Tuesday, October 31, 2017


One of the great things about facebook is that it brings back memories from prior years. This morning it showed a picture I was tagged in of my son out Trick or Treating with his friend and a couple others. The picture was taken in 2014 and it was the last year my son went out. I had no idea it would be the last time when he was getting ready but it was. He was in fifth grade.

It seems that lately time is speeding up in all the places I want it to slow down, and dragging in all the places I want it to speed up. I don't want my son to start high school a second sooner than he needs to but I also want the extra weight to come off in the blink of an eye. For all I know the two events will coincide. One I will cry over and the other I will celebrate. 

As all things pumpkin begin to rush towards their peak season with November creeping up ever so quickly, I want to take the next few weeks to focus on thanks. I have some verses selected already and will continue to sort through more and see if I can find others to include. I don't want us to start lists of things we're thankful for each day because if I am any indication of the norm, we'll get to the end of the day realizing we haven't taken even a second to be intentionally thankful for anything, and write down the first three things that come to mind. At least that's how it's always worked out in my reality.

Instead, I want us to focus on the things of the past that we are most thankful for. The things that we can see how they worked out for our good and God's glory with the benefit of time and distance on our side. The things that we never had any indication would matter so much because at the time they seemed insignificant but were actually turning points or hinges on which a new journey started that we didn't even think was an option.

My hope is that if we can focus on this until Thanksgiving Day, our hearts will be so full of gratitude as we sit down to turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy, that our conversations around the table will overflow with evidence of God's grace in our lives. And perhaps instead of just feasting on incredible food, we'll feast on the goodness of the Lord.

Monday, October 30, 2017

What If

Finishing Esther last week and thinking about the story as a whole, it brought to light a few thoughts that have been rattling around in my mind and heart.

~Satan got permission when it came to Job.

~Haman deceptively got human permission from Xeres to achieve his goal.

~Jesus warned Peter than Satan had asked for permission to sift him as wheat.

What if we all have a 13th of Adar where God has given the permission for us to be sifted as wheat like Peter? What if our weak and feeble responses to it are nothing more than forgetting the authority given to us by the King to fight back? What if every major attempt to 'destroy, kill, and annihilate' us should be marked by a memorial stone like Joshua pulled out of the Jordan, and a celebration like Purim, to remind us of what God has done through Jesus on our behalf?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

When It Matters Most

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument
of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life; and offer every
part of yourself to him as an istrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

I absolutely realize that we can not hold non-Christians (or who we hope are non-Christians.....you'll understand in a minute) to a Christian standard, so please consider this a cautionary tale.

Once upon a time there was a family who decided to travel to visit more family that lived at a distance. All was right with the world until the first morning they woke up. See, what no one knew was that in the middle of the night, a line had backed up causing an addition to what should be in the basement. And while the addition was not yet of epic proportion, clearly there were ramifications for all involved: No one could shower.

Concerned and mildly panicked, a phone number was retreived for the city to see find out if a disruption was being experienced by anyone else in the area. However, because of the early hour, it was possible that no one else knew yet that they too were expereincing a problem. And so, a phone call was placed to the professional that had handled all proactive maintenance work. Unfortunately, the number listed for the business was apparently also a residence and not an emergency line. And the ringing phone was not received with compassion for the caller at all. In fact, there was sarcasm, anger, bitterness, and a bit of rage.

Because our story is yet unresolved, it must sadly end here. But the lesson is just beginning.

When we think about all the parts of our body we can offer as an instrument of wickedness, the heart and our hands and feet are probably the most obvious. If we don't have godly motives to do something, doing it -whatever it is- probably isn't going to work out well for anyone. Additionally, our hands and feet are meant to be used to serve others and serve them well. Probably the best way I heard this described was from a commencement video circling facebook where Dr. Rick Rigsby said, "Your servants towel should be bigger than your ego." #Boom

From the story above, one would certainly hope that the person who answered the phone is not a Christian. And I don't mean because we wouldn't want them in eternity with the rest of us 'perfect people,' I mean because they clearly were not using their hands and feet as Jesus would. Can you imagine Jesus getting woken up in the middle of the night with someone panicked over an uncontrolled circumstance and he berates them for calling to early? Could you imagine him screaming and saying he wasn't available for several more hours? Last I checked when he fell asleep in the boat, he rebuked the wind and waves and ASKED the disciples why they had little faith not screamed at them for waking him up.

The fact is, the times we need to shine the light and love of Jesus and offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness are probably going to come at the absolute least times we feel like offering it. When the phone rings unexpectedly early (which clearly means something is wrong), when someone is rude in a store (which rarely has anything to do with us), or when someone goes bat-crap crazy on us over something rather unimportant (and likely means something is really wrong). 

I don't know what the person answering the phone is dealing with personally. I don't know if they'd just fallen asleep, if they'd just gotten a sick baby to sleep, or if something horrendous happened to them this past week. What I do know is that the person on the receiving end of their tirade handled it with grace and dignity. 

This week has been extremely convicting for me as I have thought a lot about the different ways I have certainly offered up parts of myself as an instrument of wickedness. My guess is some things have crossed your mind, too. But I pray we have also seen the grace of God through it. That we have looked back at past mistakes and seen growth over time. That we can take the lessons and move forward with the mind and attitude of Christ. And that more than anything, we actively choose to offer every part of ourselves as instruments of righteousness that wage war against all that threatens the peace and freedom Christ died to give us. We have been brought from death to live and it is our joy to make that evident.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Do You See What He Sees?

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument
of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life; and offer every
part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

Full Disclosure: Things might get a bit uncomfortable today.

When it comes to the context of Romans 6:13, we have to at least consider that we have the ability to offer our body as a whole to sin to be used as an instrument of wickedness. That said, I'm going to make a a quick point and then land where I think we overlook an opportunity to let God really do a work in our hearts.

We can argue that we are able to present ourselves any way we want because we can not control the thoughts of others. And I agree with that statement for the most part. Where I disagree is the motive behind it. 

