Everything for the glory of Jesus Christ

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A New Disclosure of the Face of God


There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. Jeremiah 10:6

         Until the birth of Jesus, people only knew God in part. Jesus’ arrival, however, gave new disclosure of His Father. New names, names only hinted of in the Old Testament, took center stage and God was understood in a whole new way.

         Names for God prior to the birth of Jesus were ones that befitted an all knowing and powerful God. He was called the God Who Sees, God Is My Banner, The God Who Hears, and many others. These were enough to give His people comfort and strength.

         With the birth of Jesus, however, came new understanding. It was a knowledge of God born of new names. Immediately after His birth, the shepherds were told that He was Savior and Emmanuel. As He grew, He revealed Himself as the Bread of Life, the Shepherd, the Son of God, the Vine, the Lamb of God, the Lord of Glory, the Last Adam, and the Precious Cornerstone. Each one gave believers new eyesight into the complex and unfathomable depths of God. They experienced Him through His names because there was a new dynamic in their relationship. Intimacy.

         The names of God that are the most precious to me are the names I’ve had to embrace out of great need. Continue reading


Finding a New Way To Say Thank You


In everything give thanks; for this is the will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thess. 5:18

Thanksgiving is over.  Ours was small and just wonderful.  And, I’m sure it was the smallest one ever in our history.  It was Ron and I, and our adult son, Ryan.  Thanksgivings, like any holidays, are imperfect for many people.  The days following can be difficult because they re-live what was missing.

Life is all about perspective.  We know that.  But when things get difficult, God’s children struggle to find a perspective that means something deeply wonderful.  There is a list to encourage us to think thoughts that go upward instead of outward.  Looking up alters discouragement.  How does it work?

  • When loved ones were missing from my table because of distance, emotional or geographical, I am thankful that God heard every prayer that I prayed for them.  He was near them  when though I was far away.
  • When normal holiday sentiments got stuck in my throat because times are difficult, I am thankful that glorious eternal sentiments are mine no matter the circumstances.  I am God’s child.  He is my Father. Continue reading

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When One Thing After Another Piles Up


So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. Isaiah 59:19

            I shared a meal recently with someone who just needed to talk. She admitted that her heart had shut down. One storm after another had overtaken her. For a while, she believed things were manageable. There was more right than wrong and she stayed optimistic. She believed in her natural problem solving skills but eventually, things fell apart with most every family member. She wept as she admitted that she lost her voice. Lost her hope. Lost her fight.

            What’s missing from this picture is a mention of God. Prayer and faith, and strategy, are absent. It’s not that she doesn’t know God. She does, but her prayers are way too sporadic. There’s so much wrong that she’s abdicated the outcome to stronger forces she doesn’t have the will to fight anymore.

            When the enemy comes in like a flood, I don’t have to stand back and passively suffer the invasion. When sickness overtakes a family member, I can do more than watch. When bad news is announced, I can do more than listen. When sin dominates another part of the house, I can do more than worry. When a family member succumbs to depression, I can do more than offer platitudes. When the bank account is depleted, I can do more than expect destitution. God will raise up a standard and He will use me to be His temple of faith and praise.

            If you’re lying down because you feel hopeless, get up. If you’ve lost your voice, get it back. If you’ve stopped praying, fall to your knees. The language you need is the language of the scriptures. If you have a mouth that can read the Word of God out loud, you’re not wordless. No home need be permeated with darkness when praise music plays twenty-four hours a day. No mother need cry herself to sleep with hopeless tears when God gives her scriptures to address every single thing that assaults her household. God’s daughter is meant to walk the house and pray them out loud. She does it in the morning. She does it again at night. Her faith is revived as she speaks God’s promises. They are the battle cry that declares war on God’s adversary.

            What happens when the enemy hears her scriptural pronouncements; when God’s Word assaults his ears? His schemes are threatened. He is reminded of his limits and flees. Know this ~ he will try to re-group, only to be met again with the one who knows the secret of persevering. Let that be you. Have a word ready for his next act of aggression.

            Is all this merely an attempt to give a good sounding pep talk? No. I’ve lived long enough to experience life falling apart on many fronts and, oftentimes, it happened all at once. There were periods when I capitulated to a serious depression. But somewhere in the night, there was an infusion of faith and God tutored this child to learn strategy and warfare. The turnaround didn’t happen all at once. His Word drove out the despair like the slow drip of a life-giving IV and it revived me. What I thought I needed to tolerate became history. God’s glory came to rest but not without my full engagement and cooperative effort. There’s a reason scripture trembles in my hands. It’s wonder – not fear. Let me pass along my well-founded confidence to you. It is a gift from someone who once lived in the pit of nothingness.

I’m praying for the one whose hands are limp and whose tongue is silent. Nudge her to pick up her sword. Help her conceive a strategic plan to take back what the enemy has plundered. Lead her to scriptures for every area of defeat. Give her a voice to speak them out loud. Let the enemy know that You are raising up a standard against him with a resurrected daughter. In Jesus name, Amen


I Should Second-Guess Myself


There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12

            A twenty-four hour day is filled with dozens of decisions; some minor, some major.  Most decisions won’t appear to present a challenge.  I will think I know the right thing to do.  I will argue that it’s pretty obvious.

