I Am Not Master Of The Universe

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“37 If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. 38 Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.” Luke 6:37-38 The Voice

Have you ever had a morning where everything you pick up points to the fact that you need an attitude adjustment?  I had a morning like that. Everything I picked up pointed to issues around judging others.  Since everything appeared to be pointing that direction, I sat down for some prayer time.  I asked God to search my heart.  Things started to come to mind pretty quickly.  He had a list.

Here is what came to mind:

  • Using opportunities to position myself
  • Self-promotion
  • Striving; feeling like I had to “master” things

Once those were dealt with, it was much easier to operate in a calm, loving, giving way.  The clutter in my heart had been cleared out to make more room for Jesus. When there is more room for Jesus, everything goes more smoothly.  I strive less because I trust Him. I appreciate others more and engage more deeply because I‘m not promoting myself or performing.  I am more outwardly focused (giving, sharing, caring) and less inwardly focused (withholding, hiding, comparing).  It all starts at the heart.

Father, thank you! Thank you for teaching me Your ways.  I know that you are stretching and teaching me Your beautiful ways. Thank you for Your patience, Your grace, Your mercy and Your love. Father, I ask for more wisdom every day to become more like You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Luke 6:37-42, Matthew 7:1, Romans 2:1-2, Romans 14:3-4, 13


Less Fortunate

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“Those who have it easy may easily scorn the unfortunate; they have their contempt already prepared for those whose feet slip.” Job 12:5 The Voice

Have you ever been in a situation where you are an observer in someone else’s life and you feel like you are watching a train wreck?  How quick are we to speak negative things over something that we don’t understand, don’t have all the facts or insight, or frankly isn’t any of our business?  I have been guilty many times of rendering an opinion on matters that did not concern me.

When I have fallen on challenging times I sometimes remember how harsh I may have been with someone else.  Not in their face, but in my attitude, judgment, or commentary.  My own arrogance made me hesitate to reach out to that friend or acquaintance in a tight spot. Not pretty.

God give me the humility not to act like Job’s friends who accused him of sin because of his trials. Show me how to help those who are struggling so that I can give the kind of encouragement to them that You give me.  In Jesus Name I pray these things, Amen.

Job 12:1-10, Matthew 5:47, 7:12; Mark 12:43-44


Total Dependence

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“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:10 NIV

In Hebrew, the word for wisdom here means experience and shrewdness.  The word for knowledge means ability and discernment.  When I examine that verse without God’s grace, it has a sharp edge of self-reliance.  It could even go to a place of arrogance or over-intellectualizing.  At its worst it could become predatory.  However, when I look at it with God’s grace, it becomes a complete and total dependence on the Father.  It is reliant on His wisdom and His knowledge, not mine.  He is all knowing.  Not me.  Grace changed everything in this verse for me. God’s grace grants me mercy and compassion.  Jesus died that I can experience God’s grace.

Father, thank you for Your grace.  Wow, that takes a load off!

Ezra 9:8, Romans 5:2, 1 Corinthians 15:1


Stores of Wisdom

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“He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who do right; He acts as a shield for those who value integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 The Voice

Father, thank you for storing up sound wisdom for me.  Search my heart and keep it straight so it will be a suitable warehouse.  I pray that I will desire to walk in Your path and Your path only.  Thank you for being my shield as I uphold integrity.  I pray the words that come out of my mouth will be full of You; always in Your timing and in alignment with Your desires.

Father bless my hands, my feet, my eyes and my ears as I go about Your business.  I ask for Your light to flow through me; Your love to fill me to overflowing.  Give me Your love, strength, courage, compassion, grace and mercy in everything I do in Jesus’ name.

Psalm 37:30, Proverbs 16:21, Psalm 49:3, Psalm 7:10, Psalm 26:2


Rock The Boat

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“So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.” Isaiah 41:10 The Voice

When I keep my eyes on Jesus it is much easier not to be afraid or anxious or worried.  Sometimes distractions come along that pull my attention elsewhere. It can knock me off-balance and create confusion.  When I feel that way, I know I need to recalibrate. In those moments I have to count on His word. That it is true and that He is faithful. I have to believe that He never leaves me even when my attention wanders. He is still there.  I have to trust that His strength is greater than mine.

