Who Likes Change?!

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Who likes change?! Even the people that say they like change, don’t like it… initially; especially when the change was not OUR idea! However, in life, change is inevitable. Just look at the seasons! We have four drastically different seasons in just one year! These seasons require our lifestyles to shift and change, all the way down to what shoes we will put on in the morning! Obviously we have a God not afraid of change, and yet Himself remains the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Could this be the answer to weathering change in our lives well, without becoming weathered by the change?

Numbers 33 records 41 moves in 40 years!! These were not moves in which hired professional movers were involved or child care workers were made available so that mom and dad could pack up the whole house to move…AGAIN! No, the word used is camped; CAMPED! You don’t “camp” in a hotel with room service folks! And yet Deuteronomy 29:5 states, Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 

In all that changed around these people, God remained faithful, steady, sure. He provided, watched over, led, protected and comforted…ALWAYS, AGAIN and AGAIN! Through each unknown move, He remained known. What unknown are you weathering right now? Could the change in the “weather” of your life be what God is using to get you to choose whether you will depend on Him; on Him who is stronger, smarter, and never comes up short? Will you choose to rely on your limited resources or on Him, the Source of every resource?! Dear one, will you allow Him to prove He is unchanging and dependable through any “weather”? 

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

‘Ear’ You Going Down?!


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Who is still on their first pair of earbuds? Maybe don’t answer that and keep me from further shame. Every time I come back from a run and stick my earbuds in my pocket they end up in the wash; ruined! I now almost have a pocket phobia when I come back from my morning runs! I can’t let my earbuds touch my pockets but rather ridiculously hold them out in the air beelining them back into their charger case before any such distractions can occur; like getting a drink of water! Yes, even a simple drink of water after a long run can find me off my path to the earbud charger and all of a sudden I’m absentmindedly placing my earbuds back in my pocket and there they are, headed toward sudden and total destruction in the washing machine! Maybe this too, reminds you of a story in the book of Numbers…

Numbers 31 finds the Israelites returning victorious after a battle. However to Moses’ horror the men have brought back, as plunder, the very thing that tripped them all up in the past!! Moses is flabbergasted at their absentmindedness! Why in the world would they emerge from a battle victorious only to tote behind them the very thing that brought them down, tripped them up, before this very enemy in the past?! What were they thinking?! Or maybe they just weren’t (thinking). Proverbs 26:11 states, As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. 

What are you preserving, protecting, that in the past has been a problem that brought you down?! 

Unlike my earbud repeat catastrophe, let’s not allow the way we have tripped up before (on things more serious than earbuds) to take us down, AGAIN! 

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 

Better Than Mary Poppins

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Do you recall the scene in Mary Poppins where the children need to clean their room up? As a child I was enamored with that scene and wished with all wishes that I could snap my fingers like Mary Poppins and work “clean up magic” just like her! Come to think of it, now with six children of my own, I’m still wishing I had that kinda snap magic; or maybe just her universal umbrella; I’d even settle for her super suitcase! This got me thinking amidst all those wishes, about what wonders might I be wandering past while wallowing in what isn’t?! Then it struck me like a magic wand or let’s say… a scepter!

What Bible story comes to mind when you think “scepter”?! Yes! Esther!! Esther, an epic drama/romance/royalty/adventure/thriller/horror/war/wild miraculous victory of the underdog story, all wrapped in one!!! (I tell ya what, who needs Netflix when you got the Bible!?!!)

By chapter 4 Queen Esther is faced with the task of saving her people but under a wild web of deception and providence she must first go see the King, risking her life! As she weighs her options she is told, …who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 

Esther responds as a true heroine, …I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 The only way for Esther to approach the king and not die, would be for the king to show favor by extending the royal scepter upon her approach! Totally wild, right?! Well, let’s rewind a moment to another “scepter”. 

In Genesis 49 blessings are being handed out all around and we get to verse 10 and what do we see?! “The scepter will not depart from Judah,… Who, pretell, comes from the line of Judah?! Hallelujah, King Jesus Himself (see Matthew 1:1-16)!! If you don’t know Him, Psalm 103:8 sheds a little light on His character, The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. Tucking this tidbit in the pocket of your heart, let’s get back to the epic Esther adventure…

Against all odds, by chapter 5 the king extends the scepter to Esther and her life is spared! Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Dear one, is your life running more wild than a Netflix reel? Do you wonder why all your wishes seem to be on backorder? Beloved of God, hear now this whisper of Truth to your heart, this extension of His “scepter”, For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 Mary Poppins has nothing on The King of kings, Who wants you, loves you, has a throne of grace and beckons you and I to approach unafraid; finding more than we could ever ask, think or even imagine! 

