}
  • Father, may _______ have understanding of how long, how wide, how high & how deep Your love is for him/her & may You do exceedingly above anything I could ever ask or think for _______’s life {Ephesians 3:18-20}
  • Lord, I pray that _______ would have a heart to do all of his/her work for you. Let him/her never look for the praise of man but instead do everything with the mindset of pleasing You & walking in Your ways.  {Colossians 3:23}

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7 Scriptures to Pray Over Your College Student

The last 2 years, just before the time when parents drop kids off miles from home, I have published devotionals with scriptures that parents can pray for college students. 

I know the anxiety I feel each year when my kids start school hasn’t lessened with my child who is in higher education.

I am a mom who is naturally bent toward worry & fear over what my child faces in this world. Some of it is valid because a real enemy is seeking to destroy my kids, but some of it is very exaggerated in my own mind because of how hard I know life can be for students in their college years.

The only way I can calm myself down is to plant my thoughts in the soil of God’s protection for my child.  He is our defender & our protector. {Psalm 91:1-2}

Children enrich your life in a way that can't really be explained & the sudden absence that is left when they leave for college can't be filled by anything else. College is an exciting time in the lives of families, but just as it is a new experience for students, it is a unique situation for parents too.

Praying for our children is effective.  When God entrusts our children to us, we are given spiritual authority in their lives.  This means when we approach the throne of God for our kids, great things happen.  

God's Word is the greatest weapon we have against the enemy.  It is "living & powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword" {Hebrews 4:12} so using it as our weapon of warfare will help us to see mighty things happen in our child's life & weaken the plans the enemy has to deter his or her future.  I hope that the scriptures below will just be a starting point for you & that the Lord will give you other scriptures specific to your college student.  May He makes us so strong in His power that we will block the enemy from our children through our prayers.

Here are 7 scriptures to get you started praying for your college student this year:

{Fill in the blank with your student’s name}

Ø Lord, I pray that _______________ will develop a heart for You & Your ways.  I pray that You will silence all the ways the enemy wants to call out to her {him} in this world & that she {he} will hear Your voice as her {his} true guide.  {John 10:27

Ø Lord, I pray that _______________ will have clear discernment to choose right over wrong.  I pray that he {she} will shape opinions & choices about life based on Your Word & what is right in Your sight.  Reveal Yourself to him {her} as he {she} walks through life & let him {her} trust in You with all his {her} heart & not lean on human understanding. {Proverbs 3:5-6}

Ø Father, as _______________ deals with the pressures of school workload & social relationships, in addition to other responsibilities, I pray that You would keep her {him} free from any anxiety that would weigh her {him} down. Keep her {his} spirit & attitude in a good place of focus on You & keep her {his} mind on positive things.  {Philippians 4:8,
Proverbs 12:25}

Ø Father I pray that you would keep _______________ in complete health. I pray that _______________ would see that good health is a gift from you & that he {she} would be smart in all decisions regarding his {her} body.    Would You touch & heal anything in his {her} body that is not fully well & let him {her} know that you are the Healer. {Jeremiah 17:14}

Ø  I pray that _______________ would have fulfilling, godly friendships that will have a positive influence in her {his} life.  Enable her {him} to be discerning about who she {he} spends time with & trusts with the inner parts of her {his} life.   I pray that those friends will be influencers of Your love & give her {him} good guidance & advice.  May all her {his} relationships be equally yoked. {Proverbs 13:20, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15}

Ø Father, I pray that even when _____________doesn’t feel like it & circumstances don’t show it, ______________ will know You are with him {her} & that he {she} will hear Your voice telling him {her} that he {she} is a valiant warrior for You
{Judges 6:12}

Ø Thank you God that you have given _______________ a calling and gifts that are irrevocable.  I pray that he {she} will have the wisdom to seek your ways in those areas & use them to further his {her} sense of purpose in what You have called him {her} to.  {Romans 11:29}



The How & Why of Praying Scripture

This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  1 John 5:14  

The other day I was praying with my daughter & when I finished she laughed & said, “you talked to God just like it was a conversation with another person!”

Praying should be just that, a conversation between me & God.  Over the years I have grown in my relationship enough that I talk to Him a lot, about a lot of different things all through the day.  Of course, I have concentrated prayer times, but a lot of what goes on in my communication with Him is a casual conversation between my heart & His.    

Just think if I went around only having long, formal conversations with the people in my life.  Sure, there are times when that type of communication is needed, but general conversation between family members & friends is made up of short bits of information, encouragement & concerns.  Talking about our day, talking about upcoming plans, discussing the lives of other people that we love.  Those same things are what we need to discuss with God.  

Our prayer life isn’t meant to be a liturgical ballad that makes angels stop in amazement; it’s meant to be a conversation with our Father who loves us.  

I have 2 kids & I love it when they talk to me.  However, they have entirely different styles of communication.  One is bold & says everything that comes to mind, the other is more analytical about words & gives me pieces of thoughts over time.  Either way, I don’t care because if my kids want to talk to me, I am willing to listen.  I don’t care if it's in-depth details about their day, silly antics of the time they spent with friends or dreams & desires they have in their heart.  I just want them to tell me about it.  

God is the same way. He understands we all have different ways of communication because He created us all differently.  He doesn’t care how you communicate with Him; He just desires that you do it regularly.    

He wants us to keep praying, keep talking & keep communicating with Him enough to learn that He will communicate with us as well.  God wants us to have the kind of prayer life that draws us to the understanding that He wants more for us than we could ever imagine.  {Ephesians 3:20-21}  

Too often we over-spiritualize prayer by making it such a religious act that it becomes dread or just something on the to-do list.  God sees us as His righteous child; He wants to hear from us & make our relationship with Him significant through our prayer.  

