Word for Today Archives

6/10/21 Humble

Low. Meek. Submissive. Humble. These seemingly negative descriptive words are like poison to those who are haughty, conceited, proud, and overbearing. Jesus said that when we lower ourselves and submit to Him, if we live in total obedience to Him, He would actually lift us up. He said that those who are meek would be blessed. How can you humble yourself if you don’t really know how? Quoting C.S. Lewis, It’s not thinking less of yourself, but it’s really thinking of yourself less. Begin by confessing your sins to God. All of them. Confess your weaknesses to other people you trust. Submit to authority, whether good or bad. Gladly receive correction from other people. Let others be recognized instead of you. Serve other people. Forgive people. Be grateful for what you have. Build people up. Die daily to your selfish wants, and lay down your pride. Try any one of these and see if you don’t feel a little lift. (God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6; Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29)

6/9/21 – Sing

Every one of my closest friends is an awesome singer. I mean, they are all gifted vocalists. Me? No. I don’t really sing that well, but I do it. I sing, certainly not because I want to hear myself and not because I feel pressured. I sing because the Lord of heaven and earth deserves my praise. He is worthy of it. He wants us all to praise Him with our voices. Some people choose not to sing when they’re in church. They stand and listen. They consume. But I ask, what can you give to the Lord? Confession: I used to be that person. I was silent in church. I couldn’t sing to the Lord because I wasn’t close to Him. I didn’t really know Him. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut! Praise Him wherever you are, at home, at work, or in your car! Don’t worry if you can’t belt it out like Carrie Underwood or Danny Gokey. It doesn’t matter. God wants your praise regardless of the quality of your voice. If you praise the Lord with your voice, if you worship Him by singing, not only does He receive, but you’ll receive too. Comfort, hope, joy, and peace. Sing to the Lord and see what happens! (Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:1-2; My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23)

6/8/21 – Incentive

The incentive for the fish in the stream is the dangling worm on the hook. They know that if they grab it, they’ll receive nourishment. Fish have little to no capacity to contemplate the effects of their actions before they act. All they know is that they are hungry. They know that the worm will satisfy their hunger, but in reality, they’re literally dead meat. If they only knew what was just beyond that plump and juicy worm. Do incentives work on you? Free internet for a year if you…a chance for a million dollars if you…a night of ecstasy if you…most incentives do not pan out for your good. Incentives are quite plainly, bait; they’re introduced to you to get you to behave a certain way. The devil is a genius at offering incentives, isn’t he? Unless our core values and boundaries are solid and unless we’re walking close to the Lord, we will be caught, just like the fish grabbing onto that worm. The devil is working against you at warp-speed to do whatever he can to take you down. If he’s not offering incentives to you, there’s a reason. (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5:8; For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23)

6/7/21 – Slack

Don’t slack off. I heard this sigh-producing phrase from my mother, my boss, and of course my pastors over the course of my life. I’m a slacker by nature, so to hear it is one thing, but to have it penetrate my mind and travel all the way to my soul is another story. The fact that someone feels compelled to speak those words to me is a tell-all. It’s so easy to slack off, isn’t it? We’re gung-ho to start a big project. We’re off to the races, but then we get tired when we reach lap 9 of an 18-lap run. And it’s mostly when we don’t see the light at the end that we become discouraged, disinterested, or just plain tired. I’ve been praying for people for a while now and have seen little to no movement. But Oswald Chambers reminds me today of what the Lord is trying to teach me: If you abide in Me…that is continue to act and think and work from that center...you ask what you will and it will be done for you. He says that if we are abiding in Jesus, we are the will of God. All I have to do is abide in Him. If Jesus is not dominating every interest of mine, it is inevitable. I will slack off. Now that I’ve surrendered my entire life to Him, I cannot do my own thing anymore. Confession: But I am distracted by so many outside stimuli. I am pulled this way and that, and if I’m not careful, my full devotion will be three quarters. Not long after that, it will be empty. I cannot allow that to happen, for I’ve come so far…(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; And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6)

6/6/21 – Worth

How much will it cost? What is its value? These are the questions we ask when we contemplate a pricy purchase. We look it over. We do the math. We read the reviews. We compare it to others like it. We get the opinions of the people who know us, people we trust. After all that, we can finally answer the question: Is this purchase really worth it? We size people up in the same way, don’t we? People have sized me up, I know. They’ve asked themselves, is she really worth all it will cost me? Some have said, yes, and some have said no. Either way, I’ve come to believe something about myself after all these years. I am worth it. I am worth all that it would cost someone to have me because Jesus says so. I know who I am in Him, and that’s all that matters. My confidence has grown because I know Him, and I know what He thinks about me. I am chosen. I am forgiven. I am free. I am a child of the Almighty God. Until you believe that about yourself, you will continue walking around in your chains, bound and enslaved. You are worth it. Every part of you. (For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14; …for the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I Samuel 16:7)

6/5/21 – Season

To everything, there is a season. I love this scripture. Solomon’s wise words have stood the test of time, as they are so true for today. As you read these verses taken from Ecclesiastics 3: 1-8 (this was copied from the NKJV of the Bible), reflect on them, will you? To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain and a time to lose; A time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to tear and a time to sew; A time to keep silence and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; A time of war and a time of peace. In which season of life do you find yourself? It’s best if you walk through them, both the difficult and the easy, embracing God’s wisdom. He will guide you if you’ll let Him. 

6/4/21 – Forsake

I’m glad God is not like me. I’m glad He will be here with me in the good and bad, in the wonderful and in the woeful. He will never leave me or forsake me. Never. I can count on Him. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, I can be confident in this. Before I am overcome with anxiety and sorrow, I must remember it. For my own sanity, I must remember that specific promise He gives all through scripture. He is my help. He will never leave me. I want to be so dependent on these promises that when some disaster meets me, I am able to rest instead of despair. I pray I will be able to say, God in His sovereignty knew this all along and He will help me through it. He will be my comfort. He will be my help. He will be sitting right here sorrowing with me. (Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10; …for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5)

6/3/21 – Will

If we are walking close to the Lord, we should never have to ask what His will is for us. We will already be in it. It’s by listening to Him (reading His word), discerning the promptings from His Holy Spirit (feeling that gentle nudge), and talking with Him (prayers) that we really get to know Him and what He wants for us. We are so connected to Him that there should be no doubt that we are where we should be and are doing what we should be doing. We are communing with the right people, and we are doing and saying the things we ought. We will talk about His goodness, and we’ll be quick to share His offer of salvation. Will we get it wrong? Of course we will, as the evil one seeks to devour us and we are still operating in our sinful nature. We confess it to the Lord and we carry on. There’s never cause for worry whether or not you’re doing the will of God for your life if you are living in obedience and complete surrender to Him. But the key word here is if(You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3; Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)

6/2/21 – Balm

A good friend of mine recently gave me some of the herbs she grows in her garden. Three, I have already tried, but lemon balm seemed particularly interesting because I’ve heard that it can fight against sleepless nights. Just the word balm sold me. By definition, balm is a fragrant ointment used to heal or sooth the skin. In Biblical times, the land of Gilead was a fertile, mountainous region east of the Jordan River in the Middle East and is known for its healing balm, liquid rosin that dripped from certain trees such as pine, cedar, cypress, or terebinth. Because of the easy access to this medicinal balm, many doctors lived in or near Gilead. Although the balm from Gilead could provide physical healing, it could not provide for the Israelites the spiritual healing that comes only from obedience to God. We too have plenty of balm to cure most physical ailments today but neglect to ask our Heavenly Father to cure our spiritual ones. The Bible (and the old hymn I sang as a little girl) refers to Jesus as the true balm of Gilead and that only He can heal our sin-sick souls. Please, Lord. Heal our deep, spiritual wounds that cannot be healed any other way. (Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you. Jeremiah 8:22; And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick…Luke 5:31:32)

6/1/21 – Lose

It’s often while trying to hang onto something so tightly we lose our grip. Our hands become too slippery or too weak to hold on for another minute. That happened to me over and over out on the lake while learning to water-ski. Standing up, I could finally do, but holding on to the rope after that for more than 2 seconds was impossible. I’m sure my lack of upper body strength had a lot to do with it. Sometimes, it’s just better to let go and face the music. I am not meant to water-ski. Sometimes losing is winning in the end. That’s what Jesus taught. If we try to hang on to our lives, always grabbing on to life-giving things and experiences, we will lose them, He said. If we give up our own selfish desires, positions, achievements, and possessions for His sake, we will have life as it was meant to be. The opposite leads to death. (And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24; But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33)

5/31/21 Fallen

Today we remember the fallen. The brave men and women who fought for our freedoms and lost their lives in the midst deserve so much more than we can give. If you can, find some time today to remember their sacrifice. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our eternal freedom in His death on the cross. Find some time today to praise Him. To thank Him. To remember His sacrifice. Because of Him and His free gift to us, we will live forever with Him in paradise. Accept that gift today if you haven’t already. (Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8, For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13)

5/30/21 – Prosper

I don’t tend to be the woe-is-me type person. I don’t often wish I had what someone else has. But when I drive by those beautiful mansions on the shore of Lake Michigan, I might feel envious. The funny thing is though, that after I have driven by and I get back on the road to reality, that envy disappears like a vapor. If you’ve got a small living space like I do, it’s normal to want a larger one at times. It’s normal to want to be as beautiful as someone else. To have a nice car like someone else. But when the wicked and evil people of this world actually prosper, that’s when I, like Jeremiah in the Bible, wonder why. News Flash: This world or anything in it, is not my home. And it isn’t yours either whether you’re prosperous or not. It will be destroyed, so it’s in our best interests as Christ-followers to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where nothing bad can happen to them. What are those treasures? Eternal life. Seeing God face-to-face. A crown of righteousness. Meeting Jesus and being made like Him. Fullness of joy. Pleasures evermore. When I think about this kind of prosperity, earthly prosperity seems like mere pennies in comparison. (Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? Jeremiah 12:1; Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20)

5/29/21 – Crowd

I have an artist friend who paints lovely landscapes and sells them at art fairs across the country. While there are likely thousands of landscape painters selling their work in various shows, my friend stands out among others. He not only sells his work there in his booth but paints as well. He really draws a crowd. People like to see how it’s done. Soon more people gather to see what all the fuss is about and before he knows it, he has sold 4 paintings. We humans follow the crowd don’t we? We must see what’s going on. We are a nosey species and tend to do what everyone else is doing. Most of us follow the trends when it comes to fashion, business, and of course, social media. When Jesus came, He literally changed history. Because He had a different approach, a new way, people naturally followed Him. Because of His genuine love for them, He was always challenging them to be better, to love others more than themselves, to serve rather than be served, to be humble so they’d be lifted up. There are only 2 crowds, really, the crowd led by the evil one or the one led by Jesus. Look at your life. You’re in one or the other. (I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. John 12:46; And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. I John 2:17)

5/28/21 – Yoke

And I’m not talking about the yellow goop in the middle of an egg (yolk). Yoke: verb – to join with the same. If a yoke joins 2 oxen together, then the oxen should be similar in height and weight. When working together to farm the land, tilling it will be easier. When things don’t work out with our relationships, it could be because we’re yoked with people who have a different spirit inside them. Light cannot be joined to the darkness and continue to be light. The opposite is also true; darkness cannot be joined to the light and remain dark. There will be trouble, yes, but people who have a similar set of values, are of the same mindset, and have the same vision will be less likely to butt heads. Un-yoke yourself with people who will tempt you to abandon your vision, your holy calling. How will you know whom to let loose? Oh, you’ll know. (Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. 1 Corinthians 15:33; Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14)

5/27/21 – Boundary

I used to think boundaries were selfish. I mean, think about it. We have property lines where we live. We don’t cut each other’s grass beyond the boundary. It’s just a given unless an agreement is made between neighbors. As kids we even threatened people we deemed as unsafe by saying, Don’t step one foot on my property. It was a proud demonstration of ownership. In our lives, we need similar boundaries with our spouses, friends, and family as well. These are your lines in the sand or non-negotiables you regard as necessary to remain safe in your environment. The problem isn’t having boundaries, but it is your implementation of them. It’s a vulnerable affair that informs people they should not call after 10pm, for example, or that you will not support a particular charity that doesn’t reflect your values. The important thing is to say it, to let the other person know what the boundary is, otherwise, you’ll be the one who’s out of sorts. It makes no difference whether or not they agree, as it’s your boundary. Boundaries are not selfish or rude, and having them is essential for your peace and growth. I’ll bet that people will respect you more (after they get over the shock) once the boundary is known and that you actually adhere to it. (For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6)

