Sunday, August 31

Overlooking Offense

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
~ Proverbs 19:11

As I grow in my relationship with Christ, I gain wisdom. As I gain wisdom, God enables me to have patience; it’s part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). And whenever I am able to overlook an offense, it brings me glory. I would venture to say it blesses the one whose offense I am overlooking as well.

One of the many ways we exasperate our children (Ephesians 6:4) is by nitpicking every little thing they do. Our children aren’t perfect and neither are we. If we spend more time criticizing them than praising and encouraging them, it does NOT benefit them and does not teach them anything; in fact, it often creates a root of bitterness in the heart of the child. I don’t want that for my relationship with my kids. Usually the relationship kids have with their parents determines the way they think of God. I don’t want my kids thinking that God is an impatient, perfection-expecting, impossible-to-please kind of Father. I want them to know how loving, how patient, how compassionate He is! So I am going to think on this verse often, and remind myself that there are many things that just aren’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things; I need to learn to “overlook” those little offenses! Children need to know they are precious in God’s sight, and in the sight of their parents.

This applies just as well to our relationship with our spouse. We must overlook the minor things, and focus on the good. Stop focusing on the “bad” things, and seek to find and praise the good in our spouse. It blesses our spouse, AND it blesses our marriage as well.

Saturday, August 30

Be Holy

“As the One who called you is holy,
you also are to be holy in all your conduct”
1 Peter 1:15

God tells us to be holy, like he is holy. How do I do that!?! He knows I’m going to sin, but he wants me to keep my focus, my “eyes” on him. Being holy means being set apart, so my conduct should set me apart from those who don’t know Christ. But I am not holy due to my own goodness; I am holy because I was called by God and I answered yes.

When I typed in “holy” in my online dictionary, here are a few of the definitions that came back:
  1. specially recognized as or declared sacred; consecrated
  2. dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion
  3. saintly; godly; pious; devout
  4. having a spiritually pure quality
  5. a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary

All of the above definitions can be applied to us as believers: we have been consecrated by God; we should be devoted to the service of God; we should seek to be like Christ (Godly); we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ so we should seek to remain spiritually pure; God lives in us, so we are his sanctuary. Salvation is not brought about by good works, it is only by trusting in Christ that we are saved. And being holy is not because of how spectacularly wonderful we are; being holy is completely dependent upon our relationship with Christ.

Lord, help me be holy as you have called me to be. Let my thoughts, words, and actions reflect YOU.

Saturday, August 23


“If I say, “My foot is slipping,”
Your faithful love will support me, LORD.
When I am filled with cares
your comfort brings me joy.”
Psalm 94:18-19

Who can we really rely upon? If we have at least one true friend, and/or a spouse who encourages and supports us, then we are truly blessed. But even the most loyal friend or spouse can’t be there for us every moment of every day. But the Lord can, and will. He is with us always; He never sleeps or grows tired; He will always have time for us. No one on earth can offer us the same kind of comfort we find in the Lord. He is faithful, and He cares about every aspect of our lives. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Friday, August 22

Escape Route

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

We all sin. Even when we’re having a really close walk with God, we’re still tempted, and sometimes it just seems like too much. But Got promises always to provide a way out of temptation. Did you catch that? God always gives us an escape route straight out of sin. Always. No exceptions.

I think we make it harder than it has to be. We get so caught up and distracted by temptation that we miss the big red EXIT sign over the door. But it’s always there. In that bar? It’s there. In the anger that threatens to burst? It’s there. Wrapped in a set of arms you shouldn’t be? It’s there. Caught up in envy over what you don’t have? It’s still there. No matter what sin tempts you, God gives you an exit. When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sins upon himself. That freed us from the penalty of our sin, because he bore the punishment we deserved. But his death did even more than that! Christ’s death freed us from sin’s power over us. What a reason to rejoice! If you’re entangled in sin or gripped by temptation that is just too much, turn to Christ and he’ll free you. Sin did not defeat Jesus. If you’ll let him, he’ll make sure it doesn’t defeat you either.

