Monday, January 25, 2016


 Immediately after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:44b).  Lazarus had been dead, completely and utterly dead but then Jesus came along, brought him back to life and the first thing he told Lazarus to do was get rid of the grave clothes.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us the same thing.  It tells us that through Christ’s death, we have become a new creation and we need to stop living like we are dead.  So what have you done with your grave clothes?

Do you think Lazarus kept his grave clothes as a keepsake?  I seriously doubt it.  My guess is they were dirty and tattered and they smelled like nothing you would want to permeate your nostrils.  My guess is he burned them.  Here is the problem with us.  Instead of burning our grave clothes, we fold them up and stick them in a drawer just in case we might want to wear them again.  We might burn up parts of them.  It is easier to recognize certain sins and do away with them altogether, but others are more subtle and we find ourselves slipping back into them just as easily as we slide on that old comfortable pair of sweats at the end of a stressful day. 

So how do we avoid putting those grave clothes back on? If you have the answer to that, please share because I’d love to burn these sins of mine forever.   The truth is we will never be able to keep them off completely.  It’s probably one of our toughest battles as Christians.  I suppose we can draw some comfort from the fact that even Paul had the same struggle.  He says, “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)  Amen, brother.  I feel ya.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  Remember Jesus has made us a new creation.  He doesn’t send us out on this journey alone.  We have the Holy Spirit to help us.  He can help us take off those old rags and instead of keeping us naked, He gives us new clothes to put on. (Oh Jesus, you sure do know the way to a girl’s heart.)

I know for me, the only time I have any success is when I consciously think about what I need to take off and then plead for His help in putting on the new garment.  We can take off anger, and put on mercy.  We can take off selfishness and put on generosity.  We can take off fear and put on faith.  Every single time we find ourselves wearing those old clothes we must consciously take them off and put our new clothes on.  It’s not easy; it takes work and conscious effort but I am convinced that the path to true freedom begins with taking off your clothes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Here is the truth, for me at least - sometimes it's hard to believe that God will keep us from all harm because sometimes we feel like we are being harmed.  How do the two things go together?  When I talk to people who aren't believers, sometimes it's the one thing that is holding them back.  How could a loving God allow _______ to happen to me?
I am afraid I do not have some amazing answer to wipe away all doubt.  Still, I choose to take God at His word and if He says He will keep from all harm, then I believe Him.
What then must I do with these things I perceive as harm, those "light and momentary troubles" which don't necessarily feel light and momentary to me?  Maybe I need to look at that verse in it's entirety. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17)  Eternal - that's the key for me.  The ultimate end.  What seems like harm at the moment means nothing when compared to eternity and my eternity is with Christ.  When I look back at some of the major troubles in my life, they have played a key role in bringing me to Christ.  I don't always understand this journey God has me on, but I trust Him.
The part of Psalm 121 which brings me the most comfort is verse 4.  God watches over me.  He will neither sleep nor slumber.  He watches every single move I make. Verse 8 says He will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.  Do you remember when you were little and you just wanted your mom to watch you.  How many times do we hear our kids say, "Mom, watch me?'  How great was it to know your mom was watching?  It made you feel important, it made you feel special, it made you feel loved and it made you feel safe.  But Mom couldn't watch you all the time.  She had other kids she had to watch.  She had chores to do and sometimes, she took you to the park to play so she could sit and talk with her girlfriends.  But because God is God, He can watch you ALWAYS.  What a comfort it is to me to know He is always watching.  That means that nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him.  He sees it before it happens and He knows exactly how He is going to use it to shape my life.  If He is right there watching all the time, and I KNOW He is a loving God, then I have to believe that all the things that happen in my life, even the things I perceive as harm, must really be for my ultimate good?  After all, what mother would watch her child and see harm headed his way and not do anything in her power to stop it?   Unless,  she believed her child might actually learn something by allowing him to deal with whatever it was she saw coming.  If our parents care for us this much, how much more does God care for us?