5/26/21 – Always

We, as Christ-followers, should always be praying. It shouldn’t be something we pause to do. If we are living in obedience to the Lord, praying should be like breathing. We are always doing it without being conscious of it. It happens. Like the blood that flows through our veins naturally, prayer should be in our minds continually. Our prayers are always answered. It’s a promise from Jesus. Everybody that asks receives. We might not receive it in the time frame we want or in the way we want, but what Jesus said is true. We, if we are obeying Him, will always receive His best. We can trust in that. Now, if we’re not living a Christ-honoring life, that’s another story altogether. (If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7; Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3; Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…Ephesians 6:18)

5/25/21 – Choose

When certain of my friends want to get together for a meal, they always ask, Where do you want to go? I usually never know the answer. There are so many great restaurants in our community, making it hard to decide. And this is just one pea-sized example. The elephant-sized decisions don’t come around as often, but they come, don’t they? And they’re often riddled with so much anxiety and confusion, especially when the final choice affects other people. Unless I’m constantly walking and talking with the Lord, that is, praying for wisdom and discernment, and studying His word, I may as well grab my mask, get on a plane, and head to Jamaica. But before I pack my bags, I need think about this: The choice still has to be made, regardless of my whereabouts. News Flash: Since I follow Christ’s teachings, I have basically given up my right to choose. Since He is perfect, wouldn’t it make more sense to let Him choose for me? If I’m walking with Him, I will naturally do what He wants me to do. I will hear what He says. I will see what He does. Think about Joseph in the Bible. He had every right to abuse his brothers for what they did to him. But he waived that right and he let God deal with it. If only we would choose like that. (Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20; …choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15)

5/24/21 Ashes

When you go through something traumatic and everything that was beautiful in your life is now a big, ugly mess, where do you turn? What do you do? Sometimes you run to the nearest bar, neighbor, or pharmacy. These things, while promising to be there for you, are not the answer. While the hurt might continue for quite some time, Jesus promises to be there for you. In this world, you’re going to have trouble, He said. We often stop reading there, don’t we? In our pain and agony, we put the Bible down on the table, but if we would just read a little further, He also says that He has overcome the world. It may seem that you cannot go on living for one more minute, but I tell you from experience that you can. He will make something beautiful from the ashes of your life. It’s a promise in His word. His promises are true. They’re everlasting. Claim this one today. I have. (“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 16:33; To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3)

5/22/21 – Independent

When we fought for our independence back in the late 1700’s, we were said to have been in rebellion against the Brits. And it’s true. We were tired of their continued attempts to impose control over us. We wanted to make our own rules and live by our own laws. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I believe that a rebellious spirit remains in America and is more evident now than at any other time in our history. We, as Christ followers, even find ourselves fighting for our independence from the Lord. Because of our rebellious nature, we think we deserve to do whatever we want, to do whatever feels good. We often find it difficult to obey the commands God has set forth in His word because we think they’re too binding. Too strict. Too smothering. In reality, however, these commandments are only for our good. He knows the implications of disobedience because He’s God, the One Who created us. The ramifications of disobedience are everywhere in scripture. It’s only when we realize that God’s ways are better and higher, and when we finally surrender ourselves to His plan for us, we loose the chains that bind us. It’s in obeying that we are free. (For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts Isaiah 55:8-9; For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11)

5/21/21 – Encouragement

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, a good dose of encouragement is like a downpour during a drought. I have a few good friends who are gifted to offer encouragement like that. What’s so amazing is that the Lord knows what kind I need and when I need it, so he sends that specific gift of encouragement to me at just the right time. What about you? Do you have that gift? I don’t think I do, so I have to be deliberate about it. For me, the work isn’t in speaking it but is being sensitive to the needs of others. It’s noticing, discerning, or being aware that someone needs a You go, girl! or a Hang in there! from me. Even reminding someone that he or she is worth it coupled with reasons to support it will be like a cup of cold water on a hot, dry day. Jesus encouraged Peter by giving him a new name and by telling him he was a rock on which the entire church would be built! (And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18) 

5/20/21 – Ought

I always wonder if I’m doing as I ought to do. Saying what I ought to say. Loving as I ought to love. I’m quite sure I don’t do as I ought more than I do what I ought. Knowing what I ought to do and not doing it leaves me feeling empty, less than, unfulfilled. The oughts Christ lays out in His word for all of us are for our good and are non-negotiable. The oughts I struggle with are these: praying (And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1) trusting (You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 24:3-4  discernment (The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14; honesty (Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices. Colossians 3:9; generosity (In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35)

5/19/21 – Continue

It’s often difficult to continue that exercise program, to cut those calories, to dump money into the stock market, or to pray for someone day after day without seeing results. To continue, to stay the course, to keep on keeping on is the hardest thing to do when you can’t see any evidence that things are improving. We often grow weary and begin to think there’s no use. We say, Why bother? or This isn’t working, so I quit. And I get it. I’ve been there so many times, and I find myself there now. Nothing seems to be moving forward. But the key words here are seems, see, and evidenceFrequently (and I’m preaching to myself here, folks), we can’t see the good that is coming. Because it is stepping very lightly, cautiously in the darkness, there is no outward evidence that a change is on the horizon. We can’t see that the scale is about to tip in our favor, so in our frustration, we eat a banana split. We can’t see that the price on that stock is about to soar, so we listen to the rumors and we sell prematurely. We can’t see that the friend or family member we’ve been agonizing over is about to surrender his or her life to the Lord, so we stop praying for a change of heart. Feeling the urge to give up? Take a few moments and read the amazing account of a man named Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50 of the Bible. 

5/18/21 – Friend

A friend is defined in the Oxford dictionary as a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. If we are longing for a friend, we seek him out, as we choose certain people according to our needs. We can determine fairly quickly who our closest friends will be according to what we can receive from them. Upon a first meeting, there is a click, a chemistry that ignites something in us. We say, yes. We can hang with this person. There is a commonality, whether it be in personality, goals, or needs. Since the fall, each of us has a bent or pull toward the things of this world. Let’s face it; the world has a lot to offer. We naturally click with it now. If we are worldly-minded, the things of this world are beautiful to us. They’re enticing. But they are fleeting. If we, however, are spiritually minded, the things of this world won’t matter. You cannot love the world and love God at the same time. Will we ever get there? Will there ever be a time when our friendship with the world will be completely over and without any chance of reconciliation? Let go of the empty and temporary pleasures this world offers as they only lead to misery and heartache. This world is going to die. Don’t let it take you with it! (You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4; Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15)

5/17/21 – Darkness

Darkness is the absence of light. Light and darkness cannot be joined. When one is present, the other is absent. There is so much darkness today in our world; demonic activity is all around us. In our neighborhoods, in our families, and even in our churches, the devil is roaming around like a lion seeking those whom he may devour. He is the god of the darkness and he knows his time is running out. Don’t be one of his many victims. If you’re living contrary to the light, come out before it’s too late. The Lord is calling you out of this present darkness into His marvelous light. Don’t ignore His call. Put to death your sin and come into the light. (The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Isaiah 9:2; Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12; The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 

5/16/21 – Power

We often feel powerless when we find ourselves stuck, whether we are having car trouble out in the wilderness or when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation in our relationships with other people. We are not powerless. If we as Christ-followers are preparing ourselves for these times, we will find that the struggle isn’t as bad as all that. God has given us, not only the tools, but He has made His power available to us for every circumstance. Imagine having God’s power behind everything you’re thinking, saying, and doing. All you have to do is ask for it. Pray and ask God to pour out the power of His Holy Spirit on you today. It’s a real thing. (For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7; Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10)

5/15/21 – Mind

Here is where it all takes place. Everything. Your mind is home to all your thoughts. Thoughts about the future, thoughts about your relationships, thoughts about God, thoughts about right and wrong; all these thoughts live in your mind. This is where the action is. This is where the battles are fought. If you could just understand that your thoughts control everything, whether you win or lose. Nobody but you can control what you think about. If you’re happy, it’s because you’re thinking happy thoughts. If you’re sad or discouraged, it’s because you’re thinking about sad and discouraging things. God, in His love, has given you, whether you’re saved or lost, the freedom to think about whatever you want. Consequently, what you allow to enter into your mind has a profound effect on the decisions you make and then on what actions you take. (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2; Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8)

5/14/21 – Love

Maybe you’re a person who naturally loves others. It’s as easy as brushing your teeth. Your parents loved you unconditionally and modeled it. You always knew they loved you no matter what you did. What is love anyway? To the best of my knowledge (and that’s not a lot), it’s an attachment, a bonding; it’s a commitment to someone or something. It’s not really a feeling because feelings go away. So if you’re not feeling the love, don’t panic. Remember the commitment you made and forge ahead. It takes a lot of guts to first, make a commitment (to love someone) and then to stick with it. I think of the commitment I’ve made to the Lord. I’ve chosen to give my life to Him. I’ve committed to love Him and to serve Him until He comes for me. Sometimes I don’t feel like it, but because of my commitment to Him and the trust I have in Him, I will forge ahead. Just recently, I’ve asked Him to help me to love people the way He does. To commit to love someone else the way I love myself. Imagine if we loved other people like that. Here’s what the Bible says real love is…(Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… I Corinthians 13: 4-8)

5/13/21 – Time

I am aware of the time. If I’m required to be somewhere at 2pm, I’m there at 2pm, maybe even a tad earlier. If I’m late, there’s a good reason. People in relationship with me can count on that. In fact, I become anxious when there is the slightest chance I’ll be late. I don’t know if that’s inborn, or if over time, I’ve developed that characteristic of being prompt. But what if don’t know the time of an event? What if I can’t know it? What do I do then? Take the up and coming rapture of the church. It’s coming, folks. I don’t know when, but I know, according to scripture and according to the signs of the times that it’s near. It’s at the door. Are you ready? Do you know for sure that you are going when that time finally comes? You can know. You can prepare for it. Trust me; you don’t want to be left here. Go to the What Does God Say? page of my blog and read ABC’s by JD Farag. Pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to know, and then read the entire book of Revelation. Hurry, because it’s about to get crazy… (Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Matthew 24:33)

5/12/21 – Lust

Most people think lust has only to do with sexual immorality, but in reality, lust is any distraction that pulls us away from God. The Bible speaks of it as the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh; really, any desire of your sinful nature is a qualifier. Food is one. Money and sex are others. Certainly, these are good things, but when consumed through lust and not love, good becomes bad rather quickly. Lust (the opposite of love) is the epitome of selfishness. We need to do everything we can to run (not walk) from these things which cause the lust in our hearts to rule over us, to enslave us. But it’s something we have to do. We say we pray for help in this area and God doesn’t hear us. We say we can’t stop, but God says that He has already given us an escape route. We, however, in our selfishness, choose to take a different and more exciting one, and consequently, we end up in a dark alley somewhere fighting for our lives. Exercise some self-control. You do it. God won’t do for you what He gave you the power to do for yourself. (No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I Corinthians 10:13; So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17)

5/11/21 – Release

Sometimes I feel like a dog refusing to give up a bone that still has a little meat on it. I tried that once, to get a pork chop bone out of Daisy’s mouth, and she all but bit off my hand. Pork bones are too soft for dogs and could ultimately be a choking hazard. Because they don’t know that, and they couldn’t care less, they’ll hold onto that bone until their death. Why? Because it tastes good. That’s how it can be with me. I have clung to certain people and to things (idols) as if they could bring me happiness when in reality, they have only brought me heartache. The difference between Daisy and me is that I know these idols will destroy me. If I will only let go; if I will only release them to Him, He’ll take these battles I’ve been fighting with myself and fight them for me. And while He’s at it, He promises to heal me. It’s really all up to me. (Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7; The righteous shall move onward and forward; those with pure hearts shall become stronger and stronger. Job 17:9)

5/10/21 – Honest

Tell me what you want. Be honest, people will say to me. If I’m honest, this word still brings me anxiety at times. In the past, being honest meant that someone could get hurt (me included) or could become angry with me. So, I learned to lie at a young age because I figured if I could control other people’s feelings about me, they would like me. That’s why I said things like, It doesn’t matter to me, and Whatever you want. Sometimes it was true, but sometimes it wasn’t. Because the risk was too great, integrity wasn’t something I cared about preserving or even acquiring. These days, I’ve learned that if I really love and care for someone, it’s ALWAYS best to speak the truth in love, even if it hurts. I’ve learned that if I’m honest and if my heart is in right relationship with the Lord, my sincerity will sow a seed that will one day benefit the other person. Lord, help me to be honest with myself and with others today, no matter the cost. (Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. Proverbs 12:22; Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”)