If our intention is to make heads turn (male or female), we are absolutely using our physical design as an instrument of wickedness. And this has nothing to do with 'what' we choose to wear, and everything to do with why we are wearing it. If we put on a top to display our buff arms with the hopes of getting compliments and it leads to others feeling inferior or poorly about themselves, we have an issue. If we wear a dress with the hope of turning the heads of everyone in the room, we have an issue. We have to check our motives, because if we don't, we are going to lead ourselves down an incredibly destructive and dangerous path. Stay with me. I promise it will be worth it.

Let's say we have exerted extreme effort and cleaned ourselves up to be heading out for the day. We are in jeans that compliment our shape perfectly, a top that makes us look like we have a smaller waist because it broadens our shoulders a bit, our hair looks like we just stepped out of the salon, and our makeup looks like we just got out of the Lancome chair at a department store. We are certain others will respond accordingly. (Side note: I don't use Lancome, but I remember that was always my chair of choice when I worked at Lazarus. Thank you Jenna for all you did to make my makeup look amazing.) While out, NO ONE compliments us and NO HEADS turn. 

Now let's say we have had a great day getting lots of things accomplished. We take a shower, get all dolled up, and our husband walks through the door exhausted from work. And as much as we thought we looked exceptionally good from a comparative standpoint, he barely notices, doesn't say a word, and falls asleep before his head hits the pillow.

Either situation, how do we feel?

Now, I am not about displacing blame by any stretch because, in both cases, our motives weren't exactly pure. But I do believe with evey fiber of my being this is a part of the curse from the fall in scenario number 2. (Remember? Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you?) But the truth is, if at any point, we are using our appearance to gain validation from anyone, we are offering our entire body to sin as an instrument of wickedness: self-originated sin that is a violation of God's best for us.

Please know, while I have been freed from the issue of scenario number 2, I have not been completely freed of it in scenario number 1. (It's significantly better, but it's not totally gone.) And as for the husband aspect of this, it lasted for 2 years of dating and almost 17 years of marriage. 19 years I sought validation from my better half more than I sought the truth of who God says I am and leaving it as a settled matter. 19 years is a really long time to live with a stronghold.

The details of what put me on the path of self-destruction aren't important. What matters most is that I bought into it and dove headlong into choices that only served to take me further and further from who God called me to be: his daughter, not an object. The journey started years before I met my husband, but falling in love didn't take me back to where I was intended to be. Honestly, all it did was magnify my insecurity and increase feelings of inadequacy and a desire for control.

Wherever we find ourselves on this issue, we have to know this is not what God intended for us spiritually or emotionally. Psalm 45:11 says Let the king be enthralled by your beauty, honor him, for he is your Lord. Did you notice what it doesn't say? It doesn't say the king is enthralled by our size 4 jeans, our flawless makeup, our six-pack abs, and our perfectly highlighted hair. I'm not against any of those things, if we have them or seek them for the right reasons. But if we are seeking them for validation, we might as well hand ourselves over to the enemy because he is about to have a field-day with our emotions and behaviors. And it will have an effect on EVERY RELATIONSHIP we have.

I realize this is a touchy subject and one we probably don't want to see ourselves reflected in at all. But if this is striking a nerve, or has perhaps produced a tear or two in your eyes, I can promise you there is hope. God can redeem the way we see ourselves. It just takes time, prayer, A LOT of Scripture, and an awareness and acknowledgement that a problem even exists. Don't do what I did and resist the truth. I knew for at least 7 years I had the problem before I confronted it, and 8 years to finally battle it out. But that doesn't include all the years I didn't see it.

My prayer is that we can get to a point where we want to reflect God so much, that our greatest desire is to have the light of Christ in us be what attracts others to us, not our wordly appearance. It won't be a battle we win easily, but we can win it together.

Bonus Track
More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz

Thursday, October 26, 2017

If You Don't Have Something Nice to Say

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument
of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life; and offer every
part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

On Tuesday we learned that the word sin in the context of this verse has a self-originated nature, meaning, we instigate it. Ouch. And while any part of our body can be used as an instrument of wickedness, we probably think about our mouths first.

We covered gossip yesterday as one of the unwelcome roommates that takes up space in our lives from the perspective of our ears. And it's no shock that we could certainly go there with our mouths as well. But we all probably get that and so we're going somewhere else.

Now, we also learned on Tuesday that an instrument is something used to make war, and that all weapons (instruments) are given as resources to prevail against spiritual war. However, we can (and certainly do) use our mouths to wage a wicked war, one that goes against God's best rather than a godly war, one where we stand our ground against Satan and his schemes.

But we can't leave our mouths as a weapon only in the category of gossip. We have to include words that demean, belittle, complain, demoralize, embarrass, humiliate, etc.

For example: 

~If we complain about something and it instigates complaints, dissatisfaction, or discontent in another person, we have used our mouth as an instrument of wickedness. 

~If we belittle what somebody believes WITHOUT finding out why they believe what they believe through an honest and exploratory conversation, we belittle the person and our mouths become an instrument of wickedness. (Think of this when you meet someone with opposing, I don't know, politcal views. Not saying you have to agree, sway, or change sides, I'm just saying we need to at least seek to understand each other rather than beat each other to death with our words and name-calling.)

~If we embarrass someone through a public forum that can easily create feelings of shame and humiliation, we have used our words as an instrument of wickedness. While dog/cat shaming might be cute with signs that say what they did, our people are another story. And don't get me started on Well, ................ isn't on.............., you have still used your words to influence the opinions of others about someone you love. #SoapBox

Like all parts of our body, our mouths are to be used as an instrument of righteousness, which is beautifully evident in Colossians 3:16-17.

(FYI, the word admonish, in the Greek, doesn't specifically mean to chastise. It means exert positive pressure to choose God's best.)

We learned as kids, and pass on to others, that words can't hurt us. But that's not true. They can and do. We hear things enough and we start to act out of what we have come to believe. This influences everyone, especially those who have, by circumstances, been subjected to situations they didn't have a positive influence to help them find their way out of. That's why the 'boot-straps' mentality doesn't work for everyone. If you have enough people telling you that you aren't good, are entitled, or anything else, why would you even try to fight to overcome their beliefs when you will just get pushed right back down. Just sayin'.

