Will You Drink The Cup of Suffering?….

He has done it! …(Psalm 22:39)

What do you need God to do in your life? Heal you of cancer? Restore a relationship? Help you break the power of addiction?

There are many, many big prayers that get sent up to God every single day. I wonder how many of them accompany humility with them. How many actually are filled with an attitude of not entitlement, anger or expectations, but simply of humility and obedience to the Father’s will.

We see that Jesus teaches us how to pray like this in the Garden of Gethsaname as He was on His way to face death. He prayed, “Father, let this cup pass from me, but not my will, but your will be done.”

Would we too be willing to drink the cup the Father gives us if it means we must walk through job loss, cancer, watching our child suffer, or some other type of stressor in life. Go ahead, think about what you fear the most. Would you be willing, as Abraham did, to lay your Isaac down and trust God with the finished result.

I don’t know about you, but there are some cards I don’t want the Lord to deal me. I’d rather play Yahtzee and have some fun, but He may hand me a card I’d rather not play.

If I may, I think humility comes from brokenness. Once our pride breaks under the weight of suffering, we can now see the true condition of who we were before our pride broke. In the midst of it, it’s hard to see how gross our sin was and how deeply it was hurting people.

So if suffering has entered into your life do not run from it; embrace it. I get that, easier said than done. Just understand that the Lord is working something out in our life. It’s His aim to make you more like His Son, Jesus. Don’t fight the process, instead, embrace the journey.

Lord, I submit myself. That’s so hard to do. I certainly come to you expecting you to do the things I ask, but even if you don’t, you are still so very good. Thank you for loving me. I surrender to you, with joy, today, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Trip To The Dentist Reminded Me To Praise

How great is his joy in the victories you give!… (Ps 21:1).

Yesterday as I was driving to the dentist office for a procedure I was being hit with all these negative thoughts. The Lord reminded me, instead, to praise. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the procedure, so instead of going over how bad it was going to be in my mind, instead, I chose to praise God for dentists along with a number of other things in the medical field that are available to help us.

Praise has a way of killing the enemies web of destruction. Don’t you see? That’s his goal. To keep you distracted from being fully present so that you focus solely on yourself and all of your worries.

Have you ever gone about the day and had these thoughts?

If I would have just______________ then I wouldn’t be here. I’m so dumb, why did I do that?

This just stinks, why would God allow for this? Haven’t I been faithful to Him?

What if this happens next or that happens if I make the wrong move here?

I can’t’ imagine that’s just been me. I have learned that the power of negative, anxious thinking is broken through the strength of God’s people who send their anxious thoughts back to the grave with prayer and praise. There’s something about singing and thankfulness that breaks the bonds of the enemy and casts them back to the depths of the sea.

So today, despite all the worries I could focus on, I’m choosing to praise. To praise the Lord for His goodness, His joy, His provision and His strength. And yes, I’m even praising God for dentists. Life is too short to worry your way through the day with a negative, critical heart and mind.

Dear friend, we’ve got some praising to do, let’s start today. Won’t you join me?

Lord, you are so good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your help in times of need. Father, I thank you that I can entrust my whole self to you. I can sing your praises all day long. Yes, you are so good, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sin Entangles Me Into Places of Isolation

The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight…..(Ps 18:24).

I’m so tired of my sin and all the thoughts that try to capture me during the day, stealing me away into places of isolation within my own heart and mind. That’s what sin does. It keeps us from being able to be present with people. You cannot love another person well, if the only person you’re focused on loving is yourself. That’s the problem that sin creates. It makes life all about you. Your needs, your wants, your wishes, your desires- they must be fulfilled. Even if that means sacrificing some of your most valuable relationships.

I keep thinking that if God were here, what would He want me to value? Where would He want me to invest my time? Would it be in the things that I love most now? Truth be told, I know that not everything I love would be where He would ask me to be. I’m working on that. Sometimes we don’t know how to break certain areas of sin so God has to break them for us. That always accompanies with it a tremendous amount of pain and humbling.