Friday, March 15, 2013


Genesis 27 tells the story of how Rebekah and Jacob deceived Isaac to get the blessing he intended to give Esau.  This story really spoke to me this week.  Rebekah knew what God had promised.  He  had told her back when she was pregnant:
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)
She knew all this and yet  as she heard her husband plotting to try and change this, she let fear creep in.  That fear led her to take matters into her own hands.  She and Jacob tricked Isaac and he gave the blessing to Jacob instead.
Rebekah got what she wanted.  Rebekah got what she knew God had intended but what did she miss out on? What consequences did she have to endure because of her deceit? God would have followed through on His promise - He ALWAYS does.  He didn't need Rebekah's help.
How many times have I let fear cause me to take matters into my own hands?  I know what God has promised me.  Yet, I feel like He needs my help when it doesn't look like things are moving in that direction.  Isn't that ridiculous?  As I read it back to myself, it makes me laugh out loud.  This is the same God who spoke the world into being, the same God who parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross over on dry ground, the same God who empowered David to take down Goliath with a single stone, the same God who brought my fiance' (now my husband) back to me when I thought our relationship had been irretrievably broken, the same God who healed my daughter when she fell on her head and was knocked unconscious, the same God who has guided us through 2 cross country moves, the same God who saw a tired, confused, cynical, depressed and abandoned 19 year old girl and redeemed her life.  That is a God who certainly does not need my help.
I wonder how God would have caused Jacob to receive the blessing had Rebekah not stepped in.  What would she have seen?  How would her faith have grown because of how she saw God work out His plan, His good and perfect plan?
My challenge right now is to learn from Rebekah's mistake and try not to let that fear overwhelm me to the point of trying to take matters into my own hands.  I want to be excited about the things God is going to do and to be completely trusting of His will.  I don't want to miss out on the many blessings along the way and I certainly don't want to have to suffer the consequences of my bad behavior.
I want God to get all the glory for the amazing God He is.  I want to stand in awe on the other side of the road because I can't believe how I got there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


It occurred to me today - God wants more for me than I want for myself. Have you ever stopped to think about that? One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 3:20 which tells us God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. But it is even more than that, more than His ability. He is certainly able to do more than we can imagine but He also desires to do more than we can imagine. Isaiah 60:17 says, "Instead of bronze, I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron." The problem is, sometimes, in our eyes, this looks like unanswered prayers.

My sister-in-law brought the Isaiah verse up to me yesterday and it really challenged my thinking. As part of this contentment project, I must be willing to let go of my hopes and dreams in favor of God's perfect plan for my life. Sometimes, that means letting go of the things I think I want or need in favor of what God says is best. That is hard for the control freak in me. It's also hard for the child in me who wants what I want when I want it. But when I read these verses, I realize how silly my thinking is. I am asking for bronze when God wants to give me GOLD. Who would want bronze instead of gold?

Instead of looking at my prayers as unanswered I need to rest in the truth. God has something better for me. That will probably look like something entirely different than I expect but that is the amazing thing about God - He is so much bigger than our expectations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

get well

I was reading today in John Chapter 5, when Jesus comes across a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. "When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6) My first reaction was, "Why would Jesus ask that? And then my second reaction was to really think about that question. Why would Jesus ask that? It seems incomprehensible to me that the man would not want to get well but, truthfully, there are times we become comfortable in our "illness". Now I am not necessarily talking about a physical illness but a spiritual one.

Is there something you need healing from, a change you know needs to occur in your life? Are you resisting that healing for some reason? Are you blocking the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Why do we do this? One reason I think we do this is we fear change. We know what to expect in our current state. We may not like it, but we know it and it's comfortable. Another reason may be we actually like the drama our situation creates. It puts the focus exactly where we love it to be, on ourselves. Or maybe we just don't want to do the hard work we know is involved in making change happen.

So I have a question for you today - "Do you want to get well?" Whatever it is, whatever is going on in your life right now. Take some time to think about that before I tell you the rest of the story.

So the man gave a reply that in my life might sound something like this - But I don't have anyone to help me and everytime I try I get knocked back down again. But Jesus told the man, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." (John 5:8b) Now those of you who know me or have heard me speak may know how much I love these stories in the Bible when Jesus tells people who have been incapacitated for a long time to get up and walk. This took no small effort on the part of the man. He had to trust Jesus had healed him. He had to listen to his words, take them into his heart and put them into practice by standing up and walking.