Our greatest hope is to take the truths that God says about us, speak them over ourselves until we believe them, and then speak them over others until they do, too. James warns us of the danger our mouths can do because our tongues are a restless evil full of deadly poison. But if we intentionally seek to align our hearts with God's and his truth, what will flow from our hearts is honey not vinegar. Let's purposefully use our words to build up, encourage, teach, inspire, motivate, pray, praise God, and tell all that he has done instead.

Lord, our mouths get us in so much trouble! And more often than not, we speak before we think and they so easily become an instrument of wickedness that wages war in our own hearts and the hearts of others. Help us to seek you before we speak, seek understanding before spouting assumptions, and use our words for your honor and glory. Don't let us forget that if we don't have anything nice to say, that we should just say nothing at all.

Bonus Track
Speak Life by TobyMac

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument 
of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those
who have been brought from death to life; and offer every
part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

When we offer something, we think of giving it. Sometimes we do it willingly, other times not so much. It might be something tangible like a soup pot that someone needs because they are cooking for a crowd or it might be something intangible like our hearts to show compassion. 

However, we learned yesterday that what's translated as offer in the NIV, actually means yield. So in the case of this verse, we aren't to yield ourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness. In other words, don't compromise what you know to be true, or what you know you are to do, to be used in an ungodly way that creates a huge mess.

That said, let's start small with our ears and unwelcome roommate number 1, gossip.

It's easy to dismiss gossip that we don't participate in as harmless. And by not participating, I mean we aren't contributing to the conversation with our own opinion. However, the moment we listen to it we: can't unhear it, likely won't forget it, will probably be influenced by it at some point in time, and have now given unspoken permission to the person who said it to dish it out to us again in the future. By not shutting it down to start, we are offering a part of us to something that isn't God's best for us.

Granted you can't always predict (or plug your ears fast enough) to prevent it from coming your way. But in love, with preparation, we can shut it down. 

Do you know ________________________? Yes! I have always thought he/she was a great person. What about him/her?

Did you hear about ______________________? No! I hope everything is okay. They have always been a good friend to me.

What do you think of ______________________? Honestly, I haven't thought much about it, but sometimes change/unexpected circumstances/etc in my life have brought the biggest blessings.

If we shut it down before it starts, we protect our ears and hearts, the person or circumstances we don't have all the information about, and whomever is speaking by gently redirecting their thoughts or perceptions with something they might not have considered.

Is this easy? No. And it's hardest when we have an opinion or honestly feel the same way we are anticipating the other person is going to speak. But we have a choice to make: yield to sin or yield to righteousness.

I wish there was a way to make us so sensitive to what we hear that shutting down the negative was automatic. But even Paul warns Timothy that people will gather others to hear what their itching ears want to hear and turn their ears away from the truth and instead turn to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) And while he is specifically speaking of the refusal to accept sound doctrine in place of what allows them to continue with their current practices, this can be applied to gossip if we are yearning to have justification of our feelings about a person or situation and one is coming our way.

The best description of gossip I have ever heard came from Michelle Myers where she said that it is the exact opposite of how Jesus talks to God about us. Romans 8:34 asks: Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died -more than that, who was raised to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Jesus doesn't whisper in God's ear about what we've done or why we deserve some earthly karma, instead he brags about how he died for us and asks for help on our behalf. And truly, if we honestly feel a need to express our thoughts on a person or subject, the best ears we can take it to are the ones who can realign our hearts and let our ears hear the truth. 

Father, it's never easy to hear the reality of how we submit to things we shouldn't because we want to be accepted and included. But the only acceptance and inclusion that should matter to us are the ones that come from you. Give us the wisdom to anticipate what we might be on the verge of hearing, the ability to redirect it before we participate, and the desire to have our ears filled with your truth and fill the ears of others with it, too. We know that we won't get this right all the time and that there will be times that we dive headlong into it, but we know that with your help we can be transformed into instruments of righteousness.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Roommates Part 2: A Lesson in Greek

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

I had every intention of diving right into this verse today. But with help from Biblehub.com, I realized there are some things that need to be understood first.

The word offer is a transitive verb. Since most of us have been out of school for a while, that simply means it's an action verb that requires some type of direct object. In this case, what would be offered is ourself. However, what is translated as offer in the NIV, is the transliterated (how 'we' would spell and say it) Greek word paristemi which means yield. We are not to yield ourself to sin but instead to righteousness.

Sin is the transliterated Greek word hamartia and means missing the mark. However, we need to accept that this brand of sin emphasizes its self-originated nature. Let that sink in for a minute.

The word instrument is the transliterated Greek word hoplon which means weapon to wage war. It also needs to be noted that God gives us all the resources we need to to prevail in every form of spiritual warfare. Keep track. This is fast becoming a difficult verse to accept about what we do.

Wickedness is the transliterated Greek word adikia which means a violation of God's standard while righteousness in the transliterated Greek word dikaiosune and means what God approves.

Finally, the word part is the transliterated Greek word melos which means a member belonging to the whole and, figuratively, any function of human personality.

In essence, according the JIV, this verse means:

Do not yield your heart, mind, mouth, hands and feet, soul, or anything about your characteristics (humorous nature, quick witt, intelligence, etc) to anything that causes strife, disunity, or friction that is coming from you because of your own evil intentions not anything that anyone else has done and you are doing in response; instead, yield all of those things to God as if you were made a new person because of the blood of Christ that has given you a new life in him, and use each and every aspect of your body and who you are to do what God approves of.

We need to get this before we take the 'body parts' into consideration and who our unwelcomed roommmates are, because unless we can wrap our minds around the fact that more often than we should, we are choosing to do things (self-originated sin), we will have a greater difficulty submitting ourselves to using things the way God wants us to use them. 

Monday, October 23, 2017


When I was in college, four of us shared an apartment. We signed a lease agreement that said we would pay the rent on time and abide by the rules of the owners. With an agreement signed, it protected us to be given what it said we would be given and it protected the owner from us doing anything we weren't supposed to do. If we would have chosen not to abide by the rules, we could have easily been kicked out.

