Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hi Girlfriends,

Wow, I read this devotion today and it really spoke to my heart. I have experienced that feeling of knowing that I love God and want to serve Him but my heart didn't have that passion the Bible talks about, and that I experienced when I was first 'saved.' The last couple years for me has been about increasing and re-igniting that passion and fire for Jesus Christ in my heart and in my life. I just wanted to share it and encourage you as you go along your way. I believe that we women are the strongest force in the universe. We are after all the ones chosen to give birth, we had the power to make Adam eat the apple and alter our spiritual history causing God to have to create a comeback plan for humanity in the gift of Jesus Christ, and it was a woman whom jesus waited for at the well. A Samaritan woman, no less, who basically was seen as a rather easy and loose chick who'd lived a free spirited life doing what she wanted and loving the company of men. Yet, Jesus waited on her because He knew that she'd come in contact with Him and that Her love would spark a passion for Jesus that would change the history of the Samaritans in ancient times. It was unheard of in those days that any man, much less Jesus Christ our Savior, would WAIT on a women. Yet, He waited, knowing the unique ability we have to change and alter things, for better...or worse. Wow, it fills my heart with love just knowing how valuable He thinks we are. I am blessed that God keeps bringing wonderful women into my life, who have a desire like all of you, to alter and shape things for the better! We have the power to change our environments and to demonstrate the power of love in action. We are thermostats when we enter a room. We can make the room warm and inviting or we can make it cold and unkind. I am grateful for you all, I am grateful for your kindnesses, and I am praying for each of you and your families constantly. God is great and greatly to be praised! I hope you enjoy the devotion below and know that it comes from my heart to yours!

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)

The above scripture tore my mind and heart wide open when I read it. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?

Recently, I met a woman about my age at a conference where I was speaking. I don't know many details about her life but I do know she's been going to church for a long time.

And she's been serving, giving, and doing all the right church stuff.

But, something was missing.

"I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."

I wondered: what part of what I shared made this profound click happen in her soul?

Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving... but somehow in the midst of me sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.

It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day we spend a few minutes together over the internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus girls. But all that we talk about is for nothing if our hearts stay far from Jesus.

It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.

It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.

It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.

It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.

It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.

It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all the free gift of salvation because of Him.

Have you ever felt like this woman who couldn't put her finger on what was missing? Have you ever felt like you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from

God? Sweet sister, can we chat?

God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.

God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him.

For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Isaiah 29:13, "The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'"

I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules; I needed to be following God Himself.

I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.

So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life... and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes.

Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and be resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.

Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.

Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.

Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow, and every other day I'm blessed with on this earth.

Oh sister, let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip you up by whispering how you won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked for us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus... I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me... help me... forgive me... reassure me... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."

And He does.

And He always will.

My imperfections are safely tucked within the reality of His perfection.

And I simply press on by continuing to say YES moment by imperfect moment... day by imperfect day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before."

Joshua 3:4a (NIV)

Do you ever fear the unknown? Perhaps it's your health or the uncertainty of your future. Maybe it's the decisions your children will make about following God or following their peers. Fearing the unknown can cause us to spend precious energy anticipating the worst-case scenario. There are two problems with this type of fear:

• The future is not here.
• The future is not ours.

While the future may be out of our hands, it is not out of the hands of our faithful trustworthy God. When we face a worrisome unknown situation, we can look to Joshua as an example of how to trust God in the face of uncertainty.

It's recorded in the first chapter of Joshua that before Moses died, God passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years under the guidance of Moses. Now, their journey was almost over. Just beyond the Jordan River was their promised land -- the land that God had guaranteed to Abraham and his descendants.

Upon reaching the Jordan River, Joshua and the Israelites set up camp by the stream and awaited God's direction. Much like their meeting with the Red Sea, God had to make a way for them to cross over the river. On the third day, God told the officers to instruct the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant (where God's Presence abided) to follow it because they had "never passed this way before" (Joshua 3:4). In essence, God was saying: Follow Me and I'll see you through this unknown territory.

That's not all. The people were instructed on how closely they should follow the ark. Without this instruction, the people would have crowded the ark and God wanted every person to be able to see His presence faithfully leading them through the unknown valley. What greater encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God who was with them?

You see, friend, the Lord understands our fear of the unknown. He realizes that you may be in a situation that you've never passed through before and you're afraid. It may be the first time you've been without employment. Maybe you've just been diagnosed with an illness or your child is in rebellion. You've never been down this road before and you don't know which way to go or what to do. God will guide the way.

Joshua's life was unpredictable and full of unknowns much like yours and mine. Yet, he successfully resisted fear by keeping his focus on God rather than the events surrounding him. Just as God guided the Israelites through unknown territory, He will guide you and me, too.

As He promises in Isaiah 43, when we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (v.2-3a, NIV).

