When You Question Why

Concerning Elizabeth

“How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children!”

Luke 1:25 (NLT)

Childlessness in the time of Elizabeth and Mary was a symbol of a life that harbored sin. A life that God could not bless. Elizabeth, an older woman, had lived her entire life under the gaze of her neighbors wondering just what she had done to offend God. And the wife of a Priest, no less!

Concerning Mary

Joseph, her financè, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.

Matthew 1:19 (NLT)

Mary, just barely over the threshold of womanhood, was about to enter into an act of service that would render her the subject of gossip for her neighbors. Or, as her soon to be husband described it, disgrace. The pregnancy and delivery of a child for Mary would shade her entire adult life with whispers of infidelity and sin.

What Was God Doing?

The same situation, One woman’s release from disgrace, another woman’s entry into disgrace.

God was sending two miracle babies to the earth. One to prepare the way, one to make a way back to him for all of us. Both babies had a personal impact on the lives of their mothers that went beyond the joys and heartaches of motherhood. One was vindicated, the other was shamed.

I wish I had an insightful explanation to offer you for God’s actions. But I don’t! God can do whatever he pleases. He does not offer us all the same life. We each have our own private path to walk with him. But he offers us all the same salvation. And the two women who meeting with similar challenges in life played an important role in making that possible.

What I do see here is that God had intended for these women to encourage each other. My heart swells at the love and care he displays for two women doing hard things.

What are the chances that a teenaged girl from Nazareth and a silver-haired woman from the hill country of Judea would even know each other, much less be related? Only God could do that. And why? Well, I believe in my deepest being that Elizabeth was a gift to Mary.

Elizabeth had already experienced years of the whispers that Mary would suffer. She was experiencing her own miracle announced by the angel Gabriel. So when Mary ran to her side, they spent those three months marveling. And Elizabeth believed Mary before she was even told the story, unlike most of those around her, including her espoused Joseph. She walked with Mary as she prepared and just as her son would prepare the way for our savior, this soon to be mother, prepared the way for the woman would bear the savior.

Serving One Another

They brought out the best in one another. Elizabeth encouraged. Mary moved from faithful obedience to joyful praise. No doubt Mary was hands and feet for the ponderous Elizabeth since she was a strong young woman not yet burdened by the physical weight of her babe. Elizabeth likely shared with Mary from her years of faith and experience with the local gossips.

God has given us each other. Even when we don’t understand. When it makes little sense and our personal circumstances are hard. As I think more on this, I realize that God’s goodness manifests in so many ways we overlook. I want to resolve to look around. To ask myself where is God at work to offer me encouragement and a friend on life’s path?

How thankful I am that God may allow challenges into our lives, some that are incredibly difficult, but he never intended for us to walk into these challenges alone. When we ask “Why” we may never get our answer in this life. But do not believe for one second that God is not answering because of disinterest. And even when we don’t have answers, we still have his tender care lavished on us in so many ways. And that way may very well be a friend. So walk alongside those who are older, or younger. Those with less faith or more. Those just beginning the hard path and those who are finally seeing the exit ramp to a difficult road. Be there.

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For who can know the LORD’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to give him advice?
And who has given him so much
that he needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)

One More Thing…

In case you wonder, I was researching Elizabeth because I’m writing a story about her. I can’t wait to share it with you! Stay tuned.

When It Feels Like the World is Careening Out of Control, God’s Got It!

So many things happen that I don’t understand. I’m not talking about things that happen just to me. I see it all around me, and I know there is much more, so much more, that I don’t see. But just because there is adversity, just because evil does exist and people are hurt by it, just because there is a tragedy, does not mean God is not in control. As a matter of fact, because of all of this, I am grateful, that God is in control when it feels like the world is careening out of control! I take comfort that it’s not as senseless as it appears. It’s not as hopeless as it feels.

I am grateful, that God is in control when it feels like the world is careening out of control! #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

In this verse, the crooked is the adversity that God allows into our lives. I cannot change the adversity. God has allowed it. In doing so, His word tells me, there is a purpose. So rather than focusing on what I want to see changed, I need to focus instead on what God is doing with the adversity in my life.