The difference between signing a legal document with a human property owner and God is that the person who owns something on earth can evict you before you're ready. On the flip side, God isn't bringing us home until its our time. We might do a lot of stupid stuff in the meantime, but eviction notices just don't show up telling us we've broken the terms of the agreement and we need to find a new place to live.

That said, there are some things God hopes will result from our temporary housing situations while here on earth. (Remember, this place really isn't our home.) Knowing that we are housing the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), we really don't have space for anything else. But we certainly make room for it.

Romans 6:13 tells us Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. When I read that two days ago, the word that stuck out the most was offer. Why? Because there are parts of our bodies that we offer to sin as an instrument of sin and wickedness.

My hope and prayer is that this week we are going to take a look the parts of our body that we are not continually using as instruments of righteousness because we've allowed some extra roommates in our hearts that have too much influence. Because if everything we do and say flows from it, we've got to make sure that the only person living there is the Spirit that is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Stumbling Block

Getting Better ~ Monday

Anti-Rejection ~ Tuesday

Explanations ~ Wednesday

The Correct Response ~ Thursday

Patterns ~ Friday

Considering where we've been all week, it's time to be honest about what keeps tripping us up when it comes to doing what we're told: Control.

The truth is, we struggle with obedience more than anything because it means we are giving up control. We know in our mind and in our heart that Jesus is more than worthy of our trust, but as the Plumb song questions What will you ask of me? scares us to death.

So we have to make a choice. Jesus or ourselves. It really does boil down to which one we want to control us more and which one is the better option.

If we choose Jesus, we know he has our long term best interests at heart. If we choose ourselves, we know we have only the immediate moment in mind. And giving up control (or at least our illusion of it) is not going to come easily.

Lord, this week you have pressed on our hearts the truth that we need to surrender our hearts and all of its contents if we are going to walk in obedience. Help us to see what we are holding on to that is holding us back from all that you have for us. Release in us a desire to make your plans our greatest desires. Reveal to us anything that has greater control over our lives and choices than you. And finally, give us new hearts that are fixed on doing things your way not our own. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Friday, October 20, 2017


TSWBAT. I used that abbreviation in college quite a bit. Unlike the ones most of us easily recognize today like LOL, LMBO, or TTYL, TSWBAT was specific to a select group of individuals in the education field: The Student Will Be Able To. Written at the top of lesson plans, it allows the teacher to determine if the student has not only learned the information they were supposed to, but if they learned it well enough to apply it. For example: The student will be able to identify the verbs in a paragraph with 90% accuracy. It's clear what's expected (the ability to identify verbs) and it's measurable (can they do it the vast majority of the time).

When we think about Jesus being a teacher, it's easy to wonder what his lesson plans look like. In the field of education there is a great emphasis on differentiation, which is a fancy way of saying adapting the information to the individual learner. I imagine Jesus was the first one to implement this practice because the way he taught a lesson to the Pharisees and the way he taught a lesson to the general public was vastly different.

And just as we are uniquely created, I believe our learning styles are uniquely designed. Some of us have a greater learning curve than others in certain areas. For example, I can't read a map of the sanctuary at church. I have no idea why it is so difficult for me to understand it, but it is. On the other hand, I can look at a newspaper and quickly think of a dozen different ways you could use one article to teach something.

If we take a closer look at Romans 6:17, we see that there is pattern of teaching that has now claimed [y]our allegiance. To me that says differntiation. It's almost like an individual filter by which we take every situation and determine what obedience looks like based on the circumstances. While there are some things that are black and white, we live in a lot of gray. This pattern influences our gray.

So we can pray and ask Jesus where our gray spots are and let him show us how we are to navigate through them. We can't take someone eles's pattern and think it will fit us the same way. But if we give him access to all the parts that aren't currently sticking to the plan, not only will we enjoy peace in our heart, but we'll be fulfilling our purpose and how it is to work together in the grand scheme of things.

My hope all week has been that we would start to accept that God really isn't a cosmic kill-joy that has been out to take all our fun. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we have insisted that there are things we can't live without and we're paying for it dearly. But the cross gives us reason to believe otherwise. The cross shows us that God knew it would be difficult from first to last breath and gave us a way to overcome it. But that will only happen when our love abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight of who God is and how much he truly loves us. He's always had the system rigged for our success, we just need to believe it.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Correct Response

A desire to fill a request comes from love, even when it's inconvenient.
A refusal to meet a request comes from stubbornness and willful independence.

We know that the words we speak are a reflection of what's in our hearts (Luke 6:45), but so are our actions. Why? Because anything done in obedience but without love remains fruitless even if results are seen. Love is the only way fruit grows.

At first glance, a reading of Esther 1 makes  you wonder if Xeres is a power hungry jerk. He's throwing a huge party to impress everyone with his vast wealth. Typically wealth assumes great power and that you have moved forward because of your presence, abilities, and resources. But when Vashti refuses to come at his call, he doesn't know what to do. Call me crazy, but I would think if you are in a position of leadership, you should know what you are representing and enforcing when it comes to expectations.

Anyway, from the outside looking in, we can make a lot of assumptions about why Vashti didn't go see Xeres. Maybe they'd had a huge fight, maybe she knew he was drunk, perhaps after the last party she told him she didn't like being objectified. Whatever the reason she didn't go, it not only made a statement, it cost her a title.

Assuming the worst about Xeres, it's easy to see why Vashti wouldn't want to do what he asked. And if that's the case, we have to ask what our excuse is when it comes to God.

A quick glance at 1 Corinthians 13 with its definition of love is a beautiful and accurate display of God. Patient, kind, not envious, boastful, or proud. He doesn't dishonor us, he isn't self-seeking, he isn't easily angered, and he certainly keeps no record of wrongs. He absolutely rejoices with the truth, he would never delight in evil, and he always protects, trusts, perseveres, and hopes for us. Learning this information and accepting it in our hearts changes us and becomes the pattern of teaching that claims our allegiance. Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because our hearts become so enthralled with his love and beauty, it just becomes a natural response.