Even though the children of Israel were not told how they would pass over the river, the people went forth in faith. We too can move forward in faith sharing in the promised presence of God leading the way through our unknown circumstances.

This word refreshes me because I know that I know that my footsteps are ordered of the Lord, yet and still, there are moments when worry and doubt creep in and I find myself needing to beat fear into submission. Lately, I realize how patient God really is with us and our struggle with our fears. Or, more correctly our struggles with our faith. His resume reads perfectly...yet we wonder if He heard our prayer this time. He has come through for us countless times...yet we are afraid that what we know He told us is not true. Oh, we of little faith! I am grateful for the things of God that have been shared with me by scholars and pastors and friends because every now and then we need to be reminded that the reason we are experiencing God in so many ways is because He is with us and loves us and guides us into our victories as surely as He did the Israelites back in the day. So my prayer is:

Dear Lord, thank You for Your promised presence. It comforts my heart to know that I am not alone. Lead me, Lord, through the unknowns in my life. Make Your path clear and I will follow it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, April 1, 2011


One of the hardest things in the world to do is apologize. Saying the words themselves isn’t always the most difficult part. It’s the actual mental Olympics that come along with it. It is also the issue of pride and humility. Most people have all kinds of rampant thoughts when a situation calls for an apology.
What happens if this person takes advantage of my apologetic stance? What happens if the person rejects my apology and things don’t get resolved? What happens if I make myself emotionally vulnerable and then get in this same situation again? What if I apologize and then discover that I don’t really mean it? This is just the beginning of the kinds of thoughts we have. But most importantly, we acknowledge that apologizing is an admission of wrong doing. There was misconduct on our part, either intentionally or unintentionally, that offended someone else that now requires an amends.

So, if an apology is misconduct or a wrong done, why are so many Christians apologizing for being a Christian? Is there anything wrong with following Christ?
Today, many Christians don’t even realize that they are apologetic for what they believe. Instead of being bold, they are sort of shy about their faith and what their faith represents. When they have worship services or ministry work to do, they tell people they have business meetings, instead of telling others what they are really doing. When it’s time to offer thanksgiving for their meal in public, they do it as quickly as possible. At tax time, they almost apologize to their accountants for how much they’ve given to their ministry work. When others are talking at work about what they think or believe, the believers shy away from offending others. When they share a religious thought, they start off with phrases like, “I hope this doesn’t bother you, but…” They won’t share the gospel with lost family members and friends because they don’t want to ruffle any feathers. They carefully approach religious topics because they don’t want to be associated with those hypocritical, narrow minded, extreme Bible thumpers that the media likes to parade on talk shows and the evening news.

Maybe they don’t realize the great opportunity before them. That is, that the world is hungry for answers, solutions, and help. Maybe they don’t realize that the beginning and end of healing, restoration, renewal, forgiveness, and revival in our world both begin and end with Jesus Christ as the solution.

Paul faced this same challenge. His response was simply, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel.” (Romans 1: 16). I love the way that Wiersbe The Bible Exposition Commentary explains Paul’s situation.

“...the Gospel was identified with a poor Jewish carpenter who was crucified. The Romans had no special appreciation for the Jews, and crucifixion was the lowest form of execution given a criminal. Why put your faith in a Jew who was crucified?

Rome was a proud city, and the Gospel came from Jerusalem, the capital city of one of the little nations that Rome had conquered. The Christians in that day were not among the elite of society; they were common people and even slaves. Rome had known many great philosophers and philosophies; why pay any attention to a fable about a Jew who arose from the dead? (1 Cor. 1:18–25) Christians looked on each other as brothers and sisters, all one in Christ, which went against the grain of Roman pride and dignity. To think of a little Jewish tentmaker, going to Rome to preach such a message, is almost humorous. ”

If we’d all be honest, there are aspects of the gospel that seems totally foolish. It doesn’t seem logical to spend so much effort talking about a man that was hung on a tree thousands of years ago or talk about a God that we can’t physically touch when the problems we deal with today are so real and touchable. It probably doesn’t make sense to talk about loving those that are hard to love and getting delayed results. I’m sure that it’s difficult to understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is available to both those that have committed the worst crimes imaginable and yet also to that person who is considered a “good, moral person” by most of society’s standards. Yet – thousands have embraced the message and experienced God’s power. The risk involved at rejecting this gospel are greater than believing it and finding out later that it was a sham and counterfeit. I’ll take my chances believing this gospel that has some public relations issues, a few inconsistent representatives, and apparent unexplainable happenings. For all that it is worth, it makes more sense to me to believe it, trust it, represent it, stand on, and not be ashamed of it because I have found it takes more work for me to not believe than to simply trust it. For that, I will never apologize for believing this life-giving message.
Scripture Of The Day: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” - Romans 1:16 (NIV)