Easily Distracted

Easily Distracted

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

I sat down with the youth of our church last week to talk about distractions. Using these two verses, we discussed some of the distractions in their daily life that keeps them from focusing on time with the Lord. In just a brief thirty minutes, it was as though the Holy Spirit was teaching the lesson. Rabbit trails and squirrel chases had us in fifty different conversations all at once. It took extreme discipline to wrangle everyone back on topic. It’s funny how that works in life. We are so busy running around like chickens with our heads cut off that we lose sight of Jesus unintentionally. He is the founder and perfecter of our faith that is discovered by following Him rather than seeing where exactly He is going. This requires paying attention to every detail such as His Word and communicating through prayer to know and understand what to do and when to do it. The benefit is at the end of the day peace overtakes us and the lie of the enemy causing panic is dissolved in truth. Let us run the race with endurance that is set before us. This indicates a marathon and not a sprint. One must live a life of self-control and discipline to find His Way. We must learn to cast aside the weight of sin, doubt and discouragement to live in righteousness, trust and hope. How do I get there from here?

Song of Solomon 2:15-16 (ESV) Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom. My beloved is mine, and I am his; he grazes among the lilies.

I find it fascinating that these two verses are coupled together in the Word of God. It is an intentional dialogue and one that can change our focus immediately. Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards. Your life is fertile ground. You have seeds of potential to be planted in faith. The enemy knows that God has promised you a prosperous and abundant life. He is not after the fruit of our life but rather to kill our potential. The distractions of life will cause us to stop plowing, planting, pruning, and preparing for a harvest. The little foxes ate away at the base of the plant and it died. They did not kill it but rather disconnected it from the source of the soil. Our source in life is Jesus Christ. He must be our beloved. We must decide that my beloved is mine and I am His. This commitment called covenant changes everything. It demands our attention. It is a union of one.

Deuteronomy 30:15-16 (ESV) “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

When Jesus Christ died for you and me, He gave us freedom. Real freedom to choose all over again the life that is lived in us and through us. We have life and good or death and evil. Life and good is only obtained when we choose to pursue God through the Love of Jesus Christ. His Grace gets us there. It is a choice to walk in His Ways, keep His Commandments, and to live and prosper in His Love. Bottom line – it is a choice. The life of my choosing is not the result of God’s Lack of Goodness or the Insufficiency of Christ’s Grace but my selection of something else. God does not offer a lower standard of living – it is up to us to choose it instead of abundant life.

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV) I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

To decide to pursue God’s Love is to believe that He is good. His Goodness is for you. It is for right here and right now. Those who believe will wait on the Lord. To be strong is not the absence of weakness but acceptance of amazing grace that affords unconditional love. The lie of the enemy is that God expects something of us other than just us. There is nothing I can do for the Lord – He did it all for me already. I cannot repay Him. I cannot in any way compensate the God, Father, Son or Spirit for the complete work. All I can do is accept it. To fully experience God’s Goodness is to fully believe that His Love for me is complete without my assistance. What a pride killer and ego buster? I am weak and helpless but all I have and all I am – I give to You – Jesus!

Philippians 4:4-8 (ESV) Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I love this “let your reasonableness be known to everyone”. The problem with our faith is that it is illogical. We are not convinced and so easily distracted from the truth by the lies of the enemy. We settle for less because there is doubt within us. Faith is reasonable when Christ becomes our beloved. When our relationship with Him is the foundation of all other things in our life. Fiction becomes fact when backed by Truth. To decide to pursue the Lord is not enough. We must be fully persuaded that God loves us and His Goodness is for us. Otherwise peace is compromised by rebellion and treason of the heart gives way to compromise because doubt is allowed to exist. We must focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy. This will silence complaints, grumblings, arguments and disagreement. When faith becomes a reasonable choose, it will be our choice every time. God’s Love is full of goodness. He is always good. He promises to make good of every detail of our life. It is all about believing enough to wait for Him.

Have you lost sight of the author and finisher of faith today? Have little foxes nibbled at your confidence a bit? He is the vine. We are the branches. Jesus will sustain you if you choose fix your heart and mind on Him today and stop allowing all the distractions whittle away at your faith. You are your beloved’s and He belongs to you. There is nothing that can or will every separate you from the Love of God or Christ in you… but you! Change your confession over your life today. Speak the Word not the world’s perspective. Make your faith reasonable and logical by putting God’s Word in action and living a life of rejoicing in all things. The enemy flees when we resist him. Be strong in the Lord today – He is strong in you!

Lord, I ask you to fill each person’s heart with the peace that passes all understanding. Put Your Mighty Hand over each fragile broken heart and guard it from the fiery darts of the enemy today. You are good! You love us. You pursue us with unfailing love. May each one of us accept your love, grace and mercy today – in Jesus Precious Name!



Time Bandit

Time Bandit

I Peter 5:6-8 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

This week has been a busy one at work. The days stretching past the normally scheduled hours to get the project out the door. Hours seem like minutes as the emails and calls keep coming. In the midst of activity, my daughter sends me a text. She would like to go to the store and was wondering if I could watch our newborn grandson. I obviously accepted the opportunity to have the little guy all to myself. The new “me” values time way more than the old “me” did. There was a time in my life when work consumed the majority of my attention. Nothing left undone everything took a backseat. Leaving early and coming home late, I would give my family what was left of me if any. Exhausted and overwrought overtaken by the cares, worries and burdens of life. Caught up in the tasks losing sight of my treasure but not anymore.

Sitting in the quiet apartment and staring at the sweet cherubic face of my sleeping grandson, it seems surreal that I am a grandmother. Five decades of life gone – I am so thankful for this moment. The precious time of bonding with the newest member of our family. At the same time, I am sad for my friend whose husband has made his transition into eternity. We met at the Hope Lodge. A housing facility for patients and caregivers in the fight of their lives. Cancer taught me a valuable lesson. It reorganized my priorities by taking the “normal” and ruthlessly shattering it like a glass vase hitting the floor and breaking into a million pieces. Nothing in my life will ever be labeled “normal” again, I refuse to accept that life of hopelessness anymore. Every good gift is from the Father above. Lord, teach me to humble myself to receive it.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

It is absolutely humbling to relinquish control of one’s life. To come to know and understand that despite my best efforts – I am not in control. I am okay with that… now. My flesh hated the idea at first. Many tears of painful frustration and overwhelming pain the moment I learned that I cannot always make happy endings. Yet in humility before the Lord – it is a sweet and gentle exchange. To transfer the burdens of my life in exchange for His Perfect Peace. Peace that passes all understanding cannot be derived from pride but in learning to trust that God is good. He is a good father with a good plan for us. He promises to work every detail of our life for good. In the midst of a world crashing down around you, it is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The enemy is a time bandit. He is a thief. He wants to steal your joy and peace. He will crush our confidence in Jesus if allowed to have a place in our heart and mind. Any door or window left open is an access point. He is constantly telling us lies and half-truths. The devil has three namesakes that he uses – distractions, disappointment and doubt. All will produce disbelief if allowed to manifest in our life. I have a friend. I visit her often. Her name is Martha. She is found in God’s Word. She reminds me on those days when I attempt to return to my normal life to be sober-minded and watchful. The thief is coming!

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV) Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Let’s hear it for the Martha’s out there. The real go-getters and hard workers who get the job done. Pride tells us that “if we don’t do it who will.” In reality, our doing is what keeps pride alive. The thought that there is something to do to maintain the love of God or earn His Great Grace. Doing for people to meet their expectation in the hope that they will reciprocate. There is nothing wrong with hard work. Motivation is the heart of change within us. It becomes a problem is when our doing is a distraction. I am too busy is an excuse not an explanation. Our time belongs to us. We have the privilege of giving it to whoever or whatever is deemed worthy.

Martha was distracted with much serving. What are you distracted by today? We pursue the desires of our heart. Sometimes it becomes a cluttered place filled with worthless ambition and futile pursuits which are the product of a lie planted in us long ago. We must weed out our heart and reprioritize our time. God should always get the first fruit but note that He is not interested as much in our doing as our knowing. Mary sat in the Presence of Jesus first and the Lord clearly favored her decision. Faith and family should be our first priority. There is room for everything else.