5/9/21 – Pure

When we buy certain spices, extracts, or oils, we want them to be pure. If, for example, when we buy pure vanilla extract, we don’t expect that any other ingredients have been added to it. Those highly desirable pure items (without any additives) take much longer to process making them harder to come by and can be quite expensive. It’s that way when we decide to purify our hearts. The process can be long and full of distractions (additives) and more times than not, we abandon the idea if we’re not completely committed to it. If we desire the pure heart that Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:8, we need to be obsessed with having it. Find the pure vanilla, not the imitation. Now, it doesn’t mean the heart won’t be spotless, but it can be pure in its pursuit of God. We need to get rid of the obstacles that keep us acquiring it. When our hearts are in turmoil, it’s because our sin is fighting against our desire for purity. Our souls are at war with our sin. Be single-minded. Go all-out for that one thing, that pearl of great price, the pursuit of purity, and the ultimate blessing of seeing God is yours. (“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8; Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10)

5/8/21 – Eyes

Think about your eyes for a moment. No camera ever made or that will ever be made could compare to the human eye. Our eyes can focus on 50 different objects every second. They can distinguish approximately 10 million different colors. Since 80% of all learning comes through the eyes, why do we allow them to look on things that will destroy us? We have control of everything we see. If we don’t WANT to see it, we close our eyes. Open them only to the Word of Truth. (I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. Psalm 101:3; The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:22; For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. I John 2:16)

5/7/21 – Venture

To venture out into the unknown is risky. I think of the time I went to Hawaii with some friends; 3 things were must-sees for me: to swim under a waterfall, to visit Pearl Harbor, and to swim in the Pacific. One was not risky at all, but the other 2 could’ve killed me, and that last one almost did. I was coerced into an afternoon of skydiving a few years ago and prayed to God that my parachute would open. We are venturing on with God, we who are Christ-followers. We never know what a day will bring forth. But we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t just hope, we know that God is in control of every activity in which we are involved. If we are fully surrendered to Him, He will take us on an exciting and amazing venture. We can face anything if He is leading, guiding, and protecting. (O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me…Psalm 139)

5/6/21 – Jealous

Unfortunately, this word describes a lot of people, as we are generally jealous or envious of another person’s beauty, talent, social status, financial status, marital status, or health status. The jealousy I’m talking about here is the kind that produces envy. We want what the other person has. We desire it so desperately that we become angry with that person. We can even develop hatred for that person whom we say we love. This jealousy then can, in the worst cases, even lead to murder. 

Fact:  Nothing can satisfy the jealous person. Even if the jealous person finally acquires what the other person has, they’ll find something else for which to be jealous. It’s an issue of the heart within the jealous person. Until this person repents for this killer sin, and until he asks God to heal whatever is broken within him, the jealousy will fester and could eventually lead to disastrous actions. If you have a few minutes, read the account of one brother jealous of another in Genesis chapter 4 of the Bible. (You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:2-3)

5/5/21 – Left

I was reading in Matthew chapter 5 this morning, not really expecting to glean anything new as I’ve read it many times. Jesus had taken His disciples up to the mountain and taught them to crave the opposite of what they desired. But before reading verses 3-12 again, I thought of these 12 guys He chose to become His followers. They must have received a ton of backlash from friends and family members for abandoning everything to follow a random teacher from Nazareth. I mean, they left EVERYTHING without knowing anything about Him. The sheer power of persuasion Jesus had is astounding. The Bible doesn’t go into great detail, but it does say that Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee and saw some fisherman casting their nets into the water. It wasn’t considered to be a glamorous job at all but, I’m sure, provided a decent living at that time. Jesus walked up to them and said, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. The Bible says they immediately left their nets and followed Him. Just like that. They dropped their nets and left their boat. Imagine their family’s reaction when they returned home to say goodbye. After all, these brothers were, no doubt, providing much of the income. The point here is that all 12 men abandoned everything they knew and went with this Jesus of Nazareth. People probably thought they were nuts! Do you ever wonder what you’d have done had He called you? (And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19; After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. Luke 5:27-28)

5/4/21 – Stubborn

People who are in relationship with me know that I’m, for the most part, a go-with-the-flow type person. I mean, I don’t need to be in charge, decide where we go for dinner…you get the picture. However, I’ve been characterized by certain people as stubborn, but mostly because I refused to do what they wanted me to do without good reason. Stubbornness is when a person’s mind is made up, even when there are good reasons to change it. If I’m given a good reason, I will change my mind and move to the opposing side. But stubbornness, where God is concerned, is just plain stupid. I don’t always know His reasons for asking me to do something out of my comfort zone, but they’re always for my good. Always. But because of my stupidity and pride, the root of this characteristic, there have been times that He has asked me to do things and I have either ignored Him completely or I’ve said, Hang on a minuteGive me some time to figure this out. Not good. If we’re not careful, our stubbornness can lead us right into Hell, either here on earth or to the real one. (But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:5; But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Psalm 81:11-12)

5/3/21 – Old

A good friend of mine recently spoke of a portion of the Bible when Jesus was teaching about patching a new piece of fabric to a tear on an old garment and also about putting new wine into old wineskins. Neither technique works because when you wash the garment, the new fabric will begin pulling away from the old garment making its tear worse over time. The same holds true for wine. The new wine, when poured into old wineskins will cause the wineskins to burst, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. (Matthew 9) The point of Jesus’ lesson to His disciples here is that He wanted to do something new. He wanted to give them new garments but they want to patch up the old ones. He wants to pour out new wine to them but they have old wineskins, which can’t hold the new wine. I believe, like my friend, that Jesus has a new plan for us, but we want the old one for whatever reasons. He wants to do a new thing, but we are caught up in what was and cannot receive what new thing Jesus wants to give to us. Spending our time talking and listening to Him is the only way to prepare us for what new thing He is about to pour out. (Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19)

5/2/21 Focus

I can always tell when my focus is off. I begin thinking about things that don’t matter, things that I can’t change. It’s an uneasy feeling, a sort of restlessness or even powerlessness. This is where the devil plays. He plays in my uneasiness, my impatience. He likes to camp out there and torment me. This campground is a dangerous place, so I ask the Lord to intervene. But He won’t do for me what I can do for myself. I have the power to tell the devil to leave. I have the power to focus on the Lord and on the job He has for me to do. These things I can do. And the undone? I’ll leave that to the Lord, who can do what He wants with those whom He loves. (Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know. John 13:7; The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water; it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8)

5/1/21 – Stop

I was watching a YouTube video of a girl I subscribe to, and in the latest episode, she had just purchased an old van with intentions to transform it into a travel-type camper van as many people are doing these days. She got into some trouble during a roadside stop on her first trip, as she locked both her keys and her phone in the van. Using a fairly large stone, she broke the passenger side window and climbed in. What she didn’t know was that the van had a special security system that didn’t allow her to start the van. There was nobody to call since she was so far away from home. In her desperation, she began waving down cars, but nobody stopped to help. She cried and panicked feeling she would never get out of her situation. Finally, after several hours, someone finally stopped to helped her, a modern-day good Samaritan. Oh, how many times I have seen someone in trouble like her and haven’t stopped. What would you do? Read Luke chapter 10:25-37 to see what Jesus said. (Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18)

4/30/21 – Weep

It seems I cry so easily these days. Do you? In conversations with certain people, they confess that they’re not criers. I used to be that way. When I was little, my mom would tell me not to cry or she’d give me something to cry about. These days she says, Now don’t cry. It’ll make you look old. I think because she didn’t know how to handle a weeping child, she taught me to suppress that emotion. Or because she’d cried so much when my brother died that she gave up crying and became a no-tears advocate. Now, here on my yellow couch, I think I’ve just about made up for all the years of being dry-eyed. When I watch or read emotional stories, I actually weep without fear of ridicule. I weep with those who weep. I weep when I’m alone. Except I’m not really alone now, am I? The Bible says that God sees each tear that falls. When His dear friend died, even Jesus wept. Plus we have to remember that weeping might endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5; You have taken account of my miseries; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8)

4/29/21 – Scoffers

I thought that a scoffer was simply someone who made fun of people who believed in a particular theory or an idea in which they disagreed. In the Hebrew, however, not only do scoffers disbelieve, mock, and ridicule others, they are ambassadors who rally or recruit others to join up with them. The Bible says that in the last days there will be scoffers, influencers against God and His word. It says that scoffing will only increase as the end draws near. I have found this to be true in recent days. Many people I knew to have believed in Jesus at some point in their lives have walked away from Him for various reasons. (…in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. II Peter 3:3) Many have either adopted false teachings or do not believe in God at all. As Christ-followers, if we’re not careful, we can be influenced by these people. When we stop influencing and start to become influenced, Jesus said, it is time to shake the dust off your feet. Matthew 10:14. News Flash: But the day is coming, a promised day when everybody will believe and will bow down. (…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11.) They will accept the Truth, and their scoffing will be silenced forever.

4/28/21 – Book

The most important book in life has never been read. It’s named The Lamb’s Book of Life. The Lamb refers to the Lamb of God. Jesus Christ. The Savior of the world. This book contains the name of every person who will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Once you admit that you’re a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and confess with your mouth that He is Lord, your name will be added. If you’re unsure whether or not your name is written there, it would be my strongest plea that you tend to it right away, for only you can decide. It’s your choice. But do hurry. Time is running out. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15; Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Revelation 3:3)

4/27/21 – Ask

Sometimes it’s hard to ask another person for what I want. Either I fear their rejection, or the thing I want seems too difficult to acquire so I don’t bother. But if I am totally honest here, the root cause of my not asking for what I want or need from another human being concerns my pride. At the core, I don’t want people to think I am weak. I want to appear strong and independent enough to survive life on my own. But the fact is that I do need things. I do need help. We all do. A good friend of mine has always told me, you don’t G-E-T if you don’t A-S-K. While that is almost always true, it doesn’t change the fact that it is difficult for me to ask. Somehow though, I don’t feel that way about asking the Lord for things. Perhaps because He already knows what I need before I ask or because His loving and caring reputation precedes Him. I can be vulnerable with Him because He knows me and loves me more than anyone else. If He says no, I’m certain it’s because He wants the best for me. He will give me my desires if I seek Him (not my desires) with my whole heart. How do I know? Because if my relationship with Him is right, His desires become mine. (You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3; If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7)

4/26/21 – Beware

Of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. These wolves are everywhere. Outwardly, they look harmless, are kind, and have seemingly good intentions. Inwardly, however, they are full of hate, evil, and deceit. They love only themselves. They seek to control. They hate criticism, and when they hear it, they respond in anger. They tempt you with money and things and promise you the world. They know the power of emotions and they use this to their advantage. The wolf pushes his own agenda. Recognize this person before you get involved. Remember that if you know the real, you’ll recognize the fake. To know the real, you must know the Lord. To know the Lord is to read about Him in His word and accept Him as truth. Sincerely pray and ask Him for much discernment to see any red flags that are waving in the distance. (Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16; The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. II Corinthians 2:14)

4/25/21 – Certain

To be certain of something can either bring peace or anxiety. Certainty is a for-sure thing, good or bad. We can wholly trust in absolute certainty. It is what is. It is what will be. No matter who says the earth is flat, we can know for certain that it is round. We can know that light travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second. When a baby cries, we know that it’s sick, in pain, wet, tired, or hungry. When someone says, I’m absolutely 100% sure, you can just about bank on the outcome. Nearly. Almost. Those words still leave a little doubt, a little wiggle room, don’t they? Until God says it, the One who made everything, the earth, light, and babies, there is always a chance, however slight, that it’s not entirely true. How can we know that what God says is absolutely true? We read his absolute true Word. What the Bible says is absolutely true. If you’re not sure of something, anything, read it! Scripture is sure. It’s 100% true. God and His Word is our only sure thing. His promises always prove true. We can be certain of it. (Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17; The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; Psalm 19:7)

4/24/21 – Trapped

We often feel like a bird in a cage with some of our relationships, be it work, personal, or spiritual. We feel trapped inside something we helped to create. The key word in that first sentence is feel. We may feel caught, trapped, imprisoned, but in reality, the door to our cage is open. We can fly out anytime we want. But often times, we choose to remain in a place where it’s not so bad. Even if we don’t like being there, we feel that the risk to fly out is greater than the misery of staying put. I mean, we’re not miserable all of the time. So, after careful calculation, we decide that the loss of our captivity would be greater than the gain of our freedom. After all, freedom isn’t really free, is it? There’s a cost, and the cost would be too great. That’s the lie the devil would want you to believe. If you’re miserable and are feeling that you’re not living up to your God-given calling, there’s a reason. Could it be that the Holy Spirit is calling you out? Until you decide to surrender your life to the One who can help you to escape, you will remain stuck and unchanged in the cage you actually made for yourself. (And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32; For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11)

4/23/21 – Priority

Our actions determine what our priorities are, period. You can argue with people all day about it, but what you do with your time tells the truth about who or what is most important to you without your having to say a word. Others know the truth as well, by the way; there’s no hiding it. While we’d like to think that we’ve got it together in this area, there are probably some things needing to be rearranged. Let me give you some advice from experience. The One who should be occupying this number 1 position in your life is God. If He is out there in the left field of your life, your games won’t be very exciting. And the nice thing is that when you finally allow Him that space at home plate, when you make Him number 1, everything else eventually falls into its proper place on its own. That’s the miracle of it. It’s a beautiful thing (with less work and stress) when you prioritize in this way. (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33; Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3)

