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The Bronze Snake

  • Numbers 21:1-22:20
  • Luke 1:26-56
  • Psalm 57: 1-11
  • Proverbs 11:9-11

But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

Numbers 21:4-6

I am exploring the idea of writing a book and my idea is to go through my journals and gather material from them. So last night, I was going through a journal from 1995….I received God into my life when I was 28 years old. That would have been 1992….so in 1995 I had been following Christ for 3 years. I consider myself a baby Christian back in those days. I would have been 31 years old in 1995.

One particular journal entry was a couple pages long and apparently Jeff and I were really struggling because we had begun seeing Frank, a Christian Counselor that God sent to our lives when we needed him most. I was journaling about talking to a family member about the advice I received from her. This is a portion of that entry:

.…she said for instance about if I just took Jeff a “drink” and then he brought me one, then me, then him, etc we could just talk and all of our problems would be solved. That is my, no OUR past. But what do you end up with. A big old house made of cow shit!!

Journal entry 1995

My eyes were starting to be opened to the fact that the way I was raised had brought venomous snakes within my household and was trying to destroy our marriage. And it would have. My family was filled with the venomous snakes of addiction, and the only coping mechanism I had were these same vipers and they had been killing me and were starting to kill my marriage and family.

The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Numbers 21:7

Jeff is my Moses. Jeff grew up in a Catholic Christian home and he taught me to pray and seek God’s face. I am who I am because my husband prays for me.

Jeff will tell you that he is who he is because I pray for him. I pray that God would continue to draw him to a closer relationship with God.

Frank was our Moses in marriage.

Jeff and I married late in life and were determined to make it last a lifetime. I had no intention of putting ourselves or our kids through the trauma of a divorce. The caveat here is that Jeff not I are abusive and have been faithful in our marriage, which according to scripture are the only reasons that God gives for divorce. But that doesn’t mean it was always easy. We chose to seek out the help of a Christian counselor a couple of times. We also had a community of believers in Marriage Encounter that guided us through the rough spots.

A community of Christ followers is crucial in life. I’m praying for each person who reads my blog that God would guide you to a community of believers who pray for you and point you to Christ.

The Lord said to Moses, “make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake they lived.

Numbers 21: 8-9

I have had to look at many-a-bronze snake in my lifetime. Food, drugs, alcohol, sex, those are all the snakes that have been in my deck of mind numbing activities. I’m very grateful to have been saved from these venomous activities. What are yours?

Notice that each person had to look at the snake themselves. They couldn’t look at the snake in behalf of another person. Each person had to recognize that they had been bitten and go themselves to look at the bronze snake. They had to face it, look at it, see it for what it was. Own that it belonged to them and only THEN could they live.

The serpent will come upon us when we complain and grow impatient. When we speak against God and against our people, these snakes can creep in to our relationships and our lives and destroy it. Each and every day we are given a new opportunity to find the good, and honestly some days that may be exhausting and hard to come up with. But complaining and grumbling……well, it’ll just call in the snakes and cause us to get bitten by bitterness.

Lord, I thank you for this story of redemption and hope. Help me remember this story in times of trouble. I pray for the person reading this right now, that if there are any venomous snakes in their life, that you would send them a Moses. Let me be their Moses right now, I pray that they would look up at the Cross and see that Jesus is the way out of their hopelessness. You, Lord are the Way the Truth and the Life.

How can I be praying for you today?

What venomous snakes are you needing healing from?

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The Lord is Gracious

  • Numbers 19:1-20:29
  • Luke 1:1-25
  • Psalm 56:1-13
  • Proverbs 11:8

And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.

Luke 1:20

This is one of those days where I just don’t know what to write, I feel so inadequate. This passage in Luke is written so eloquently (as my husband put it) that I wonder, who am I to try and put an interpretation into my life, or give insight to anyone else? So I’m just going to go through the passage.

I am in no way comparing my measly little farm life with the life of John the Baptist or anything in the scriptures. But I do believe that God has a plan for each of our individual lives. We each are given an opportunity for a role in the Kingdom that God invites us to live out. I am reminded of Queen Esther (which if you’ve never read the book of Esther, it’s truly a beautiful book in the Old Testament and I hope you will take time to read it. It’s only 10 chapters. You can totally do this.) Anyway, Esther was kind of a “nobody” and got the opportunity to become queen. During her reign, she was able to save the Jewish people. She felt afraid and unworthy, but finally her uncle convinced her to help by saying:

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14

In the verse from Luke that I opened with, Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah (Lk 1:5) was in the process of talking to the angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and had been sent to speak to Zechariah and tell him the good news. (vs 19)

Those of us who attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School or CCE classes learned about John the Baptist. He lived in the desert, wore clothes made of camel hair and a belt around his waist. He ate locusts and honey. In fact, I helped teach the preschoolers at church last Sunday and the subject was John the Baptist. Hopefully when I see my grandson tomorrow, he will be able to re-play back what we learned last weekend, like a little magpie.

But really….who was this John?

John’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth, they were descendants of Aaron, which meant they served as church leadership and every once in a while, Zechariah got chosen, by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (vs 8) They were both very old and Elizabeth was not able to have kids. (vs 7)

So on this particularly honorable day in the servanthood of Zechariah, an angel appeared to him and told him about the upcoming birth of his son John, which means “The Lord is gracious” or “The Lord shows grace.” This angel told Zechariah all the ways that John would fulfil the prophecies of the return of Elijah, turning the hearts of people back to the Lord and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (vs 17)

But Zechariah doubted. How can I be sure of this? (vs 18) he asked….and proceeded to inform the angel (as if he didn’t know) that he was an old man and his wife was elderly too. No one was allowed in to the temple with the person burning incense, so this angel just appeared out of nowhere to predict all this, and here’s Zechariah arguing with this being about all the doubts in his mind.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid.