Sometimes we also use our own agenda in our prayers with the thought that it will somehow sway God’s viewpoint to that of our own.  

The problem is, my flawed human desires are so askew from God’s holy desire for my life.   This is where praying scripture is vital because praying our own inclinations for our lives will just wear us out & keep us feeling stuck, but praying God’s Word over our lives changes our perspective & aligns our hearts with God’s desires for us.  

When we pray His scripture, our spiritual eyes are opened & we see that God is not slack regarding His promises to His children. {2 Peter 3:9}  Praying scripture is simply taking the words of a verse or a passage & applying them to whatever situation you are facing.  The great thing about God’s Word is that it has one meaning but many applications.  “Interpretation of the Bible is singular, but the application is multiple because it is the job of the Holy Spirit to illumine the heart.”1  

The only way praying scripture works is if we enter into prayer with a heart that is willing to hear from God & receive what He wants for our lives.  He has a more excellent plan for us than we could ever dream up, but a hardened, selfish heart isn’t open to what He wants for our lives. We must first set aside our thoughts & intentions for situations in our life & be willing to look at them through the Father’s grand plan.  

So here are 5 prayers with scriptures that I have found valuable & I hope they will help you too:   

Father help me to know which way to go when I need to make a decision.    "Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left." {Isaiah 30:21}  
Father help me to use the weapons you have laid out for me.  Weapons that help me exhibit the fruit of the Spirit & cause me to choose Your holiness in everything I do.     "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments & every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ & being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."  {2 Corinthians 10:3-5}  
Father help me to remember that You will work all things out for good in my life.  Right now, I can’t see past the circumstances of this trial, but I know You can.  You have everything I need to make it through & I trust in You.     "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God & to those who are called according to His purpose."  {Romans 8:28}  
Father help me to have a merry heart in all circumstances, not just the ones that make me happy. Let my joy come directly from you & let me keep my focus on the fact that You are bigger than everything that occurs in life.      "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."  {Proverbs 17:22}  
Father, thank you that you renew my spirit & that the things in this world that wear me out physically, emotionally & mentally feel like they may overwhelm me, I can find refuge in You that is refreshing to my soul.     "We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day." {2 Corinthians 4:16}   

We can experience God’s character as we become aware of His presence through prayer.  Praying His own Word back to Him increases our intimacy with Him.   


1  The Nelson Study Bible, copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission


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3 simple verses to overcome all obstacles

I feel like so often I battle things like strongholds, anxiety, fear & self-doubt when trying to move forward in life.  All of these things & many more all stem from one thing ~ I have an enemy who is looking to halt me.  Satan cannot destroy me, but he can fight like heck to keep me bound to insecurity {or any other thing that seems to hamper my moving forward}, which keeps me enslaved to ways of living that hold me back from all God has for me.   

Just look at what Ephesians tells us about how difficult it is to walk this life out…

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.  Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:10-18 MSG

 God has given us many weapons to use against Satan, but peace is one of the most powerful, however often ignored of the ammunition available.  Jesus had a lengthy discussion with His disciples just before his death & He warned them of all the trouble that would ensue in living a life for Him.  He ended that discussion with this verse:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33NIV

Jesus knew without the peace that comes directly from God we could not live victorious over Satan. Take a look at these 3 simple verses that the Lord showed me about how to crush Satan in every scheme:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him & He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6
See the word trust right at the beginning of that verse? That’s the first thing we have to do.  Trust in the Lord. All believers, in the beginning, have a sincere hope & confident expectation that the Lord will direct them.  But we too often push aside what our hearts tell us about the ability to rely on the strength of God to lead us because of the circumstances we can see around us.  We need to return to our trust in Him to keep us walking in the right direction. 


You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3
Now, look at this verse above…peacecomes because of trust.  The sheer act of focusing our mind on Him & trusting in His power will give us overwhelming peace.  Our fears, anxieties & insecurities can’t hold us captive anymore once we are settled & locked in on the presence of His peace.


And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  Romans 16:20
Last, God, who is entirely in control of giving us peace & keeping us in His peace if we trust Him, will hand us the ability to crush Satan & all his schemes in our life!  God has already gone before us & won this victory when Jesus died & was resurrected.  He already crushed Satan for eternity, but because we live in a broken world until Jesus comes again, we still have to battle the enemy in our flesh.  Choosing to focus our mind on Jesus & trust in His Spirit to lead us will give us peace which leads to victory over Satan in this world too.


3 little steps that will have a significant outcome in our lives...Trust in Him, Focus on Him for Peace & then be Victorious in Christ over Satan.

Ask the Lord to help you today to take these 3 steps to break the bondage that Satan wants to hold over you & live in victory over the obstacles in your life.


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How to Honor the Man in Your Life

I hope you enjoy this guest post from my friend Jill over at Shaken Together & Running Over.  Jill is a wife, mom, full-time teacher & she still manages to have time to serve at her church, be a guest speaker at events, run a blog & be an all around wonderful person!  She runs her blended family with grace & is a champion for women.  Her biggest desire in life is that everyone would know the simplicity found in Jesus & His desire to know us.  Go check out her blog & follow her on instagram or facebook.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

Honor is a deep, intimate act. Whether you’re showing honor to your spouse or your own father figure, honor is something that is very personal. It is a selfless act, which I believe is why it carries so much power.

