Igniting Faith in God’s People

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Life can be hard. Trials and heartaches, disappointments and uncertainty can trail behind us like a nagging shadow, casting it’s dismal gloom into our very souls. But rather than focusing on the impotent shadows, we must turn our gaze to the bright light that cast those shadows, recognizing that God allows difficulties in our lives to show His perfect sovereignty and remind us of our constant need of Him.

At the end of our lives, standing before Almighty God, I believe one of our greatest disappointments will be the missed opportunities to build our faith deeper on the perfect foundation that is Jesus Christ, surrendering to Him all that we think is so crucial to our happiness and fulfillment, and not fully trusting in His perfect, righteous, loving sovereignty.

But it isn’t too late! If we draw breath, we still have time! Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart!

I pray that God creates in His own an ever deepening well of hope that we may draw from when the brittle dryness of the hard circumstances of Life comes our way, so that rather than feeble doubt or weakened faith, we have a strengthened certainty and a prevailing Trust in the provision, protection and overarching purposes of our perfect, loving Savior.  We must push doubt away, fall to our knees with confidence that our seedlings of faith in the form of prayer to Him is of great value to God’s heart. 

And we must burrow further into His Word where precious jewels are hidden, a reward for those who tirelessly seek them with a heart that won’t give up the pursuit; for that is where the choicest sustenances lay, the richest feast that can feed a soul through the fiercest of droughts.

Marvel and find delight in the life giving words of our Heavenly Father who has entrusted them to any and all who seek Him, for our edification and reproof, enlightenment and encouragement, transformation and strength until the Day comes when our faith will no longer be needed, for it will at last, thanks be to Jesus, become sight! 🙌🏼🙏🏻🌿

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Back in Time

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There is a place off the map, 

A sweet step back in time, 

Where white sheets blow 

In the wind, on the line. 

Dogs chase sticks, 

While kids go a fishin’,

Grandma stays busy

Making rolls in the kitchen.

Grandpa tends the garden, 

He grows all sorts of things; 

Shares squash with the neighbors

Who share back a sack of beans. 

Time stands still 

Where the grasses grow tall;

The world seems biggest 

When a town seems small. 

Tar boils form

In patches on the roads;

Poked by kids with sticks, 

Who hold races with brown toads. 

Cats and kittens wander,

Lazily they roam,

Sometimes taking hours 

Before they wander home.

Rope swings nestle 

In the tallest trees;

Sweet flowers beckon 

The buzzing bumblebees. 

Rhubarb and a berry patch

Grow thick in the back yard; 

Mama fries her chicken in-

And makes her pies from lard. 

In the front porch rockers

Young and old alike take naps; 

Aprons tossed aside,

In the breeze they flap. 

Fresh baked cookies 

Welcome passers by;

Lemonade & visiting 

Seem to make time fly.

Kids ride bikes, some take hikes, 

Some go do their chores;

Some climb trees, and skin their knees, 

Or shoot marbles on dirt floors. 

Ring the bell to summon them

From wherever they may roam – 

It’s time to wash and eat – 

Hurry up & come back home! 

Dinner around the table 

Weaves strong memories; 

Love is shown in this home

With laughter & stories. 

Hand wash all the dishes,

Then by the sink they dry;

Mama gets fresh plates 

While Grandma cuts up pie. 

Dad brews a pot of coffee,

Mama sips her tea;

Grandma dozes in her chair 

An afghan on her knee. 

On the floor, by the hearth

The dogs lay near the fire;

Topics of the world discussed- 

And the local gossip wire. 

Fresh air all day, hard work and play

Make everyone so sleepy;

Crawl under the quilt, No shame, no guilt

Sleep all night long, deeply. 

There is a place off the map

A sweet step back in time;

I’d take you there- except that now,

It’s only in my mind. 

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My Prayer

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Dear Lord, I want my life to count as an offering of worship to You. Please use me in the ways You desire, and help keep me determined in my pursuit of You. I ask for a pliant heart, but a firm step; a commitment to do what is right, and compassion for those also walking this journey of Life.

Help me be strong, but soft; patient, yet passionate; tender, yet tenacious. Help me spill over with love and forgiveness, since I’ve been forgiven much. Help me stay steady in trial, hopeful in hurt and anchored in Trust of You and Your plan.

