Thursday, November 12, 2015


I don't see anywhere in the New Testament where the New Testament Church was protesting stuff that the people in power were doing.  And the people in power were doing horrible things.
The Roman Empire was running Israel - pagans that they were - and no one wants to stand up to an angry Italian guy with a sword. In spite of the extreme brutality of the Romans and their Empire... the New Testament Church was focused on something else completely  They were focused on Jesus and HIS POWER... because...

They knew the RESURRECTED JESUS personally.
Acts 1:3 reads: "After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive." He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God."

Those of us who identify ourselves as followers of Jesus owe a great and eternal gratitude to these founders of the faith and what they focused on.  Thankfully, the epistle of Peter is not about organizing a protest against Nero and his predisposition to feeding Christians to the lions. We should be forever grateful that Paul didn't write his epistles to the early church urging them to boycott the local coffee shop because of the color of the cups they were using!!!!!!  No..they focused on Jesus... who He is.. what He had done.. what He was going to do.. and they had GREAT GREAT POWER.. they lived without fear of losing their very order that THE GOSPEL would be preached.  They focused on eternity.. and telling people they could choose where they would be spending it.

Well, to be fair, they weren't ALWAYS SO FOCUSED.  Acts 1:6 shows us their initial focus: "Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus was speaking to them for forty days about THE KINGDOM OF GOD, but just three verses later we see that their focus was getting those ROMAN SOLDIERS OUT OF ISRAEL.. and running their own country once again.

It must have been a confusing season for them. First, Jesus is the most popular man alive.. healing people, raising the dead. Then Jesus is dead. Then He's alive. And hanging out with them again. FOR FORTY DAYS.  Certainly this Resurrected Man had the power to drive the Roman Soldiers out. He most certainly did.

But.. He didn't. 

When the Holy Spirit came and drenched them from the inside out, they understood the TRUTH.  Keep your eyes on The One who is coming back.
It might be nice for you and your family and your neighbors to get a better government. I welcome that. But when you and your family and your neighbors and I face eternity, it won't really matter if a Republican or a Democrat is running the country.  The only thing that will matter is that Jesus is King of Kings... and whether we know Him or not.
The New Testament Church KNEW THE RESURRECTED Jesus.  They knew Him. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. THIS IS THE EXAMPLE WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN.
So many of us are living under a cloud of occupation.  We have, in our own strength, no power to overcome the Roman Soldiers in our lives.  Be comforted today.  Remember that just because they aren't gone today doesn't mean they won't be gone tomorrow.  Jesus has power over every Roman Soldier. Look to Him. Please... stop.. and remember who Jesus is.. and HOW MUCH HE LOVES YOU.
"Roman Soldiers" will come and go.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Friday, October 16, 2015


"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."  (Acts 2:17)

This verse intrigues me.  God is speaking about THE LAST DAYS.  Only God knows when those days will arrive. But this verse clearly tells us that a season is coming to this planet which will be the LAST DAYS of humanity's story upon it. 

Those of us reading this are still alive and breathing. The earth is how it's always been. True, it seems like something is beginning to shake, and some of us are shaking with the shaking, but God is still in control.  We are still alive. The earth is still spinning on its axis. 

We can learn some things from this one verse.  First, there is coming a season for and on this planet that GOD refers to as "THE LAST DAYS."   God is going to end the story of HIS-STORY with humanity living on Planet Earth. Things will change. Things will end. 

What will God do during this season of the end of the ages?  What is God's plan for THE LAST DAYS?


Even as we reap the consequences of our rebellion, He will be POURING the COMFORTER on all people.  The Holy Spirit will arrive in such a way that it will be like a FLOOD covering the earth.  The Spirit that will lead us in to all truth. The Spirit of His Comfort.  The Power of His Greatness. POURED OUT. POURED OUT. POURED OUT. Like a flood.  

And what will be the ramifications of people being flooded with the Very Spirit of Very God? 




WHAT?  Prophecy? Visions? Dreams?

All these things have something to do with the future. THE FUTURE? IN THE LAST DAYS?


With God there is ALWAYS a FUTURE. Always a HOPE.  

Old men who were sure their days of dreaming dreams were over will now have renewed strength and hope to dream dreams.  Sons and daughters will prophecy about God's plan for the future.  Young men will see visions.  About the future? 

Even as God is allowing the planet to be in it's LAST DAYS He continues to send His Spirit to cause us to look to the future.

Some of us are dealing with our own "last days."  
It could be the LAST DAYS of a marriage.   
LAST DAYS of a relationship.
LAST DAYS of having children at home
LAST DAYS of a life long career.
LAST DAYS of living in your home town.
LAST DAYS of life.