Psalm 56:3-4

Zechariah would lose his voice because he doubted. But that didn’t stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. Elizabeth did become pregnant and was shown favor. To be a barren woman in those days, was seen as a disgrace, and by this fulfillment of prophecy, God took Elizabeth’s disgrace away.

Because Elizabeth lived a righteous life in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly, God cared about her enough that he used His mighty plan to redeem her dignity.

The only one punished here was Zechariah and that was because he questioned a messenger from the Lord.

Maybe an angel hasn’t visited you, but have you been given a vision for your life that you doubt? Do you know that God cares about you enough to include you in His Mighty Plan? God does care enough for each of us to fulfill His plan in some small way through us, so why do we question our worthiness or abilities? Do you know that God doesn’t call the ones with abilities, he ables those He calls? Do you believe that? I mean REALLY believe it? If God could work a miracle in your life or through your life, what would it be? What if the miracle that you imagine was EVEN BIGGER than that?!?! What could God do through you? Who could God reach through you, if you just trusted that little voice in the back of your head for just a little while?

Lord, I thank you for Queen Esther and I thank you for John and I thank you for Elizabeth and I thank you for Zecharia to show me how you work to redeem your people. I pray to have the courage of Esther and Elizabeth to just believe and trust and take that step forward. I pray that you would use me and redeem me in some small way to draw others closer to you. Take me and mold me into the woman you need me to be. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would speak to their heart and let them know that you plans to prosper them and have given them a hope and a future. Speak clearly Lord, your servants are listening.

What can I be praying for you today?

What dreams and goals has God given you for your life?

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Go….Look…Enter

  • Numbers 16:41-18:32
  • Mark 16:1-20
  • Psalm 55:1-23
  • Proverbs 11:7

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’ “

Mark 16:6-7

The ladies that had been following and taking care of Jesus throughout his ministry (Mark 15:41) got up early to continue taking care of his needs, only this time for his burial. When they got to the empty dark grief ridden place of the tomb, they looked up, and saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. (vs 4) Then as they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. (vs 5)

They went….

They looked up….

They entered….

All action verbs. The best part is, that they took action to seek out their friend Jesus. They had the faith in His word to continue to care for him.

Where were the men, his named disciples? In other gospels we learn that they were together in the “upper room” where they had last gathered as a community for the Last Supper. The day that the women went to the tomb was the “Third Day” and Jesus had promised that he would rise again on the Third Day….why didn’t the guys go out there with the ladies?

Did they not believe that Jesus would do what he said he was going to do? I looked up on my Holy Bible app and there are at least 10 instances throughout the Bible where God says “I am God and I will do it.” But many of us, have been let down by humans so many times, and Jesus after all, had been there in human form. Have you ever put your hope in another human expecting to be loved and protected, only to have them abandon you? I know I have, and its hard to trust again. Who wants to set them self up for what feels like betrayal again?

Did they even really understand what it meant when Jesus said that he would rise again? It’s easy for us to sit here 2000 years later and understand that Jesus rose again. But the resurrection hadn’t happened yet so these poor guys didn’t know what to expect. And apparently the ladies didn’t either because verse 8 says “trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” Perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on the men, because really no one knew what it meant that Jesus would rise again.

Peter had disowned Jesus (Mark 14:66-72) The others had deserted him and fled (Mark 14:50-52) Did they feel ashamed, guilty and afraid of going, looking and entering into the grief. Perhaps they were afraid of putting hope in to something that didn’t seem available anymore. They had all abandoned Jesus in his final hour of death, perhaps they were afraid that they let him down and were wallowing in their self loathing? Could they ever face their friend with all that they had done to him? Could they ever be forgiven? Could they ever be accepted again? They had all believed that they were following the Messiah. They had all sworn their allegiance to Him….and then when it mattered most, they failed. They did exactly what he predicted. We, in our human weakness, many times cave to the pressure of sin and weakness. They failed and we fail too. Could we ever be forgiven? If he did rise, would he want me?

But the women were faithful they put their HOPE in Jesus doing what he said he was going to do, so they WENT and they LOOKED UP and they ENTERED IN TO? What a risk! It was risky to go out there! “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? (vs 3)

“I don’t know, we’ll figure it out when we get there,” they say in my mind. That’s the way hope is right?

We go, we look up, and we enter in to….

That’s the way these writings are. That’s the way our move to Kansas was. That’s the way my real estate career was. That’s the way motherhood was. That’s the way new jobs go. That’s what we do when there’s not enough money to meet all the bills at the end of the month. That’s the way it goes when our kids make bad decisions, and there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s the way new relationships go. That’s the way it goes when we seek forgiveness for what seems like an unforgivable sin. That’s the way it goes when we feel abandoned. That’s the way it goes when we don’t understand how its going to turn out.