4/22/21 – Assume

It’s so easy to assume, isn’t it? Assumptions are easy to make but are really difficult to take. (Enter Debbie Downer) If it’s cloudy, she assumes it might rain and cancels her outdoor plans. If Juan doesn’t respond to her within 2 seconds, she assumes he’s upset. Even in regard to texting; if he doesn’t include the exclamation point and a red heart, she thinks he’s cheating. Assumptions are what we accept as true but have no proof. They are suffocating and highly toxic. If you are the assumer, don’t be surprised if you’re standing by yourself at the altar. If you’re the assumee, you might want to jump in your van and head to Galveston. But hold on just a minute. Before you end up alone and before you pack your bags, why not try these simple remedies? Have a conversation. Talk about it. Ask questions. Pray. Do some research. The same can be said regarding Biblical principles. If you’re in a church and the pastor is teaching something that doesn’t seem quite right, search it out. Talk to him. Get some perspective. Read the Bible. (A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2; Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. I John 4:1)

4/21/21 – Confusion

Until our minds are comfortable with a process, an equation, or a relationship, for example, we will remain in a state of confusion. That is, until we have an understanding on any subject, we will be confused. Phrases like, Oh, now I get it and Okay, yes, now I understand come to mind when I think of those aha moments. The Bible says that if we are in a state of confusion, we are being influenced by the evil one, as the Lord will never bring confusion, only understanding. If you are in a state of confusion, if things just aren’t making sense to you today, pray to our Heavenly Father to send the clarity you need. He promises to do it. (Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:2-5; Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. II Timothy 2:7)

4/20/21 – Guilt

The guilt we feel or don’t feel when we’ve clearly done wrong reveals a lot about our hearts. If we don’t feel guilt when we should, there is a problem. A stubbornness to relinquish a behavior or confession of wrong will result in a hardening of the heart. A hardened heart will not accept guilty feelings. It cannot. And if the heart cannot feel because of a hardness, it will not experience the necessary guilt required to make things right. If you are feeling the slightest twinge (a sign that your heart might not yet be fully hardened) to explore this further, and if you’ll agree to do some real digging, I have a sneaking suspicion that when you finally get to the bottom, pride is all over it. (For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. II Corinthians 7:10; And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 32:26)

4/19/21 – Alert

When we achieve a big victory in a game of football, at a marriage conference, or at the end of a brilliant performance, we are on cloud nine. It’s natural. We are thrilled with ourselves. We did it! We won the game. We made a commitment to make the marriage work. We received the accolades for which we rehearsed. Nothing can stop us now. But I say, be alert. We stumble least in our weakness. It’s in our greatness that we get tripped up. Stay close to God at every moment. Even though we may be a highly experienced surfer, it’s the force of the undertow we cannot see that becomes our greatest opposition. (Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. I Corinthians 10:12; Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8)

4/18/21 – Grip

When I think of this word, I think of little Frankie. She’s only 6 months old, but boy, does she have a grip! When she takes hold of my finger or of my hair (ouch), she doesn’t let go. She has discovered something she can do all by herself. This gripping must give her some sort of satisfaction, as she does it often and with a smile the size of Montana. And I love the feeling I get when she grips my finger so relentlessly, as I seem to be providing security for her. She is forming a bond with me and I to her. I feel needed and loved when Frankie, at her tender age, can trust me to provide security for her. This is a picture of how our relationship to our Heavenly Father should be. For many of us, these delicate days in which we live are filled with so much uncertainty. To learn to hold on, with as fierce a grip as we can to the One who never lets go, to the One who knows our future down to the very last second, is when trust is born, nurtured, and finally becomes full-grown. (For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13; Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10)

4/17/21 – Help

Do you need it? I know I do. It’s when we think we don’t need it that things become much harder for us than they already are. We rely on our own strength and on our own sanity. Wouldn’t it make more sense to come to the Lord for His help to fight our daily battles? The Lord, who made heaven and earth? The Lord who already knows our innermost thoughts and needs? Why do we not ask? Do we not believe? Or do we not even think of asking? Maybe we have asked God for help in the past and have not received it, so why would we bother? We assume He doesn’t hear or that He doesn’t care. I say, that if we come to Him with the right heart, He hears us. Cleanse it. Surrender it, and then wait. And while you’re waiting, meditate on these verses. (So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10; I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2)

4/16/21 – Sovereignty

The only one who knows the truth of what has happened before this date, and the only one who knows what will happen today and after this is the Lord God Almighty. We’d all like to know, wouldn’t we? We think it would be great to know what’s coming around the corner. But that’s not how God rolls. In His sovereignty, He knows that wouldn’t work at all. His plan is for Him to know and for us to find out. He has His reasons for it being a mystery. We ask Him to reveal things to us, and He might or He might not. That’s when we choose to trust in His sovereignty. Do you trust Him? I mean, think about it for a minute. He made the whole world with you and me in it! He has big plans for us. We, who are chosen to receive His inheritance, need to be ready for His soon return. Lord, we ask for Your wisdom and discernment today as we go about it. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we may speak to those who need to hear about You, love those who need loving, and help those who need help, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

4/15/21 – Vacation

I’m all about it. You? As we see the perennials blooming and the trees blossoming, we know the time is near. Many people have already planned their getaway. Vacations were non-existent for some last summer, but now that people are feeling more free to let their hair down, they’ll no doubt, go. We need it, don’t we? Some have been cooped up in their homes for over a year while others have tried to make life as normal as possible by venturing out. Either way, we all need a vacation. Even Jesus got away for refreshment from His earthly duties. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s when we take a vacation from our spiritual and moral life that we can get ourselves into real trouble. Keep your wits about you in this wonderful season of R&R. Keep seeking the Lord, as He wants obedience no matter where we go or what we do. (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33; The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Mark 6:30-32)

4/14/21 – God

In trying to determine which word I would use today, God spoke to me. He knows I am weary. He knows I am discouraged. He knows I feel old. He knows I have decisions to make. In the midst of my prayer for strength, guidance, wisdom, and discernment, He told me in my spirit to talk about Him. Just Him. He is my strength(Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28) He is sovereign(Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21). He is glorious(For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14) He is magnificent(There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. Psalm 104:26) He is peace(You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3) He is wisdom. (For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6) Praise be the name of the Lord my God!

4/13/21 Turn

It is one thing to profess Christianity, to SAY that you follow Christ. It is another to TURN from your sin and walk in the opposite direction. You can profess anything, but if the evidence is not there, then you might want to look into it further. For instance, if a man says he is a teacher at a specific school but nobody sees him teaching in the classroom or online, it would be hard to believe his story. Likewise, if a man says he’s a Christian and he’s forever cussing like a sailor (sorry, you sailors who don’t cuss; your reputation precedes you), it’s likely he’s not really following Christ. There are evidences in a person’s life, fruits that prove their true identity. If you are truly born again, you’ll have a desire to know God, for instance. I’m not saying that you have to work for your salvation. I’m talking about the evidence AFTER a true salvation experience. Have you more of a desire to be like Jesus? To be a servant of His? Have you turned from your past sinful behaviors and become someone new? 

4/12/21 – Two

Today’s word, two, echoes some poignant thoughts taken from John MacArthur’s message on April 11, 2021. There are only two. Two what? Two religions: True and false. Two gates: Narrow and wide. Two destinations: Heaven and Hell. Two fruits: Good and bad. Two behaviors: Sayers and Doers. Two foundations: Firm and Weak. Jesus talks about all these contrasting elements in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. There are only 2. You cannot choose both. You can straddle the fence, but at some point you’ll have to choose. You’ll have to make up your mind without turning back. It’s either/or. Not both. (Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Matthew 7:13; Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27)

4/10/21 Unbelief

I don’t live in a hurricane zone, but because I love watching the weather on TV, I’ve heard testimony that the reason people don’t adhere to hurricane warnings and the like is that, deep down, they don’t really believe what the meteorologists say. What I mean is, they believe their town is most likely the hurricane’s target, but they don’t believe the hurricane will have that much of an affect on them personally. What is the evidence that they feel this way? They choose to ride it out. They stay when they’re advised to go. They put themselves in harm’s way on purpose. Why? Maybe it’s too much trouble to pack up and drive away into bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours to leave their homes. Could it be that they want to appear tougher than that massive wall of destruction? Maybe they think they’re smart enough and strong enough to save themselves. Sometimes they can, and sometimes they can’t. But where the rubber meets the road, they don’t believe what the experts say. This unbelief resides inside of me too, but in other situations. Because we think we’re so smart, we refuse to accept the advice of others. (Of course, I’m not saying we should believe everything we hear; some advice isn’t good, but that’s where Holy Spirit discernment comes in.) This is the problem with skepticism and finally, unbelief. This unbelief can be a killer in whatever precarious situation we find ourselves. This unbelief is what causes the loss of a job, the breakdown of a family, the senseless death of people, and other tragedies. The root of this stubborn unbelief is PRIDE. Let’s be careful and mindful of this killer sent from the evil one to destroy us. (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5:8; The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10)

4/9/21 – Honor

Some of us find it difficult to give honor to someone who has achieved what we did not. We, because of our jealous and prideful hearts, fail to show someone the great respect they deserve for the achievements for which they’ve worked so hard. We are reluctant because either we feel we deserve it more than they do or because we feel we could’ve done it better given the opportunity. Have we even found ourselves withholding honor from the One who has saved us from everlasting doom? Have we become so proud and hard-hearted that we hold others and even God responsible for our own failures? Do we then withhold the honor that’s due Him because we feel that it’s mostly His fault that nobody honors us? If you are feeling guilt or angst as you read this entry, it’s a sure sign that you are the person to whom I am speaking. The truth is that God honors those who honor Him. He blesses those who bless Him. (Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2; Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21)

4/8/21 – Warfare

We are in it. Spiritual warfare. We are in the heat of the battle. The evil one knows his time is very limited and he is attacking Christians with a vengeance. He’s very smart and uses his evil tactics in extremely strategic and unpredictable ways while at the same time, doing it underhandedly. I don’t know about you, but I’m becoming weary in this battle. I cannot see the future and so I’m beset with unanswered questions, lies, manipulations, and loads of adversity on all sides. I never thought I’d see such division in my lifetime. I must remember that there is an end to this fight. God, in His sovereignty, knows how His story ends. By faith, I also know, but I just don’t know when. My job is to keep speaking the truth in love. To fight for what’s right according to the Holy Scriptures. Period. When I look at the big picture, I see that my victory is absolutely certain. This will keep me going, in Jesus’ name. (He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31) 

4/7/21 – Grace

Undeserved but freely given. Grace is the goodwill or favor shown to someone who doesn’t deserve it, to someone who doesn’t ask for it, and to someone who doesn’t even know they need it. Think of that for a moment. The greatest example of grace is the grace God extends to every human being. It’s shown in the 2 most amazing events in history: Creation and Redemption. Creation is enjoyed by everyone whether they’ve experienced salvation or not. But it isn’t until we humble ourselves before God that we are able to accept the redemptive gift of grace offered to us. Creation is simply there. In front of us. We see it. Redemption, on the other hand, has to be accepted without seeing. That’s where the trouble lies with people who need more proof than the scriptures. Even though they are both examples of God’s amazing grace, one involves faith in what we don’t see. It’s our decision to take it or to leave it. The decision to accept the free gift of redemption guarantees our eternal inheritance. Accept this marvelous and free gift today. Today is the day to receive God’s grace. (For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9; And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32)

4/6/21 – Unlikely

God uses the unlikely ones, many times, to do His work. If he choses you, there is a reason. You may feel you are the most unlikely person, but if He wants you, and you are willing, it’s you He’ll use. Like David in the Old Testament, if you have a genuine heart for God and His purposes, there’s nothing that He can’t do in and through you. All it takes is a fully-surrendered heart. And there’s nothing more rewarding or fulfilling than serving the King of Kings, the Savior of the world. (… for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7)

4/5/21 – Manage

When we feel we have to start managing our relationships with other people, our anxiety level is likely escalating. When we seek to manage how other people feel about us, we are dealing with the sin of selfishness. You say, wait a minute. Selfishness? How is making sure people are happy a selfish thing? We want the comfortable feelings we get when we people-please. If everyone is happy with us, we feel good. At the root is the need for us to feel valuable which is the sin of pride. We then start to manipulate (lie) people by speaking in a certain way to get the feelings we want. We begin valuing others’ view of us more than we value God’s view of us. The truth is, we can manage these relationships for a while, but most often, we end up feeling worse because people’s evaluation of us is ever-changing. It’s hard to keep up. We feel trapped and are unable to be all that God has called us to be. (For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10)