John 11:21-26 (ESV) Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Disappointment is consistent with failure of hope. To become depressed or discouraged when one believes that there is no reason to hope. The Word of God promises that our hope will never lead to disappointment. It doesn’t say anything about God doing it our way. So often the confusion comes when God doesn’t do things according to our expectation or timeline. We discard it or decide it just isn’t going to happen. When Martha met Jesus on the road that day without any kind of greeting, her grief spilled out of heart falling from her lips, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Martha was so devastated by her present condition that she was blinded to the hope standing before her. Jesus was there now. His Presence brought resurrection life and power. But her unmet expectation in her way and her plan overshadowed the hope that was before her. “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” She tried to say the right thing in her darkest hour, but her faith was not in Jesus in the present but the One who held the future. How many dreams lay in the tomb of disappointment? Buried by depression and discouragement deemed lifeless and void. God’s Word does not return to Him void. He will do exactly as He promised to do – His Way and in His Time. Are you disappointed today? God is with you. His Presence is all around you. His Goodness is pursuing you. His Unfailing Love is for you and His Hand outstretched. We must lay aside disappointment in order to have victory in Jesus.

John 11:38-40 (ESV) Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 

Doubt is the mountain that needs to be moved in our life. Doubt is the firmament of the enemy like cement boots to keep you from walking in the Presence of God, experiencing His Peace, living in His Victory, and filled with inexpressible joy in every circumstance and situation. When our pride is in conflict with our faith something has to give. Only one will have its way. Jesus was ready to call Lazarus from the grave but Martha had her hand on the stone. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha protested. How many times do we do the same thing? We label it impossible forgetting that nothing is impossible for the Lord.

Stinking thinking keeps us from the miracles, blessings, promises and prosperity that God has apportioned just for us. Our words and ways hold the stone over the grave of dead dreams ordained and predestined to be a reality. We cannot wrap our head and heart around an impossible God ready to do extraordinary things in a supernatural fashion for those He loves and calls to Him by name. You are that person. Dead things are coming to life. His Spirit is ready to pour out visions for the new hope reserved just for you. All you have to do is have faith? Not verbiage but a new heart and mind set on the Father believing that all things are possible if you only believe.

Luke 8:11-15 (ESV) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

There is no place that I would rather be than rocking that little boy. The contentment of being a grandmother fills my heart with new joy. The Word of the Lord is coming to pass in my life. I don’t make things happen but the Word of God spoken over me in my mother’s womb is becoming my reality. (Psalm 139) It didn’t happen as a result of anything I have done or become. I cannot take any credit for the change of heart and mind. It came when a normal life became impossible. The Light of God’s Love was discovered in absolute darkness. The faith in my heart was not revealed until it was irreparably broken. All my worries and cares do not add a single moment to my life but stole precious time better spent living and loving God and enjoying all the good things that He has placed in my life. If we could learn to do everything to the Glory of God and not man – I wonder if a change of heart might happen accompanied with the signs, wonders and miracles that we pray for. Why is it that in the face of death – we finally appreciate the things that really matter? Do we really have to lose our life to gain it? Yes! We do!

There is a thief among us. He is a time bandit ready to fill your life with worries, cares, fears, doubts and insecurities. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfied life. A prospering existence that as our soul prospers so will every area of our life. Are you missing out? Do you feel cheated and robbed watching others live in joy and peace? Does it seem like others are thriving while you are barely surviving? Stop comparing your life to other people. The grass is not always greener on the other side. You have the same seed and potential called faith. Nurture it. Grow it. Pay attention to it. Weed out the distractions, disappointment and doubt. God will do for you exactly as He promised. You just have to believe. Shut the door to your heart and the windows of your mind to the enemy’s lies and fill them with the truth. Nothing is impossible with God. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. His Grace is always enough. Nothing can separate you from God’s Love. Christ promised you victory so it’s coming. You just need to trust Him! Your hope will never ever lead you to disappointment when your faith and hope are in the Lord!

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


The Gift


Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT) For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Twas the night before Christmas (well morning actually) and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for our little dog not much bigger than a mouse. Christmas Eve is here. Walking quietly as not to awaken three sleeping kids, I am acutely aware of my surroundings today. The silence gives me time to think. It reminds me that my life is not as chaotic as I sometimes perceive it. I realize that this house of barely six months has become our home. Even more so I feel, then the last one of twelve years. I love its rooms. Yesterday, I painted our daughter’s room so the “girl wing” of our humble abode is now coming together nicely. The Christmas tree illuminates the family room that is comfortable and homey. Under it lies more gifts and packages than one family deserves wrapped and ready to be torn open, Lord thank you for blessing us. The endless list of home improvement remains but I see all the things accomplished for some reason today. Timehop, the phone app that recounts past years in personal history, shows that for three long years this day would be spent traveling back from Shands Hospital. The battle is over. Cancer lost. Jesus won the victory for our son who will soon graduate from college and start his new life. I guess with all the busyness I forgot those years shared with hospital staff rather than baking with family. Lord, you are our Healer. It is easy to be consumed by life, all its hurts and heartaches along with daily responsibilities both common and unexpected. To focus on the things undone rather than achieved. It is easy to overlook a Savior who came to us in the middle of our self-consumed rush hour to change everything in a single moment that might take our whole lifetime to see.

It’s Christmas Eve. The day before the Greatest Gift of all time would arrive. The Messiah was not what anyone expected. Yet in that tiny baby was exactly what we needed to saved, healed, delivered and fulfilled. Our Lord of opportunity bearing His Own Gift of a brand new life. His arrival was a statement. The enemy put on notice. Satan knew that if Jesus made it to the Cross it would be finished. The one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy us could not stop the King of Kings and Lord of Lords from fulfilling His Mission. The Gift was given. Will it be received? The enemy did not stop at the Cross, throw up his hands and admit defeat. If he could not stop the Kingdom at least he could wage war against it taking as many souls as could be distracted, deceived and drowned in darkness. What will be our choice today? To see the Gift of Jesus and enjoy all of His Blessings and Benefits or allow the enemy to capture us, saturate our mind with fear, worry and anxiety, separate us from family and friends with mere words or thoughtless actions, be consumed with everyone else forgetting the One tomorrow named for.

Wonderful Counselor

Colossians 3:12-17 (NLT)  Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

The arrival of Jesus Christ marked the Word of God becoming flesh to demonstrate a love that prior to that time mankind could not comprehend. He didn’t come as they expected. He was not who they built Him up to be. The logic of a baby born in a stable becoming King of Kings and Lord of Lords would demand a faith and trust far greater than human beings could find on their own. When Jesus died, He released His Spirit to each one of us. He is the Wonderful Counselor. What is a counselor worth if nobody listens or does what is suggested? I have struggled with the holiday blues for many years. My husband was shocked by the revelation. He had no idea. I have hidden it well as I intended to, but today I do not feel sad, lonely or depressed but filled with hope.

Hope never is reliant on what we see now or how things are in this moment but is reserved for that which is coming. To be alive is the opportunity to grow our faith which is focused on unseen things not reality. Faith becomes logical when the Word is applied to our life rather than the things happening to us right now. Thankfulness recounts former faith made into the manifested promises of God. There is no better way to show appreciation for a gift to the giver than to say thank you. Thankfulness is not only in words of appreciation but acts of affirmation. How do we do that? We affirm our appreciation by using that which has been given.

I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I can tell others that I am a Christian. There are many who profess to believe in Jesus Christ by calling themselves Christian but remain exactly the same as the day they asked Him to live inside their heart. Why? They have left the Gift of Salvation wrapped in His Love and Grace unopened. Why not make a difference this year? To be present in Christmas rather than getting wrapped up in presents. The Wonderful Counselor will guide us through the holiday rush just like He will do every single day – if we let Him? We must clothe ourselves in love. We must be representatives of Christ this Christmas. We don’t do that by putting on the best performance but by basking in His Love and sharing it with others.

Mighty God

Romans 8:35-39 (NLT) Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing in creation will ever be able to separate me from the Love of God revealed in Christ Jesus my Lord. Say it again. Jesus came to make a statement. Nothing in this life can separate me from the Mighty Love of God when I choose Him to be my Savior and make Jesus my Lord. Despite all these things, every tactic of the enemy to make us let go of faith and confidence in God’s Love should be removed by this promise. The Gift of God’s Love did not come from a weak and whimpering being who could not maintain it. No, it says that overwhelming victory is ours in Jesus Christ. It is not earned and completely undeserved but His Love for us maintains it even when our choice is to give in or even give up. His Love is maintained by His Power. Where do we find His Power – in His Grace! When I am weak, I become strong simply in trusting that His Love never fails and He is more than equipped to maintain it.

