Wednesday, November 23, 2016


There's more to the story of Jonah and The Whale than simply being a story kids love in Sunday School.  Oh, no, it's very relevant to every adult who claims to be a child of God. God told Jonah to go to Ninevah.  The ancient city of Ninevah was located in what is now Iraq.  Back then they were enemies of Israel. Bent on destroying Israel.  They were hateful and sinful people.  So God is about to destroy them. That fact makes sense. To us.  We are human. 

What does NOT make sense - to Jonah and to some of us -  is that He decides to WARN them and give them a chance to REPENT.  If Jonah were alive today God might phrase it this way, "Jonah, I want you to go to those terrorists and tell them that what they are doing is wrong.  I want you to warn them that I will destroy them for their sin if they don't change their wicked ways."  Jonah thinks..."Yes, God.  They deserve to be destroyed.  Do it, God. Do it now!"

Jonah hated those people.  And they hated Jonah. Jonah WANTS them destroyed for their sin and rebellion against God.  And He knows that IF THEY REPENT, GOD WILL SHOW MERCY.  IF THEY REPENT, GOD WILL HAVE COMPASSION.  

Jonah decides that if he has anything to do about it.. there is no way they are NOT PAYING FOR THEIR SIN. So Jonah disobeys God, jumps on a boat headed in the opposite direction. And then The Storm. And thrown overboard. And The Whale. And The Rescue by God. 

Jonah goes to Ninevah, speaks to the King and the King sees the error of his ways, repents, and God changes His plans to destroy them.  Imagine terrorists all over the world seeing the error of their ways, repenting and turning toward God, putting their faith in Jesus, and God forgiving them... What? What? What?  They get away with their sin?  What? He has COMPASSION on them??? What? What?

Jonah -- recently rescued from certain death in the belly of a whale --  seems to forget that he is only alive because God had mercy and compassion on him.  

He accuses God, “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! 
I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people."  (Jonah 4:2)

Evidently, Jonah KNEW God, KNEW His character and KNEW God is longing to forgive.  JONAH'S HATRED of these people was so INTENSE and so INGRAINED that he was unwilling to say a word that might cause them to be recipients of God's mercy.


JONAH IS SO ANNOYED AND ANGRY at God's compassion that he demands his own death, "Kill me now Lord.  I'd rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen!" (Jonah 4:3)

Jonah would rather die if God is not going to destroy the people who want to destroy him..
Jonah doesn't have compassion on people who hate him.
But God does.

This compassion is confusing to Jonah.  And to some of us at times.

So.. here's the deal.
God doesn't OVERLOOK SIN. 
He warns us about it. 
And we are free to do what we want with the warning.

God didn't change HIS MIND about the consequences of the sins of the people of Ninevah - the people of Ninevah changed their ways. 

God doesn't LONG to destroy the adulteress, or the homosexual, or the thief, or the pornography addicted, or the drug addicted.  He longs to show mercy.  

God doesn't LONG to destroy the liars, the jealous, the envious, the covetous, the unforgiving and hypocritical. He longs to show mercy. He longs to pour out His compassion.

God doesn't LONG to destroy the person who has betrayed us, hurt us, abused us or destroyed us..

The confusion of compassion is that God still loves - AND LONGS TO SHOW MERCY ON - the person who no longer loves you.  He sent His Son for THAT person.  He wants a relationship with the people who do not want a relationship with you. 

Really?  Really.  God's compassion confuses us.  That He would show compassion on people who have hated Him.. hated us... hated Jesus.. and hated anyone who follows Him.

His system is that ...
Anyone who says the simplest prayer of confession.. 
Anyone who asks for God's mercy.. RECEIVES IT. 

(Yup... Go find a mirror and take a long, long look at the undeserving sinner looking back at you)

God's justice is not like ours.  He will repay sin in His time. 
Until then He is calling for everyone to come home.
It is not God's wrath that surprises us. 
It is His love. Toward you. And me. And to those who hate us.

"Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?"   
Romans 2:4

Saturday, November 12, 2016


I believe the Packaging Industry has had a closed-door meeting - somewhere in the world - in which they have secretly decided to make things impossible for the average person to open. Yes. Impossible.  We shop in stores, and take things off shelves and put them in our carts with the naive assumption that we will be able to open those things when we get home.  

Which things?  Every thing.  For example, I believe, though I have no confirmed sources at the moment, that The Cheese Slices People stood up at this clandestine meeting and said, "We hereby agree to make our zip lock bags virtually impossible to pry apart. No one will ever be aware that we are, in reality, glueing them shut. People will have to use scissors to open the bag. They will take a few slices of cheese, put it on their sandwiches, and put the remaining cheese back in the refrigerator.  Air will get in, the cheese will get hard, and they will have to purchase yet another plastic package. Sales will increase by five million percent."

My sources tell me that The Pickle Jar People were in attendance and loudly applauded the idea. The Pickle People don't actually want anyone to eat pickles. They like to make pickles, put them in jars, sell them and laugh as they imagine people like me spending 7 minutes banging the top of the jar on the kitchen counter... in an impossible attempt to open the jar just so I can eat a pickle with the sandwich which has the cheese that was in the package that I just used a jackhammer to pry open.

Thankfully, the Lord has provided me an answer to my inability to open anything.  It is my husband, Phil, who seems to have the same strength he had when we were teenagers. I simply say, "HON!! Help!  I can't open this."  And he lovingly rescues me from sure and imminent starvation and opens stuff up.  