Is he drawing me close? Is he pruning out things in my life that will leave me better off when they are gone? Is he teaching me or giving me a gift for later? Faith tells us that in the blink of an eye, God could right all these wrongs, clear every adversity from our path. But as we look around us, it is clear that he does not. He is in control. Our challenge, to trust his love and provision in spite of and through these hard things, and perhaps in some instances, because of the hard stuff.

There are so many questions in life for which we have no answers. So many situations which we can not change. The human reaction is to call these tragedies. In reality, they were allowed by God. There is somewhere, most likely outside of our human understanding, a reason. I believe we will never know the reason for many of these situations this side of heaven. If it were up to me, I would do away with all these challenges, all these sorrows. But, I choose to give over control to God, for things I can not control anyway. I trust that God loves me and that whatever he allows in my life is for my good.

A life of faith keeps me holding onto God’s promises.  The last recorded words of Jesus, just as he ascended back into heaven:  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  

This is like the locker room pep talk! It’s not going to be easy, but you can do this! I am with you, and I have already overcome the worst there is. Nothing that touches you on this earth is more than I can handle, stick with me, you can handle it too!

Putting it into Action

  • What is the worst thing that has happened to you that’s in your past? As you look back, do you see any good that came from this situation?
  • Are there things in your life that feel out of control right now? How are you dealing with that feeling?
  • As you look around, do you have moments when you feel a sense of despair for what you see in the world? Do you ever fear that this is an indication that God has lost control? How does your faith impact how you react to these situations?
  • How do you think you can prepare yourself for troubles that lie ahead in your path?

I believe God sees a much bigger picture than we do. I choose to trust Him with all the despair, knowing that he loves and cares for every individual he ever created. But at times, hanging on can be hard. This is one of the reasons I’m so grateful for the Word of God planted in my heart.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Over the last year, I’ve come to appreciate a song by Laura Story called Blessings. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

God, we look around, and some of the things we see are so troubling. So much we don’t understand. Help us make a choice to trust that your big picture is better than our daily view. I ask that you will help us to fortify our faith by storing up your word for the hard times that we will encounter in this life. And thank you, for your assurance that despite the way it looks sometimes, you love us, and you’ve got this!



The Illusion of Control

As a woman who often believes she’s got control of her own life, it sometimes takes a peek into someone else’s life to drive home the truth. I read an article this week.  It was about young women who are not ready to have children, but who are concerned that at some future date they may desire children and find that the window of fertility has passed. So, they freeze their eggs. It wasn’t the egg freezing or even the ticking of the biological clock that got my attention, but quotes from the women. Here’s one that’s typical.

“The process, she said, “is a way for you to feel like you’re in control of your life, at least at the time you are doing it.”

Who hasn’t been down that path of thinking? We all have moments when we think we can wrangle control of our own lives, direct our destinies. But that is nothing but an illusion. And furthermore, it’s foolish.

The Challenge

I Peter1:14

I think one of the difficult things in a walk of faith is to let go of the control. Sure, we have dreams, but to walk in faith, we must hold those dreams and plans loosely and allow God to guide. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can make better decisions than God. Peter tells us that letting go in obedience is a key indicator of a changed life.

Because God loves us so much, he plans what’s best for us. Now I know from personal experience, that it doesn’t always feel that way when you are in the thick of it. But what I have learned about God’s nature, and my faith tells me it’s true. And as I’ve walked this path of Christ-following, I’m finally starting to figure out that life is a lot easier if I let go of my plans when it’s clear that God has something else in mind.

As I read on in the article, I noted that at least one of the egg freezing facilities had suffered from a power outage rendering the eggs non-viable. Women were suing. Now, I get that.  They went through a great deal of discomfort and paid a lot of money to store up those eggs for later use. I’ve invested in plans too. I’ve had those plans fall flat. I’ve railed at the disappointment I felt and pleaded my case.

As I throw a hissy fit, God is willing to listen to my disappointment. When I’ve exhausted the emotional storm, he points to his crucified son and asks “Are you ready to trust?” I see many examples in scripture where he patiently listened, but then he has the expectation that we will put the rant behind us and get lined up with his plans for us.

