Stand still

In Exodus 14, God parted the Red Sea in order for the children of Israel to cross over. A renowned story that most everyone knows, but today I want to take a closer look. Verse 8 tells us that they went out with “boldness”. After all, they had just witnessed God’s mighty power when He sent the plagues to the Egyptians. At the same time they experienced His abundant mercy as He protected them from each plague, but their boldness quickly turned to fear when they find that the Egyptians are chasing them.

Aren’t we a lot like that today? One day we’re on top of the world – as Christians, we are loving Jesus and life is running smoothly. Then a hardship comes our way. (We are living in a fallen world; we are not promised an easy life.). We begin to look at the problem through our human eyes, forgetting who is really in control.

The story continues with God using this time to show His love and power. Verse 13 says, “…Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” Verse 14 says, “The Lord will fight for you…” He is still the same God. He is telling us the same thing today:

“Do not be afraid…Stand still…He will fight for you…”

Let’s not forget the next, most famous part of the story. God not only parts the sea and lets the multitude of Israelites cross on dry land, He also stands guard between them and the Egyptians. Verse 19-20 tells us, “The Angel of God…moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel.” We can trust God to lead us and to protect us even in our darkest days.

We all know how this story ends. The children of Israel are saved and the Egyptians are killed. The last verse in this chapter tells us, “So the Lord saved Israel…; so the people feared and believed in the Lord.” It’s a wonderful story that reminds us of God’s might and power along with His love and grace for His children. It is also a reminder that often our most difficult days are the very ones that can be used for His glory to draw others to Him and remind us that He is still in charge. We just need to stand still and trust in Him.

But God…

But God…what a wonderful promise that in our most difficult times, God shows up. If not for His love and grace, we would be overtaken by the storms of this life. The concept of But God…comes directly from His Word. Over and over we find story after story of those in dire straits on the verge of destruction but just in time, God shows up and changes things. He may not always change our situation; sometimes what He changes is our attitude…our perspective from self-centered to God-centered. Along with a God-centered perspective comes the “peace that passes understanding” even in the most dire of circumstances.

In Genesis 48:21, when Israel is dying, he says to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, BUT GOD will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.”

In Genesis 50, after Israel had died, Joseph’s brothers were afraid of what Joseph might do to them. In verse 20, Joseph tells them, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; BUT GOD meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people.”

In 1 Kings 5, Solomon is reflecting on how his father, David was not able to build a temple for God due to opposition at every turn . Verse 5 says, “BUT now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side…”

In 1 Samuel 23, we see David being chased by Saul and his army. Verse 14 tells us “…Saul sought him everyday, BUT GOD did not deliver him into his hand.”

In Acts 2, Paul is talking to the people of Israel. he tells them that with the Gentiles help, they nailed Jesus to a cross and killed him. Verse 24 says, “BUT GOD released him from the horrors of death and raised him to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.”

In Ephesians 2, Paul is talking about our sinful nature. Verse 4 says, BUT GOD who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

These are only a few examples, but it is clear that we can trust in God in our darkest times. I’m writing this in the middle of the Pandemic. The world is a crazy and unstable place right now. How comforting to know that this world is temporary and that with a whisper of “BUT GOD,” we can feel His presence and know that He is in control – no matter our circumstances.

Noah found Grace

Genesis 6:8

I was reading the story of Noah this morning and started reflecting on who Noah was and how he lived. As a child, we are taught that the whole world had turned so sinful that God decided to destroy the world with a flood and only one man was found righteous enough to be saved. That is true…but Noah was a man born with the same sinful nature that all of us have, so we know he wasn’t perfect. Only one man has ever lived a perfect life. What made Noah different from the other sinners whom God was planning to destroy? The answer is the same answer that we have today – GRACE – the same GRACE that is found at the cross of Jesus. We are sinners by nature, just like Noah. We find redemption in the saving grace of Jesus who carried our sin on the cross.