Why waste time on wishes when we can thrill in what is!!?!!

Live Charge to the Heart

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For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 (NIV) To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29 (NIV) 

Did you know… 

When lightning strikes it descends from the cloud, but the part we actually see with our eyes is the charge going back up from the ground to the cloud! So cool, right?! 

Did you also know…

Iceland uses the most electricity. They use about 23% more than the U.S. Wow! Can’t judge though, with a name like ICEland who wouldn’t be running the heat a bit high (ALL the time)!

Speaking of the high use of electricity… anyone else feel morbid shame when that neighborhood note comes out revealing your utility usage compared to that of other homes near you?! Good golly!! I’m pretty sure no one else on the block gets the special elongated paper in order to fit their elongated lights and water usage bars on the graph! But hey, in our defense we ARE a family of 8… that has to count for something right?! Somehow this leads me to thinking on Leviticus 24:1-4!

God gives the command to keep the lamp burning in the tabernacle REGULARLY, as in CONTINUALLY, never going out! At first I think… Cool, there will always be light! Then I think, that seems impossible, how in the world… “continually”?! Especially as it relates to life personally… how do we keep the energy, the light within us burning continually?! But then it hit me as I read on… to keep the light in the tabernacle burning continually the people had to regularly bring pure oil to burn in the lamp… pure oil from CRUSHED olives! Goodness gracious that’s the key to keep the light of hope within us always on!! We must continually bring what has CRUSHED us to the only One who trades out mourning for the OIL of joy dear one!! Hallelujah! Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Who knew the lightning of hope filled inspiration could strike in Leviticus!! Keep in the Word; a live charge wired straight to the heart dear one!! 


Discipline Not Punishment

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What emotion does the word “fasting” evoke within you? Is it pretty safe to say it wasn’t excitement?! Who likes to practice withholding pleasure from themselves; especially God given and driven pleasures, like eating?!! No one! I understand there are many forms and ways to fast and a fast does not necessarily always mean from food however, oftentimes it does. No one likes to deny themselves; to make a practice of self-discipline. Self-control is hard! Which is exactly why we need practice in self-discipline. Discipline often feels like punishment however it is discipline, that keeps us from punishment. 

In the sermon Jesus gives between Matthew 5-7 He gives us a different way to live. A way of living that will require a regular practice of self-discipline. This way of living is to equip us to carry the burden of life, experiencing life abundantly! Instead of just giving us a mattress for exhaustion He gives us a new and refreshing way to carry the load of life… yoked to His strength. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23) so in submitting to the Spirit filled life we will find life, but it will mean dying to our flesh. One way we die to our flesh is through the practice of self-discipline and fasting is a tool God has given to strengthen us in this. 

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (The Message) I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No lazy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. The NIV states it this way, Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 

Life is hard (John 16:33). Who wants to spend their energies running aimlessly and beating the air?! If energy is to be exerted, may it be worthwhile sweat, right!?! Again, fasting is a way to discipline our fleshly nature to bow to the life giving way of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:6). The Bible gives reasons for fasting such as mourning, repentance, preparation, personal transformation and edification, to break sinful strongholds, to hear from God and receive divine direction, for miracles and even for unity. Everything in that list is beneficial and yet the process of fasting is a difficult discipline but not impossible with Holy Spirit infused grace! 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21 (NIV) We have to practice what we preach and the practice of self-discipline strengthens our ability in the Spirit to surrender our fleshly desires to His higher purpose; enabling us to live out His Word in life abundant.

Dear Heavenly Father, here I am, I surrender my agenda to Your higher will and way. Please move me to the center of Your will and make me fruitful and successful in Your eyes. In Jesus name, Amen. 

The Seventh Time Around

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Then the LORD said to Joshua. “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. Joshua 6:2 (NIV) This is an awesome declaration of victory considering the fortified strength of the city of Jericho! However, notice that God gave Joshua this Word in verse 2 of the battle portrayed in chapter 6! Verse 2!?!! God says, “see, Joshua… see, I have given you the victory!” But what Joshua actually saw, at that moment, with his physical eyes, was a city with scary thick walls so strong and solid the enemy was actually living inside them!! Can you relate?! Have you ever found yourself in a “battle” you could physically see no possible way for good, let alone a victory… I mean the enemy was/is practically living in the odds stacked against you like literal walls!?!!  

Joshua could have backed down in verse 2 of the battle. The actual battle had yet to begin, but the battle of the mind was well under way! If Joshua had backed down from the physical battle because the battle in his mind was too much for him to handle, he never would have experienced the victory God was declaring! 