Everlasting Father

John 1:12-14 (NLT) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Do you believe? No not in Santa, but in Jesus Christ the Father’s One and Only Son. Do you believe that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life? If your answer is “yes”, you are a Child of the Living God. He is our everlasting Father who created us fully knowing what we were capable of and still decided to send His Son to make sure there would be a place for us with Him forever. A father’s love longs for his children all of his children. This holiday season brings families together. Families are dysfunctional. ALL families are due to imperfection and human nature. When gathering together, if for a moment could put our full expectation in our Everlasting Father maybe then we can cut each other some slack. My parents are not perfect and neither am I. My birth mother died addicted to alcohol that built a barrier separating her from children and grandchildren. I loved my mom even though I could not have a healthy relationship with her. My siblings are a little crazy, too. My own children get on my nerves sometimes but I would do anything for them. This year maybe if our expectation was in our Everlasting Father – relationships could be mended. Walls could come down. Lives brought together again in harmony and unity which our Father loves the most as evidenced in the Gift given to maintain one with us.

Prince of Peace

Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Holiday stress is overwhelming. Depression is heightened during the Christmas season. Fear, worry and anxiety will take over if not dealt with completely. Stop. Today. Just stop. Put the list down. Push the bowl aside for just a minute. Drop the scissors. Just stop. Jesus is a wonderful counselor. The Lord came offering joy and peace in the midst of our personal chaos and expectation. He offers to help those who weary carrying heavy burdens. When was the last time that you sat down and talked to Him? Minus the list, the worry and every other distraction this time of year brings. Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor. He understands distraction. He knows that it is our habit to grab hold of more than we can carry. He says, “Come talk to me.” What will our heart respond today? On the Eve of His Birthday, will you grant the Lord some time?

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

In the classic Dicken’s story, A Christmas Carol, is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge a cold-hearted miser who hates Christmas. The story is about redemption. Traveling through his life past, present and future – onlookers can see the details of life that molded this man and froze his heart within him. When he awakens to find that it is Christmas Day and he is very much alive, Scrooge sets out to change his ways. As long as there is breath in our body, there lies within the opportunity to take advantage of every spiritual blessing, gracious gift and hidden purpose that Jesus Christ brought with His Arrival and released to us in His Death and Resurrection. Our life remains the same only if our choice is to remain that way. If Christmas is stressful, busy and overwhelming, it is our choice to change that tradition. I cannot take something new without releasing old things – ways, habits, attitudes and actions. Jesus Christ is the Gift that takes all the details of my life and makes them work together for my good. He is the personification of God’s Love for me that brings victory. He is the One who helps me work through the tough times and heals my brokenness. He is the Gift that keeps on giving. My life is proof of that and so is yours if you woke up today. Why not visit the Savior today? Why not come to the Lord? Spend some time with the Gift you have been given. Jesus Christ changes everything for those who do.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!




Becoming Greater


John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

Turning the pages of my journal – it is quite clear that I have made a mess of things. Whether the pages just stuck together or in my haste I skipped a few, the dates are all out of whack and segments left blank. Not to waste the precious pages, I have begun to fill in the holes each day. It’s really only for my benefit so it really doesn’t matter if it chronologically doesn’t make sense. Maybe the Lord has a reason for ordering it as such, who knows? All I know is that once again I have managed to mess things up.

This is not a browbeating – just a simple reminder from my God, Father and Creator that I am imperfect and He is perfect. A call back to the reality that He orders my steps and has a plan for my life that is much greater than anything I could construct or even imagine for that matter. I forget sometimes allowing distractions to make way for discouragement in certain areas of my life. It can happen to the best of us just about any day. We get up with a heart full of good intentions, our mind made up to follow the Lord and then it happens – this little thing called life. We are called away to fight giants that have already been defeated. To overcome walls that have already been knocked down. Engage in battles already won. How do I keep from falling for such things day after day? I need to conquer the “busy” beast. Tear up the foreboding list of to-do’s so I can shout ta-da. Somehow managing to exchange my “Martha” mentality and adopt “Mary’s” precious spirit. There are greater things hidden in my life. They reside in me. These promises are only possible when I become less and less making way for greater things.

I John 3:19-21 (NLT) Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

To be honest, the whole journal thing did not lead me to John 3:30 this morning. It has been building for about a week. Distractions – lots of them. Once my attention was turned to the lesser things in life including all those little details carefully orchestrated by the Lord yet hugely taken for granted by me – the people around me started in. You know – you get a little tired and overwhelmed and then it seems like that’s just about the time all the “people” around you start acting up. Like salt in an open wound, it gets you all worked up. Your mind begins to contemplate just what you are gonna do or telling the Lord what He needs to do to fix their little red wagons. Suddenly, I have become totally engrossed up to my eyeballs in the lesser things of life and I cannot see the greater that God has for me. Well, I am here to admit that other people are not my problem. I am my own worst enemy sometimes. The Lord has called me and equipped me for greater things but sometimes I decide to be the greater in my life or allow others to take His Place.

My feelings are not as important as my submission to God. What does that mean? It means that on those days that I do not understand the Hand of God or His Thoughts I can know His Heart and that it is set on me. My condition and circumstances do not dictate my outcomes so I should not allow my emotions to either. When I decide that the One who lives in me is truly greater. I can leave all this foolishness behind…what foolishness? Glad you asked.

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NLT)  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”? (Isaiah 29:16)God made us with purpose. He designed us with a plan including a future and hope. His Greatness was given to us when Jesus Christ released His Spirit and breathed Himself into us. We are now filled with His Greatness and the potential to do greater things. Faith is the seed that allows the greatness of God to be exposed in our life. As we love and trust Him more, this greatness gives way to His Glory which fills our life with His Goodness. The enemy of faith is pride that works its way into the good things God is doing and somehow takes credit for it. We can do nothing to bear fruit apart from Jesus Christ (John 15) and every good and perfect gift in our life is from the Father (James 1). Jesus is the Goodness and Greatness in our life.

“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.” (Matthew 24:10) I am not sure how it happens other than maybe a religious spirit or prideful indignation but sometimes we forget. We forget that it is all about Jesus and not about me. How I feel? What I want? “I” get in the way of Him. These are the times when His Grace is not enough for me or anyone else. It is the moments when I think that the way people treat me is an excuse to react rather than respond with love just the same. I will be honest. Church aggravates me more than anything else. Why? We should know better. Services are offered at least two times a week. God’s Word is taught. The Holy Spirit moves yet there is no brokenness. Our hard hearts are supported by pride that keeps us from releasing the Greatness of God hidden within us. To do so is to suppose that I am more than a vessel of God in this world, which is just not true.

The beauty in this life is brokenness. When our heart and mind is open to all that the Lord is doing and all that God has promised us. It is with such purpose – pride is laid aside and our lives placed on the altar. A commitment to Christ comes with the promise of pressure and pain as the Greatness in us surpasses all the lesser things once held on to.

Psalm 71:19-21 (NLT) Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

The discomfort, distractions and disturbed state of my life is not anyone’s fault but my own. The enemy will offer such things in exchange for God’s Greatness and Glory each day. It is up to me if I choose to take the bait and chase another little fox along the way. People are not and will not ever be the problem. In fact, laying my life down for others is my purpose. This means sacrificing my life for others – all others. Jesus said, that there was no one greater on the earth than John the Baptist yet in prison it was John who asked his followers to go ask the Lord one more time if He really was the Messiah. Our life is full of testing to insure that our faith is genuine. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is through hardship that the rough edges and sharp corners are broken from our life so that the Greatness of God hidden in us will be exposed for His Glory and our Goodness. We must believe that there is such greatness in order to experience it.