We go

We look up

We enter in to

Father God, I thank you that you meet me right where you tell me to go, and are there when I look up, and hold my hand as I enter in to. Help me to always have the courage to take the step I see you guiding me towards. I pray for little flutters that I am on the right path toward your will for my life. I pray for the person reading this right now that you would be with them as they make choices for their life, if there is any doubt, any fear, and sin, and abandonment, issues within them, I ask that you speak clearly to their heart and send them some kind of message of your will for their life too. Use my writings to draw the person reading this closer to you.

Can I be praying for you today?

What are you seeking and looking for and entering in to that seems a bit scary today?

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What is the Truth?

  • Numbers 15:17-16:40
  • Mark 15:1-47
  • Psalm 54:1-7
  • Proverbs 11:5-6

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

Mark 15:1

Pilate was the Roman governor who then ruled Judea, Samaria and Idumea. He wasn’t a Jew, and likely didn’t follow a religion at all. The only god he worshiped was Caesar. None other mattered because Romans ruled everything. Pilate has a conversation with Jesus and in all four gospels this conversation starts with the same words,

Are you the king of the Jews?” (vs 2)

I imagine how this question might have been asked. Was it asked in curiosity? Was it asked in an accusatory way? Was it asked in doubt? Was it asked perhaps even with fear, because what if this REALLY WAS the “Son of God” or “King of the Jews”, as some of the “crowd” had indicated? It was such a tumultuous time, and perhaps Pilate was saying to himself, “Oh my, if this IS true….what does that mean for me if I send him to his execution? Can he really be the Son of God? Is there really a God like some say?”

What if someone goes their whole life not believing in God, and then is confronted with, “but what if it’s true….?” I mean, the story has lasted over 2000 years that Jesus died on a cross and rose again. The best selling book of all time is the Bible….so like, what if it is true?

“You have said so,” Jesus replied

Mark 15:2b

I know how a doubter feels. I too at one time didn’t believe in God. Oh, I figured there must be “something”, but this God stuff couldn’t be for real!! Right? That was the Theresa from a long time ago. So I speak to the agnostic or atheist or perhaps to the one who may have just gotten a bit lost or off track. Perhaps you knew God some time a long time ago, but that was for kids. So for you, who have stumbled across my blog today, I say to you, “Welcome! I’m glad you’re here! This is for you.”

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! ITS TRUE! That little voice you hear in the back of your mind saying “what if it’s true?The Word of God is Truth. Jesus did go before a doubter named Pilate that day for YOU. I too have heard those other voices that are trying to crowd out the Truth. Voices from the past and the present that say, “Jesus Freaks are just people needing a crutch” or “If there is a God would he have let such-and-such happen?” or “If there is a God, why didn’t he save me when……?” or “All the Christians want is my money” or “I don’t need no god, I can take care of myself”. These voices of unbelief are liars. I know they’re loud, I know they’re all over social media and the news and perhaps even, like me, within your family. But they are lying voices.

I ask you to just stay here a little longer. Come back again tomorrow. I’m writing to you, I was once in your shoes, and finally when I came to believe my life got better. Oh that’s not to say that I haven’t had my share of problems and didn’t make mistakes. Because, OH. MY. GOODNESS. Have I ever messed things up at times. But see, that’s why Jesus came! Jesus came to give us hope, friend. Our lives really CAN BE better with Christ at the center.

The anxiety and depression and fear and hopelessness that we feel without Christ in our heart doesn’t have to stay there. Jesus came to give us hope knowing that even when bad things happen, even when we make mistakes, even when we feel lost, we can rest well knowing that He loves us and will take care of us, no matter what. No matter what it’s going to be ok. I remember being in such a mess that I just held up my hands, literally and said “I surrender” I’ve got this thing called life so screwed up, that there’s no hope. Help me Lord!

We all have a God-shaped hole in our soul that we keep trying to fill up with things other than God. Medications, drugs, alcohol, men, women, sex, gambling, shopping, exercise, crystals, cards, work, activities, etc…..but until we fill that hole with the One True God, we will still feel incomplete. Like a puzzle missing a piece. Are you there yet? Are you ready to surrender yet? Pilate wasn’t just yet, I wonder if he did later after Jesus rose? Don’t wait, my friend. Reach out just call on His name. He’s there, and has forgiven you and loves you already. I promise.

Lord, I thank you for the Truth of the Gospel that you came, died and rose again to show us how much you love us. I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I had listened to the voices of the liar instead of believing in the Truth that set me free. I thank you that it all worked out. Lord, I pray for the person reading this right now that they would continue to listen to the voice of Truth. I pray that Your Word would reach those who most need it today to give a voice of hope and guide others close to You. Thank you Lord, use me and use my blog. In Jesus name.

How can I pray for you today?

Do voices of doubt ever drown out the voices of Truth?

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A Leap of Faith

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

Numbers 14:24

I love, love, love this story of Caleb and Joshua. I refer to it often when I’m feeling unconfident about a decision I need to make.

Moses had sent 10 of his strongest warriors, one from each of the tribes of Israel, over into the land that God instructed him to in order to explore it. He sent them with questions like: What is the land like? What are the people like, are they strong or weak, few or many? Is the land good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they walled or fortified? How is the soil, is it fertile or poor? Are there trees? Bring back some of the fruit of the land. (Numbers 13:17-20)

They returned at the end of forty days with a cluster of grapes so big they had to carry it on two poles, along with pomegranates and figs. JACKPOT! The scriptures indicate the land to produce beautifully and will provide for all their wants and needs, just like God had promised! Just like the Israelites had been yearning for!