4/4/21 – Risen

He is! Glory Hallelujah! Jesus is risen from the dead! If He had not risen from the dead, there would be no salvation. There would be no life. It would’ve all been a lie had he not come out of the grave. But He did! Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Holy Spirit! Because He rose from the dead, we have eternal life if we believe and confess that He is Lord. If you have not done so, please do it today, and I’ll see you in heaven when He returns for His church. His return is imminent so don’t delay in making your decision to follow the One who died, was buried, and Who rose again! Here’s what the apostle Paul had to say, (For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve. I Corinthians 15:3-5)

4/3/21 – Responsible

We are all responsible, that is, held accountable for what we allow our eyes to see. But did you know that we are also responsible for what we don’t see? There are things to which I am blind. There are little gods, idols that rob me of my peace. Idols are people or things that take the place of Almighty God in my life. Sometimes, I don’t even realize they exist. But whether I realize them or not, I am responsible. I pray to the Lord for eyes to see my weakness here, and He shows me every time. Just this morning, He showed me that I have an idol in my life that I thought was gone forever. But it isn’t. The hope of one day having it again, an oxymoron in and of itself is an idol. This hope is robbing me of my peace right now and is therefore, an idol in my life. It leaves me bound to an unsatisfied disposition. Can you relate to what I’m saying? Search your heart for the idols that are hiding in the folds of your soul. If something is coming to mind right now, then that’s probably your idol. God is jealous of these people or things that take His place in your life. Don’t delay when you receive your full revelation. Be careful to surrender these idols at once and find your peace. (Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7; Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:21-22)

4/2/21 – Finished

It is finished(John 19:30) What did Jesus finish? He finished his earthly work by fulfilling the requirements of the Scriptures. All He was born to do was completed in His death on the cross. Because of the horrific sins of the whole world, like in Noah’s day, instead of destroying the earth, God chose to birth a Son through a virgin. His Son, Jesus, would grow up to live a sinless life and become a suffering servant and would pay the ultimate price for our sins both now and forevermore. We, as Christ-followers, remember His death today. I used to think Good Friday should be labeled Bad Friday because of the terrible suffering Jesus had to endure. But folks, that was the purpose for His coming! That was the plan all along. He was literally born to die. For your sins. For my sins. It was so good for 2 reasons. Jesus fulfilled the prophesies spoken of in the Old Testament, and He bore the weight of our sins and died so that we could live in heaven forever. That’s it. It’s finished. Forever. And all we have to do is to believe it, accept it, and confess our sins. It’s that easy. I encourage you to read the whole account found in Matthew chapters 26-28 of the Bible. Then tell me why anyone wouldn’t want this free gift. I mean, what have you got to lose? (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16)

4/1/21 – Judgment

It’s not coming. It’s here. Today’s word is harsh. I don’t like using it at all. There are many senses of the definition listed in the dictionaries, but I’m going to define it here as a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment. (copied from the Oxford Dictionary) Divine punishment. We, here in the US, are experiencing it now. If you don’t agree, then you’ve been living under a rock. But these are only the labor pains before the birth of the child. I’m afraid the God of this universe, our creator, has had enough. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? I believe it’s too late now. Too late for us to repent as a nation. We’ve gone too far. You might say it’s never too late with a gracious and loving God, but I argue and say that if it was too late for Israel, God’s chosen nation, why wouldn’t it be too late for us, a nation that was blessed (only because we are allies with Israel), but not chosen? It is too late for our nation, but it’s not too late for you. You as an individual still have time to repent and turn from your sin. Surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how difficult it will be to let go of your pride and to change your ways, you’ve simply got to do it. Now.  (Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Matthew 3:2)

3/31/21 – Prepare

I can be ready to go shopping, out to breakfast, or to head to Africa for a 3-week-long safari in no time. I don’t need that much time to prepare. That’s even the case when I plan a trip for myself or for my family and friends. I’m pretty much a last-minute gal. Procrastinator? I’m not too proud to confess that, yes, I probably am that too. So when I tell you that for me to prepare way in advance for something is highly stressful for me, I am not exaggerating. What is freeing to you is enslavement to me. But. Yes, there is that word, but. I am now in recovery. Since these times in which we all find ourselves are so crazy and unsure, I’ve changed. I’ve actually been preparing for what’s ahead. People who know me and love me are scratching their heads and asking, Where’s Suz? They’re probably talking about me and are using words like, crazy, cuckoo, and bonkers. It’s okay. I can take it. With things escalating at such a rapid rate, I’d like to be ready. That’s all. It’s even more important with regard to my spiritual condition. I want to be sure that when Jesus comes back for me, I am ready. The oil is already in my lamp. I’m ready to go. There’s a great teaching moment from Jesus recorded in Matthew 25:1-13 on this very subject. It’s only 13 verses. Take a look before it’s too late to matter.

3/30/21 – Holy

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Is this how I really feel? I know it to be true, but am I witnessing the holiness of God in my everyday life? Where I am right now? In my daily routine? Certainly, when I’m near the ocean, I look out over it and say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. When I’m deep in the forest I look into it and say holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. When I’m near the mountains, I look out over their majestic splendor and say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. But do I look at my home, my family, my friends, my church and say holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty? Do I look at my life, how I’m living it and say holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty? He tells me to be holy as He is holy. Do I see His holiness right where I sit today? It all starts with Jesus. I cannot even begin the journey to holiness without coming to Him first. (Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6;…for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy. I Peter 1:16)

3/29/21 Hinder

I decided on this word about an hour ago and ironically, as I am trying to write this entry, I have literally been hindered. No joke. At least 5 times. Interruptions. Hindrances. These hindrances keep us from doing what we planned to do or what God would have us do. We must set our eyes on the end result and never deviate until it’s accomplished or we’ll become discouraged or frustrated and never finish what we started. (Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14)

3/28/21 – Broken

There’s always a box of tissue on my end table. The end table is next to my yellow couch on which I sit and study each morning. Sometimes I can go a week without using any of these tissues, and there are weeks that I use up a whole box. Not because I’m physically sick with viruses and such, but because my heart is broken. Why? Because there are so many people who are clueless that the end is near. People in my own family, in my church, some dear friends, and random people in my city, and certainly in the world don’t see the signs. What I can’t understand and what really breaks my heart is that some people do recognize the signs but they don’t care. They are busy with their daily lives and don’t have the time or don’t feel the need to think about the future as relates to their eternal security. Since we don’t know the exact time of His return, I’d say that now is the time to, at least, accept Christ’s offer of salvation! Believe and confess that He is Lord! Don’t wait a minute longer; for today could be the day of the Lord’s return! I don’t want you to be left behind. (Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. I Thessalonians 5:1-2)

3/27/21 – Character

You’ve no doubt heard the quote by John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, the true test of a man’s character is what he does when nobody’s watching. Having good character practically guarantees a good reputation, which is really what everyone wants if they’re honest. Just to confirm: Your character is what you really are, and your reputation is what people think you are. If your character is good, your reputation will be good. The 2 go together. In that order. Making sure your reputation is good without having good character to support it is like building a beautiful house on a cracked foundation. Before long, the house will start to crumble. (Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. …For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:26-27)

3/26/21 – Light

After dark days of discouragement, the light finally comes. Even if just a sliver, the light of the Lord Jesus Christ shines into our dark, aching souls and brings an almost confusing joy in the midst of our pain. Be it great or dull, it subsides just enough to allow us to breathe. To wipe our tears. To get up. To recalibrate. To take a step. The light finally comes to show us the way. Truthfully, the light is always there, but our pain hides the light. It feels better in the dark, so the dark it prefers. I wish you, you who are suffering at this very moment, were sitting right next to me on my yellow couch. I would look you in the eyes, perhaps with tears streaming from mine, and tell you to hang on. I would pray to our loving, Heavenly Father and ask that He would take your hand and gently move you into His marvelous light. Because in the Light there is no darkness at all. (The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned. Matthew 4:16; The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5)

3/25/21 – Discouragement

Many times, discouragement (some people might call it a let-down) comes after successfully finishing a  project or after the beach vacation has ended and you’ve returned home. It’s a kind of back-to-the-grind type feeling. Isn’t that just like the devil? After times of victory, rejoicing, and refreshment, he and his twerpy side-kicks tiptoe in and plop themselves down on my yellow couch to rob me blind. Of what? My peace. My joy. Put on your armor, folks. (Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8; Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11)

3/24/21 – Paid

Have you ever gone out to eat at a restaurant and when the time came to pay, you looked around for your waiter to bring the check? I mean, he was nowhere in sight and you were ready to go. That has happened to me on occasion. In my experience, he casually walked over from the bar area and said, can I get you guys anything else? Um, yes, we’d like the check please, I replied. Then he said the most surprising thing, it’s already been taken care of. Somebody paid it. Of course we, at the table, were stunned. We went back and forth with the waiter about who it could have been, and he didn’t know except it was a older man with wire-rimmed glasses. I mean, that bill was a rather large sum for 4 people. And it wasn’t breakfast! Think of how much more than that dinner total was my debt paid in full by Jesus Christ. All I had to do was to accept it, believe it, and confess it. He did the rest. On a cross, He died for me so I could spend eternity in heaven with Him. The absolute least I can do for Him is to tell people that He died for them as well. So I’m telling you now. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16; When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, It is finished, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30)

3/23/21 – Pride

It’s normal to be proud of the accomplishments of your children, your spouse, your parents, your friends, and even of yourself. If you’ve achieved something you worked hard to acquire, it’s normal to be proud of it, to give yourself a pat on the back. That’s not exactly what this word, pride, is addressing here. The Bible says that pride goes before the fall. What does that mean, exactly? Well, if the tree is pride, some of its poisonous fruits are self-sufficiency, anxiety, self-consciousness, fear of man, insecurity, feelings of superiority, self-pity, and a critical spirit. The list actually goes on and on, but to save time here, I will publish a blog on this very prickly subject. But I mean, look at the list. Isn’t at least one of these fruits hanging from the branches on your tree? I think it’s safe to say we all have a pride tree. These fruits are heavy; they’re deadly, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to get rid of it? To humble yourself and take a chainsaw to it before it comes crashing down on you? Be it in small pieces, or if you’re serious, go ahead and chop it down in one fell swoop; the point is to get it down as soon as possible. (Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18; Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12)

3/22/21 – Doubt

And with noise comes doubt. There are so many opinions about our world flying around like missiles in a video game. When I’m not focused on God and His word, I am tempted to listen to the wrong ones. Opinions from the news media, random people on social media, friends, parents, children, teachers, and even some pastors can certainly sound convincing, but if I’m not rooted in the Word of God, I can begin to doubt what I know is true. Just this morning, I begged Him for wisdom and discernment as I wrestle with so many things. I asked Him, What is true, Lord? And do you know what He answered? What is logical? and What makes sense to you? In my mind, that means, I gave you the answers, now use your brain, Suzanne. I gave you a well-functioning brain to use as you read My word to you. But since I doubt the well part of functioning so much, I am conflicted. I’m sure He is so frustrated with me at times. He even talks about people like me in these verses: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 And in the next verse is His feeling about my decision to doubt: That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:7)

3/20/21 – Noise

You do hear it, don’t you? I’m not the only one, am I? All the noise? The noise produced by the news media, social media, the noise in your family… That’s exactly what the evil one would like for you and me to hear. Noise. His noise. I have the perfect example. Yesterday, I was on a very important video call with a few people, and while I was speaking, I was hearing their questions and responses repeated in a 30-second delay. If you’ve seen the movie, Bruce Almighty, there’s a scene in which he (and the audience) hears all the prayers of billions of people at the same time. That’s how I felt during that video call. Trying to answer their questions while hearing the question that was already asked was nearly impossible; the great and awful aspects of technology at its finest. It was the most frustrating and distracting thing I’d ever experienced. When I try to do the things the Lord has asked of me, it’s that way at times. There are so many other voices that can distract me from hearing His. So today, I ask Him for help; to hear only His voice as I go about my day. (But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. II Corinthians 11:3; But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26)

3/19/21 – Unexpected

Those things that catch us by surprise or events that are shocking can cause the most intense internal reactions. Adrenaline rushes, nervous breakdowns, or happiness beyond imagination. The unexpected return of Jesus at the time of the Rapture of the Church will be one of those events. I mean, we as Christ-followers are expecting it, but we don’t know the exact time. However, it will be the most unexpected event for some. Imagine it. Millions of people, in the twinkling of an eye, will be taken out of this old world to a wonderful place called Heaven. What will the others say? I’m so excited! I can’t wait! Are you ready? (So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return. Matthew 25:13)