John 14:11-13 (NLT) Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

There are greater works in store for us. The Holy Spirit is insurance that God has greater things in store for us than that which could be accomplished outside of His Presence. God will never give us less than His Very Best no matter how many times we try to compromise. The Lord is intent on giving His Children the best of everything. God promised Abraham greater things. Abraham grew tired of waiting and tried to replicate God’s Promise in a child who he called Ishmael. But God had a greater work being prepared who would be named Isaac. Abraham waiting patiently and His Promise arrived. People make promises every day. How can we expect imperfect people to keep their word? But there is a perfect God who loves us with perfect love who has promised that we will do greater things. We can take Him at His Word because He does not lie or change His Mind. (Hebrews 6) His Spirit living in us is evidence of these greater things. We must learn to have great confidence in order to see greater things.

2 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NLT) Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!

We should expect far greater glory under God’s Grace. We must believe that He who lives in us is greater than the one who lives in this world. Our commitment to Christ will produce His Glory and Greatness in our life if we remain connected to Him. The Greatness of God in us gives us victory every day enlarging our territory and creating influence among others. (Deuteronomy 11:22-24) This is the Promise given to those who devote their life to following Jesus Christ. His Greatness allows us to live in a state of joy, peace and rest no matter what life throws our way. (Psalm 4:6-8) If I am not experiencing or expecting this kind of life and waiting on the Lord to do it, then I am not striving to become less so Christ can be more. I must become less and less. He must become less and less. Things are out of order but thanks to grace can quickly be right back in place. Lord, you must increase and I must decrease today.

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Thank you Lord for the gentle and loving reminder that it is not all about me today. It is all about you. My heart and mind must be set on the greater that lives in me than all the distractions around me. Even if my faith is small, it is enough to release your Goodness and Glory in my life today. Thank you for the grace that is always enough to get me back on track. I want more of you today Lord. In fact, I want all of You! Move me out of the way as you become my greater again! I ask you Lord to remove the lesser things that I have settled for to make room for Your Goodness and Glory to fill my life.

I John 4:4 (NLT) But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Death by Distraction

Death by Distraction

Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Thriving on schedule and routine, one of my greatest struggles is maintaining my attitude when this is not maintained. It is how I keep from becoming overwhelmed. I thrive in order. There are many reasons that I will not bore you with from childhood to adulthood that have made me this way. The prioritization of life ends procrastination and promotes progress. I am very driven by it to the point that when it becomes interrupted that I cannot see the forest for the trees. For a week now, my husband has been out of town which has changed our morning routine. The rhythm established that keeps our house moving has been left up to me. Second distraction. Every Thursday, I clean my house. On rare occasions, this is moved to Fridays but that pushes grocery shopping to Saturday which is inconvenient. So when plans changed last night, I could feel myself getting all stirred up. Our routine was interrupted by a midweek event that though it was an obligation I really wanted to back out to keep order in my life. It would not have been the right decision but one to pacify my flesh. Now all the mole hills in my life were slowly building into mountains. When you add the Daniel Fast which makes meal preparation and planning a little more challenging and add to it the fact that my body is now rallying against me…well, you get the picture. I am a bit distracted. My house is not clean. My grocery list is not done. My husband is coming home which makes the first two very important to me. I could add the list of “things” but you have one of your own. Walking into my prayer closet this morning, getting into the Word, the Lord whispered in my ear, “Lori, Lori, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.”

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” The challenge within in. Every day, I want to live on purpose. My purpose is to serve the Lord. However, sometimes I get distracted by all the ways that I think honor Him when really He is after only one thing. Jesus wants my heart. When He has my whole heart, it gets my attention. When I step into His Presence leaving all of those “things” and “preparations” behind I see that He is all I need. Are you distracted today? Do you keep your phone by your side at all times? Do you lose it when your schedule is interrupted? Does chaos undo you in a vain attempt to keep a firm grip on your life? Do not get me wrong. I am not in any way condone a life lived randomly. To serve the Lord with each moment will require a certain schedule and order to be obedient with our time and talents. The life of faith is not random but intention as we take control of flesh and lead it to the Cross each day in submission to the Word, Will and Way of Jesus Christ. We must live an ordered live for a lack of control and firm grip will lead us from wilderness to wilderness. However, we cannot get lost in the doing and forget who we are.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

The mindset of religion is doing something for God. The heart of the church should be the pursuit of Christ. I know a lot of worn our ministers of the Gospel on every level who are wearied by the work of the church and distracted by it. When I came to the Lord this morning, I was reminded that the only way I see the lack of proper prioritization in my life is when my routine is interrupted, schedule messed up or experience a change of plans – this takes me from my agenda back to God’s Plan and Presence in my life. To depend on Christ fully means that every detail of my life belongs in His Hands. It begins with this prayer each day. “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How many times do we ask the Lord to help us get everything “we” need to get done today rather than entering His Presence with our life in our hands saying, “Here Jesus, you work it out today just tell me what to do.” I know…I know… it sounds unrealistic. Who is going to work to pay the bills? Take the kids to school? Clean the house? Prepare the meals? Serve in church? Lead Sunday School? Do those things only “I” can do? The enemy is subtle in his attack. He knows that you are in tune to the Jesus in you so he has to sneak in. If he hit you with something big, satan knows you would run home to Daddy. So he comes in via pride, the kind that says, “I have to do this” rather than “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” The struggle is real. The Truth of the matter is that everything I need to be successful today is found in the Presence of the Lord. I cannot get there in my own way with my agenda and goals to be successful my heart and mind must align with His Will and His Way with a heart fully committed to living close to Jesus.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NIV)

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Am I sowing in the Spirit today? OR am I sowing in my flesh? Everything I do should be as unto the Lord and to glorify my Father in Heaven. Who am I working for today? Who am I living for today? Is it me? Or is it Jesus? Think about it. I am. We “do” a lot of things in the Name of the Lord but are we doing it for Him or to pacify us and our own need for order. When we ask the Lord for help in doing, we are sowing in the flesh. See God has already everything we need to live a godly life so all we have to do is step into His Presence, ask for it, and according to His Will it is a given. It is when we enter His Presence desiring Him change our situation here on earth, to help “us” work out our problem or meet our need that is a definite sign that we have become distracted. When come to the Lord for the assistance of others rather than asking for His Help, we have designated that person as the one who has higher authority and power over our life than the Lord. It is when we enter His Presence with Thanksgiving and Praise no matter what is going on around us and even when all our plans have ended in frustration that we know our faith is secure and hope is confident in Christ alone. It is a subtle transference. Trusting Christ alone is our mission relying on Him alone is our goal.

Hebrews 6:19-21 (NIV)

People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

People have good intentions. The promises made most do with the purpose to keep but then things happen. Life happens. In that moment of disorder, what is your response? I must admit mine is not very good most of the time. I deal with the busyness of life by given everything a proper place. The problem is I create natural comfort that when disrupted distracts me from my true calling and life purpose of serving the Lord in all things. Good is not served by my purpose but when I live for His Glory. That means if He has an assignment for me of greater priority than the one I have established for this day or moment that I am confident and secure enough in His Word that I will walk in obedience not only in my actions but in my attitude as well. It is good to plan. Routine is not the enemy. Scheduling will indeed set the course for a day and even make time for important things like spending time with the Lord. It is when our plans fail and human expectations not met that we see who or what was the driving force behind our plans and purpose.

If it is true that God does not lie or change His Mind, He has it all worked out already. Everything even the smallest seemingly insignificant detail will work for my good according to His Word. Do I trust Him is the question enough to give up control when life throws me a curveball, or will I take my toys and go home? I hear it all the time. How do you find time to write? I get up two hours earlier each day. Oh I can’t do that I need my sleep. I am too busy to pray. Turn off your phone and spend some time with God alone. Oh, I can’t I have to work it’s how I pay my bills. I am tired and need rest. Make time to enter His Presence. Oh you don’t understand, I have kids. We prioritize our life. We choose our Provider. He promised to supply all our needs according to His Riches in Glory. He will not force us to have it but invites us to come. If you want to work yourself to death, He will allow you to its called freedom. If you want to get all worked up, so be it. If you want to wear yourself out until there is nothing left to give until you come crawling back to Him – Jesus will always be there waiting to provide everything you need. He has been waiting to give it you. You (and I) were too distracted in our preparations, plan and purpose to see. We choose the path that we will go in each day with each moment. To fully trust in the Lord means relinquishing control of our mind, will and emotions to Jesus, stepping into His Presence and closing the door on the world. Work and responsibilities outside of the Will and Way of God will only yield human results which will be reflected in our outcomes. The Favor and Goodness of God is reserved for the Marys in life who choose first to live in His Presence and then go conquer the world. Today I am a Martha who needs to join Mary.

