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Martha had a Sister called Mary

  • Deuteronomy 26:1-27:26
  • Luke 10: 38-11:13
  • Psalm 76: 1-12
  • Proverbs 12:15-17

Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

Like 10:39

Lord, help me be more Mary-like. Teach me how to just sit at your feet and listen to what Jesus said. In a world of instant communications, 24-hour newsreels, social media posts, and text messaging, show me how to just sit at your feet for ONE DAY and just listen.

What would you say to me?

What would you say about this world and how to live in it?

Would you give insight in to what’s happening?

What do I need to hear from you most today?

Would you tell me I’m doing ok or would you guide me to a better way of living?

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Luke 10:40

Yep, this sounds more like me and my Martha-like self.

Distracted by all the stuff.

Because honestly, who’s going to do all this stuff if I don’t? After all, the only reason that Jesus was even in there was because Martha had “opened her home to him” in verse 38. There’s dinner to cook, house to clean, feet to get washed, a table to set, I mean really. You expect me to just sit there and listen, when there’s all this stuff to do?!?!?

How can I just sit and listen to you when the politicians are so loud?

How can I just sit and listen when the family issues seem to be getting ignored and growing worse?

How can I just sit and listen when there are eggs to color and dinner to cook? Or even worse, when there’s not, and the loneliness sets in?

How can I just sit and listen when there are children being abused, abandoned or even worse, killed?

Lord, don’t you care about all the things I see on social media? Don’t you care what so-and-so said? Don’t you care about what is happening to our economy? Don’t you care about ……………………………..?

How can I just sit and listen when there are things to do, places to go, people to see?

Lord tell them!!

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:41

As I sit here this morning at the feet of Jesus, in my best Mary-like posture of coffee and pajamas I hear Jesus say. “Today is Easter. Today is the day to celebrate that on the day I visited Mary and Martha, My Father had a bigger plan. On the day I visited Mary and Martha, I loved them both for their reaction to My visit. I love and appreciate you and your readers, in how you respond to your world today. I love Martha for her busy-ness and I love Mary for her sitting and reflecting. There is a time and a place for both the preparation and the listening.”

Friends, just for today, I choose to just sit at the feet of Jesus and reflect on what He has done for us. Before we were even born, before our ancestors were even born, he came to this world to teach us how to love one another, to die for our sins and then finally rise again. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, right this very second, praying for us, and preparing a place for us.

Just for today that no matter what happens in this world, rejoice that your name is written in heaven when you receive Jesus as your savior.

Father, I thank you for Martha and Mary, especially today. I thank you for the imagery of how to do Easter Sunday. There is dinner to cook, family fun to have, and the cross to reflect on. I pray for the person reading this right now, that they would take the time to read your word and listen to what you have to say to them. I pray for many who are less fortunate than I. I pray for leadership of our nation and world. I pray that miraculously each would turn to You and turn their decisions and lives over to You. Lord, I don’t know what the right answers to this world and its issues are, but you do. I trust that you have a bigger plan than what we see right now. Lord help us. Lord we are ready for your return.

How can I be praying for you today?

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Asking for Help

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20

Luke 9:7-27

Psalm 72:1-20

Proverbs 12:8-9

Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than to pretend to be a somebody and have no food.

Proverbs 12:9

Last year I participated in a program called My Transphormation Starts Today! Its a weight loss & fitness program. The company is called 1st Phorm and they also sell weight loss and health supplements. There’s a million companies like it, I chose this one because it was recommended to me by a friend. It works as an app and when you sign up, they assign you an advisor, who is an accountability coach that checks in with you each week. Its only like $48.00 per year, which is cheap comparatively speaking and how they make their money is with supplements, but they don’t “push” them on you. Its the accountability that works for many people, like me. They believe in hard work and the science of food. It really worked for me.

I recommended it to a few friends of mine and a few of us were going to work the program together. I was excited for our little local group. But it seemed that no one else in the group was taking it as seriously as I was, and I felt discouraged, like I failed my friends somehow. This was the first of my “falling off the wagon”. Then the political climate and stress moved me towards checking out of social media and I lost track of the online MTST group. All this together, has created a weight gain that I feel totally ashamed of.

Pride.

Ugh.

I don’t tell this story for you to feel sorry for me, I do it as an illustration for the Proverb. See, I want to get “back on the program” but I feel ashamed to reach out to my advisor. I had goals and plans, and I fell off the wagon. So instead of asking for help I am “pretending” that everything is ok, and I don’t need help. I am being prideful in reaching out.

I used to tell my kids when they were in school to ask for help, if they didn’t understand a particular subject. Stay after school for extra help, raise your hand and ask for clarification, go to the teacher during study hall or go to a different teacher if they thought it would help. Worst case scenario, ask me for help! God knows, I’d try, but surely there’s someone smarter!! Sometimes they would, but sometimes they wouldn’t. Its embarrassing to be the kid who raises their hand, I think. So often times we go around pretending to have it under control, to pretend to “be somebody”.