Friends, you might think that the guys would be excited about reporting all they found, but you know what they did? All but two of them reported fear. Allllllll these eight “mighty warriors” could talk about was the bad guys and how big they were over in this land! They said,

We went into the land which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is the fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”

Numbers 13:27-28

They’d never be able to conquer it, the forces against them were to strong. They were doomed before they even started. But get this….no where in chapter 13 was there written anything about any people that they met….only the provisions that were there for the taking. The only report we see of the giants there was when these eight unconfident men spread fear amongst the people.

Do you have any lands that you want to conquer? Is there a choice that you need to make that SEEMS too hard, to big to difficult? Are these giants for real or are they the enemy that someone has TOLD you about, that may or may not be real? Or, even worse, are they walled cities that you have created in your mind that may be holding you back from the JACKPOT that waits in your future?

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Numbers 13:30

Caleb is my hero….and in Chapter 14 we find out that Joshua joined him in the power of positive thinking. See, these people had been living in the wilderness, and the only hope they had was going across that river and in to the promised land. The whole reason its called the Promised Land, is because God PROMISED to provide for them there. He had told them over and over and over and over and over again that he would protect them and provide for them.

God promises to fight our battles, and God will do it when we are in the will of God.

Have you asked God what is next for you? When we ask God, seek God’s will with our whole heart and ask God to put a “different spirit” in us we will know. Notice how out of 10 guys only 2 were willing to take the risk. Taking that next step might mean standing out from the crowd. It might mean getting weird looks and doubts from your friends. It might mean taking a giant leap of faith.

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly…..

Not Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Numbers 14: 24 & 30

At this point God is done. He told Moses to tell the people that because of their lack of courage and lack of faith, NOT EVEN ONE of them would enter in to the Promised Land because they didn’t trust God. The only ones going were Caleb and Joshua. Everyone was going to be walking around in this wilderness for 40 YEARS!! For forty years – one for each of the 40 days you explored the land, you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. (Nm 14:34)

When we moved to our little farm here from Houston, I’m telling you something, people thought we’d lost our marbles. That friends was a GINORMOUS LEAP OF FAITH! It hasn’t been easy, but it is worth it.

So let me ask you this, and ME this….what are you afraid of? What lands have you explored but not had confidence to go conquer? Maybe it’s a relationship that you’re afraid to commit to. Maybe its a career change that you have thought about for a long time. Maybe it’s a marathon you’d like to run. Maybe its going back to school. Maybe your challenge is taking your blog to the next level. Should you go ahead and submit that article or just keep it in your computer? I don’t know what your “what’s next” looks like, but God does. Seek God’s face, friends, if God leads you to it, God will lead you through it. It may not be easy….but it’ll be worth it!

Dear Lord, thank you that you put a different spirit in me. I like it, but it does feel a bit scary at times. You have been faithful and I am grateful for that. I see the next Promised Land for me….and I’m going to just keep moving forward. I pray that if there are any giants ahead of me, that you meet them and conquer them before I even get there! Lord, I pray for the person reading this blog post right now. I pray that if there is a leap of faith in their future that this reading would encourage them and provide hope and faith in YOUR will for their life. Meet them where they are Lord, and guide them closer to you in to the Promised Land of their future.

  • Numbers 14:1-15:16
  • Mark 14:53-72
  • Psalm 53:1-6
  • Proverbs 11:4

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Obedience

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14:38

I had a dream last night that I was pregnant. Many years ago, someone I worked with was having dreams that she was pregnant. She was probably the age I am now when she was having these dreams. She was also an recent empty nester at that time too. So really, now that I think about it, I am in the same stage in life now, that she was then. At the time, I was in my child bearing years. Anyway, she was having dreams that she was pregnant. She shared with me that her and her spiritual director discussed that God was revealing “new life” for her. She was discerning her “what’s next” in life, similar to what I am now. She determined that her next venture was to be a Spiritual Director, which meant more education and a leap of faith. I remember thinking how awesome it would be to be SO CLEAR about what God was guiding her to do. I was just a baby Christian at the time, and I desperately wanted that kind of vision and clarity.

Then last night, I dreamed I was pregnant. I don’t think its the first time I’ve dreamed that recently, but last nights dream was different because it was REALLY clear. There was so much detail that I could actually see the silhouette form of the baby in my belly. The baby was breech and would be coming soon. Somehow I had to get it turned around so that it could be born. I felt somewhat afraid because I didn’t know how to get the baby headfirst.

That’s my book, I think. I have mentioned before that I feel like I’m supposed to be writing a book or articles or something, and I think that’s my “baby” of the future. That’s my “what’s next”. But then sometimes I get afraid and think, is it? I mean, I’ve never written anything before? Is this just a distraction? I am beginning to believe perhaps this IS true…..but oh my goodness. How in the world am I supposed to be birthing this book?

Do you have something you’re supposed to be doing too? Does it feel impossible? Do you know that God will tell you what it is if you Watch and Pray? Many people don’t believe that, ya know. I believe that the reason our world is in such a mess is because people aren’t seeking God’s will in their lives so people are just running amuck and/or sleeping.

…..I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!

Numbers 11:29b

In this passage Moses had gathered up a bunch of his guys and God had laid down his Spirit on them and they “prophesied”. Prophesied in Biblical terms isn’t necessarily revealing the future, its some form of “ecstatic expression to an intense religious experience”, according to the footnote in my Study Bible. Moses wanted everyone to have the same face-to-face conversations with God that he did.