Matthew 25:10-13 (NIV)

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’  “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

When the bridegroom returned the virgins were “on their way to buy oil.” Five of them brought oil with them and waited on the Lord. The other five were “distracted” and did not bring any oil to trim their lamp. So when he finally came, they were out making preparation and missed it. When they came to him, he said, “I don’t know you.” Keep watch for you do not know the day or hour is the warning in this parable of Jesus. Are we working for the natural or waiting for Jesus to come? Our life means nothing outside of knowing Jesus Christ and living according to that sweet knowledge and understanding that He is really all we need. When Jesus truly is the Lord of our life, our doing is nothing compared to what He is doing. Yes, we should work as unto the Lord. But He is our Provider of all things that make our life fruitful and prosperous because we know Him, spend time with Him and finally trust Him with our life. It is human nature to take God’s Plan and try to run with it. It is not always are job to “do”. Our blessing is not the result of anything we do but strictly our relationship and proximity to Christ. In the end, when it really counts only one thing will allow us to enter Eternity with the Lord, does He know you? I want Him to know me. I don’t want to be the casual acquaintance who calls only in the time of need. I want to have an intimate and thriving relationship with Jesus which means my priority list and his must become the same.

James 2:21-24 (NIV)

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Abraham believed God. It was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s Friend. I love that. I want to be friends with the Lord. Yes, I can come to Him when I am overwhelmed, weak or weary and HE will restore me, renew me and revive me. He will set the order of my life for His Plan and Purpose when I choose to seek Him wholeheartedly. The sacrifice will be my schedule, routine and plan for success. It will yield results but only natural ones. To take my plan and surrender it to the Lord while accepting His Plan will turn my outcomes from ordinary to extraordinary. Will I keep planning? Of course. Will I keep a schedule? Yes. Will we observe a daily routine? Absolutely. The key is being caught up in Jesus and not our plans that are subject to change in the Light of His Love. It means when all these things are interrupted, I will not become distracted but rather go deeper in His Love. Amen and amen.

Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV)

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Wild Horses

Wild Horses

Psalm 20:6-8 (NIV)

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

My thoughts were off to the races before I opened my eyes. I am not even sure that my brain was turned on when the cursor started spinning this morning. You know the kind of days when the tasks outweigh the time and you have not recovered from the exertion of the day before – welcome to the holidays. Parties, practices and productions. I am already sick of meatballs doused in barbeque and grape jelly. Did I mention a milestone birthday in the mix? Jesus take the wheel. It feels like I am running like a racehorse set off with a single gunshot hoping to finish the race and find a warm stall with fresh hay to hide from all the chaos mixed with madness all around.

Oh I had the best of intentions signing up for everything. I know that it will all come together because truthfully it always does. Everyone will be happy and satisfied at the end of the day. I will joyously collapse in my bed with a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. See I am already thinking about going back to bed. When my feet hit the floor, my head zoomed past my precious moments spent with Jesus straight to my to-do list. Yet in the back of my mind, I could hear Him whispering, “Come to me, first. Spend time with me, first. I need to talk to you, first.” So I pushed aside the list ignored the clock telling me I overslept 30 minutes and headed for the office. My computer was already on and I cannot remember turning it on, could it be Jesus? Oh who knows? Melting into the chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, it hit me. Stillness, silence and peace in His Presence. Suddenly, all the things I need to do today took their rightful place and I realized He wanted me to stop. A gentle pulling back of the reins while patting my side and telling me, “Whoa girl!”

How do we get so spun up? Running like spooked horses or a chicken with our head cutoff over things that really do not matter. Seriously, my lil smokies will get cooked today along with the macaroni and cheese. The cake is done. The gifts ready other than a tuft of tissue paper. I am on top of this right down to what I will wear. But truthfully, sitting in His Presence, it seems kind of dumb. I am a champ at trusting God with the big things in my life. It is a learned characteristic that comes through trials and tests. It is all the little things that I heap on myself such as the cares and worries of life. I am not a beast of burden though I act like it sometimes. We trust in what we do rather trusting every detail of our life to Jesus. Transferring every worry, care and burden is tough when our flesh is always reaching for control. Those who learn to depend on God for everything from the largest to the smallest most insignificant details that make up our life will be victorious in all things. At least, that’s how I read it.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus invites us daily to come to Him. To those who are weary and burdened, He promises rest. He does not define what made us tired, worried, anxious or stressed, just simply says give it to me in exchange for peace. He also said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” This is interesting today as I feel a bit overloaded and overwhelmed. The Lord does have a job for us something that He called us to do but it is not all the things that we make it. It is easier to do than to be undone. The Lord desires our hearts. He wants to align our heart with His Heart. His Heart and Mind are always set on His People. It is all about loving and being loved. He loves us and we extend that Love to the world.

My soul is at rest even though my mind is a mess right now. It’s funny how the Lord can change our mind so quickly when we think about Him, mediate on Him, communicate with Him and read His Word. He doesn’t come and make all the plates we are spinning fall down around us but simply says, “Give them to me.” See the Lord knows that although so much of what we become consumed with is trivial and meaningless, He loves us and knows they are important to us so He offers to carry them for us. In exchange, He frees us to do the thing that He called us to do which is love other people. We are His Hands and Feet in the world as messengers who share a Love like no other with those who need Him most. All the while, Jesus takes those cares and concerns that distract us and works it all out. I think that is part of the good that comes from every detail of our life promised in Romans 8:28. His Yoke is easy and His Burden light. Simply take the Love that I have given you that is measureless and share it with others generously. If only it were that easy…

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NIV)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

There are a lot of websites that have popped up for parties and events that allow the administrator to schedule a gathering and create an online signup sheet for items needed and allows people to RSVP quickly and easily. During this time of year, I get these evites quite a bit. When I logged in to the most recent one, I began to look down the list of items to choose what to bring. Cups, napkins, plates and utensils are the easiest and I love to sign up for these inexpensive items. No preparation or refrigeration needed. Next would be chips or drinks. Holla! These are pretty wonderful, too for the same reason. There are those who will always pick one of these items especially if they do not have the time or resources to do anything else. Others want to bring something as not to be judged but just don’t want to invest a lot. There are others who selflessly give of their time, talent, resources and kitchen to bring the costly food items such as meat, fruit or side dishes. It just depends on the person, the situation and often one’s attitude.

Giving is a mindset. I use the “SignUpGenius.com” as an example probably because I have been on it quite a lot. My life is run from list to list. As I evaluate the lists in my life, I set priorities. Those have changed over the years. In our spiritual life, it is no different. We prioritize Christ in our life. Where He falls on the list of priorities determines our success or failure in maintaining our peace and joy in life. If Jesus stays our first priority, all these other things will easily fall into place. Just like choosing what we will bring to the next holiday event, we must decide the level of our time, talent and resources that we will invest in our relationship with Jesus. We will never win the war for our thoughts until we stop depending on what we can do and solely on what Go will do when faith and obedience become the one thing to be accomplished in each day with everything else falling into place around it. Before we give anything, we must give our heart and mind to Jesus. Casting down every thought and emotion contradictory to Christ and taking captive every disobedient longing, we will be victorious in every aspect of our life. We will live successfully in the Presence of God. We must go there first reining in the wild horses spooked by the enemies lie that we must “do” anything to please God other than faithfully and obediently loving one another until the whole world is saved.

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When we are overcome with stress, worry and anxiety that leads to fear – it is expressed in doubt. Anything what we do or want to do becomes bigger than our God so we hang on to it, we will be worn down. We are not designed to carry the burden of our life, Jesus is. To depend on our warhorse or chariot puts power in the enemy’s hand, because we have stepped out of God’s Power and Authority. This is not just for spiritual warfare but daily battles with our flesh. The enemy isn’t only focused on destroying the ministry of your life sharing Jesus with them. Oh no friend, it is much more personal than that. He wants to wear you down, tire you out, and cause you do drift from the Protection of God into the darkness so He can take you out. He wants to destroy you. He hates you and the God in you. Sobering huh? I think so as I have worn myself out doing and thinking that God will honor it. When all along, He has been whispering for me to come closer because my doing has become a distraction and my work that of my flesh.