Lately it seems that 1 Samuel 15:22 keeps popping up: to obey is better than sacrifice. When you think about the beginning of 1 Corinthians 13 where we are told that without love nothing we do means anything, it makes perfect sense. Because if we don't really want to do something, it's pretty obvious from the look on our face to the tone of our voice to the amount of effort we put in. But when we obey in love, everything changes, joy emerges, and fruit grows. Our actions are received as they should be done: with love.

This world offers us a myriad of distractions. We stretch ourselves thin in an attempt to do and be more. But if we look at the pattern of Jesus, we never see him rushing from one place, one person, or one task to the next. He did what he did, where he was, for the people he was with, and he sought his father on what to do next. If we were to let go of all that commands our attention and focused on the absolute callings and assignments we have been given, not only would our witness be strong, but the blessings of peace and contentment to follow would likely overwhelm us.

Today, let's take the time to really look at the definition of love that Paul wrote for us and think about how Jesus was the perfect embodiment of it. Let's look at the things Jesus did through that filter and see how his way really is better than how we choose to move about. And let's let his pattern stake its claim in our hearts and move forward in obedience that is coated in love and shows who we worship.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Recap so far:

Monday ~ Psalm 119:11 We hide God's word in our hearts so that we might not sin against him. We won't get it perfect and so we must show ourselves the grace we would show others.

Tuesday ~ Ezekiel 36:26 If we are to have a heart that obeys the pattern of teaching we've been given, we must remember that God has given us a new heart. And if we aren't going to reject the new life he's given us, we must pray for ourselves, keep our minds focused on what is excellent, and spend time seeking what God actually says.


One of the things I have loved most about Nehemiah is his understanding of who he was, what he was called to do, and his level of responspiblity. Several times, at least five, Nehemiah asks God to remember what he has done. Why? Because he knew deep down that regardless of his personal commitment he could not control the commitment of others. All he could do was continue to obey the pattern of teaching that claimed the allegiance of his own heart.

Let's think for a minute about the personal commitments we make that are explicit and the ones that are assumed. The only true difference between these two examples is our ability to admit where our weaknesses lie. I could say I have an assumed personal commitment to not rob a bank. It's just not a temptation for me. But unless I make an explicit commitment to not loudly direct my off-spring in the way they should go, I know that my volume and frustration can easily look like a defensive tackle on a football field.

However, the commitment itself isn't enough. I must also know the why behind the decision because without the why, without understanding how my actions can have long term effects, it is too easy to revert back to old habits. (Think Sully when he scares Boo half to death in Monsters, Inc.)

The problem is that a lack of why in the presence of what we don't understand or a decision that needs to be made is not going to lead us anywhere we truly would want to be.

In Acts 28:4-6 Paul has just shipwrecked on Malta and he has a snake hanging from his hand. The people assume that he has committed murder, managed to escape from prison, but that the goddess of Justice is going to snuff him out. Instead, Paul shakes off the snake and nothing happened to him that the people expected. Their explanation? He became a god in their eyes.

The people Paul was with did not know God as we know him. They did not understand that despite what worldly human logic says, God is not confined or restricted to it. No, we can't go running off steep cliffs and expect to walk away unscathed, but we also can't assume that a cancer diagnosis is going to take us home to Jesus if God says it isn't our time. But without knowing God or what he is capable of, in the absense of understanding, these people were going to create an explanation based on what they most believed to be true.

The same can be said of us when it comes to our choices. If we do not understand the why behind God's commands, regulations, and decrees, we will make our assumptions on their purposes and then decide if they apply to us. That is unless  we come to obey from our heart. A heart that is fully committed to the God we know intimately and personally and accept that he has our best interest at heart.

Sadly, the vast majority of our understanding comes through time and experience. Some things, by the grace of God, we never decide to do and see the consequences of others who chose differently. Other times, we look back and see how our choices are still haunting us today. Those are the times we can fully declare that God knew best and we ignored his direction.

But if we can take that understanding and apply it to whatever we are currently facing, won't we understand that doing things his way is for our good? Won't we obey from our heart because we see that his teaching is never about him being a control freak but rather a Father who loves his children so much that he took the time to write down what the best options are?

I could list the things I can now look back and seriously wonder what I was thinking. But I know what I was thinking: I wanted what I wanted and rolled the dice. Some didn't have the worst possible outcomes, but they still had some unpleasant ones. But on this side of the roulette table, I can also see the protection God put in that I pushed through because I not only didn't understand why, I didn't take the time to find out why.

Very few of us have the time to remain in a holy huddle, nose deep in the Scriptures, seeking out every why behind God's direction. Our best hope is to look at the cross and believe that his why is always based on love. And if we can wrap our minds around a love that great and accept that it is for us, even in our absolute worst state, our allegiance is sure to follow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


One of the medications often given to people with active lupus is imuran. Typically prescribed for transplant patients to stop organ rejection, this pill works to suppress the immune system so that it stops doing things it ought not to do. The best analogy of lupus I can give you is a two year old with a baseball bat in an antique shop allowed to run wild and do what it wants. You can only imagine the destruction that can be caused. They might hit a few collectible signed baseballs to get a base-hit, but they're also likely going to break things that shouldn't be touched with a wooden bat.

So when we think about the concept of obeying from our heart that pattern of teaching that has claimed our allegiance, we have to be really thankful for the promises of Ezekiel 36:26.

Unfortunately, we forget that we've been given a new heart and a new Spirit, that we were made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we revert back to old habits. 

When Nehemiah had finished his assignment in leading the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, the wall was dedicted, everyone was on fire for the Lord and what they were supposed to do, and he went back to Babylon. After time, he went back to Jerusalem to check on things. And as you might suspect, it all went to hell in a hand-basket in his absense. 

~Tobiah had been given a room in the courts of the house of God

~The Levites hadn't been given their portions and went back to their own fields

~People were treading the winepress on the Sabbath, loading it on their donkeys and taking it all to Jerusalem on the Sabbath

~People from Tyre were coming to Jerusalem and selling on the sabbath

Why? Because like the rest of us, unattended we typically revert back to what we know or prefer.