Please remind yourself that even in the last days - of anything - God continues to POUR HIS SPIRIT ON YOU.  He continues to remind you that you are not finished dreaming dreams or having a future.  Here. Or there.


God will create something NEW whenever He allows something OLD to see it's last days.

Be encouraged in the Lord, today.


Sunday, October 11, 2015


Her name is Annie and she was my mother's best friend from almost the day they were born.  Annie's mom and my grandmother were very close friends.  Annie and Mom  hardly saw each other in the last few decades but they spoke on the phone several times a week.  My mother passed away four months ago, and since that time I have had the privilege of being ENCOURAGED by Annie  - to remember the joy my mother and father are feeling right now. And to rejoice with them.  Her last email to me ended with the sentence "Sing to the Lord. He loves your voice" and it just HIT ME in that place that NEEDED TO BE HIT.   I have no formal training to be a singer or a songwriter.  I don't have a membership card to the musician's club.  I just sing because I love to sing to the One I love.

And one sentence from someone who loves me.. and reminded me that I am His Delight.. has opened up my sad little heart again.

This morning I find myself reviewing music that has been sitting here for a while.  For the last year or two, caring for mom and dad was my priority and my husband's priority.  More than music. More than singing music. More than writing songs.

But Annie reminded me that I am back in a season of singing.  And it isn't important how much training I have, or whether or not my talent is as exceptional as someone else.  God loves when I sing to Him.  God loves my voice. My true audience LOVES my voice.  Go figure.  He likes to hear me sing. He likes every song  I write.  He LOVES my voice.  He does?He does.

So, this morning, thanks to an email from a Godly older woman, I am singing again. And the singing is lifting the grief. And the sorrow. And the longing for someone I love who is gone.
Why? Because someone took the time to encourage my gift.

Take the time today to encourage someone to use the gift that God has given. 

And encourage yourself in the Lord.

Whatever your talent... whatever your gift.. do it to and for the Lord.

And don't forget to sing to Him. He loves your voice too..

"Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Sunday, October 4, 2015


"I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek Me if I could not be found." - GOD (Isaiah 45:19)

I like the being found part of the Gospel.  I like the part where God sent His Son in to the world to seek and to find that which was lost. I was lost. For sure.  He found me.  And without having to lift a finger, God made a way.  Before I was seeking for Him, He was all about finding me.  And so He found me. Redeemed me. And we both lived happilty ever after.  True.

The End.  Well... sorta.  It's the end of the story when it comes to the beginning of my eternity.  
But.. well.. uhhh...

There's something else the Bible speaks of.  There's something God is wanting after He finds me.  He wants me to seek Him.  What? I'm found. His Spirit has taken up residence in my very temple. 

This is one of the mysteries of God:  Although He has found us, He wants us to seek Him.  Jesus was not shy about informing anyone who would listen that He was the only way to be reconciled to God.  Furthermore, He gave an indication that the way AWAY from Him was broad... open.... widely traveled... but the way of following Him is NARROW and FEW will FIND IT. (Matthew 7)

In the verse listed at the top of this blog.. God is reminding us of something WONDERFUL. Something beyond AMAZING.  He is assuring us that He can be found.  God.. who created all we see and all we cannot see.. is willing to be found by mere earthlings.  How is He found? Who will find Him? Seekers. `

Recently, my twelve-year-old grandson Michael has taken the time to ask me a question every time we are together.  He says, "So, Mema, how was your day? Did you have a good day?"  He melts my heart every time he asks.  And then he waits for me to answer him.  I cannot tell you how loved that makes me feel.  Michael, you want to know about ME? 

My mother passed away four months ago.  She was a great intercessor for the movie War Room. She loved Stephen Kendrick,who refers to her as "the real Miss Clara." (If you've seen the movie you understand what that means.) And while she received many miraculous answers to prayer, her main reason for having her own "war room" can be found in the verse in Hebrews 11:6, "Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists, and that he rewards those who diligently seek Him."  Fighting our battles in prayer is the only way to win the battles that come our way.  But.. my mom's primary purpose for prayer was to simply know God more. Know Him deeper.  Hear Him more clearly.  We seek Him to know Him. Right? Right. 

Seeker. That's what He wants me to be.  A seeker.  Of Him. 
And then He rewards me. With Him.
And all the other stuff - blessings, rewards, direction, prosperity, courage, faith, hope, love, kindness, endurance. wisdom, understanding, power, righteousness - come because He loves me. 

When I ask my heavenly Father to REVEAL HIMSELF to me, I wonder if He feels the same way I do when my grandson asks me about me. 

I pray to be a Seeker seeking the One who has found me.

