“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20b (NIV)

8:00 Monday night. Sighing, I slowly pulled into the garage and turned off my ignition. There was a circus happening inside my house. Upon hearing my car pull in, Tipper, our 85 pound Rottweiler puppy, ran to the garage door. Waiting for anyone to open the door, she’d impatiently glance around, her whole black back-end wagging.

Easing out of my car, I reached into the backseat, withdrawing my computer bag.

A door squeaked.

A flash of black fur hurled at me. Before I could turn around, Tipper was “kissing’ my hand and dragging me by my sleeve into the house.

This dog dearly loves her people! As a work from home mom, I was generally home. Once a week, I would leave for ninety minutes. Once a week.

The other 166 hours I was generally there.

No matter.

Every Monday night I receive the same homecoming. She was ecstatic to see me! She needs to love on me and quickly corralled me into our home, where, once I removed my coat, she seemed satisfied I planned to stay.

Tipper’s forever ecstatic to see me. I can always anticipate receiving an enthusiastic welcome home.

God’s like that.

Even if we’re “there” most of the time. Even if we only left momentarily. He’s ecstatic for our return. He loves to reconnect with us after a separation, no matter how ‘short’ it may seem. He loves us, no matter where we’ve been, what we’ve been doing, and regardless in what state we return.

The important thing is we return.

There are very few places in this world where we can count on unconditional love from someone.

But a dog named Tipper and God are two guarantees!



Where have I found unconditional love?

Where am I guaranteed to find it?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes when I return to You I am weary and burdened. Thank You for welcoming me home with a loving embrace. Thank You for never closing the door on me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Thank you for reading! Please return by Friday, July 29, for the next post!


Daddy’s Here

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)IMG_2320

Trembling on the edge of the precipice, our eight-year-old daughter, Evita, cried out, “I only want to go with Daddy!”

Wearing both a helmet and climbing shoes, she was strapped into a harness with two safety ropes. She stood backwards on the ledge, her heels already off the edge. Poised to descend thirty-five feet in standard rappelling style, she was stuck.

Fear paralyzed her.

“I can’t go without Daddy!”

My husband quickly gathered another line, buckling himself in.

“Belay on,” he called to our other two daughters down below on the ground. They prepared to belay or hold the rappelling lines so no one accidentally plunged to the earth below.

Reaching Evita, he instructed her every move.  He stayed within a foot of her, encouraging her, as she completed embarking over the edge (the point of no return as we term it) and positioned her legs to “walk” down the wall of the cliff.

A few minutes later she swung safely to the ground, declaring her descent “Fun!”

Her sisters congratulated her and she smiled, saying, “I want to go again, but only with Daddy.”


I am so my daughter’s mother. Even when I’ve faced challenges before, I often refuse to go it alone.  I tell God I can’t possibly do it. I must have help. I need to possess the honesty of our eight-year-old! I need to admit, “Abba, I need You! I can’t go without You!”

Thankfully I never need to go it alone. God promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

I’ve lived through many challenges in life and have tested that very promise. Honestly, God has never left me.  Thankfully, no matter what comes: an unexpected relocation, a surprise family addition, or a shocking cancer diagnosis, I never had to go it alone. He never left me stranded.

I don’t know if you’re standing on any ledges today. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Hebrews 13:5 and understand it’s a promise. A promise from God to you. No matter what you’re facing today, He wants to carry you through to the other side. He wants to encourage you and guide you down the difficult terrain.  He’s not asking you to go it alone.  He waiting for your invitation. He wants to hear your heart say, “I can’t do it!  Abba, (Daddy) help me.”



Where am I standing today? More importantly, do I feel alone?

Read Hebrews 13:5. Memorize it. Personalize it. Test it.


Prayer: Dear Abba, Thank You for loving me and never leaving me alone.  Sometimes I feel alone, feel I can’t share my heart. Maybe because I worry what other’s might think, or possibly because it’s not my story to share. Regardless, I am never truly alone when I turn toward You. Thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


I would love to hear how you have tested that promise. I would also love to hear how you plan to test that promise. I will happily pray for you and your situation.  As always, please feel free to use my email address if you prefer for your comments to remain unpublished. Thank you for reading! Please return next Friday, July 15 at 9pm for the next post.

The Power Of A Woman, Part V

Then when the King’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.” Esther 1:20, NIV

King Xerxes had a problem.

His Queen publicly disrespected him. Refused his request. Made him look like a fool.

“Then the King become furious and burned with anger.” Esther 1:12b, NIV

He consulted with his seven vice-regents on what to do.

“Get rid of her,” was the answer, “or no woman will show her husband due respect.”