“…Noah walked with God.”

Genesis 6:9

Obviously, Noah lived before Jesus walked on earth. But Noah sought to live a life that honored God. The Bible says that Noah walked with God. There is a lesson for each of us in these two verses. First, we need God’s grace to cover our sins. Second, in response to God’s marvelous grace, we are to walk with Him daily. Talk to Him – get to know Him by studying His Word – experience His love and grace.

As children, I think we get the idea that Noah was the only perfect person left on earth. What is so important to remember is that Noah was a sinner like the rest of us; He was just the only one left who was seeking God in a world that had forsaken God. Don’t you feel that way sometimes, too? Some days serving God feels like an uphill battle. Noah stood firm and obeyed God even when he didn’t understand the end result. We too must stand firm even when life is falling apart and we may not understand what’s ahead. We can trust our loving Father. The same God who saved Noah and his family, saved me and walks with me daily as I like Noah seek to live a life that honors my God. Do I fail? Absolutely! But like Noah, I have found GRACE. I hope you have too.

Confession is good for the soul.

Confession…brings to mind a criminal admitting guilt in a court setting. (I watch way too much Law and Order). God’s purpose for confession has a higher meaning. It helps to bring about repentence and His forgiveness. I was reading through Genesis 3 this morning. Beginning in verse nine, God begins asking Adam and Eve a series of questions: “Where are you?”; “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”; “What is this you have done?”

God is omniscient. He knew before he asked all the answers to his questions. The lesson for us is that he asked. He wanted them to confess and own up to their sin – the first step to forgiveness. We all know this story. Instead of throwing themselves at God’s feet and begging forgiveness, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and they were thrown out of Eden with punishments that affect us still today. God is loving but God is also just.

My daughter has a son who is almost four. When he disobeys, she makes him say what he did wrong. She is a loving mother who wants to correct bad behavior and part of that is having him say out loud what he did wrong. I don’t think she’s analyzed the process or thought about the Biblical implications, it’s just a natural process in raising children. It reminds me so much of our heavenly Father who loves us so much. He asked the first humans questions he knew the answer to….It was for them. In the New Testament, we are told over and over to confess our sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16

God knows that as humans we need to “come clean” by saying out loud and admitting to our sin. It is such an important step in being made clean and being set free in Christ. Just like my grandson, Cayden, has to tell his parents what he did wrong, so should we tell Jesus what we’ve “done wrong”…Confess our sins to Him, so we can be made right again and not be consumed by guilt or ongoing sin.

I love that we serve a God who loves us so much that He made a way for our sinful nature to be made right again through His own Son’s sacrifice and resurrection. He also knew how important it would be for us to confess our sins to him daily – to renew our minds and confess our sins to him every day. That’s for us…so we can live in victory and freedom.

Abundant Living

This is a second entry for the devotional book my church is putting together. I wrote about abundant living as I seek to live my life abundantly for Jesus. I want my desires to line up with God’s plan for my life. I chose the picture of my granddaughter in the ocean to go with this entry. I love the way she plays in the ocean with complete abandon. She is not worried about anything. She is focused only on enjoying the moment. That is how I want my walk with Christ to be, fully trusting, abandoning my will, my wants for His and living abundantly.

Here’s the entry:

So, you love Jesus and you’ve studied His Word enough to know that you should turn to Him for help in times of trouble.  You are surviving.

I have good news – There is more! 

2nd Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

This is not “name it, claim it”.  Jesus is not a magic genie.  This verse tells us that God will bless us abundantly.  As we grow in our walk with Him, our desires, our wants become aligned with His.  This scripture says, “you will abound in every good work” –   Our Father’s work – bringing Him glory – telling others about Him.  Isn’t that exciting? 

Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This scripture reminds us that no matter the difficulties of this life, we can have an inner calm – “the peace that surpasses understanding.”  When we can remember that our prize is not found on this earth, we can lean into His perfect peace and live boldly for Him – not just surviving this life but THRIVING victoriously in an abundant life.