"If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you, says the Lord."
Jeremiah 29:13-14

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


They had gotten used to starving and hiding in caves.  STARVING. COWERING IN FEAR.  "They" were the descendants of the people who saw God split the sea, bring down the walls of Jericho, and feed them in the middle of a desert for 40 years. HE DELIVERED THEM ALL THOSE YEARS AGO BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT THE PEOPLE HE LOVED TO BE SLAVES.  And now, because they had sinned, God allowed an army to overtake them.   

The army that had overcome them was so scary and barbaric that they were afraid to live out in the open.  They hid in caves. They ventured outside to secretly plant food, and then these armies "thick as locusts with droves of camels too numerous to count" (Judges 6)  came and stole all their food, all their livestock and all their hope. They were slaves again  - with a slave mentality - cowering in fear, starving to death, accepting the awful life they were being forced to live.  

Once again, these people cried out to the God who loved them. The God they had abandoned.   They asked Him to rescue them from this slavery - and-  once again God heard their cry and delivered them.  He choose Gideon, who was also a cowering cave dweller to be their champion.  You can read the story of Gideon beginning in Judges Chapter 6.  God used him to deliver the people and defeat their enemies. 

Nice story. So what.  
Well, I noticed that Gideon kept asking God for signs to prove that He was really with him. Because, let's face it, the armies that God was asking Gideon to stand up to were pretty formidable. Gideon didn't think he had the strength to do what God was asking him to do. AND GIDEON WAS ACCURATE. HE DIDN'T HAVE THE STRENGTH.

Presently, the world is simply and seemingly out of control.  We have no power, seemingly, to stand up against, or overcome the evil flood that is sweeping the planet.  And then, in our personal lives, life can be scary, and sad, and frustrating, and overwhelming.  We feel weak, and limp, and powerless and without strength. 

This verse jumped out to me today: "Then the Lord turned to him and said 'Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites.  I am sending you.'" (Judges 6:14)

"Go with the strength you have"

God didn't tell Gideon, the cowering cave dweller, "Here let me give you supernatural strength to fight this army."  No.

He told him to "GO.. GO NOW.. because I AM GOING TO DO THE FIGHTING FOR YOU. The strength you have is the strength you need."

This reminds me that when I have become a cowering cave dweller because I have forgotten that I am Rescued Royalty....and I cry out to God to rescue me - He will.  He does.  Jesus, my Deliverer says, 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.." 
(Luke 4:18)

Whatever is causing me and you to hide in fear - sickness, despair, depression, fear, anger, lust and more - God is calling us to walk out of that cave and back in to the light.  He isn't going to give us the power to defeat our enemy AND THEN WE GO. NO. First comes the GO and then comes the STRENGTH.  Because we are accurate, as Gideon was,  when we say that we don't have the strength. That our enemy is too powerful for us. That is THE TRUTH.  But... we are in a better position than Gideon was. Why? Because our enemy has already been defeated.  And he knows it.

God is saying to us, "Just GO with the strength you have." 

However weak you feel... GO.   Don't keep living in a cave, starving to death spiritually, emotionally, physically, because you have evaluated the situation and have decided that you don't have the strength to defeat whatever is defeating you. 

You don't.
He does.

Remember that you are a ROYAL priesthood.. and.. Walk to the edge of your slave cave....take a step outside...and...  

Go with the strength you have
Trust God to do the fighting for you.

Whatever strength you have today is all the strength you need today 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


(The following is an excerpt from "How To Make A Meatball - Recipes For Living My Mother Taught Me") 
Perfect In Every Way
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.”
   Ephesians 4:29

            It seems to me that my mother learned very early in life that the most loving way to show your love is in the way you use — or don’t use — your words. The words “unwholesome talk” in the verse above means more than “don’t use four letter curse words.” An expanded definition of the word “unwholesome” is  rotten, corrupted, no longer fit for use, worn out, poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless(Strong’s). A word doesn’t have to be a curse word for it to be unwholesome. It could simply be a rotten thing to say like, “You’re just like your lazy father” or a worthless thing to say like, “You’re never going to amount to anything!” It could be a worn out sentence like, “Dear God, please help me deal with these annoying children” or a poor quality sentence like, “We’re poor. Get used to it.” Tragically, these are actual sentences that actual moms have actually uttered to their actual children that I have actually heard. That verse begins with telling us how we should not talk, and ends with telling us how we should: only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs. My mother found the way to tell me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. If I needed encouragement, that’s what she spoke. If I needed correction, that’s what she spoke. If I needed spiritual exhortation, that’s what I heard. The key is that she knew me. She spent time knowing who I was, what kind of heart I have and what it needed at the moment. Her words always reinforced her love.

