Last week Who Are You Resisting and Who Are You Assisting?

While our desire to be admired can lead us down destructive paths, our need to feel of value is expected and addressed by God. His Word is packed with reassurance that each of us is of great value to Him.

If we search for our value and significance by referring to what His Word tells us instead of how we perceive peoples’ esteem of us, we are protected from great harm. Unfortunately, we are prone to stray back to defining our worth by worldly standards instead.

Some seem to get wiser and more attuned to God’s view as they become senior saints. I notice how many older people are more comfortable with themselves and seem more attuned into what really matters. Those who get wiser become more interested in pleasing God than pleasing people. They are more affected by knowing that God loves and values them than whether people do.

When we follow such a wise path, we are resisting the enemy. When we give into our vulnerabilities to be more interested in how people esteem us than what God thinks, we are assisting the evil that has led to the damage in the first place. We all need to question who are we resisting and who are we assisting.

Last week Resist; Don't Assist

I think I was actually asleep when hearing the command, “Resist; don’t assist”. I was well aware what the phrase meant. We are to resist Satan; also realizing we can unknowingly assist him. When we engage in thoughts and actions that are like his, we begin assisting him.


Recently, I was trying to comfort and encourage a woman who was weeping with emotional pain. I knew her story well, since she had confided in me for months. I also knew that what mostly had contributed to her current state of torment was her unchecked desire to be admired.

I had great compassion for her and reassured her that we all want to be admired. If we don’t think we have this desire, we are deceived or lying. We also likely don’t realize how such a desire can lead to massive damage if not dealt with in healthy ways.

As I tried to comfort my friend, I also knew that if I really cared about her, I would also warn her. I began to share what harm the need to be admired can bring and how it was the beginning of decline for Satan. His desire to be admired prompted his attempt to upsurge God and led to the forever after influence of evil.

The desire to be admired creates a human vulnerability that has made us all prey to damage. I saw the knowing light begin to shine in my friend’s eyes. She understood and recognized the need to be admired as the driving force that had created much of her pain. For years, she had instead focused on her own declared shortcomings: being too fat, too stupid, too messy, too undisciplined, and too much or too little of all desirable traits.

What’s most alarming is that like most of us, she based her evaluations of herself on what she thought others’ opinion of her would be instead of God’s.

Oh how we assist Satan when we do this and most of us don’t realize we are even doing it. I understand why even in my sleep I hear the call, “Resist; don’t assist”.

3 weeks ago Dealing with Life: Look at the Whole Picture

“They are getting their rewards here”, my friend said. At first I was puzzled as he described a family who were not believers in Christ. He emphasized that this family seemed to flourish in life, while my friend was dealing with heart wrenching situations in his.

I reflected on my friend's deep faith and commitment to Christ. His intense efforts in ministering to others and leading ones to Jesus were shown for years. Yet, he had suffered greatly due to tragedies, illness, and decline within his family.

It would be easy to question why there were such vast differences between their families and to even become bitter. Yet, my friend just seemed to understand that his rewards would come in the future.

A few days later, I was talking with another Christian friend. He told me that that he always blames himself when he suffers. While its healthy to evaluate oneself to uncover whether bad decisions or attitudes led to current problems, his stance was concerning. When any hurtful time came, he felt that God was somehow displeased with him and either causing, allowing, or refusing to help him because of His displeasure. This global negative explanation for all pain ever experienced was causing him harm.

How do we respond when painful times come? Are we willing to examine ourselves and see what might need to change? Sometimes, we have caused our own suffering. The Bible tells us this in a number of passages.

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. Psalm 107:17

I admit that at times I have caused my own pain.

However, we also need to understand that even when we are serving God and trying to please Him, we can still suffer. The Lord reminds us of this in Psalm 34: 19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” My friend who was suffering while waiting for his reward, realized he would be delivered.

The Bible can help all of us in dealing with pain. Malachi illustrates what many have questioned. “Why do people who are living ungodly prosper while others trying to please God suffer?”

The final chapter to Malachi clearly directs us to look at the whole picture, including what’s to come. My friend who is patiently waiting for his deliverance and reward does that. So must we if we are to deal well with life here.






3 weeks ago Lasting Pleasure

I just got home from a week at the beach and am trying to adjust back to the daily routines. Destin in July is crammed pack with overpopulation at every place you go, with masses of people all scrambling to have fun. While we push and strain to squeeze in and create pleasure, we sometimes actually do the opposite. It’s a relief to sometimes just back off and be aware of our Creator.

Although our efforts to enjoy life can be fruitful, sometimes the more we try to assure fun for ourselves and those we love, the more we bring frustration and stress.

Its funny how we go about trying to create pleasure. When we just melt into God’s presence and His direction for our efforts, the path makes sense and brings pleasure and PEACE.

The beach, the activities (at least some), and family interaction were fun, fun, fun. Yet, I am ever reminded that the real lasting pleasure that will surpass any that man tries to create is still to come.. I’m so relieved that Jesus purchased my lasting place of pleasure in Heaven. Destin can’t compare with that.

Last month Eternity: Does it Exist?

I recently was listening to a minister who made a profound statement, “Most people spend more time planning for a two week vacation than for where they will spend eternity.” The statement illustrates how absurd, ludicrous, and downright bizarre our lack of insight can be.

My mother, who was also listening to the minister, chimed in, “He sounds like you.” While I don’t always act like it, I have been preoccupied about such myself. Why do so many not give much thought to where or how they will spend eternity, while they obsess about their temporary life here?

I see this with not only myself sometimes, but also with so many suffering people. Every workday for me involves trying to help hurting people. I love the honor of trying to help, but also recognize that they come with pain related to their brief earthly life. For many, the thought of eternity in Heaven is comforting during their struggle here.

The only explanation that explains the lack of regard for eternal matters is that people think that their existence stops when their earthy life ends. I watched a television program that showed numerous people being briefly interviewed about eternity. They were people who were randomly stopped that were walking outside in a busy city. Just about every person was nonchalant about the topic. Many said that they didn't believe there is anything after this life, with a few being unsure, but uninterested. One woman stood out. She enthusiastically talked of Heaven and being with the Lord. She said that she was thrilled that they had stopped to talk to her about the topic.

Just as I thought, the others that either didn’t believe in eternal existence or were unconvinced put their thoughts and efforts on temporary life here. That’s understandable if you think this is all there is. But if you weren’t sure or if you believe there is eternal existence, its ludicrous to live focused and concerned more about what doesn’t affect eternity than what does.

It was heart wrenching to realize that the interview may be representative of our world. I have mostly lived and interacted around people who believe in life after earthly death. Even those who didn’t feel ready for eternity at least believed it existed.

My prayer is that the Lord will open eyes, hearts, and minds with His Spirit to the reality of eternity, before its too late.

Last month Who You Marry

Most have heard of Noah and the ark. We may think we’ve uncovered all there is to learn from the story. Because Noah chose to value and listen to God’s voice above all others, he and his family were saved.

We aren’t told about Noah’s sons’ walk with the Lord before the flood. I wonder if they doubted what their dad was saying but just went along with him or if they had deep respect for him and thus believed what he warned. Since Noah was righteous, I assume he taught his sons well and that they saw how earnestly he lived his faith. Thus, they too may have valued what God said above what man said. We aren’t told that God talked with Noah’s sons, but I assume they listened to their dad who did hear from God.

What intrigues me are the daughter-in-laws. Since the Bible says that all besides Noah and his family were evil and thus destroyed, that shows that the daughter-in-laws came from evil families before they married. They didn't have a father that led them in Godly ways. In fact, their fathers would have led directly against righteousness.

Did the daughter-in-laws believe in God or did they benefit just because of being married to Noah’s sons? Recall that in their day, women had little, if any, power. They likely didn’t have any choice in whom they married. How blessed they were to marry men who followed God’s voice, even if it came through their father-in-law. I’d like to believe that after becoming a part of Noah's family, they trusted God and what Noah said.

Today women have full choice about who they marry, unless they are in abusive countries that don’t respect and value women’s right to choose. If women get to choose, why in the world would they ever choose a husband who doesn’t listen for and follow God’s voice. Yet, for decades I’ve met with hurt and struggling women who were married to men who did not seek or follow God’s voice. The most important quality to look for in a companion is that he seeks and obeys God’s lead.

Instead, woman base their decision about relationships on all kinds of factors, some good, some irrelevant, and some even unhealthy. We see from the Word, that husbands are called to be protective of their wives and children, not just physically, but spiritually. Noah’s sons protected their wives by leading them to obey the voice of God that their father Noah had heard.

It may seem that there are no men seeking God’s voice. So many don’t even consult God’s opinion, let alone submit to it. In the end, so many women compromise and settle for a husband who doesn’t seek and obey God because they don’t want to be alone. They may not luck up like Noah’s daughter-in-laws who likely didn’t even get to choose their husbands. Instead, they may make one of the most important decisions of life and do so without following God’s voice, which would clearly direct them to marry a man who seeks and obeys Him.

I’m sure if they could talk to women today, Noah’s daughter-in-laws would passionately advise woman to not only seek God’s voice themselves, but also to marry a man who seeks, hears, and obeys God’s voice above all others. They likely would emphasize that doing so can help save them from much heartache, or as in their case, even their life.



Last month Who is Listening?

When you think about Noah, you recognize that the entire world around him was evil. That’s why God wiped all of them out, except for Noah and his family. We see that God choose Noah, because Noah was obedient and walked with God. What intrigues me is that the Word says God talked to Noah. Why didn’t God talk to the other people? Would they have walked with God if He had talked with them?

While I sure don’t claim to understand all the mysteries that will be revealed in Heaven, I have some speculations. I started thinking about why we sometimes chose to stop talking to people. Sometimes, we are angry with them. We may have jealousy or impure motives for not talking with them.

I thought about why we back off from talking or at least change how we talk to someone we love. A person came to mind to me. I love her dearly and while we still talk, I don’t get real involved in her drama anymore. I stopped trying to warn her or give advice. Why? She doesn’t benefit from my efforts. Instead, I am left hurt, disappointed, and frustrated. She continues going in destructive paths and making bad decisions that not only hurt her, they bring pain to others who love her. I pray for her.

Maybe God did try to talk to them, but they wouldn’t listen. Have you ever been somewhere and you were trying to talk and no one listened to you? They may have been talking to each other and totally didn’t seem to even hear you. You likely just stopped talking. Who would blame you?

Why did Noah listen? For some reason, he was aware that God’s voice was the most important to hear. Above any human being, he respected what God was saying. You may be in situations where there is one speaker that you want to hear above all the others.

Although I don’t know why Noah was wise enough to discern and they weren’t, my prayer is that I will listen for the voice that matters above all others. Maybe if we are eager to hear, God will speak to us. No famous singer, movie star, President, or loved one is more important for us to seek listening to than the Lord.

As the Lord looks over His creation, He is looking for whom to talk with. Who will He find listening?

Last month The Choice is Ours

Do you ever feel alone and disconnected from those around you? Do you feel like they can’t relate to you; that somehow you just are so different that it is awkward?

I have a friend who is like that where her family is concerned. She seems so different from them that I suspect they see her convictions and deep love for Jesus as peculiar. They have lived lifestyles that included abusing drugs, excessive sexual infidelity, stealing, and a host of other choices that grieved my friend.

While she loves them dearly, she doesn’t fit. She has felt much hurt because she has wanted to be involved in their lives, yet finds that it is damaging and painful to do so. Since she fervently loves the Lord, it breaks her heart to watch them live so destructively.

I thought of her as I read of Noah this morning. If anyone was alone in his faith, it was Noah. I am deeply intrigued with how he alone was so committed to the Lord, when no one else was. In fact, evil consumed the whole world. Why didn’t it seem to affect him? He didn’t have a preacher to warn and encourage him. He didn’t have a supportive church family or even the Bible there to consult. He sure didn’t have a mature Christian brother to walk with him.

Yet, the Word says he walked with God. He chose his companion to be God, instead of the people around him. I try to imagine what that must have looked like. I picture him looking up into the sky and at the earth around him and just knowing in his heart that there must be a creator. As he looked into his children’s faces and felt love swell up, he must have figured out that this creator was loving and worthy of our devotion and respect.

I imagine he talked with God as he lived each day. Walking with him likely involved intimate conversations. Since the Word also says he was obedient, he must have followed his conscience that was in tune with God since he walked with him daily.

He must have made a determined choice to listen and be influenced by God and not his fellow human companions. There is the crust of why he was chosen by God. Noah chose God instead of humans.

We live in a world that infiltrates us with evil examples. We invite in the filth at times with what we chose to watch, taste, and allow delighting our sinful appetite.

Being surrounded by those who disrespect God, we must make choices daily as to which we will follow. Will we chose to be like my friend who bears the brunt of ridicule and rejection from her family because she loves Jesus? Will we be willing to not fit in, to be made fun of, or rejected by those around us because we follow the convictions that stem from obeying the Lord?

The choice is ours.

2 months ago Living in a Stressed-Out World

The word “stress” gets everyone’s attention. It seems epidemic that all struggle with what we label as stress. We feel overwhelmed, overextended, irritable, worried, and unable to just relax.

Life throws us curve balls. The washer tears up, and if that isn’t bad enough, it does it when we have mounds of laundry that we have let pile up. Then there’s that nagging back pain that won’t go away, the coworker who gets on our last nerve, or the unreasonable demands that we feel we must meet if we are a good person.

The list of stress builders is endless. Living in a fallen world involves such ongoing opportunities about which to stress. I find that what fuels much of my stress is trying to address what needs to be done before its there to be done. If I can just focus on what’s in front of me, I am so much calmer. While some planning is needed, we thrive much more if we stick to the situation at hand.

I once heard a man say that stress is trying to control things we don’t have control over. I would add that we try to control things that we shouldn’t try to control, even if we had the power. We try to fix other’s situations even when we don’t have the right to do so. We may mean well, and there are times we should help each other. Yet, inevitability when stress builds, it sometimes is a signal that we are trying to fix situations that aren’t ours to fix.

Other times, we are trying to remedy situations with powerless methods, or even more likely approaches that make it worse. While the Bible clearly indicates there are times we are to warn others, sometimes we sure can mess it up. Instead of powerfully praying God’s Word over loved ones making decisions against His commands, we try to lecture or manipulate them into obeying God. Even if we don’t try to outwardly intervene, we worry ourselves into pits of despair.

There are so many ways to fuel what we call stress. These thoughts are just a snippet. We all need to explore what fuels our stress. We may be surprised to find that much didn’t have to become stress in the first place, if we had faced each moment with the wisdom of our Lord.



2 months ago Remembering during the Storms

The television is blaring the threats of impending tornados and ways to take cover. The wind is so loud that it almost drowns out the sound of the sirens heralding warnings. Suddenly, hail is nailing down and the sound is frightening. I wonder what harm it is doing to my car sitting out unprotected from the elements.

