Sinners in Need of a Savior

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:3-11 NIV When I met Jesus, I was very much like this woman. Broken. Beaten up by a life of rebellion and bad choices. When I met Jesus, I expected Him to condemn me… I believe this woman expected him to as well. Understanding that I could not accept the forgiveness He offered and continue to live my life contrary to His Word, I chose to follow Him, and “leave my life of sin.” In return, He forgave me, embraced me, healed me, and filled up...

Lessons From An Encourager

I recently met a tremendously encouraging woman. Well, I haven’t actually “met” her. We’ve never talked or had coffee. I’m not even sure what state she lives in. Still, she is my encourager.  She encourages me with a few simple words… “Great Post.” “Thank you for this.” Or my favorite: “Bless you, dear one.” She simply lets me know that someone out in cyberspace is reading these words God puts in my heart. I didn’t think much of it, other than it was really nice, until her comments on my blog stopped. After a few days I realized that I missed her. A week or so passed and I realized I missed her a lot. We are in the same circles on social media and we have a mutual friend, so I did a little poking around and discovered that she’s been sick…for a while…a long while…as in the whole time she’s been sending me words of encouragement. I’m amazed. Here’s a lady who is having a really hard time and she is so full of Christ’s love that it seems to spill out of her and splash all over the rest of us. Don’t you love people like that? Don’t they amaze you? Leave you scratching your head and wondering how they stay so positive? Make you wish you had whatever they have that keeps them from having a bad case of the grumbles? I’ve noticed a few things about my encourager friend. She talks about Jesus and almost never talks about herself or her ailments. She is focused on Christ, on the hope of heaven, and on God’s presence in her life. She trusts God’s...

Wise Counsel

Our water bill went up from $60 to $80. Higher than normal, but acceptable.  It went up to $100 and we were a bit concerned. When it went up to $200, we realized we had a leak. Calvin (the hubs) discovered a leak in our shower, and we were talking about how we could tear out the shower and redo that bathroom when our friend Tim called. Calvin told him what was going on, and he came over and looked at the shower. Tim said that the shower just needed a little caulk and suggested that we rule out a leak in the yard before we started tearing up our house. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (ESV) As we investigated further, things pointed to a leak under our slab. We got upset, but Tim reminded us to rule out a leak in the yard and he was right; the leak was in the yard. They dug up the yard to run new line from the meter to the house, and we have a $60 water bill in our future! I am so thankful for Tim’s guidance and thrilled that we didn’t start tearing out walls and busting up concrete looking for the leak. We’d have done much more damage to our home had we not listened to Tim’s wise counsel, which reminds me of the necessity of wise counsel when dealing with sin. When sin is wreaking havoc on our lives, we need wise counsel. While sin may leave a mark (like the fresh dirt in my yard), wise counsel can prevent more catastrophic damage (like...

The Garden Prayer

For years, the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane puzzled me. I couldn’t get past the following train of thought: “If Jesus is God, then He knows what God knows. If God knew that the only way to redeem humanity was for Jesus to be crucified, then Jesus knew that. Then why on earth did He ask God to ‘let this cup pass from me’ if He knew that wasn’t an option?” I dissected the account of Jesus in the Garden more times than I can count. I looked for answers, prayed for answers, asked others for answers… and got a lot of nothing. I was trying to make sense of my second cancer diagnosis when I was drawn back to the account of Jesus in the Garden … and it finally clicked. In the Garden, Jesus showed us how to go to Our Father and ask Him to take the hard things from us. He asked for another way to deal with the sin of mankind while remaining completely submitted to God’s will. The account is there for me (and for you). Scripture says this: Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 HCSB Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:43 HCSB   In the Garden, Jesus shows us this beautiful truth… When life presses on you so hard that you can’t rest, your chest hurts, and you have a hard time breathing…...

The Most Important Thing

I’ve spent the past few months feeling a terrible need to write about what we “should” do. Forgive so that we can be free. Trust God with our brokenness. See the benefit in times of painful growth. My intentions are good.  It crushes my soul that women accept spiritual defeat. Living in bondage to sin and Satan’s deceit is not acceptable to me and I feel a tremendous responsibility to shine light on Satan’s schemes. I still believe that these things need to be said, but lately I’ve felt an all-consuming desire to make people see Satan’s deceit. It’s been the absolute most important thing to me. Until Riley got burned. Riley is 4. He suffered 3rd degree chemical burns on about 1/4 of his body at the end of January.  That night, I met his parents at the ER, and felt completely and utterly useless. No words could offer comfort. No wisdom about how God uses trials seemed appropriate. We were all completely helpless against the chemical that was burning through his flesh.  We prayed for comfort and peace in those first moments and the in days and weeks that followed as he had surgeries and skin grafts. As we waited and prayed during the last days of January and the month of February, I began to realize that I’d lost sight of what people REALLY need when things are really bad. During that dark time, I sent the following in an email: “There is so much hurt in this world. We live in a broken place with broken bodies. Thank God for the promise of heaven. There would be no hope without it!” As soon as I typed the words, God convicted my...