Why did God command us to honor our fathers and men in our lives? Well, in my opinion, it’s simple. Honoring our earthly fathers is an act of honoring our heavenly Father. This command appears in BOTH the Old and New Testaments:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Fathers aren’t perfect; they are going to fall short. They will mess up - some far more than others. Regardless of their shortcomings and imperfections, we are still called to honor them.

As I've aged and gotten almost 15 years of marriage under my belt, God has challenged me to see the men in my life from a different perspective. My dad hasn't been perfect; my husband isn't perfect, his father isn’t perfect. Each of them have done things at some point, that have hurt me, disappointed me, and let me down. 

My husband has experienced deep hurt, yet I've watched him forgive and continue to show honor and respect to his father. Rather than holding onto hurt, he gave his pain to a God that was capable of healing. This release freed him up to live a life that God had planned. His choice to love like Christ changed his trajectory - unlocking happiness, a life free of anger and angst, allowing him to be the dad our kids needed him to be. Letting go and choosing to honor his father doesn't mean it didn't happen; it doesn't make what happened ok. It simply means he has chosen to trust God. And that is enough.

Honor is equally important in regards to our spouses, the fathers of our children. 

"Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1

This verse has stirred up so much controversy and arguments from women, and within churches, it blows my mind. I really think it’s the word “submit” that sends people over the edge. 

I get it - men can be frustrating . . . I use the term "Seriously?" many times a day in reference to my husband. There are SO many things that my {actually amazing} man will do that I just cannot understand. Clearly, my methods are far superior and unquestionably more efficient, why does everyone not get this? {haha}

At first read, this verse makes women/wives seem meek, more like a handy accessory to their husbands. But, when you really study this verse, and back it with the deep, deep love and purpose that the Father has for us women, this verse is anything but meek. Quite the opposite, actually, this verse is packed with power. 

Men/husbands are considered the head, BUT wait! Women are the neck! Ladies, the head does not function without the neck. We direct, we carry the superhighway of information, we have multiple functions. Make no mistake - God knew what he was doing when he created women.

So maybe your husband isn't the greatest. You must remember that your happiness is not found in your husband, it is found in the Lord. Once you find pure joy in the Lord, you will not seek it from your husband. You can release your spouse of that and serve the Lord.

So, why do women carry this huge responsibility? 

It's simple, ladies . . . Because we are a WARRIORS! We are capable, and we are strong enough! God knew the man was lacking, so He gave him YOU.

In 1 Peter 3:1 the Word says that we have the power actually to change a man's heart and mind WITHOUT WORDS. Our actions alone carry that much power. However, we must FIRST be in a relationship with God. Through Him, and His strength, our actions can actually turn the head {man} towards the Lord.

Ladies ~ that is POWER, not MEEKNESS. What grace, what power, is that? 

Being a woman/wife/mom is hard. We carry so much and endure so many different things. It’s a battle to show honor, much less maintain it, if we are feeling discouraged or let down by our spouse. But, our children NEED us to rally, they need us to be strong when our men cannot. This is where we must press into the Lord and bring our fears and disappointments to HIM. He is our source, our filling station, our portion.

Let's not forget, in our grumblings of "submission," that the Lord also commanded our men :

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Ephesians 5:28

It’s a two-way street. Marriages are meant to be a joint venture. We are more powerful together than we are apart, and the enemy knows that. Marriage is a force to be reckoned with. If you don’t think it’s the first point of attack of our enemy, I will point you straight to the divorce statistics of America ~ and this is coming from a woman married to a divorcee. He is after our marriages, and he is out to destroy our power. He will throw everything at us in an attempt to bring us down, and instill doubt and strife. It's so important to come together and not let anything distract you from this. 

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9 

Honoring your spouse or your father is simply an act of obedience to our gracious God. He knows the power that lies in submission and forgiveness and honor. It is in those acts that God shines so bright, and people {including our CHILDREN} are drawn to Him. Being an example to our children sets them up with standards and expectations for their future spouse. 

We face adversity, and we act according to the Word, not the world. Submission is not slavery. Honor is not conditional. They are vital pieces to a best-laid plan. 

We are on mission WITH the men in our lives. We must recognize the place our Heavenly Father has given us ~ a place of strength and power and influence.


How to Build a Life that Lasts

Wise people are builders – they build families, businesses, and communities.  And through intelligence & insight, their enterprises are established & endure.  Because of their skilled leadership, the hearts of people are filled with the treasures of wisdom  & the pleasures of spiritual wealth.  
{Proverbs 24:3-4 TPT}

Almost every day I drive down the same little winding, hidden, back road to get home. It's a small blacktop road, two lanes with no stripes.  It makes me feel like I'm in the country & I love all the trees & quaint homes that dot its landscape.  It's a shortcut I discovered a couple of years ago, that leads from almost every place I go, back to my house.  I take it coming home from the grocery store, the gym & church, not to mention nearly all of my errands because they are all in the same vicinity.

Right after I started driving on this road, I noticed that the large cow pasture at one of the curves was being cleared.  The cattle were moved on to a pinned off area on one end of the land & trees were being cut down.  Soon after a bulldozer came in & cleared a spot & then quite a bit of other equipment showed up on the property.  

Wooden forms were put in place to outline a house.  Soil work was done & reinforcing bars were laid.  Pipes stuck up out of the ground to indicate where plumbing would go & a foundation was poured.

Wood was brought in to frame the walls; insulation was placed inside walls, drywall went up & doors & windows went in.  The roof, brick & stucco were installed.  Lots of work, like cabinets, appliances & flooring, went on inside that I couldn’t even see.

