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Category Archives: Lessons

Who’s the wise guy?

I have been reading the Proverbs with my kids for the past 2 weeks.

It has been good.

In fact there is something so exciting about reading words straight from the Bible like…” My son listen to your father’s instructions. Take heed to your mothers warnings”.  They look at me like I may have inserted those words on my own.

One of the things that I pray for more than anything else in my personal life is for wisdom and discernment.

We need it so badly.

I need it so badly.

Every day in every situation. I am constantly weighing the decision… is it wise? So Proverbs is just the book to read when talking about Godly wisdom.

The thing is, wisdom isn’t something we buy, or decide we’re going to have. It’s not a commodity. True wisdom can only come by asking the living God to give it to us. “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” proverbs 2:6

Proverbs repeat this over and over…Search for wisdom and understanding like a hidden treasure.

But this is the caution…

Proverbs 3:7

New King James Version (NKJV)

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

So if I ever think I’m kind of smart. A little bit wise. Pretty full of understanding…

I am not.

True wisdom says all the credit goes to the one who gave it. 

And I am not that one.

As I was reading the words to my boys yesterday I became increasingly fascinated with this thought.

What would our world, our churches, or neighborhoods look like if we were all looking for wisdom like buried treasure. IF we all sought understanding from our creator. If we asked for wisdom more than we ask for health, wealth, healing, or protection.

Not so we could be the wise guy but so he would be honored in us.

What if?

What if we trusted God with all our heart and didn’t try to lean on our own understanding. And in all our ways we would acknowledge him….He promises to direct our path. proverbs 3:5

I have some paths that need straightening right now.

Do you?

I could use wisdom for making some large decisions.

How about you?

I think this is God’s message  to me  today…

Relax in me. Ask for my wisdom. Don’t rely on what seems rational in your thinking. I will direct your path. I will make a way for you. In fact,Trust me.

It’s really the wisdom I’ve been asking for all along.

That’s it.

True wisdom is understanding I can’t know it all but I am friends with someone who does and he will lead the way. 

In fact he not only leads the way but sometimes he makes a way in the desert.

He gives words when we need it.

He gives grace to endure it.

He brings light to dark situations.

He. Is. the wise guy!


Friends…Who are yours?

I love people.

I do. I love them in a box I love them with some sox. 

I love the way they make me laugh. I love them if they take a bath… 🙂

I know we are all made different.

Some people only like to have a small circle of friends. Others delight in large groups. People of various personalities and beliefs. All sizes, colors and ages.

I have tried to instill the concept of being friendly to all in my children. Not that we are on top of our game all the time. Some weekends I just like to crash with my little family and lock the world out. I think we need that too.

But the idea that I would only have 2 friends in the world seems a bit restrictive to me. So I always encourage my kids to play with many kids on the playground, not just the same one every day. You never know who might need you…and you’ve gained a new friend.

But is there a downside to friends?

Are you vulnerable with your friends or do you keep all your inner secrets to yourself? Do you have certain friends that you know are only around for what you can give them?

Who do you trust?

What about when the friends you thought you could trust aren’t loyal to you? What about when the money runs out and they decide they don’t really want to hang with you anymore? What about friends who believe the bad report someone else gives them about you and they no longer call? Or perhaps even spread the news along.

What do you do with that?

It hurts doesn’t it? And sometimes it’s easy for us to take that pain and spew it out all around and over everyone we see. Even if others are not interested. They hear us rant about our horrible friends.

What about when your friends disappoint you ?

When they don’t come through in your crisis?

Maybe in your mind you tally up how many times you were there for them and of course they should return that favor. Of course they of all people better step up when you need them most.

And then they don’t. And you wonder if they really care about you at all.

Have you ever heard this… “You really know who your  friends are in times like this”.

Or maybe this…  “They were my friends, and they call themselves Christian, but they haven’t been very Christian to me “.

What do you think of comments like that?

What does a “Christian” look like?

They are followers of Christ right? So we try to follow what he did right?

I go back to how Jesus  treated  his friends.

He had many friends. Jesus knew everyone he saw. And I believe most of them had heard of him as well.

But He picked a group of close friends to be in his inner circle. He asked them to follow him and learn from him. So he has these guys who live with him. They saw him in his down times and in his upfront ministry…when he’s teaching and working miracles. They had constant access to their friend who is also the Messiah.