As lightening flashes and the strikes boom loudly, I realize that many are likely hovering in their bathroom, basement, or anywhere to try to be protected. Its like the sky is angry and having a temper tantrum on the earth below.

This storm has been like so many others that come and go. In the middle of it, it feels like it is here forever. Yet, it passes, like all other storms that intrude into our lives.

The aftermath is amazing. The air seems sweet and clean. The chirping birds heralding that the danger is over interrupts the quietness. The roses seem to sprout overnight, and I embrace the peaceful bright scene that follows the storm. Just as quickly as it came, it leaves.

If we recall the pattern during the storm, we would be more quieted in our spirit. Its true that storms can destroy. They can also clean and make way for growth.

There is no way we can live and not face storms. Storms will come and go and we all will experience them no matter what we do. The same is true of other storms that have nothing to do with the weather.

Sometimes we can tell that they are developing. Like with physical storms where the atmospheric density mounts, we sense the pressure building and try to prepare. Other times, they seem to come out of nowhere, with no warning. We may feel heaviness, darkness, and fright. We may watch helplessly as some of the strikes we have no control over.

Although we can’t stop thunderstorms, at times we can prevent other kinds of storms from developing. Sometimes we made choices and acted in ways that we were warned not to do that led to the storm. Other times, we didn’t actually cause the storm, but we could have avoided being so affected by it.

Either way, when storms of life hit, if we remember that they pass and that the Lord is always faithful, we will deal more wisely during them. Just like the peaceful sweet atmosphere after a violent storm, the calm presence of God’s faithfulness is most evident after our personal storms. Remembering that He will not only be there during every storm, but will get us through to the blossoming life that follows is the quest for us all. We are prone to lose sight of that in the middle of the attack.

Lord, help us remember and never lose sight of Your protection and faithfulness during both the peaceful and stormy times of life.

3 months ago Risky Perceptions

I used to run into an acquaintance from church that I perceived as cold and kind of snobby. I thought she tried to be in clicks and her arrogance turned me off. While I didn’t know if my perceptions were accurate or not, I didn’t make any special attempts to get to know her.

A few years later, I was inevitably around her more because we participated in the same women’s events. I noticed how she seemed slightly shy. During an activity that necessitated more intimate interactions she opened up and talked of her insecurity and battle with depression.

Needless to say, I recognized that I had trusted my faulty perceptions. I was reminded of how our perceptions can propel us to erroneous reactions to others. We interpret from our observations and how risky that can be.

Since that encounter from many years ago, I have been keen on recognizing how others may tend to give off cues that will set them up for misconceptions from others. As a therapist, I have the advantage of getting an up close and personal view of those being transparent in a safe and confidential setting. From such, I have compassionately warned clients whose outward countenance was incongruent with the real them. The one, who appeared angry and sullen on the outside, was so hurt and fearful on the inside. The one, who looked arrogant and unconcerned with others, was lonely and insecure underneath.

Only the Lord has the ability to know every aspect of the inside of us. We all need to be aware that we can’t trust our perceptions and interpretations completely.

3 months ago A Life Well Lived

Whenever I was working on my Ph.D., I taught at a couple of Universities. One of the courses I taught the most was Developmental Psychology, which looks at the stages of life. As I live my own life, I realize how true researchers had it in recognizing that our lives go through developmental stages or what I call chapters.

As I look back over my life, I realize that I would have dealt with much of life differently if I could have had a clear preview of what my later chapters would show me. I would have realized that while hard work and trying to reach goals are important endeavors, loving God and people would top any thrills or worldly feats.

I would have forgiven more easily, had extra grace for other’s failures, and been more generous with my time and possessions. I would have noticed and embraced the simple pleasures that youth take for granted, and ignored the silly arrogance of those trying to make others feel small. I wouldn’t have obsessed about the surface appearance that the world spends billions of dollars promoting as the quest of a successful life.

I would have grieved more for the lost, prayed more for humanity, and praised our Creator with passion. Lastly, I would have treated the days as precious opportunities to never take for granted, just as I cherished the moments with those I love.

My wish is to give previews to the younger ones, who are in their own chapters facing the challenges with what they know at their developmental stage. I guess it’s not easy for us to see beyond the chapter we are in, but I will keep sending preview messages as best I can. Even with previews, we sometimes take years to live with the wisdom that comes with age. Older saints, especially my parents, lived previews for me that clearly marked the way. I watched as they showed that loving God and people was the quest of a life well lived

3 months ago The Challenge

Our expectations can really set us up for harm. When we expect only bad from life, we position ourselves for damage. When we expect only good, we definitely place ourselves where disappointment and defeat will be magnified.

Much of the challenge of life is to deal with our expectations. Since we learn how to live by developing expectations, we need to recognize when our outlook and beliefs are veering us in error.

Sometimes we read of God’s promises and interpret them in ways that set us up for those faulty expectations. For example, we read, “No weapon formed against us shall prosper”, thinking that means nothing will injure or hurt us. While the weapons against Christ and those who love Him will not prevail, it didn’t promise that Christ or us wouldn’t be hurt. Christ suffered greatly and we aren’t promised that we won’t be attacked or hurt while being in a fallen world.

Yet, if we aren’t careful, we can promote the Christian message as if we are somehow not going to be touched by pain. On the other hand, we can also plummet into thinking we have a life plagued with heartache only until we get to Heaven. The old hymn, “I’ll Fly Away” includes the verse, “Just a few more WEARY days and then, I’ll fly away.” Thinking all of our days will be weary, discounts the encouragement and joy of the Holy Spirit and thinking all of our days will only be happy, discounts the reality of the hurt that comes from being in a fallen world.

Thus, our challenge remains. “Lord, help us rest in Your promises and yet still know that we will sometimes hurt and struggle and sometimes not understand.

4 months ago Responding like Jesus

It didn’t take years of listening to others’ pain to recognize that people hurt each other. Someone has wronged all of us. It’s easy for our hurt to propel a desire for justice, or what may actually be revenge. If we are honest with ourselves, the more we have been treated badly, the more we may want the one who harmed us to suffer.

Those with pervasive wickedness act cruelly and may seem to prosper. The Word gives direction and encouragement to those who have been so badly treated that they struggle with how to respond.

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles”, Proverbs 24: 17, (NKJV)

How do we not delight in such a one reaping what he sowed?

The more we recognize how God’s grace and mercy spared us what we would have reaped, the more we are equipped to love like Christ. While nailed to the cross and struggling with pain, rather than want His cruel tormenters to suffer, Jesus prayed for His Father to forgive them, pleading that they didn’t know what they were doing.

We need His grace to love like that, to forgive, and to yearn for the wicked to repent and be redeemed. -

4 months ago Hope for What's to Come

Life is made up of chapters. Some are so pleasurable that we wish we could remain in that chapter. Yet, each chapter also has some pain within. Some chapters seem particularly plagued with loss and struggles.

As we weave through the various chapters of our lives, we all need hope that our life story has a happy ending. I hate getting all interested in a book or movie that ends badly. I can remember a friend getting mad after watching a movie that friends had already seen and yet had not warned her that it had a sad ending. She wailed, “You should have warned me, I wouldn’t have watched it.”

We all want the hero to win, love to prevail, and the characters to end up happy. God wants the same. He wants us to choose our great ending by choosing the life He has provided for us if we embrace it through Jesus.

When we know that the ending of our earthly life transfers us to an eternal existence with God, we can face every chapter here with hope. Whenever I re-watch a movie that I have already seen that has a great ending, I can watch the scary and sad segments being relaxed and enjoying it because I know what is coming.

I’m so glad that the Lord gave us the hope of a good ending in His Word that provides the previews we need to deal with our scary and painful parts of life. Yet, we sure need to remind ourselves of what’s to come.

4 months ago A Simpler Time

I remember lying in the grass in my yard as a child, just aimlessly looking at the sky. I would notice the clouds and see the various streaks that marked through them. Time didn’t even register as I just embraced being there with no need to accomplish anything.

I can’t imagine such a peaceful time in children’s lives now. I watch as we scurry from event to event, video game to game, movie-to-movie, and social affair to affair. While most kids would instinctively connect with my childhood times of just “being”, they have been groomed to be adrenaline junkies.

We have to look no further than our mirrors to see who trained them. I am stunned to see how my own times of letting my thoughts wander and fuel a blog have been sidetracked for weeks. I have been in a busy streak of constant activity that robbed me of my quiet times of reflection.

I sense a yearning to escape back to a simpler time; a time that quiets my spirit and allows me to connect with my Creator. I think the yard is calling me . . . Is it calling you too?

5 months ago What to do with the Whys?

Seems like life has persistently drawn me to asking why? I’ve come to realize that some nagging “whys” don’t seem to entice me much anymore. As the decades passed, I have let certain of of my questions go. I just couldn’t seem to give up my quest to find the answers to them until I accepted that not only could I not find them while still confined to my earthy life, but also that I will have them answered when my heavenly life begins.

I Corinthians 13: 12: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

However, I still find seeking answers to many questions a worthwhile endeavor. As a counselor, I have been honored to join many as they uncovered wisdom from their efforts to find answers to their “whys”. The more truth they found, the more healing followed.

Most truth doesn’t help us if we don’t know it or use it. Thus, the chase for available truth is on and calls all of us to participate. As we find the answers that help life make sense, we move closer to our divine destiny. When we hit those unmovable walls that keep the answers hidden, we press on since we know they will eventually be revealed.

6 months ago Relationship Clutter

In considering the need to discard the clutter in our homes, I ventured into thinking about other kinds of clutter in our personal lives. Worry, offenses, temptations, people pleasing, and varieties of other types of clutter came to mind.

A friend told me about being in a new chapter in life in which she is much more willing to discard unused and unneeded clutter. She was finding it a “freeing” experience to “let go” of the stuff. We pondered on how much we could have benefited from such purging throughout our past life.

Our relationships provide much clutter that needs to be addressed. It can be confusing when trying to de clutter our relationships. Sometimes we need to discard the unrealistic expectations of others that set us up for disappointment. Other times, we need to shed old offenses and grudges. Frequently, we need to abandon much of what drains our energy and time that depletes us from having enough for our relationships that matter.

Lastly, there are those destructive relationships that we may need to leave. While we are called to never stop caring about the well being of anyone, we are not called to always remain in a relationship. Some can’t discard tangible belongings to such extent that they are identified as hoarders. Others can’t bear to get out of a friendship that is abusive or in ongoing ways unhealthy for them.

When examining relationships, the most important of all is our relationship with the Lord. Regularly monitoring my relationship with the Lord is paramount. What clutter gets in the way of our intimacy? What clutter do I keep that hurts the Lord? What junk hinders me from obeying Him? Jewels are hidden within the clutter and sometimes never found and treasured. Similarly, our life clutter can hinder us from hearing the Holy Spirit's treasures of reassurance and guidance. Sometimes I have been so affected by clutter that I missed the Holy Spirit's warnings. At times I took a different path from the one that the Holy Spirit was trying to lead me to because I was under the influence of the clutter instead of Him.

“Lord, teach us when and how to purge so that we stay focused on fulfilling our race for Your Glory.”








6 months ago Hiding in the Clutter

An effective way to improve our emotional well-being is to get rid of clutter. I’m convinced that all of us would benefit from purging half or more of what we have in our homes

We women talk frequently about getting rid of the clutter. Yet, for most of us this is never accomplished. We talk about it more than do it. Why is that? The most common reason is time.

It takes time to sort though and discard. It also requires making decisions that can be difficult. “Should I keep this?” “Maybe I will wear that when I lose weight.” “I may need that someday.” “How could I get rid of that when it was what my great grandma made?”

Some intrigue me that can discard much with little thought. They find it easy to toss whatever. Those extra Christmas decorations, chair, and handmade treasures are flippantly pitched.

Those at the other extreme also intrigue me. They can’t or won’t discard anything that they seem to have had from the beginning of life until the moment at hand. They have so much stuff, good and bad, that they can’t even know what all they have.

Most of us are likely in between these two extremes. When we have so much, it is inevitably harder to keep our space simple and clean. The excess seems to upset our peace.

My son, who has ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is notorious for keeping his condo immaculate. He has open space and sparsely decorated rooms. The disarray in his mind seems to be calmed by the organized and uncluttered environment in which he lives.

I envy such and yet find it difficult to achieve. I know that less is more. If I have less, it’s so much easier to maintain order.

The need to simplify and de clutter applies to all aspects of our lives. While our external world may be a challenge, our internal one is even more so. Trying to get rid of excessive worries, conflicts, competing priorities, and temptations can seem insurmountable.

As when we are dealing with physical clutter, it takes effort and resistance in de cluttering our mind and relationships. Making this a priority is a choice that we will never regret.

I picture looking back over my life one day and realizing that so much more peace and accomplishment could have been mine if I had treasured this goal above all the clutter that ruled my life. How about you?

Recently, a pastor caught my attention with a statement, “Satan hides in the clutter.”

Wow! I knew that clutter could bring stress, but never thought about how the evil one thrives in such. The pastor didn’t elaborate on his proclamation, but I knew that it warranted my attention and exploration.

I admit that I don’t relish the thought of sorting through all my junk. My life, like most people’s, is cluttered with doubts, worries, misplaced priorities, people pleasing, past hurts, and selfish tendencies.

I feel like just avoiding the whole mess and instead going for some chocolate. Yet, the task calls as I talk with God. He encourages me that we can do it together. You can too.

7 months ago "The Right Fear"

Recently, I was encouraging a woman to pursue her divine purpose. This would involve identifying her spiritual gifts and specific assignments God had for her. “Why would God leave us here after accepting Christ as Savior?” I asked. “Why not take us to Heaven where we will thrive without pain? The only answer that makes sense to me is that we must have assignments here”, I said.

As I continued urging her to consider embracing her gifts and assignments, she responded, “I’m afraid to”.

“I’d be afraid not to”, was my reply.

Looking ahead to the ending of our life, I thought about how we will look back to review what we have done with our brief time on earth. Compared to eternity, it’s not even an eye blink. The Bible refers to our earthly life like a vapor. It’s gone quickly.

Lost in thought, I continued sharing. “When we look back over our life, what will we see? If we realize that we never tried to find and fulfill our assignments from God, we will have deep regrets. Time is up. Even if we had a grand time pursuing our own comfort and pleasure, it’s been just a speck in terms of our existence. We have no more opportunity to do our tasks that would affect eternity. That’s a frightening thought. Much more to fear than trying to do our assignments.”

I looked up to see her face. I wasn’t sure if she was moved by my revelation. Yet, I was. Again, I was reminded by my own words the significance of living with eternity in mind.

7 months ago When We Have Hurt Others

Life’s great challenge is to deal with our hurt in healthy ways. Doing so, we don’t hurt others. However, none of us have always dealt with our hurt in healthy ways. It’s more likely that we have all hurt others at some time when we have been hurt.