Keep me from wandering and wasting my time; let my days belong to You – please, glorify Yourself in this life of mine as I surrender to You.

May obedience be stamped across my heart, fear be driven from my mind and Your Spirit’s fruit be evidence of a heart steadfast in YOU. May Your wisdom be in my mind and on my lips, with a readiness to share in love.

May I sing with the angels of Your goodness; let my sleep be peaceful and protected, knowing You are utterly in control of All things. Help me impart wisdom, hope, truth, grace and help toward others who seek it; may laughter and goodwill ease the weary who come to find shelter in our home, and may they find rest, refreshment and delight as we share and rejoice in Your bounty, favor, grace, and the joys of Your salvation!

Give me boldness to proclaim Your truth, and courage to do it without fear. May I find my contentment in Your calling, my joy in Your companionship and my treasure in Your truth. Help me follow You wholeheartedly, and let my heart be wholly Yours.

Keep me pure from wicked desires that would turn my heart away from following You. May I be quick to obey Your Holy Spirit’s promptings, and willing to wait on Your timing in ALL things.

Let the radiance of Your Son be reflected in my actions and attitude; permit me only that which will make me more like Him, and help me to honor You.

I pray that I may bring a smile to Your face as I surrender my hopes, wishes and dreams, and align them with Yours.

Help me pray for those who have not yet found the salvation offered in Jesus, and at the end of my days, please grant me the privilege of knowing that YOU used my life in ways that blessed others and brought You the glory You deserve, so that I might hear those words I long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…”

May I spend whatever time I have left living a fragrant life ~ gentle, steadfast, trusting ~ and all out for You. In the matchless name of Your precious son, Jesus, I pray, Amen.

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Feeling Rejected

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I was talking with one of our precious kids, as she shared her trepidation at a possible rejection on something she’s been pursuing that means a lot to her, and that she is amply qualified for.

I listened carefully, praying for wisdom to share while she expressed the concerns on her heart.

“I’ve just had to hear the word, “No”, so much this year. I would love the chance to move forward, at least a little, and hear some words that would be more affirming.”

Usually it takes me a while to stew on things, to find the right moment to pair up with the right words. Not this time.

I replied, “Well, honey, we must remember that what we see as rejection, God means as protection. And what we can incorrectly think is a reflection of us, God says, ‘No, this actually is a reflection of me and my care over you.’” 

My daughter gave a satisfied, “hmmm” and asked me when I’m going to write another book. Lol!

After we hung up, I was reflecting on our conversation. Once again, God used His truth to minister to one of our dear children, but only after He used it to minister to me, first.

Just like anyone else, I’ve faced disappointments and plenty of times of feeling rejected. On occasion, God has even let me see situations that He spared me from getting entangled with through the word “No” that felt like personal rejection at the time, but that I only later saw as His hand of grace and care over me. 

If we can learn the lesson that God will use fallen man’s, “No” as a tool to provide His loving protection, we can avoid falling into the mistaken belief that somehow we “weren’t enough”, or “lacked”, and instead, trust His sovereignty and goodness.  

We know that He works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28)

We must learn to see the barriers to things that we might seek as His protection and His means of helping us take a different direction. Trusting God’s sovereignty truly is one of the important keys to living this life.

Jeremiah 32:27 records these fabulous words for us, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

The answer to that, dear friend, is “No”. 

God’s character upholds us, strengthens and protects us. His sanctifying work will have its way in the lives of those who will yield to Him.

The question then is: Will we surrender our wishes, hopes and dreams to our faithful Heavenly Father who loves us and has good plans for us?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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Pray, Trust, Rest

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Decision-making can be hard. And waiting for clarity from God on what to do can be hard, too. Even when we are trusting God for His best, we may pray and ask God to make something clear to us, but still wrestle with leaving it wholly in His hands. Such was the case with our daughter.

She was moving along in a process of waiting, praying and asking for prayer for discernment and direction over something that would radically alter her world, and she didn’t want to ‘make a mistake.’  She thoroughly researched all the ramifications that would result from her decision, sought Godly counsel, and set aside daily time with God to seek His will. She was about as purposeful as one can be in desiring to present herself as a vessel for God’s use, but she still lacked the answer of specifically what she should do.