But when Jesus needed them most…When he could’ve used a friend…. Judas betrayed him. Peter swore he didn’t know him. And the others disappeared.

Could Jesus have said… “Well I certainly  know who my friends are in times like this”?

But instead what did he do?

He said, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they do.”

Do you think you could do that?

The thing is… If I say I’m a Christ follower it doesn’t matter what other people do. I am accountable to him for the way I followed. And sometimes we have to repent that we haven’t followed him at all. Instead we have chosen a fleshly response that looks no different from what we may be accusing our friend of.

Sometimes my kids fight. I know.. we’re unusual… but I see one of them whacking the daylights out of the other and I say “Hey, Hey.. quit hitting”.  Invariably the child responds… “well he hit me first”. Justification that he has the right to hit back harder because he was not the initiator of the fight.

Doesn’t it simplify our lives to simply acknowledge, “yes, that was hurtful, but I was forgiven, how can I withhold forgiveness? Even if they didn’t ask for it.”

I’m not talking about reconciliation. We could not be reconciled to the Father without first coming and confessing our sins and accepting Jesus as the payment for us.

The same is true for us. We cannot be reconciled to some relationships unless both are willing to confess the sins we commit against each other. Sometimes Trust is completely destroyed and it would not be wise for us to enter into such a close relationship with that friend again.

Judas could not grasp that he could ever be forgiven and he destroyed himself.

But Jesus used Peter to build his church.

That betraying, cussing, no good friend of his, was used to bring about God’s great plan for the message to go out to all ends of the earth.

Could we consider how we cast stones at other friends who aren’t always so gracious to us? Could we stop for a moment and the next time we hear that phrase…”well you really know who your friends are in these times”…. and simply say, “Father forgive them… they just don’t know.”

Could it be that God is actually teaching us how to forgive in those moments? Maybe it’s about us relying more fully on Jesus to be the friend that no one else could ever fill. It is never God’s will that we sin against each other but perhaps God is using that experience to draw you in.

I am convinced that as I walk the path he walked and learn to die to my self daily I am happier.

Not a self gratifying happy. But a happy in my soul. A happy that I can be free to love when I haven’t been shown love. A Happy because I am forgiven.  And in turn I can forgive my friends.  Even when they disappoint me.

How about it? 

If we are truly following him…. How will we respond differently when our friends mistreat us?

Batter Up…It’s your day!

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My weekend was full.
It was full of things that matter to me. So I don’t mind full.
We had ballgames, a cookout with friends, Worshiping with our church family, a piano recital and actively participating in community with our small group.
And now as I reflect on some of the highlights I think about Saturday morning.
I’m sipping my coffee, watching my son play baseball.
I had the best seat in the house. Inside my van with the windows rolled down.
My oldest son is up to bat…2 on base.
“Come on baby you can do it” I mutter under my coffee breath.
Flashback with me two years ago.
My firstborn son has always loved baseball. He calls it his sport. He felt confident as he would hit and run. He just loved it. But half way through the season a pitcher beamed him with a wild pitch. My son’s instinct was to protect his front and so he turned half way and the pitch got him in the back. He fell, grimaced, tried to be cool, as he took his base. But there were silent tears and a bruise on his body.
His confidence at the plate changed. He would jump out of the box causing the umpire to call strike. The last 2 years have been painful to watch as he seemed to just pull away. All the while still really wanting to play but as he approached the plate he looked scared and timid. No amount of our encouraging seemed to help.
He was scared of the hard ball seemingly forever.

But this year as the season opened he and his dad were on their way to the ball park for his first practice. “Dad this year I’ve decided I’m not going to be scared at the plate.”
And that was that.
He has gotten on base at every game. With a number of hits. It has been amazing to see the transformation.
And here he is up to bat. And I’m holding my breath.
He hit that ball out to right field.
The runner scores and he brings the 2nd runner to third as he rounds first looking to see if he should keep running. Tears are filling my eyes and falling down my cheeks as I watch. It’s not the game winning point or anything but my son is overcoming the struggle that had paralyzed him with fear.
In that moment I felt God whispering to me….”That’s how I feel about my kids. I am so glad to see them succeed. I am for my children and when one is struggling after a bruise or injury I want so much for them to realize they really are overcomers. I love them. I know they can do all I ask them to do.”