While the cartoon image of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other isn't exactly Biblical, they wouldn't even do the work we need them to do to stop us from backsliding. Our greatest chance for success is being so in love with Jesus that we don't even have the desire or inclination to entertain doing anything that would hurt him. 

But what does that look like as an anti-rejection drug?

Prayer + Renewed minds + Time in God's word.

We have to pray for ourselves. As selfish as it may sound, if we would pray for someone with an addiction to overcome it, we have to be willing to look at our habits as addictions that we desperately need to be released from. If we would do it for someone we love, shouldn't we at least love ourselves as much?

We need to keep our thoughts on what is excellent. Focusing on what we've been given, what we've seen God do, and where he's called us to action doesn't give us time to set our minds on anything other than what's above and what matters most.

We need to intentionally make time in God's word. As much as I am thrilled that you are reading this, if you aren't reading your Bible, I'd rather you put the few minutes you are spending here, there instead. Don't feast on my breadcrumbs, let God give you the meal he has prepared for you. Because this is the reality: when the Book of Moses (Deuteronomy) was read, the people found that it was written. (Nehemiah 13:1) If we don't know what our Bible says, we have no hope of doing what it says to do.

God has a pattern of teaching that is capable of claiming our allegiance. If we are obeying from our heart, the heart he has given us, things that once distracted and looked pretty begin to lose their appeal and at the same time, we begin to shine his glory and power to those around us. Let's not forfeit what he has for us because of our own forgetfulness. Instead, let's allow God to do a work in us that causes us to shout Thanks be to God that we are no longer slaves to sin.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting Better

The Set Up:

Who: Mom + Man-child
What: books and movies to return
Where: the library
When: after dropping the kids off at school
Why: easier now than later
How: in a bag, in the car, on the front seat

The Reality:

Bag in the car ✔
Kids dropped off ✔
Driving towards library✔
Turn to go home instead of turn into the library ✔

It seems to me that I have always had this notion that I should be better than I am, more capable than I am, more able than I am. But the reality is, if I was, I wouldn't need God.

A couple days ago I read something that quoted Psalm 119:11.

In case you missed it, read it again.....slowly and carefully. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 

The question I keep rattling around in my brain is why I expect perfection. I know in my head that it isn't possible. For heaven's sake, I had a large green bag on the seat next to me in the car and couldn't remember to return its contents to the library, but I expect perfection when it comes to other things? The things that really, truly matter? 

Sometimes I think we miss cues, forget what we've been taught, and fail to follow through because it's God's way of reminding us just how desperately we need him. And not from a place of punishment and condemnation, but from a place of love and grace. To remind us that it's okay to not be perfect because he's never said that he expects perfection.

So what if we take the might not and pray against our weaknesses? What if we willingly take an honest assessment of where we tend to fall short more often than not and intentionally seek God on why we keep tripping over that particular stumbling block? Is it possible that he might reveal something that's stuck inside our hearts that's squeezing him out?

Everyday we have things that compete for our time and attention. My fear is that we are putting the majority of it towards things that aren't as important as we think. 

God willing, this week I am going to focus on a verse that I believe can help us overcome some of our greatest temptations, Romans 6:17.

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey
from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

I want us to seek God fearfully in where we are losing to the enemy, I want us to find the truths of Scripture that we can claim and pray over our lives to thwart the enemies efforts, and I want our hearts to be claimed by allegiance that is born from a love of God that leaves little doubt as to what we will do when faced with a choice. 

Will we get it perfect? No. But we will get better.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nothing More Than A Mouthpiece

There are verses we read that comfort us because they absolve us from a responsibility that we put on ourselves but weren't meant to carry. One of my favorites is 1 Corinthians 3:7 ~ So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. We can be the hands and feet, we can speak truth in love, we can share the reality of what Jesus has done in our hearts, but we can not make another person accept or believe. We might want to, but we can't.

But before Paul wrote these words, he penned something else equally as powerful. In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 Paul said My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power.

Hannah Anderson in Humble Roots explains it this way......In other words, Paul didn't want people to make decisions based on his personality or persuasiveness; he wanted them to be convinced of the power of God. But this meant that Paul had to trust the power of God himself. He had to humble himself to be nothing more than a mouthpiece. He had to wait on the Holy Spirit to change hearts. (emphasis mine)

She goes on to write....Humility teaches us that we must pray and speak the truth in love, but must not nag and pressure and guilt and manipulate. Humility teaches us to trust God. And suddenly a burden rolls off our back. 

So, either I am really slow on the uptake, or what I realized yesterday is going to knock your socks off, too.

We can't be the Holy Spirit for someone else but

I have repeatedly nagged, pressured, guilted, and manipulated myself into doing things that in my mind are exactly what I am supposed to do. Not things that God asked of me or the Spirit stirred in me, but my own personal version of this is what the woman you dream of being would do, so do these things and be this person. 

But inherently there is something very wrong with this plan. If I am playing Holy Spirit, I can't distinguish between my voice and his. 

Now, I have most definitely felt the conviction of the Spirit before on things I knew I absolutely needed to do and change about my life, but there are also a lot of things I've added to the mix in an effort to improve on the fast track. Unfortunately the fast track doesn't work because when God isn't the driver behind our actions, guess who is? We are....along with our ego, our pride, and our selfish desires.

Reading those words yesterday truly did allow a burden to roll off of my back. I have been trying to make so many changes at once (and beating myself up in the process over lack of progress) that I didn't even think to factor in that maybe God wasn't ready for me to 'go big or go home.' 

If this sounds familiar, let's resolve to pray and speak the truth in love to ourselves, and then get out of the way to let the Spirit complete the work he is planning to accomplish in us. As Hannah Anderson writes...humility could free us from obsessing.....about how we feel about ourselves.

Friday, October 13, 2017

In, On, or Over?

I don't know if it's really true that God works in themes in our lives or not, but there seem to be two concepts that are coming up so continually in my reading, that I don't have a choice but to believe that God is trying to make a point.