Monday, August 18

Inside Out

I love this song. Whenever I hear it, it sticks in my head for a long time, but that’s a good thing. It’s a prayer of my heart. I want the Lord to be in control of my heart and soul. I want to bring Him praise, glorify him with all my thoughts, words, and actions. I want Christ to consume me from the inside out.

“In my heart, in my soul,
I give you control,
consume me from the
inside out, Lord.
Let justice and praise
become my embrace
to love you from the inside out.

your light will shine when all else fades.
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame.
And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
from the inside out, Lord, my soul cries out.”

Sunday, August 17


But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me–
that I am the LORD,
showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the LORD’s declaration.
~Jeremiah 9:24

What is worth bragging about? Wonderful skills? High intelligence? Great strength? How about an extensive education? A well-paying, prestigious job? Or maybe a beautiful family? No, the Lord says none of these are worth boasting about, and in fact, he tells us we don’t have bragging rights about any of these things.

The only thing worth boasting about is how well we know God, how well we understand the Lord. This doesn’t mean being able to quote scripture, but truly having wisdom that only comes from an intimate relationship with him. We must know about his faithful love, his justice, and his righteousness. We must know that he delights in these things, and in our quest to know him better…
Everything else is meaningless if Christ is not Lord of our lives.

Thursday, August 14

Logical Defense

“But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.” 1 Peter 3:15

There are so many important parts to just this one verse. I think the main point here is that I must be ready to give a defense, or explanation, for the hope that is in me. Until a few years ago, I didn’t even know this was in the Bible. I knew it was important to know Christ, but I didn’t know I was suppose to be ready to explain why I chose to trust in him. It seems that recently I’ve had several opportunities to do this, and it has helped my faith grow. God knew that, of course; giving an account of the hope we have blesses the person we are speaking to, but it blesses us as well.

Unfortunately, many Christian seem to miss the next bit about doing this courteously and respectfully. I have seen and heard way too many who have good intentions, and really want to share the good news of Christ, but they don’t share in a humble manner, or as another version says, “with gentleness and respect.” Gentleness. We can interfere with the best of messages if we don’t deliver them with gentleness. Especially if someone is asking us, that means maybe they are ready to hear — but jumping up on our high horse won’t help them accept the message.

Looking at this verse today, I realize there is another HUGE part here. We can’t give a proper defense or account of the hope that’s in us unless we truly do have that hope that comes only from knowing Christ. We must set Christ apart as Lord in our hearts. In other words, we have to truly make him the most important part of our lives — mind, body, and soul. He must be King of our hearts. We must make a choice to surrender our lives to him, not just once at the time of our salvation, but each and every day of our lives. Is Christ the Lord of your day today?

Tuesday, August 12

The Temple

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

This verse really ought to revolutionize our concept of body image. Does it really matter if we look like those gorgeous people on the big screen or in magazines? No! However, our bodies are not our own to do with as we please. We don’t have be concerned about what size we fit into, or what our body fat ratio is, but we DO have an obligation to take the best possible care of our bodies. God knit us together in our mother’s womb, and he knows how many hairs are on our heads, so he must care how we take care of our bodies. Have you ever given someone a gift that you either made by hand or saved up to buy for a really long time? After you gave that precious gift to them, would it have upset you if they abused it and neglected it, and it fell apart too quickly? That would indicate that they didn’t care about your gift and it would be very disrespectful to you as the gift-giver. When we abuse our own bodies — whether through lack of exercise, poor diet, over- or under-eating, smoking, using drugs, engaging in sexual immorality — we are disrespecting God.

This earthly body is a gift, individually hand-crafted by the Creator of the universe. It is also the temple of the Holy Spirit; God lives within us! Back in old testament days, God’s spirit lived in the temple (also called the tabernacle: basically a really big tent) and the Israelite people had to go there to worship him. He appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When it was time to relocate, the pillar moved, so the people packed up the tabernacle and moved wherever God’s spirit led them. An important note: there were very specific rules about how everything in the tabernacle must be handled, and those who did not obey these rules were immediately struck dead. That shows just how important and holy the tabernacle was because it housed God’s spirit. When Christ died, there was no need for that tent or tabernacle anymore, and after he ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to live in his believers. Those who believed in Christ became the tabernacle. If you have accepted Christ, then the Holy Spirit lives in you; this means that your earthly body houses the Spirit of God! Think back to those rules about caring for the tabernacle — don’t you think God wants us to care just as well for our bodies since he lives within us?