Then the outside was painted & landscaping was put in.  Grass, bushes & flowers took days to install.    

It took a lot of people & about 18 months of work to complete that house, but it was stunning.  A gorgeous modern, ranch-style home sprawls across what was once an open field.

The day I drove by & saw children playing ball out in the yard, I smiled.  I know how long it takes & how much stress goes into building a new house.  My husband & I have built 3 of them & I know there are days when it’s overwhelming, days when it’s ugly, days when you wonder why you are putting yourself through the whole ordeal.

Then there are the moments when the sun shines & the children play.  But it never happens overnight.  A house takes months, but a life takes years. 

Our lives are really quite like building a house.  We build, step-by-step, moment-by-moment, but not on physical things like dirt & concrete.  Our lives are created by following Jesus’s ways of "doing" life. Look what Jesus Himself said about the building of our lives… 

“Everyone who hears My teaching & applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakeable foundation.  When the rains fell & the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.  But everyone who hears my teaching & does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. When it rained & rained & the flood came, with wind & waves beating upon his house, it collapsed & was swept away.”  {Matthew 7:24-27 TPT}

He likened our listening to His words of life & letting them sink deep into our hearts, to a person who built their house on a firm foundation.  When floodwaters came, the house was fine.  But there was another person in this story who built their house right on the sand of the earth, without a proper foundation & when the floods came their house fell over in great ruin.  On the outside, the two houses in Jesus' story look identical.  However, the foundation of each house is the difference. 

Jesus wanted us to understand that we are the houses & He is the foundation.  To build a strong foundation, we must take God's words to us & let them sink deep into our hearts.  If we just make the Bible & the example we are given in Christ be pretty on the outside, we will crash down like the house with no foundation.   This takes years.  It is not a fast process.

There is a battle raging on all sides of us.  The enemy never stops looking for a way to topple our house but armed with the Word of God & a foundation built on the Rock of Christ we can confidently stand strong & tell the enemy that Christ has already overcome. {Colossians 2:14-15}

Here are some things I think we can keep in mind when building our life on the foundation that is Jesus:

We need to lay the foundation first ~ By the time the storm comes, it’s too late to think about weatherproofing our home.  The same is true for our life.  When the storm hits, we will be flooded with emotion that can only be tamed & restrained by a life built on Jesus. We will know we are safe from harm even in the middle of the difficulty. If our foundation is faulty, then everything else built on top of it will be too.  When we meditate on God’s Word & spend time with Him, we will be more stable to handle overwhelming situations in life.  When the reality of flood waters are pressing at the door, the foundation laid in Christ will keep our hearts & minds stable because He has given us a spirit of power & love.  When we build our lives on the Word & lay our foundation on the solid Rock, we will shine like "crystal" against the backdrop of life.  {Matthew 5:142 Timothy 1:7}

We need outside help ~ Just as an actual house cannot be built alone by one person, our lives cannot be built alone.  We are designed to live in a community. Even if our foundation is built on Christ, we often allow what’s on top of the foundation to get worn down or weary.  Whether it's a counselor, friend, pastor or otherwise, seeking wise counsel from someone who will point us to Jesus, is optimal.  We must be completely open & transparent to gain a deeper understanding of how God Himself wants to train & teach us.  Often He desires to use one of His anointed servants to show us the way & be a support network for us.   As Christians, we have to be a people who are willing to deal with real heart issues in community with others.  {1 Corinthians 3:10-15}

We need to consider how much storm damage will cost ~ Doing what is right, living the life that walks the "narrow road," will cost you something day-to-day.  You will often have to make the hard decision to look different than the world but imagine how much it will cost if you don't lay the foundation correctly, build the walls, and follow the steps.  A life of integrity & trust in Jesus isn’t always easy.  It’s often filled with sweat & tears, but it ultimately results in a beautiful home {life}.  The life of integrity is the kind of life that when the difficulty comes, still proclaims the goodness of God & chooses to praise Him in the middle of the storm.  Choosing to follow Jesus is easy, actually living like Him, building on His words every day is challenging.  Take heart; He has promised that He has overcome the world & you can trust Him.  The sacrifice of choosing Him day-to-day is much less than the cost of utter collapse from the weight of trials in life.   {Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 12:2, John 16:33}

How have you built your life thus-far?  Do you need to re-do your foundation or are you built on a solid place that includes Jesus as the base of all you do?   Do you need to bring in some experts to help you build & create a life that looks like Jesus?


My Worst Mom Mistake Ever

This weekend a friend said to me, “I feel like I’m constantly dropping the ball on motherhood lately.”  To which I replied, “it’s ok, my ball hasn’t had any air in it for 6 months!”

Though it seems funny & she did almost spit her whole drink on me in laughter, we as mothers definitely carry a burden to keep it all together & running smoothly & to do it with a smile on our perfectly made-up faces.

This morning I admitted to my own mother the depth of where I feel like I have failed my kids. It’s not the accidental times when I messed up; it's the times when I intentionally didn't choose to take the harder road of living a life of grace that looked like Jesus.

All mothers, including myself, sacrifice so much for their kids but sometimes we just want to have a small pity party & speak or act right out of our flesh which never turns out as well as we think it might at the moment in which we do it.

Seasons of feeling like I’ve “dropped the ball” can leave me wondering if I’m even a good mom at all.   When I get worn out & weary, my focus seems to turn inward.  When my circumstances get rough & I am struggling to keep it all together I can begin to believe that my mothering is all that matters in God’s plan for my children’s lives.