3/18/21 – Agreement

When I eat a particular food that I know isn’t going to agree with my digestive system, I am miserable until it is out. It can be the same with regard to my relationships with people. When I am in agreement, there is a peace that is present. When my spirit is in agreement with God’s spirit, I have peace. When I am holy as He is holy, I have peace. If I choose to be unholy, I suddenly feel the need to fill my day with work or with other distractions that will protect me from the guilt I will feel from not focusing on the holiness to which God is calling me. It is for my own joy, peace, and happiness that I enter my spirit and my actions into an agreement with God and pay no attention to anything other than this. And it is my job to do it. Not His. (So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. I Corinthians 9:26-27)

3/17/21 – Perspective

There’s a drawing that, when you look at it, you see one image, and the person you’re with sees a totally different image. For instance, I see a woman, and my friend sees a dog. I wonder how she sees a dog and then, if I stand there staring at it long enough, I see a dog too. What we see depends on how we look at it. Seeing things from my perspective is so easy. It’s so natural. Seeing things from someone else’s is not, unless I’m in agreement. Seeing things from God’s perspective is the hardest. When I experience difficulties in my life, I find it extremely difficult to see in any way other than my perspective. That’s where trust comes in. You know, trust is imperative here. Trusting that God sees it all from His perfect perspective and will take care of everything, is what my heart longs for today. And when I trust, I have peace. (For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9)

3/16/21 – Offense

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, the best defense is a good offense. George Washington (can I still use his name, or will I be censored?) first said it way back in 1799 to his brave soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Simply sitting around with their guns cocked was not nearly as effective as having an offensive plan to take out the enemy. Can you imagine a football team only using their defensive line in a game? Yes, we need to wear our daily defense, our armor, to fight off the devil’s fiery darts, but what can we do? What actions can we take to assure that we win against the devil? (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5:8; For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13; Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7)

3/15/21 – Mercy

How long has it been since you were so sorry for something you said or did that you begged for mercy from someone who was about to bring down the gavel and sentence you with the consequences you deserve? The words, have mercy on me, aren’t spoken too often these days, it seems. That humble pie doesn’t taste very good, does it? We really aren’t so sorry that we’d have to beg for mercy for the sinful acts we commit on a daily basis. I mean, our wrongs aren’t that bad. Or maybe we think that they aren’t that bad compared to other people. Or maybe we just don’t care what God or anyone else thinks. We’re going to do what we want to do or what feels good regardless of what’s right or wrong; because after all, what used to be right is now wrong and what used to be wrong is now right, so how’s a person supposed to know? Is that your excuse? Take a look at David’s prayer to God for mercy: (For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:3-4, 17)

 3/11/21 – Obey

We think God wants to keep us from enjoying life because He has rules. But I say, He has the list of dos and don’ts because He knows the consequences we will experience if we engage in certain behaviors. He knows what’s best for us. He knows that if we sleep around, we’re going to get sick. He knows if we lie or steal, we’re going to have trouble sleeping. All sin produces a guilty conscience (unless yours is seared) and has a way of making us physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally unhealthy. God knows this! That’s why he gave us a conscience, our own built-in internal gauge. What a gift! He created it to free us! And that’s what we all want these days here in the good ‘ol US of A, don’t we? Our freedom? It’s an oxymoron to be sure, but it’s true. Obey and be free. Lay down your pride and do what He says. You will be so happy! (But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25)

 3/10/21 – Lavish

We give gifts for various reasons throughout the year to people we know and to people we love. Be it birthdays, anniversaries, or just because; we give gifts to mark moments or to show love to them. If we, being sinners do that, how much more does God, our Creator, give good gifts to us? Certainly not because we deserve it, but because He loves us. The word, lavish means to give in great amounts without limit. This is how God wants to give gifts to us even though we’re sinful. If we’re Christ followers, He has already given the most lavish gift of all, our salvation! (So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him? Matthew 7:11; If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:30)

 3/9/21 – Judge

Jesus talks about 2 very different types of judging in the Bible. One He condemns and the other He affirms. He says that we are to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. It is these people we are to judge or to have discernment. On the other hand, we often pass judgment on other people based on their appearance or on their socio-economic status. This is the type Jesus condemns. In fact, He calls us hypocrites when we call out someone’s sin, yet we have sin in our own lives. There is no sin worse than another in Jesus’ eyes. He says in Matthew 7:4-5, How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First, take the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. It’s backwards really; it’s difficult to see our beam, but easy to see their speck. 

3/8/21 – Relinquish

This word means to give up something. To cease from claiming it; to voluntarily give up something. When we are forced to give something up, we will probably go back to it. But when we give something up on our own for whatever reason(s), it means that we have, either from our conscience or from the Holy Spirit received a nudging, a prodding. When we give up our sins voluntarily, when we relinquish control of everything in our lives and hand it over to God, we will receive all that God has for us. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. (Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5; No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I Corinthians 10:13)

 3/6/21 – Travel

This weekend, I traveled to a place I’d never been. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I arrived, but there are some things I knew before I left. I knew I needed clothes, toothpaste, toothbrush, make-up, and other stuff so I got out my suitcase and stuffed it with everything I’d need. When getting ready for heaven, there are some things we need to do to get ready, but when we travel there, nobody really knows. The important thing is to be ready. (But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:36-44)

 3/4/21 – Stand

Sometimes, I find it difficult to stand up for myself, my values, my beliefs, or my policies as relates to my work. This all stems from a feeling of insecurity that was born during my childhood and adolescent years. I was taught that it was rude to voice an opposing opinion. Children are to be seen and not heard kinds of ideas were instilled in me at a young age. My feelings were never validated, and a whole boatload of problems arose from that. But I now say that standing up for myself is absolutely necessary for my own peace of mind. It’s the confidence in myself that I desire. My feelings on a particular topic are valid, and I should be able to speak about them no matter who’s around. If I don’t, and I go away feeling small, it’s my own fault. Jesus certainly wasn’t afraid when He spoke about certain topics that surely made people feel uncomfortable. But that wasn’t His problem now, was it? (Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6; All you need to say is simply Yes or No; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37)

 3/3/21 Understanding

These days, it seems many people know and understand what’s coming. They’ve received prophetic news from God, either in visions or in dreams, and they tell it. Or they receive news from people who’ve received prophetic news from God and they tell it. By the time it reaches me, it’s 2nd and 3rd-hand information. To be perfectly transparent here, I wish He’d have just told me. And then I remember that He did tell me. I have a whole book about it. Everything He wants me to know is in the Bible. This is when I must ask for God for understanding. Does God really give people dreams and visions today? Yes, I believe He does, but that’s not how he chooses to communicate with me. I have to get over myself and open the prophetic news that’s right beside me. (Happy is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding…Proverbs 3:13; Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom… but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me… Jeremiah 9:23-24)

 3/2/21 – Heart

If I am living with a truly transformed heart, rules aren’t really necessary. If I find that I need rules, then the problem is really within my heart. If my heart has been changed, I am not weighed down by what I should do or by what I ought to do. I can act naturally. I can be who I was created to be. The Holy Spirit transforms my nature and does not spank me for my misbehavior. I have and will continue to experience consequences for my choices whether good or bad, but the Holy Spirit in me is working to continually transform my heart and not my behavior. So I can live today from my heart where there is peace, truth, joy, and contentment. If you’re not experiencing these luscious fruits of a changed heart, you can! (Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10; Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2; As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19)

 3/1/21 – Impossible

Preposterous. Can’t happen. There is no way. Impossible. How many times have you said or thought these words? If you’re a skeptic, probably millions of times. A skeptic questions everything. If they can’t see it or understand it, they don’t believe it. In the spiritual realm, where God is concerned, we must believe what we can’t see or what we don’t understand if we are to get anywhere near heaven. We must eventually dispose of our skepticism and trade it for faith. Faith believes that the impossible can happen. Faith in what? Faith in whom? Well, where I’m concerned, faith in the God who created the universe. Faith in the God who created me. Faith in what He said concerning everything. Faith in the God of the impossible, the God of miracles. Are you in an impossible situation? A no-win scenario? Cool it on the skepticism and try trusting in the Almighty. The One Who makes possible the impossible. (Ah, Lord God! Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17; Jesus looked at them and said, With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. Mark 10:27)

2/28/21 – Fight

This word may have a negative connotation to you, what with the state of our world today or with the condition of your personal life. Granted, it’s refreshing when we don’t have to fight for what we want or for what we believe in; it just happens without our having to lift a finger. But when you find yourself in the fight for your life, you must give your all; you do whatever it takes. You fight with all you have inside you. Remember what Jesus said, in John 16:33: In this life you will have trouble. And we do, don’t we? But we don’t have to sit there and absorb it. We don’t have to let it overtake us. We must overcome it, with the help of our Lord. The rest of that verse says, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. Take heart! I have overcome the world. 

 2/26/21 – Approval

You’re approved! What exciting news to hear after applying for a mortgage on a home or after applying for a loan to buy a car. Even when dating, we want to feel we are enough for our significant other. Being approved of says I believe in you. I trust youI believe and trust you to pay back this money you borrowed. I love and trust you enough to partner with me in marriage. I seek approval on so many levels. Why? Because it fills my human need to be trusted. To be chosen. To be worthy. To be enough. But I say to you that if God’s approval is all that I’m seeking, these other things will fall gently into place. It really makes no difference what other people think of me, if indeed I am seeking the kingdom of God. I can say this, but am I living it out? Am I seeking only the approval of God? (But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:23; Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15)

 2/25/21 – Blind

I have not come in contact with many people born without their sense of sight. Having never seen the pear tree exploding with tiny white blossoms in the spring or the sun as it disappears from the horizon seems like such a tragic loss to we who see. Think about your eyes for a moment. What a magnificent and indescribable gift from our Heavenly Father! I am reminded of the blind man in the Bible to whom Jesus gave sight. Take a moment to imagine it. The surprise! The wonder! The joy! The man’s eyes were seeing for the first time! I’m smiling right now. Believe, and let Jesus heal you today. From your past. From your sickness. I’m so glad that John recorded this miracle in the New Testament.  (…one thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! John 9:25; For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16)

 2/24/21 – Slave

When I think of the word slave, it triggers a negative emotion inside of me. Words like forced, dominate, and obedience also come to mind. It’s one thing to be a slave to another person, but to be a slave to my own sin is so self-defeating. When I allow my sin to dominate me, I am immediately defeated. What is it that allows me to obey these sins? Do they force me to obey? Certainly not. All sin is dangling out there tempting me to take hold. Do I have to? No. But do I? Sometimes, yes, I do. To say I can’t help myself is not a true statement. I can help myself, but I don’t. I succumb. There is some selfish part of me that thinks a particular sin will satisfy me. But it doesn’t. Maybe for a moment, but when that moment dies, so does a part of me. When my sin has more power over me than I do, I become its slave. Obedient to it. A servant to it. I give my life to it, but it gives me nothing. (We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6; Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34)

2/23/21 – Die

We often hear people say while on their death bed, I don’t want to die. We know they mean it because of the physical pain they’re experiencing. We might even hear someone metaphorically say, I just want to die, when they’re no more close to dying than a healthy newborn. I was reading this morning in A Gospel Primer, and something really hit home to me. If we don’t, as true Christ-followers, die to ourselves daily, we cannot conform to His image. Here is an excerpt from Milton Vincent’s book: When my flesh yearns for some prohibited thing, I must die. When called to do something I don’t want to do, I must die. When shattered by hardships that I despise, I must die. When wanting to cling to wrongs done against me, I must die. When enticed by allurements of the world, I must die. When wishing to keep besetting sins secret, I must die. When dreams that are good seem shoved aside, I must die. Not my will, but yours be done, Christ trustingly prayed on the eve of his crucifixion. Let us pray that too. 

2/22/21 – Do

There are things we simply can’t do on our own. Like, play football, sing a duet, become a parent, or enjoy an experience on a teeter-totter. But there are countless things we can do by ourselves. We ask God to help us when we are perfectly capable. Like the action of renewing our minds, for instance. We ask for help with that, but really, we already have the power to do that if we’re saved. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s an action that will strengthen our faith if we do it ourselves. It’s also what the Bible tells us to do. (Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2)

 2/21/21 – Expect

I don’t consider myself a skeptic, so If I’m guaranteed  something from someone, I expect it to pan out. If I order something, I expect it to be delivered to me exactly as promised. That’s where I’m sometimes disappointed. Upon receiving the item, it doesn’t quite meet my expectation, so I return it and hope for a better outcome the next time (if there is a next time). I have an extremely high expectation when it comes to eternity. I expect that Jesus will return to Earth and take me with Him to heaven. Why? Because He offered to come for me (He has offered it to you as well), and I accepted. Since I accepted His free gift of eternal life, and I expect Him to come as He promised. I believe He will. Although there is no posted arrival time, I’m certain He will return for me at some point and that it will far exceed my expectation. (For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17) Come with me, won’t you? 