“Gracious words promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
   Proverbs 16:21; 24

You can purchase a copy - or download a Kindle version at  Click on the link below:

Friday, July 24, 2015


Have you ever felt like you're getting God's voice mail when you pray?  In your brain you know that He loves you, and He cares about you, and that He will hear you when you call, but... truth is.. lately....He isn't exactly answering His cell phone when you call. In your heart, you wonder if He's ignoring you. No? You've never felt that way?  Good for you. I have had times when it seemed like God was busy doing other stuff for other people and my stuff for me wasn't really getting His attention.   I use the words "seemed like" because He is always listening. Always.To you. And me.

Furthermore.......(drum roll)... He is doing more than listening to my words. He hears my thoughts and yours too.  Psalm 139:4 says, "Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely."  In the one millionth of a second from the time I think something until I actually say it, He already knows exactly what I'm going to say and exactly why I'm saying it.  He is THAT CLOSE to us.  Another verse in another Psalm got my attention this morning.  Psalm 94:11 says "The Lord knows people's thoughts..."   He knows what we are THINKING.  Hello. Nothing is hidden from Him. Not even my thoughts. UHHH-OHHH.

Earlier in the same Psalm, the writer is complaining to God about how He's running the earth. Wondering why He is allowing the wicked to gloat. Wondering why their arrogance and boasting is not getting His attention. He tells God what these people are thinking, ""The Lord isn't looking, they say, and besides the God of Israel doesn't care." (v.7)

And then he kind of reminds himself that, oh yes, God knows what they are actually thinking. Just like he knows what I am thinking.  Doubts about God's ways come to every one of us every now and then.  If you are confused by God and what He's allowing in the world, or in your life, He isn't mad at you for having those doubts.  In light of how dark the world has become, we can think our prayers are hitting His voice mail. 
But that isn't truth.
What does God do when we, His children, have doubts filling the inner recesses of our minds?  What does He do when we, like the writer of Psalm 94, wonder why He is allowing proud and arrogant people to prosper.. seemingly.... and to crush His own people? 
HE COMFORTS US.  I cannot hide my doubts from the One who knows my thoughts. And yours.  If we will allow Him, He will give us the renewed hope we need to get through a seemingly hopeless planet.  He knows what He's doing. Even when we don't.  

"When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." 
Psalm 94:19

Thank you, Father. 

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Saturday, June 27, 2015


I can relate to feeling like a smoldering wick with just a hint of the fire that used to burn bright. I know what it's like to remember that fire as if it actually happened to somebody else and not me. I am familiar with the sensation of being a bruised and broken reed.  Too, too familiar.
Yes. It's true. It has happened to me more than once in my lifetime. There comes a season when you cannot take another hit. You cannot endure another betrayal. You lose your breath to think of surviving another loss. I've been there. Done that.

It doesn't matter, really, what people say to you to encourage you through the season because it isn't what other people are saying to you, but what you are saying to yourself. You assume that you will not be useful to anyone, anywhere, anymore.  You are convinced that your best days are probably behind you.  The identity you used to have - and the identity you had to the world - has taken a huge hit. For whatever reason.  You feel like a failure of the faith you professed.  It happens. To lots of good-hearted people who tried to follow close in the steps of Jesus.

The problem with being a smoldering wick and bruised reed is that that is actually who and what you are.  You are bruised. You are broken. You are not really a wheat harvest prize. And the fire that used to burn hot and brightly through you (your wick) is barely there anymore.  You are different than you used to be. You are less than you used to be. This is the truth.

Been there. Done that. And so, almost two decades ago, as I was settling in to my new role as a less-than-I used-to-be follower of Jesus, I read this Scripture.  Matthew 12:20 says:

A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,till he has brought justice through to victory."
The New Living Translation says it this way: He will not break a broken branch. He will not put out a little fire until He makes things right."

And like a lightening bolt..... like a flash of light invading my dark and despairing heart.. I saw the actual truth:

I was done with me in my present condition but Jesus wasn't. 

I was certain my best days were behind me but Jesus wasn't.

I was convinced I could not burn hot again but Jesus wasn't.

Jesus was still on the same path with me that He had always been on.  To make things right in my life. To bring justice in my life.  To bring victory in my life.

Truth is, Jesus does not despise broken people. He loves them. Jesus doesn't throw us away when our light gets weak. He still wants us. He still loves us. He still has wonderful victorious plans for us.  I gave Jesus my brokenness... and He made things right. 
Whenever we go to Him with our broken branches and our smoldering wick.. He continues to work out His plan for our lives.

I know that some of you reading this may feel like you've messed up too much.
That you are broken beyond repair.
That your light has gone out forever.
That is not the truth.

Jesus is not finished with you. So don't be finished with yourself.
His love can overlook your weaknesses.
He has the power to mend broken lives... and to bring that flame back to its white hot burn.
He loves you.