Long talks with friends and family helped her feel supported, but she was no closer to knowing whether to move forward, feeling trapped by an approaching conversation that would perhaps demand her response.  She did what any smart girl would do in that situation and called her mom. 

I say that quite jokingly, because to be honest, I was in no position to offer her any further clarity about what to do, but it did concern me greatly that she wasn’t sleeping well. “I wake a lot in the night, and am restless and can’t sleep,” she confided. “I pray all the time, telling God that I want to honor Him in my life and asking Him to give me direction and tell me what to do. I’m so tired. I haven’t slept straight through a night for weeks. I just need some advice, Mom.” 

I’d been praying as she’d talked, pleading for some nugget of wisdom to share with my precious girl who was so earnest in her desire to please God. Surely He would shower us with an avalanche of arrows, pointing exactly which path she should take, or at least a pillar of fire to light up the way? Nope. Nada. Nothing. Sigh.

“Well, honey,” I bravely began, all while praying madly for that nugget of brilliant insight, “it worries me that you’re not sleeping. Maybe you need to spray your pillow with Lavender essential oil and drink some herbal tea in the evening to help you get drowsy.” (Honestly, Sarah?? That’s the best you can give her?! Good grief. ‘Please Lord, help me.’)

“And you know, it occurs to me that you’re doing all the right things, praying, seeking counsel, researching the pros and cons studiously and laying this before God. But then you seem to be asking Him to guide you right now, when honestly, you don’t need to know the answer just yet.” 

I raised my eyebrows. Hey, that seemed to be some good counsel right there; God gave me a bit more. 

“In fact, you know, God often doesn’t give us all the information neatly up front, but in His own time. You don’t have to make this decision today. You have a good week or so before you’re presented with some more information – and who knows but that what you learn then could help make this decision for you. You may find you discover some things in the next weeks that will give you clear direction. God can arrange any myriad of things that will bring you what you need to know.” 

I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to say a bit more of what He was putting on my heart to share. “So do you think that maybe you’re asking the right question, with the right motive, but wanting an answer before God’s ready to show you? He is pleased with your heart that desires to please Him. He knows that you need His guidance and that this is a big deal; so now we have to trust Him.

Leave your situation in His able hands and release yourself from demanding an immediate answer. And let yourself rest.”

I heard a sniffle from the other end of the phone. I took a deep breath.

“Sweetheart, I’m going to be praying for you to get a night of delicious sleep, for you to really sense a freedom from what you perceive as urgent, and an ability to leave this in God’s hands. In fact, I’m going to text my prayer team ladies and ask them to be praying, too.” 

After we disconnected I felt God telling me not to text my prayer warrior friends and pondered this. He brought to mind that a couple of days earlier I’d brought my own heart to Him as I’d struggled with questioning if God would respond to my prayers. I’d confessed doubt that my bringing petitions to Him was enough to move His heart. The Bible says that the “Prayers of the righteous avail much,” but lately I’d questioned if I fit into that category, since it had seemed that many of my prayers seemed to go unanswered, and I’d been discouraged earlier that week when I approached God about it. You know how it feels when sometimes there are ‘spiritual giants’ around you who seem to have it all together and rarely struggle with doubt? I’d been in contact with several of those lately and feeling that I lacked. 

I hung my head. “Okay, Lord; I won’t text the ladies. Please let our daughter sleep deeply tonight, and all the way through. And let the fact that it’s just me and her that are praying for this mini miracle build our trust more deeply in You.” 

I couldn’t wait till morning. Would she sleep? Would she let me know? She wasn’t aware of my own grappling heart about my own inadequacy as a Pray-er before our Heavenly Father; I hadn’t wanted to trouble her heart with my own struggle.  

Her text came at 9:43 my time, “Slept through the whole night for the first time in a month! Feel so so refreshed!” The raised hand emoji’s reflected my own elation!

I wept. I had asked God to make our faith deeper by answering this simple need, to have it affirmed that our prayers – hers and mine – were heard by our loving Father and availed much. 

Tears poured as my heart soared! 