It is MY WEAKNESS that reminds me of HIS STRENGTH.   At the very moment I see how weak I am.. is the moment I am so awed by my husband's constant strength 
When I am weak, then he is strong.  I don't go around crying and bemoaning my weakness (well.. if you don't count this blog.)  I simply rejoice that my husband is a strong AND patient man   And what's the point of having a champion living with me if I continue to feel ashamed of being weak?  I am weak.  He is strong.  

How difficult life would be if I kept overlooking the good news that:
Someone Strong is in love with me.

I think it's obvious where I'm going with this... 

In spite of all my knowledge of my true identity as God's child..
more often than I can admit I come face to face with my human weakness.   
If I focus on my weakness I am soon overwhelmed by how scary life actually is.  I don't know if I can do what I need to do.. and be who I need to be...

My hope and joy is found in remembering how strong HE IS and not in focusing on how weak I am. 
On my own... I  am weak. 
When I am weak... when I feel inadequate to handle what I have to handle.. when I see how powerless I actually am against the things Life flings my way.. I find hope in remembering...



My hope is that today you will remember once again that 
Someone Strong is in love with you. 

He lives with you.  Right there. Right now. You can keep trying to do things in your own strength... OR.. you can simply cry out, "Help!  I'm not strong enough to do this.".

Our weakness does not surprise Him. 

 Our weakness surprises us.

Finding it difficult to see yourself as an Overcomer today?
Someone Strong is in love with you.
Someone Strong gave His life for you.
Someone Strong defeated whatever it is you are sure is going to defeat you. 

When you give Him your weakness, then He gives you His Strength.

"He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, November 4, 2016


What does it mean to be fearless?  

The dictionary tells me it means:
  1. "lacking fear"...  Duh. 
It also uses words like "bold, brave, courageous, heroic and daring" to describe a person who is fearless. 
Sometimes... I feel like that woman in the picture.  I feel bold and brave and I lack any fear.  
Sometimes...I feel like she looks.  

.....Sometimes I am afraid. 
I beat myself up for being afraid.  
I remind myself that "fear is the opposite of faith." 
I scold myself for having fear.

Do you?

I think we've given ourselves an impossible goal to achieve on our own when our goal is to live without fear.  

God did not call us to fake a fearlessness we do not have.  Just because we say we are not afraid doesn't mean we are not afraid. We are living in a world of terror.  Therefore the world is terrifying. The media reminds us of this every minute of every hour of every day.  FEAR. FEAR. FEAR.   We have nuclear weapons, we have terrorists, we have viruses that can kill us.   We have people we love who can be taken from us - without warning - at any minute.  We hear doctor's reports that predict our demise.  

TRUTH? The world is TERRIFYING.  Even the most fearless among us have moments when fear grips our hearts.

I think about the story in Mark 4 of Jesus being asleep in a boat while the disciples, who were seasoned fisherman, were TERRIFIED that they were going to die.  
The Bible tells us that the waves were crashing over the boat so much that it was "nearly swamped." It was about to sink. These men were used to being on the sea. They were used to enduring storms. But THIS storm on THIS day was the one, they were sure, that was going to end their lives.   And we know that Jesus got up and calmed the sea with three words, "Quiet. Be still."

And THEN "He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (v. 40).

I think about my life. What about those moments when I am SURE that THIS storm at THIS time is the one that is going to put me under?  Is Jesus saying to me, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

A closer study of this story shows the heart of the story.  The disciples said to themselves... after the storm had ended, 

"Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (v. 41)

Jesus point was not about their fear of the fearful storm.. but of their lack of knowledge of.. and faith in.. HIM.  They had no idea who Jesus is.  It wasn't their fear of the storm that Jesus was questioning only... it was also their lack of knowledge of Who He is. It's like He was saying, "If you truly knew who I am... you would fear nothing!"

If you are going through a storm and the waves are about to sink your boat and it seems like Jesus is asleep in the's o.k. Be afraid. Be human.  Be real before God because He can read your heart.  

ALSO... remember one VERY IMPORTANT FACT:   The disciples were wrong about THAT storm on THAT day. It did not sink them and did not end their lives. Oh, no.  
Just because they were convinced there was no hope didn't mean there was no hope.  
Just because you are convinced there is no hope doesn't mean there is no hope.
No one who puts their HOPE.. IN THE LORD.. is EVER DISAPPOINTED. (Isaiah 49:3)

If you are afraid of something right are just like King David - a man God described as being a man after His heart. David wrote about many, many moments that he was afraid. He knew what to do in those moments of fear. 
He said,
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
Psalm 56:3


"I put my trust in You so I am NEVER afraid."

No. He said,  "WHEN I am afraid... I will make the choice to remember Who You are... what You've done, what You will do, what you can do..."

You may be thinking that your storm at the present time is about to pull you under. Hopelessness has canceled your fearlessness.
It's o.k.
God is not afraid of the storm, you are.
God is not powerless to calm the storm, you are.
God is not surprised by this storm, you are.

The disciples boat DID NOT sink.. and neither will yours.

The first step in your path toward fearlessness is to admit you are afraid. God will NOT be disappointed if you admit to Him that fear is gripping you. If you don't admit that you have fear, then how can you give it to God?
Talk to Him.  Tell Him the truth.  He can handle it. 

The second step is to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the power to give the fear to God.  You cannot, by simple willpower, change your inner heart.  You have no power to erase and eradicate fear. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. 

Third... although fear may be an understandable and natural response in your circumstance at the moment.. 
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7). 
God has given all His children POWER... LOVE... and A SOUND MIND.  A sound mind = a mind that thinks wisely, calmly and soberly.  Fear is not from your Heavenly Father.  He wants you to give it to Him.

It isn't lack of fear that proves we have faith.

It's having faith when we have fear. 

When you give God your fear,
He gives you His peace.

"You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you."

Isaiah 26:3