Busyness is an evil spirit that steals our time, kills our joy, and destroys our faith by allowing fear to take over and run us to death. This is not the Will of God for us. He provides a place of love, joy and peace for us to live and prosper in His Presence. Being overwhelmed and overwrought has never and will never be His Will for our life. It is symptomatic that we have taken the reins and are driving the chariot. Whoa! Just whoa! Lord, open our eyes to see You all around us. Leading us, guiding us, preparing us and protecting us as victory is nearby. Do not let us become consumed with fear that the enemy produces in the overwhelming details of life but open our eyes to see You, Jesus.

Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord     all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Every single time that I allow myself to let busyness overtake me, it comes back to these verses. One thing I ask for the Lord and only this that I seek that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. One thing. It all comes down to one thing and every other detail of my existence must find its proper order behind the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Feeling like you are being drug behind a herd of wild horses? Ridden hard and put away wet as the old adage goes? This is not the Will of God concerning us. I know that some people are having a difficult holiday season. This is the first I can ever remember not suffering from depression that overshadowed me for years and years so many I cannot count. I had no reason for it to be that way. The enemy had a stronghold that only this year somehow the Lord has broken. Yet still… the spirit of busyness was having its way with me until now. I break that spirit along with the one called fear that the Lord did not give us in His Precious and Holy Name. As I take a deep breath right now, Lord fill me again with the Holy Spirit as You draw me closer and tighter to You! Jesus I surrender my mind, will, emotions and even my body to You! Lord, have Your Way today that I may dwell in Your House forever.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Little Foxes

Little Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIV)

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes that ruin they vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. King Solomon apparently had a pesky problem. In the midst of his love song, he injects this warning. We have had an ongoing war with moles in our yard for quite some time. As they tunnel around our yard, creating havoc in their journey for food. As the mole makes its way around, it wreaks havoc on the ground without a care or concern. Sometimes you can see the damage, other times the turf just gives way when you step on it. It is an ongoing battle like the gopher war in the movie, “Caddyshack”. The damage done by foxes to a vineyard are a little different than that of a mole or gopher. They jump the hedge or dig under the fence. Once inside whether hungry enough to eat the grapes, or digging for the small rodents that live in the vines eating the blooms and fruit – they destroy the roots of the plant eventually killing it so it will never produce again.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes. We are met with unseen challenges each day in our walk with Christ. Waking up to a glorious morning, may not be so glorious when night falls and our head hits the pillow. While Jesus wakes us up showering His People in new mercy, the enemy begins a new assault and agenda on our life. Those who love the Lord enough to begin each day with Him, talk to Him, spend time with Him and love on Jesus will be the first on his list to attack. If you have a prospering relationship with the Lord and spend time communicating with Him in prayer, it is a bit more difficult to find an opening so the enemy comes in the form of “little foxes” rather than sending in “Goliath”. We are giant slayers. Nothing drives us to the feet of Jesus quicker than the “majors” in life so the enemy uses the “minors” to destroy our connection to Christ with simple and subtle distractions that eat away at our bond with Jesus Christ. Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and whose confidence is in Him. As we become rooted and grounded in His Love, we experience the fullness that is offered in a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ. It fills our life with contentment and satisfaction. (Colossians 2:6-10) The enemy hates these qualities as they are the product of faith in the Lord. As we wrap the basis of our life around salvation repenting of sin, turning from it to pursue God with our life through His Son, we our roots will grow deeper and deeper in His Love by faith and we become unmovable and unshakable by the things experienced in this life as we are Kingdom connected. So the enemy sends in the distractions that become destroyers in our life. We begin to experience cares and worries more than faith and confident hope. We become bitter and unforgiving despite the love, mercy and grace that we have been so freely given. All of a sudden, we begin to wither in a dry and thirsty land as our roots shrink and shrivel. Dang those little foxes that try to spoil our vines tearing at our roots.

Matthew 13:20-23 (NIV)

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The Parable of the Sower must be important as Matthew, Mark and Luke felt the need to include it in all three gospels. The seed that grows in us is the Word of God cultivated by faith. It is the hope that we hold on to. The Lord promises seed to the sower so those who set out to harvest in the Kingdom of God will steadily be provided all the promises, potential and power needed to produce. What we do with our seed is vastly important? The seed that falls on rocky ground represents those who receive God’s Word and desire the Lord but all the cares and worries of life to keep it from growing. Doubts and fears overtake it and it dies as the ground becomes a grave. Without a root, it is zeal that lasts for a moment rather than true joy that lasts a lifetime. The seed that falls in the thorns represents bitterness and unforgiveness that burden our heart and pierce through the seeds planted by faith. It is not fruitful as it is choked in the ground. Bitterness takes its thorny flesh wrapping it around our spiritual growth like a python squeezing it to death. Unforgiveness slams the door of God’s Presence to us making prayers bounce off the ceiling as they are pointless. We reject God’s Grace by refusing to forgive others as He has forgiven us. A seed is terminated by such things.

The seed falling on good soil will thrive and flourish producing more than enough for the present day, enough to sow in the future and more than enough to freely share with others. The heart that is wrapped in God’s Love allowing it to live truly repentant, fully surrendered and completely obedient will remain productive yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. You will never out give God.

Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

How do we deal with the little foxes? What can we do to rid our life of them? There will always be distractions in life. The more persistent our pursuit of Christ-like productivity the more aggressive the attack. The enemy knows the potential of our purpose when it is fulfilled. He will do whatever it takes to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. If he cannot send his giants to do swift works, he releases the little foxes. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. They were both his friends. Martha became distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Stop right there. It is called life. We all can be guilty of being too busy. I understand all too well the demands of marriage, family and career along with everything else that comes labeled as unexpected in life. It is not a problem until it begins to prevail over the presence and power of Jesus Christ in our life.

When Martha came to Jesus, she came to Jesus telling Him what He needed to do to fix her problem, ease her burden, and make her happy. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10) The love of anything more than Jesus is a deadly distraction that will kill our roots. To put anything as more powerful than the Lord is lethal to our faith. We do this when we come to the Lord telling Him how to do His Job. We are all guilty of such. Becoming overwhelmed in life and allowing busyness to gnaw at the roots of our faith and confidence in hop, we begin to die on the inside. Coming into His Presence, He gives us fullness of joy, peace that passes understanding mixed with unfailing love and confident hope. We find everything we need in coming to Christ, shout in the midst of our own way and demand Him to do as we bid in our circumstances. Deep roots requires transferring our full expectation from mankind, things and ourselves submitting them to the Hands of Jesus and sitting at His Feet in total trust. Surrendering our will and out ways to Jesus and saying, “Lord let Your Will be done as it is in Heaven.” It’s time to deal with these little foxes tearing up our vineyards and ruining the harvest.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

When Samson took vengeance on the Philistines, he did so by taking finding 300 foxes and tying them together by their tails. He put a torch in each tail and set them loose in the fields of his enemies. They destroyed the entire harvest of the Philistines just running away in fear. (Judges 13:3-6) Did you know that foxes are easily scared off? Unless it is rabid, a fox can be frightened off as they are timid creatures who do not take on a foe or any prey large enough to do harm. Walking with my daughter through the neighborhood, we encountered a fox that ran out of a wooded area next to the sidewalk. When it saw us, it froze in panic and ran away. Greater is He that is in you and me than he who is in the world. We must grab hold of that not only to kill the giants that come at us but especially those little foxes tearing at our roots, nibbling on our branches and uprooting our faith and confidence in Christ. They are not vengeful crusaders but rather tiny forces to be reckoned with. We must inspect our heart day by day to find them and remove them. We must decide to spend the first fruits of our time in the Presence of Jesus surrendering our life and accepting His Will for each new day. How do we do it?

It really is simple. We fortify our hearts with the Good News of God’s Love. We read and study His Word until we receive it and believe it in all things. We ask Christ to dwell in our heart and be its gatekeeper. He is really good at that! By doing everything we can possibly do to experience, encounter and embrace God’s Love through His Son Jesus, we grow deep abiding roots of faith and confident hope that chases away the foxes and stealthy deals with giants, too. I want to experience the full measure of all fullness that God has given me in His Son, Jesus. I must deal with daily distractions to keep my heart pure and ready for His Seed, so His Word will take root in me as I realize my full potential and every promise I have in Him! I must catch the foxes all those little foxes!

I Timothy 6:8-12 (NIV)

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.