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone one of us had intense prayer time and clear vision of the future like Moses did? Wow! I bet the world would be a different place, wouldn’t it? I want that too. I want it to be like “Speak Lord, ALL your servants are listening!

But Jesus knew that it wasn’t that way. Jesus knew that the human “flesh” is weak. We all get distracted. Like I did yesterday…..

I’ve been so stressed out at my regular job, lots of deadlines and computer work driving me crazy. For about a week, I’ve been pretty lazy in my spare time. I have a habit of playing candy crush. Ugh, its just mind numbing, ya know? I haven’t been eating right either, and yesterday was my run day, and I didn’t go do it. I came home, took a nap, and played candy crush. Then last night I couldn’t sleep, I had a headache.

Phone games and naps are miniscule compared to some of my sinful behaviors in the past. At least alcohol, cigarettes and drugs weren’t involved! (*deep sigh*) But honestly….is it any different? It’s still distracting me from what I KNOW THAT GOD HAS CALLED ME TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW. Couldn’t I have just gone for a walk instead of run if I was tired? I wonder if I would have felt inspired to run after all? Also, there are some writing classes and videos that I need to be watching….but I didn’t do those either.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!

Mark 14:41-42

Jesus had been off in the Garden of Gethsemane praying before his crucifixion. He had told Peter, James & John to “Sit here while I pray.” (vs 32). He returned three different times and each time, he found his friends asleep. The first time, he warned them to “Watch and pray so that (they) wouldn’t fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Jesus knows our weakness, friends. Do you know yours? I know mine…I have a plethora of weaknesses. Some I don’t indulge in anymore….and some still get me. In the twilight of the morning, I feel this tug of urgency that I wish the whole world felt too!

Rise! Let us go!

Your “To-Do List” may not be writing, gardening, exercise. I don’t know what yours is. Is it blogging? Is it gardening and ministering to others through that (thank you, you know who you are)? Is it volunteering at your church? Do you need to be finding a Bible based church home? Do you need to be mending relationships? Is it getting up early enough to have quiet time with the Lord before the kids get up? Do you have a bad behavior that you need to be getting some help with? Is it to get away from the negative effects of social media? Is it making the first step and cooking a romantic dinner for your husband for after the kids go to bed? What is it?

This morning, I deleted candy crush off my phone, and this other tile placement game…..mind numbing stupid games. I’m going to have my book with me and prepare for my afternoon walk run. What are you doing to prepare for your day?

Dear Lord, I am so grateful that you speak so clearly to me sometimes. I am sorry for my slothfulness. Keep me alert Lord! I pray for the person reading this right now, that they would seek clearly your face today. That you would help them to understand Your will for their life. If they have gotten off track, gently guide them back to the right path to where they need to go. I thank you that you are a light unto MY path Lord. Help me stay on it!

Is there something I can be praying for you today?

Do you know your path?

  • Number 24:13:33
  • Mark 14:22-52
  • Psalm 52:1-9
  • Proverbs 11:1-3

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God and Moses Have Words

  • Numbers 10:1-11:23
  • Mark 14:1-21
  • Psalm 51:1-19
  • Proverbs 10:31-32

While he was in Bethany reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Marl 14:3

Everything I write here today, or any day for that matter, is in pure worship to the Lord. God changed my life for the better and in all I do, I intend it to give God the glory and praise like the woman who anointed Jesus.

Having said that, what I am posting today is also in curiosity of how to approach God. In the readings from Numbers today, Moses isn’t very happy with God, in fact, he seems resentful and irritated about the role in which God has put him. So in a complete sense of awe and worship, I journal about this conversation between God and Moses.

Before I begin I pray: Lord, I thank you that I know You, and I believe that this recorded conversation You and Moses had is an example of how we imperfect humans can talk to you. We can talk to you in our rawness and pain and hurt and happiness and excitement and doubt and fear and irritation and anger and pain and joy and love and ……., Well, You get it….in our human-ness. These verses that are recorded in Numbers are an example of just how much you love and accept us and that You will receive our words and meet us where we are. Help me to communicate that well. Amen.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we at in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leaks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

Numbers 11:4-9

The Israelites were in a DESERT. Deserts aren’t known for their plentiful food supply or water supply. This was the only resource they had, and all they had to do was gather what God had provided and prepare it. They didn’t have to punch a clock or hunt it down. It just showed up. But this wasn’t good enough, they complained and dreamt about the days of old, where they had to make bricks out of clay for a meager day’s wage.

On a side note, they were SLAVES back in Egypt. They probably didn’t have access to much other than bread anyway. But this “rabble” represents those who distract them from the reality of what slavery was, filling their heads with what they “should be entitled to”.

Ever complained about what life was like “before”? Yea. Me too. Not proud of it.

Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.

Numbers 11: 10

Uh oh. God’s gonna get mad ya’ll! You saw what happened the last time he got mad! There was vengeance to pay! “Moses was troubled….”

He asked the Lord,

Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?

What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?

Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth?

Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms as a nurse carries and infant, to the land You promised on oath to their ancestors?

Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat! I cannot carry all these people to myself; the burden is too heavy for me.

If this is how You are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me – if I have found favor in your eyes – and do not let me face my own ruin.

Number 11:11-15

At first Moses seems to try and put a guilt trip on God. “Look at what YOU have put on ME! Why have YOU done THIS to ME!! YOU did this to ME! I don’t deserve this! How dare you God! You said you were going to save the people, but why put this burden on me! I was doing just fine out with my family before this fame and fortune, and…..etc etc etc.