As I throw a hissy fit, God is willing to listen to my disappointment. When I've exhausted the emotional storm, he points to his crucified son and asks, Are you willing to trust? #steepedintheword #averseaday Click To Tweet

That’s as good a segway as any to the verses for September, reminders of the illusion of control and the power in letting go of that illusion.

Verses for September:

Week 1

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.    1 Peter 1:14 (NLT)

Week 2

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23

Week 3

He determines the number of the stars and calls them by name. Psalm 147:4

Week 4

Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he’s made crooked. Ecclesiastes 7:13

Week 5

Now all glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

And Now…

Won’t you join me this month as we spend time examining our desire for control and our need to turn it over to the only one who is worthy?

Father, help us to recognize the power of filtering all our dreams and plans through your hands. We want to trust you to keep those that are good for us and discard those that will harm us. We want to hang onto you as life throws the hard stuff at us, rather than trying to hang onto control. We know that you have the power, the wisdom and the love to handle not only our dreams but the emotions that go with them. I’m so glad you see a bigger picture than we do. Help us to trust your love as we walk forward together.

Stolen Identity

It all started with a phone call. As the conversation began to unfold I realized that something was not right. I quickly hung up and did a bit of research, my identity had been stolen! It was not my financial identity, but my medical identity. Someone had impersonated me, using my medical history to obtain drugs. I went through a series of emotions, shock, violation, anger, determination. The feelings I experienced are normal when someone steals from us.

We hear of someone who has had their financial identity stollen fairly often. When I filed the police report, they told me that even in my small community there are several reports a day. But, that evening as I was processing the events of the day, it hit me, our spiritual identity is stolen too.

Spiritual identity, you ask? Well, yes! It happens every day to someone. We listen to the voice that says you are worthless, you are not worthy, you are guilty. But the truth is that once we belong to Christ we have a new identity, we are new creations.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Cor 5:17 NLT

We have been purchased by Christ’s blood and we have a new identity, but we have a hard time shifting gears in our head. We keep thinking we are that same old person, the one we were before Christ. Intellectually we say, I’m saved, but our hearts do not seem convinced. Our actions do not reflect our salvation. Our thought patterns cling to the patterns of that old person before salvation. Simply speaking, we let our identity as daughters of God be stolen!

Simply speaking, we let our identity as daughters of God be stolen! Click To Tweet

So here’s my challenge, if you choose to accept…let this truth shock you! Then get angry about it and replace that anger with a new determination to think and live and act like the redeemed woman of God that you are. Fight for your identity in Christ!


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Who Do I Follow?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NLT

The news in my little corner of the world over the last week has highlighted for me the importance of our choices. We concentrate on the big choices, those we consider for days or months. Those we see as life-changing. But, I’ve come to see that what seems small defines us. That it is the one tiny act of kindness, love or self-sacrifice that changes lives. It is the adding up of all those small, seemingly insignificant choices that make a life.

It is the adding up of all those small, seemingly insignificant choices that make a life. Click To Tweet

I see a line of strangers who, in an instant, joined hands in the ocean to form a literal lifeline for a drowning family in Florida. No time to consider. Just grab a hand and become a nameless, faceless individual in a long line of others who offer life. I was proud of my fellow man, I thought, that is what we should all do, just jump in and save a life. Of course, I would do that. Of course!

Then, in my news feed, the driver who hit a bicycle rider on a road not far from home. In an instant, the driver decided to swerve into a bicycle rider. After hitting the rider he sped away. As I read the comments on Facebook I saw anger and selfishness from dozens of individuals. Many comments could be summed up as “if you are in my way you are in the wrong and you deserve whatever happens for inconveniencing me.” I am shocked! I am saddened. I am convicted. How many times have I considered myself and wish to brush away any roadblock, even if it’s another life?

All those small choices we make are really an indicator of who we are and who we serve. I’m coming to the conclusion that the only real decision we must often make is will I serve God or will I serve myself? Christ reminds us that serving God means to deny ourselves. And that is not our natural reaction in many situations. Christ’s call to take up our cross follow him never lets us do as we please.