I praised God in verse, in song, out loud and in prayer. I was jubilant to realize that God’s response was not only to show us that He cares, but also that we can trust Him fully, for Every. Last. Need. Talk about a faith builder! 

We all can fall into doubt. Hard circumstances, heartache, plenty of chaos and confusion surround us, and at times it can seem that God’s just not paying much attention. But the truth is that He knows, and His love and sovereignty are firmly in place. He just asks that we come to Him with all that is on our hearts, and then, for our simple trust.

Some of my favorite verses are, “You (Oh God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” And, “God makes all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” 

I ended up sharing with my daughter what I myself had grappled with. I wanted her to have the joy of seeing how God had worked in both our hearts through His kindness and grace. Her response was perfect, “I absolutely love that, Mom! And so appreciate you sharing that part with me.”

When we are willing to be vulnerable and share the honest truth that we all struggle, I believe God is glorified. He doesn’t ask us to have all the answers. He asks us to come running to the One who does, and throw ourselves on His perfect sufficiency and love, trusting Him to provide all we need, and worshipping Him with gratefulness and adoration as He supplies all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 Isn’t that a precious promise?! Indeed, it is.

I pray that you are blessed and encouraged today to cling ever closer to our loving Father, who loves us lavishly. ~ 

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Eyes of Faith

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Perspective is everything. For many months our ailing dog needed to go outside frequently, even through the night, acutely reminding us of all the times we’ve had a newborn in the house. The medication helped the accidents, but didn’t stop his nighttime pleas. Recently, Mark’s travel put the onus all on me to take Toby out at 11 p.m., 1 a.m. and again at 4 a.m. after which I couldn’t fall back asleep. I put the time to good use by transferring months of notes of my writings, ideas and poems from my phone to my email, finally falling asleep a little after 7, grateful there was no school that day.

Our youngest son came into my room at 10:37, “Mom, are you okay? Dad is frantic and sending you texts and phone calls – he asked me to come check on you.” Groggy with fatigue I sat up, trying to recollect the day and wondering what would make my usually calm husband “frantic”? He snapped up my phone call immediately. “Sarah, are you okay? I was in your email and saw some of what you wrote to the kids about after you die, and was worried sick that something was wrong with you, maybe hiding something you felt you couldn’t share with me.” His voice cracked, “I’ve been calling and texting repeatedly, but you weren’t answering.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve scolded that man for nosing around in my email plenty of times. Though we use that account for bills that he handles, most of what I forward to myself are my own thoughts, observations and ponderings. But I could see how he may have gotten a bit worried. One particular letter I’d sent started off, “My dear and precious children: I ask God to surround your life with people that speak and live out His truth, because long after I have ceased to be a resource for you, my hope is that I might still be an influence, having taught you principles that can guide you, truths that protect you, and wisdom that sustains you.” Another outright stated, “Random charges to my children after I pass away.” Since I hadn’t anticipated anyone else seeing them it hadn’t dawned on me to send them with an explanation.

Assuring him that I was fine, though exhausted, we hung up and I made some coffee for my quiet time. Still chuckling at my husband’s overwrought interpretation of my emails made me pause. What in my own life was I perhaps seeing from the wrong angle, or a warped outlook that mistakenly colored my interpretation? Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, aren’t all of our perspectives skewed in some way as we look at life through the lens of our weak flesh, observing this sin cursed world and making assumptions that we shouldn’t? Several jumped to my mind almost immediately. I have to admit, there are times I grapple with what it appears God is – or isn’t – doing in my life and the lives of people that I love. Does He care? Why doesn’t He perform miracles and move mountains when He certainly can, and it seems like doing so would be such a marvelous faith builder to all who would see it? If I’m not careful, I can let my skewed perspective wrongly convince me that since things aren’t working according to what I think would be best, God must not care.