I don’t want God to go there with me, but if He must, than I understand. After all, didn’t I ask to be transformed more and more into the image of His son? The longer I try to hold on, the harder it will be when I fall as He creates the perfect storm for me to let go.

I don’t think we should long for God to do the uprooting. We should seek to do it ourselves. Coming to Him daily with a broken and contrite heart. Seeking Him for removal of sin, not because we feel bad about it, but because we feel broken by the thought of it.

Personal revival within our lives and our nation will only take place when God’s people stop praying about all the wrong around them that they cannot control and start focusing more of their time in prayer on the sin inside of them.

The devil loves to use the troubles of this world to serve as an out for us to focus our time, energy and attention in prayer. In community prayer it’s easier to pray about fixing the nation and all of it’s problem than it is to ask Him to fix the brokenness inside of us. After all, no one really likes being exposed, do they? Vulnerability makes us feel weak, but it should make us feel empowered as we bring that which binds us out into the light.

Lord, I surrender myself. I surrender my love for exercise and activity. I know that binds me often. Today I set it free in Jesus name. My I live fully present with you and others instead. God, take my life and use it as a testimony to your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.

I’m No Longer Waiting For the Next Big Thing…

I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness….(Ps 17:15).

Is it possible that contentment doesn’t come from God as if He were handing it off to us, but within God? I think there’s a major difference. I can go asking for contentment, waiting for God to magically pass it into my hands or I can place myself in His embrace and find myself, fully in Him.

This requires me to still myself before Him, to listen well and stop my anxious thoughts and worries. It means I have to give up my rights to know and understand. I must surrender all of myself and find my contentment in Him alone.

This means that I can longer find my peace and purpose in the things I do for God. I can’t find contentment in my activity for Him. I made that mistake for many years. What ended up happening was that my heart became so satisfied in my activity for Him, that I had no idea how to just simply be quiet and content in Him. Once my activity for Him slowed, my identity became shaken. I felt as though I had lost part of myself. Looking back I can see now that I was only losing something that I was holding onto out of pride.

I had placed my purpose and identity in something instead of someone. I think what God is showing me is that true life is not found riding the waves of the next step in our journey, but learning to sit still beside quiet waters for today. It’s not about finding something new and exciting to look forward to. It’s about learning how to rest in the simplicity that life offers for today.

It’s sitting with a loved one who is hurting. Playing games with a child who needs your attention and calling that friend who feels alone. Life really isn’t about the BIG moments of ministry. It’s really all about the little moments of faithfulness. People who live like this will be remembered in the hearts of the ones they loved, not because they led great things, although they may have, but because they loved deeply.

Remember that today is your truest and most exciting calling from God. Yes, today, in the mundane ordinary moments of life. This is your time to shine for God as you learn to be fully present for Him in each and every day.

Lord, I’m waiting here for you. I need more of your grace in my life. Pour out your presence upon me. Make me bold like a lion so that I may face today without fear. I embrace your contentment for today and place myself in you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Faithfulness is the Key to Fruitfulness

who keeps an oath even when it hurts….(Ps 15:4).

Faithfulness is the key to fruitfulness. Without it, surely our lives will produce very little fruit for God. But, sometimes, in order for fruit to be produced, something must die in us first. Mainly, our pride.

I had no idea how prideful of a person I was until things in me started to die. As I placed myself before the Lord and let Him dig deep into some gross areas of sin in my life I was met with thoughts about what other people will think and a number of other thoughts that were all about me.

I’m not sure why I care so much about what others think of me. I think its because in many ways, I have loved and longed for their approval. The Lord is now, in more ways than one, reshaping my identity. He’s given me new avenues for ministry and opportunities to fulfill His kingdom mission. I simply want to be faithful.

Even in my faithfulness I have to be careful. We can be faithful and still be very prideful. That was me in my marriage for a long time. Faithful, but always…right. Faithful, but better than. Faithful, but the one who had it all together.

Yuck, I’m so glad that woman died.