Please don't give up on yourself. 
Jesus never will.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Someday... I will see tulips again. Someday....I will see tulips again.
Someday....I will see tulips again.
We all will.  WHAT A WACKY WEIRD WINTER we've had. Tennessee is not supposed to have winters like we've had.

The good thing is knowing that unless the earth rotates off it's 23.5 degree axis we will have Spring and blooming flowers and warm weather in just a matter of weeks.  Right?  Right?  Right. 

When the seasons change, so does our wardrobe.  But FIRST the season changes and THEN our wardrobe follows.   

Almost twenty years ago, when we moved to Tennessee, I was in a new season in my life.  We were living in a brand new and beautiful house on acres of land in the beautiful and rolling hills of Tennessee...and yet I missed my older smaller house that we'd been living in 800 miles north.   I felt like I should be doing something MORE than just enjoying these blessings, enjoying my grandkids who live just a block away...   Most of all, my husband and I found ourselves not involved in full-time ministry for the first time in decades. It seemed strange to turn off that ministry machine motor that had been running at full speed inside of me. 

One day, I was speaking to the Lord about all this.  I felt unable to navigate this new and different season in my life.  And for one split second, I stopped talking long enough to allow His Spirit  to whisper something to me.  And I don't know about you but when the Holy Spirit speaks.. you understand a kazillion things in just one second.  And it's like He explained to me that the main way to adapt and thrive and survive in a new season is to  wear the wardrobe that goes with THAT season.  I was insisting on wearing my old wardrobe:  a pastor's wife, full-time ministry..... and here I was in a brand new season that He had ordained and allowed.

None of us can control the seasons.  With the weather... and with our lives.  They appear out of nowhere.. arriving on the wind...and suddenly the old season is gone.. and the new season is here.
I was in a NEW season.. insisting on wearing the wardrobe of the season I'd just come out of.

It's like He explained to me, "Marie, the heavy clothing you wear when you're outside in January -   BOOTS, COAT, SWEATER, HAT, GLOVES - will keep you alive IN JANUARY. But if you insist on wearing your January wardrobe in the middle of July..
the same wardrobe that kept you alive in January will kill you in July. And vice versa.

I can be guilty of wanting things to stay the same. Of wanting to do the same thing I've always done.  It feels secure.  It feels wise.  But it isn't wise to kill yourself with it.. to insist on not admitting that what I "wore" in the previous season isn't working in this new one.

Some seasons - like sickness, or financial fears, or family wars - become more difficult when we insist on yearning for the seasons when the weather was clear, and our skies were blue. That's wearing your old wardrobe.  God will give you everything you need to make it through this season.. if you will let him take off what you used to have.. what you used to be.. and trust Him to be faithful NOW.. in this season.

As it turns out... because I had time to think.. and pray.. and relax.. and revive inside...God opened new doors... to give me the desire of my heart.  Because the only thing I wanted to be MORE THAN a pastor's wife.. is a writer.  And

I is a writer.

Thanking God for new seasons and the wardrobe that goes with them.

Friday, February 20, 2015


It's been more than a few years now.. that the owner of the florist shop in our city here in Tennessee waits for me. Wondering if once again.. in January.. I will walk through the front door of the florist shop to order the gardenias.    

And when I do...she smiles with a look of relief, sorta, and says, "Another year?"  And I nod my head with joy and order the gardenias ( a wrist band, a corsage) for my father to give to my mother on their Wedding Anniversary - which is TODAY.. February 20th.  72 YEARS.

On February 20, 1943, my mother's bridal bouquet was filled with gardenias.  The smell of a gardenia always reminds her of her wedding day and makes her smile.  Since making her smile is one of my father's primary goals in life..every anniversary for the past seventy one years. my father made sure she got gardenias.  

Nowadays, he isn't able to drive anymore, but he still makes getting the gardenias his number one priority.  Starting in January he reminds me that February 20th is coming soon and I reassure him that I've got the gardenias ordered.   He makes sure we have the money to pay for them... The florist owner and workers have met them and love them (who doesn't?) and comment - as does almost everyone - how unusual it is for two people their age to still have one another.   It is unusual. It is A BLESSING.  

Later this morning, Phil and I will drive to the florist...pick up the gardenias... bring them to my parent's house.. and watch my saint of a father... hand the gardenia to my saint of a mother.. and she will say, "Ohhhh Honey... You got me gardenias????"  - as if this is the first time ever -  and hug him and kiss him and he will smile.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my parents.  Their lives are worthy of being honored.. and I honor them.

And while the family gathers to sing to them, watch them they blow out the candles on their 72 Anniversary cake, while we laugh and love and gather at their home as a family... my unspoken prayer will be  that next January.... I will once again walk through the door of the florist shop and place my father's order.  