All those small choices we make are really an indicator of who we are and who we serve. Click To Tweet

The Tuesday ladies and I were talking about this last night. How it seems easier to serve God by doing the one “Big Thing”. We want to excuse those small, daily, inconvenient choices that are set before us. We read in James 4:17 that it is a sin to know what we ought to do and not do it. And sure, we believe this! After all, it’s written in God’s word. But do our lives reflect that belief?  Ummmm, we all hung our heads a bit. We challenged one another to work harder on this. And so I challenge you now, as you make all those small daily decisions, who will you serve? Will you serve the Lord, or will you serve yourself? Attitudes are not excused any more than actions. When our world revolves around us, it does not revolve around Christ.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NLT


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Five Reasons Forgiveness Leads to Freedom

Forgiveness is hard. Most of the time I don’t want to forgive. I’ve been hurt, I’m sad or angry or maybe even afraid. My brain screams, don’t let them get away with this, fight back! But experience tells me otherwise. Faith demands a different response.

1. If I don’t forgive, my faith is weak. We believe the offender should pay, and if we forgive, then payment will not happen. The offender will just do it again. Newsflash! If a penalty is due, the offender will pay. You many not see it, but it will happen. God promises us He will be our defender. Don’t let your faith be weakened by relying on yourself rather than your God.

I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. Exodus 34:7 (NLT)

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. Proverbs 20:22 (NLT)

2. By not forgiving, I weaken, rather than growing stronger. Wrestling with yourself and your attitudes produces growth. Wrestling with the ‘offender’ just offers another opportunity for hurt. It wears you out. The only growth you experience is growing more exhausted.

Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! Proverbs 12:20 (NLT)

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11(NLT)

If I don’t forgive. I can’t heal. Open wounds will fester. Click To Tweet

3. If I don’t forgive I can’t have a healthy relationship. In fact, the damage done to us by holding on will often damage other relationships as well. In our mind’s eye, we have walled off the one who hurt us. We aren’t going to let them do it again. In reality, you can’t wall off another person, they just keep moving away. The only way you can build a wall is to wall in the cooperative, and girlfriend if we are bent on building a wall that means walling off ourselves. When we isolate ourselves, all our relationships suffer.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)

4. If we don’t forgive, eventually, we will regret it. Our lives will revolve around the hurt we’re continuing to nurse. It becomes a focal point in life. That’s a sad life to live. We give the offender the power to continue to attack us over and over. Break free! Forgive!

And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11(NLT)

5. I did not deserve forgiveness, but I got it anyway. So I have no right to think that forgiveness is only for the worthy. We are commanded to forgive. God does not do this to punish us further, he does this to set us free!

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 13-14 (NLT)

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Col 3:13 (NLT)

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86: 5 (NLT)

Girlfriend, we have many good reasons to forgive. Forgiveness is a gift. God not only gives us the gift of forgiveness but He gives us the gift of being able to forgive no matter how badly we have been hurt. People are watching. Forgiving freely is not common. The ability to offer forgiveness proclaims our faith and gives us a life that is free of the burden of anger and resentment. This my friends makes our faith most attractive. Is there anyone you need to forgive today?

God not only gives us the gift of forgiveness but He gives us the gift of being able to forgive. Click To Tweet


Cutting Deep

I got up early this morning and went out to prune my rosebushes. I plant the southern standard, knock out roses. They are hardy. They bloom and rebloom all summer. However, as the summer wears on they get more and more stingy with the blooms, unless you prune them! And one hard truth I’ve learned over the years is that the harder you prune the better they look and the prettier they bloom. Now, I’m not one to cut mine back to the stump every spring, but I do prune pretty hard before they bloom, then as they begin to become crowded with a mix of dying blossoms and new shoots I have to force myself to cut off new shoots. I have to cut back hard if I want them to remain shapely and bloom gloriously all summer.

You know where this is going don’t you? God tells us that those he loves, he disciplines.