Faithfulness doesn’t produce fruit until we die right along with it. Faithfulness must be accompanied by humility if we’re actually going to produce any good thing from it. So today, I’m choosing not to make life about me or think that people need me. I simply want to love them like Jesus would and care for them, in the shepherd’s field.

Lord, oh, Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You are so good. I want my life to be fruitful, so may I be faithful to you, not in my pride, but in great humility, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Slouching in Shame….

the upright will see his face….(Ps 11:7).

Posture matters, doesn’t it? I had a friend who used to remind me often to walk with my shoulders back and not to slouch. Truth be told, whenever I would round those shoulders of mine and walk without standing tall I’d get back pain or start to feel a little tight in my neck or shoulders. Things just didn’t go well for me if I wasn’t standing tall.

The same goes for our walk with God. Whenever we are standing tall with God we are walking in His confidence. Not in arrogance, no, but in the truth of who we are in Him. More than conquerors through Him who loves us.

Years ago, I allowed such shameful messages to fill my heart that I walked with slouched shoulders whenever I was thrust into a situation that pressed the button of those shameful messages. I’d hide myself from the people I was sure were so disappointed in me. I allowed the enemy to take my life, grab my neck and place me under his burdernsome yoke of shame and destruction.

As I look back on that time in my life, I can’t help but think that the reason I held onto such shame was because I had told myself something wrong about what it means to be a Christian. You see, for many years, I thought any glimpse of failure or not having it all together meant that I was a bad Christian; an unworthy follower of Jesus. So, I lived with this persona that I had it all together. All of that, of course, came across in gross pride. Then, when my life fell apart and suffering enter into my life I had a hard time separating my human failures and struggles from my identity.

It shook me to the core of who I thought I should be. It wasn’t until I realized that standing tall with God is really about letting Him pick you up and set you on a firm foundation when you do fall. Sometimes, I think Satan wants to crush us with the false houses we live in when they come crashing down. He longs for us to stay in a heap of rubble and live there among the ruins, but God wants to pick us up, dust us off and set us up on a firm foundation. There, on His foundation we’re no longer trying to hide from others in the rubble, but we’re fully confident in the person of Jesus for our life as we let Him showcase us to the world that He redeems brokenness and that He blesses those who continue to seek His face even when they fall.

The message of the gospel is good news for imperfect people like you and me. It’s a message of hope that we don’t have to let our failures define us, because Christ is our King.

Lord, you love the righteous and upright in heart. Father, I want to be like you. Help me now to live with your love. To stand tall in you. You are the one I want to please, in Jesus name, Amen.

What About Me?

 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”… (Ps 10:11).

Sin is a terrible thing. It blinds us from not only seeing how wrong we’ve been, but from being able to see the needs of others. Sin has a way of turning us inward, making life all about us. In my moments of deep selfishness I’ve even struggled to think or care well for others. Because all I really wanted was for people to think and care about me.

I think this kind of attitude kills relationships. It just does. I’ve seen it infect my own marriage, friendships and other relationships with loved ones. I’ve gone into relationships with the attitude of, well, what about me? Why doesn’t this person reach out to me, care about me, or show attention to me?

This kind of thinking kills relationships because they can’t grow when one person wants to always be fed. Healthy relationships grow when each person seeks to serve the other by tending to their needs, being present for them and standing alongside them as they grow.

I’ve always been a doer, someone who is multi-tasking or keeping themself busy. Now, with my daughter, the Lord has been challenging me to simply be present with her. To set aside my to do list and to sit myself on the floor and do nothing but be present.

That is very hard for me to do. I can’t say that I’ve mastered it yet, but when I do simply be still with her, fully present in the moment, I sense the Lord’s grace and His peace in overwhelming abundance.

Truth be told, as I asked the Lord why I struggle so much to be fully attentive, I heard Him say, “It’s because you’re afraid.” I’m afraid of not becoming someone, not doing enough or being lazy and unproductive. I’m afraid that I’ll waste my days and not have done something right that builds own personal growth and my daughters growth, but in this season, I think the growth isn’t coming from my doing. I think it’s coming from my “being.” Being simply present for others.