Getting the gardenias again is all I really want.

I love you Dad.  I love you Mom.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


It's too bad for you that I didn't have this blog thirty or forty years ago.   Back then I knew everything.  True, I was a self-anointed know-it-all, but there was a part of me that was simply trying to help people get through life.  I thought I could help them.   I wanted to help others.  Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn't.  As life has progressed, I have been faced with the reality that there are many, many things I do not know.  

  • ....the reason why the people who make the ketchup I buy insist on putting it in plastic  bottles that cannot be twisted open. 
  • .....why some people do not feel guilty about getting on the "Fifteen Items Or Less" line at the supermarket with 900 items in their cart.
  • ....why gas prices are $4.50 a gallon one week, and $1.99 a gallon one week later.
  • ....God's purpose for chin hairs on post-menopausal women. 
  • you can love someone with real, deep love and they can walk away from you in an instant when you do - or don't do - what they want you to do or not do.
  • to explain to good and godly parents why they have endured the loss of a child.
  • ....what is in another person's heart.
  • ....why people are filled with such murderous hate toward others.

And this morning, I read the words God spoke to the prophet, Jeremiah.  Jeremiah didn't ASK to be God's prophet - He was TOLD he was God's prophet.  And because of this, the people hated and persecuted him.  

And so, in the middle of being held captive, and being mistreated by his own people, God speaks to Jeremiah and says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."  (Jeremiah 33:3)

He DID NOT say to Jeremiah, "Call to me and I will answer all your questions about why I do what I do in your life."   No, God simply promised to tell Jeremiah WHAT HE DID NOT KNOW. 

I think sometimes, when I am in a valley season in life... I call to God.. because I believe He owes me an explanation for what He is allowing. 

But God is God and I am not.
And when I call to Him.... He will tell me what I do not know.
And maybe it isn't what I want to know.
It's always what I do not already know.

Maybe it's that I do not know.... HIM.
Maybe He reminds me of HIs vast and mighty power.
Maybe He fills me with His comfort that I have never known before.

And I pray that just like His promise to Jeremiah, His promise is to all of us:
IF we call to Him.
He will tell us what we do not know.  
We do not know.......almost everything about God.

And whatever He tells me will be what I need to know.
And usually, I need to know... that He loves me and has not forgotten me.. and will not let go of me.... and will never leave me or forsake me. 

I call.
He answers.
And when He does, I know something I did not know before I called. 
Something He knows I need to know. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Who would have guessed that in 2015 one of the lead news stories would be about an outbreak of measles? People are running in terror from Mickey Mouse - because Disneyland is where the outbreak started. NOBODY WANTS TO CATCH THE MEASLES.

Reminds me of the story in Luke 17 about The Ten Lepers. These ten men were outside the city..banished from family, friends, their home, their jobs... because they had a skin disease.. leprosy....and nobody wanted to catch it.  Who can blame them? Who wants a hug so badly that they'd be willing to catch leprosy to have one? No one.

It's obvious that these lepers had heard about Jesus.  They called His Name, "JESUS!"  -  They used His title, "MASTER" - They knew what would heal them - "HAVE MERCY ON US!" 

He did have mercy. "Go show yourselves to the priests" he said. Jewish custom required that someone with a skin disease would only be allowed back in to society if the priest of the local synagogue declared them "clean."  As they walked.. as they did what Jesus told them to do.. they became clean. 

But yesterday I noticed something about this story that I had never noticed before:

He said, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?" (verse 17)

Yesterday, this fact hit me for the first time, even though I've read this story hundreds of times.
BUT THIS IS NOT A SPIRITUAL ETIQUETTE WARNING STORY.  This is not a warning to "make sure you remember to say "thanks to God." Because truth is, the other nine remained cleansed.  Even without taking the time to thank God, to acknowledge the great and undeserving miraculous mercy Jesus had shown them...  He didn't say, "Well, if you're not gonna say 'thanks' then you're gonna get your leprosy back."  No, He cleansed them... and though they didn't take the time to give glory to God.. to thank Jesus....they stayed cleansed.

But I realized yesterday that main lesson of this story is not about what happened to the other nine because they didn't give glory to God - it's about what happened to the one who did.

When he saw he was healed - he came back to the One who had healed him. LOUDLY praising God. Falling at Jesus feet.  
Did he touch Jesus? Scripture doesn't say, but if he did, it was the first undefiled human he had touched in a while. 

And then Jesus said to this thankful man, "Rise up and go. Your faith has made you well."  Well? Wasn't he already well? Weren't the other nine well? Their faith had nothing to do with being cleansed - according to Scripture. It wasn't their faith that cleansed them.. it was MERCY. GOD'S MERCY.  
I thought, "So what's the deal with the one guy?  What did he gain more than the other nine for being thankful? For giving glory to God? Nothing?

