“I sure like your shoes.”

Photo by Mstudio on Pexels.com

It was the end of a work day in a long week and a little girl was walking next to me in a crowded hallway. Out of the blue, she looks up with a smile and says, “I sure like your shoes.” It was just five little words from a little six year old girl and days later my heart is still smiling with her sweetness. Random kindness scattered in the mundane moments of life can change a world. Never underestimate your extraordinary influence in sometimes the most ordinary ways and days.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) 

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what  a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6 (NIV) 

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (NLT)

Considering the seriousness of the warnings above, how the phrase, “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” caught on like it did, I’ll never know. Words are weapons and like any weapon, if they are used carelessly, become deadly. 

To use or own, or even carry a weapon legally, you need a license and proper training. If our tongue has the power of life and death as the Bible states, and each of us is naturally gifted one upon birth, it would seem we should also apply careful training and attention to its proper use. 

Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (NIV) 

This above verse indicates the Bible supplies us with words of life, words of encouragement! So what better trainer than the Word Himself! Take a look with me at two bookends in Scripture… Matthew 4:23 and Matthew 9:35. These two verses are near identical, like two mirrors and what is contained in the space between these two verses illustrates the concepts they relay. 

Matthew 4:23 (NKJV) And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

Matthew 9:35 (NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

In both above verses you can underline “preaching”, “teaching” and “healing”. Jesus was teaching, preaching and healing. The acts of preaching and teaching use words, and in Matthew 5 through 7 Jesus gives His famous Sermon on the Mount. A radical teaching and preaching on the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven! Then in Matthew chapters 8 and 9 Jesus is healing every sickness and disease among the people; demonstrating the Kingdom of Heaven! In other words Jesus backed up every word He said with action!! Luke 1:37 (NLT) For the word of God will never fail.” 

If we want to train this weapon we have all been born with that has the potential to bring life or death, not only to ourselves but also to others we must walk in unfailing Truth next to the Word of Life Himself. After all, Jesus is the only One who can have our feet fitted with the most beautiful shoes on any kind of day. Only with His shoes we can walk anywhere, anytime and with anyone and still speak words of life, dear one.

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. Ephesians 6:15 (NLT) …do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10-19-20 (NIV) 

Today, what kind thing can you notice about someone else, and in maybe five words or less let them know, leaving a smile in their hearts that just might last for days. 

Change the world by sharing the light and love of Jesus in you; one step at a time.

If you hear nothing else…

And God remembered… Genesis 8:1 (KJV) 

After 150 days the flood waters that had been sent in judgment, to cleanse the earth of its sinfulness, were receding! After tumbling around within a dark wave tossed ark, through what seemed like an endless abyss, Genesis 8 (KJV) begins with… God remembered. 

Now do not be mistaken, it was not that God had EVER forgotten about Noah! Rather quite the contrary!! Noah had been held in remembrance even in the dark, when he could see no end and quite possibly, felt cut off from God as he weathered the dark unknown trial of a lifetime! 

Genesis 8 begins noting God’s continual remembrance and by the end we are given a reminder for ourselves. Verse 22 holds our sticky note reminder in the form of the changing seasons. With every change of the seasons we are reminded He is our Sustainer through every life season we must weather. 

However, like Noah in the cold dark scary smelly “arks” of life’s situations and circumstances it can be easy to forget our proper perspective and Truthful Word. The word “Spirit” in Genesis 1:2 at the beginning of creation, is the word rendered “wind” in Genesis 8:1, post flood! God was breathing a second chance over all the earth!! He saw great purpose and value PAST the trial and the sin that once consumed the entire world!! 

Dear one, through whatever has consumed your world for however many seasons, you are not forgotten, but rather held and seen by a God who loves you enduringly! You are unfailingly loved with passion and a purpose past your mistakes and failures, struggles and trials! Hope springs new with each changing season; with each page turn of your life. TRUST your Author!! 

God knew the trials of this world would distort, discourage and distract us from the Truth, so He said in Luke 22:19 …do this in remembrance of me.” Through the act of communion we remember Jesus, His willing sacrifice, His poured out blood and broken body to save ours. God saw the trials and all the sin, He knew it all and still said, “She’s worth it. He is worth it. I still want her. I still want him. They are precious and valuable to Me.” And then Jesus rose again and overcame it ALL! There is now nothing that can overpower the child of God (1 John 4:4). 

So even if we feel we can’t hear God in the trial, it’s in remembering His Word ALREADY spoken through His sacrifice on the cross and His overcoming resurrection that we find a sustaining Hope we can embrace. You have a Truthful word of love spoken over you that transcends all trials and endures eternally. If you hear nothing else, remember that dear one. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) YOU are loved.