The Lord is teaching me in the shepherd’s field that caring for the sheep is the call of every Christian. Doing that means I must die to my needs and thoughts that living for God is being busy for God. No matter how much ministry God entrusts to me, I know, I must still live as a shepherd. Truly, that is the place that He grows all of His sheep, including me.

Lord, thank you for this season. Thank you for what you’re teaching me about you and your Kingdom work. Show me the sin in my life that keeps me from loving people. Forgive me for the days when I worry about not doing enough, when I get bored with the same routine and when I get so easily distracted when I’m with my child. I want to be fully present for her and others you have placed before me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.


Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin…. (2 Ki 17:21).

Church, please, wake up. For the sake of the generations coming after us, we must. It goes without saying that our world is in a very dark and confusing place. I cannot recall a time in my life when the political and social climate has been so tense and divided. When I scroll through my newsfeed I see many of my own Christian friends landing on opposite sides of the fence, vehemently defending their position. I find that to be so exhausting.

Sometimes, as I scroll through, I wonder where Christ is seated among us? Have we even allowed Him to be in His rightful place or have we replaced Him with politics? If we long for deliverance from this place, then why have we not repented of our foolish ways and returned to Him?

It goes without saying that every nation that fell away from God, fell right along with their dismissal of Him.

Here’s the bottom line, the President will not save you. Nor will any other future president from any other political party. Only God can restore our country. I hear so many people saying, but if so and so gets elected or re-elected the nation will fall! Can’t you see, dear friend, political leaders are simply a distraction from the real issue at hand- the human heart.

Yes, your heart and mine. The problem is not with someone else, the problem is with the one staring back at you in the mirror every day. That person is your biggest problem. The person who does not know how to love. The person who feels justified in their thoughts and actions. The person who gets angry at the republicans, the democrats, the…..you get the idea. That person who, by their own actions, causes further division.

Jesus came to bring people together. His message was one of unity, togetherness, and love.

Why in the midst of this coronavirus are people not flocking to the church? Why are they instead flocking to other places and systems for relief? Should they not be flooding our churches? Could it be that we have allowed so much of what our country defines itself by in this current climate to define us too, and so now they want nothing to do with us because politics has become their god as well?

Jesus used humility to save humanity. He was the power of God on display. He was and still is the light of the world. He draws all men to Himself. He longs to use His people to do the same, but she must wake up and return once more to her first love and repent.

I am asking God to search my heart in this heavy place in our world and I would encourage you to do the same. It is very telling to me that people are not flocking to the churches for answers. That tells me that it’s quite possible that many of those residing within her walls have stopped being a lamp on a stand and a city on a hill. Oh Lord, forgive us, we need transformed hearts.

If you want this climate in our world, then you must be willing to change yourself. Yes, you, please, do it now for the sake of the generations coming after us. A return to the Lord is our only hope. Turn and be restored to your maker. The evil among us is real and heavy, but God is the victor and He can bring us relief.

Lord, forgive us for our foolish, selfish ways. We have fallen so far from you and your grace. You are the true and only healer. Heal us and our nation, we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Give Me Jesus…or…Give Me Fame and Glory

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth….(1 Kings 10:23)

When I was young, I wanted to grow up and become like many of the pro athletes I watched on television. I remember once going to watch the USA women’s Olympic softball team. I was mesmerized by these women and I wanted to become what they were.

Therefore, much of my time and energy was spent investing my life in the people I wanted to become like. I’d spend hours playing sports throughout the week because if I could be honest, it wasn’t always their character or integrity that I wanted for my life, it was their fame and glory.

I imagine a lot of children in Israel wanted to grow up to be just like King Solomon as well. A man, full of wealth and wisdom far beyond any other king in the world. I can just see them now, daydreaming as I did of having fame and glory.