But isn’t that really just called PRIDE?

And isn’t PRIDE actually one of the seven deadly sins?

Oh SNAP! There it is.

Yes, it is. This kind of pride is a sin. But why? Isn’t it ok to be proud of yourself when you accomplish something? Yes. Yes it is. When I was successful in weight loss last year, I felt so much pride because I was able to run longer, lift heavier, feel happier. I felt proud of myself emotionally and I felt healthier. Which REALLY is the end game goal. Right?

But the kind of pride that we feel which causes us to feel ashamed to ask for help….that’s a different kind of pride. That’s PRETENDING to be something we’re not. Which is actually separating us from community and isolating ourselves. Its causing us to “have no food“.

Say you’re a woman who’s been a stay at home mom for several years and decide to return to college. This semester you’re taking statistics. Your professor says, don’t use a calculator, all work must be shown on an excel spreadsheet. But because you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, its been a few years since you’ve used excel. How are you supposed to be successful? Well, you could consider asking a friend for help, someone who might know more about excel and perhaps this friend even offered to get together over a cup of coffee to see if she could help you. If you take this friend up on her cup of coffee, and get some one on one time on excel, then a couple benefits of this are available to you.

  • You get to spend time with a friend, where two or more are gathered in Jesus name, he is with them
  • You get free help, a servant

Better to be a nobody, better to be a beginner, better to swallow our pride and get the help we need AKA have a servant.

Dear Lord, I thank you for the practical application of this Proverb that you put on my heart today. I know thank you that it spoke to me. I pray that you take these words of mine and use them to speak to the person reading this right now. I’m sorry Lord for my pride. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would speak to their heart and cause them to seek out the help they need today. If there are any chains of pretending, shame, fear or embarrassment, I pray that you would use my writings to break them and return each of us to you.

How can I be praying for you today?

What prideful habit of yours comes to mind with this reading?

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Mary pondered….

  • Numbers 24:1-25:18
  • Luke 2:1-35
  • Psalm 59:1-17
  • Proverbs 11:14

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

In Chapter 2, Luke is especially interested to weaving the story of The Messiah’s birth into the events of world history. Ceasar August issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (Lk 2:1) Many say that Ceasar was the greatest Roman emperor of all time. I am not a studier of Biblical history, or any history for that matter. So I depend on the footnotes in my Study Bible, which say Ceasar replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world, established the famed Pax Romana (Roman Peace) and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. Augustus, which means exalted, was a title conferred on him by the Roman senate in 27 BC.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there with Mary who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (vs 4-5) This is where my kind of study begins…..the prophecies of Jesus. While Ceasar may have been a powerful ruler in the eyes of men, he only played a role in the prophecies that were already written hundreds and hundreds of years before the man Ceasar decided to have a census.

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.”

And there were shepherds living in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.” I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:8-10

King David was a lowly shepherd too. He was discovered by Samuel the prophet. Samuel had gone to the house of Jesse, by God’s instruction, to seek out the next king. When he got there, Samuel was introduced to six of Jesse’s sons, but Samuel didn’t recognize them to be The One. So Jesse said, well, I do have one more son but he’s out in the field tending sheep, he’s young, and doesn’t account for much, surely its not him you’re looking for! But Samuel said, let me be the judge of that….so Jesse sent for what was to become King David. If you would like to learn more about King David, read about his fantastic life in 1st and 2nd Samuel.

So why WOULDN’T the shepherds be the first to know about King Jesus? A decent of David by the lineage of Joseph.

More prophecy. I love it!!

So this brings me to wonder, how much of any of our lives do we REALLY have control over, or are we, like Ceasar, just role players in the Plan of God? Isn’t our whole purpose to do just what the shepherds did next….

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them……The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Like 2:16-20

All the plans we make for our lives and all the dreams we dream need to be in effort to hurry off and find Jesus! Every day we all go to work, and set about our business, and we need to do it such a way that the way live our lives exemplify that we are followers of this Christ child Jesus. Am I treating people with respect, even the “lowly shepherds” I meet? Do we return and glorify and praise God for all the things we hear and see in our actions, and the way we live? Not just on Sunday at church, but every single day?

Lord, teach me to treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart every single day of my life. Teach me to seek you out, to not be afraid, to tell others, and glorify you. Lord, I pray for the person reading this right now, that today they would draw closer to you. Plant this seed in each of our hearts so that we can meditate and ponder on it. Lord teach us to be more and more like you to those around us.

How can I be praying for you today?

What is your role in the Kingdom of God?

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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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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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