            But, what if my own common sense is leading me astray?  Scripture says it will and I might take the wrong course of action completely unaware.  My ‘take’ on things, though it seems so right, can be flawed and lead me to unpleasant outcomes.

            I face ministry decisions daily that could be made by the laws of marketing.  I tried that on and off for twenty-two years and the success left me void of spiritual confidence and void of a God-connection. In 1997, I made a vow unto God to never do ministry like that again. The difference has been huge.

            Jesus, who was perfect, didn’t move without praying to discern the will of His Father.  If He didn’t do it, how can I pretend to think I can!  He didn’t heal everyone who needed it.  He didn’t go everywhere He was invited. He didn’t spontaneously announce, “I think I’ll go to Capernaum today.”  Everything was guided by a Father’s agenda who saw how all things fit together.

  • Someone today will seek a promotion.  They will assume they need to advocate for themselves or risk getting lost in the lineup.  God may tell them to do nothing and trust Him.  That course will feel disastrous to their flesh and they will need to flex new faith muscles.
  • Some will have grounds to discipline their children.  Without guidance, they will assume they know the right measure of severity.  God may say, “Probe, listen, understand. The root of their disobedience is not what you think.”
  • Someone will be wronged in a close relationship and it will feel like the last straw.  Their first instinct might be to deliver that speech they’ve been saving for just such an occasion.  God may say, “It’s not time to talk.  It’s time to fast for their turnaround and your perseverance.”

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He Hadn’t Seen His Father In 12 Years


After three days, his parents found him in the temple. His mother said to him, ‘Son, how could you treat us this way? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.’ And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?’ Luke 2:46,48

  Every parent knows what it’s like to momentarily lose sight of your child in public. Your stomach drops like lead when you realize that they are not where they are supposed to me. The word ‘kidnap’ assaults your mind immediately.
         Mary and Joseph brought twelve-year-old Jesus to the temple. While on their way home, they realized that Jesus was not with them. They searched frantically for three entire days.  Re-tracing their steps, they ended up back at the temple and were shocked to find him there. He was listening in to the many spiritual conversations that took place in God’s house. Still distraught, Joseph and Mary asked Him how he could have done such a thing. His answer? “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” He seemed shocked that they would have looked elsewhere.
         In all the times I’ve read this story over the years, it never occurred to me that Jesus would feel something far different than anyone else when in the presence of God. Jesus left His Father to come to earth and hadn’t seen Him for twelve years. There had to be homesickness in his soul for His Father’s company. The memory of being near God was in his spiritual DNA. To visit the temple and to approach the holy of holies, the place where God’s Spirit called ‘home’, re-awakened the feelings of being home in glory. He was near His Father again – yet on earth. Did His heart break at the thought of leaving Him? His attachment to Mary and Joseph had to pale in comparison.

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How Far Will I Go To Earn Other’s Respect?


And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. Genesis 41:45

         I can learn a lot from watching the lives of heroes like Joseph and Daniel. Both stood strong in a foreign land. Both paid dearly. But both were eventually honored by heads of state and given new names. They graciously accepted them but managed to keep themselves from embracing a pagan religion. To further honor Joseph, Pharaoh gave him a wife from a region called On. This city was the worship center for the sun god – Ra. Joseph was surrounded on all sides by people who lived and practiced idolatry. How could he rule this nation without becoming like them? To be followed, wouldn’t he also have to be popular?

         Throughout history, God has been generous with instructive protocol when we find ourselves living in alien territory. Learn to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. These seem mutually exclusive but it is possible to be among the people but not of them. To dwell and still be faithful. Poor leaders, however, feel they must blend in and become like the people they serve. Otherwise, they fear they won’t be respected and certainly won’t be elected again.

         I don’t have to move to a foreign country to feel like a foreigner. I can feel that way in my church, at work, and I can also feel that way in my own family. I am God’s daughter before I am anyone else’s friend, employee, daughter, wife, or sister. Continue reading

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Why Anger Explodes


A quick tempered man acts foolishly.  Proverbs 14:17

            Take a glass that is mostly full of water, add a little more, and it will spill over.  Take a man or woman who is already full of rage, add one small incident, and their anger will also overflow.  Many who erupt today over the smallest issues aren’t really reacting to the incidents at hand.  They were simply filled to the brim with rage before the episode ever occurred.  The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ got all the attention because there was no more room left in their container for any more anger.

            Each of us was created with a lot of elasticity in our spirit to withstand the pressures of life.  Many have plenty of stretch left in their elastic in their early twenties but by the time they experience multiple injustices and disappointments, that elastic is stretched to the limit when they reach mid-life.  With no more ‘give’, it’s pulled taut and it snaps easily.

            What is the answer for any angry person?  He must discern what it is he’s really angry about and take the initiative to deal with it.  Living in perpetual rage is not fair to friends and family.  Children live with an angry parent and never know when the lid is going to blow.  It is usually over a gallon of milk left out on the counter or something else equally as insignificant.  Husbands live with an angry wife and tiptoe around the house, not knowing what it will be that will set her off.  The angry one usually holds everyone around him hostage. Continue reading


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