There is a level of responsibility, that is unmatched by any other relationship when you become a mother.  Being a mom is a difficult job.  It comes with risk. It comes with a high calling to work sacrificially for our children, but what it does not come with is any requirement from God that we are in charge of how our children's lives actually turn out.  

The way my kid's lives go is the job of the Holy Spirit.

I am a mom who seeks God daily for her children, but sometimes my words to them don’t show it. I am a mom, who prays for their future, but sometimes I say things that deflate their hopes.  I am a mom who desperately desires that her children walk like Christ, but sometimes I don’t model that.  I am a mom whose desire for her kids to give, serve & love others is often extinguished by my own selfish actions.

But the good news is that there is an even deeper truth than my desires for my children.  That is the truth of God’s redemption & grace.  Romans 8:28, tells us that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him & follow Him.  That means His redemption happens even if circumstances are less than ideal and my mom actions aren’t always perfect.  His grace can flood in & remake situations into beauty. {beauty from ashes} 

So what is my worst mom mistake?

It’s believing that God has called me to more than dropping the ball.  In fact, maybe “dropping the ball” is exactly where God needs me to be in order to desperately depend more on Him.  If I kept the “ball” going all on my own, I might believe my kids are fine because I had it all together.  What if my own mistakes & failures keep me seeking His face for myself & my children?   And what if my mistakes show my children how desperately we all need Jesus in every area of our lives?

The place where I drop the ball is the place where God wants to meet me & show me how He will hand it back to me.  How he will help me grow.  He shows me how in my desire to follow Him & grow in Him, He will actually grow my children.

I mess up, but God never does.  I need my kids to know this truth.

So let’s remember that our job as a mother rests in the shadow of the Almighty’s job for our children’s lives.

Children are God’s love gift, they are heaven’s generous reward
Psalm 127:3 {TPT}



How to run again after a fall

Those who trust in the Lord receive new strength...
they will run & not get tired  {Isaiah 40:31}

The morning I decided to get outside & go on a run the sun was shining brightly & it was a gorgeous day.  It was already quite warm in the middle of the Texas summer even early in the day, but still perfect for getting out for a little exercise.  Lost in my own thoughts as I ran, I totally missed seeing an uneven segment in the concrete.  My foot hit the edge of the segment & I tripped & fell.  I not only fell but I was propelled forward in my fall & my shoulder skidded across the hot pavement.  My knee & hands got a little beat up, but the majority of the impact took its toll on my shoulder.  I had a very large wound & now have a scar to show for it.

As my shoulder began to heal & the scab came off, the area all around it was sensitive to any touch.  Around that same time a friend, who has a medical background, told me that I needed to gently massage the area with some lotion or oil every day to keep it from becoming a raised, abnormal scar.  She said if I gave it special attention for a few weeks, the skin would smooth out & it would barely be noticeable.   I followed her directions & sure enough, the area healed very well.  Now it is hardly noticeable.

Recently I went out to run that same path.  I've run it many times since my fall but this time it was early in the morning & the sun had yet to light the way.  As I ran in the dark, fearful thoughts began to creep into my mind that I might trip again.  I immediately started praying that the Lord would help me decipher the uneven surfaces, even in darkness & that I would be able to finish my run without incident.  

I made it to the end of my run without falling even though it took a little more effort to see in the dark.  It occurred to me how much my run mirrored my life.  Too often when I fall in life, I get up but I live in fear that I will fall again.  Not only do I choose to dwell on the injury I sustained from the fall but I ignore letting Jesus carefully heal my wounds so that even if there are scars left behind, they won’t become ugly signs that I have hardened places in my heart.  Too often, I also forget that He has promised to give me all I need to keep me from falling again.  

But when I take my broken & wounded heart to Jesus, I find a Friend that can answer all my questions with His infinite wisdom.  I find a Sustainer that can hold my hand & lift me back up.   When I offer Him my wounds, I find a Healer that gently cares for them until there is a new flesh that forms over the wounded place.

Coincidentally, I also happen to have a large scar on my other arm from an accident many years ago.  It is ugly & raised because when it happened I was nowhere near a place I could clean & doctor it nor did I know that I should take care of it with any special treatment.  So even though it healed, it healed in an unsightly way that is very noticeable & tells its own story.  The same thing happens when we have emotional scars that we do not take care of.  They form an ugly hardened place on our heart.

Just like all physical scars tell a story, the emotional scars we have from life tell one too.  

Every injury in life will leave behind a place that needs healing.  Some scars heal smoothly & hardly noticeable but will tell a beautiful story of love & care, but others will leave a rough place that is unsightly & the world around us will cringe at the sight of them.  How our scars heal is a choice.  We can choose to let Jesus care for them & the story will be that He is enough to redeem or we can choose not to give the hurt to Jesus to heal & we tell the world that we believe He actually might not be enough.  Either way, there will be a story told. 

Nothing, not even our falls, are wasted when we choose to run with Jesus.  Our mistakes & sins can be converted to good in our lives through His transforming grace.

Jesus has scars too. His tell a story that you & I were so important to Him that He was willing to leave the glory of Heaven & come to this earth, with all of its pain & suffering, & be wounded so we could be healed.  Can you spend a minute dwelling on that?   

Not only did He take my place on the cross but He continues to relentlessly pursue me.  

Trusting Him to help us is a moment-by-moment decision.  It's easy to trust Him when life is good & the journey is easy, but it is much more difficult when things go wrong.  We must be intentional in choosing His ways. {Psalm 31:14}

So how do we heal after a fall?  