Lifted Perspective

Photo by u00d6zlem on Pexels.com

Psalm 121:7 (NKJV) The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

Walking my children to school one morning I was stopped in my tracks by a soaking wet ladybug! Yes, this little guy had been stopped in his tracks too it would seem, as the sprinklers had unexpectedly gone off as he was crossing the sidewalk! As I bent down to get a closer look at this ladybug, I could just imagine he was trying to gather himself (after such a torrential downpour) to begin again on his trek to the other side, where he could rest in the paradise of soft protective grass. All the raindrops on his back magnified his spots beautifully. Have you ever seen a sloppy ladybug spot?! Neither have I! Every spot is perfectly placed, planned for and purposed by our Creator God Himself! It was God’s love note to remind me that even in the unexpected “rainy” moments, days, seasons of life, we can still allow the goodness of our God to be magnified through us! 

The title deed to earth was handed over to Satan when we humans allowed sin to enter. However at the cross Jesus won it back for all eternity! At the right time all things will be made right again. Until that time we will face hardship and the temptation to fall away from the faith will constantly bombard us because Satan knows his time is short. Dear one, take a lifted perspective. Beat back the enemy by lifting your mind and heart from your current situation and circumstances, looking up to the cross which points to your overcoming victory and living hope through Jesus! 

Revelation is a book of hope; intense drama yes, but saturated with victory and hope for all who overcome through their faith in Jesus Christ! I believe chapter 4 comes before all the intense details of the drama to unfold at the end of time because chapter 4 establishes Who is, Who was and Who will always be on the throne victorious! It’s like God saying, it’s going to be wild but remember Who is on the throne, in control and victorious, and you will not be shaken. 

There will be things in this life we do not understand but our God is omniscient and knows and understands everything and everyone. It is the epitome of foolishness to disobey God or to think we know better. He is infinite and we possess a finite mind. We will not ever fully understand God or His ways but we can trust His character revealed in His Word, to be Who He says He is because He has never ever failed His Word, nor in faithfulness! 

Think of it like this, even if God were to try and explain Himself and all His ways to us it would be like us trying to explain who we are and why we do things to a ladybug! We could talk all day and night but that bug is just not going to be able to grasp or comprehend who we are as a human race! But God in His grace has given us His Word, He sent us Jesus, He has given us enough comprehension to know He is unchanging, never moody and always good. (In this ever changing, moody world where “good” is defined by every shade of gray, this news about our God is a much needed breath of fresh air!)

No matter how crazy “rainy” this life gets, do not let the things of this passing life shake you! Rather allow them to lift your perspective to heaven, to the One who can use this “rain” to magnify His reign, His overcoming hope filled victory for those who endure to the end! 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV) 

Lift your perspective to Jesus, your Truth, your Wisdom, your Sustainer and not only will you make it to your eternal home of paradise, but He will be magnified in the process. Thus encouraging many others on your path of influence to not give up on the journey either, dear one.

A Little “Seed” Of Faith Called “Yet”

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

My son has a heart to find wonder in even the smallest details of life! He asked me to take a picture of his slice of watermelon recently because the tiny seed pattern was very unique and he wanted to capture and preserve its specialness! This reminded me of a Truth found in chapter 17 of Isaiah. 

Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. They may sprout on the days you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain. Isaiah 17:10-11 (NLT) 

This chapter holds such a bold call to turn from false allurements in this life and to rather trust God. In the above verses we get that people were falling to the trappings of success! They were planting with “the best of the best”, so they thought. However, whenever we “plant” without God it will always be less than what’s best. 

Success is not measured in wealth, status, subscribers, likes, or even open doors of opportunity. Rather God measures success through obedience. None of us are called to be “successful” only obedient (see Philippians 2:3-11, especially verse 8). In this case found in Isaiah, expensive seeds weren’t the only thing being imported via their human efforts to succeed; false gods were also finding their way into hearts and homes! 

The above verses in Isaiah indicate though things might’ve looked good on the surface there would be no real harvest in the end. How devastating. Sometimes the call to obedience is devastating too; it’s hard and not what we would naturally choose and YET God honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). 

Both Job (in 13:15) and Habakkuk (in 3:17-18) found themselves in situations they wouldn’t have chosen and their response is filled with the seed of faith you can read as the word “yet” in the verses listed above. How does one acquire a “yet” seed of faith that changes entire outlooks on situations and circumstances and produces harvest 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown!?! They choose trust in God. Like my son and his watermelon, you take up eyes that truly see the wondrous faithfulness of God who is ALWAYS working in every detail of life for the good of those who love Him even when you can’t understand, dear one. God bless you muchly~

Take Me Up!