I don’t always eat perfectly heathy food, but I’m working on taking better care of my physical body. Not long ago, I began taking exercise more seriously because I realized that if I’m not at my best physically, then I am limiting what I can do to serve Christ. True, he can use anyone, even very sick or frail bodies, but I have an obligation to be at my best — whatever that may be. Our “best” will vary for each of us, but God knew that when he made us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. We’ll get our perfect bodies someday, but for now, I do believe that we should show respect and honor to God by taking the best care of these earthly bodies that we possibly can. Remember, God paid a very high price when he sent the Holy Spirit to live within us: the death of his son Jesus.

Sunday, August 10


"From his abundance we have all received
one gracious blessing after another.”
John 1:16

This verse is short, but such a sweet reminder. I have received so many blessings, and when I’m feeling grumpy, I make myself list a few of those blessings to get my focus in the right direction — and oh, how very many blessings there are to count!

To name just a few:
  • a Godly, loving husband
  • a beautiful, intelligent daughter
  • a wonderful stepson
  • my good health, and the good health of my family
  • a BIG, close, extended family — many of whom live within a few miles of me
  • the opportunity to homeschool
  • the freedom to worship as I want to
  • talents that I enjoy and can be used to God’s glory
  • a wonderful Bible-teaching church
  • flowers, butterflies, and birds in my garden
  • a silly mutt that makes me laugh
  • indoor plumbing
  • a home to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat, & many other material blessings (including my much-adored electric tea kettle!)

I could go on and on… but the point is, I have more blessings than I can count. I really did try to list them all one day, and my hand gave out before I could list them all. Try it sometime, and remember they don’t all have to be HUGE; the simplest of blessings are sometimes really big. Reminding ourselves (and others) to be thankful for all we have been given is a fabulous thing to do, but even bigger than that is to remember the origin of these many blessings: Christ! And the best of all these blessings is this: “… to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 )

I’m so thankful to God for my own salvation: for saving me from myself and from the power sin had over me. I’m so thankful that I will someday be with Jesus in heaven, and that he walks with me each and every day here on earth.

Wednesday, August 6

Learning, Living, Teaching

“Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truths and ways.” Ezra 7:10

Can I honestly say that I’ve committed myself to studying, living, and teaching God’s Word? That’s what Ezra did. Another translation puts it this way. “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” He set his heart to study the law of the Lord. I’m a Christ-follower, and I do seek to know his word and his will, but am I committed enough? Do I make this my first priority?

I was very blessed last night at our homeschool support group meeting, when one of the mom’s shared a bit about her “broken road” she’s been on this year. I know and love this mom; she just radiates Christ. Her family is so loving and so in love with Jesus, that I would love to just sit in a little corner of her living room and soak up how they do life. But about six months ago, their youngest son died unexpectedly, not long before his third birthday. They have no explanation for his death. She shared last night about how this has changed her perspective. Before this tragedy, she loved and trusted God, and tried to regularly have quiet time with Him; since this great loss, she wakes up each morning running to Jesus, soaking in His word, letting Him show her His plans for her day and her life. She realizes that before this, she only let Jesus have those parts of her life that felt out of control, and she held onto the other parts. Now, she gives it all over to Him, every single day. She feels His love in even the tiniest details. She says, “My God is soooo big, but he is so intimate, too.”

About a week ago, I was talking with a friend and we ended up on the topic of children who are battling serious illnesses. My friend wondered aloud, why God allows pain and suffering, especially for little children like that. So I told her of that mom who lost her sweet boy. I said that, this side of heaven, we will never know why God numbered his days so few, BUT I have seen how God has already used even this for his glory. In the past few months, that family has already been to comfort and grieve with several other families who have experienced the loss of a child. Every single time I’m around that mom, she blesses me in some way with her love and wisdom, which she will humbly tell you all comes straight from Christ. Even when I took a meal to her house just a few weeks after her little boy’s death, talking with her blessed me so deeply. She has lived through unspeakable pain, and yet, instead of running from God, she and her family ran right into His arms. It’s easy to “have faith” when things are going well, but when it’s put to the test, what then? This family blesses me by showing me the most clear example of TRUE faith I have ever seen. After sharing that with my friend, she said, with tears in her own eyes, that now even she had been blessed by this mom. Every mother in that homeschool meeting last night was blessed, and will likely share this story with at least one more person. And if reading this has blessed you, then that ripple effect of this mom’s faith has gone even farther.