Proverbs 20:9-10 (NLT)

Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”? False weights and unequal measures—the Lord detests double standards of every kind.

For a couple of days, the cursor on the computer screen would spin endlessly with the pointer flashing. Trying to focus on the Word of God, it was a distraction. I don’t know why it became such a problem for me visually but I could not dig in because I was too annoyed that it would not stop going round and round. Finally do aggravated to continue, I decided to “Google” some help boards to see if other people had found a way to kill the cursed cursor. Thank goodness for all the geeks out there willing to share with those of us who are profoundly challenged in the technology realm. Opening the task manager, I went down the endless list of programs and process that my computer was engaged in. It was overwhelming to see all the things it was doing behind the scenes coupled with ignorance that I might end the wrong task and shutdown my computer for good.

The help board contributor explained that my computer was “spooling”. Spooling is an acronym for “simultaneous peripheral operations online. Basically, while I was going about my business, it had certain tasks waiting in the buffer until they could be fully executed. My computer has a buffer that allows commands to circulate until the device needed can complete the operation. I do not have the laptop hooked up or linked in to our printer, so someone probably had sent something to print and it was waiting in the buffer until the printer was online to finish the job. Finally, finding “spool.exe” I was able to end the task. Once I restarted the computer, no more spinning cursor. Feeling quite smug with my new knowledge, I went on about my business until a few days later it happened again. Now sometimes in my life, the Lord will use something in the natural to point out something that He is spiritually working on in my life. Bingo! My spinning cursor on the screen was pointing to a problem in my person.

I am not easily distracted but task-oriented. A dreamer who is constantly driven to put leg and feet to produce movement, I seldom do not have something going on in my head. In fact, I like it that way. I love to make a list and cross off every item. I have even been known to write things I just did on my list to cross it off. This can be a distraction, too. I am a doer who sometimes forgets to live in the midst of the chaos. I think it is my comfort zone as weird as that sounds. I will make up stuff to do just to stay busy, Lord help me. I am most content when overloaded which is not a godly trait. It has been my escape for a long time. Today, God is calling me on it. The Lord detests double standards of every kind. False weights and unequal measures of every kind… What does this mean? My time with the Lord is more important that time spent doing anything else. There are times daily living finds its way into my prayer closet even His Presence. God is not as interested in what I am doing as what He is doing in my life. He is looking at my heart to see where my interest lies and where my faith is in that moment. When it is focused on me, what I want to do, or the many responsibilities that I have placed on myself, I am double minded. My heart has been infiltrated by the world rather than overcome by grace. Lord, help me stop the spinning cursor and flashing arrow telling me that I must do this, be this, say this and sit in your Presence today.

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”


The person I am today is not who I was as a young person. Follow through challenged me greatly. I would get distracted and never get anything done. However, when I discovered the self-satisfaction of doing and discipline, I became addicted. Being a task master has its flaws, most of the time such people become so engrossed in achieving their goal that they do not see the people in their midst. Success overtakes the place of sincerity. Though our motives begin purely, they become polluted by self. The Lord is reminding me today of my dear friend, Martha. Though we lived in different times, we were challenged with the same heart. Overwhelmed by our roles as people, it is easy to become consumed with life and forget that it is not our responsibility. We are called to do one thing. It is by grace that we are saved to accomplish our only task. The enemy of our soul wants us to think our relationship with the Lord depends on self-discipline, dedication and doing but really it is all about the intentions of our heart. Our primary goal in any given day must be to step into the Presence of God and fight to remain there. With all the “things” in life trying to pull us away, vying for our attention and calling us to be on task, the Lord whispers I am here waiting for you to come and talk with me, spend time with me, and I will relieve those burdens that were never yours to bear.

Matthew 11:27-30 (NLT)

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

During our son’s battle with cancer, I had a lot of thinking time. Though I was by his side, there was nothing I could do except help when needed and pray a lot. I was helpless. I couldn’t save his life or administer treatment. My schedule and routine were completely interrupted. In the long hours while he slept, I would literally pace the hospital room looking for something anything to do. I couldn’t really work. Run my house. Take care of my other children or even be much of a wife during that time. I did not realize until right now what the Lord was doing. He took the opportunity to undo me. The “me” I made that was a workaholic, “momaholic”, and “wifeaholic”. I had become addicted to doing and not being who the Lord formed and fashioned me to be. My role in life is not defined by the responsibilities that I have been given. I am a Child of the Living God. This is my primary role in life.

God has entrusted EVERYTHING in the Hands of Jesus. He has all power and authority over my life because I gave it to Him in exchange for the new life that the Lord has promised. There is not a single detail, big or small, that needs my attention other than placing more faith in Jesus and building confident hope. The Lord invites us to come to Him especially those who are weary and carry heavy burdens in exchange for rest. When we take on His Yoke as His People, He assumes full responsibility for our life and everything in it. While we surrender stuff, the enemy keeps trying to heap more stuff on us. For example, when you came to Jesus giving Him your sin and shame, the enemy came back with your past and guilt. If you assume responsibility for those things again, you get weighed down by them again. Or if you decide that there is something you must “do” to gain God’s Approval, yep, again you take responsibility for your life rather than keeping it at the Cross. Jesus promises that His Yoke is easy and His Burden light, so if we have become overwhelmed or overburdened with life there is good chance we have taken over the controls again. Time to lay it all down at His Feet, again. There is a reason we need endurance. We cannot live successfully in the Presence of God without paying close attention to the distractions and getting rid of them on the spot before they create delays and detours in our life.

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.


When our son went into remission, getting back to normal life was all I wanted. I went back to work. I went back home. I tried to start making the usual list. Doing all the same things. But as I try to recreate my life as it was before our son got sick, I made a startling revelation. Something had changed. I had changed. My priorities had changed. I didn’t have the heart for my old job that demanded too much of my life. I didn’t want to be a supervisor in a large office. It was a position that went beyond eight to four everyday but wanted my nights and weekends, too. I wanted to spend time with my family and get back to serving in the church again. My goals for success and worldly ambition just weren’t there. The Lord had changed my heart. In the breaking of my heart and undoing of my life, I found what was most important to me all over again. Now I have a job that puts my family first, not only in crisis, but all of the time. I work with people who genuinely care about one another. I am able to leave each day and pick up my baby girl from middle school. That’s just one of many ways, “Martha” is being transformed into “Mary”.

Lately, I have felt that all too familiar feeling again of distractions. The Lord made me aware in the computer problem I was having that inevitably was pointing to my own heart. The most important task I have in each day is to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and body. Taking all that I am and placing it in His Hands. I discovered Micah 6:8 in a song one day and have learned to strive to be that person. I want to do what is right in God’s Eyes which is always wrapped in love. I want to love mercy. The mercy that has been given me and the mercy I am called to extend to others. Finally, to walk humbly with God. The Lord loves me. He wants to share each day with me. This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when God would come to walk with His People in the coolness of each afternoon…until the day that sin came between them. Jesus opened the gate to this relationship again and I intend to end the tasks spooling in my head including all those things I think I have to get done to be with the Lord. He wants to be with me. Jesus died to be with me. To have a loving relationship where He does all the work and I just exist in His Love. Who wouldn’t want that? I for one do. Lord, show me those things that are trying to come between us and vying for my attention. I want only You – Jesus!

Psalm 27:4 (NLT)

The one thing I ask of the Lord the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.

Hunting the Kingdom

Hunting the Kingdom

Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Have you ever been looking for something and decided the closet or drawer was a mess? Or maybe you find something you were looking for before or something that sparks your interest so you become distracted? I set off after one thing and end up with another. Distractions. When I am rummaging through a closet looking for something, my daughter will say, “What are you hunting?” Oh how this chafes me. She learned this from her very Southern grandmother. You do not hunt for things – you look for them. I guess when I became insistent on finding that which is lost or simply misplaced, I really am hunting for it. Perhaps the term implies a little more than looking but pursuing. Just a thought!

It is possible to miss the mark, veer off course and become distracted. In fact, I think the enemy uses our life against us and our best intentions work in his favor. Our hearts come to Jesus broken and in need of repair. As the Lord begins to right our life, we forget the Source of our Power and take back control. Okay, maybe I am the only one. I want God’s Best in my life. I want all to be all that He promised to make me and that I would become. I want His Kingdom. Today, I am reminded what I am after. It’s not the first time I woke up in this place feeling a little lost and overwhelmed. I feel that I might have misplaced Him among the details of my life. I am hunting the Kingdom today.