My themes: Obedience and The Yoke

My two biggest problems:

1. 9 years ago my doctor told me the best thing I could do for myself was to walk 30 minutes a day. I did that for about a month. And then I started running, adding other crazy workouts, and anything else I could find to do that I thought would help. Clearly that has not worked out well for me.

2. I keep resisting the things I know would be most beneficial. Why? Because I am incredibly stubborn, I don't partciularly like asking for or receiving help, and I have a ridiculous amount of pride. My thought has always been I will do it myself, even if it ends up harming me, because I don't want to put the burden on someone else. Just ask my husband. He'll tell you just how stubborn I can be and usually am.

As I continued reading in Nehemiah this morning, I noticed the same three words in succession again: commands, regulations, and decrees. And then I read about obedience through faith in the she works His way devotional app. And while the lights were already on, someone apparently just got home.

I realized that the commands, regulations, and decrees of God are purposeful, protective, and proactive. He put them out there not just to get us out of the trouble he knew we'd find ourselves in, but to prevent us from getting in it in the first place.

I learned in the app that obedience through faith is about being so convinced that God wants what is best that I don't desire an explanation (thank you for that Michelle Myers). What I learned about myself is that by constantly seeking the explanation I am trying to make sure I'm not doing what I've clearly been told to do for nothing, because in my heart, I really don't want to do it.

I have reached a point where I have to accept that I live more of my life on the line or over the line than I have ever WILLINGLY lived inside the line even though that's where I'm safest.

As I finished my quiet time this morning, I came up with some simple addition:

Romans 1:5 + 2 Chronicles 16:9 + Hebrews 12:2 = A Psalm 16:6 Attitude.

If we have obedience that comes from faith, and God looks for hearts fully committed to him to strengthen their faith, and he is the author and perfecter of our faith, then the boundary lines are going to look mighty appealing. And guess what? Things will be better because of it.

Because God has a great sense of humor, the Friday morning Bible study I attend is starting a new session this morning titled Guardrails and it's all about boundaries. Coincidence? I think not.

We all have things we are being called to do. I am obviously being called to a season of rest and probably have been for the last 6 months. And while I'm not saying this 'flare' is a punishment for my lack of obedience, I would say knowing what I know about my body and my illness, it is a very logical consequence. And if God is purusing me this intently by repeating the same things I have ignored up to this point, I really need to bend the knee and submit.

We've probably all been around long enough to have seen our obedience pay off with grace and blessings we know we certainly didn't deserve. So instead of delaying further, let's pray to see the boundaries he is setting with the commands, regulations, and decrees he is giving, and with the obedience that comes from faith, submit for the sake of his name and glory.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Perfect Gift

In One Thousdand Gifts, Ann Voskamp makes the point that everything we get from God is a gift. While we might not look at all the gifts equally, God does. Whether it's something we would prefer to receive or not, he always has a purpose in giving it.

Understanding this concept makes the application of Nehemiah 9:13-15 a little more daunting. "You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought water from a rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them."

Because here's the thing: God gives exactly what we need to attain and maintain what he has determined we are to have.

Read that again. God will give you EXACTLY what you need in order to help you get and keep what he wants you to have.

This includes a diagnosis. This includes an unexpected bill. This includes inconvenient interruptions to your schedule.

And why would he do this? Love. He loves us so much he will give us whatever we need to remember our complete dependence on him and in the process remove whatever is hindering it.

But what's even more disconcerting than the words in verses 13-15 are the words of verse 16 and the beginning of 17. But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them.

If we know God will seek our hearts at all costs, why on earth do we refuse to acknowledge what is happening as his attempt to get us to submit to his leading? Why do we insist on continuing on a path that is leading nowhere good, beneficial, or productive? For me? Pride....and arrogance.....and stubbornness. Sound familiar? Apparently I am much more like my ancestors than I thought.

So this morning I was still reeling in the news of my latest lab results. The number went up higher yet. My frustration has been mounting since last night when I found out because I don't understand why the medicine that worked so beautifully 9 years ago isn't doing a thing for me right now.

And then I come to these words in Nehemiah this morning and this phrase in the she works His way devotional app written by Liz Patton,".....you need to slow your roll right now. This woman needs you in this moment." And I stopped immediately. Could it be that God has called me to these circumstances because he knows full well I am not going to stop my roll unless he all but renders me incapable? Could it be that he is actually telling me to care for myself the way I would naturally care for others but rarely consider necessary for me? I mean, I'm not a genius, but it seems like maybe this theme started over the summer with the concept of rest and perhaps I should have paid a bit more attention to the trumpet call to stop.

We all have situations and circumstances we wish were different. I could easily list about five myself right now. But to refuse what God is graciously giving because he is trying to increase my dependence on him instead of continuously swimming upstream thinking I can do it all myself, not only is insulting but pretty selfish. My number one assignment in life to reflect his goodness and glory and if I don't want to accept what will make that happen, I'm not doing my job at all.

So instead of resisting against what we've been given, let's start embracing what God is using to draw us closer to him. Whether we agree with his methods and thoughts or not, they are always higher than ours and will never fail to help us attain and maintain what he has determined we are to have.

~Side Note: As much as I hate this flare and how I am feeling 90% of the time, this is still a 100x's better than a broken foot and not being able to drive.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Selective Recall

This morning, with windows open, we heard a tiny cry coming from outside. It took all of two seconds to realize that there was clearly a chilly, wet kitten somewhere within range. We started looking online to see what we could do knowing we couldn't take it in ourselves. With a plan at the ready, a neighbor has decided to either adopt or take it to a local non-kill shelter.

One thing about a rescued animal is that they don't forget who rescued them. Years ago I was heading out to the gym very early in the morning. It was completely dark outside and as I approached my car, a black cat meowed and scared me half to death. My entire life I have been terrified of cats. (They are incredibly unpredictable beings.) Needless to say, I jumped and then proceeded to the gym. We attempted through every possible avenue to find him a home. And we did. With us. And while I am not scared of him any more (most of the time), he most certainly knows that it was me who brought him in.