So I studied the words.
And Jesus said that this thankful leper's faith had made him "WHOLE"  Get your concordance out.. if you want to.. but the word means something closer to "saved".. "saved from judgment".... The others nine were cleansed.

But the thankful guy was saved. Whole. Restored in every way. Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. 

This thankful former leper, had shown himself to Jesus, the Great High Priest, and He declared this man cleansed and able to be restored to God's Kingdom. 
HIS FAITH - expressed in pure worship and thankfulness, acknowledging that mercy had cleansed him - saved him completely.

We are all lepers.  Banished from God and HIS KINGDOM. Some of us admit it. Some of us do not.  We are not in God's Kingdom because we are "good Christians" (a redundant phrase if there ever was one)... we are there because of MERCY. MERCY. MERCY.

And while many former lepers are just happy to have their outer lives looking clean again.....we read the Bible.. and if we do what it says... the principles in there will clean us up outwardly. 

But God wants more.  He doesn't want us to settle for Him saving our skin.. making our lives here better.. 

He wants us to be new INSIDE.

And so when He has mercy on us... and cleanses us.. He wants us to show ourselves to JESUS, OUR HIGH PRIEST.... acknowledging that God deserves the glory for our healing and restoration...  
and fully comprehending that our ONLY HOPE is JESUS..
He says.. "Get up and GO.. Your faith has TAKEN all your spiritual leprosy. YOU ARE COMPLETELY WHOLE." 

When we worship.
When we glorify God with our mouths. 
With our hearts.
With everything within us.
God does an inner work that cannot be explained.
Every time.
We aren't MORE SAVED.
WE are more HEALED.

LOUDLY thank Him.
With YOUR MOUTH give glory to GOD for what HE has done.
Instead of reminding Him of the stuff in your life that is difficult.
Or the stuff He still has NOT DONE 
for what He has done..
you will uncover a cleansing INSIDE that cannot be explained.

For God, saving our skin is just the first step.
Making us whole is the whole plan.

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Friday, January 30, 2015


My lungs had orchestrated yet another mutiny.  Once again I was having my yearly bronchitis challenge.   I knew the routine: doctor's office, pharmacy, medicine, rest and feel all better in a few days.  I was in my thirties and I was still under the egotistical delusion that the world could not run without me.  Because of that I thought the Universe at large was picking on me when it required me to slow down and get better. One year, things were not routine.  Two days after beginning my penicillin regimen I broke out in a rash.  My doctor suspected I may have developed an allergy to penicillin.  (This proved true a year later when I was prescribed a penicillin based medicine... and six hours later was in the emergency room with a fat tongue and closing throat.) 

This new and sudden allergy reality fascinates me to this day.  How could a medicine that had always HEALED me become a medicine that would KILL me?
I don't know about the cause.  I just know about the effect.  Penicillin worked in the past.
That was then. This was now.

It got me thinking about my actions as a Christian.  I want to be used as an instrument of peace and healing in God's hands.  I truly do. I always have.

But sometimes, I have been bull headed about just forging ahead with the medicine I had always used... not being willing to let God tell me that He wanted me to use a different and new approach for this particular person at this time.
 To offer a new prescription that would heal someone rather harm.

What's the purpose of medicine if it doesn't heal the patient?

So I'd just ram some Bible verses in to someone's brain...because I'd seen other people do that.. because that's what I thought they needed..because Scripture is what God often used to heal me...  when in truth, the medicine that would have truly healed some people would have been for me to be quiet and let them speak about their pain.  An honest hug would have healed more than a holy homily. 

I'm NOT advocating we should change the message. HEAVEN FORBID.
I'm just saying we should change the medicine to meet the patient's need.
Millions of people are healed every day by taking penicillin. But not me.
If you are someone who wonders WHY you just cannot get with the program, get up and get healed and get going, maybe you aren't getting the right medicine. 
  • I pray for you that the Holy Spirit will send someone in to your life who is willing to be LIFE to you and not mere words.
  • I pray that God Himself will speak to your heart to remind you that if you have put your trust in His Only Son, Jesus.. that YOU HAVE BECOME the VERY RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ.  
  • I pray that you will believe that God is CLOSE to the BROKENHEARTED and to those who are crushed in spirit.
  • I pray you will search the Scripture for yourself - AND - that God will use to reveal His heart to you.
  • I pray that you will understand that it isn't by chance that you are reading this, but that God has ordained it so that you will know that He sees you. He sees you. He sees you.  And He is going to heal you.  He is going to send the prescription you need to be healed.
Maybe we need to acknowledge the allergy reality.. that some people have grown allergic to the Church's tried and true methods.. and for those people we need to be the balm that heals them. Maybe meeting someone for a cup of coffee at Starbucks is the medicine they need instead of insisting they come to Weds night Bible study.  Does Weds Bible study help millions of people? Of course.  But it may not be the prescription for THAT person God has sent in to YOUR life.  Are we allowed to BE the church outside the Church building?  Can we help someone who is in pain and also miss a scheduled church service?  Remember how the Pharisees were more concerned about the day of the week that Jesus healed someone (The Sabbath) than they were about the fact that JESUS HEALED SOMEONE.

