What Freedom Provides

This last week I pondered my freedom a great deal. I want to see my freedom as God sees it. Not from a cultural view or from my own selfish perspective.

In this portion of the gospel of John, Jesus makes the argument that a slave can never have security. Even a beloved slave can be sold. Once an owner dies, the slave is available to be purchased by another owner. Only a family member has the security of freedom. Continue reading “What Freedom Provides”

True Freedom is Found in Christ

Freedom, that’s what we celebrate as a country here in the U.S. Actually, we celebrate our independence as a country. But for me, as a Christ-follower, there is a freedom that is far more meaningful and much more valuable. I celebrate my freedom in Christ.

This freedom looks a little different. In Colossians We are told that in this new life it doesn’t matter if we are a Jew or a Gentile, barbaric, uncivilized slave or free.*

Yes, in this upside down world of the Christ-follower, freedom looks a bit different. #aversaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

Yes, in this upside down world of the Christ-follower, freedom looks a bit different than the freedom our country represents. We are free to love, free to serve and free to give up our own lives, take up our cross daily and follow our savior. In doing so, we learn in John 8:36 that then we will be truly free! Continue reading “True Freedom is Found in Christ”

Protected By My Father

Protected. Secure. Loved. Those are the feelings I remember. My earliest memory of my father is being carried down the street in his arms. He was wearing the suede coat he only wore in cold weather. But I was not cold. I was the treasured daughter of my father. I do not remember where we were. I do not know how old I was. But I clearly remember those feelings.

When I let go and lean into God I feel those same things! I’m encouraging you today, lean in! Let go of whatever is causing you to feel otherwise and just relax in our father’s arms. Yes, I’m speaking to myself too. The letting go is a daily effort.

I'm encouraging you today, lean in! Let go of whatever is causing you to feel otherwise and just relax in our father's arms. #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

I pray this week you will feel Protected, secure and loved by our heavenly father! Meditate on this verse to be reminded that he will always rescue you!


I Look Like My Father

I don’t look like my father, but I look like my father’s mother. Often, we can be placed into a family by our physical appearance. I have a half-sister who looks more like me than either of my sisters with whom I share both parents.

Our heavenly father wants us to look like him too! So he molds our character through life’s challenges to make us look more like him if we will cooperate.

Our heavenly father wants us to look like him too! So he molds our character through life's challenges to make us look more like him if we will cooperate. #memorizetheword #averseaweek Click To Tweet

When I first started to study the scriptures, I read discipline as punishment. That is not what this verse refers to. The verse speaks of a loving father who molds our character.

It’s a poor father who does not take enough interest in his child to influence their character for good. God is not that type of father. So the challenge is to lean into the molding. To trust the hands that mold. To see the challenges and the trials of life as opportunities to reflect a character that will cause others to take one look and place me in his family!

I pray this week you will look at each obstacle in your life through the eyes of the father who would coax your character into a reflection of him.

God Gives the Best Gifts!

I’ve been thinking about gifts. This is something I do not do well. My friend Valerie is a master at choosing gifts. She knows just the right thing at the right time. She once sent me a purple robot watch necklace. If that sounds like a crazy gift, it’s because you don’t know me like Valerie does. We both enjoy our tech, in fact, my husband calls us the “gadget girls”! And purple, it’s my favorite color! I think part of perfect gift giving is knowing the recipient well. Continue reading “God Gives the Best Gifts!”

The Love Of A Father

I loved my father and felt certain of his love. Sure, we had our disagreements and there were even times he hurt me deeply, but I know he did the best for me he could within the resources he had available. There were times I felt very distant from my father too. You see my parents divorced, and I went for long stretches of time without seeing much of my dad.

What ever your history with your earthly father, you will probably find echos of your relationship rearing its head as you try to understand your relationship with your heavenly father. Sometimes, this is a good thing, at other times, it can lead us to wrong thinking about our heavenly father. So, how do we understand the truth about our heavenly father? The scriptures, of course!

Continue reading “The Love Of A Father”

What’s Your History? Trust or Hide?

The more history you have with someone, the easier it is to trust them. I’m not one to trust quickly. I think it comes from a lifetime of being hurt and let down. Oh, I know I’m not the only one with that type of past, but I am one of those who throws up some strong stone walls and hunkers down behind them when the hurt comes. Over time, I had a pretty good system of walls going and it was just easier to stand behind them rather than walk around out in the open. Continue reading “What’s Your History? Trust or Hide?”

The Hand of Gentle Correction

I watched the child stomp its foot and shout “No!” I smiled, for two reasons. First, because I’m not the parent of that strong-willed child. Secondly, because I saw a glimpse of myself.