And my heart melted.
I have my own paralyzing fears. Fears that I won’t ever be able to hit the ball again. Beyond that lacking the desire to even get up to the plate.
And I realized that God was using this baseball game and my son’s battle to speak to me.

And I love him for the way he loves his own.
Like a mother loves her son.
Our Father loves all his kids and even when we don’t realize it he is right there cheering for us.
“Get back in the game”…Strikes to the back will come but it will make you stronger.

 You will learn from it.

And One day you will hit the ball again.
One day my child.
One day.

If God is for me…Why does it feel like he is against me?

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Have you ever asked God…”Why do you hate me?”

I have.

There have been times when I wondered if I had done something to make God really angry with me. Angry enough that he would make everything in my life miserable.

I mean we can talk all day long about his mercy and kindness and love….but sometimes it doesn’t feel like he loves us.

When 10 bad things happen all in row we may ask what we did to deserve such contempt. We wonder.

We might not even know that we’ve done anything at all but it sure feels like God is against us.

And we hear the preacher tell us nice things about God and read blogs and listen to people who tell us how good he is and we wonder why we aren’t experiencing God like that.

Maybe if we were better or had a godly title then he would be good to us too. Maybe everyone is just fibing to us…if they would just be real they would admit that they too think God is fickle. He would like to pound us and if we aren’t careful that’s exactly what he will do.

But maybe it’s like this…I wonder if God is so for us that sometimes it feels like he is opposing us.

I tell my kids all the time…. I am for you! That’s why I’m asking this of you. I want you to be the best you can be so we need to take care of this issue. Sometimes it’s not even because they have done anything that needs correction. Sometimes we ask them to do something to help them grow in responsibility. Or we ask them to wait to stretch them in patience.  Maybe we don’t give them everything they ask for because we know it’s not good for them. It’s because we want them to be all they were called to be. We hope they will be responsible citizens of heaven and earth. We ask things of them to help them grow up.

It’s because he is for me….

Romans 8:31….If God is for us, who can be against us?

that sometimes I feel like he is against me.

 I Peter 4:5…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Is He For me?


Does that mean he doesn’t need to correct me?

Or that I don’t need to grow up?


As long as I breathe on this planet I will need to grow. He is preparing me for another life. The life to come. And so while I should be making strides in the growing up direction I have not yet arrived.

So…I will need to have lessons all along the way.

And if I look at those lessons thinking God hates me  I will become hard and bitter.

God’s word will no longer mean anything to me…because his word is only for those he loves…and I am obviously not one.

I become a victim and victims always need someone to blame. So I turn away from the very one who could heal me and give me all I need.

In Judges after Joshua had led the children of Israel into their promised inheritance, the next generation grows up and forsakes the God of their fathers. Judges 2 says that the Lord’s hand was against his people. He had promised them that if they worshiped other gods he would be against them. Then it says…He raised up judges(or leaders) who saved them out of the hands of their enemies. And they still didn’t listen. Because God had compassion on them he continued to raise up leaders and the people refused to give up their ugly ways. So God finally decided to turn them over to other nations to test Israel and see if they would obey his commands.

God continued to fight for his people even when they refused to recognize him. He can’t seem to get their attention so he measures out  different methods of discipline.

He is for them.

If we are his he is for us!

Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I would dare say my kids don’t always feel like I am for them. Especially after I have issued out correction  to them.

But I love them like Crazy!

And if I, in my imperfect love, know what they need how can I ever doubt that the perfect love of the Father knows exactly what I need. He will go to great lengths to bring us back to himself.

I think maybe his opposition is the very thing that can bring me back.

It is the very thing that I need for growth and maturity.

It’s painful. And I’m not gonna say I love it.

But I need it.

He is for us!

Get out of that boat

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It could be classified as one of the worst days you had to face. The most awful nightmare had happened.

Your cousin has been arrested and beheaded. I don’t know how to type that any kinder. It was horrific! The one who you were close to in so many ways. The one who really got who you were and what you were about. The news is hard to swallow.

And so Jesus removes himself for a few moments from ministering to people in order to be alone to grieve. But they follow him. They beg him to heal their sick and meet their physical needs. Some had traveled for miles.  Jesus has compassion on them so he begins to heal them. But it’s getting later and the people are now hungry. The people were far from home. He feels mercy again. He tells his disciples, “You feed them”.