2/20/21 – Read

I checked out a book at the library yesterday, but I couldn’t go in to get it as the library is closed for in-person service. I had to reserve it, call for an appointment, then had to pick it up under the awning of the blue table on the porch of the library. Crazy times, we live in…nevertheless, I will read the book and take it back by the due date. I do read other books besides the Bible, although the Bible is my go-to. It has the answer to any question I’d ever have about what concerns me. It is my source for healing. It is my source for instruction on right-living. It is my source for encouragement. I could go on and on. (Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 – amplified Bible) 

2/19/21 Late

I love being on time. Early even. Why? Because being on time says that I respect the other person or the organization. Being on time says I care. It says that I value the other person. For me, there’s rarely a positive outcome if I arrive late. All the stress that comes with being late is not worth those 5 extra minutes of sleep. I’m sure you remember the story of Noah in Genesis. The Lord instructed him to build the ark so people would be saved from the worldwide flood that was coming. Since it had never rained, people didn’t believe it. They thought Noah was crazy. But the flood did come and on time. But people were, of course, late. The old seeing-is-believing scenario. They fought for their lives there in the water and eventually drowned, for the door was sealed shut. It was too late. There is another similar event coming up to which I hope you’ll be on time. If you’re late, you will experience whatever devastating consequences come with it. You can read all about these 2 events in the Bible. Genesis chapters 6-9 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. I hope you’ll be ready…

 2/18/21 – New

This word generates such positivity in me. New. Shiny. Start. Fresh. Begin. When we make mistakes, it’s so wonderful to know we can begin again. Jesus told the disciples, after they had fallen asleep in the garden, an act for which they were ashamed and guilt-ridden, to get up and do the next thing. Wallowing in despair over your sin does no good. Sincerely ask the Lord to forgive you and then move on. Do that next thing He is requiring you to do. Nothing new can happen when you’re stuck in the old. (…but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going. John 14:31; See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19)

 2/17/21 – Think

What are you thinking about right now? Work? Family? Friends? Imminent disasters? The weather? The stock market? Facebook? Instagram? Do the things you think about affect your day in a positive way? If your day is filled with thoughts of doom and gloom, it might be time to change that thought life of yours. I didn’t say it would be easy, especially if you’re surrounded by negativity all day long. But it is possible. Would you agree that your situation could be a lot worse? Think about that. The thought is at the front of the line. It is followed by the emotion birthed by the thought. The Bible is clear on how good thoughts lead to more good thoughts. (Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8)

 2/16/21 – Miracle

By definition, a miracle is a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. Pretty accurate, don’t you think? I’m told that when a real miracle happens, people are so happy that they can’t say enough! They’re shocked and completely amazed with the change in their life or with the help they received, whether it be a healing, surviving a catastrophic event, or literally coming back to life after being pronounced dead. These are all miracles that I’d say would be classified as A+. The top of the list. But what about the miracle of breathing? The birth of a baby? Creation? Your salvation? These are all just as exciting as the A-listers. Take a look in the mirror. Even if you don’t look or feel like one, you, my friend, are a walking miracle. Focus on that and thank your Heavenly Father today. (Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27; But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God. Luke 18:27)

 2/15/21 – Tree

Ever planted one? It’s very hard work to dig a hole deeply enough (especially in the hard, clay soil where I live) and to lift the tree into the hole. But once you get it in the ground, water, stake, and fertilize it, the tree acclimates to its new environment. If you’re lucky, it takes off on its own. Even better if you plant it near a water source. Many years ago, we planted a young willow tree in the backyard of our home where the water gathered because of the slanted grade. Perfect place for it. It’s probably a beautiful 30-40 footer by now. When in full bloom, I used to love to watch from my kitchen window its leaves swaying in the wind. There’s a peace and a calm when you watch and listen to a Willow blowing in the wind. Trees are an amazing gift from God. He says in Psalm 1:1-3 that we will be blessed like the trees planted by the water if we live the way he suggests. (Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither and whatever they do prospers.)

 2/14/21 – Truth

Truth is good. All truth. Can we agree on that? We say we want the truth, and we do (kinda), but boy-oh-boy does it hurt sometimes. It’s the hurt from the truth that we don’t want, not the truth. When we we say, tell me the truth, we really do want it. But at the same time, we know there is a strong possibility we will wish we wouldn’t have asked for it. Sort of a catch-22. I used to close my eyes to the truth that was staring me in the face, but there is no freedom in that. Knowing the truth eventually brings peace. You may hurt for awhile, but sooner or later the truth will bring a freedom to your soul that is  beyond understanding. If you need the truth, ask for it today. (And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32; When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13)

 2/13/21 – Hear

Our hearing of audible sounds becomes weaker as we age. Some people lose their hearing entirely, and some need assistance with help of hearing aids. When it comes to God, however, we should always be able to hear Him speak. If we’re in right relationship with Him, if we’re seeking Him with all our hearts, He will speak and we will hear. How? Through His written word and through the speaking of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. If you’re not hearing, then you’re probably not listening. If you’re listening but not hearing, then get into His word and find out why. (If you seek me, you will find me if you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13; So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27; Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3)

 2/12/21 – Shame

Shame, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute; something to be regretted. We feel shame if we violate the values we have set for ourselves. If any of us has done something wrong, we have, no doubt, had feelings of shame. The devil would love to make you think you’re the most horrible person alive and that you could never measure up, so why even try. To whom don’t you measure up? To God? He’s right, we can’t. But I’m here to tell you that the shame you are feeling or have felt is not from God. Grab your Bible and read it. The following verses are a start, but I encourage you to delve in on your own. Study it. (When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2; There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1) 

 2/11/21 – Self

Self. Your character, your personality, and your nature together form yourself. It has been said that you can’t do anything to change your nature, your DNA (however, with technology skyrocketing, it is now a possibility). But how about your character? Your personality? It’s certainly a good thing to care for yourself. Self care is a huge industry these days. But when is it too much? Too much self help? When does self help become self-centered, self-absorbed, self-pity? When we stop thinking about ourselves and start focusing on others, it begins to change us. How about trying it today? Perform an experiment for yourself. How about doing something nice for somebody else today? Just one thing. (I’m talking to myself here too, by the way) If you like the way you feel afterward, start making it a habit. You’ll find that something inside you will begin to change for the better. (In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35)

 2/9/21 – Ready

We don’t feel ready at times, but when we are, it’s so peaceful, isn’t it? To get that song perfected and memorized before the performance date, to have all the data printed and in a notebook before the big presentation, to have everything packed the day before you leave, to have checked all the safety precautions before you jump out of that plane; each of these examples is the foundation for readiness. There are simply some things which should be done beforehand. There’s nothing quite like the peace you have when you’re ready. True, you may experience some anxiety, but nothing like the anxiety from being unprepared, from being caught off guard. There’s a calm, a sense of accomplishment, an assurance that you did all you could. Are you ready? Are you ready to leave this world and move on to the afterlife? Have you taken care of everything? I’d like to tell you something that you might not know. The only thing you really have to be 100% sure of is your eternal status. Will you go to heaven or hell? You can know. For sure. Without a doubt. You can be prepared before you actually depart. Check out these verses from the Bible: (I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. I John 5:13; The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23)

 2/8/21 – Everyone

To love everyone is what all Christ-followers are instructed to do. Love everyone. Everyone. Think of that for a moment. We find it relatively easy to love people in our family, our friends, people of similar backgrounds, race, values, and goals. But what about loving the worst of the worst? Think of the vilest of humans and try to imagine loving him or her. Imagine praying for him or her. Can’t? I admit that I can’t, and that, in itself, is the sin of pride in me, for I am no better than they. I now repent of my pride and ask the Holy Spirit for the supernatural love it takes to love the unlovely. Myself included…(Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. I John 4:8; This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him…since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:9-11)

 2/7/21 – Hope

It’s Super Bowl LV Sunday. Some of you have been waiting so long, while others of you don’t even know which teams are playing. Those of you who’ve been waiting, I’m sure are also hoping that your team wins. Are you hoping for anything else today? Are you hoping for a miracle? Maybe even praying for a miracle? A miracle of healing? A miracle in your finances? A miracle in a relationship? Don’t give up hope! For if we don’t have hope, we really have nothing. Solomon laments the same thing in Proverbs 13:12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but the rest of the verse is like a cool drink of water on a hot day: but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Like Paul said in Romans 8:24-25: …but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (emphasis mine) Wait eagerly-with an excited desire. Not anxiously-with worry or unease. Keep on hoping. Keep on praying.

2/6/21 – Fruit:

I’m not a big fruit-eater. I like fruit, but sometimes I buy it and cut into it, and it’s either not sweet enough or it’s rotten. Questions like, I wonder how long that has been sitting there, and where did that come from, enter my mind. If only I could pick it myself. And if I could pick it myself, there are other questions. Is this tree healthy? Does bear good fruit? Some trees just can’t produce good fruit because the tree itself isn’t good. The only way to know if the tree is good is by tasting the fruit it bears. That’s how it is in our lives. You only know a person by his/her consistent actions. If you have eyes and any amount of discernment, you can know the type of person you’re dealing with. (Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. …John 15:1-17; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23)

 2/5/21 – Armor

It’s crazy out there. Put on your armor today, people. The devil and his buddies will come at you from all sides. That’s a guarantee. He’s more crafty today than he was yesterday because he sees that his days are swiftly coming to an end. (Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not (emphasis mine) against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-18)

 2/4/21 – Mystery

I love a good mystery. Mystery invites us to solve, like a whodunit. The Bible is full of mysteries, some that won’t be fully revealed until we get to heaven. To me, one such mystery and a controversial theme is the question of salvation. Once a person is saved, is he always saved? Or can he, by living in habitual sin lose it? There are only 2 answers to this question. Yes you can lose it, and no you cannot lose it. In my opinion, there are verses that support each belief. If you’re wondering or worried, maybe do some digging. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment as you READ THE BIBLE. It may be a mystery that we will not know until we get to heaven, but for me, I’d rather know now. (for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11; All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3:16)

 2/3/21 – Praise

We all love it, don’t we? Our egos crave it at times. But what about praising someone else? Some of us find it difficult to praise other people, especially if we think we deserve the praise they’re receiving. How about taking our eyes off of ourselves for a second? How about praising the One to whom all praise is due? We really start to experience God when we worship Him. When we praise Him for being our provider, He’ll provide. When we praise Him for his power, He’ll strengthen us. When we praise Him for getting us out of a jam, He’ll be our rescuer. God loves our praise. He loves to hear genuine praise from our lips. (Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Psalm 150:1-2; Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:1-2)

 2/2/21 – Follow

Most people follow someone or something. If you’re not a leader, you’re a follower. Even leaders are followers. There are so many tiers of leadership and followship (I made that word up, but you get the idea) that I will do blog on this subject alone. Think about this for a minute. You’re following something. Someone. Even atheists follow a moral code. If you’re not following the teachings of Christ and are not walking in the way He walked, you are not a Christ-follower. You’re following someone or something else. First things first: discover who or what you’re actually following, and we’ll go from there. (For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. I Peter 2:21; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

 2/1/21 – Return.