Will you do the same today? Will I do the same? Do we want to get well? TRULY??? What if that means coming out of your comfort zone? What if that means no more complaining? What if that means you have to rescind all the invitations to your pity party? What if it means you have some hard work to do? What if it means you have to trust Jesus and get up and walk?

I will be completely honest with you - part of the reason I have not been writing this blog consistently is some part of me has not wanted to get well. My life has been a series of changes the past 3 years as we moved from the west coast to the east coast and back to the west coast again. My relationship with God has not been what it was 3 years ago when I had a strong force of women friends backing me up and encouraging me daily. Writing this blog makes me confront my part in that relationship and I have not been wanting to do that. It takes hard work and frankly, I have been quite comfortable taking the easy road. But this question really spoke to me today and I DO want to get well. I want that same intimacy with my savior I had then and I think I am finally ready to get up and walk!!!!

Do you want to get well?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My daughter and I are finishing up a study of Luke. Today we came to the part, shortly before Jesus' arrest where He went into the garden with some of his disciples. He asked them to pray but overcome by their exhaustion, they fell asleep. I have often been baffled by this. Why couldn't they stay awake for their dear friend and master? Did they not sense the urgency of what was about to happen?
But today, a new thought occurred to me. I think Jesus knew they would fall asleep and He brought them into the garden to illustrate a point. Before this event, they had all been celebrating what we now call The Last Supper. At this meal, Jesus was warning them. He was trying to get them to understand that things were going to get tough. If they thought things were tough before, that was nothing compared to what was coming. He even tells Peter that Satan has asked to sift him like wheat and indicates that Peter will fall into temptation by saying when you turn back, strengthen your brothers.
So my daughter and I talked this morning about how it feels when you are super sleepy and how hard it is to try and stay awake. And how sometimes, no matter what you do, your body just succumbs to the sleepiness. We related this to our weakness. When things get tough or scary and we are not at the top of our game, it's kind of like when we are sleepy and that is when Satan loves to jump in and attack us. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, those are the times when we tend to succumb to sin.
Jesus knew things were going to get unbearably tough for his disciples and he knew how important it would be for them to stay strong. He also knew that they would falter at times and I think he wanted them to remember that fight to stay awake and use it in their fight against Satan.
But there is more to the story. Every morning we wake up, refreshed from our sleep. Jesus told Peter, when you turn back, not if but when. We always have the opportunity to start fresh with God, even when we blow it in our weakness and succumb to the temptations of Satan. Everyday we get a new chance to allow God to refresh our souls and there is no greater refreshment than that which comes from the Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I have spent alot of time lately thinking about the travelers on the road to Emmaus. You remember the story at the end of Luke? Shortly after Jesus' death, two men were travelling when Jesus appeared to them. Only they didn't recognize it was Jesus at first. How many times have I neglected to recognize Jesus in my life? I have gotten really good at creating these fantasies in my head of how I think Jesus should act that sometimes I fail to see Him when He is right in front of me.

That's what I think happened with these men. Jesus' death took them by surprise. They were so focused on their current problem, Israel's oppression, that they failed to see the bigger picture. Jesus was supposed to be their Savior yet now he was gone and Rome must have seemed even more powerful. They missed the looming problem, the oppression of the world and it was hard for them to see how Jesus' death could have solved anything. It took Jesus himself to explain everything to them before these men could understand that His death was a victory and not a defeat.

I can so relate to these men. My self-centeredness leads me to miss so much of what God has for me. I focus on my own small problems and I miss how God might want to use me for something or someone else. When God doesn't act the way I think He should, I become distraught and short-sighted and I forget that this life is not all about me. How I long for the sense of community that is described in the early church in Acts.

Lord, change my heart, help my focus to be other-centered instead of self-centered. Transform me to be genuinely happy for the blessings you provide for others and show me the ways you have provided for me to be a vessel for some of those blessings. Help me to see the big picture and when things don't go my way, help me to remember that you promise to work all things for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purposes - all the people, not just me.