Just like Peter, if I get distracted by a storm, I have to trust that He will reach down and pull me out of the water.

Father, thank you for Your Holy Word that is living water for my soul.  Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be perfect.  I just have to step out in faith.  Help me be like Peter and walk on water knowing You are there to catch me if I fall.  Just don’t let me stay in the boat!

Matthew 14:27-32, 28:5-8


Mighty Warrior

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“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

Growing up I read a lot of fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythology as well as the Bible. Generally there was always a hero and a villain.  I always pictured my hero as gallant and strong with a white horse and a sword.  He represented what was right and true.  It was a war against good and evil.

God assures us that He does not have to rush in to save us from some distant land.  He is always present.  He is able to save us completely, nothing remains broken or incomplete.  We are made whole through Him. He is not only our Mighty Warrior, but He delights in us placing our hope in Him. He gets excited when we count on Him instead of relying on ourselves.

Father, help me break that old habit of self-sufficiency. Help me to remember that You are my ever-present Mighty Warrior who is anxious to save me from my present trouble.  Father teach me to stay tucked into You to rest in Your love, peace and joy.

Zephaniah 3:5, 15; Psalm 147:11, 149:4; John 15:11


Swimming Against The Current

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21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Have you ever been swimming against the current? I am not a very strong swimmer. I have had several near death experiences with water that have given me a healthy respect for it.

I know what it feels like to glide along with the current.  It feels effortless, even graceful.  All is peaceful and beautiful…until you have to make your way back! Then it becomes a whole different story.  It can be frightening. Exhausting. It is a fight with every stroke. If you let up, you get battered and set back more than you think you can make up.

There have been times in my life and career when I felt this kind of struggle.  At the time, I wasn’t aware enough to pull up and see that I was swimming against God’s plan and purpose for me. God patiently waited for me to wear myself out.  And it happened.  I fought a hard fight…needlessly.  I could have followed His plan and purpose and let His current carry me along.  Eventually I got there, but wow was I tired when I finally stopped fighting!

Father thank you for Your patience.  Thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  You are so gentle and kind even when I’m not.  Thank you.  Thank you for never giving up on me and never leaving me or forsaking me…even when I’m swimming against the current.

Proverbs 19:20-22, Luke 1:79



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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Have you ever sensed a change of seasons? I do not mean like moving from Summer to Fall. I mean a change of season in your life.  When life seasons happen to coincide with nature’s seasons, it seems to have a magnifying effect. It intensifies the savoring of the change.  One Fall I was experiencing a change of life season. The leaves were dropping. The temperatures were dipping. The produce was changing. More pumpkins, squash and gourds. It was becoming darker earlier and later. I even realized that every Fall before this one there had been a sense of grieving for me. I would grieve the loss of Summer. Its long days.  The warmth of the sun on my skin. The ease of throwing on tennis shoes and taking a long walk.  Open windows with night sounds and a gentle breeze.  That was all going away.

I felt the change of season coming for myself.  I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had a weird combination of anticipation, dread, and excitement.  It felt like it was going to be a time of transformation. Growth.  Was there going to be pain with growth? How long would it hurt?  Was I ready?

After pondering all those feelings, I made a choice. A choice to be thankful. A choice to embrace the change even though I had no idea what it was. The growth, the transformation; even if it hurt. I landed in a place of gratitude. I sensed a new alertness was going to be required.  It was going to be a time of listening carefully to God’s voice and following it. A time to keep up and pay attention to His requests. A time to be still when called for. A time to take stock of all He had done, like Moses and Joshua.  A time to give thanks and embrace what is to come without knowing.

As ominous as this all sounds, you’ll laugh.  I couldn’t help but go to a StarTrek reference in my mind! “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Thankfully, that’s not true!  The Bible is full of stories of many people who boldly went where God wanted them to go.  Some were more graceful than others.  Some arrived quickly, while others ended up taking the long way. But they ended up where God intended: Moses, Abraham, Noah, Jonah, Jacob, Joseph, David, Elijah, Gideon, Esther, Ruth, Rahab, the twelve disciples, Zaccheus, Jesus.   We have a rich history to refer to whenever it gets tough.  And we have each other to encourage and support.  Not to go through change on behalf of each other; that is simply God’s work in each one of us.  We each have our own path.  But we can pray.  We can encourage. We can give and receive grace and mercy to one another. We can love. It makes the season of change and growth much sweeter. More tender. Like Jesus.