Now, the King needs a new Queen. What are the required qualifications?

Beautiful? A must.

Young? Of course.

Humble, reverent, and submits to authority? Hmmm, he might not have articulated it, but deep down, that’s exactly what he wanted. Because his first Queen didn’t possess those qualities, King Xerxes found himself searching for another.

A plan is put into action. All the beautiful and young ladies are rounded up and slowly presented to the king.

He can choose any of them.

Who will he choose?


Esther did not lead a charmed life.  She grew up without either a father or a mother.  Thankfully, she did have her cousin Mordecai, a devout Jew who took his guardianship responsibilities seriously. He taught Esther humility. He taught her reverence for God and for those in authority. He taught her respect and how to show it.

He didn’t know as he taught little Esther, he was raising an effective Queen and preparing one of the biggest heroines in biblical history.

Now the King was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other woman, and so won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.  So he set a royal crown on her head and made her Queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:17-18 NIV

Unbelievably, Esther won the King’s favor. But she didn’t let it go to her head.

When she discovered trouble, she relied on Mordecai’s advice and her and her servant’s fasting – searching for God’s great plan in all this mess.

She did not rely on her earthly position. She did not cash in on her hard-won favor. She didn’t dream of ordering around servants to save herself.

She humbly went to God in a three day fast. Then, she humbly went to the King, inviting him to a banquet where she would further serve him.

Did she know that each time she served him she endeared herself to him all the more?

Maybe, this queen became more than an ornament. Maybe the love and respect she showed him was commanding his attention off her lovely appearance and was attracting his heart.

Esther was, by biblical record ‘lovely in form and feature.’ But beyond her pretty face was something that served to captivate a king. That something moved Esther from the status of concubine to Queen.

The power of this woman was in her humble heart. She knew where the greatest power resided: in God. She wasn’t afraid to humble herself before Him and ask His will.  She also didn’t feel the need to “prove” herself worthy of status. Her power of position was on her knees, submitting to God’s will. Through her obedience and service, God saved His chosen people.



What position of power do I frequently choose?

What is the source of power I choose to wield?  Is it an ability of myself or do I rely on God?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Please help me honestly evaluate where I stand in my attitudes and actions. Please convict me where needed and help me to change the focus of power off what little power I think I possess to focusing on Your power and allowing You to use me as a vessel. Thank You for never giving up on Your children, Amen.

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, May 23, or the next post.






He Knows

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet is without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)





Sometimes this world can overwhelm and undermine the most positive of people.

Maybe you’ve had a rough day, a wacky week or even an awful year.  Maybe you just want to give up. Maybe you just don’t have any more fight left in you.

You believe no one understands. No one could possibly comprehend. No one has ever felt like this before. Maybe you feel you can’t stop the steep spiral down into the depths.

Yet, you’re not alone.


We have promises we can and should call upon. We don’t have a high priest who is unable to empathize. In other words, He knows.

Jesus knew the depths of despair. When his sweat poured blood and He repeatedly asked His Father to take away His burden in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He knows.

He knows the feelings of defeat. Of loneliness. Of no way out.

He knows.

How did He continue? He trusted in God to provide what He needed to get through it.

And God did.

God fulfilled His promise in Deuteronomy 31:7b, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God promised Jesus and each of us, in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He designed those plans at the beginning of time.

So, how do we go from despair to deep trust when nothing seems to change?

God didn’t change Jesus’ assignment. He may not change yours or mine. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Basically, think positively.

What is true? The promises in Scripture.  Lean on those. Copy them where you will see them as reminders. When we feel we lack the faith to murmur a prayer, God promises to provide that faith.

The Holy Spirit is interceding for you right now. (Romans 8:26)

Jesus is interceding for you right now. (Hebrews 7:25)

Jesus knows.

He understands.

He comprehends.

And, He’s not content to sit on the sidelines watching you suffer.

He wants to help. “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

An abundant life.

Not just a peaceful eternity when this life is over, but an abundant life here, today. A life filled with joy, fulfillment, laughter and love. A life with purpose and meaning. A life that is carried through challenges and setbacks by a Father who truly cares.

Life as a Christian is not promised to be easy.  But it is promised to be abundant.  And He promises to be with us each step of the way, if we only invite Him.

Will you?


Which promise speaks significantly into your heart? Please share it with us!


Prayer: Dear God, Please lead me to recall and lean on Your promises as I navigate daily life. Remind me to spend time in Your word, as I can’t recall what I don’t know. Thank You for Your great love which is demonstrated throughout Your word. Thank You for this life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, April 11, for the next post.