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:5-8 NLT

In John 15:1-2 he says:

“My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.“ (NLT)

God is well aware of the lesson of deep pruning and he’s not afraid to cut out all the rot. Click To Tweet

Pruning can be painful! I am not talking about that thorn that poked my thumb kind of pain, I’m talking about deep heartache and many tears. God is well aware of the lesson of deep pruning and he’s not afraid to cut out all the rot and the non-productive. God loves us so much that he is not going to be content with a relationship where he’s all warm and fuzzy and protects us from all pain. But that’s what we often ask isn’t it? When was the last time you welcomed pruning? I know I’m not begging for it, but I’m trying to learn the lesson that when it comes, and it will, I need to lean in rather than run. I need to trust the pruner. After all, if there’s something growing in me that isn’t good for me I want it removed down to the root, to a place where it won’t  grow back.

I need to trust the pruner. Click To Tweet

If you are in a season of pruning, I know it’s hard. But cling to the pruner who waits right beside you through the bleeding and the healing season. Through all the tears and begging for it to just ‘go away’. Trust the love my sister. Your life can bloom with a beauty that puts my rosebush to shame. Don’t choose to get gangly and live a barely fruitful life! Quit wasting time and effort on empty things and fill your life with the truly beautiful!




My Feet Hurt!

I am that girl, the one who always loved beautiful shoes. I notice shoes, and can guarantee that I will notice yours. Did you know that the University of Kansas even did a study on what shoes say about you?

Well, today, I’m wearing a pair of decidedly unpretty shoes with orthotic inserts. Why?  Well, because of pain, that’s why! I was born with feet that were wonderful for jumping and dancing and gymnastics in my younger years, but which need firm support as I grow older.  I try to forget that and move away from the utility shoe that serves me well back into the things that are beautiful.  I could claim they soothe my soul but in truth, it’s probably my vanity that is best served.

Pain is a powerful motivator.  Not only can pain move me into shoes I would never choose to wear on a day to day basis, it can also move us to give up things that hurt us, to move away from harm and toward safety and the things that are right and good.  God has designed our bodies and our hearts to recoil from pain. It’s for our own good.

At times, God chooses to use pain to redirect our hearts and our lives. Click To Tweet

At times, God chooses to use pain to redirect our hearts and our lives. God loves us, and though he does not want us to suffer pain, he is also wise and knows that pain can often save us from a greater pain. So, when I experience pain what should my response be? I think that I should look closely at the pain for the underlying message. What should I change or do differently, or move away from or move toward to escape the pain? Pain is a teacher, but we must be students and accept the lesson pain offers. We must apply the self discipline to apply the lesson we learn, although if that lesson is from God he will surely walk with us through that pain.

Pain is a teacher, but we must be students and accept the lesson pain offers. Click To Tweet

We are all a bit hard headed. There will be times that the pain will have to increase before we are willing to accept the lesson offered. But if we fail to accept and apply the lesson, we can be sure that our pain will increase until we make a change. God loves us deeply and in his wisdom allows the pain to mold us to a better future.

God loves us deeply and in his wisdom allows the pain to mold us to a better future. Click To Tweet

So, as I accept the painful lesson and put on my orthopedic shoes I should accept the lessons of other pain in my life and look for the change that’s needed. If I choose the wrong change, well, most likely there will be pain there too, pointing me in the right direction. Where is your pain today my friend?  What is God inviting you to change for your long term benefit? Are you willing to look beneath the pain for the lesson? Are you willing to set aside your pride or selfishness to make the change so that pain may subside and your heart may soar free? I pray you are. I pray I am too!

Hebrews 12: 10-11 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.


Why I Gave Up Television

The obvious conclusion is that I just didn’t like watching it, but that is wrong. Actually, I found it mesmerizing. But it wasn’t the programming, it was the opportunity to set in one spot, think about nothing and feel no pressure to do anything else that had me coming back night after night. After all, television watching after work in our culture is perfectly acceptable.