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and willing to forgive us when we repent for our hurtful actions. That doesn’t mean people always do, even if they should. The Word clearly tells us to forgive others. However, trust is earned.

A friend was complaining to me about her husband not being forgiving of her friend who had hurt her. She felt that her husband was wrong, and explained that her friend hadn’t meant to hurt her and had been hurt badly himself. Yet, the more she talked, the more I began to suspect that her husband was actually being protective of her. He may or may not have forgiven her friend. However, it was obvious that the friend continued to act in hurtful ways. Her husband was trying to shield her from further harm.

We desperately need to forgive others. We also need to receive God’s forgiveness ourselves if we are to thrive. I’m so eternally grateful that God is willing to forgive me for how I have hurt others, especially Him. However, if I willfully and continually choose to engage in hurtful actions, am I really repentant?

These tough questions expose tough challenges. These include dealing with our hurt without harming others, repenting when we have hurt others out of our own pain, and striving to stop hurting others, even if we are still damaged. The questions also point to the hope we have in a long-suffering, merciful Savior who is forgiving and who will help us recover from pain.

7 months ago “Hurt People Hurt Others”

“Hurt people hurt others”. This is a common phrase that provides a sad, but well-known truth. Most accept this as a phenomenon that can’t be avoided. Hurt people have no choice but to hurt others.

Recently a friend excused the hurtful actions of her father, explaining that he was responding out of his own pain. While having compassion for him was healthy, I found myself recognizing that just excusing his harmful actions might not be okay either. Don’t we need to recognize that we can’t expect to hurt others when we are hurting as if we have no choice in the matter?

Do hurt people have to hurt others? It seems right to have grace for others who are hurting and to not be stringent in our demand of their behavior being completely right when they have been damaged. And yet, they need to take responsibility for trying not to hurt others just because they have been hurt.

One of life’s greatest challenges is to deal with our hurt in healthy ways. In doing so, we don’t hurt others just because we have been hurt. We don’t demean them, disrespect them, bully them, or take advantage of them. We also don’t try to control them and demand that they respond as we want them to no matter how it affects their well-being.

I recall a heart-wrenching situation that happened to a dear friend of mine. She was involved in a car accident in which the driver of the other vehicle sued her for a huge amount of money that could make her bankrupt. I found it horrifying that the man suing could cause such harm when there had been no malicious or neglectful acts on her part. In fact, she had been traumatized by the accident and yet thankful that the other driver had walked away with no apparent injuries.

Her experience had brought back a memory for me from decades ago whenever I was only 17. An elderly man had turned right in front of me causing an accident that had left me injured for life. I was in the hospital for eight weeks, for days on a ventilator keeping me alive, sent home with a body cast for another couple of months, and left with a crooked leg that required a built up shoe and a lifetime of impairment. Even decades after the accident, one of the doctors declared that I was the sickest person that ever survived in that hospital.

The man never checked on me or talked to us after the accident, except for at the scene of the accident. While I was lying on the ground in a pool of blood, he angrily and accusingly asked my boyfriend who was driving if he didn’t see his blinker. The man was driving north on the opposite side of a busy highway where we were driving south. He literally turned right in front of us to to go across all the lanes as if the ongoing traffic should just come to a stop.

After I got off the ventilator and out of intensive care, an attorney came to see me in the hospital. He told my mother of how much insurance the man had and went on to tell us that he had a farm. He asked if we wanted to sue and take his farm. He assuredly implied that his farm was mine if I wanted it.

I didn’t even know if the man knew I had survived. However, my mother and I both were stunned at the attorney’s question. Of course we never even considered taking his farm. I never thought that the man intentionally hurt me. He may even have emotionally suffered greatly after the accident. I felt compassion for him in that he may have gotten confused when he was driving. He may have prayed earnestly for me. There is no way of knowing.

Our pain had been overwhelming, my injuries would continue to affect me, and yet we would never consider such a reaction. Yet, my friend faced someone who walked away from the accident and later decided to sue in ways that could take everything she had and more. I can’t imagine the soul of such a person.

Hurt people do hurt others. Sometimes we don’t see their injuries. My friend assumed that the man suing her was uninjured by how he seemed at the time of the accident. Obviously, he was injured, whether by the accident or emotionally and spiritually by past hurts in his life before the car wreck ever happened.

Just because people have been hurt doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect ourselves from them hurting us out of their past damage. In turn, if we are to follow the Lord’s lead, we will deal with our hurt in ways that don’t injure others. Jesus is a hard act to follow. As I think of Him stripped, beaten, ridiculed, and in terrific pain pleading for God to forgive those who had hurt Him so badly, I know that hurt people don’t have to hurt others. And yet, if they don’t know the love of God, they likely will.

7 months ago Keeping Eternity in Mind

It seems that I never tire of writing and talking about eternity. I watch people, including myself, as we putter through life. We pursue goals, we play, we fight, we work, and so on and so on. I wonder how often we think about our earthly life being such a brief speck of our existence.

Today I was talking with a woman born the same year as me. She talked of how we are on the way out. She didn’t mean that she thought we were on the verge of death. Yet, she rightly recognized that we are on the down side. When we know that even if we have a long life on earth, we are obviously on the last fourth or even half of life, our perspective changes.

For most of my life, I seem to have sensed how brief our life is compared to eternity, but especially during the last decade. This doesn’t mean that I am morbid or in despair. In fact, I believe keeping such a perspective actually minimizes pain, while still allowing us to enjoy much of our earthly life experiences.

Jesus enlightened us when He performed His first miracle where He turned water into wine. We read where He displayed an attitude that supported human comforts and pleasures, while still promoting what was most important, which always involved eternity. He responded to His mother’s attempts to get Him to do something about them being out of wine. Even though he provided the wine out of water, He gave an even more valuable treasure when He reminded her that His time had not come. He was referring to the main reason He was here, which was not to provide all our temporary comforts and pleasures, but to ensure our way to salvation and an eternity with Him.

If we could always keep an eternal perspective, we will live more wisely, but also die more wisely. A number of people I know have recently experienced the death of someone they love or a diagnosis that suggests a high risk that death may be soon. Such experiences remind us of what we sometimes tuck away as if it will never touch us. Death comes to us all, if Jesus tarries. It comes to those we love and hold dear. As we watch their last breath signify that life has left the body, we see the full effects of the Fall of humanity. We look at the shell that held our precious love one. It seems so surreal that the body so quickly changes. When you look upon the familiar features, they are suddenly so different without the spirit.

We read in Corinthians that for Christians to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It shouldn’t take the death of a loved one or a notice that we are to die soon to remind us of eternity and how brief our time here.

“Lord, the obsession with eternity that You have placed on my heart is a gift. Please help me treasure it, use it as You intended, and share it with others in ways that bless them, warns and protects them, and directs them with wisdom and hope.”

8 months ago Who Defines Me?

“I hate how I look” “I wish I hadn’t been born, I’m useless”.

The young woman’s self-hatred was excruciating. Unfortunately, such self-loathing is common.

Although many don’t have the intensity of self-contempt that she expressed, all of us have mostly used the same process as she in evaluating our self-worth. We develop how we see ourselves by how others have treated us.

This causes most of life’s damage. We come into the world primed to be vulnerable to people. “Do they like me?” “Why don’t they include me?” “Did he leave me because I’m too fat?” The list is endless of the ways we define ourselves based on how we interpret how others treat us.

In turn, after the damage of such, our perceptions are adjusted accordingly. Thus, what we see is a reflection of how our lenses have been influenced by our experience.

While devaluing ourselves can damage us, we can also be over inflated because others may have treated us as if we were more special than everyone else. Either way, it’s ludicrous and dangerous to base our value by other people’s behavior toward us. People don’t define us, God does. It should not take us until our senior years to figure this out. Unfortunately, it usually does.

Our enemy banks on this phenomenon that defines humanity. We look to other created beings to define us instead of looking to the Creator.

8 months ago Choosing our Goals Wisely

Don’t we all sometimes wish we could start over? Like when we are drawing a picture and mess it up so much that we are relieved to just crumble it up and start with a fresh sheet of paper.

We may tend to look at the beginning of a New Year the same way. Its like we want to begin again and leave the past junk behind. I’m fascinated by how we choose New Year’s to begin all these efforts that we could have started any other day. New Year is associated with having New Year resolutions or goals. The retail world knows this well and thus they bombard us with ads and commercials about exercise equipment and all kinds of products that represent what people commit to addressing in their New Year’s resolutions. New Gym memberships soar.

We claim goals to lose weight, to save money, to clean out all our junk, to finally start that project, to all kinds of promises we make to ourselves. While all this can be motivating and even healthy, I wonder how long it takes for our intentions to crumble. I also wonder why we wait to a New Year to even begin our efforts. Lastly, I wonder why we pick the goals we do.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I have ever heard a spoken New Year goal or resolution that was not a good one. Yet, I wonder about the ones that the Lord would be most thrilled about. What would He recognize as the most important?

The answer is found clearly in the very first book of the New Testament.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid: and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13: 44 NKJV) “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”(Matthew 16:26 NKJV)

The Lord makes it clear that no temporary feats that we go after in this life compare to seeking the eternal treasures of His kingdom.

Recently, a friend was venting her sorrow to me about a man who was in a pitifully sad situation. While I was touched by her mercy and compassion for the man, I found myself instead thinking about where he would spend eternity. His earthly situation was bad, but temporary. I agreed that she was so right to reach out and help him.

The love of God is shown as we try to help others. In doing so what will matter most is if we help influence them for what will help them for eternity.

As we ponder over the beginning of a brand New Year, it’s motivating to set our sights on worthy goals. When you think about it, each day is a new chance, even every moment.

“Lord, brand Your goals so deeply in our hearts that they challenge us, propel us, and constantly direct our efforts”, not just for a short lived New Year’s resolutions phase, but for every day of the rest of our lives.”

8 months ago Deliberate Continual Stance –DCS

When Sue shoved past me, causing me to spill my coffee down the front of my new suit, I was livid. I looked up at her in astonishment and saw the horror on her face. It only took an instant for me to realize that she felt terrible about what she had done and that she never intentionally meant to knock into me. While I was still upset about the coffee all over me, I was more concerned over her obvious distress. I began trying to reassure her that I wasn’t angry with her and knew that she didn’t mean to do it.

While I just made up this scene to illustrate a point, it demonstrates a common truth. People cause harm, even when they don’t mean to do so. They can find grace and mercy in these cases, while our Lord is the epitome of such.

Deliberate hurtful actions provoke such a different response than accidental ones. That’s important to cling to as we read in Hebrews 10:26 (NLT), “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.”

Three words define the message: deliberate, knowingly, and continually. When we know better, yet choose a continual and deliberate life of sin, instead of grace and mercy, we ensue judgment. Even when we knowingly sin, it’s the continual part that distinguishes between those under the grace of salvation and those not.

Most of us would likely expect consequences for those who knowingly, deliberately, and continually robbed, abused others, or in anyway caused harm.

On the other hand, there are great rewards for those who deliberately and continually strive for obeying the Lord, being kind, and showing integrity and generosity.

How deliberate are we in our lives. Do we make intentional plans to do well, to obey, and to pursue doing right? When we fall, are we deliberate to repent and get back up? Being deliberate sometimes requires us to also be stubborn and to have a determined stance. A deliberate continual stance (DCS) is called for when facing the onslaught of the enemy, the temptation to sin, and the frustrations of living in a fallen world.

Being deliberate can be good or bad, depending about what we are being deliberate. The Lord encourages us to be deliberate in our choice. He deliberately chose us.

8 months ago Darn those chips!


As the car whizzed across the floor, with a slight push of my finger, it instantly changed directions. Holding the small remote in my hand, I sensed the power I had over the toy car. I could make it stop, start, and go in any direction I chose. It was under my control. I could slam it into a wall or over a ledge.

What gives me this control? There is no visible evidence of how the remote is linked to the car.

Yet, inside the car, not evident on the outside, is a small chip that somehow is electronically linked to my remote. Without that chip, my remote has no power over the car.

Likewise, deep inside each of us are chips that give Satan power and influence over us. Those chips were implanted when humanity fell with Adam and Eve. Ever since, we have chips. Chips come from our carnal nature that wants its way, is prone to pride, rebellion, and selfishness.

We also have our own unique chips that were created from our individual journey in a fallen world. We may have deep wounds, strongholds, and implanted lies that keep us vulnerable to that blasted remote that the enemy keeps using to derail us.

Jesus so loved His Father and was in such total submission to His will, that no chips could develop and stay within Him. He declared this in John 14:30 (KJV) “Hereafter I will not talk much more with you, for the prince of this world cometh, and he has nothing in me.” The enemy’s remote was powerless, completely disabled where Christ was concerned.

Those chips that came with the fall are never going to be completely gone until we get to Heaven where no evil exists and we are fully who God created us to be. The apostle Paul said he had to crucify his flesh or in this case, chips daily. We do that with the Word and seeking the Holy Spirit’s help.

However, there are some chips that the Lord can remove if we submit our will and humbly allow Him to do so. Just like a splinter can be excised, some of our chips can be completely removed. Old resentments, hurts, shame, and obsessions can be eradicated. However, they have a way of worming themselves back in if we aren’t careful in our pursuit of the Lord.

Keeping our eyes open to who the Lord is and what has eternal value protects those pesky chips from infiltrating and thus making us vulnerable to the enemy’s remote.

While living our daily lives, we get so busy dealing with the tasks, pain, and pleasures at hand, that we likely don’t think of chips. The enemy sure hopes we don’t.

“Oh no, there goes another soul being propelled over a cliff.” "Darn those chips!"

8 months ago Confrontation

How do you feel when you hear the word confrontation? Some of us cringe. One of the great challenges of life is to deal with confrontation in healthy ways. Some never want to confront anyone for any reason. When we avoid confrontation to that degree, you can guarantee there will be dire consequences. We must sometimes confront others if we are to deal with living in a fallen world in a healthy way.

On the other hand, there are those who actually love confrontation. They seem to seek out opportunities to confront others. Usually those are also ones that confront in damaging ways. Some confront when there is no reason to do so or when not confronting is a healthy choice.

The decades of assessing pervasive avoidance tendencies have helped developed in me a keen ability to recognize those who have spent their life not confronting. Sometimes it feels impossible to change the pattern.

When the avoidance is extreme, I find myself wondering about what damage has occurred to create such aversion and unwillingness to ever confront others. The typical reasons are, “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I don’t want anyone to be mad at me, and I feel guilty confronting them.”

I recognize that for some, it goes even deeper. They likely aren’t even consciously aware of what fueled and sustains such a disability. It may sound extreme to label it a disability, but it actually is one when you consider its affect on their life.

Holy Spirit, we need Your light to illuminate the damage that keeps us prisoner in our own destructive patterns. We need You to teach us, equip us, and comfort us in learning how to deal with living in a fallen world with our own and others’ imperfections. Help us accept that this will sometimes involve the necessity of confronting others. It will also involve others confronting us.