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing. Psalm 143:10 (NLT) 

God may not always rescue you from the trial but He will always bring you up through it, if you are willing. Each new day that God wakes your soul up again with fresh breath in your lungs, is a gift! Within the gift of a new day we are given the gift of choice. The following choice is often difficult when our moments are difficult (especially moments that have added up to feel like a mountain too big for us to climb). We can choose to cry, “God, get me out of this!!” OR, “God, take me up into a higher understanding of who You are and who You want to be to me that otherwise I would never have opportunity to know! Refine me, that I might better reflect your Son, so that others might take note of Hope!”

John 12:27-28 (NIV) “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’ … Jesus knows and understands your struggle. He was troubled and wrestled with His flesh side over severe heartache and trials too! His human side wanted to pray, “Get me out!!” and yet He recalls the love of His Father and the great purpose for His life on earth and is able to receive clear focus and footing to move faithfully forward every time!

As Jesus suffered on the cross two criminals hung on either side of Him. One essentially cried, “Get me down!” and the other looked to Jesus and cried, “Take me up!”. Who do you think got to experience Paradise through their trial?! The one willing to go up, to humbly take Him at His Word and trust beyond what they felt or could fully understand.

The ride’s not always easy but somebody’s always watching at your side. May they take note of the Hope you are taken up with, as you weather your trials in faith, dear one. Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God bless you ever so very muchly~

When God says “Go” it should sound like “Come”.

Photo by Sami Abdullah on Pexels.com

I noticed that in Genesis 8:16 God gives Noah a command following the flood. This command is recorded in the NIV, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. However in the ESV that same verse reads, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 

COME out of the ark verses GO out from the ark, and this got me thinking. The “Go” command resembles the great commission in Matthew 28:19 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 

Noah was to GO out into a whole new experience but just as the great commission finishes in Matthew 28:20 with the promise that God will always be with us, the command stated using the word to COME in Genesis 8:16 implies to me that Noah was to come out to where God had ALREADY gone ahead. 

For me this translated into the reminder that if I think I’ve received a “Go” command from God I better make sure it sounds like a “Come” because just as Moses stated in Exodus 33:15 (NIV) …“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Matthew 28:20 (NIV) …And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

My Father’s Business

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

The smell is in the air of freshly sharpened bouquets of pencils; indicating back to school is here and we cannot miss that fall is near! The autumn colors remind us of true beauty, that in Jesus, hope never dies! The Greek word for ‘hope’ is ‘elpis’ and is pronounced ‘el-pece’. How great is that?! Hope is quite literally pronounced peace!! But it’s so true, that when we hang our hope on Jesus, we do have peace! He is our Living Hope, our Prince of Peace in every season!

Speaking of seasons, we walk in and out and through, so many different “seasons” in life. Have you thought recently about who you are walking with or who you are walking for?! It’s too easy to be led along by feelings rather than find yourself in step with the Holy Spirit. Therefore we must be intentional with our personal business, making it His business (Proverbs 3:5-6).

In Acts 8 Philip is called by the Spirit away from a wild revival out into the desert to meet with one guy. If Philip was leaning into his own feelings and finite understanding of his situation he may very well have refused to go! However Philip was willing to walk in the Spirit and as ineffective and unimportant (according to the world’s definition of the grander scale) that he may have felt, Africa is still experiencing the impact of that one conversation, in the desert, with just that one guy!! 

The call on your life was not a conference call, it doesn’t need to make sense to everyone else around you and at times and in certain seasons it may not even be clear to you! Trust, lean into, listen for, and walk with the One who holds the plans and sees the beginning from the end. How?! Read your Bible and pray. Put Jesus first in all your “business”. Pray for the Holy Spirit to make the words on the page of His Word, come to life in you, allowing God to read you as you read Him, and don’t give up! 

In Luke 2 Jesus’ parents lose track of Jesus, God’s only Son! How would you explain that one?! “Sorry God, we lost your only Son!” That frames any “bad day” of our own into a bit of fresh perspective, right?! Yet, it’s on those days, those weeks, those seasons that we lose sight of the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ, that our personal business spirals out of control! How does Jesus respond once Mary and Joseph locate Him (because they didn’t stop seeking)? In Luke 2:49 we find our answer… “…Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’” (NKJV) 

How do we know His business? We continue to lay our “business” at His feet in regular relational communion with Him. Where we are unaligned He will align, where we are discouraged He will encourage, where we are weary He will give rest and renewed strength to rise again, to try again! Navigate by His Spirit not by your feelings dear one and don’t worry, rather receive His peace in His sure and living hope… 

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV) 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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) 

Like Philip, like Jesus, being about our Heavenly Father’s business will always have better returns for our investments than when we pursue our own. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Grace Not Guilt

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,… Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

Adam and Eve broke the world in Genesis 3. Maybe you can relate to breaking something, maybe a bone, or a fragile item… Maybe in a sense, you too feel you have broken your world with choices you’ve made. 