God had to flip Joshua’s vision from the physical to the spiritual so He started with the “mind-field”. 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 (NIV) 

Joshua walked by faith, trustfully allowing spiritual vision to trump the physical. God said the victory was his, so he believed it was, and led his troops accordingly. Next came the more detailed battle plans from God to Joshua. Wild plans they were too! God said, “march around the city one time. Do this for six days. Then on the seventh day walk around seven times.” Think about this plan for a moment… seven days of walking around the city and on that last day walking around it seven times?! Seven being the number of completion I think Joshua could have been completely exhausted or maybe completely filled with doubt?! That’s a lot of time to walk and think. If minds were not steadfast on the Word God gave Joshua, the physical surroundings and emotional strain would have gotten the best of Joshua and his army! Obviously they fixed their minds and hearts on Truth, enabling their spiritual vision to remain 20/20 so… The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! Joshua 6:16 (NIV) I love that Joshua never lost sight of Who really won that battle.

The seventh time around on that seventh day they received the victory God had promised back in verse 2! Exhausted though they may have been, the only thing going down that day were the enemy’s walls! God only leads us into battles He knows end in victory (2 Corinthians 2:14). The way the victory appears and the strategic steps in the battle plan, belong to Him. Half our battle is won through surrendered willful obedience to His victorious will and way.

Maybe you are in your own “verse 2”, having to choose to either rely on your physical vision or to trust the spiritual vision of victory God has given you (wild though it may seem). Grounded in Scripture is the best place to take a first flying leap of faith dear one. Or maybe you are on your seventh day/week/year… in the battle, completely exhausted. Don’t stop short of the promised victory won in Jesus! Philippians 1:6 encourages us to be confident in God’s completion of every good work He begins in us! You may be just rounding the corner of the final lap on the final day!! You may be exhausted as it may be the seventh time around, but you are not going down, lift your spiritual eyes, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23)!! 

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Follow The Word

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NIV) 

Jesus is the Word of God. When He walked this earth He set an example for us of following Scripture as He Himself fulfilled it! Glance at Matthew 26:31-32… Jesus was fully aware that His disciples would fall away in fear and confusion as He faced the cross because Scripture had foretold it! However Jesus assures them that though they will falter in faith He will faithfully go before them, overcoming the devastation of the grave! if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV) 

Dear one, all throughout Scripture the Truth of Living Hope past failure and tragedy is a constant theme! The enemy wants us to drown in the “flood” of failures and falterings and God says He sits enthroned ABOVE the flood (Psalm 29:10-11). His best will and way will prevail in His best timing for each of us if we will trust Him to be who He says He is (Job 42:2, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6, Proverbs 3:5-6)! 

Matthew 26:53-54 (CSB) records Jesus’ response to His disciples trying to defend Him in the heat of a very intense moment leading up to the cross. Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels? How, then, would Scripture be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” God does not need us to defend Him but rather He asks us to trust Him and follow His lead in immediate obedience. Jesus knows what it’s like to obediently take the harder road and to experience the faithfulness of the Father (Hebrews 12:1-3)! So what holds us back from following the Word, trusting the Word? Is it like Jesus asked His disciples, “…do you think that I cannot…” ?!

What if we took captive every thought and made it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)?! Might we then be more inclined to navigate from the Word we know to be Truth? But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:39 (NIV) 

You were designed to overcome, to step up, step forward, step through, step out, step again even after falling, dear one. Let Scripture set your steps as the Word directs your wandering heart into His. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. Psalm 77:19 (NIV) For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Light Still Shines In Total Darkness

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…total darkness where God was. Exodus 20:21(CSB)

In Exodus the people were afraid to approach God for fear they would die, so the people remained at a distance and Moses went alone into total darkness. However the sentence that relays this information ends in a way we might least expect!! For it was in “total darkness” that God was!! Too often it is in our own “total darkness” that we allow the enemy a foothold in our mind and heart. We allow doubt to bring us down within our delays. What we don’t know, can’t understand or comprehend often makes us feel like we are alone in dark confusion. If we are not standing on the Rock of Truth the enemy can use our “darkness” as a dungeon to enslave us to fear; causing a faltering in our faith. However if we allow our “darkness”, the unknowns in our life to press us deeper into delighting in the light of His Truth, we will render the enemy’s schemes against us ineffective. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 (NIV) 

God reminds us over and over and over in Scripture of His faithful presence with us; that we are not alone! See Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Isaiah 41:10,13; Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5… just to name a few! Notice in these verses God never says, “If you don’t FEEL like I’m there, I’m probably not, I’m probably busy with someone else. Leave Me a message and I’ll be with you shortly.” NO!!!!!! Every time God assures us of His presence it is never based on our feelings but rather on His trustworthy faithfulness, displayed throughout the totality of His flawless Word! If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12 (NIV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 (NIV) If God says He’s with you (and He has, multiple times) then He’s with you, whether you feel like it or not! Feelings are oftentimes the furthest thing from facts dear one.