8 months ago Knowing Ourselves

Have you noticed how people can have such different temperaments? Some are laid back and don’t seem to get that excited about anything. Others are intense and feel emotions much deeper. Some seem easily frustrated and reactive to stress.

While we may not be one extreme or the other, we still have our unique make-up. We aren’t able to tease out precisely the degree that behavioral patterns were influenced by environment and what are more fueled by our temperament. Either way, it’s so important for us to get an understanding of our patterns and ourselves so that we can take responsibility for how we interact with our world.

Our wiring can influence what we find more challenging and what comes easily for us. I was impressed with a woman recently who recognized and admitted that she is so emotionally intense that her temper is easily provoked. She recognizes that she needs to take responsibility for how her tendency to get angry easily and intensely can harm herself and others. I admired her willingness to pursue this great challenge.

Frequently, we aren’t open to see ourselves truthfully. If we go on a quest to perceive and understand our wiring and patterns accurately, we may be surprised by what we uncover.

Do we find that we are overly controlling, prone to see the negative, or overly sensitive to noise or conflict? Will we find that we have a peaceful countenance that tends to have a calming effect on those around us? Are we prone to be easily excited or do we have an abundance of energy and drive?

We may be pleasantly surprised or disappointed by what we become aware of about ourselves.

Knowing that God loves us helps encourage us in accepting ourselves and our responsibility to pursue being and acting as He envisioned us.

8 months ago Food for Thought

Recently I had some minor surgery that required me to have nothing by mouth for 12 hours before the surgery. I wasn’t able to even begin to eat for several more hours following the surgery. While I have plenty of fat reserves, I still found myself feeling the hunger pangs. Although I had to start with soft food, chicken noodle soup had never tasted so good. Food not only nourishes our body, it can bring pleasure and a sense of reward to our taste buds.

I was recently reading a familiar passage in John4 31-36 that made me take another look at food. The disciplines were concerned for Jesus who they were encouraging to eat. Jesus responded telling them that He had food that they didn’t know about. They were thinking of only physical food and were puzzled by His response. The Lord goes on to identify that His food was to do the will of His Father, which was to finish His work. He then elaborates on reaching the harvest.

How strange it may seem to think of fulfilling God’s will or reaching the lost as food. Yet, as Christians, we are nourished as we fulfill our God given assignments and this will always involve the harvest. We are strengthened, nourished, and even refreshed with the taste for which our spirit yearns.

As I slurp my hot bowl of soup, I recognize that my spirit also needs feeding. The harvest is laid before us like a huge buffet.

8 months ago Where am I Yoked?: Part 2

Even though God warned Christian’s to not get yoked together with unbelievers, what should you do if you have already done that? We may have entered a business partnership, a marriage, or a committed relationship with someone who is not a follower of Christ. Some of those unions will be more problematic than others. Some of these alliances can create great conflict and be painful. Others may hinder the two being likeminded in important ways, but may not be as destructive as it could be.

Some have felt great persecution because of their spiritual beliefs. Some have told me that their spouse was so against what they believed that they were cruel, angry, and tried to control them from following their beliefs. Others have not felt persecuted, but missed the closeness that could have had if they both had loved the Lord and shared similar beliefs.

What does a person do if they are in a business partnership, committed relationship, or marriage where they are not equally yoked? We need to first admit that we didn’t follow the Lord’s commandment and repent. I’m so glad that God is so forgiving and compassionate or none of us have hope.

Secondly, we must change our expectations to fit the situation. We can’t expect to have the same connection and decision making as we would if both were believers. Obviously, we must pray even more for God’s direction and leading. Sometimes, we need to back out of a business partnership if it causes too much compromise and conflict. Sometimes even a deep friendship can cause so much distress that we need to back off some. If we are dating, we still have a chance to stop. If we are married, that’s where it gets tricky.

Some have obediently stayed in marriages with a non-believer who didn’t abuse them. Even when they stayed in the non-abusive marriage, they didn’t enjoy the spiritual rewards that come from being equally yoked.

It’s important to get spiritually nourished and connected with other Christians of our same gender for the extra support that we don’t get from our spouse. This applies even when we are married to a believer, but one who doesn’t provide such support.

We need to be vigilant that we don’t begin compromising in ways that go against the Word. Some have tried to keep peace or promote pleasure in the relationship by going along with their business partner, friend, or spouse in engaging in sin.

I recall a friend who felt convicted about what the business partner was doing, yet didn’t want to rock the boat. Another, joined her spouse in activities she knew involved sin, but in which he wanted her to participate.

A recall a man-years ago who was trying to get more committed in his relationship with the Lord. He had been a believer for many years, but had struggled with drink and drugs. He told me that he didn’t want to get back into the bar scene that was so risky for him, yet his wife would go without him if he refused. He was so yoked with her that he was fearful of her getting with other men. Needless to say, he went with her and the rest is a sad history.

It’s also easy to get into despair and feeling so sorry for your predicament, especially as one sees other Christians who are equally yoked. It’s essential to guard from sinking into depression or other destructive reactions.
The Word provides ample help. “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

8 months ago Where am I Yoked?

Many of us have heard the Scripture that we are not to be unequally yoked. I always thought that was only referring to marriage. However, it applies to so many other types of relationships. We can get yoked with someone in a business partnership or a deep friendship. Getting intimate emotionally or spiritually with someone sometimes yokes us together. When we are fully yoked, we are so bound with each other that there is great influence from one to another.

While we aren’t allowed to be yoked with an unbeliever, we may assume we are okay being tied with one who professes to believe, yet who obviously doesn’t commit to following the Lord. Doing so, we are still setting ourselves up for heartache.

Much of the pain that people suffer comes from not following this command to NOT be unequally yoked. Many of us have not taken this instruction as encompassing as the Lord meant for us. When we enter into an interdependent relationship, partnerships in business, and ministry with those who aren’t equally yoked with us as disciplines of Christ, we set ourselves up for trouble.

A yoke is a wooden bar that ties two oxen to each other and to the load they pull. They are unequally yoked when a stronger one is bound to a weaker one or a tall one with a shorter one. As they would walk, they would be at odds with each other. The shorter or weaker would be slower than the other and they would end up going in circles. Thus, they couldn’t perform the task because they were not in sync.

The oxen didn’t have a choice how they were yoked. A human made the choice and secured them together. Yet, we have a choice and people throughout history have discarded the Lord’s warning.

The kind of yoking to which the Lord was referring was that of our own choosing. If we didn’t have any power to choose, He wouldn’t tell us not to do it.

For decades I have met with women who have shared their struggles and heartache with me that came because they became emotionally and intimately entwined with a man they wanted, even though they knew they were not spiritually equally yoked. Getting emotionally attached to someone we are dating is establishing the process of getting yoked.

When a Christian starts spending time with a man as a potential partner that is not committed to Christ, she is flirting with disaster and yet it happens so much that I feel like screaming, “Why are we so foolish?” “Do we really think we can do this and not suffer consequences?”

We may also engage in a process of yoking that negates God’s blessings. He reserves sexual intimacy as honorable and permissible between a husband and wife. Yet, Christians override this notoriously. But, what’s most alarming is whenever we feel justified and that this is acceptable. None of us have followed His commandments perfectly. That’s why we need a Savior. We have all sinned. Yet, we need to at least call it for what it is: sin. Why do we think we can do it however we want, whenever it goes against His commandments and still expect God to bless our actions?

Again, our expectations can be so ludicrous! He didn’t tell us we reap what we sow and to not be yoked with an unbeliever for no reason. He always means what He says and we can believe Him.
2 day(s) ago

8 months ago Fitting Expectations

Sometimes we have expectations of people that are based on false perceptions. We may not know the person well enough to make our expectations match who they are. I have a dear friend who I cherish and have come to know well. I recognize that she is highly sensitive to other people’s pain and has the lovely gift of mercy. She seems to experience others’ pain more deeply than they do. When someone she knows is disappointed, the depth of distress she feels for him or her outweighs the disappointment that the person felt. I have adjusted my expectations of my friend to match more closely to her emotional tendency to feel much more deeply than most.

I sometimes wish that she didn’t feel others’ pain so deeply. I don’t think it is even healthy at times. While I am sometimes thick headed, I am becoming more willing to accept that I can’t change another person. I want her to learn to redirect some of that pain that doesn’t fix it for others, but just makes her so sad. I think my motives are good—I truly want great for her. I want my friend to not hurt so deeply. But, I can’t change her. I can’t expect of her what is not realistic.

Now that I know this tendency in her, I am more careful and protective of what I share. Just the other day, I started to tell her of a mutual acquaintance who was struggling with a sad situation and needed our prayers. My friend’s prayers are so powerful that I knew that they would be welcomed. However, I also knew that I needed to be sensitive enough not to emphasize the gory details.

My expectations need to fit my friend, not me. I could more easily let go of the pain while I faced my day’s challenges. My friend would likely be so deeply affected that she would obsess about it for hours; she would hurt more than I ever would. I used to feel that I am just not as loving. Maybe I am not. But, I know her deep mercy and tender feelings need to be considered as I interact with her.

Do our expectations set others or us up for distress and hurt?
What about our expectations for ourselves? Do we set ourselves up by thinking we have unlimited resources and wisdom in helping others or ourselves? Do we think we can handle taking everyone’s pain?

On the other extreme, we may think we aren’t equipped to help anyone. Yet, the Holy Spirit wants us to expect His help.

Having realistic expectations helps equip us to deal with life as it is, not as we wish it were.

9 months ago What Do You Expect?




Our expectations of others can set us up for much heartache. When we expect others to rescue us in ways that they aren’t capable of doing, we set them and us up for harm. When we expect them to have all the wisdom, resources, and compassion we need and want, we are fooling ourselves in destructive ways.

Usually, we don’t recognize we are doing this. However, it happens more than we think. We may try to rescue others in ways that are unhealthy when our heart sometimes overrides wisdom..

Recently a friend was grieving the pain of being disillusioned with someone who she had admired greatly. She vented about how those we think are so spiritually mature, don’t measure up to the criteria of a hero. She went on to say that we all want heroes in our life, but in reality, only the Lord is capable of being that. Movies with superheroes have always intrigued humanity and are guaranteed to be blockbusters. Adults, who know that can’t be real, still flock to watch the heroes save the world.

Sadly, my friend was facing what I have already uncovered. No human will match our expectations of being a hero that can solve all our problems and fix all our hurt. Even if we don’t expect them to be able to do that, we may expect them to have no flaws. Again, no one will meet that expectation, even those who outshine the masses with their generous heart. If we insist on living with these faulty expectations we cause others and ourselves to suffer.

9 months ago The Greatest Gifts

When I was growing up, our family didn’t have the financial resources to buy toys throughout the year, extravagant clothes, or costly trinkets. Yet, my mom who grew up during the Depression, made sure that we had all that we asked for and even more at Christmas. It was as if she wanted us to have this one time of the year to be blessed beyond measure. While we always knew the true meaning of Christmas, she also delighted us with toys galore. Even though we were excited with our presents, within a short period after Christmas, the toys lost their luster, although not as quickly for us as for those who got toys through the whole year.

Doesn’t it seem strange that gifts that bring such pleasure can be discarded or ignored within weeks? Why don’t we stay enthralled with them? The gifts didn’t change, but somehow our view of them did. Oh to have gifts that have value that lasts a lifetime. Ironically, we all have access to gifts such as these. Instead of unwrapping those bought with money, we must uncover what is already there.

When someone goes to great trouble to handpick a gift designed with my needs, personality, and desires in mind, I know that I am cared for deeply. Unwrapping a timeless gift is like accepting the love of the one giving it.

Uncovering our individual divine assignments is unwrapping the lasting gift that will continue to enrich and promote our life as long as we treasure it. When we truly recognize its value, it will never lose its luster. We won’t ignore its power and if we ever get distracted from it’s transforming influence, a gentle nudge from the Lord is all it takes to remind us. The pain, disappointment, and disillusion with the world’s gifts will be dimensioned as we once again embrace our assignments.

Assignments sound like work and duties that we wish were over. Yet, when they are our individual assignments chosen by our Lord, they were lovingly chosen to bring us meaning, fulfillment, and deep and abiding excitement.

We may think we don’t have such gifting and assignments. However, the Bible clearly tells us that everyone who accepts Christ as Savior has been gifted and given assignments that utilize those special gifts. Some are encouragers, some are teachers, and some have a profound depth of mercy. Whatever our gifts, they gift us back as we use them.

My elderly mother demonstrates this each Tuesday night when she glows with enthusiasm and joy after pouring out her heart in jail ministry. For decades, she has embraced her assignment of ministering to women incarnated and in need of love and encouragement. While her body is tired and her hearing declined, the spring in her step is always pumped back up after her time with the women.

How sad if we never uncover our precious gifts designed for us that would keep giving throughout our life. We may live and die and never open those that would not only promote the kingdom of God, but also bring us more joy than any gift that quickly loses its luster. This Christmas, lets uncover the greatest treasures and if we have already unwrapped them, lets continue recognizing their magic.


**Join me on CWA Blog talk radio show, "Uncover" as I explore God's enduring gifts.

9 months ago Finding the Real Treasures

I recall the naïve plans of my son when he was growing up. He would talk of what he was going to do and have when he was grown as if it was as easy as picking out what he wanted from a food buffet. His views implied that he thought his mom and dad just chose their cars, houses, and activities from all those available when they could have just as easily chose a Ferrari, Mercedes, a mansion with a giant swimming pool, and being a rock star, flying around the world doing amazing adventures.

I would listen in amusement, knowing that the years would bust his bubble. Yet, I also knew that if he matured into the man God designed, he would come to discern more wisely what are real treasures and goals to pursue.

He was so headstrong and unwilling to listen, that I was often discouraged and fearful of him ever embracing what the Lord had shown me about the real quest and riches of life.

Years later, I was stunned with an amazing awe and joy when I ran across a paper he had written when taking a sociology course in college. Some of the words I read were the familiar ones of my own that seemed to go in one ear and out the other as I shared them with my precious son. As I read his message of wisdom, the Lord reminded me of His own patient grooming of my son. Wow, we should never forget that the Lord is patient and kind and desires for all His children to learn of the hidden, but real treasures. Yet, we parents still have the great responsibility to point the way.

I share one of my prize treasures, my son’s words that I read years ago when I needed the reassurance that you may also need.



Sociology
By Chuck Karlosky
11/19/2007

Words to live by


Live life for today, make choices and never look back.
Time always has a limit, so take every heartbeat as if it were your last. Live to make a difference. It’s not what you have, but what you give that defines you. Love is the greatest gift; so don’t be afraid to give it. Always stay humble, for pride is the demon that can destroy us all. Don’t get caught up in your worldly possessions, they all destroyable and can be gone in an instant. Don’t give out your word if you can’t stand by it, it’s easily lost, but it’s hard to restore it. Be loyal to your family, and good to your spouse. Be an inspiration to someone and an example to every one else. Now many friends will come and go, so cherish the few who last forever. Stay true to your faith and what you believe. This life’s but an eye blink to eternity. Remember these things as you live your life, tomorrows never promised. What if tonight was your last night?