Get back up ~ When I fell out on my run, I got back up.  I knew I had to get up as quickly as possible & get moving to keep my muscles from getting stiff.  It's the same way with our heart wounds.  We can't sit & focus on how bad it hurts for too long. When I got back up, I was not yet healed, but I chose to get up & keep going during the healing.  If Jesus is Lord of your life, then He has declared you as His righteousness.  It is His goodness that makes you who you are, not your own & His word declares that the ‘righteous will rise’ & that He will hold your hand to keep you from falling again. Start by praising Him to turn your heart back to Him. {Proverbs 24:16, Psalm 37:23-24, 1 Peter 2:9}

Let Jesus be your healer ~ There is a time & place for dealing with pain, don't deny your God-given emotions when walking through a trial but give your emotions to God.  If it takes you a day or a year or a decade to fully move through your trial to your healing, do it with God.  Do not try to tend your wounds alone.  Let Jesus pour His healing over your wound so that the scar left behind tells a sweet story of His compassion, grace & redemption in your life.  {Psalm 40:2, 1 Peter 2:24-25}

Don’t forget to pray ~ Just like I did that morning on my run, praying to keep from falling is the beginning of standing upright.   Even when you are walking through dark situations & can’t see exactly where you are going, keep praying & our faithful God will keep you on your feet.  When we seek to run the path of this life in His ways, He will always be faithful to show us exactly what to do.   He is not only our Healer but our Strength & our Protector too. We can be confident in approaching Him because He always keeps His word.  {Hebrews 10:19-22, Psalm 91:9-10}

Where do you need Jesus to heal your wounds?  How do you need Him to hold you up, so you don't fall again?  Take some time to tell Him that you trust Him to be your Redeemer.



Love Came Down {Day 5}

Please Read: John 21:25

Twenty-One chapters culminate in the gospel of John to tell us that all the amazing things we know about Jesus aren’t even the half of it! 

And John would know.  In the span of 3 years, from his first sighting of Christ, he went from being known as the son of thunder {Mark 3:17} to being known as the disciple whom Jesus loved {John 19:26}. John was at the wedding {John 2:1-11} when Jesus performed His first miracle & John was there until the very end of the cross when Jesus gave His own mother into John’s care {John 19:25-27}.  John saw people baptized, demons cast out & the feeding of thousands out of only enough for a few.  And if seeing were not enough, John was filled with the power of Jesus to be a part of it.  The things he saw Jesus do, not only in the lives of others but also in his own life, changed his path forever.

The inclusion of Jesus' words in John 3:16, shows us how much John values this dissertation by Jesus to tell the world that believing the Son of God, the Savior of the world, is the only way to eternal life. 

I love to read the gospels & the book of John is no different.  The miracles, the kindness, the grace, they all stir up the fire in my soul {Hebrews 10:24} that loves everything about this man, Jesus.  But one of my favorite verses comes at the very end of the book that bears John’s name:

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written
— John 21:25

This verse makes me want to scream & shout hallelujah!

Why does this one little verse excite me so? Because it reaches down deep into my heart, to the places no one can see, where Jesus has done things that no one knows.  How He turned my uncompassionate heart to one of caring, how He took my selfishness & molded it into a place where I try to selflessly imitate Him.  How He pulled me out of darkness.  How He taught me to be a wife & a mother.  How He trained my soul to look at others through a lens of love. 

Oh, I am so far from perfect in these areas, but I see Jesus changing me.  I have gone from being an orphan to calling myself the “daughter whom Jesus loves.” 

Think about it today…. Where has Jesus worked in your life that could never have been changed if it weren’t for the cross?  Ask Him to help you see yourself as the “child that He loves.”



Love Came Down {Day 4}

Please Read: Luke 24:13-35

“Mom where is my _________”? You can fill in the blank.  Shoes, keys, uniform, etc. This is a question that comes up often in our house.  I yell back the answer to exactly where the missing item is at & then in a few minutes I hear, “it’s not there, I looked.”  Does this scene sound familiar to anyone else?  As soon as I go to the exact place where I said the item would be found, there it is, as plain as day & I say once again to the perplexed child, “you just have to open your eyes.”

Just days after the resurrection there were 2 disciples were walking along the road & Jesus met them & walked with them.  But they didn’t realize it was Jesus! They were discussing all the events of His crucifixion, His seeming resurrection & how they had hoped He would’ve truly been the awaited Savior.

As Jesus talked to them, He recalled for them all of the scriptures regarding the Savior of the world.  These men were intrigued by the knowledge of this stranger.  As they got close to their home, they invited the traveler {Jesus} to come with them for dinner & a place to rest for the night.  When dinner was served Jesus blessed the food & then their eyes were opened.  They realized Jesus had been with them all day. 

They had no idea it was Jesus all along

When we are walking on a road of life, downcast or perplexed, Jesus comes.  He wants to be involved in each moment of our lives.  He has carefully mapped every part of our journey & though things in our lives may seem to be unraveling, He is in the middle of our warped & blinded view. 

If we can just be aware of Him walking beside us & let our hearts be open enough to let Him work, He will reveal Himself to us & our eyes will be opened.  We will see that He is guiding us step-by-step, protecting & equipping.  

Though the eyes of these men were opened by the event of the breaking of bread, the things leading up to their dinner played a part.  Walking with Jesus even in the midst of what was hard & the reciting of all scriptures had to say about Him, had taken root in their hearts before He revealed Himself to them.

In life when we are walking through situations, seemingly without being able to see how it will all work out, we too need to be faithful to walk with Jesus, trusting & letting the word of God take root.  In this, we are preparing our hearts for the revealing of Jesus in our situation. 