As it ends up the disciples bring him five loaves and 2 fish. Jesus blesses the food and it multiples.
After this Jesus sends his disciples across the lake in a boat and tells them he will meet them later. He needed time alone with his Father.

So the disciples head out. Only to encounter the storm of their lives. Waves are rocking them silly. They may have likely been thinking of their impending death. It was out of control!

And then Jesus enters…on the water.

He tells them who he is and encourages them not to be afraid.

Peter feeling brave with Jesus so close calls out, “Can I come to you?” And Jesus says “Yes come”.

Peter hops out, and starts to walk on the water. Maybe he was waving and smiling. And then…oopsie daisy… he realizes he is doing the impossible. It is at that point he starts to go down, down, down.

He yells out asking Jesus to Save him. And Jesus reaches down and pulls him up.

 Chiding “Don’t doubt. My faithless child”.

Do you see that picture in your head? I mean here is this grown man hopping out of a boat with full confidence. I’m sure there was some adrenaline pumping. And who knows maybe the boat was taking on water. I’m picturing a pretty wet scene.

Here comes Jesus the one who had been healing people all day long. Peter had helped gather food and then watched as the Master instantly produced more right in front of his eyes. So walking on the water was just a great way to end the day!

 How many more miracles would Jesus have to do in order for Peter to fully trust his power?

How often do I lack full confidence as I step out of the boat because in my heart I’m afraid this may be the time that Jesus forgets to help me with the impossible?

Or Maybe this

Am I putting my faith in my own ability instead of his? And how’s that working for me?

I watched a video of someone explaining this chapter one time. He raised the question… was  the reason Peter sank  because he didn’t believe in himself? Maybe Peter didn’t have enough faith in his own ability. Jesus has faith in us. 

Does that make any bells go off in your head?

Yes. Mine too.

Jesus has never told us he has faith in us. That’s the point of him being the Savior. I don’t have a fighting chance in this journey if I am dependent upon my faith in what I can do apart from what he does through me.

 “I can do all things….Through Christ….Who strengthens me.”  phil 4:13. It’s Key.

I have been Peter in many ways. This area not withstanding.

 It is real in my life.

When I stepped out of that boat I sank down to a watery pit. I truly believed I was going to drown. And I truly believe I would have. Except for Jesus.

I cried out to him at the top of my lungs. I asked him to save me from the pit I was in. He gently picked up my broken, body and said, “My precious girl, have faith in me”. I literally laid the Bible over my chest to the passage he gave me as His promise to me.I read and reread his words of hope and rescue.

It is what brought me healing. It is what saved me from the pit I was in.

No amount of talking myself out of the pit helped.

Only Him.

He has been my Salvation and I can’t help but put my trust in him.

Is he asking you to step out of the boat today? Do you trust him enough to run across the water to him?

 If you start to sink do you know that you can’t save you?

No amount of faith in yourself will make you walk again. Only your faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

He will be your only rescue.

I tell you all this because I not only read the words in Matthew 14, I have journeyed them. And I will again.

Hopefully the next time Jesus tells me to step out I will skip across the waves knowing that he is in full command of the threatening force.

I have learned to trust him because of the waves. Not in spite of them.

He showed me that he is Mighty to Save.

So The question I ask today is this…

How many more miracles would Jesus have to do for you to fully trust his power?

Come to the Table

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After several attempts at filling my table with actual bodies,  for dinner, I ask… “Can anyone hear me?”

“Yes I heard you”.  My son replies from the couch.

Yet there is no movement coming from his general direction. He is engrossed in a book. Dinner is a bother at the present.

As the soup gets colder I try to stay patient, as I am processing my next move…

Do I try once again to make people appear by getting louder or should I randomly start doling out consequences for lack of obedience?

It’s not the worst thing in the world. I mean maybe I should pick other hills to die on. And I can reheat the soup. But the whole idea that I’m talking to trees makes me a little jittery. At least trees have some movement. It makes me  a little crazy as I feel him blatantly ignore me.

And then again God draws me in to dialogue.

“Do I act like that with you Father”?

“Am I so into my stuff that I think you can wait just a moment?”