9 months ago Join the Circle of Thankfulness

Do you have any Thanksgiving Traditions? At my in-laws, before eating the Thanksgiving feast, we always got in a huge circle, holding hands, and each person told something for which he or she was thankful. Sometimes what was told was tender and reverent. Others were comical and we would laugh lightheartedly. Some were such redundant responses; we made a rule that no one could repeat what another had already told. Since my mother-in-law had eleven children, our gatherings were huge with spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. While the circle experience took time with such a large bunch, my mother-in-law insisted on this tradition. Yet, we all really loved it too. And over the years, I realized that we not only needed to say our thanks out loud, we needed to hear each other’s words of thankfulness.

Many in our big circle were also suffering painful situations in their lives. Our circle wasn’t immune from cancer, divorce, betrayals, and heartache. Each and every year, one or more who voiced their thankfulness were also in the middle of painful circumstances. In fact, my mother-in-law was devastated by the break-up of her 47-year marriage when my father-in-law decided to leave her. Yet, there she stood clasping our hands and making sure we expressed our gratitude and thankfulness.

We can’t honestly deny that our lives involve pain, along with joy. We all sometimes face heartache and situations that are so wrong that we have to force ourselves to focus on what also is right. Sometimes we are hurting even when we are choosing to be thankful and to express our gratitude to our Lord. There is great power in our choice and I encourage you to push through the pain and attempts of the enemy to make you only focus on the hurt, while skimming past what deserves our gratitude and thanks. Join the circle of believers who call out what we are thankful for both in our heart and to those who need to hear.

9 months ago Being Open and Discerning

I have been thinking about how blinded we can be about ourselves. I know that this applies to all of us, including me. Is it that we don’t want to see our flaws? Is it we don’t feel comfortable seeing our strengths and talents?

Some tend to see their talents as greater than they are, while others don’t even recognize their special abilities. Some don’t see their insecurities and negative character traits, while others only see their negative qualities and blame themselves inaccurately for others' behavior.

Healthy self-reflection must include a rigorous willingness to see both the good and bad. Recently I have been writing about the damage that comes when we are overly affected by others' perceptions of us. However, those with healthy motives and wise insight can help us see what we can’t see about ourselves.

Being open to trusted individuals' feedback is essential if we are to gain valuable insight into ourselves. When we feel unsafe, we typically aren’t open to receive feedback that may identify our flaws and weaknesses.

The most important insight is provided, as we remain open to the Holy Spirit. He will help us discern between feedback that is accurate and that which is a distortion provided by the one giving it. Knowing that God loves us without restraint and wants us equipped to be all who He designed us to be provides the reassurance we need to be open and also discerning.

9 months ago How Well Do We Perceive?

The universal challenge of humanity is to not be so influenced by others’ perception of us. We may think we aren’t that concerned, but it is a rare individual that truly is untouched by others’ praise and criticism. Its funny how we can have fifty people approving and one disapproving and we are typically more affected by the lone critic.

Why do we allow people to have such power over us? We are even hurt by the feedback from those not healthy enough to give an accurate evaluation in the first place. Even if their evaluation is accurate, why does it carry such power to hurt us?

Hopefully we feel the healthy pain that needs to come when we recognize that our shortcomings involve sin. Yet, after repentance, we have the grace of God to wipe away the pain. But, if we aren’t careful we allow the continued attitudes of our critics to keep the pain alive.

When others make inaccurate negative conclusions about us, the intrigue begins. I recall Joe, a man I knew years ago that would periodically rant about some negative behavior or trait of his wife. It took only a short time of getting to know him to realize that whatever the rant was about, I could count on his descriptions reflecting himself instead of his wife. It was most bizarre.

Psychologists have studied behavior such as Joe’s and recognize that it is a defense mechanism they call projection. What’s amazing is that most, just like Joe, have no conscious awareness that their perceptions actually describe themselves instead of the one they think it fits.

Have you been on the receiving end of someone else’s projection? Many of us have. We may have actually done the same to others unknowingly. Not only is it painful to be perceived negatively falsely, it is frustrating to recognize that we are unlikely to ever set the record straight with our accuser.

I wonder how painful it was for Jesus to be the recipient of false accusations? Some of His accusers likely believed their perceptions, just as those who project their own flaws on others.

Many people have cried about the unfairness of life. Its as if we have a sense of justice and equality bred into our soul. Another deceived person I knew rightly perceived the grievous tendencies in others, but perceived them in exaggerated degrees, while not recognizing that they existed in him to a much greater degree than in the others he was assessing. In fact, much of the time, he didn't recognize the traits in himself that were massive and yet saw even the slightest tendencies in others. He was so keen in identifying the traits in others that others missed, while being so blind to the tendencies in himself that were so obvious to others. I would watch as he magnified the other’s wrongs, while I knew full well that he manifested the targeted behavior in alarmingly more excess than the accused. Sadly, he didn't perceive them in himself. On the other hand, maybe he didn't want to see them. I confess we may all be guilty of this. In fact, we all need to be aware that we can be so blinded ourselves.

Its concerning that we all have the vulnerability to be deceived. Most of us think we perceive ourselves much more accurately than we do. Years ago when I began to sense this blindness of humanity, I asked the Lord to show me traits in myself that I didn’t see. Lovingly, without malice, He began to show selfishness and areas of deception in my life. As He exposed what needed to be changed, I knew that I would forever need the light of the Holy Spirit to monitor and bring to light what I didn’t even recognize.

It helps to know that the Lord sees and knows the full truth. It helps even more knowing that He still loves both the falsely accused and the accuser. When all is said and done, His opinion is what matters and He is our advocate no matter what our flaws, real or imagined.



9 months ago Where to Find Understanding and Hope

When we suffer or struggle, we are so much more comforted by someone who has suffered or struggled similarly. That’s why recovering addicts are so much more able to minister to other struggling addicts. That’s why those with a history of anxiety feel understood more by others who have suffered with anxiety. Whatever problem our life story holds- depression, rejection, an eating disorder, low self-esteem, or poverty, those who have walked a similar road can relate and understand.

Yet, whether they can help depends not only on their ability to relate, but also the hope they provide by their own victory. They don’t have to be without any setbacks or beyond all struggles. However, if they have not found any progression themselves, we may feel understood, but left with even more hopelessness. When they tell how they dealt with their anxiety, addiction, or temptation and found relief and help, we are given a glimmer that we too can get better.

My daughter had cancer when she was a child and I will always have a tender understanding for parents of children with life threatening illness. I recall going for my daughter’s Vanderbilt check-up when she was about eighteen. A woman in the waiting room overheard some of her past history and began asking us questions. My heart ached when I realized that her child was fighting cancer. I recognized her desperate need for hope. My young daughter and I lit up with delight as we patiently answered the pain stricken mother’s questions.

I understood her fear and desperate need for hope. She clung to our words and she kept asking for more as if she couldn’t get enough. She kept looking at my daughter who was so healthy and years beyond her cancer as if she was trying to brand the sight of such in her mind. I’m sure the sight of my daughter was helping her believe that her child could also survive and even thrive one day. I know I craved such reassurance and hope when mine was so ill.

Only because of my daughter’s history could we have such a powerful voice in this mother’s struggle. What an honor for us.

Jesus is the only one who can provide the universal understanding and hope for every person, regardless of his or her story. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16).


9 months ago What are we Spreading?

Recently, my grandchildren were sick with a cold and before you know it, the illness spread like wild fire. Their mom, dad, and now I caught the germs. Some became sicker than others. My daughter almost got pneumonia and I am on my way.

The nurse agreed that she didn’t blame me for first trying to fight it off myself. We discussed whether I was contagious and she said it depended on the bacteria and for me to not get close or cough on anyone just in case.

Shouldn’t our faith be infectious just like our illnesses? Do my faith and love of the Lord influence others if they get too close to me? Instead of getting contaminated with something harmful, they should get boasted with the hope that comes from knowing Jesus.

I know that we can infect others with fear and bitterness. Can’t we just as well spread our hope and faith in our Lord? When we don’t, I wonder why? Sometimes I get too caught up in the unimportant and the struggles to stay full of infectious hope.

I recognize that just like some seem more immune to illness than others, they may also seem less likely to be open to our Lord. They may try to fight off the truth, like I hope my immune system fights off the bacteria causing my illness.

Being contagious can be good or bad. My prayer is that we spread the hope and love that a vulnerable world needs.

10 months ago First Choice

Have you ever been in a situation where you were asked to identify your top three choices in order of preference? Sometimes this happens when we are signing up for assignments, jobs, or classes. We aren’t promised our top pick, but we are asked to put them in order of our preference. It’s always a blessing to get our first pick. Like in a football draft, coaches love getting their top pick.

When God chose Moses to be the one to lead His people from captivity in Egypt into the Promised Land, He identified some of His top picks. Moses negated one due to his fear when he responded to the Lord’s choice of him in this honored position. “Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

The Lord responded to him with questions that should have settled it, silencing any doubts he had about God’s first choice.

So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11)

When I read this verse, I see the irony. Did Moses actually think that God didn’t know about his slow speech or weakness? Did he think God needed him to point it out to Him? The Lord’s response puts Moses in his place.

The Lord also confirms that He will be with him and equip him. “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:12)

Moses continues to be ludicrous by pleading for the Lord to pick someone else. But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” (Exodus 4:13).

Although the Lord was angry with Moses by this point, He consents and gives up His first pick, which was for Moses to be who He equips fully to speak and lead. He chooses Aaron to speak for him. While the Lord continued promoting His plan, the story would not have been quite the same, had Moses not talked the Lord out of His first choice.

Just like He knew everything about Moses before He picked him, the Lord knows everything about us, including our weaknesses and areas in which we are less than skilled. I wonder how many times we have negated the Lord’s first choice for us because of our fear and unwillingness to trust Him to equip us.




***Join me on CWA BlogTalk Radio/Spreaker on my show "Uncover" as we explore how to respond to God's call without negating His first choices for us.

10 months ago High Alert: Desperate for Hope

His face looks devoid of anything but gloom and weariness. Its as if darkness and despair weigh him down with a ton of force. Even talking seems difficult for him. When he does talk, his words reflect the inner thoughts that fuel his countenance:

They reflect the horror of ugliness that defines the presidential elections. They include grieving descriptions of the mass intrusion of pornography that colors almost every avenue of media and home of America. They quote alarming statistics documenting corruption in the business world, law and government offices, and even many churches. They reflect the greed and entitlement prevalent in much of our people, and last but surely not least, the hopelessness of the masses. The especially hurtful revelation is that much of our world and upcoming youth don’t even acknowledge and reverence God and His Holy Word as the authority for how to live.

My heart aches for him as I rack my brain on how to respond in the face of such hopelessness and despair. It’s as if I know before even searching---go to the Word. I’m so thankful that I have put much of it already in my heart and mind. I understand why the Lord emphasized to write it on our heart and study and brand it in our mind. For its times such as these, we need to respond with its hope and direction.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11). Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:7) Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near (James 5:7-8). For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:4-5)

Lord, there are so many scriptures, it’s overwhelming to pick just a few. Its as if You have opened my eyes to the Hope that is always available if we just choose to embrace it from your Word. No wonder You emphasized Your Word as above all else. You have given us so many stories to learn from. As I think of the atrocities in the Old Testament and how your plans continued to come to pass regardless of the evil attempts to stop it, my heart fills with hope and I am eager to share with the hopeless man before me.



* Does anyone else feel the urgency I sense that hope needs to be shared with the masses?

10 months ago Our Response to Sin

Living in a fallen world is such a crazy experience. Life can be flowing smoothly and then some weird and hurtful experience comes out of nowhere. Other times, I do something dumb or even outright wrong and bring on painful consequences for myself. Can you relate?

What do you do when you are disappointed in life or especially when disappointed in yourself? Typically, we sure don’t feel like rejoicing or worshiping the Lord at those times.

True stories of other people’s experiences facing extreme disappointments and heartaches have always intrigued me. Two particular ones come from the Old Testament. Each displays a man who had brought on dire consequences for himself and others by his own sin. Both men were also Kings, thus having great power, influence, and responsibility. What they did affected masses of people and generations to come.

Yet, their stories don’t just have similarities, they also have huge differences. King Asa and King David both had been instrumental in leading the people back into obedience and reverence to the Lord. This also brought God’s great defense and protection of them and accompanying peace and prosperity.

They also are similar in that they both made huge failures in judgment that not only involved sin, but also that brought horrific consequences for them and others. However, their stories go on to display huge differences between how they responded after being confronted with their sin.

King Asa was outraged at God’s prophet who confronted him. He threw him in the dungeon and resisted repentance. His lack of remorse and repentance brought on wars and tragedy. He ended up dying a painful death.

King David, on the other hand, responded very differently when God’s prophet confronted him with his sin. He immediately owned his wrong, was remorseful and repentant. However, the Lord declared that while he would be allowed to live, his unborn son would not. David mourned, fasted, and prayed and pleaded for his unborn son’s life. Yet, the Lord did not recant His decision.

Following his son’s death, David arose, washed, and worshiped. Even before eating, he worshiped. What a different response and outcome. While both Kings suffered punishment, only David who had admitted his wrong, not only lived, but went on to have other great blessings. After worshiping the Lord, David ate and then went to comfort his wife. He then was again intimate with her and she conceived another son, one who the Lord declared He loved. The same prophet that the Lord had sent to David to confront about his sin and punishment, the Lord sent to declare to him that his son was loved. The prophet called David’s new son, Solomon, by the name Jedidiah, which mean “Beloved of the Lord”.

There is so much to learn from these two stories. We will all sometimes give into temptation and sin. Yet, how we respond can either bring the Lord’s forgiveness and restoration or our continued decline. We may still face consequences, yet we will be restored and saved from further decline because of the graciousness of God and His desire and willingness to respond to our remorse and repentance.

I find it remarkable that David quickly worshiped after experiencing the Lord’s denial of being gracious to him in his plea for his son’s life. His men questioned David when his countenance was so improved after his son’s death. He explained, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, “Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” (2 Samuel 12:22)

When David saw that the Lord was not going to be gracious in sparing his son, he responded by worshiping Him. What a lesson that is for us all. Will I maintain my devotion to the Lord, even when He tells me no? Even when He allows terribly painful events, will I still worship and serve Him?

10 months ago Where Dreams Come True

Recently, we made a brave journey. No it wasn’t into a war zone, but instead the designated land of dreams: Disneyworld. With grandkids in tow, we plowed through masses of people as we sought the delights to experience.