Years ago when our youngest child started school, I was offered a job beginning the same day. I thought why not. It was working for the school system so I would be off when the children were off but would not be wandering aimlessly the rest of the time. At that point, we were doing okay so money was not a motive just killing time until the kids got home from school. Somehow over the course of a couple of years, I had assumed way more responsibility than I had intended. Promoted to supervising three departments with a multitude of tasks and responsibilities, work slowly began to take over my life. Don’t get me wrong. I was still a wife, mom and Christian just one who worked a lot. When I was at home, I began checking emails and taking care of problems to alleviate the pressure of each day. Suddenly, I was grabbing dinner at the local takeout chicken place every other night and barely keeping up at home because I was working later and later. Antacid became a daily routine as stress eroded my stomach. On top of everything else, my son who was away at college was sick. In and out of the doctors, then the hospital for tests. Finally, I traveled down to see what was going on and take over. A divine appointment no less. It was October. School had started and my tasks piling up. As our son went into surgery for a “tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy”, I will admit that in my head I was already back at work figuring out how to get everything taken care of after missing a few days. All that changed when just a few short hours later, my heart was smashed to the floor and my head sent into a tailspin with the words, “I am so sorry. He has cancer.”

Now one might think that would change everything in a second, but I am not the average bear. For two weeks following his diagnosis, he went back with family to withdraw from school and get ready to begin treatment. I was back at home trying to make “cancer” fit in our life, routine and schedule. Let me help you out – it doesn’t. We were creating a schedule of care but suddenly that job I that was so important was slipping out of my hands. The schedule so well-maintained in chaos. I couldn’t do it. The most important thing at that moment was our son. What I learned over the next four years has changed my life forever. I didn’t begin the job to become a workhorse but slowly over time the enemy slipped the bridle of success over my head and it became my driving force like a noose around my neck. It took one event to change my life forever and put me back on course. Today, I have yet again become distracted with life. No, it’s not work. God gave me a new job where my family comes first. There is not a lot of stress. Nevertheless, I have become a bit distracted.

“Who do you say that I am” changed Peter’s life forever? It did not make him perfect in a moment or even a few days. He would stumble and get up several times. However, in the end, the Lord’s Word is true and on that “rock” He built His Church. He told Peter that in the realization of who Jesus was that he was given the Keys to the Kingdom. This is true for you and me, too. The days when fighting a war with full frontal assaults, we are good at wielding His Power. But what about the subtle skirmishes in life when the enemy uses the “little” things to lead us off into the wrong direction? Those are the most dangerous of all because before we know it – we find ourselves far off-course. This morning my objective is to make sure that I am on track with God’s Word. I want His Kingdom. No more or less. I want it all.

Matthew 18:18 (NLT)

 “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”


We have literally been handed the Keys to Heaven. We can unlock every door and barrier in our life because of faith in Christ alone. We need nothing else except a desire for the Kingdom to permit Heaven to come to earth. What is stopping us? Desire. We don’t want Jesus as much as the acceptance, affirmation and approval of others. Guilty as charged but not anymore. We want things of the earth more than the blessings of Heaven. We want it all right now so we refuse to wait on the Lord to make good on every detail (Romans 8:28) and perfect all that concerns us (Psalm 138:8). Jesus is not our Source of life but the emergency roadside assistance kit hidden in the trunk of our car who is used when we get broke down and cannot get going on our own. We have all the Power of God who created the entire universe and everything in it. He has the Power and Authority to overstep hell, death and the grave to bring us back out and put us into forever, but we treasure too many other things. Again, guilty as charged but not anymore.

Matthew 5:3-10 (NLT)

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.


When I began reading the Beatitudes this morning, I wondered what the definition was of the word “Beatitude”. Maybe you already knew, but the word simply means “blessing”. I am realizing that I have drifted slightly off course, I want the Kingdom of God to manifest in my life every single day. I want His Blessings above anything I can create in this life. As I read them, I began to translate them into what it required of me and here is what I came up with. I need Jesus. (v.3) I must live in repentance because I need Him. (v.4) I must follow the Lord. (v.5) (This means giving up my way.) I cannot get enough of Jesus in my tiny life so therefore must yield more and more of me every single day. (v.6) I must walk in forgiveness or risk rebellion that locks up Heaven. (v.7) Maintain a pure and blameless heart. (v.8) (Which leads me back to verse 4 again and again.) My mission on any given day is peace. Peace at heart. Peace of mind. Peace with others. (v.8) (This can be the toughest one of all.) I must do what is painfully right. (v.10) Why? Why do all of this? I want the Kingdom of God. I want to be blessed. To be blessed is not to have it all but to have all of Him.

Matthew 13:31-32 (NLT)

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”


I must not forsake small beginnings. A tiny mustard seed of faith has great potential in my life. To have faith means nothing until I put it all in the ground. It is when I commit my faith to Christ that it grows, develops and matures into something greater. The Kingdom of God manifests in my life through the tiny sacrifices of faith along the way. I must not be distracted but put my faith in Jesus all day every day to live in His Presence and have the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 13:33 (NLT)

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

The amount of my life given to God is not as significant as what His Kingdom will do when allowed to permeate my existence. I just give Jesus what I can that day and He does the rest. The key is I have to give Him something. Some days it seems easier than others to give Him my all. Other days it is struggle to part with much as my humanity has death grip and will to live beyond my own resolve. What is important I that I keep giving the Lord what I can to permeate my life with His Presence. Every day something. Anything. He will work with it all.

Matthew 13:44-46 (NLT)

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

How badly do you want God’s Kingdom? This is not an open conversation but a quiet inspection of each heart by its own person. Do you really want what God has for you or just enough to get by? It matters in the harvest, friend. I have heard people say they want the Kingdom but then live for the world. I have seen people led off believing it really doesn’t matter how they live who are painfully deceived. It is all about what you want in life. You will make time to have that which is desired. I have been the one with every excuse in the book. Until I tried it all and failed, then I realized that I really did want the Kingdom of God above all else. Maybe it was in the realization that my child might have gone there before me, suddenly it became a little more beautiful. If God had stopped working in my heart there, I would have left Him when He healed my son. But through the process of healing our child, the Lord has given me glimpses of the Kingdom that I can no longer live without. Things that make me painfully aware when I have strayed off course. It gives me a strong drive and desire to get back to it.

Heaven is filled with Jesus. He is my treasure. He is my reward. There is nothing that I want more than Jesus. I may not always live like it or do the right things, but He is my great desire. What am I willing to do to have Him? Will I sell everything? Will I give away my life heartbeat by heartbeat and breath by breath to know Him more? I am heartbroken that I missed it and got off course again. His New Mercy met me this morning and reaffirmed that I have hope and the Lord is far from done with me yet. Thank you Jesus for your mercy that comes with each morning even when it finds me far from Home. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.


When I walked outside with the dogs this morning, I was greeted by cool morning air. Fall is here. With this new season, hunting season began. All the hunters have been inspecting their favorite hunting spots, planting seed to bait their prey, and preparing for the hunt. Their rifles and bows have sights on them to see the animals afar off and hit their target. Those same sights can be moved askew by carrying the weapon or just from use. The firing of the weapon can move its sight. Without proper sighting, you can keep aiming but you are not going to hit anything. Weird how the Lord works in my mind since we are not a hunting family.

I must keep my eyes on Jesus Christ. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith which means not only did He give me faith but now the Lord will show me how to use it to have the Kingdom of Heaven in my everyday life. Jesus wants to be as close to me as possible, what am I doing to make room for Him today? Are there doors in my life locked that will require keys of faith and confident hope to open? Will I step in? Do I want what God wants for me? Christianity is a frustrating endeavor if we do not want the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t look like this world. It certainly doesn’t act like it. It is humility, love and submission to God’s Power at work in us to produce His Kingdom around us. Seeds must die and give their all to produce something far greater than they once were and the same goes for us! I want God’s Kingdom. He has righted my sight today. I am hunting the Kingdom of God full force with all my mind, soul and body! What are you after today?

Matthew 6:20-21 (NLT)

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Life Among the Thorns – A Devotion

Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP) Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily … Continue reading