But this is good stuff ya’ll….listen, God can take this. So God is just quiet and then I picture Moses caving in falling to his knees, begging for this burden to be lifted. Its too heavy Lord, I can’t do it! I feel so alone….Help me.

The Lord says to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Numbers 11:16-17

God provides for Moses’ need. Moses gets raw and real and desperate and God is sending help in the form of church elders.

Friends, your church leaders are just humans that have received a gift from God. And sometimes, I judge, this gift of leadership comes at a heavy price. There have been some pretty serious wrongs done by church leaders and I wonder if its because they didn’t scream for help when the burden got to be too much! Everyone needs help, and no one can carry the leadership load alone. Here God provided an accountability group for Moses. People, in their human pride get scared to ask for help.

If you are a church leader, do you have an accountability group?

Does your church leader have a support group?

No one is meant to walk this journey alone. Don’t be afraid to speak to God HONESTLY and then DO WHAT HE SAYS to do to get the help you need.

Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “if only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month – until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it – because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, “why did we ever leave Egypt?

Numbers 11: 18-20

Uhhhhh, have you ever heard the phrase, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”? Yea, it applies here. The people got quail all right. I came falling from the sky around them. When the quail came, it came in droves and the people had to clean them and prepare them. So let’s put that in to visual.

Quail falls from the sky. Then it has to be de-feathered. Then it has to be gutted. Then it has to be cooked. Then the bones, guts and feathers have to be burned, buried or disposed of somehow, or they’re going to rot and stink, right? Every single meal and day for a month. Plus they have the manna to deal with. Now what happens if they don’t process with quail? Well, it rots, right? Then maggots and flies gather. Plus the meat is going to attract predators, like coyotes and fox and snakes. So they have to get rid of it fast.

…..until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it…..yea, that much.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Lord, thank you for all I have and all I will have because of your grace. I thank you for this honest conversation between You and Moses. Help me to know when it’s time to ask for help and to trust you with my burdens, knowing that you will guide me and help me. I pray for the person reading this that if they are in need of an accountability group or a team to help them carry a burden, I pray that they get real and honest with you so that you can send them what they need. I thank you for the opportunity to see that like the Israelites in the desert, we have so much to be grateful for, forgive me when I complain.

What are you grateful for today?

Is there a burden you need help with? How can I pray for you today?

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Watch For Clarity

Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back – whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!‘ “

Mark 13:35-37

Jesus is speaking with his disciples regarding the End Times. In Christian media there’s a lot of talk about us being in the End Times, right now. Some current day prophets speak openly about it, and perhaps its true. I don’t know. Even Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (vs 32)

So no one knows if these are the End Times or not. Yes there is a plague, and there are rumors of wars, and there are wars, and there are persecutions, and there is famine in some lands, lots of “signs”. But NO ONE knows and its important for us to be careful to who and what we are listening too. Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (vs 5)

What I do understand is this….

It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

Mark 13:37

Each of us has a job to do for the Master’s House….which is this earthly world. Are you doing yours? Are you sure?

I ask this to myself as well as you. And the answer is…………

I sure hope so.

I pray this that I am. To be honest sometimes I feel uncertain. I pray that the directions that I’ve heard are God guiding me in the right direction. Here’s how I discern:

  • I read the Word every single day.
  • I pray and ask God to guide me throughout my day and teach me His will for my life
  • I do my job which for today is:
    • Take care of my family
    • Do my farm chores
    • Go to my place of employment
    • Treat others around me with compassion and empathy and respect
    • Tithe to my church
    • Journal here on my blog
    • Pray for the people in my life, including those who follow and read my blog

That’s it. That’s all we CAN do, right? Pray, ask God for guidance. Then go do that.

On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.

Number 9:15

The Israelites were in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt, by the hand of God. God was providing manna in the desert for them and had given them the 10 Commandments. Now all they had to do was obey them and live together in the desert. I say “this is all they had to do” like living in a desert wouldn’t be difficult. I mean, eating the same old manna EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for FORTY YEARS probably got kind of old huh? But notice that the cloud looked like fire….it served as a light for the desert tenants to live by.

Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud (of fire) stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.

Numbers 9:17-18

Clarity. Pray for clarity. Clarity comes when we can see, right? Like by fire. The Israelites KNEW when it was time to move from this place, this situation, this circumstance because the light was lifted. We have to TRUST that when the time is right, when the decision is right, God will make it clear…..like fire clear! It takes daily prayer and watchfulness.

When I decided to move forward with my “idea” of writing, I decided to clear out a room in my house and make it an office. I’ve never been a writer before, except in my own daily journals. This seems like an outlandish idea some days…..but I’m taking classes and learning. I started practicing by writing on this blog….I would have never dreamed that I’d be attempting this. But I have been receiving affirmations from several different places. One big one for me is from the fact that this FEELS right. I have some clarity that I’ve not had for a very long time. For a couple of years I’ve felt like I was supposed to be “DOING something”. Since I moved forward with my idea, I’ve felt a sense of joy and peace that feel purposeful.

Interestingly enough, when I started to decorate my frilly little office, the first thing I did was go look for paint. I was looking for a color of yellow. One of the color samples that I chose happened to be named, “Clarity“. Which is EXACTLY the word I use when I pray for God to guide me. Like I said, I’ve been feeling like I am supposed to be doing SOMETHING, and asking for clarity….and then clarity. Circumstance? I think not. Thank you, Lord.