Cast your cares on Him

The women’s group at my church is putting together a devotional book.  The following is one of my entries for the book.  I chose this topic as this is has been on my heart lately.  My desire is to be in the Word and prayer daily.  I want to be in the center of my Father’s will and that means humbly laying down my wants – my desires – for His.  As 1 Peter 5:7 states, I want to “cast all MY care upon Him because He cares about ME.”

Here’s my entry for the devotional:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, …casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.                                    1 Peter 5:6-7

These scriptures hold a simple yet profound truth that I want to challenge you to focus on today.

In this day and age of self-empowerment and “me-first” thinking, humility and humbleness seem wrong.  The truth is, our loving Abba Father wants us to cast off our worries and give them to Him.  It takes humility to humbly admit we don’t have all the answers and to turn our anxieties over to Him.  When we do, we are set free with the peace that passes all understanding; a peace the world does not understand. Even when answers don’t come when we want or how we want, we can trust that we serve a loving God who will reveal all in the end when we will be set free from all worries and will live with Him forever.

Today, friend, lay your burdens at His feet – whatever is troubling you and keeping you awake at night.  Talk to Him, walk with Him, knowing He loves you, He knows you, He sees you, and He cares for you.



My word for 2019 – Surrender?

January 1, 2019 –  A new year.  A time to reflect on the past year and look forward to what’s in store for the new year.  A few year’s ago I began praying about a word or phrase that I felt God wanted me to focus on and grow from.  This year the word surrender keeps coming to mind.  It’s not really what I had in mind.  According to Miriam Webster, surrender means to give oneself up into the power of another.  In this case, I am resolving to surrender everything to God.  If you google surrendering to God, there are a ton of memes that make it sound easy and holy and the answer to all your problems.   I don’t believe it is that easy, but I do believe it is necessary.

As a Christian, an important prayer is “They will be done”, but when life isn’t going the way we want, when prayers aren’t being answered in the timeframe we want or in the way we want, the “Thy will be done prayer” becomes much harder.  Currently, I’m going through a situation just like this.  God has not answered my prayers in the way I want.  My first reaction was fear.  My word last year was fearless.  God really spoke to me and calmed my fears and I was able to share what He had shown me with women at my mother’s church and other’s whom I have been given the opportunity to share this message.

God’s glory was lifted high to many others through my experiences, but God has not changed my circumstances and although my fear is abated, I have recently begun to have other ungodly feelings about my situation – sadness and honestly a little anger.  This is where surrender comes in.  As I first began considering the need for surrender, a sadness started settling in. It felt like I was giving up something that I wasn’t ready to give up.  It was like I was becoming almost martyrish (is that a word?)…I was giving up, but honestly not in a good way.  My frame of mind was not good.  As I began to pray about my attitude, I felt God’s love and presence and something else.  My word for this year needs something else  – Joy. Surrendering to God’s will – His plan for my life (even if it’s not what I think I want should lead to the fruit of the spirit, including Joy and Peace.  Getting to that point is not easy and it takes a daily laying down of myself and studying God’s Word and praying.  The same thing I tell my Sunday School students is true for me and for you.  Whatever your situation is…I purposefully did not state my current issue because I believe this applies to many different “issues”.  First, fear rears it’s ugly head.  We get that under control and then anger and sadness begin to worm their way into our hearts and cause us to not have the peace God offers us.  We’re not giving up by surrendering; we’re accepting God’s gift of Joy and Peace that passes human understanding.  It’s not a quick fix by any means.  It takes staying in the Word, but it is so worth it.  Living the life God has for us can be exciting and filled with Joy even through the hard times.  My prayer for 2019 is to surrender and feel God’s peace and joy daily.   I’ll leave you with a scripture from 1 Peter 5:6-10:

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.                                                                                                                                          
Happy New Year!  Looking forward to what God has for us in 2019!