God forgive me for how quickly I can come to a dangerously erroneous conclusion about our loving, faithful, gracious and merciful God!! I was reminded of this poem I wrote this past summer when we were facing a gut wrenching heartache and God showered me with a sense of Peace that belied the gravity of pain that we felt from our situation; He asked us to switch out our perspective with His:

Eyes of Faith see things this hardened world can never know; Faith Eyes see not where we are, but where we’re going to go. Eyes of Faith don’t dwell on all the hurts that we find here; But focus on Jesus Christ, who loves and draws us near. Eyes of Faith keep coming Hope firmly in their view; Faith Eyes see not only Now, but future promise, too. Eyes of Faith choose to build a deeper trust in God; Faith eyes do not choose despair while walking this hard sod. Lord, let my Eyes of Faith grow stronger day by day; While eyes that see the sorrow here, slowly fade away. And then with great triumphant shout this world will pass from view; But Eyes of Faith will firmly fix their hope and trust in You. Rewarded then, our Eyes of Faith that trusted Your good plan Will see the purpose that You worked for Your glory, and for Man.

If God’s goal were simply to get us through this life as pain free as possible, then we would have a fair argument against what He allows. But that’s not God’s goal – that’s only ours. God’s goal, on the other hand, is to help us become more like His Son, Jesus, in a process called sanctification. And He has chosen to use the vehicles of trial and hardship as tools to hone us and sharpen us, teaching us to put our full weight on Him. It’s a process. It doesn’t come overnight. And it certainly won’t come by looking inwardly at our own feeble strength, but allowing our faith to put its full weight on Jesus, who has already proven his love.

So if you’re facing something difficult today, something that hurts, is wearying or causing you to doubt God’s love and intentions, take courage, my friend, and cling to the promise that God has purpose in all that He allows in our lives. For He IS working His plan. And The Who can be fully trusted, even when we can’t make sense of the Why.


The bends in the road on the journey of Life can twist and turn without warning.


Darkness falls and dreaded fear calls – but light always comes in the Morning.


Keep your eyes on The One who knows the path, far better than we ever could.


Hold fast to your trust that He loves you, and is working His plan for our Good. ❤

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Are we winning the battle, but losing the War?