So are you watching? Are you doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing while we wait for the Master to return? Do you need clarity? Pray for it friend, and I’ll be praying for you too.

Father God, I thank you for this reading today. Thank you that when we ask, you will provide clarity and direction in our lives. I pray for the person reading this that they would turn to you and receive you wholeheartedly in their lives, that it wouldn’t just be going through the motions, but that they’d be ALL IN, watching in hope and faithfulness.

What can I be praying for you today?

What does it mean to WATCH?

What are your thoughts about End Times?

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Give it all ya’ got!

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:42-44

I didn’t start running until I was 42 years old. Prior to that I had been a smoker “only” about 1/2 pack a day smoker, but a smoker nonetheless. I received a flyer in the mail for Team in Training that said that they could teach me to run a half or full marathon. Pfft….yea right….but my interest sure got sparked. I had played around with jogging prior to receiving this flyer, but I was out of shape and overweight and my lungs, I’m sure, were damaged, so running was hard, so I never really kept with it.

Team In Training raises funds in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The mission of LLS is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. To learn more visit https://www.teamintraining.org/ I am not advertising this program, its just a program I chose to train with and have made lifetime friends with and forever changed my life.

SO ANYWAY…to say I was out of shape is putting it mildly. For those of us training for the half-marathon, the first Saturday of practice was to “run” 3 miles. MY goal was to make it back to where we started. Somehow. 3 miles??? Seriously? The trainees were of all different athletic abilities. Some had been running for YEARS, some were athletic but hadn’t ran before, some were novice runners. Me, I was a beginner. The very slowest of all the athlete participants. I was the most out of shape. But mostly, I couldn’t breathe. The years of smoking had REALLY caught up with me.

I set out, and got about a half mile down the trail and “Coach Jeff” caught up with me….I say caught up, it was actually that he slowed down for me. Coach Jeff is a beast. He probably ran 2 marathons every Saturday catching up with and going back to the participants to guide them and, in my case, listen to them. He truly is an amazing athlete and coach. That first day, when Coach Jeff asked, “How are you doing?” I stopped “running” and started to cry. I just said, I can’t breathe!! Shared with him that I quit smoking recently, and I want to do this, but how am I supposed to run 13.1 miles when I can’t even BREATHE through this Saturday 3 miler?!?!”

Coach just said, to only run until I couldn’t count to three with my steps and breathing….like count 1, 2, 3 steps and if I couldn’t inhale that long, to walk. Catch my breath, and then start again. Which is really great advise, right? But then I looked at people like “Beth” who was already at the 1.5 mile turn around and not even breaking a sweat. Her arms in that tank top looked amazing, and here I was choking.

Both of these athletes gave out of their “Wealth”. It didn’t physically cost them at all to run that dreadful 3 miles that day. For me though, I brought the only two very small copper coins I had. All I was able to give that day didn’t add up to but a few cents, but I truly did give all I had to the trail.

I felt very small that day. Not because of Jeff and Beth, they are two of the most encouraging people I know, they truly did help me across the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that year. I’ll be forever grateful for their mentorship. No, I felt very small because I was always comparing myself to “real runners”, and I continued comparing my abilities for YEARS. I was afraid of running with people, because of how slow I was, so I isolated myself. My friends and family encouraged me and were respectful of my running, but I always felt like I wasn’t as good as….(fill in the blank)

Do you do that too? Do you compare your beginning to other people’s middle? Do you sometimes feel embarrassed by your entry-level abilities? If so, can I just encourage you to stop that? Please stop that. In retrospect I see that this caused me to look down on myself.

I ran several events after that season, and usually with a group of people. One season I trained with a group and had worked my way up to running 10/1s. That means I ran for 10 minutes, and walked for 1. I was pretty proud of myself. Well, in the pre-dawn hours of the Houston Half Marathon, I was lined up with a group in my pace “corral” and twisted my ankle in a small chughole in the downtown street. I tumbled, and twisted my ankle, tore my leggings and banged up my knee.

Then the gun went off. My group asked if I was ok, and I said yea, but because of a swollen ankle and skinned up knee, I fell behind. I did end up finishing the event, but WAYYYY behind my usual pace. At the end of the event, my group took pictures and celebrated, but I held back. I was ashamed of being in any of the pictures. I felt like a failure because “I wasn’t as fast as them”.

I had just finished 13.1 miles with a swollen ankle and skinned up knee with torn leggings. I felt ashamed!!

Can I just encourage you today…..STOP FEELING ASHAMED of your inabilities or noviceness (is that a word?) Here’s the plan:

Give out of your poverty, put in everything – all you have to live on

translation of Mark 12:44

Dear Lord, thank you for the experiences of my past that have helped me grow closer to You. I pray for the needs and abilities of the person reading this right now. Lord you know what it is that they need and you see them perfectly. Help both of us to see ourselves in the light in which you see us as we both grow closer to you.

Do you need prayer today?

In what way are you comparing your beginning to other people’s middle?

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What is Love?

  • Numbers 4:1-5:31
  • Mark 12:18-37
  • Psalm 48:1-14
  • Proverbs 10:26

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

Recently, I was asked to pray with and for a friend who is going through something terrible in her family. One of her close family members had a tough decision to make. My friend did all the right things, she supported and counselled her family member. She got some professional help for the family. She set up a Facebook prayer message with her church family, and included me in that group. A few of us fasted and prayed, others prayed. Some of the women put up the praying hands, some said words of affirmations to my friend and her family. Some prayed for a specific decision. And most agreed, “Thy will be done, Father.” I don’t know who these other women are, but some of them had the most exquisite prayers. I sat in awe at their raw-ness and humility. For several days we’ve been keeping Facebook Messenger vigil over this decision.