Along the adventure, I witnessed both the good and bad of humanity. People trying to push over others and irritable patrons taking their frustrations out on each other marked the path. Yet, I witnessed even more the comradely between people as they eagerly embraced the fun. People giving each other room, some giving up their coveted seat so that weaker others could sit, and parents patiently encouraging others who were struggling with tired and fussy children.

People shared tips and ways to get the most out of their experience. When we were trapped in a downpour that soaked us to the bone, I watched a young couple give their dry jackets to a shivering mother and two young children. I was almost overcome with tears of joy to see such compassion. They provided a lasting memory for that young child that showed that people have a great capacity for generosity.

We may be so disgusted by offensive behavior we encounter that we focused on it over that of the generous and kind. While we aren’t blind to the nasty behavior, by concentrating on the good we are encouraged with what’s to come on the other side of eternity if Christ is our Savior. Disneyworld can’t compare with the magical land where we are going. Dreams really will come true. While Disneyworld was fun and beautiful, dreams don’t materialize as promised. Yet, Heaven will surpass any dreams we can imagine.

11 months ago Loving Enough to Confront

Being at war always involve confrontation. Using war terms, we think confrontation means attack. The apostle Paul wrote to equip us for spiritual war. Yet, he gave us a different view of confrontation.

Even though he was equipping us for war, he was also teaching us how to love. His love for fellow Christians is astounding. Few of us could even approach the sacrificial love that he had for his Christian brothers and sisters.

While we may recognize his love by his sacrifices, we may not recognize his love by his willingness to confront.

Just like war requires confronting, love does too. Paul confronted the Corinthian Church about their sin and their lack of loyalty to defend him to the false teachers who lied and tried to discredit him.

Some may accuse Paul of being judgmental and harsh. He actually anguished not only for his concern for those in sin he was confronting, but also for the pain they would feel when confronted. Yet, Paul loved them enough to do it anyway.

Paul had a deep understanding of both war and love. They both involve confrontation.



**Join me on CWA blog talk radio/spreaker on the show "UnCover" as we explore the role of confrontation in our Christian walk.

11 months ago Getting to the Other Side

I can’t believe that I am a senior citizen. It seems like yesterday that I was finally reaching my thirties. I look back over years of experiences that I had no way of anticipating before they came. Many of them brought worry and sometimes-downright fear. I couldn’t imagine how I would get to the other side of them.

Like facing death at 17, hooked to a ventilator with the doctors warning my folks that they would try to keep me alive two hours at a time. Or when watching my baby brother blowing his brains out with drugs while we were powerless to stop him. Then there was seeing the heartache of my sister, then my brother as they faced divorce. Watching my father taking his last breath, my young cousins lying in coffins way too soon, and my own precious toddler struck with cancer. As my young daughter dwindled before my eyes, the pain was more than I could take.

Yet, I got to the other side of 17 and many decades beyond. My brother was rescued and preaches to the masses while leading them to life and salvation. My sister not only survived divorce, but also years later married the love of her life. My brother too found a family filled with children and grandchildren. I watched as my dad slipped into heaven gazing in awe of where he was headed and I know my cousins joined him soon after. Cancer didn’t win and my daughter is now a mother of three.

Yes, I look back over decades of struggles and fears, but also decades of God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I’m tired and feel ready to go home. Other times, I sense there are many more challenges to face. I still can’t anticipate what all is to come. But, looking back over my life, I now know I can count on my Lord to get me to the other side for each and every struggle that comes.

11 months ago Giver or Taker: The War for Our Heart

I recall a sermon in which my pastor said life is made up of the givers and the takers. The takers can’t get enough, while the givers have the most contentment. The pain in humanity is uplifted, even if for a moment, when we witness generous acts. The outpouring of compassion during tragedies stirs our hope in humanity.

A giving heart is a healthy heart. The medical field statistics tell us that heart failure is the number one cause of death. This sure makes sense both for physical death and spiritual. The heart of God is giving. When our physical heart stops performing as it should, the decline comes quickly. When our spiritual heart stops giving, the decay sets in.

Living in a world in which we see greed, selfishness, and hoarding, it’s easy to follow its lead. The seed for such was unfortunately planted in us at the fall.

My daughter’s fight with cancer when she was a child reminds me of our spiritual battle. The doctors told us that the abnormal cells that turned cancerous in my daughter were there from conception. Unfortunately, since the fall, we too have cells that are abnormal spiritually since they were not from God. They can turn cancerous and take over our giving nature.

If we abide in Him, our heart keeps in sync, our abnormal cells kept in check, and our life will be a giving one. Taker or giver, which will we be?

12 months ago Living Well

How differently I would have approached life when young if I knew what I do now. Oh why could I not have seen how stupid it is to spend our vast amount of time, energy, and emotions on chasing shallow dreams? We work, scheme, fret, and obsess about getting the car, the dream house, the recognition, and toys that allow us to have what the world sees as success.

Most of our motivation is fueled by folly. King Solomon must have felt like many of us do after we get the sense that comes from many decades of living. Oh how foolish we were to buy into the stupidity of the world. Things come and go. Much of what we think will bring pleasure, leaves us empty and is so short lived.

While I don’t enjoy my body giving out, I bask in some of what the senior years bring. Yet, I also grieve for the wasted time and energy spent that I can’t get back. I yearn to get the young to see the truth while they still have decades before them. However, sadly, they probably won’t until they are seniors too.

I so relate to Solomon as he poured these same feelings out in Ecclesiastes. I join him in calling out to all who will hear. Realize that when all is said and done, what matters is loving and obeying God. Doing so, we will have lived well and it will show.

12 months ago I Need the Reminders

I’ve noticed now that I am a senior citizen; I have embraced those cliché phrases that tend to make people roll their eyes. You know the phrases that we have all heard so much that we tend to think, “I know, I know” while dismissing the profound truth of the message.

That’s the danger in phrases that have become labeled as cliché. I was one of those who felt the annoyance and boredom when listening to others proclaiming them like they had found an exciting discovery as if we hadn’t already heard of it.

Yet, now I have a deep commitment and a fresh appreciation for the simple, but profound truths that others have coined in phrases. I’m sure most were composed during painful struggles in their own lives.

I invite you to search your memory for those you have stored away and yet may need to re-examine.

One of mine is, “you can’t take anything with you”. While we all know that we can’t take earthly treasures with us after we die, we live as if we can. What the heck is the matter with us? Its as if we don’t get it. We put all our efforts and emotions into what matters for our brief time here. With our life here not even an eye blink compared to eternity, why do we do that?

It’s as if I go back and forth. I guess that is how it has to be. We have to deal with what’s before us and yet we need to never lose sight of what matters for eternity.

That’s why I need the reminders, even if they sound cliché.

12 months ago Knowing What’s Contagious

I recall a particularly painful memory from when my daughter had cancer as a toddler. While I had many that were much worse than this particular memory, it was so different from the others. My daughter was in-between hospitalizations and trying to live as a normal child who wanted friends and to play like other kids.

Yet, she sure didn’t look like a normal kid. She was bald, terribly thin from the chemotherapy, and had dark circles under her eyes. It only took a glance at her to know that she had cancer and was undergoing treatment.

On this particular day, a couple of children in our neighborhood had initially presented to play with her. Somehow the atmosphere changed and a lone girl explained. The other child’s dad had been afraid that whatever my daughter had was contagious and had stopped his daughter from playing with her.

Although pain stabbed at my heart, I also recognized that he didn’t know any better. Since he didn’t know that cancer wasn’t contagious, I could even feel tenderness for his concern for his daughter.

It seemed ludicrous for him to think that his daughter could catch cancer from mine. It is also ludicrous for us to think that we can’t catch emotional and spiritual cancer from those eaten up with resentment.

While it isn’t an absolute that we will catch their infectious bitterness, it is highly likely. Sometimes people can be around someone with a virus and never catch it even though it is highly contagious. Others can be around them and catch it quickly. What makes the difference?

I assume that those unaffected had a better immune system. The medical field warns that young children, the elderly, and those with a compromised immune system are at most risk for catching and dealing with any kind of contagious illness.

Similarly, those who are weak spiritually are most at risk when being around others who are infected with resentment. The familiar saying is that resentment is like drinking poison, which hurts is the one drinking it. However, sometimes it also hurts those who are close to them. Not only can it be emotionally draining being in a relationship with someone who is full of anger and bitterness, it can also be dangerous. We may not notice the symptoms that we are getting infected ourselves.

Even those with a strong immune system can catch a virus. Those who are strong spiritually can also succumb to the contamination of resentment from those close. We all need to take precaution when around easily spread diseases and infections. Physically, we need to wash our hands, not drink after, or touch those highly contagious. Spiritually, we need to wash in the Word, pray off the spirit of bitterness, and not allow the anger words we have heard from others to stay in our mind and fester.

Staying healthy is a lifetime endeavor. None of us will get out of here without some injury and illness. Hopefully, we won’t forget what is contagious.


12 months ago Fishing for Life or Death

I don’t really understand the thrill of fishing. Maybe its because as a kid I caught a small fish and was horrified by the sight of the fish bleeding from its mouth as dad unhooked it. Or maybe it was hearing all the stories of my dad never being able to catch a fish no matter how hard he tried. He even bought a fishing boat, which only added to the disappointment of his failure at catching fish.

I’d say he just didn’t know the tricks of the trade. He likely didn’t know much about how to lure fish, what bait to use, and how to pick the right spot and timing to fish.

In the Bible, the phrase “fishers of men” refers to trying to save people; in contrast to hooking them like that poor little fish I caught as a kid.

Jesus loves saving people and promoted fishing for the lost. However, Satan tries hooking people for horrific harm. He uses effective types of bait that lures people with deadly power.

Poor Dad never found that magic bait to make his prey succumb. He would try different bait with no success.

While Satan uses a variety, one of his most effective types of bait is offense. It typically works every time. When we get offended, it is so easy to bite the hook that gradually sinks deeper into our tender flesh, finally making its stronghold where we are stuck. The hook turns into bitterness and resentment and we are captive.

As I watched dad trying to get that hook out of the fish’s mouth that I caught as a child, I cringed and felt such guilt for causing its pain and death just for sport. There was no way dad could get the hook out without ripping its flesh and the bloodstain documented the harm.

It may seem a great overreaction that I was so disturbed by the sight. Yet, it is alarming that so many aren’t horrified at the hook that they have become captive to that is tearing into their tender heart and harming their soul.

Just like those fish outsmarted my dad and never took his bait, Jesus wanted us to know of Satan’s devices so that we don’t take the bait either. If we are hooked, we need our Heavenly Father to gently remove the hook. But He doesn’t do so without our participation and willingness.








12 months ago The Serenity Prayer

It seems that the older I get, the more I appreciate the “Serenity Prayer”. Its wisdom needs applying in so many situations that its no wonder that so many have memorized and chanted its words as if trying to brand it into their mind in order to follow its lead.



The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

Many use a shorten version that ends after “and the wisdom to know the difference”. Yet, each line captures a precious truth. Today, the word acceptance resonated during encounters I had with people struggling with hurtful relationships. While there was no way to make the situations without pain, I recognized how the pain was being intensified by their faulty expectations of others and their unwillingness to accept that they couldn’t change others.

It’s so difficult to accept what we don’t like. While we need to make efforts to achieve, we are setting ourselves up for frustration and damage when we repeatedly try to change something or someone we have no right or power to change.

Over and over, I watched as those I was counseling finally nodded their head as if admitting what they already knew. They couldn’t change the other person. If they had that kind of power, they wouldn’t still be struggling. We can’t make another person love deeply. We can’t make another apologize and own his or her mistakes. We can’t make a person forgive us. The list is endless.

However, there is so much we can do. We waste such energy and cause such distress trying to control or change what we have no power over.

The masterpiece we call “The Serenity Prayer” is more important for us to memorize than many of the passages we are required to memorize in school. Consider the magnitude of power given to our upcoming youth if they were required to not only memorize, but if we also enlightened them about the meaning of its message.

Last year Ready for the Storms

Recently, a couple of my family members were trying to sell a house that was quite lovely. They had a buyer quickly and were excited about the ease of the sale. However, the home inspection identified a problem with the foundation. Needless to say, the sale was off. Instead, they had to get the corrections made before even pursuing a sale.

It’s amazing that there had been no noticeable problems with the house and it was quite beautiful. Yet, the inspector knew that there could be future difficulties due to the issues with the foundation.

Just like the house, people can seem fine on the outside and yet vulnerable to collapse when life throws them a tragedy. We can seem like we are living a charmed life, when in reality we have no firm foundation. A famous passage in Matthew 7:24-27 tells the profound truth about the necessity of Jesus being our foundation if we are to stand when our home is beat upon by the storms of life. I recall singing a song during childhood about the wise man building his house upon the rock and when the rain and floods came, his house stood firm. The foolish man built on sand and his collapsed.

I understand that little song much more now that I have lived many decades since learning it. I didn’t realize it’s profound message as I sang its catchy tune. Likewise, many young people don’t seem to recognize the importance of building their life on the foundation of Christ, of following His Word, and trusting His guidance. Instead, they chase their dreams, live for their own enjoyment, and follow the world’s tainted views. Those who are blessed enough to have been taught about a firm foundation are so much more equipped for the future pain that will come.

I yearn to enlighten others of what Christ was so adamant about us understanding: He is the rock, we can stand if He is our foundation.

Last year The Chosen Five: Mary-Embracing Our Assignments

In the elite list of five chosen women Matthew included in his account of Jesus’ genealogy, Mary, the mother of Jesus is the last in line. Mary was a hand picked woman. The Lord chose her and she is called blessed among women. Mary was of no special recognition in the world at the time of her choosing. As she humbly accepted her phenomenal assignment from the Lord, I wonder if she realized the persecution and ridicule it would bring her. Joseph at first wanted to hide her away as if she was a dirty little secret getting pregnant outside of marriage. His concern for her is touching in that he didn’t want her publicly displayed.

I wonder if Mary comforted herself when bracing for how the world would falsely accuse her of sin. She reminds me of the cost that accepting divine assignments sometimes brings. Many times we don’t consider the sacrifice and even harassments that accompany assignments from the Lord.

We read that when the Angel explained to Mary how the Holy Spirit will come upon her and that she would birth the Christ that she responded saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1: 38)

Mary accepted her assignment without hesitation. Unfortunately, we sometimes falter, or even decline ours. While Mary’s assignment overshadows that of all women, it doesn’t negate that all women have assignments. Once we accept Jesus as Savior, why not take us all home to heaven where God’s perfect will exists? The only answer that seems feasible to me is that we must have assignments on earth.

Mary was not chosen because she was perfect as some may think. If she had been, she wouldn’t have needed a savior like the rest of us. She wasn’t chosen because she was some famous person. Instead, the Lord had noticed her faithful, receptive and willing heart. Are we available and willing?