Catching Up

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted.  My broken elbow that occurred in July 2017 ended up causing three surgeries.  I discovered that getting injured on a Saturday means you don’t get to choose your surgeon.  The on-call doctor really butchered my ulnar nerve.  I broke my elbow, but it was my hand that was in constant pain and ridiculously swollen. So, a month later I had the second surgery with the same doctor to try to relieve pressure or something…He made it worse and then quit returning my calls.  I thank God for my family doctor who listened to me and immediately referred me to a specialist.  I had a third surgery, two days after Christmas with almost immediate relief from pain.  I still have nerve damage and several fingers that won’t extend, but am so thankful I am not in constant pain anymore.

Happier news, grandchild number four was born in September 2018, a sweet baby girl named Hunter Rae, born perfectly healthy – so precious!

This past year or so, God has been dealing with me about trusting and relying on Him alone.  I feel like I’m in an odd place in my life…waiting for what’s next, not knowing what the future holds, but trusting God and trying not to worry.  My dream of becoming an administrator seems to not be in God’s plan.  He did provide a job that I enjoy.  I am an ESL Liaison at my kid’s alma mater.  It feels like I came home.

The sad news this past year is that we lost Daddy January 30, 2018.  That was hard even though we knew it was coming.  He had multiple myeloma cancer and Parkinson’s.

The big news this year is my husband was given a promotion.  I’ve prayed for years that God would give him the job of his dreams.  I forgot to mention in my prayers that I would prefer the job to be here, in Texas within driving distance of our house.  The job is in North Carolina….We live in Texas.  This could and may be at a different time an entire blog in itself, but in a nutshell, I do not want to leave my four grandchildren, one of whom we co-parent…my Chloe girl who we have every week-end, holidays, and summer.  Also, my 85 year old mother lives here within driving distance. I love my husband dearly, and he loves me.  I believe God brought us together.  Right now, we are having a long-distance marriage.  Luckily, he travels a lot for his job and that includes here.   Let me tell you, this will help keep your prayer life strong.  I don’t want to move, but I’m learning to trust God for my future whether that means, he eventually gets a job back here, or I move there.  I know God is in control…but it takes day-to-day reminders – staying in the Word and prayer.

I see His hand on my life.  I am privileged to teach our 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class at my church and also sing in the choir and teach a 7th-12th grade girl’s study on Wednesday nights.  I have also been able to design and facilitate a women’s week-end several times at various places over the past two years.  I hope to do more of that in the future.  I love teaching other’s about God’s love.

I feel like this blog is very stream-of-consciousness.  I did say I was “catching up” .  I’ll try to stick to one topic next time, but for now I’ll leave you with this:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.                  Deuteronomy 31:8

As Chloe used to say, “see you in a little bit,”



Staying Alert

I was reading in 1 Peter 5:8-9a where it talks about staying alert and watching out for the devil as he is prowling around seeking whom he may devour.  I think satan’s attacks are sneaky and sometimes they are full on attacks that are easier to see but often harder to fight – like cancer, divorce, etc.  Other times, more often, he uses the distractions in our life to pull us away little by little.  CS Lewis wrote about this in The Screwtape Letters.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s written in the first person point of view of a demon to another demon giving advice on how to draw man away from God.  CS Lewis was a Christian and this book is eye-opening about the sneakiness of the devil.   Here is one my favorite quotes:

    It does not matter how small the sins are provided that the cumulative effect is to edge        the man away from the Light…Indeed, the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

For me, I think Satan distracts me with the everyday “stuff”.  I start a morning study or blogging and am faithful until something happens to distract me.  Two years ago, I started this blog. A month into it, I suddenly had to plan a wedding.  The blogging fell away.  This summer, I made a commitment to blogging again and I fell and broke my elbow – haven’t blogged since and have not been faithful to my daily Bible study.