Father God, as I go through change I pray I do not lose sight of being tender and gentle with others.  While I may need it, others do too. I pray that You will help me give grace and mercy to others even when I feel like I need it myself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15






“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 NIV

Faith based on anything but God is heresy. Even faith in faith. What I mean is this: faith in hard work and diligence rather than obedience to God’s Spirit.  Be wary of anything that puts the burden of performance on you rather than God. Be willing to yield to the Holy Spirit.

So I had to ask myself the hard question, “How much am I truly yielded to the Holy Spirit?” Am I truly stepping out in faith, or cowering in fear? Fear of what others think. Fear of what things look like to others. If I am fearful, then how can I experience God’s love and share it with others?

Fear causes us to hold on tightly to things and elevate their level of importance. So where do I hold on too tightly?  I could see pride coming into play.  That feeling as if I have control.  Yep, there it was, control…which ties back to pride, fear, lack of trust. It kind of made me sick to my stomach.

When I step back, I am amazed at the grace, mercy, and favor of God. As I struggle with balancing trust and dependence on Him, walking in faith and obedience, He continues to defy circumstances. When I think I am in control and circumstances turn ugly, I interpret them as punishment and look for what I did wrong.  But when I let go and trust everything to God, circumstances are simply circumstances.  Just like God’s favor isn’t based on my performance, circumstances aren’t either. Even if I mess up, nothing is too big for God. He is always there to teach me.  I am constantly learning. I have to continue to trust God knowing that as He teaches me He is also being gentle with my heart.

Father, I repent for my lack of faith in You. I’m sorry for hanging onto those old ways. Thank you for creating me in Your image to do Your work that You have prepared in advance for me to do.

Acts 7:48-53, Ephesians 2:1-10


Be Kind And Compassionate

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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Kind: Of a good or benevolent (intended for benefits rather than profit) nature or disposition. Having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence. Indulgent, considerate or helpful; humane. Mild, gentle.

Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

What about those who prey on the kind and compassionate? Where do we draw the line between helping someone and allowing someone to take advantage? The Bible gives us some guidelines.  Honestly, this is an area where I have struggled.  I am learning that it is to our benefit to truly embody God’s Word.  It keeps us from going too far in either direction.  Boundaries keep us safe.  Acting out of God’s love (not earthly love) keeps our motivations dialed into His Will and discernment, keeping our hearts pliable but not vulnerable. Shrewd as a snake.  Gentle as a dove.

#1: We are to give to everyone who asks of you and not demand it back. But what does that mean?

In Luke, it not only says give when you are asked, but it also says to give to your enemies and do good to them — just as our Father gives to us. God has compassion on all, both the good and the wicked.  We are to be merciful like Him.

#2: We are also to have wise discernment. There are standards to apply for giving our time and money. What are these standards?

  • Never give to the point of being detrimental. Do not enable others.
  • Be a good steward. Use what God gives us wisely. There are things that need to be considered prior to giving to others.  This includes:
    • Giving back to the Lord His portion
    • Provide for the needs of our families
    • Pay our obligations
    • Our time should be balanced between worship, work and family
  • Seek God. Make all things a matter of prayer. Ask for wisdom to discern between a need and a distraction.

As I said before, this has been a tough area for me.  I have had a tendency to over-give on many occasions, venturing into enabling. This has not just been financial, but especially with time and attention.  Learning to set boundaries has been extremely helpful.  I do it much less frequently now.  My own personal healing has helped me learn to let go of caretaking as a means of addressing my own insecurities in an unhealthy manner.  There is so much freedom on the other side of that!

Each day is a new day.  Walking in our Father’s love, making a decision to love others like He loves us, is not the burden you might think.  God does not push Himself on us.  He’s not hovering.  He gives us room to choose.  He waits for our hearts to long to be next to His. The more intimate our love becomes, the more of a desire we have to demonstrate our love to Him through time, obedience and service.  It all comes out of love…making it easier to be kind and compassionate – in a healthy way.  Giving others the room to make their own decisions and find their own way.

Luke 6:30, 35-36; Psalm 145:9, Matthew 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Philippians 4:19, James 1:5