Maybe that’s why when the Messiah came, He seemed a bit disappointing to them. Maybe that’s why so many in Israel had such a hard time embracing Him; an ordinary man, born into a poor family with no wealth, gold, or horses and chariots to run in front of Him.

The truth is, whatever we dwell upon, will be what we believe we need to become. For all of those years, I thought I needed to become someone with fame and glory. Then, when I met Jesus, my thinking was flipped upside-down. I was met with the reality that my life is not my own. That fame and glory are not for me to have. My pursuits are not for myself. My abilities are not given to me so that others can worship and praise me. No, they are blessings from God so that others might adorn Christ in me.

Can I be really honest though? That was a difficult concept for me to grasp as a Christian. The rewiring of my thinking in this arena took years for me to reshape and if I’m being totally honest, I’m still on that path. I’m still dying to those thoughts and allowing Christ and His Kingdom to reshape my thinking for His namesake and not my own.

It is dangerous to become disappointed with Jesus because He didn’t meet our expectations of kingship. Maybe it’s because, if we’re being real, we just want Him to make us a king. We don’t want the life of a peasant or a servant, so we get upset with Him and reach for fame elsewhere because our hearts just have to have it.

King Solomon was a king full of wealth and wisdom, but he was just a man. Jesus was a man full of heavenly treasures, wisdom, and humility. He was no ordinary man. He had an agenda. It was to do His father’s will and to turn the world upside-down. Teaching others how to live, not for fame and glory, but for wisdom, humility, and selflessness. If those things are not growing in your life then you’re worshipping the wrong king.

Lord, I don’t need fame or glory. I need you. Lord, I am but a peasant in your kingdom. That’s who I want to be, a true servant for your namesake. You adorn me with your love, yes, but it is no so that I can be seen and praised by others. Lord, I want my light to shine that others might praise you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Where God Lives

the temple I have built for your Name…(1 Kings 8:48)

In the Old Testament God dwelt in the Temple that was made for Him. Now, He dwells inside of His people. That is good news indeed, but it is also, to some degree, shocking news. Shocking because now, His people must ready themselves to be that place where God dwells. We must set up the table where sacrifices will be made and where things will die.

No one told me that when I came to Jesus and it’s been a little shocking, at least for me, on different occasions since that day. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have come to Him because of that, but the reality of these personal deaths over the years has certainly been sobering.

Sobering because there are certain parts of me that need to die, but the death of them has been so very painful. There’s this part of me that cannot fathom life without Jesus. His love and eternal blessings. Yet, there’s this other part of me that wants to live without being a sacrifice.

Truly, there is so much good to be had though as we surrender our whole lives and offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice to the one who tabernacles inside of us.Have you ever been washed away by God only to find that what remained was something of purer gold? A renewed mindset and heart. A softer gentler disposition and deeper peace? That my friends, does not come without sacrifice and death. A death to self that brings forth resurrection.

Have you ever been washed away by God only to find that what remained was something of purer gold? A renewed mindset and heart. A softer gentler disposition and deeper peace? That my friends does not come without sacrifice and death. Death to self that brings forth resurrection.

I’m currently working through something that I’m asking God to kill in me. It’s a personal death that if I could be quite honest, I don’t want to die. This death He’s been trying to do away within me feels like it’s been going on for years.

Truth be told, I think what I’m learning is that this time up on the altar might never cease. That’s the point. Once you’ve learned how to really place yourself upon the altar in the most holy place before an eternal, loving God there’s a deeper place you must continue to go if you want to be like Him. That place always requires a death inside of you, so that His life and fruitfulness might be resurrected in you.

Don’t despair that something inside of you is dying, but rejoice that God is doing a good work in you for His namesake. Don’t hide what God is doing either, but let it shine before others. Truly, the work of God is often the greatest in His body when she has learned how to die before Him. Our personal resurrections only come when our personal attempts at kingship turn into laying ourselves up as a sacrifice before God and others instead.

Lord, here I am, all of me. I want to offer up my whole self as a living sacrifice before you. I surrender and place myself on your altar, in Jesus name, amen.