Coming back around to my original point. If time with God, taking in all He has to teach me in His word, isn’t my number one priority, why not??? I know God is big, and I’ve seen Him at work in tiny details, too. Isn’t that enough to wake up each morning eager to hear what He longs to tell me that day? How many times has He spoken and I’ve turned a deaf ear to him? And am I, like Ezra, really LIVING what I’m learning? I’m trying. And am I teaching it to others? To my daughter, yes. But am I missing opportunities to share with others around me? I am sorry to say that I think I am, and that is something I must change.

Lord, help me be more like Ezra, and to earnestly set my heart to learning, living, and teaching your Word. Amen!
UPDATE: that amazing mom has a blog of her own now ~ Live Hard, Love Hard.

Tuesday, August 5

Eyes of Mercy

“I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faith is dim compared with the eye of God’s love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him.”
C.H. Spurgeon (from sermon based upon the Prodigal Son)

This is such a clear picture of how much God loves us. He is watching, waiting, with tears in his eyes, until we finally look up and see him. We may be afraid to look him in they eye, expecting to see anger burning in his eyes, or at least hurt and disappointment. For a long time, I knew he was there but I did everything I could think of to keep from making eye contact. I knew what a sinner I was, but I kept justifying all the reasons why I did what I did. I prayed, but my prayers were more about telling God that I knew what I was doing (ha!) and that he didn’t need to be looking over my shoulder or worrying about me. I spent years trying to stay just out of God’s reach (which of course, is actually impossible) so that I wouldn’t have to see the pain I had caused him. I didn’t realize the love I would see when I finally did look into his eyes, and that the heartache I would see there was because he felt my pain as his own.

Just as the father of the prodigal son watched and waited for his wayward son to return, my God watched and waited for me to return. He knew I would, eventually, but if he had forced me to return to him, he knew I wouldn’t have appreciated him as much as I do now. He gave me freedom, which I abused, and it was my own stubborn pride that kept me from running back to him. I returned only when I had tried to stand on my own and had failed miserably. I was broken. Just as the prodigal son, I expected harsh treatment, but my Father just wrapped his arms and told me how much he loves me. He continues to walk right along side me every day, and for that I will be eternally thankful.

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. ” Luke 15:20-24 (the message)

(”In Other Words” is hosted today by Heather at Mumblings of a Mommy Monk.)

Sunday, August 3

God's Big Plans

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Do you feel capable of doing great things? You are, with Christ’s help. Though we may never reach our financial goals, though most of us won’t ever be famous, God does have GREAT BIG plans for us–bigger than we can imagine. What those plans are will differ for each of us, of course, and some will be more “high-profile” than others, but if we follow Christ’s plan for our lives, we will accomplish great things. A better way to put that, I suppose, is that Christ will accomplish great things through us, if only we’ll let him.

Some people think the Christian life is suppose to be easy, but it’s not. We are guaranteed happiness, but not necessarily in this life here on earth. Being Christian will be hard. God doesn’t promise a life without pain, and probably a lot of very uncomfortable, inconvenient things! There is a saying that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. But I think a better way to put that is that God won’t ask us do to anything that he isn’t willing to walk through with us.

A beautiful song called “Ruin Me” was performed today at church, and part of the lyrics said this:
“Ruin my life, the plans I have made
Ruin desires for my own selfish gain,
Destroy the idols that have taken Your place,
‘Til its You alone I live for.”
We like to make our own plans, and we tend to resist when God’s plans don’t look like our own. Sometimes his plans are a whole lot harder. But he’s known the plans he has for us from the beginning of time, and they are a whole lot bigger than our own plans. May God ruin the plans I have made, and may his plans be accomplished through me.