My friend had asked some of her family to be praying too, so there was also a completely separate prayer message going on during this time. All of us praying for the “good” outcome. Its really beautiful knowing that so many people pulled together to pray for this family, I felt honored and blessed to virtually meet with these souls and pour blessings over my friend and her family.

Finally, the day arrived for the decision to get made. Unfortunately, the choice was not what we had all hoped for. Human Free Will, given by God prevailed and the outcome wasn’t what we had thought or hoped would happen.

I found myself a little jarred by this. Like being in a car accident really, driving along thinking its a beautiful sunny day, what could go wrong with all these virtual friends by my side, and then WHAM! I get sideswiped by free will decision making gone awry. My friend was devastated. This decision made will alter the path of her family forever, and my friend has no control over it. She did all she could and has to live with the choice of another forever.

What do we do with that? What do we do when bad choices get made and they fundamentally change the way things are “supposed to be”? What do we do when someone close to us abandons the faith that they have been taught and raised in? Because essentially that’s what happened, the family member made a decision to do something that seems to be the opposite of “What Jesus Would Do”? What do we do especially when these decisions are made by our adult children, and you just want to grab their shoulders and shake them saying, “What are you thinking?!?! I taught you better than this!!”

Many of the women in my virtual prayer meeting said, “You love her unconditionally like Jesus loves us.” This is so true, absolutely, we’ve all done things and made choices that Jesus Wouldn’t Do or Make. (there should be a book like that) I totally agree. But if I’m honest, and I usually am, that’s not what my instinct says. My instinct is to put up my hand and walk away, saying you made your choice, now deal with it. Talk to the hand sis.

Love the Lord your God

with all your heart and

with all your soul and

with all your mind and

with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

Sometimes, friends, we have to break down the Words of Jesus in to baby steps. This is one of those times, because I my Enneagram 4-ness has a difficult time navigating feelings and thoughts in my daily.

Love is an action word. Its just that simple. We make a decision to love every time we cook dinner after work even though we’d rather just plop down on the couch with a cup of tea. Love is getting up early on Saturday morning for little league and staying gone till after dark because your kid is pretty good this year. Love is wiping snotty noses that are gross and slimy. Love is cleaning up the vomit of a loved one whose chemotherapy treatments are tough this week. That’s LOVE, ya’ll. Its not ALWAYS that mushy gushy feeling when we first meet the person we “fell in love” with, or the look on that sweet baby’s face when they’re asleep. LOVE friends, is an action word.

In scripture the Heart is talking about the very center of a human. A person’s will, intention, character are the Heart. Some of the reference on biblehub.com state that Heart refers to “the understanding, the faculty and seat of intelligence”. This again, isn’t that sparkle in the eye heart, this Heart is where decisions get made at. My husband and I of 29 years, talk often of how we have made the DECISION to love each other for all these numbers of years. That doesn’t mean we don’t have intimate mushy gushy times, but certainly there have been days where, my Heart was the seat of intelligence to Love him and while I think I’m pretty cool, I’m sure its been the same for him.

Soul is translated to greek as Psuche. Psuche is also described as the Breath of Life. The Bible tells us that when God created man he breathed life in to him, every creature on earth that God made, He breathed life it to. This is Psuche. The place where God lives. Our Soul. THAT is where we love from…we allow God to breathe in to us so that we are able to love when bad choices and decisions get made that make it really difficult for my humanness to love with.

With all your Mind. So this is the part where I have to take off my emotional cap and put on my thinking cap. Not really a strong suit, to be honest. This work in Greek is dianioa, it means intellect, thought, understanding. When I was thinking about all this situation yesterday and was madder than a wet hen about the choice that got made I remembered Matthew 5:

You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:21-22

Well, alrighty then! I guess my Mind better take over this Love I need to put in to action, right? This is the part where I repeat over and over and over and over in my Mind that Jesus came to this earth to die for me even before I was born to save me from the stupid decisions I made too. Don’t feel, just think.

Now let’s talk about what the decision to Love DOESN’T mean. This kind of Love DOESN’T mean sticking around for abuse or condoning bad behavior. When people we love do things that we don’t understand, are hurtful to ourselves or others, when we aren’t protected, sometimes requires Strength to let go. This decision to love takes Strength during times when life just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it means sitting in a pile of tears watching them walk away in to their destiny with nothing but the clothes on their back. Sometimes people have to experience the consequences of their poor choices so that they can hopefully turn back to God, when those consequences get tough. And they will get tough. To Love someone enough to watch them walk away takes the Strength of an army. Loving someone sometimes means letting them go, even though the very cell of our being wants to hold on to them. This kind of Strength can only come through prayer and with the help of friends and family and perhaps even a support group.

So Lord, this is a long journal entry, and I didn’t even know where to begin when I started. But as always you walked me through it and I feel stronger than before. Thank you. Lord, teach me to love like this. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you that you loved me, before I was even lovable. I pray for the person reading this that you would guide them closer to you through this writing, thank you that you brought them here today.

Have you ever had to let go of someone you love because of their bad decisions?

What do you do when your prayers seem unanswered?

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