Aside from the command “follow me,” the saying “whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” is the most repeated saying of Christ in the gospels (MacArthur Study Bible). Mary may not have felt that she was giving up her whole life, but she must have known that her life would forever be changed as she accepted this divine assignment. She didn’t know the heartache she would face as her precious son would be cruelly treated and killed in a torturous way. Yet, she surely knew that all her laid out plans for her engagement, wedding, and establishment of a home and family would be forever changed. In fact, she likely didn’t even know how.

Mary seemed in awe as she recognized the enormity of her special assignment. It would forever change history. Her trust and willingness to submit to God’s plan should inspire us to do the same. No treasure, pleasure, or feat in this life can compare to completing the assignments He choses for us. The spiritual attacks, sacrifices, and heartaches that we face in doing so don’t compare to the victory and rewards of doing them with a receptive and willing heart.

We may think we aren’t worthy enough, strong enough, and capable of the task. Surely Mary felt the same. We may think God made some mistake in choosing us for a divine assignment. Mary may have felt the same. We may think our assignments are insignificant compared to Mary’s. However, being obedient is what pleasing to the Lord and doing our personal assignment is all He asks. We might get into pride and want a more recognized assignment. Or we may want a less taxing and difficult one.

Mary had an angel come and speak to her directly as he told of her assignment. On the other hand, we may feel uncertain in ours. Did God really give me this assignment? Because Mary accepted hers and Jesus accepted His, we now have the Holy Spirit to instruct us instead of a literal angel. Yet, He doesn’t just drop in without our seeking and receptiveness.

While Mary is the last in the genealogy list, she isn’t the last in Jesus’ legacy. Women through the generations since have followed her lead. We have shared her love for her son and yearned as she did for Him to be cherished and treated well. We have shared her pain as He is mocked, ignored, or injured with rejection and hate.

I wonder if Mary thought of us women following her and how we would also be faced with assignments that affect eternity. Her Lord is our Lord and His grace that enabled her to do her assignments will enable us to do ours.


**Join me on CWA blog talk radio/spreaker as I conclude the series "The Chosen Five" on the show "Uncover".


Last year The Chosen Five: Ruth--Hope for all Born with a Bad Label

Ruth is the third woman listed in Matthew's account of Jesus' genealogy. She represents those born into situations where they were already pegged in the world’s eyes as tainted. She was a Moabite woman and the significance is recognized when one studies their history. In Deuteronomy we learn that they were excluded from the worshipping community of Israel because of their vicious hostility toward God and His people. God intentionally restricted His people from the Moabites to prevent the evils of their idolatrous influence. While they were an outcast group, they were offered grace and acceptance upon personal faith in the true God and Ruth is the example of this.

Many are born into such a dysfunctional and damaged family that they felt set up for struggles. Some are born into hostility. Others felt like they entered with a bad label stuck on their forehead that they couldn’t get off no matter what they did. Tracy comes to mind as I ponder on Ruth. Tracy was born into a family who were like the outcasts in the community that people shunned. Extreme poverty and shameful family interactions seemed to define what she experienced throughout childhood. I recall when I met her a few years ago. I was impressed for she was a classy, striking, and successful woman. Yet, she allowed herself to be vulnerable to me as she dropped the pretense. My heart ached for her as she admitted that while successful to those who meet her now, inside she still felt like that poor little girl who was the outcast.

I wonder if Ruth also felt the sting of her label. Did she hang her head down in shame like one of my childhood friends, Carly? Carly was from extreme poverty and a family that likely suffered mental illness. I recall how she would seem to almost tiptoe quietly through school with her head down, hair hiding her face as if she wanted to be invisible. Yet, her gentle kind heart and love of Jesus made me know that she was on His elite list in heaven.

Matthew was so kind to include Ruth in his list. She provides such comfort and understanding for those born into a stigma or bad list that they didn’t choose. She also illustrates the fairness and graciousness of the Lord to those who might mistakenly think He is prejudice and treats some better than others. Ruth’s legacy is a beautiful love story and display of hope for all who were born with a bad label. Ruth shows that we can all be accepted into the Lord's family if we choose Him.

Last year The Chosen Five: Knowing Whose View Really Matters

Rahab was a chosen woman. Being a prostitute and a Gentile, she was looked down upon by people. I’m so glad that the Lord’s view of us isn’t always the same as that of people. One of life’s greatest challenges is to care more about how God sees us than how people do. Being human seems to destine us to be not only attuned to how others think of us, but also to be so affected by such. We typically define ourselves by how others treat us.

Usually we think only of how we are damaged by other’s critical and demeaning attitude toward us. However, if we are somehow put on a pedestal and thought of as some idol, we are prone to really be messed up. Being praised or rejected can be dangerous unless we know truth and use it to recognize that people don’t define us, God does.

Each of the five women Matthew chose to publically identify as Jesus’ ancestors provides examples of how differently our views can be from that of God. Who would have thought that He would pick a prostitute or another known for her adulterous affair with the King? Others included a woman from a tribe that was excluded because of their evil idolatry and one who tricked her father-in-law into getting her pregnant. The last and most famous was Mary, who didn’t come with a sorted and sinful lifestyle. Yet, she was a young teenager of no special recognition to the world.

Rahab entices me to consider how we sometimes look differently at those in sin from how God looks at them. We might never consider the Lord using someone obviously in a sinful lifestyle in His divine plan. We might have written them off and keep them at arms length.

The Lord shows us through Rahab that those trapped in bondage are precious to Him. He yearns and orchestrates their rescue. However, what if the spies had refused to let Rahab help them. They could have resisted going to her house, especially for what it represented. In so doing, they could have forfeited their own rescue, along with hers.

I wonder if Matthew realized the various lessons we can learn from Rahab’s story? Did he follow the Holy Spirit’s leading to include her in the genealogy list without fully realizing the magnitude of her significance? Did he know that we would be intrigued by her name being listed and explore how she got involved in the first place? Even if he didn’t, the Lord did. It amazes me that the Lord so keenly gives us glimpse into His heart if we take the time to dig deep, to read each passage knowing that there is a reason for it being included, just as there was a reason for including Rahab.

Last year The Chosen Five: Rahab (God's Redeeming Love)

One of the five women chosen by Matthew to include in his account of Jesus’ genealogy was Rahab. She was a Gentile and a prostitute. As I pondered on why God would choose her to be in his family line, I remembered how unfair men had treated women found in sexual sin. Men shamed and accused the woman found in adultery and they didn’t even mention the man involved (John 8:3). Yet, the Lord was different. He chose not only imperfect men, but also imperfect women to bring His precious plan to pass.

Can you imagine how Rahab felt about herself? I envision that she felt shame and saw herself as a failure. Yet, the Lord saw her as precious enough to want her in His genealogy that others throughout history would read and study. It didn’t matter how others saw her. It didn’t matter that they might snicker behind her back and look down at her through their judgmental noses. The Lord had big plans for her.

In the second chapter of Joshua, we read of where Rahab helped the Israelite spies who were scouting out the Promised Land. As Rahab was helping them, the King of Jericho sent to her demanding that she turn over the men. I imagine that she was terrified. If she was, she didn’t let it deter her from helping God’s people. She must have feared God more than man.

Even though she was at the bottom of society and a prostitute, the Lord used her to help his chosen people. He used his people to save her. While it looked like she was saving the spies, God had strategically sent His men to Rahab to save her. The Lord used her to show His grace and love for all, even those trapped in sin. We get a glimpse of the heart of our Lord as we see Rahab respectfully forever included in the Messiah’s plan. Her name stands with those paving the way for the Savior of humanity.

“Rahab, I am so glad that you are included. You give hope to so many other women that have felt that they were failures and had disappointed the Lord so much that they gave up on themselves. I assume that you hadn’t a clue as you lived your life that your future ancestor would be the hope and savior for all of us in messes. I also assume that you were thrilled beyond words when you got to heaven and found out”.

All of us who sometimes feel trapped in our messes need to learn from Rahab. The Lord knew before we were ever born that we would make some ungodly choices and He still has a plan for us. Like with Rahab, He isn’t done with us. We matter dearly to Him. Let’s hope He matters dearly to us.



***Join me on CWA blog talk radio/spreaker as I discuss what we can learn from the five chosen women on my show "Uncover".

Last year The Chosen Five-Bathsheba

I have been studying the five chosen women that Matthew included in his list of Jesus’ genealogy. I have intently explored their story because it is intriguing that Matthew listed them in the first place. People back then didn’t even list the females in genealogies, likely due to their prejudicial attitudes. In turn, with every man listed, there had to be a woman birthing the child, yet only five were included in Matthew’s list.

When we get to the fourth one listed, she is the only one who isn’t listed by name. What a mystery and insult! Every one on the list, both male and female was listed by name except her. She is referred to as “her who had been the wife of Uriah”. What a slap in the face! She not only isn’t identified by name, she isn’t even identified as the wife of King David, although she was when she birthed Solomon. While David is listed by name, Matthew reveals her by her past, a sorted one at that. It’s understood that those reading would know who she was. She of course is the one who had an affair. What about the man? It takes two! Again, doesn’t it seem a double standard shown?

Yet, Matthew might instead have been kinder than I think. Each woman he chose was a beautiful message for woman of all ages by which to be encouraged of how important they are to a gracious and loving God. Maybe instead, he wanted to show that while the world was casting Bathsheba as a tainted adulterous woman, God was casting her in the role of not only the one who birthed Solomon, the wisest, famous, and richest King ever, but a woman in the genealogy of Christ, the Messiah who would bring redemption to a lost world.

Many feel that others still identify them by their corrupted past. They may feel that others always think of them as the woman who had an affair. Even if others don’t, they may not feel relieved of the sinful label they cling to themselves. Satan, the accuser constantly torments us with whatever past sin he can throw in our face. I have had many a woman struggle with standing up for themselves in healthy ways because they feel they don’t deserve it because of a past affair.

While I wonder if Bathsheba had similar struggles, I suspect that she must have embraced grace for herself to some extent, even if she didn’t recognize it. This is displayed whenever she intervened to stop the plan of one of David’s sons by another woman from manipulating and claiming the King’s throne over her own son, Solomon.

Bathsheba is one of the most recognized women of the Old Testament. I wonder if she is thought of in good or bad terms. Is she remembered because of her past adultery with King David or is she remembered as a chosen woman who is in the elite group of Jesus’ earthy ancestors? I believe God remembers her as his chosen daughter. Jesus remembers her as His distant relative who paved the way for His coming. I remember her as a woman who overcame a past to help illustrate the forgiveness and love of a God who wants to transform our lives beyond our mistakes into a legacy of distinction.

Last year Hope for Our Messes: The Chosen Five (Tamar)

Is your life a mess? Sometimes we feel that we have made a mess of our life. Other times, we feel that others have caused the mess. Either way, all of us have found ourselves in messes.

When reading in Matthew recently, I had a fresh revelation of how gracious God is in not giving up on us when we are in a mess. The first chapter of Matthew gives a play-by-play list of the genealogy of Christ. I admit that when I start reading the long lists of who begat who, I tend to skim over and get past it. Before reading today, I asked the Lord to speak to me through His word and to help me understand what He wanted me to understand. As I read, I recognized that Matthew's main agenda was to prove the legitimacy of Jesus as the true Messiah. He wanted the world to know that Jesus was the fulfillment of God's promise to send His son as the Savior. Thus, Jesus's genealogy would be the most important that ever existed. Along with establishing Jesus as the true Messiah, he also demonstrated the evidence of God's amazing grace and determination to restore our messes.

As I read the list, I noticed the females listed. My study Bible pointed out that they usually didn’t even mention the females in the genealogies and yet Matthew names five. Each illustrates the working of God’s divine grace. Tamar was the first listed. She represents women who have been done wrongly and put in a mess, largely because of someone else. She also represents a woman who made ungodly choices in attempt to fix her mess.

Tamar had married Er, who was the son of Judah. The Bible indicates that Er was so wicked that the Lord killed him. I imagine Tamar suffered greatly being married to such an evil man. The custom in that day was for the brother of the dead husband to marry his brother's widow and bring up an heir to his brother. Yet, the brother of Tamar's husband intentionally rejected his duty and the Lord killed him also. After such trauma, another man mistreats Tamar again. Her father-in-law did not keep his promise to send for her to wed his third son whenever he came of age.

So here was poor Tamar suffering through a marriage with a wicked man who was killed, his brother rejecting her and being killed, and now being tricked by her father-in-law who she trusted. Men had sure left her in a mess.

In response to the mess that men had made for her, Tamar makes her own. Taking matters in her own hands, she dresses up as a harlot and tricks Judah, her father-in-law who approaches her for sexual favors. She gets pregnant by him and the rest is history; history that God restores. God's divine grace was working out Tamar and Judah’s mess. He didn't reject them and disqualify them as I would have expected. Instead, they remain in the blood line of Jesus. They are included in the precious genealogy of the Savior. I wonder if Matthew realized that as he listed Tamar, Judah, and their son, Perez, that they would forever provide hope for others who had made messes in their lives.

Last year Facing Adversity: Lessons from my Mom

I am intrigued by what influences how we respond to adversities we face. We will all have them, some obviously more tragic than others. Like many of the elderly, my mom lived through the Great Depression. As I was expressing my fascination with how differently people responded, she informed me that some committed suicide. Others survived with their physical life, but not with their generosity. Clinging to their stuff, they guarded their possessions, but not their soul. Their stingy demeanor was toxic and robbed them of what was more precious than gold.

I thought of those who were transformed in lovely ways. While some of the poor were unable to nourish their bodies, they were able to feed their heart. They grew deep compassion for others, along with a faith that weathers storms. Mom was one of them. She notices those in need and is willing to intervene. She also is amazing in her resourcefulness. I can’t help but believe that her devotion to not be wasteful stems at least in part to her journey through the Depression. What I so flippantly discard, she rescues and reuses. Some become hoarders, others use their frugal ways to bless and give to others.

Sadly, some came through the Great Depression to be forever transformed into a reservoir of fear. They were never able to enjoy the blessings of the day because of their dread of future tragedies or losses. While the Great Depression brought them a darkened cloud over their head, for others it brought a lasting faithfulness in a loving God who would get them through whatever lay ahead.

Just like I am fascinated with how people responded differently to the Great Depression, I am intrigued by what influences how we face all kinds of adversities and pain. How much can we choose how to respond and how much is an outcome of other influences we didn’t have the power to choose.

Did the generous survivors of the Depression watch parents who helped their struggling neighbor as they also tried to help their own families? Did they listen as Dad thanked and acknowledged God as they sat down to their sparse meal of bread and milk? Did they hear Mom read of God’s faithfulness in the dim light of their oil lamp?

Instead, did they hear Dad’s angry cursing and questioning if God even existed or complaining that He was uncaring? Did they see panic in Mom’s eyes and hear the worried whispers that convinced them of the doom to come?