BE HEALING to someone who needs JESUS.
Jesus is the only way to be healed.
It takes time.
It takes prayer.
It takes love.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 

1 Corinthians 4:20

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Disagreements happen. 
To every person alive.  It's the moment when you and another person decide to  "diss" agreement. (Sorry. Couldn't resist)

The road to disagreement begins because the other person is wrong and you are right.  
Don't be shocked that I wrote that.  Isn't that at the core of disagreement? Of course it is.  You believe you are right and if someone has an opposing and opposite opinion they are wrong.  Having a strong opinion about something isn't wrong and neither is refusing to let another person talk you out of it. Disagreement isn't wrong.  

It's our reaction to disagreement that can destroy. 
Us. Destroy you. Destroy me.

Some of us have the unrelenting need to never be wrong.  Or.  We have the unrelenting need to always be right.  If you think of it, every war, every divorce, every broken friendship, every divided family, every church split, every act of violence we see all over the news on a regular basis is because someone would not accept that someone else did not share - or accept - their opinion.  And they decided to do something about it.  They decided that holding on to their offended heart was the right thing to do.  Someone was convinced their side of the story was SO RIGHT that it was worth doing whatever damage to the person who was SO WRONG.  And the truth is.....there are always two sides to every disagreement.  Always.

But what about the one time when I am right? What about when I am sharing the Gospel? How should I react when someone disagrees with my belief that Jesus is the Only Son of Only God and the ONLY way to be reconciled to God.   There are people who disagree with me.  They don't agree.  They tell me it's my opinion, not Truth Itself.
What is my reaction to this disagreement? 
I let them disagree. That's my reaction.   
My call is to speak Truth. I am not called to ENFORCE it. 

When someone rejects the Gospel, they aren't rejecting me but The One Who sent it.  

Some people choose to disagree with God. That's their right.  In their insistence on being right - and God being wrong - they don't know the joy of living without the heaviness of guilt.  Their anger at God weighs them down. They have never taken a carefree step in their lives - and don't realize what a carefree step feels like. If I explain the peace that passes understanding and how God gives grace and mercy and wisdom to His children, they smile and disagree.  
I am wrong. They are right.  They live sad lives.. because..
...It's not easy being right all the time.
“How he wanted to lure you away from danger into a wide and pleasant valley and to prosper you there.  But you are too preoccupied with your imagined grievances against others. Watch out! Don’t let your anger at others lead you into scoffing at God! Don’t let your suffering embitter you at the only one who can deliver you. Do you really think that if you shout loudly enough against God, he will be ashamed and repent? Will this put an end to your chastisement?"  Job 36:16-19 (Living Bible)


Monday, January 26, 2015


An Unretouched Photo of Me
I am not going crazy to publicize this blog.  The only readers who will even know it exists are those of you who have been directed here from a link on my webpage.  And most of you have been directed to my webpage through my monthly magazine column.  So...Welcome.  It will be our little secret meeting place.  I hope to get to know you better.  I welcome your emails CLICK TO SEND ME AN EMAIL  or  you may leave your comments right here. I have enabled it so that you can leave "anonymous" comments... so... go for it.

(And of course, to those of you who regularly "check me out" because we have been friends in the past..... and now...sadly... because of geographical and/or emotional distance...we are not.... WELCOME TO YOU also.)

There isn't much I can say about myself here that I haven't already written on my webpage.

So I will just say this.  I wish I had understood earlier in life that all I am called to be is what I am - just clay.  A simple lump of clay. 

Because the system God has set up is that when people around us - who see us in our every day mortal lives -  see and feel and acknowledge that something we have done, something we have said, something about the way we live is so way above our natural abilities.. so way above the pay grade of mere clay.....THEN... and ONLY people lift their eyes to their Creator and acknowledge that He is a God close by and not far away.  
Being clay means being human. 

I am just clay and at the same time -  I am the royal priesthood.
I am weak but He is strong.
When I seem strong.. it is simply Jesus being seen.

If you are someone who thinks followers of Jesus think we are better than... or above.. others.. then you have probably never met a true follower of Jesus. 

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 

 2 Corinthians 4:7