Search Me

What competes with Christ for your attention and affection? I am guilty of letting things…mostly good things…draw my affection from my Savior. I don’t like to admit it.  It is embarrassing and humbling to be reminded that Satan still deceives me.  Oftentimes I am not even aware that he is working on me until sin causes unrest in my soul. It’s only then that I realize I am struggling spiritually.  Thankfully, when I ask God to show me what’s causing me to struggle, He is faithful to reveal sin I so easily overlook (or ignore). Lately, this has been my prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) When Jesus searches my heart, the process can be painful. Just this week, he revealed to me that I have been leaning on  Christian friends where I should be leaning on Him. I sought validation from them rather than Him. I made choices based on what would make them happy rather than on what would bring God glory. This seems relatively harmless when compared to things like murder, adultery, gossip, lying, or sexual sin. Even so, allowing my friends to take up space in my heart that belongs to God caused me to struggle spiritually. Satan is crafty and can use ANYTHING to draw our affection from God. I read somewhere that idolatry can be described as worshiping a gift instead of the Giver of it. Just like murder and sexual immorality, idolatry is a sin. Sin separates us from God, which is what causes unrest in the...

Out with the Old…In with the New

January is filled to overflowing with the promise of a fresh start, and for years I made resolutions that I believed would help me become the person I wanted to be. Problem is, the things we resolve to remove from (or add to) our lives on January 1st are just symptoms of the things that truly hold us captive and steal our joy. As long as we only address the symptoms, we will be in the same worn out, weighed down, weary place this time next year. So, before January slips into February and the hope of the New Year is a distant memory, let’s look at the heart-issues that steal our joy and peace. The list is made up of  things like guilt, regret, anxiety, bitterness, rage, hopelessness, shame, longing, and all manner of hurt. Any of those sound familiar? Now… let God replace all that with His peace and His joy and His contentment. How? God’s Word promises: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Don’t shake your head. This isn’t nonsense and you aren’t broken beyond His ability to repair. Your pain isn’t too great for Him to heal. God can make you whole. He will take all those things that make your chest ache with anxiety and HE will…well, He will make them not such a big deal. I know it’s hard to believe. I promise it’s true because He did it for me. Trusting God with your brokenness is the bravest (and best) thing you will ever do. If you are...

Christmas in Our Broken World

There is no question that our world is in bad shape. I am grieving for the 14 families who lost loved ones in the shooting in California this month, the hundreds of families who lost loved ones in Paris recently, the parents of the college students killed earlier this year, and for so many others who have had people violently taken from them. I am shaken to the core by the staggering numbers of people who are involved in human trafficking, children in orphanages, and people in abusive relationships. My heart breaks for marriages and families that have been ripped apart by lies, adultery, pornography, drug addiction, homosexuality, alcoholism, and other sin. Our world is broken. We suffer not only with the consequences of our own sin, but also that of generations that came before us. We are in a mess. During my quiet time a after the attack in Paris, I was silenced by a verse. It silenced my prayer, stole my breath, and possibly even stopped my heart for a brief moment. If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) I hope that you see the same thing I did. Read it again. I’ll wait. Do you see it? “MY people called by MY name humble THEMSELVES and pray and seek my face and turn from THEIR wicked ways…” God’s Word is speaking to us, sweet Christian. God is not calling us to protest or...

Painful Restoration

  My friend Shellie owns a B&B named Clyde and Marie’s. It is a beautiful Victorian home filled with treasured antiques. But this wasn’t always the case. The house stood empty and neglected for years on a tiny lot in the middle of a small Mississippi town. Shellie purchased the house,  had it cut in half and moved in two separate pieces to its current location. Issues with the contractor  led to the house sitting on its current property totally exposed to the elements for months (in two pieces). The resulting damage was so extensive that everything but the hardwood floors had to be gutted and replaced, giving the restored house new walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Shellie celebrated opening the B&B by dedicating the home and business to the Lord. Once nothing but an empty neglected house, Clyde and Marie’s now hosts weddings, class reunions, rehearsal dinners, and all sorts of travelers, but the guests Shellie treasures most are young women, hurting couples, and women’s groups who utilize her home for a place of ministry. I love this story. It resonates in my heart because I AM that house. Before Christ, I was a list of failed relationships, shattered dreams, and broken promises. I felt discarded and worthless. I was beaten down and worn out… empty and hopeless…a shell of the woman I am now. What changed? God saved me. I simply trusted what Scripture says: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. Acts 16:31 ESV God stepped in and saw value where I  saw failure. He saw what HE could do in me. He purchased me with the blood of Jesus and began to restore me. In time I took on the identity...

Trusting the Closed Door

People say that God closes one door to open another.  God has chosen to close a few doors in my life… and I have been known to knock on a door He closed. I might have even been known to wiggle the knob to see if it is locked. I could possibly have even used a flathead screwdriver and hammer to take a locked door off the hinges because I was SURE that God shut, locked, and dead bolted it by mistake. Perhaps I’m not the only one. PERHAPS you have done a little work on a closed door as well. It goes something like this… Dear God, I want your will for my life and to be a good steward of my money. So if it is your will for me to have that 180 dollar pair of pumps I saw today, please allow the extra money in my account this month. Amen Mid month- no extra money. Dear God, I trust you completely. I know that you want what’s best for me. I don’t see any extra money in my account. If it is your will for me to have those beautiful black pumps, please let them go on sale so that I can afford them. Amen A week passes. They don’t go on sale. Dear God, I am having a hard time knowing how you want me to proceed, Lord. If spending 180 dollars on those beautiful near perfect black pumps is your will for me, let my husband encourage me to get something nice for myself. Amen A week passes. Hubbs does NOT tell me...