Think about it today…. Is there a place in your life where you just can’t see how Jesus will show up?  Walk faithfully.  Preparing the soil of your heart with the fullness of scriptures.  Jesus will reveal Himself to you & open your eyes to see Him.



Love Came Down {Day 3}

Please Read: Matthew 28:1-10

Have you ever heard a rumor that you thought sounded way too outlandish to be anywhere close to true?  And think of your reaction when you found out the very story you thought could never be plausible was concrete truth.  Maybe you felt disbelief, or fear, or excitement or all of those emotions wrapped into one. 

Now just imagine for a minute the reaction the women had the day they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.  They had witnessed a heinous killing of one of their very best friends.  They had witnessed the depth of pain He had suffered at the hands of heartless killers.  They knew He was dead & had been placed in a grave.  The people responsible for His death had placed guards at His grave just to terrify his friends even more.  But these women gathered all the courage they could & went to where He was buried just to be able to have a proper funeral for Him. 

Then, they heard the news.  Jesus was not there.  He had risen! The angel told them to go tell the news to the rest of their group.  

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” {Matthew 28:8} 

Has the Lord ever asked you to do something that left you feeling full of fear & great joy? 

Two emotions, so completely opposite, yet residing in the same space at one time... 

But what happens next is incredible.  The women did it.  They left to tell the others.  Basically, they got their “big girl pants” on & went even though they were afraid, but as they went Jesus showed up in their path.  That’s what happens when we obey & trust Him even when we are unsure of exactly how events will unfold.  Jesus shows up & He tells us exactly what He told those women that day. “Jesus met them saying ‘rejoice’ then He said to them ‘do not be afraid’”!

Jesus is so kind to come to them.  He knew they would be extremely fearful for many reasons, but because they trusted Him for the unfailing, unfaltering love they had witnessed, Love came to them to calm their fears, so that they could move forward in their assignment with great joy.   

The most precious message ever to be delivered was entrusted to humans.  The reason for this is because God wants us to allow Him to work His incomparable power in us.  Often we do not really know how to move forward, but God always knows & if we will trust Him, He will come to us to calm our fears & give us great joy. {2 Corinthians 4:7-15}

Think about it today…. Is there an area of your life where you need Jesus’ power to replace your fear with great joy?  Fall at His feet today & submit your weakness to Him & watch Him give you His resurrection power in its place.



Love Came Down {Day 2}

Please read: John 21:15-19

One morning my boys were going hunting.  Since they were getting up exceptionally early to leave in time to be out before sunrise, I decided to get up before they did & make them breakfast.  Since it would be hours before they would have the chance to eat, I knew a hearty breakfast would serve them well. 

As I was trying to be ever so quiet in the kitchen, the glass bowl I was going to use to mix the eggs hit the side of the cabinet & shattered.  I tried to quickly & carefully get up all the fragmented glass pieces & finish breakfast.  Days later, my son walked into the kitchen barefooted & stepped on a piece of glass that I had missed.  I had done unintentional harm out of trying to do good. 

Peter had declared his love for Jesus {John 13:37-38} & had stated that he would never deny Christ.  But when tested, he did what he said he would never do.  I feel confident that Peter never meant to cause harm to Jesus but it happened.  Quickly without any time for thought of consequence, Peter denied Christ 3 times. 

From the very moment the last words of denial left his mouth, Peter must’ve been plagued by guilt & surely the enemy came & tormented him to believe that he was no better than the traitor, Judas, who had sold Jesus for just 30 pieces of silver.  Peter had to find some way to comfort himself, so he went back to his old life. 

What was he doing before he met Jesus? 

Fishing.  {Matthew 4:18-19}  Peter knew fully how to fish & he knew fully how to comfort himself with what he knew.  It’s just like an alcoholic going back to drink.  It’s about escaping & hiding from God in the face of our sin.

But in His typical fashion of restoring broken hearts, Jesus does not let Peter hide.  Instead, He finds Peter & calls forth his destiny to be the rock upon which the church will be built.  Before Peter even re-declares his love & commitment for Jesus, His love is bringing redemption to a deep, self-inflicted wound.  The fact that Jesus asked Peter 3 times to declare his love for Him isn’t condemnation, but instead redeeming love.  Each denial, restored in the goodness of Christ. 

In those moments, the promise of God to Peter was to be the strength that would carry him, to be his sight & his satisfying sustenance.   Jesus repaired what was broken.

Think about it today….Can you give God every place in your heart that needs to be redeemed?  Give Him your broken.  Let the power of Jesus’ loving redemption sink deep & let Him be your sustaining power.



Love Came Down {Day 1}

Please read: John 19:28-37

When my son was 2 years old, we were at a rehearsal dinner for a wedding in which my little man was to be the ring bearer.  Of course, he was the cutest thing in the room.  He had been doted upon & treated like royalty by all the friends & family gathered there.  The night was almost over when my little man was standing at the edge of the carpeted doorway, which led to a long marble hallway.  He looked at me with a very mischievous 2-year-old look.  I said, "don’t go down that hallway, stay on this carpet  He gave that beautiful, glistening hallway one more glance & then he stepped one foot onto the marble while keeping one foot on the carpet & just stood & smiled at me with a sweet little grin. He obeyed his own way, not breaking the rules but not abiding by them either.

My son is a rule bender by nature {he might come by this naturally from his mother}.  My son & myself are not the only ones who do this.  We are naturally a people who try to look good even in the face of sin.  We think that if we only slightly bend the rules while pointing out how the faults of others are worse than ours, we will still look righteous.