We’ve all worn the shoes of the guilty party (Romans 3:23). It doesn’t matter if you think your sin seems small in comparison to someone else’s. 2 Corinthians 10:12 makes it clear the comparison game is about the most foolish thing one can participate in. Aside from that, EVERY sin cost Jesus the same price: death on a cross. In light of that Truth we are all humbled and in need of every ounce of His amazing grace! We have no room to point any fingers; not even at Adam and Eve.

What astounds me about Genesis 3 is God’s immediate response to Adam and Eve’s sin (see Genesis 3:14-19). After Adam and Eve get through playing the blame game and God can get a word in edgewise, His first communication reveals wild grace! Adam and Eve break His creation, forsake His Word, attempt to rule in their own way, believe the serpent over Him setting into motion massive devastation beyond their imaginations… AND YET, God’s first expression is, grace not guilt, redemption not rejection!!! 

God tells them there is a solution and it will be His Son Jesus who will give His life, overcoming evil through His death and resurrection! God then goes on to address the consequences of their sin but it was served up on a plate of grace not guilt. They may have broken the world but they would not end in brokenness; neither would any of us who would entrust their lives to His Son Jesus, as Savior.

Dear one, do not let what you have broken keep you from the blessing He longs to lavish on you. Judas betrayed Jesus and consumed with guilt took his own life – a life God died for with a desire to save and redeem! Peter denied Jesus and consumed with guilt took hold of the grace that redeemed, restored and refreshed his God given purpose with new life!!! It’s not ever about what we deserve, we ALL deserve hell at its hottest! It’s about humbling ourselves to receive what we don’t deserve and could never earn in order to glorify the One who gave His all, to save us all! 

God allowed His Son to be lifted up on a cross that all who would recognize their guilt could LOOK UP to Jesus and receive grace dear one. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 (NIV) Don’t let the enemy take ground God Almighty has already won for you!! See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2 (NLT)

Live Enamored

Photo by j.mt_photography on Pexels.com

But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself? Isaiah 10:15 (NLT)

The obvious answer to all the above questions is “no”! It seems ridiculous to even pose such questions! However, Isaiah 10:7 reminds us clearly that no matter how royal you are or how prestigious and smart you might be, it is really easy for us humans to foolishly forget, or even understand, that we are just God’s tools, made to accomplish His purpose. Apart from God we can do nothing (John 15:5)! Apart from the hand of our Master Crafter we are just as useful as a tool, left in a tool box! 

This underlines a lesson we learn from Genesis 11. The people in Genesis 11 wanted to build for themselves. This endeavor only ended in devastation and destruction. God created the universe with His words He clearly does not need tools, but He wants to use tools. He wants to use you and I to build His purpose through! Astounding! 

God’s designs cannot be destroyed, His plans cannot be poached and what He builds will be brought to competition as a display of His glory. The “tool” He’s created you to be, displays His originality and your purpose is to portray His authenticity.

The moment we stop delighting ourselves in Him, we become diluted with self-indulgence. Pride comes in every form and none of them are pretty. Pride is the fastest way to be put back in the tool box my friend! If you want to be a useful “hammer” you’ve got to live enamored!

When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! (8) … We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:3-4, 8 (NLT)

Blooming With Truth

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

No photo filter could portray to you the heavenly aroma of my beautiful roses! Our music teacher cut them fresh out of her garden for us and they are intoxicating! Of course this reminds me of something Scriptural… 

The gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are quite similar at surface glance and yet it is in mining their differences that we unveil astounding revelations. See if you can catch the difference in the following two verses that depict the same event… 

Mark 1:11 (NIV) And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17 (NIV) And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

If you didn’t catch it, the difference is found in the audience! In the first verse the Father is speaking to Jesus, in Matthew the Father is speaking to the crowd, about Jesus!

Oh how I LOVE this because there are times I need affirmation directly from God and it doesn’t matter who else may know or hear. Other times like Psalm 43:1 (NIV) declares, Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation…. sometimes we need Him to stand up for us in front of others. By God’s amazing grace He does both, and we serve a God who understands the need for both!! 

No matter how hard I try, I cannot give you the total experience of my roses through a simple photograph. You must be able to go deeper than what the eye can see. …The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) 

Don’t drag your sins behind you with ropes of lies (Is. 5:18) rather be set free by the God who TRULY SEES YOU, loves you, speaks Truth to you, over you, about you, AND is willing to meet you in the need only He can see. 

Allow your life to take bloom in the Truth of His hand and you too (like my roses) will become an intoxicating aroma; the aroma of Christ that fills the air everywhere for others to truly get to know AND experience Him too (2 Cor. 2:14)! 

Join me this fall in Bible study! redeeminggrace991@gmail.com