When we feel like we are floundering for footing in total darkness, searching for answers in the unknowns of life, recall Exodus 20:21. In total darkness, the scary, frustrating sea of unanswered questions that make us feel so isolated and alone, remember Jesus remains the ever present Answer, our Anchor, our Light and beacon of sure and Living Hope. The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned, King forever. The LORD gives his people strength; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:10-11 (CSB) 

When you know Jesus as your Answer you can let go of questions that are drowning you in total darkness. You were made for more than to just cope; you were made to float on sustaining Hope! When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12 (NIV) 

God Almighty Must Build

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Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 (ESV) 

Genesis 30 reveals a great power struggle between two women. Envy and jealously have eroded a relationship to the point they have made themselves almost crazy out of their minds! They’ve used every bit of energy to manipulate situations and circumstances to the best of their ability that will have enormous ripple effects, not only in their own lives, but on everyone! 

They pretend to be happy even declare that they are, though their actions prove otherwise. Verse 13 (NIV)  … “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.”  Even in that statement you can hear the desperation for approval and validation! It won’t take long for exhaustion to set in when we are consumed with trying to gain approval, to achieve, to build, to find answers within our own timing, will and way, dear one.

One of these women cannot have what she wants, when she wants it, and out of frustration demands others to do as she bids so that she can take control of building her own family, her own way, in her own time; NOW! This desperate grasp for the illusion of control in her life takes place in verse 3. However after wading through all the strife of the following 18 verses (which could have been avoided had she chose to be still and wait on God’s best will, way and timing) this gal receives from God the miracle she had always dreamed of! 

God had a plan to bring her the desire of her heart all along! I wonder just how much joy and peace she lost out on and how many sleepless nights she tossed and turned tangled in an emotional fit of exhaustion, worry and tears?! The time and space God had in the waiting could have been enjoyed as she allowed Him to romance her heart into the deeper depths of Him! He longs to enrapture your heart with His unfailing love too dear one. What distraction is keeping you from just abiding at His feet?

The breath in your lungs is proof God is moving and working on the good plans He has for you. In all we don’t know, can’t understand, don’t hear, can’t see… let’s choose to rest in the One who does. 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. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) 

More Than Human Hopes

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If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled… 1 Corinthians 15:32-33a (NIV) 

In the above verses, please fill in for the phrase “fought wild beasts in Ephesus” with your own pursuit or endeavor, anything you have applied your mind and heart to in life. When you read it with your personalized information it hits home in a bit different way, does it not?! What in our life have we hung, or are we hanging on mere “human hopes”?  

But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. John 2:24 (NLT) Jesus gave His life to save all people but He didn’t put His trust in humans for He remembered what we are made of (Psalm 103:14). As a human being this should cause us to pause and remember that we cannot even truly trust ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9)! Hanging our hope on this fading world, on self, our own abilities, or other people, and what they think or can do for us… is just unwise. 

We can love life and people well without hanging our hopes, our validation, approval, our dreams, our security, our success… on them and the things of this material world. Doing so will only prove to be a disappointment. When we look to anyone or thing to fill the void in our heart that only God (who knit our heart together) can fill, we will always come up short. Today let’s choose to commit to submit; to allow God on a daily basis to pour out those misplaced desires coupled with the strength to hang them on the only One who is always enough, for all we need, all the time. A divided heart will never come to experience I AM as enough, and until Jesus is enough for us, nothing else ever will be.

In Jesus we have hope beyond this life, a purpose that extends into eternity! This eternal perspective changes our mindset in any circumstance! Trials, setbacks, tragedies, opposition, oppression, depression… becomes not the end! Obstacles can be seen as opportunities to grow beyond ourselves. Remember the apostle Paul afflicted with a “thorn”. He prayed desperately three times for God to remove it and instead of changing the circumstance for Paul, God changed Paul. In a sense He gave him thick skin so that he could bear up under the pain, finding God’s grace to be sufficient, and himself becoming more effective in his life’s purpose (2 Corinthians 12). We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him- 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV) Clearly we have more than mere humans could even hope for, found only when our hope is placed in Jesus. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) 

Keep looking up.