“Am I a “hearer” of your voice…But not a “doer”?

And I wonder…

I wonder if God gets weary of calling me to the table?

Does he look at me with parental eyes saying “It’s not enough to just hear me…You must do as I say”.

I’m thinking of the large masses of people who went to hear Jesus speak.

They essentially went to church…although it looked less like a comfortable auditorium and more like the side of a hill, or  a crowded room in the home of a friend. They listened intently to Jesus teach. The most inspirational, dynamic leader you will ever find. He spoke with authority and love.  He filled their ears with challenges and new thoughts. He healed them and restored minds that were tormented by the evil one. He was the perfect communicator.

Oh yes, they saw and heard the indescribable life of Jesus.

But the words and challenges alone could not save them.

They had to participate in what they had heard in order to make real what Jesus was teaching.

Many were following him wondering what he would do next. They were intrigued and loved the excitement that he brought. Wondering what he could do for them. They came weekly for more. Filling their ears with his words. They were certainly seekers.


Were they more like couch sitters? Or today we may call them

Pew Warmers.

Did they hear the words of Jesus and then deliberately put them into practice? Or did they just come back week after week waiting for another fix.

Am I a hearer and doer of the word? James 1 tells me that I must not only hear but act.

We need both. We must hear God’s voice in order to know how and where to follow.

I can’t expect that hearing alone will be enough.

Until our theology and reality meet we will be just like the people of Jesus day.

If I hear it and don’t act am I not more accountable? After all…I would tell my son, “If you’ve heard me you are without excuse.”

Awwhh Thank you Father.

I love that he shows me himself through life experiences.

His heart is not  to  just call us to the table. It is also to see us joyfully join him and participate in relationship around it.  Sometimes the table is set with bounty and we feast lavishly. Sometimes it requires us to walk where we thought we could not go. And Sometimes we must follow instructions blindly, not knowing what the end result will look like.

I am grateful that he calls. I must move off the couch and to the table with no delay. It’s here at the table that I find fellowship. Here where my deepest needs are met. It is here that I can hear more clearly and obey his voice.

What is he asking you to hear and do today?

Mary…The chosen Mother.

It’s been just over a month since we celebrated the birth of Jesus come to earth.
I have been mulling over this thought all month.
Maybe it’s because Christmas came on the heels of my adventure to Alabama where I heard wonderful teaching and inspirational women. I came home feeling encouraged.
But part of me often feels like I am so inferior to so many other women.
My thoughts can move very quickly to this…I need to do more.
I should be smarter.
 Or more disciplined.
I  often feel like I don’t “do” enough.
On our family’s night Celebrating Christmas we read the Story of the birth of Jesus  from Luke’s Gospel.
Freshman asked a question that started me thinking…
“Do you think this is Mary’s account of the story?
Maybe she had remembered these things and years later recounted them to Luke”
Mary Pondered these things in her heart
It is so profoundly discreet.
If Mary had lived today would she have written a book?
Would she have told us the secret life of the mother of Jesus Christ.
A “how to” book on obedience in the face of the biggest challenge any would face.
I wonder.
Do I ponder?
Do I treasure?
When Something special happens do I just quietly remember?
I have a tendency to forget. And writing it down helps me to look back and remember.
Sometimes I am given permission to share my lessons with others. But at times he wants me to just treasure it up in my heart.
 Those Things that should not be shared right now.
What I love is that Mary didn’t take the credit that God the Father, had chosen her to be the  Mother of his Son.
He looked down on all the women and chose Mary.
That certainly would qualify her to teach a Bible Study or speak on the subject of “purity in heart”.
 We would surely say The Anointing was on her.
What was it about Mary?
Was is that she was so gifted?
Did she draw thousands and minister to them through Bible teaching?
Did she have musical ability?
Was she head of local charities and organizations?
Was she a wise older woman?
She was a teenager.
And she was pure of heart.
God saw her heart.
Not her achievements.
How do I look for favor from the almighty?
Is it through quiet devotion?
Private worship?
Sitting at his feet?
Or is it through public demonstrations of goodness?
Or Bible Knowledge?
I have been moved by this picture of God’s favored one.
It inspires me to be that kind of woman. 
A woman who desires his praise more than mans.
If I focus on being that kind of girl…I will indeed be highly esteemed to the one who matters most!