He Is With HIM, Part IX

“He is not here, He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6 (NIV)

After a quiet yet distressing Sabbath, Mary and Mary rushed to Jesus’ tomb with heavy hearts.

Their beloved teacher, the One who knew them, the One who loved them, had died.

It was still too much to comprehend.

The day literally began with a bang. On the way to the tomb, there was a violent earthquake. The shaking of the ground could not begin to compare with the quaking of their hearts. How to process the death of their dear Jesus?

At the tomb, what did the ladies find? The expected guard detail was all unconscious and the tomb was not sealed, as it should be. In fact, the stone had been rolled away.

Atop said stone sat yet another surprise: an angel, glowing white.

Heaping shock and surprise on their already fragile minds, Mary and Mary listened to his words, “He is not here, He has risen just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

Peering into the tomb, it appeared the angel knew something; Jesus was not there!

Too much had happened. It was too hard to know what to think! Shaken and fearful from recent events the ladies hurried to find the disciples.

As their feet fairly flew down the path, an indescribable, unmistakable joy welled up inside each one. What if the angel were right?  Jesus had said He would rise up again. No one gave it much thought, after all it had never happened before.

The tomb was empty.

The tomb was empty.

The angel reported Jesus had risen.  If Jesus walked out of that tomb, that changes everything!

Though it may have taken ages to process they would find the truth.  Jesus really was the Son of God. Why did He die? He chose to follow the Father’s bidding and offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice to obliterate the deadly eternal consequences of sin on humanity. Through His death and resurrection He created a bridge between God and us.

That empty tomb changed how Mary and Mary mourned Jesus’ death.

The empty tomb changed how the disciples counted their time with Jesus.

The empty tomb should change how we do life.

Jesus truly is God’s son. He was perfect, without sin. He willingly obeyed His Father when He was sent to bear the burden of humanity’s (yours and my) sin.

We no longer need to shed innocent blood like a sacrificial lamb, (See Leviticus) to approach God. We only need to believe in Jesus and ask for forgiveness in His name.

Yes, the empty tomb changed everything. It changed everything for those alive 2000 years ago and for every person who lived since.

How has it impacted you?


Prayer: Dear Father God, I pray that as I repeatedly hear Your love story of my salvation, I don’t allow familiarity to dull my senses.  Your love is the greatest love the world has ever known.  May I know that love personally and reciprocate it to You. May Your love shine through me and my interactions with others. Amen.

He Is With HIM, Part VI

“But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.” Matthew 27:14 (NIV)

The time had come. Awaiting His sentence, He stood silently before the Governor, Pilate. The memories of betrayal, of the rough guards “guiding” Him through the garden, still fresh in His mind. Jesus had actually been arrested.

Jesus knew He’d done nothing wrong.  He knew He was innocent.  He also knew this was His Father’s plan to reunite humanity to Himself.

Jesus was to be the final sacrifice. Instead of a guilt offering for sin each and every time they disobeyed God, God’s children would have a way directly back to the His forgiveness – just by asking and believing.

But before that could happen, innocent Jesus needed to suffer a criminal’s death.

How did Jesus stand quietly before Pilate and not proclaim His innocence? How did He have the courage, the humility, and the stamina to withstand criminal treatment?

God was with Him.

God was with Him.

He supplied Jesus’ every need: from the courage needed to withstand the accusation and the faith to accept God’s plan over His own will. God gave Him physical and emotional fortitude to face the brutal abuse His haters dished out and the forgiveness necessary to still persevere through the pain to create the path back to God.

Jesus was ready to take a criminal’s death for a crime He didn’t commit because God had also given Him an unfathomable love for humanity and an unwavering commitment to obey the Father.

God supplied exactly what He needed, exactly when He needed it.

Jesus knew who God is and what He could do. Jesus also knew what to ask. And, He accepted the Father’s answer. He trusted in God and His instruction. He knew God would supply and provide.

He trusted God to supply His needs and even in those unimaginable moments, God was there and He met each and every one.


Do I know how to ask God for what I need?

Do I believe He will supply my every need – even if it’s not the solution I requested?

When I feel my faith waver, do I ask, like the boy’s father in Mark 9:24, to supply the faith I need?

Prayer: Dear Father God, Thank You for authoring a way back to You. Thank You for sending Jesus for my guilt, to be my sacrifice.  Thank You for showing over and over again that You are there and will meet my needs. Please, supply the faith I need each day as I draw closer to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Thanks for reading! Please return by Friday, March 25, for the next post.


He is With HIM, Part IV

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” John 12:23 NIV

It was the heaviest of burdens. It was literally the world against Him.  Just four days after praises from Palm Sunday still ringing in His ears, He now felt none of the accolades or the glory.