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An unprecedented number of casualties – perhaps numbering in the tens of millions- have occurred in this latest vicious cycle of upcoming elections, as staunch supporters from both parties dig in their heels, refusing to budge on matters that both sides deem urgent. Friendships have died, family ties severed, relationships tossed over disagreement on who is best equipped to lead our great nation. Strangers bicker with one another on social media platforms that are anything but social, sparing no harsh words, no tempering of tempers, and no cautionary tape around their proclamation to possess the only enlightened views. Rage is the most used tool in the collective box of verbal weapons, and unrelenting hatred for what is seen as a stubborn refusal to “see it my way.”
Some have said that this is the working of “true democracy in motion”, the giving and taking of ideas to arrive at the best ways to govern. But if that is so, it seems something crucial in the machinery has become severely broken. In the “exchange” of ideas there’s been all giving and no taking. How can there be anything left to salvage after such brutal destruction? Who will willingly submit to the authorities that be, at the end of such hostile warring?
Oh, that God might soften our hearts to remember our first allegiance! 
There seems to be much at stake in our nation- and I believe that it is time for conservative views to have their chance to show their effectiveness, just as we’ve endured 8 years of liberal philosophy reigning- but know this- even if a red tsunami were to engulf the entire nation, there still will be troubles and trials, corruption and failure, because ultimately our hope is not found in any human governance, but in Jesus Christ alone.
Do I believe that God ordains those in authority over us? Yes I do. I believe that in His grace and in his perfect sovereignty He involves Himself in the affairs of men. He has to, because He knows that human hearts are so desperately wicked that apart from His staying hand there would be no one left except a tyrant and all those subject to him. We have this amazing form of government that has provided freedom, liberty, justice and abundance; but as with any human endeavor, it is vulnerable to its greatest flaw: that of human involvement.
Sin is at the center of all conflict. Sin, and all it’s devastating consequences are what drove Satan from God’s presence, Adam and Eve from the garden, and Jesus from Heaven, as He came to Earth to pay the price for what we could not pay for ourselves. 
For reasons all His own, God loves people. Made in His own image, created from His infinite imagination and selfless love, we are His workmanship. He puts inherent value on Life, and He gave us a playbook, an instruction manual for how we can live in our sin cursed world, and still please Him. And it doesn’t include assaulting other humans, verbally, physically or emotionally to get our way, no matter how “right” we may be.
So how can we engage in the political minefield, knowing the potential damage to others that can ensue? With the utmost care. Our most underutilized weapon is our most powerful: PRAYER.
God in His grace grants us wisdom to navigate this world in a way that honors Him, while showing a dark and dying world the only hope anyone has for eternal salvation found solely in Jesus Christ.
Politics do not deliver us from the fallout of human depravity – only Jesus does. And Politics do not offer an ultimate remedy for sin – only Jesus does. So for followers of Jesus, involving ourselves too deeply in politics overemphasizes a misplaced hope to a dark and dying world.
It’s such a slippery slope! To my own dismay, I found myself getting sucked in to the temptation to expose the failures of what I truly do see as the “Lawless Left”- and I had to repent and turn away from my over-involvement in political battles that were starting to blur the lines of my faith in Christ with a faith in a political system, which was such spiritual treason on my part!  Thank You, Lord, for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit who loves, corrects and directs our hearts!
And although it isn’t wrong to identify Truth, if it becomes my “god” and overtakes my first allegiance to sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus, then it has replaced God and His calling on my life, and that is no less evil than the “evils of politics” which I may spend precious time denouncing.
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We only get so much time in this world. For many, it is used up in folly and pleasure, wasted in wrong pursuits or meaningless drivel, or succumbing to the never ending “urgent clamoring” of various injustices demanding our most limited resource of Time.
As followers of Jesus we have the joy of knowing that our time here on Earth can be spent in ways that yield incalculable investments for eternity – the key is identifying those investments and then not getting distracted by the temporary pulls of this world, that even if “won” are still limited in their capacity to deliver any lasting change.
So, Yes, by all means Vote. We have the privilege of such an amazing form of government- all the world marvels at its unique structure of “By the people, of the people, for the people” and it is a gift from God.
But let’s not lose sight of our greatest hope and calling – to spread the Good News that Jesus came to Earth to take our rightful place to pay the price for All our sin. Therefore, our main message must be that any who put their trust in Jesus and His finished work at the cross can have the certainty of eternal salvation, and to escape death and destruction. Only by clinging to Christ can we find freedom from the futility of any pursuit that distracts us from our singular mission of glorifying Him, and sharing the saving Truth of the Gospel with others, while keeping our eyes on the ultimate prize of Heaven, as we conduct ourselves as Ambassadors for Christ for whatever time He gives us.  🙏🏻🌿
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Renewed Trust through Heartaches in Life

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Perhaps it’s the cold winds chasing away the last remnants of the lazy days of Summer, but I find myself pondering deeper thoughts today… Like try this one on for size: Imagine if we saw heartache as a gift – like a doorway to the greater gift of brokenness, and as such, the very springboard to forgiveness and blessed healing – and a deeper strengthening of our faith … would we scramble so quickly away from pain if we rightly recognized the fruitful result that can come through it?

Our world is so full of heartache. Discouragement and destruction are all around, lost people strike out blindly at anyone in their path as they lean on their meager resources just to cope with the pain in this world. Yes, there is hollow emptiness in the life that is empty of God. Violence, rage, anger and chaos; meager pursuits and meaningless endeavors; lack of wisdom, joy and purpose are evidences of a life devoid of HOPE – and the Only True Hope is found in Jesus.

Apart from Him, life is a farce, a game, a folly – oh, sure, there can be momentary happiness, a shallow sense of fulfillment and even periodic tranquility – but not true and lasting peace – not the peace that passes all understanding that remains steady in the storms of life.

That kind of peace is only found solidly anchored in a deep and abiding trust in Christ Jesus. 

As followers of Jesus, we know the futility of what the World offers, and the emptiness in the life that is empty of God. The only One who can fill the void, heal the hurt and set the captive free is Jesus Christ, Son of God Almighty. When we consider that this life, where we put SO many of our hopes and dreams, is actually just a short blip on the screen of all eternity, why do we chase so mindlessly after such empty pursuits? I know I can get caught up in things that really do not matter – not in the long run. Am I using my time in a way that points a lost and dying world to the ONLY hope any of us have, or am I letting the cares of this life, the burdens, disappointments and sorrows undo the unique JOY that is mine in Christ??