Since the very beginning, if I lay down on my bed or the couch and make a kissy noise, it doesn't take long for him to curl up right next to me. Even if I don't call to him, he somehow knows it's mommy's nap time and he's all for it. Of course it would be better for me if he didn't try to throat punch me while he's getting comfortable, but I just protect and deflect until he settles and dozes off himself.

So why is it that four legged creatures who are brought in, given food, a warm place to sleep, and all the affection they could ever need, remember exactly who rescued them and we, who have been brought into the family of God by a Savior who went out of his way to seek us in the worst possible places, forget he is always with us, for us, and nearer than our next breath.

As I struggle with the limitations I currently have from pure exhaustion, weakness, and outright inability to think coherently half the time, I have heard myself repeatedly say I don't know how I'm going to get this stuff done. Why? Because I forget I don't have to do it in my strength and because I don't seem to remember to check with God's itinerary for my day before deciding on it myself. This is no different than trying to program the DVR without the manuel thinking you'll just figure it out or stumble your way to the solution. God not only created my body, but he knows ~ way more than I do right now ~ exactly what I need and what I need to lay down at his feet.

I have no idea what it will take to get us to turn to God on a regular basis instead of just the 911 moments, but I'm beginning to understand that the rescue he offered the first time is available every time we need it. We just need to decrease our I can handle it all thoughts and curl up next to our Father in heaven and ask him for help.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Learning Curve

Things you could say about me......

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed
                        I am a few fries short of a Happy Meal
                                             I am a few cards short of a full deck

You get the point.

There are days when my mind is so cloudy and foggy, I feel like I would be grasping at straws to remember my own name. On days like that, the thought of writing is often completely overwhelming. It's almost as bad as driving in a torrential downpour. But God.....faithful, fully prepared, filled with grace, mercy, and compassion.

Yesterday was retest day. Every other Monday for another month and a half, I make an appointment to have my numbers checked. Again. I'll be honest, it's getting old. And while it's not horribly expensive as an independent test, the recurring nature of it is certainly adding up.


I went on to the LabCorp website to see if by some miracle my labs had been processed with lightning speed. No such luck. But I did see that an invoice was ready to be paid. For $457.00. Start palpitations and worst case scenario freak-out.

My first thought was that it wasn't covered because of how frequently I have to go right now. This has me ready to scream. But reason starts to settle in and I think, check the EOB online and see what's up. And there it was. The most obvious blunder possible. Somehow this claim got processed and said that the patient (me) was not covered at the time of service. Um, no. One phone call + a short time on hold = a claim being reprocessed correctly and a $20 copay. And the sigh of relief comes.

So what can we learn about me and my enormous learning curve?

When it comes to anything that catches me off guard, I go worst.case.scenario faster than a jumping spider moves out of the way of an incoming tissue.

I panic before I check to see what the root cause of the problem is.

I am incredibly impatient. (I knew there was no way my labs would be ready today.)

I hate when things are unresolved. (Even though I know this will be fixed, it still isn't.)

But something also quite wonderful occurred to me about how we can apply this unhappy little accident to our lives.

When the enemy comes a knockin' with his lies and accusations, all we need to do is pull out our adoption certificate and remind him that we were fully covered at the time of the claim. Because we have to face the truth that he's better at creeping up on us than we realize, and he's going to strike at every opportunity he gets to cause fear and panic. So let's get in the habit of calling him a punk, reminding him who's got our back, and telling him that his time is running out.

On a really funny sidenote, I just got the mail.....in it was the paper bill for $457.00. I think I'll hashtag it #Adopted and #FullyCovered

Monday, October 9, 2017


Nehemiah 8:9-10

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

When I read this on Saturday, there were a few things that really stuck out to me.

1. The response to weep came because the people realized upon hearing the Law (the book of Deuteronomy) that they had messed up badly for a long time.

2. Nehemiah told them to go eat some comfort food. If I understood the original language correctly, it would be more accurate to say allotted fat portions, but let's face it, the thought of meatloaf and mashed potatoes or chicken and biscuits sounds way more appealing.

3. The day the people were weeping was being called holy to the Lord and they were reminded not to grieve because the joy of the Lord would be their strength.

Now, I would imagine a good portion of us have heard Nehemiah 8:10 before and have probably seen it on a bookmark, plaque, or some hand-lettered sign we wanted to frame and hang up to see every day. However, until we take this verse in context, we are missing something hugely important about it.

Upon hearing the Law the people understood where they had gone wrong and they were devasated over their shortcomings. It's why they were weeping. But Nehemiah specifically told them not to weep because the day was being declared holy to the Lord. Why? Because v.8 the people understood what was being read.

So why would that cause the Lord joy? Because they were turning back. 

In Luke 15:7 Jesus tells us, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Their repentence was giving the Lord joy and they could draw on his joy to make them strong rather than wallowing in self-pity over the poor choices and lousy decisions they had made that could not be undone.

So we have to ask ourselves at this point if we do that. Do we honestly draw on the fact that the Lord is joyous when we 'get it' and use that as our strength to move past it and forward or do we continually beat ourselves up over what we've done, label ourselves unusable, and freeze because we have this crazy idea that we need to punish ourselves beyond the consequences our actions have already created? I don't know about you, but I certainly know which one I am much more prone to. And I've got the inner dialogue memorized that matches the soundtrack perfectly.

But as I sat staring at these words printed in black and white for my benefit, I started think about the words John Mark Mcmillan wrote that Crowder sings so beautifully......I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way he loves us.

Because in love, that's what we do when we don't let go of it.....we maintain our regrets.

By definition according to Merriam-Webster maintain means: to keep in an existing state, preserve from failure or decline. Scary isn't it? We maintain our regrets. We forget God's faithfulness over and over but remember our faithlessness like there's no tomorrow.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe you're better at this than I am. But if you aren't, it's high time we got serious about renewing our minds with the truth of God's Word and guarding our hearts with ferocity. And because we have a treasury of Scripture to pull from, let's start our week encouraged by this:

I am God's chosen. I am holy and dearly loved. I am clothed with 
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And these 
things aren't just for me to show to others, but for me to show to myself.