Instead of a reception fit for a King, the religious leaders: the priests, the scribes, and even the elders were all challenging Jesus’ authority.

The tide was indeed turning. Even one of his beloved, turned far from the friend He once knew. Judas had actually begun the betrayal process. Judas unbelievably had asked what he could get for giving up Jesus.

How fickle, these people.  How lonely He must have felt. I wonder if He ever briefly entertained the question, “Is it really gonna matter?”

Yet, He knew. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But, if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Jesus knew the lonely, solitary journey to come was His and His alone.  He also knew that journey would produce the needed life- the end of a spiritual divide fraught with necessary blood sacrifice.

In John 12:27 Jesus admits to negative emotions over the approaching assignment. Anxiety, fear, and stress topped the list.  Yet, how did Jesus deal with them?

Did He ask God to take them away? Did He ask God to lighten the load?


He made only one request: “Father, glorify Your name.” (Verse 28)

God gave Jesus the faith to see past His predicament. He helped Him keep His gaze fixed on the right goal: to glorify the name of God.

Even in His anguish, Jesus knew this week was not only about Him. Although He would emerge the victor over all – even death itself – this week was not about His feelings, His pain, His persecution.  It was about glorifying God.

God supplied what Jesus needed in order to do just that.

He didn’t request, “Father, save me from this hour.”

He upheld the faith God gave Him and simply requested, “Father glorify Your name.”

God met Jesus’ emotional needs, not by obliterating them, as we often request, but by providing the faithful sight to see that it really was not all about His experience.  It was truly all about honoring God.



Honest assessment: how often are my life experiences, truly, in my head, all about me? How can I proactively shift my gaze from me, me, me, to God?

Looking back on trials, can I identify when God carried me through instead of destroying the trial? Can I see where it strengthened me instead of destroying me?

Have I calculated what I could get for giving up Christ? Let’s calculate the cost…



Dear Father God, When I examine how Jesus lived His last week, I am reminded how heavenly focused He was.  He must have experienced anguish and agony beyond my experiences, yet He humbly kept His eyes on You.  May that example influence my actions and attitude. Lord, Thank You for authoring a way back to You. May I always remember the sacrifice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanks for reading, please return by Monday, March 14 for the next post.

Mary’s Treasures, Part IV

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19, NIV


“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19, NIV

Finally the long journey finally over. Dusting her robes, her head covering, and all other belongings, Mary settled into her straw bed for the night.

But the dust of supposed shame could not be so easily brushed off.

To honor the governments decrees, she had made the arduous trip.

Now unsure which exhausted her more, the birth of a beautiful baby boy, or the condescending stares and the “knowing” looks Joseph’s family had shot at her before they refused the denounced couple a place to stay.

“Lord, why is this so difficult?” her heart cried as she sank into the soft straw, grateful for the shelter for the night.

God saw her.

God heard her.

God had chosen her.

After physical respite, He would give her a spiritual respite too.

Mary awoke to the sound of excited voices and feet rushing to the barn door. Suddenly, sheepish shepherds slowed themselves, shyly requesting to see the baby; the Christ, the Savior, as they called Him.

As they gazed upon this baby they forgot themselves, excitedly reiterating what the angels had proclaimed.

Mary stood close by gazing at her baby in wonder as her heart turned over the shepherd’s words.

Her body wasn’t as tired and her spirit not as down-trodden. Her nap had been beneficial. But it was the shepherd’s words that had soothed her severed soul.

She hadn’t imagined this!

No, God was gifting her with the confirmation through these ecstatic shepherds.

Smiling to herself she settled back into her straw bed, amazed at her God.

He had chosen her.

And now, He chose to comfort her.

How great a God she served!



What truths comfort me when my soul feels severed?

How can I recall these truths when I need them?

How might I encourage others who feel in despair?


Prayer: Dear God, You are the God who sees, who hears, and who gifts us with what we need at the moment. Sometimes Lord, that need is confirmation. Please help me to listen to Your still, small voice above the cries of all the other voices surrounding me. The world might tell me otherwise, but I know I can trust You. Please help me to remember that. Thank You Lord, for Your constant care. Amen.

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, January 25, for the next post.

False Voices

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)


Satan slithered up and spoke with a simple, soothing voice, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”

The setting: The Garden of Eden.

Today’s target: Eve.

The consequences: Potential fatality for all humanity.

For the human race that has had thousands of years to consider the consequences and ponder the ‘what-if’s’ it is easy to point out what Eve should have done:


Do Not Listen,

Do Not Engage.

But Satan can act craftily.

And although answers are easy to point out for others, they can be oh-so-difficult to practice ourselves.