To give something back. To go back from whence you came. Sometimes returning is good, but when you return to something that’s harmful or destructive, you face opposition from all sides. Mostly, from yourself. If God has led you away from something or someone, don’t go back. Like the children of Israel in Numbers 14, they complained to Moses that their desire was to go back to Egypt. Back to their old ways, back to where things were comfortable. They had come so far! They had almost reached the promised land and they were tired, hungry, and irritable. At times, we all feel as if we want to go back. To leave what God has called us to do and return to an easier life where things and people are familiar. This is not a bad thing, but if it doesn’t line up with your calling, keep moving forward. A good friend of mine is always telling me, Don’t go back to Egypt. The only time you should do any real returning is when you return to God. When things get rough, stay the course. Take your eyes off of yourself and pray, pray, pray. (And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6)

 1/31/21 – Risk

I’m sure you, like me, have heard people say it’s just not worth it. Albeit, risks are sometimes worth it, but sometimes they’re not. We never know, do we, until we take them. Should I sign up for a 26-mile marathon? Should I join the American Legion? Should I register for college? Should I get married? Should I have another baby?  Sometimes you just know. Most times your gut will tell you. If you’re a Christ-follower, the Holy Spirit will guide you. But what happens when your gut isn’t working properly? And what do you do if you don’t have the Holy Spirit? Then I’d say that you’re left to your own devises. Phone a friend? Visit a palm-reader? Become a nun or a monk? But seriously, where do you turn? My advise would be to crack open a Bible. The answer is in there. If you dig deeply enough, you’ll find it. There’s absolutely no risk. If you’re leery, there’s probably a good reason for that. There’s something supernatural about reading the Bible. Try it. See if that answer doesn’t come. (Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7; All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 1/30/21 – Listen

Most people find it easier to talk than to listen. Communicating is more about listening than talking. What can be gained by listening that could never be gained by talking? We obtain information by listening. We gain understanding by listening. It really is the basis for all communication. Instead of listening with the intent to speak, listen with the intent to understand. Thinking of how you’ll respond while the other person is speaking could rob you of critical information. If you become a listening pro, you’ll no doubt catch the story behind the story. (Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19; A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2)

 1/29/21 – Bless

To bless someone or something is to offer praise or congratulations to them or to ask God to give something good to someone. We don’t see a problem offering a blessing to a good person (someone we like or someone we respect). But when it comes to asking God to bless our enemies, to rain down his goodness on them, now that’s where we draw the line. How, in heaven’s name, do we do that? Only by His power do we do it. In fact, we are blessed if we bless our enemies. Now, don’t bless your enemies just to get a blessing, but ask God to give you a heart that loves like He loves. A heart where genuine love flows from your heart to another’s. That’s how you bless those who hate you, who persecute you. You will receive more of a blessing than your enemy when you take a risk, let go of your pride, and bless that enemy of yours. That’s a promise. (Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14; Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:28)

 1/28/21 – Discern

To discern. To detect. Either with the eyes or ears or any other of the 5 senses God gave you. Discern that which is good. That which is acceptable. But how? These days, what used to be wrong in our culture is now viewed as right. What used to be right is now viewed as wrong. To whom? To most people living on this planet. The only way to know what is truly right, good, and acceptable is to read the Bible. What does the Bible say about it? That’s where you’ll find true answers for everything, right and wrong, good and bad. Nobody who believes the Bible in its entirety can argue with what it says. You can try to argue; you can justify your contrary behavior in your own mind which then will satisfy your own conscience. But there is no true justification. What the Bible says is the truth, not your seared conscience. If your behavior doesn’t match up with the truth of scripture and you feel nothing when you perform those sinful actions, it’s because your conscience has become hardened to the things of the Lord. A hardened conscience will not feel anything, sort of like the dead skin that hangs from an old wound. Therefore, trying to discern wrong from right will be impossible. Now what? How do you recover? Start with confession. Then pray to God for the wisdom only He can give to discern right from wrong. Then, read the Bible. That’s it, really. Here are a few verses, but dig into the Bible yourself to get more highly valuable instruction. (If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5; And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment. Philippians 1:9)

 1/27/21 – Laugh

You’ve got to do it! Find some time in your day to read or watch something funny. In these trying times, laughter heals the soul, if only for a few minutes. I woke up this morning and watched a video that my friend had sent to me. I was literally crying; tears were streaming down my face. My soul was immediately lifted. It really is the best medicine sometimes. In the words of the late Milton Berle, Laughter is an instant vacation. It really is for me. Even the Bible talks a lot about laughter. (A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastics 3:4; A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22; He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting. Job 8:21)

 1/26/21 – Confess

It’s one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. And confessing to each other is the hardest of all. Confessing to the Lord seems easier because it’s between us. Spirit and body. But since confessing to one another is human-to-human, we put ourselves in a vulnerable situation and it immediately becomes uncomfortable. We fear that our self-image that we’ve tried so hard to preserve will be tainted if we confess our sins. This then leads to the subject of pride. That’s why the Bible says that pride is at the root of all sins. All. When we decide to get rid of all the pride in our hearts, we become more free to confess our wrongs to others. If something is eating at you today, something that you need to make right with someone, let go of your pride and make a call. Send a note. Meet virtually. Meet in-person. Take the initiative. It will not be easy, but it will be healing. For both of you. (Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed… James 5:16; Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13)

 1/24/21 – Persevere

From the dictionary: To continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty with little or no prospect of success. To keep going. To stay the course. To persevere. To follow through. To carry on. What do you think about when you read these phrases? I’m reminded of various scenarios in my life where I stopped. I chose to end. Some of those decisions were right and some may not have been. Big decisions and not so big. I’ve never thought of myself as a quitter, but at this moment, I find myself at another fork. To the left is to stop, to the right is to continue. Do I trust and keep on keeping on? If you’re a Christ-follower, you will consult Him as you should. He will tell you whether to stop or to keep going. If you’re truly seeking HIS direction, you will know. And you will either obey Him or you won’t. (You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. Psalm 119:1 MSG I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II Timothy 4:7 ESV

 1/23/21 – Reflect

Mirrors, of course reflect. You look in a mirror and you see yourself. You are either satisfied with what you see, or you’re not. I have not enjoyed seeing the signs of aging as I look in the mirror, so I have begun my attempts to correct these signs with various anti-aging products. You see yourself a certain way, but how do other people see you? That’s what I want to talk about today. Is how other people see you a reflection of who you truly are? The Bible says we are to reflect Christ, but how do we reflect someone we don’t know? May I point you to the gospels; they tell all about Him.  We have a lot of work to do, don’t we? I do. (Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. I John 2:6; You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:13-17)

 1/22/21 – Free

I love this word. It brings a smile to my face. Imagine yourself free from whatever is filling up your mind today. Is it your schedule? Is it your home? Is it the other person with whom you share your life? Is it the state of affairs of our nation? Is it your church? Your friends? Is it your parents? Your children? If anything but God is filling up that space in your head, your day will not amount to much. Be free, my friend. Be free from this world’s cares. Be free from the snares of the devil. Be free from whatever is holding you back from what God has called you to do. You must free yourself. The door to the cage you’ve been living in is OPEN. Mount up with wings as eagles and fly out of there! To have that peace you’ve been craving like nothing else, the peace that passes all human understanding, you must break free. Until you do, you are a slave to that which holds you captive. (Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17; And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32; So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36; Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5)

 1/21/21 – Forget

You may say, yes, I forget things all the time. I need a list. I need a calendar so I don’t double-book myself. That’s totally me, but it’s the needing to forget that I want to talk about today. It’s so difficult to forget the past, isn’t it? To move forward is so much work, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. But I can tell you from experience that it is a must. We cannot stay the way we’ve always been. When something is done, it’s done. And no wishing, hoping, or pleading will change it. When you have finally come to grips with this, you will be free. Let it go. (Philippians 3:13: Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.)

 1/19/21  – Change

Change is sometimes difficult for me, but mostly I like it. There are some who would prefer no changes ever, and some like change so much that they seek it daily. We had a lot of change last year, didn’t we? Major changes that I would have never thought in a million years I would ever see in my lifetime. And we are headed for more major changes yet again this year. Whether you like them or not, they’re coming. You just have to decide if you’re going to go with the flow, or if you’re going to fight them. Depends on how much you believe in what you’re fighting for, what kind of resolve you have. Persecution might be in your future. Are you ready for that? I don’t even know what that would look like, as I have never known it here in the US. Separation might be in your future. From people in your own family. But something that should always be in our present and in our future is Jesus. He is the only one who knows what’s coming and how to handle it. He is the only constant. Stay in the Word or get into it for the first time. There you’ll find peace and joy beyond anything you can understand, no matter what you’re facing. Don’t be afraid of new things. Maybe it’s the Lord who’s bringing it to pass for your good. (See, I’m am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8) 

1/18/21 – Pray

When you don’t know what to do, pray. When you’re at your lowest low, pray. When all hope seems lost, pray. When you come to a fork in the road, pray. When you receive a miracle, pray. When you are the happiest you’ve ever been, pray. When you’ve been given more chances than you deserve, pray. Pray to the One who created everything. Pray to the One who controls it all. Pray to the One who sent His Son to Earth to be born. Pray to the One who died for our sins. Pray  to the One who provides salvation for you. Pray to the One who is preparing a place for you in Heaven. Prayers of repentance. Prayers of thanksgiving. Prayers of praise. Prayers for wisdom. Prayers for discernment. Prayers for understanding. Prayers for insight. Prayers for protection. (…pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances…I Thessalonians 5:17-18; Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God…Philippians 4:6)

 1/16/21 – Distraction

Distraction is anything that takes your attention away from something else. Distractions can be people as well as things. This is one of the most difficult issues for me. I can be reading a really great book, and ding, a text comes in, and I’m looking at that instead. It takes a lot of concentration for me to get back to that book. I can be cleaning my house and putting stuff away. I see something (completely unrelated to cleaning) that I may have forgotten to attend to, and ding, I’m attending to that instead. Do you have the same problem? It’s so frustrating! For me, I’ve had to walk away from the dings and purpose to keep on task. Ironically, as I’m writing this blurb about distractions, I got 3 texts! Did I check them? Confession: Yes! Walking away is hard but so necessary sometimes. Walking away might mean silencing your phone while you study. It could also mean that you need a break from social media for a second. Maybe that person to whom you can’t say no, needs to hear no from you. For those negative distractions, play the what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen game, and get free. (Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Let your eyes look straight ahead…ponder the path of your feet…do not turn to the right or to the left and keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4: 23-27)

 1/15/21 – Trust

If you haven’t had any sort of issues with trust, I’d like to shake your hand. And while I’m shaking it, I’d tell you that I don’t believe you. (There I go again.) If you read Word for Today yesterday, you’d know that this issue of trust is why I chose the word  disappointment. The scripture in Proverbs, Trust in the Lord with all your heart means that God ONLY deserves ALL your trust. Why? Because He never lies. Never has, never will. There is comfort in that. I’m not saying that the person I trusted instead of God lied necessarily, but folks, God ONLY knows the future. People can gather information about thus-and-such and develop their theories and conclusions, but in the end, it’s all up to God. All of it. It’s His plan that comes to pass. Not anyone else’s. Unless He’s behind the plan and allows it, it’s dead. He only is in control. If I could just get that through my thick head…you too? Then consider these verses. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6)

 1/14/21 – Disappointment

Isn’t is hard to keep smiling when things don’t go your way?  When I get less than what I want, I can become discontent, disillusioned, and even angry, depending on the magnitude of my want. To be honest, that’s how I feel today. Confession: I trusted in man instead of in God. When we put our trust in anyone other than the God of the universe, we’re bound to come to some trouble. Happens to me every time. I’m now so disappointed with myself that I could scream. When will I learn? Seriously? Even scripture is difficult to read, but I must. If you read a lot of scripture, it’ll come to you even when you’re unable to physically read it. Like while I was driving this morning, I remembered the perfect passage at the perfect time, and it threw me a lifeline, saving me from myself. All I had to do was grab on. God’s grace is truly amazing. What is that exactly? Amazing grace? It’s the love of God shown to me, even though I don’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve it at all, but He gave it to me. Right then. Am I over my disappointment? No, not totally, but I’m better. Scripture is like that. (It’s better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8 My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. II Corinthians 12:9)

 1/13/21 – Envy

Do you ever wish you had something or someone somebody else has? You say, yes, to be honest, I’d really love her big house. Or maybe you say, his wife seems so attentive to him. I wish I had someone like her. Sure, there are good things about what someone else has, but what you have is good too, unless you acquired it unlawfully. Listen, what you don’t know is the day-to-day grind it is to manage those things that you think you want. Unless you are plopped down in that situation, you cannot know. I’d say it’s not as good as you might think. Sometimes, we even want things ungodly people have. Look. Where the rubber meets the road, when has envy ever brought you joy? It can’t. Period. There is nothing good about it. The Bible calls envy a sin. Envy is really a form of hatred, and its foundation is insecurity and pride. Now, how can that be good? Impossible. Be content with what you have. Joy is there. Peace is there. Look until you find it. (A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30; Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong. For like the grass, they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good. Psalm 37:1-3)

 1/7/21 – Renew

When we hear the word renew we may think of renewing our license plates or renewing our subscription. But before we do any renewing of that sort, I would like to suggest that we renew our mind. The mind is where all the trouble starts, or it’s the place where all the freedom begins. It’s a daily and sometimes even a moment-by-moment task. But YOU, not God or anyone else can renew your own mind. That’s up to you. Purpose to renew your mind and see if you’re not more fulfilled and at peace. (Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2)

 1/6/21 – Wait:

To wait in line, to wait for traffic to clear, to wait for someone to get ready so you can leave… they all can try your patience. I am the most impatient when I’m driving. Waiting on God to move can be a VERY LONG wait. My advice is to sit back and relax. Trust His timing. (Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Psalm 27:14 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31)

 1/5/21 – Ponder:

Do you weigh things out before you decide to travel? (We do now, don’t we?) Do you think about the consequences of speaking to someone about something before you say it? When we hear the headlines or when we receive news about something, we’re quick to talk about it to everyone in our circle, but sometimes might it be better to consider it, to keep it to yourself for a minute, and to wait on the Lord? (And Mary pondered all these things in her heart. Luke 2:19 Ponder the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26)

1/4/21 – Beautiful:

Just remember that when you feel you’ve totally made a mess of things, be joy-filled today because God promises to make all things beautiful in His time. He makes beauty out of our ashes. He works all things together for good to them who are called according to His purpose. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Isaiah 61:3, and Romans 8:28)