I really dislike correction. I hate having to even admit I’m wrong. Yes, I realize that shows my stubborn streak. But, even though I can at times despise the discipline, God knows what I need and provides it whether or not I want it. I need to just swallow my pride and submit to the lesson.

I have learned through the years that recognizing when I need to amend my ways and asking for God’s guidance provides a gentler experience for me. It’s when I try to escape correction that God has to come chasing after me to get me back on the right path. No, I’m not picturing an angry parent shouting at a child that runs in fear, instead, I’m picturing the gentle parent who frantically chases the toddler into the street to snatch them from danger.

Proverbs 15:32 says: If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. (NLT)

I do want to grow in understanding, I’ve always been a student at heart. I also know to understand correctly, I will need the Father’s gentle correction of my wrongdoings. So, I’m trying to learn to ask for insight, to ask for correction and to be willing to set aside my stubbornness to increase my understanding.

The harder it is to see where we are wrong, the greater the benefit of just praying God's word and wisdom into the situation. #Memorizegodsword #prayscripture Click To Tweet

What about you? Do you have a stubborn streak that needs to turned loose to receive correction and understanding? The harder it is to see where we are wrong, the greater the benefit of just praying God’s word and wisdom into the situation. I’d invite you to join me there next time you stomp your foot, declare a stubborn “no” or run off somewhere dangerous!


How to Stay on Firm Footing When You Make Decision

I love walking on the beach. It’s beautiful and relaxing for me for about the first five minutes, then my body protests from the sinking sand under each step. My knees start to protest and eventually the waddle down the beach can get downright ugly! Well OK, maybe I love the idea of walking on the beach.

We walk best when we are on firm ground! And if we follow where God leads that is where we will stay. It’s that boundaries thing all over again. We really do, deep down, want boundaries. We may chafe at the idea of the limit, but we have freedom within the lines.

That’s what God does for us, he keeps us between the lines of safety. So to hear God and stay connected to his will we can benefit from these three tools: Continue reading “How to Stay on Firm Footing When You Make Decision”

Four Scriptures to Pray When Your Words Seem Inadequate

My phone rang as I was driving to the grocery. I could see it was a friend who rarely calls. I knew something was up so I answered. (Glad my car is equipped for hands free.) She poured out a tough new reality in her life. As I wheeled into a parking space I said, “would you like me to pray with you, right now?” She said ” yes.” On that day, I had words that the Spirit poured into my heart and out of my mouth to walk alongside my friend, but sometimes, that hurt is deep and the words don’t come and I need something powerful. That’s an occasion where having powerful scriptures stored up in my heart can be really handy!

Do you have those times when your heart wants to pray, but your words just seem inadequate? I sure do! The scriptures tell us when we can’t pray, the Spirit will pray for us with groaning that are deeper than words (Roman 8:26). But sometimes we need words! Saying something out loud makes it more real, more powerful. Maybe we need to encourage a friend and they are counting on us to pray for them as encouragement.

This year, I chose trust as a focus word. An area where I want to grow, and so, I have a couple of trust verses I’m storing in my heart for the times I need them. I’m guessing everyone could use a bit more trust at times so I hope you will benefit from these verses.

Week 1

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.  Psalm 143:8 (NLT)

Week 2

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10 (NLT)

And then, there are those times when I need to say I’m sorry! I’ve messed up. I’ve gotten off track and I know deep down I need correction from the Lord. But that’s a tough one, Correction is not something I relish asking God to provide. But here’s a verse that asks for correction. I still need to own my wrong, but I can use words Jeremiah penned to voice my request to God. What about you? Is this a verse you could use in your arsenal?

Week 3

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. Jeremiah 10:23-24 (NLT)

Maybe it’s not you who messed up, or perhaps you are caught up in a bigger problem. I often feel overwhelmed by the mess our world has gotten into and just want to tell God that I know it’s bad, but understand he’s bigger than the mess. Here’s a verse my heart tells me speaks to these situations. No matter how discouraged we may be feeling with the circumstances swirling around us, God is bigger. He has a history of cleaning up the messes mankind creates, and even though he’s likely even more hurt by it than we are, still, he is merciful!

Week 4

I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy. Habakkuk 3:2 (NLT)

Memorization Tips

As you commit the verses to memory, actually pray them. If you keep a prayer journal, write the verses into your journal to remind you to pray them regularly. Don’t just recite the words as you pray, but feel them! Be sincere as you ask God to work in the situations where these verse prayers are appropriate.

I’m electing not to include an image this week. If you miss the verse images please drop me a note or leave a comment to let me know!

Link to printable verses for May.

I’m praying these verses for all of us this month. I hope you will join me in praying them as well. God tells us that his word is powerful and effective. I believe that! I hope you do too.

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Trekking Thru

Lyli Dunbar