The people of Jesus’ day were no different.  They had become so legalistic about their religion that they could commit sin & condemn others in the very same breath.  The religious rules of the leaders were burdensome.  We can’t even begin to imagine how very deep the liturgical roots ran into their souls, though even today man-made rules about salvation enslave many to believe it is based on performance rather than grace.

When Jesus died on the cross, the leaders of the time were adamant that His body be taken down before sunset.   The leaders needed Jesus down off of the cross before the upcoming Passover so they could keep the law that criminals were not allowed to hang on a cross overnight.  {Deuteronomy 21:22-23}  It is ironic that the same people who deliberately sent Him to the cross, would want to abide by such strict rules all in the same day.

The problem with them keeping this law in order to keep Passover rituals is that Jesus had already died & before He died, He declared, “It is finished.”

Jesus did what the law never could...

Jesus’ death on the cross-unraveled the binding laws.  His deliverance liberated our bondage.  Though the resurrection is where our power resides, Jesus’ dying on the cross finished the work God had sent Him to do ~ which in turn means our working for God’s acceptance ended that day.  Because of His resurrection, we stand fully right with God.  Jesus took our wrongs upon Himself so that we could be fully transformed with Him & take on His righteousness. 

The world tries to make us believe the crucifixion is about rules we must obey to be accepted when in reality the crucifixion & the resurrection are about love & grace.

Think about it today….God looks upon you like a sweet child who He loves with all the fullness of His love for Christ, let that sink in today.  As you walk & live through whatever your realities are, know that the reality of the cross means that you are fully free & forgiven.  It means that God loves & accepts you.  You do not have to strive for His love.


Are Distractions Causing You to Lose Focus?

To be honest, 2018 has, thus far, been a difficult year.  Extra stress, not enough sleep & relational difficulties are making me a bit grumpy. 

Seasons like this can steal my joy.   My heart longs to live my life valuing my relationship with Jesus so much, that I sit at His feet, eagerly listening for words that will bring me true fulfillment without distraction.  But too often, I just don’t.   There are so many things that assault my focus on Him.  Family, work, friends, even church can blur my focus. 

Let’s be real, we do have responsibilities in this world.  Resting in Jesus doesn't mean never doing any work in life.  It means not becoming bogged down & overwhelmed by those responsiblities.  Many of our responsibilities are good and a blessing from God, but we must not let them distract us from Jesus.  This is how the enemy steals our joy.

Now it happened as they went that He {Jesus} entered a cetain village & a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet & heartd His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving & she approached Him & said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered & said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried & troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed & Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  {Luke 10:38-42}

Remember this story of Mary & Martha?  Just imagine the joy Martha initially had knowing Jesus was coming to her village and He would be stopping at her house.  There was already a deep relationship between Jesus and Martha, she was part of His “inner circle” of friends, so she would have been thrilled at His imminent visit. 

But somewhere between the news of His coming & the time of His coming, distraction set in.  I’m sure when she realized she needed to clean her house & run to the market, stress built up & it turned into anger & then she might’ve yelled at all the people in her house.  {I’m just sayin’ that might be a possibility}

I imagine that by the time Jesus arrived, the tension between the two sisters was already high. 

Martha forgot, in the middle of common hospitality, where her focus was supposed to be.  She began to believe a lie that the importance was in the work & not in the relationship. 

So she asked Jesus, don’t you even care that my sister is not helping me with all the work?   Martha was so overwhelmed and anxious about ordinary matters, that she actually questioned the goodness & character of Jesus. 

I can sympathize with Martha.  I, too often, let ordinary matters cause me to be overwhelmed & anxious about my life too.  Whether I allow my to-do list to cause the stress, or whether unforseable circumstances take me there, the place where I find myself overwhelmed with life, blinds me to the fact that Jesus has my circumstances under control.  Nothing in my life takes Him by surprise & nothing can happen in my life, whether self imposed or not, that He cannot handle & that He cannot give me strength to handle.

So how do we keep our focus on Jesus in the midst of life’s responsibilities & difficulties?

·               Be Grateful ~ we must be thankful for the cares He has given us.   Being thankful for things like our family, friends & job, among others, will keep us focused on Him.  We must, however, not foolishly draw added pressure or distraction on ourselves.  Anxieties, not workload, distract us from Jesus.  We can stay focused on His great love even in the midst of extremely busy days.   This will overflow into joy that shows the world a reflection of Jesus. {1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Peter 1:6, James 1:2-4, Romans 12:12}

·               Watch our Words ~ Instead of asking “Jesus, don’t you care”, we need to say, “Jesus I know You care, so show me how to be focused on You in the midst of my life.”  He has promised to help us; we must just be willing to receive his help.  Our words in the middle of stressful times must be chosen carefully.  Careless words during seasons of high stress & anxiety can be hurtful to people we love & can draw our own focus away from Jesus. {John 1:16, Psalm 46:1, Hebrews 4:15-16, Isaiah 41:10}

·               Evaluate Stress ~ Ask God for guidance to know if what we are stressed about is really an issue that matters.  Sometimes we just need to take things off our plate.  Even ‘good’ things might not be right for your season of life.  Evaluate your responsibilities & the affect it is having on you mentally, physically & spiritually.  {Psalm 32:8, James 1:5, Romans 12:2}

Have you taken your distractions to the Father in prayer?  Have you asked Him for guidance to know how to deal with your anxieties?  Ask Him to show you how to rest in His love while dealing with the things that are difficult in your life.