I do NOT believe that the wedding or my broken arm are from the devil, but I do believe he uses the “stuff” in our life to distract us from the things of the Lord.  If we’re distracted, we’re not “running the race set before us”.

I went to a women’s thing  at my church.  The speaker was Debbie Stuart.  She challenged us to give twenty minutes a day for the rest of our lives to God.  I love that.  She said that when we do that during the days we’re just going along with no major worries, it prepares us for the difficult times.  I believe that’s how we stay alert.

My challenge for myself today and anyone who reads this is to commit to twenty minutes a day for the rest of our lives.  Let me leave you with this:

     Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.   Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:8-9a

My commitment is to my personal Bible study and I’ll blog when I can.  I hope you’ll join me in a 20 minute a day commitment to your personal study and prayer time.  That’s how we’ll “be strong in our faith”.

Until next time,




My Experience with IF

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 8.27.16 AMIf you’ve never heard of Jennie Allen or IF, I have a treasure for you today.  Jennie Allen has a wonderful Women’s Ministry called IF.  I discovered her by chance when searching for a Bible Study to do with my daughter and some of her friends.  We went through her study, Chase which looks at the life of David and how he spent his life chasing God.  Most people chase after things that will bring them success and happiness, but through the study we are called to action to chase after the only thing that will not leave us feeling empty.  We loved the study and as we researched more from Jennie Allen, IF kept coming up.  When I found her website, and started reading about the beginnings of IF, I was intrigued.  If God is real, then…what? If God is real, how should I live my life?  What does God really want from me?

The girls and I (I say girls – they are grown young women, most with families of their own) decided to do another of Jennie’s studies, Restless.  I loved the Chase study, but the Restless study really moved me to action. Restless explores this important question: “Do I matter?” And Jennie asks, “We live with lots of things, lots of people…but do we live for something?”  After going through the study with my daughter and her friends, I also facilitated the study online.  I began wanting more of God and wanting to give more of myself to Him and as a result of that to others.

Candace (my daughter) and I went to hear Jennie speak in October.  I think one thing I really like about her is how unpretentious she is. She’ll do Facetime Live videos with no makeup and sitting in her car waiting for one of her kids to get out of some practice.  She loves Jesus where ever she is and has a knack for making others want to live for Him more, too.

Me_and_Can_with Jennie
Me and my daughter, Candace with Jennie Allen

Ok, I’m at 336 words and still need to explain what IF is.  In a nutshell, it’s Jennie Allen’s ministry.  IF: Gathering is a weekend women’s conference that she holds in Austin.  It began in 2014.  The unique thing about it is that she offers the livestream at little cost. Churches around the world hold IF:Gatherings, but even more unique is that she encourages women to livestream it from their houses and invite neighbors and friends.  I watched the livestream from my house alone in February.  The speakers were wonderful and included: Lisa Terkeurst, Ann Voskamp, Rebekah Lyons, Jo Saxton, and a real treasure, 92 year old, Jill Briscoe.  During the final session, I sat alone in my gameroom with tears streaming down my face.  I knew I wanted to share this with others, so I spoke to a friend of mine, Angie and through a series of events that could only be God she and I and several of her friends were able to go to her friend’s cabin on Lake Texoma in April for an IF: Weekend. From that weekend, one of the ladies felt called to start a closed FB group, “Godly Women in Relationship”.  Her cover photo is a quote from Jill Briscoe, one of my favorite speakers from IF:Gathering.  God has used the FB group as a special place for women to pray for one another and hold each other up.  I love that from IF:Weekend, the FB group was birthed and has branched out and touched so many people.

I hope this hasn’t sounded too much like a commercial, and I hope you’ll check it out yourself.  Here’s the link to her website:  IF:Gathering Website  My heart is for you to chase after God more and see what He has in store for you.  I leave you with this:

1 John 1: 2  This is the one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him.  And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.  He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us.  We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us.

As my Chloe girl says,  “see you in a little bit,”