I had just come out of a long hard season. I was a single woman and it was a season when I was working full time, completing a Master’s degree, caring for a couple of young nephews and then moving into end of life care for my mother. I was exhausted. There were so many things that had been put on hold for so long I really had forgotten how to live a life that involved social activities, interacting with others just for the pleasure of spending time together and having a clean home to live in. So, I came home from work, picking up take out on the way home many days, and just sat in front of the television until time to go to bed. I can’t even tell you what I watched, because the program I was tuned into was not the point.

Then, one morning as I was reading my Bible to begin my day and Philippians 4:8 jumped off the page and into my heart.

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. (NLT)

I was watching pretty mundane television and it was the 90’s. Television was not nearly as edgy as it is today. Still, there was not much I could classify as honorable, lovely or admirable. Then, I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Basically, throwing those hours away! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that all downtime and relaxation is a waste of time. But I do think we burn a lot of hours where we aren’t really doing anything except letting time pass by.

I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Click To Tweet

So, I turned off the television and I’ve never really turned it back on. I had cable TV and I cancelled it. My little 12 inch black and white TV stayed with me because I had the occasional need to view a video. When I began hosting a ladies small group in my home, I purchased a slightly larger color television. But I never did hook that television up to anything other than the video player. In our home now my husband has a large television in the “man cave” where he watches sports and the weather while reading a book. Occasionally, he invites me to watch a movie with him and I do. We have a television in our living room used by our small group that connects to a video player and the internet because our church subscribes to a service which streams Bible studies. But in between those studies, I rarely turn it on.

And you know what? I have never really missed it! There was no content that was as interesting as the book I read. No content as interesting as the conversation with friends and family, no time as well spent as that learning to cook or working on my writing or studies. I’ve learned a lot of new things and spent time sharing those skills with others. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met and married my husband. All things I would never have done if I had allowed myself to keep mindlessly setting in front of that little black and white box every evening after work.

Periodically, I’m prompted to take a look at my life and how my time is spent.  I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. For example, just last week, I deleted all the games off my phone. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that watching television or playing a game on your phone while you wait in some waiting room is wrong, but I am suggesting that you look at how you spend your time.  Are you focused on things that are excellent and worthy of praise? Are you investing the days you have been given wisely and in a manner you can proudly look back over your life and feel good about how you have chosen to spend them?

I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. Click To Tweet

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:20 NIV


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Last week I was under the weather. I had already made a big pot of chicken and rice soup over the weekend and I had a book arrive on my doorstep that I’d promised to read and offer a review. Friends were checking in on me and my husband was taking good care of me. So….how did I describe all this? A fabulous coincidence? No, I described it as a blessing from my God who had a plan in place ahead of the situation.

Friends, how we look at life and how we describe our journey to both ourselves and others matters! When I say, “it’s coincidence” I dismiss my God and my faith. I have done it, but why?

  • I’m are used to hearing others describe events as coincidence and it’s just a natural response?
  • I am afraid of coming off to “preachy”?
  • I overlook the fact that God cares about even the tiniest things in our lives?

God has promised he will meet all our needs. In this case, it was food to eat and love expressed. That doesn’t mean he will always pamper us (providing a good book). But, you can count on God to meet all your genuine needs.

We need to acknowledge the blessings we receive from God’s hand and having our needs met is a blessing!  Anything beyond our needs….definite blessing! First, we must recognize those blessings and experience gratitude. Then, we must acknowledge the God’s provision.  How preachy can one little phrase “God blessed me today with” or “I’m grateful for God’s provision of” really be? We don’t hesitate to brag on our husbands, our children or our friends. So let’s not hesitate to brag on God either.

Gratitude has a powerful influence on how we live our lives. It keeps us aware of all God does for us. It makes us less whiney and more focused on what we have than what we don’t. It replaces worry with contentment.  It grows our faith.

Gratitude makes us less whiney and more focused on what we have than what we don't. Click To Tweet

Contentment is something that others want.  In order to share Christ with others we need to look like we have something to offer that’s worth sharing. Believe me, the more you are living a life of gratitude and acknowledging the source of every good thing, the more your life will impact other lives. But the more you chalk blessings up to coincidence, the less your light will shine in this world and the less blessed you will feel.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Col 2:7 NLT

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