Bottom line: This life is short and sometimes, very painful. But God is Sovereign and has a plan. I can either choose to use my time in a way that honors Him and shows trust in Him, or I can squander my opportunity to be a life giving light to a dark and dreary world that desperately needs Him, and look no different than my non believing friends who are weighted down under burdens that our Heavenly Father never intended for us to carry…. we each must choose.

Oh Lord, please help us to see your purpose in all that you allow in our lives; as refining tools of your grace and love. We know that you love us, and we have such a great hope of our eternal destination where we will rejoice and marvel at ALL you have and will accomplish through our meager, submitted lives of obedience and trust. Please help us use our time, talents and treasures well and to your glory, even as we build our trust in you and in your ultimate, beautiful plan for our lives ~ in the matchless name of Jesus, I pray ~ Amen.

Have you found a renewed hope to carry on in the face of some difficulty or trial? I’m so thankful God allows us the joy of coming alongside one another, and encouraging one another when life is hard! I pray that you might find a weight lifting as we lay down our burdens, and let God work His good and gracious plan through our submitted lives, ready to honor Him with our trust as we let our testimony of Joy speak volumes to a watching and hurting world!

Thank you for stopping in  ~ and if you want to share some thoughts, please do! Let’s talk – you know – between friends!

 

 

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Should Christians engage in Politics?

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I have noticed a strong reluctance on the part of some Christians to engage in political discussions; and in fact, have been privately scolded by some who think it is “wrong” to participate in the world of political discourse, with the claim that by doing so, I am putting my trust in the world instead of in God.

As believers we are to have reachable and teachable hearts, open to rebuke from Scripture, and to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, and I have sought to find a correct balance, not always easy in today’s political climate where so much corruption and sinful behavior is going on!

But I truly don’t see where in Scripture we are restricted or told not to engage in trying to be part of making our communities better by working for the blessing of good governance.

In fact, there are examples of Godly people in powerful positions whom God used to bless the people through their involvement in the political structures of the day; think of Daniel and Joseph.

We in America have a unique position of living in a country where the set up of government was literally “by the people, for the people”. We don’t suffer under a dictatorship; nor do we leave the leading of our land to Royalty (although many of our leaders do seem to view themselves that way) whom are selected via birth and lineage, rather than actual credentials, interest or skill.

Perhaps the sly workings of some with wrongful motives have set this bizarre shaming for Christians to become involved in politics as a way of loosening our influence upon a nation that actually NEEDS Godly men and women to engage in the leading of this great land.

The whispers of “separation of church and state” have cast a shadow of doubt over the “appropriateness” of Christians taking a healthy role in the state of affairs within our nation – and yet, I think of the verse in Proverbs that tells us,

“The righteous rejoice when the Godly rule, and when the wicked rule, the Godly groan.”

The unique structure of a (mostly) 2 party option does automatically present the likelihood of division where sharp disagreement can ensue – and often does – about which party is more closely aligned with God’s standards. Much prayer and Godly discernment is required to make choices about what policies and beliefs we each choose to uphold and support. Healthy debate to test the veracity of our beliefs is sometimes necessary as we challenge one another to seek Truth and encourage integrity. Sometimes we are forced to call out lies, stand up for right and take sides.

It is at those times that our testimony in Jesus is most evident: how to delicately handle TRUTH in LOVE… I have to sadly admit that in my passion for Justice, this is the area I stumble in the most, forgetting that HOW we strive to arrive at Truth is just as important as getting there. If I have unknowingly hurt someone in that way, I offer sincere apologies and beg forgiveness.

As with any pursuit or interest, political involvement can become an idol, something that makes us forget where our True Hope lies- in Jesus Christ. He himself modeled a righteous indignation which offers a pattern for those of us who seek to follow Biblical models for living in a culture that is hostile to our beliefs.

Is lasting Hope found in a republic, where the power is given to the people, rather than a monarch? NO. The absolute wickedness of the human heart guarantees that eventually, any and all governing structures will fail. But of all political structures, ours seems the most blessed, if carefully guarded and cared for by those who have hearts eager to follow God and honor Him in our lives.