When Eve naively engaged with the not-so-simple snake, she had no idea where he was guiding her: to a difficult life and a spiritual death, to a separation from God.

Do I ever allow him to construct barriers to my blessing and slowly slay my spirit?

Do I ever let him drop negative thoughts into my mind and permit him to plant them there? Maybe he planted, but it is I who gets to choose whether to water and fertilize them. And it is I who determines if they ever get transplanted from my mind to grow within my heart.

One thought. Maybe not straight out of Scripture- but really- what’s the harm, he whispers.

Like Eve, we can’t fathom where Satan is trying to take us, or just how he hopes to undo us, but as history indicates, he has his own agenda for the human souls, and it’s nowhere we want to go.

So, how do we thwart any of his planted negativity from growing roots?

Philippians 4:8-9 tells us exactly what the measuring stick is: If it’s not true, righteous, noble, pure, admirable, or lovely- we must weed it out.

Letting it linger secures the roots. The moment we notice it’s there, pull it out! I’m not talking about a mere weed-whacker here. We need to get down on our knees and wrestle it out by the roots through prayer, and a constant renewing of our minds using Scripture.

If we notice certain people, places, or situations make it challenging to remain godly and positive we should: RUN– don’t go there, or if we have no choice, go in strengthened through prayer and the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)

Refuse To Listen – Refuse the thought any planting space, or any space at all!

Refuse To Engage – Refuse to respond, whether audibly or mentally to the thought. Don’t leave any room for argument back and forth.

Eve was snared as we often are. Thankfully each day dawns anew with opportunity to become better stewards of our thoughts and better gardeners of weed-like negativity.


When I consider Eve’s reaction to the infamous snake, do I ever relate to her choice to stand there, listening to and engaging with a false voice?

Why are we instructed how to think in Philippians 4:8-9? What are the possible consequences when we don’t?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your clear guidance on how to take control of my thoughts. I don’t need to fall victim to them. Please give me discernment and rapidity recalling Scripture as I go through my days. Help me to yield to Your guiding of those days. Amen.


Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, October 26, for the next post.

Faithfully Facing Uncertainty, Part I

“He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 NIV, emphasis mine.

Read Daniel 1 and 6.

He was the guy who did everything right. You know, that guy. The one hated by seemingly everyone else for being so perfect. The one everyone else was jealous of but loathed to admit.

Daniel was trustworthy, never corrupt, and never negligent.

Oh, how his enemies longed to rid themselves of him! They watched him. They studied him. They astutely identified there was one thing Daniel didn’t, wouldn’t compromise: his devotion to his God.

Satisfied, his enemies schemed to spring the perfect trap, sure to obliterate Daniel once and for all. They counted on perfect Daniel’s perfect devotion.

Making certain the king could not rescue Daniel, they silently sneered as the royal signet rings sealed Daniel’s fate. Imagine their evening celebratory plans!

What was Daniel’s evening like? He had much time to recall his life. Hauled away from his homeland as a slave. Brought to a foreign country with a new language to learn and laws which dishonored his God. In doing right, he had incurred the wrath of some very powerful political enemies. Now he found himself sealed in a dark den surrounded by lunging lions. Every moment must have felt like eternity.

Was that a whisker brushing my leg?

Will this moment be my last?

In the dark unable to see but, able to hear, and certainly able to fear.

This is where obedience carried him.

But the story doesn’t end here.

At the end of the terrifying night, a new day dawned. For Daniel, a renewed confirmation that God’s way is the only way.

For King Darius, the dawning of just how drastically wrong he had been in demanding his own god-like status. What tangible evidence that Daniel’s God had succeeded where he had failed!

The King deemed a new decree for the nation, and for himself: Daniel’s God was indeed the living God, “He rescues and He saves.”

Even through fear, Daniel did what he knew was proper and right, what God commanded of him. Daniel was ready to accept man’s consequences for his righteous living – but instead experienced a miracle that not only saved his life, but moved a king and a nation closer to God.


Do I possess any of Daniel’s characteristics? Am I trustworthy, never corrupt, and never negligent?

When others exclude me and point out how I am different, do I confidently persevere with my choice?

Have you ever been in a figurative or literal dark place, unable to see but able to hear, and certainly able to fear? How did you handle it?

Prayer: Dear God, You knew how lonely and afraid Daniel could have been. You saw his circumstances and You met his need. You see me today. You see potential circumstances where loneliness and fear might creep in. You want to provide for any needs that arise. Remind me that is Your desire, and move my fears out of the way. Thank You for Your endless love! Amen

Thank you for reading! Please return by Monday, September 28, for the next post.