For our little stretch of time, to be engaged in the process of holding accountable the people whom we have voted into power over us seems advisable, and even wise. May God please grant us grace and wisdom to do it in a way that honors Him and is a blessing to all around us, and brings a lasting peace for more generations to come.

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Put Your Son to Death

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Are you familiar with the story of Abraham and his son, Isaac? If so, you’ll recall the time God put Abraham to an incredible test, by asking him to sacrifice his beloved son. Without hesitation, Abraham readied himself and his son for the trip. You can read the entire account in Genesis 22.

Sometimes, in our world today, we set up certain things that we’ve placed ‘off limits’ to God. Our kids, job, health, marriage; our security. We say, “Have anything you want, Lord, but not this – not ____. This means too much to me, and I can’t let you have it.”

If you know how the event ended, you know that Abraham did not withhold his son, his precious, beloved boy, from the higher calling of obeying God. With a faith that reaches the pages of the New Testament, Abraham exemplified for us, what it means to truly Trust in God, and God counted it unto him as righteousness.

Oh, that we could each display such an all out trust in God!

When we face disappointment and blame God, or suffer through trials and become bitter, we miss out on the Joy of Trusting Him.

We must choose to rewire our thinking. What if through that trial, that burden, that disappointment, that loss, God can display His intimate hand of comfort, grace and provision to us? Would that make it worth going through the heartache?

One of our precious kids suffered a really unjust situation, and was hurting terribly. It was so hard to watch her go through the pain, as she wrestled with the unfairness, and the uncertainty that followed.

We talked for a long time about God’s purposes, why He allows what He does and what He wants from us. I urged her to take a blank piece of paper and draw 5 or 6 lines on it.

“Sweetheart, I’m asking you to go to the Lord, and pray. Tell God that you trust Him, and that you are ready to record some of the wonderful things He is going to bring about because He has allowed this painful thing in your life.”

She looked at me through tears. Fighting back my own anguish on her behalf, I explained. “God doesn’t just bring us from something for no good reason. He has chosen to allow you to leave that place of comfort, where you were happy and content, for His own reasons. And we must trust Him. And now, we must look for what He is bringing you INTO.”

If we are going to follow Him fully, then we must be ready to walk away from good things, where we find our security, and follow Him, who IS our security.

Over the days, as she was reminded of God’s faithfulness, sovereignty and love, we saw her heart begin to heal, and her trust begin to grow. Her situation hadn’t yet changed, but her willingness to see God’s plans through the heartache had.

We were so proud of her, as she wasn’t resentful of the people who had done this to her, and began to express her trust in God. We’d better believe – He WILL reward such a pure faith!

Wouldn’t it be awful to miss seeing God work some marvelous things on our behalf, simply because of our own lack of trust in Him and His goodness?

Imagine! Too often, we are digging our heels in, kicking and screaming to Almighty God who LOVES us, demanding Him to let us have our trinkets, when He longs to give us His treasures! Oh, what a sad forfeiture of potential blessing when we refuse to trust our loving Savior.

I want my faith to deepen, and my heart to be more full of trust in Him. But the only way to do that is to allow room for God to be at work, so we might grow a bit more in our understanding of His awesome might and unfathomable love. What an incredible chance to see the intimate hand of Almighty God at work in my situation and in yours, just by embracing whatever He brings our way, knowing that ultimately it’s for our good and His glory.

Here on Earth is the only place we get to put all of our eggs in the basket of God’s faithfulness. This life is short – I don’t want to miss out on seeing His watchcare over me, because of my own frail inability to grasp that the God who created the entire universe holds me in the palm of His hand, and He loves me, and is more than able to accomplish whatever His will is for my life, if I will only surrender my own weak plans in exchange for His wondrous ones! 

You never know what’s around the corner in this journey called Life. But God does. And He alone holds the roadmap. Will we trust Him to navigate our journey, knowing that He loves us and is working on our behalf?

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Perfect peace is waiting for those who fully trust God.

What are you holding onto that might be preventing you from seeing God’s love for you today?

Are there things you’ve grown bitter about, not wanting to let God heal, so you can move forward into some marvelous new adventures with Him? 

Let’s talk about it, you know – between friends.

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