As I ponder over what influences our responses to whatever our adversities are, I believe that we have a choice to nurture hope by seeking what the Word promises. Sometimes that requires a stubborn determination that defies our human reasoning. Choosing to believe is not always easy, but it is an option worth every ounce of our effort. Just ask my mom.

Last year I Don’t Want to be Young Again

“Oh to be young!” I said to my son’s girlfriend as we talked about their plans for fun and adventure. I quickly followed it up with, “But I don’t want to be young again”. She responded, “My mom says the same thing. She says she is happier now than she has ever been.”

While I don’t know about her mom, I explored my reasons for not wanting to be young again. While one might think I don’t want to be young again because I’ve had a horrible life, my reasons are different. I don’t want to lose what decades of living have gained me. The years have helped me come to terms with the big picture.

At the risk of sounding clichéd and corny, I am more comfortable with myself. I sense that I have more clarity about what’s really important. I have given up on those childish expectations that life is about having fun and impressing others. While that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any fun, I realize that life in a fallen world is going to involve some craziness, illogical rules, and frustrations. There’s going to be hate, along with love. Things aren’t going to be as they should be much of the time.

While I still believe in people having altruistic motives, I also know that much has damaged humanity. Evil exists and people hurt each other. I know that my hope is in the big picture: God is good and someday when in Heaven, we have the full type of life for which we yearn.

I recognize that those who have had the ongoing connection with Jesus reflect more of the decency, honesty, and compassion that offset the cruelty. Those who have been nurtured and loved, sprinkle our world with the beauty that gives me joy. I also relish in being able to enjoy simple pleasures that would have either bored me when young or I wouldn't have even noticed.

Having more insight about the effects of evil, I am more equipped with reasonable expectations of what it means living in a fallen world. That makes it so much more bearable when disappointments, injustices, and pain come. It also provokes me to put my effort into wiser endeavors, instead of those shallow, self-serving, and unrealistic ones that tend to characterize youth.

When young we have grand expectations of making it “big” in whatever way we define as “big”. Yet, we either don’t make it to our “big” or we get there and realize it didn’t bring the fulfillment we thought it would. Decades later, we begin to really “get it” and understand what older saints tried to tell us: “Things don’t bring happiness. What matters is how you lived, not how much fun you had. Much of what we worry about never happens and our worry doesn’t change anything anyway. It really is more blessed to give than to get. Having an attitude of gratitude makes your heart brighter. We will never regret trusting God and doing the right thing; while we will regret trying to control our own life without His guidance and our obedience. When our driving force is to go after our own happiness at the exclusion of all else, we will set ourselves us for misery and regret."

While I would like to continue to reflect on the vast tidbits of insight that decades bring, I close with the sense of contentment that comes as I embrace my own message, “I don’t want to be young again”.




Last year Our Journey to Healing

Recently, I had mouth surgery that involved invasive procedures that made me sure glad that I had been put to sleep. When they explained what all had been done, I was amazed that I seemed fine when I woke up after hours of being under. However, the swelling, bruising, and soreness came to a peak a couple of days later. I had been stunned that it had seemed so painless after the numbness had worn off. Thus, I was puzzled at the delayed swelling and soreness that came later. I began thinking that maybe I was getting an infection.

When the doctor examined me, she quickly explained that it looked great. There was no infection. She assured me that it looked, as she would expect it to look. She said that from all that had been done to me, it should swell, be bruised, and be sore. She went on to instruct me what to do in promoting my healing. I was reassured and felt kind of silly. Why would I expect my gums to be cut, rods drilled into my bone, foreign substances inserted, stiches sown into tender flesh, and there be no hurtful signs of the process.

I think we sometimes also expect to be in a fallen world, under the sway of the enemy, and not be hurt. We face rejection, betrayal, and injustices and then expect a quick procedure to make it all go away with no hurt involved.

Seems like the whole world is looking for healing from something. We might have a paper cut, a bruised shin, or a fractured limb. Many have a broken heart. Sometimes in our quest for healing, we’ve accepted the popular message that if we go about it just the right way, all our pain will be gone. We will always heal quickly, with no mess and no residual pain.

When that doesn’t happen, we start either feeling like we are the culprits that somehow didn’t follow the formula right or that we’ve been lied to. We may start thinking healing never comes or I’m just not good enough to be granted it.

Pursuing our healing is worthy, if we are to love ourselves as God asked us to do. Yet, we must realize that we are not guaranteed that it will come without pain or exactly how the whole experience will be. We are told that this life will involve suffering and tough emotions that to be human, we will feel.

Some seemed to have defined healing in ways that eliminate any unwanted emotions. Psalms is one of the most emotion filled books in the Bible and is also the book that many run to when hurting. David sure didn’t express only joyous emotions. He spewed out deep heart wrenching pain, fear, anger, and guilt as he earnestly sought his healing.

In the process, he found the faithfulness of God, the mercy and salve for his wounds, and the hope he so desperately needed. I imagine that his quest would have been so hindered if he had assumed that he was going to get instant relief and healing with no emotional pain involved along the way.

** Join me on CWA blog talk radio/spreaker on my weekly show, “Uncover” as I explore the journey to healing.

Last year Practicing Life: Love

How do we practice loving God? It goes hand in hand with loving people. I recall many years ago struggling with my thoughts. I wondered, “God do I really love you”? How do I know? I haven’t seen you. When I heard others talk about how much they loved the Lord, I was concerned, “Do I?”

The Lord helped me greatly as I confessed my doubts with Him. He placed a question back to me, “Do you love people?”

I pondered the question and recognized that I grieve for others that are hurting and rejoice for those who are blessed. I responded to the Lord, “Yes, Lord, I do love people.” “Then you love Me, He responded”. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I had no doubt that God had spoken these messages by thoughts in me that came without my provocation.

I admit that I don’t love perfectly and I sure don’t always like how people act, but I love people. That leads to the important question, “How do I increase this love”? That’s where practice comes in.

Practice involves a number of activities - like most of what we practice to get better at does. It involves getting into the Word of God that does some miraculous work in us, the more we ingest and submit to it. Practice also involves my communion with the Lord, which we call prayer. I actually ask Him to help me love Him and people more.

Love will always involve action. We get hung up too much on the feeling. I have found that when I am offended or just “put off” by someone, if I act loving to him or her, it begins to grow love. It’s like a muscle that the more you use it, the bigger and more developed it gets.

By acting loving, this also involves what only God sees on the inside of me. When someone has hurt me, my thoughts can sure become unloving. Yet, if I intentionally try to redirect my thoughts in ways that are pleasing to God, the toxic influence of my thoughts that are so deadly to love, begin to dissipate. I ask God to help me love the person, to see him or her as He does. It’s essential for me to ask why the person may have acted in hurtful ways. So often, I begin to realize that the most hurtful people, are the most messed up. Why would I expect someone who is lost, significantly wounded, grossly deceived, or miserable to act appropriately?

The Lord has a way of reminding me that I too sometimes act in ways that hurt others, including Him. This helps me have more grace with others who are messing up in practice. We all sometimes strike out, miss the mark, and have a bad practice. I am so thankful that our coach is so patient and determined to help develop us into who He envisions-one who LOVES.

Last year Practicing Life

My grandson’s attitude towards practicing T-ball reminds me of my son. My son played about every sport available to him growing up: mostly baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. Practice was grueling in many of the sports. The running, drills, sacrifice, and pain of exhaustion and sore muscles sometimes made him wonder if it was worth it. He was supposed to be doing this for fun!

While my grandson’s T-ball practice is nothing grueling or difficult, it was humorous to see his excitement when his first real game took place. He went from complaining, being bored, and wanting to play instead of practice, to suddenly exclaiming, “I love T-ball”!

My son also relished the excitement and thrill of the real game. Yet, much more time was spent in practice than in the game.

Life here in a fallen world also is a journey of practice, anticipating the real. We never get it perfect, that’s why we need a savior. But, to be a real player on the team, we are required to practice.

We practice living righteously. Those who aren’t even on the team don’t practice. “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God (I John 3: 10)

We practice forgiving, thinking thoughts that please the Lord, and loving others. We practice guarding our heart and tongue. We practice dealing with our emotions in healthy ways and remembering what’s really important.

It’s so essential to practice remembering that the real game that’s to come will even exceed our expectations of thrills. Before his first game, my grandson didn’t know during practice to anticipate the excitement of the real game to come. We haven’t seen what comes for us after all the practice either.

After playing in a real game, my grandson now knows what’s to come. We who have searched the Word have at least more to go on than my grandson did before his first game.

He didn’t realize how much he would be glad that he had practiced so that he could perform in the real game. Our stakes are much higher than the rewards of playing well in a T-ball game. Ours effect eternity. Our effective practice can bring us not only eternal rewards, but also such for others who accept Christ because of our efforts.

It’s likely that all the players on my grandson’s T-ball game will get a trophy. At his age, they like to make them all feel equally recognized.

According to the Bible, players on the Lord’s team will also be rewarded. In place of trophies, we get crowns. Instead of trying to outperform each other like in competition, we practice because we love Jesus. We want to hear His words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. We want to know that we practiced well at doing our assignments. Did we sacrifice our pleasure in attempt to reach others who aren’t even on the team? Did we help others struggling to practice well?

There’s an old saying that “Practice makes perfect”. Like many old sayings, it’s not true. Jesus is the only one who practiced with perfection. Yet, He encourages us with His gracious promise that being on His team, we will be in the game of our life one day. We win, because He won. Let’ suit up for practice.


**Join me on the show “Uncover” on CWA blog radio/spreaker. I will be doing a series on “Practicing Life”.

Last year Tough Questions: Why Don’t I Always Live as if I Believe You?


We will all face heartache and suffering since we are in a fallen world. We have fallible bodies and even when we are trying to live in obedience, we will sometimes suffer attacks and harm.

Yet I have been perplexed at how so many of us have experienced some pain that we didn’t have to if we had just obeyed the Lord. Why do we think we can blow off following what God has commanded and still prosper? It confuses me that we who claim Jesus as Lord think that we can do what He has clearly warned us not to do and have no repercussions. Why would we expect to be protected and blessed even when we intentionally disobey?

Its like a person blowing his money and then not understanding why he doesn't have a nest egg for emergencies like his wiser neighbor does. Its like someone eating all junk food and not exercising and then wondering why she doesn't don’t feel good or look like her fit and trim friend. It’s like someone smoking for decades and wondering why she is so short of breath and coughs so much. I could go on and on. While we still do much of what we know not to do, we at least need to recognize that some of our outcomes are a result of our choices.

Sometimes we get deceived and don’t realize that we are disobeying God. Other times, we know, but we still do it. Maybe God has been so gracious that He allowed us to wavier for a while and we think we will get by with continuing with our disobedience. Maybe we don’t think He really feels that strongly about what He warned us not to do. When my children were young, I sometimes allowed them to get by with only minor consequences for their misbehavior. Parents may even ignore or tolerate their children’s tantrums or disobedience.

The Israelites repeatedly disregarded the Lord’s commandments and warnings, even after experiencing reoccurring horrific consequences. Why didn’t they believe God when He clearly warned them of what would happen if they did such and such?

Somehow they must have not believed Him. I think most of us also sometimes act as if we don’t either. We may cheat on a business deal, be deceptive in securing a sale, resist giving, get involved in a relationship that is off limits, refuse to forgive those who have hurt us, keep engaging in a sin that is ruining our intimacy with the Lord, and a multitude of other thoughts and actions that directly go against what the Word says.

I have brought on some of my messes and hindered what God wanted to do in my life because I compromised on submitting fully to His commands. Haven’t we all done that?

Other times I have not intentionally sinned, but didn’t pay enough attention to those nagging feelings that were trying to warn me. Like me, most of my friends can recall some painful situations in their lives where they had previously overlooked little warnings that if heeded could have spared them a hurtful situation.

When called to make decisions that don’t present clearly as right or wrong, we need to go on a quest to hear God’s voice guiding us.

Why in the world do we make big decisions without seeking the Lord’s direction? We may throw up a quick prayer. But, do we really take the time and patience to wait on clear direction from the Lord? And if we hear that small still voice prompting us in a way that goes against what we want, do we obey? Instead, do we maneuver and convince ourselves that God’s okay with what we want to do?

As I ask these tough questions, I ask them to myself also. I don’t always like my answer. Do you?

“My hope and comfort is in the grace and mercy of you Lord”.



Last year What's my Delivery?

I’ve been intrigued lately with how people influence each other. I recently reflected on the Godly influence some people have had on my life. Don’t we all hope that we have influenced others more for good than bad? It is remarkable how much we can influence others in positive ways by just treating them with respect and kindness. When acting in caring ways, we can also share simple, but powerful truths that can equip others in ways that we have been equipped to live with hope.

Some have failed to be influential when trying to share the same truths because they were arrogant, bossy, or harsh in their delivery. It’s amazing that when approached with kindness and respect, people usually are receptive to even our corrective advice or criticism. Most people can tell if we care about them and if we are humble enough to know that we can be wrong too.

“Lord help me come across like you do when trying to influence for good.”

Last year The Influence of Others

The most likely influence upon our feelings, attitudes, and behavior comes from other people. People have been influencing each other since Adam and Eve.

It’s crucial to be careful during our times of vulnerability about who we allow to advise us. We know to reject influence from those we don’t trust. However, we may not be aware that well meaning people can influence us in ways that is contrary to how God is trying to lead us.

Sometimes people who care try to protect us and in doing so make suggestions that seem right, but hinder God’s plan. When they are angry with others who have hurt us, or even if they are trying to help us achieve a goal in our life, they want to influence in ways that seem right to them.

Many times when people are in marital difficulties, friends and family give advise. However, their suggestions must be scrutinized to make sure they not only line up with the Word, but also that they are in line with the Holy Spirit’s nudging.

When we have been victimized, others may try to comfort in ways that also either helps or hurts. When we are striving for a desired dream, working towards a challenge, or even when responding to conviction from the Holy Spirit, people can get in the way of the Lord’s leading.

Others’ influence is available during our dark times and our times of pleasure and prosperity. I recall a time when I was offered a job that looked like a dream come true. Many would have interpreted it as God intervening to meet our needs and to bless us. It seemed so ideal that one pastor said, “This is like one of those you don’t even have to pray about”.

At first I accepted the offer since it seemed absolutely ridiculous to turn it down. I had about a month before the position was to start and as the days passed, I could no longer deny the dread I felt about it. I think I sensed the nudge from the Holy Spirit even as the offer was first given. The Lord was kind and patient by gradually increasing the nudge and giving me weeks to obey. When I finally did, I let them know I couldn’t take the job. I knew the Lord didn’t want me to. I walked out of the office after my declaration as if the weight of the world was off my shoulders.

I have never regretted obeying the Holy Spirit, regardless of others’ opinions. But, I have many times regretted not obeying Him. Other’s opinions can sway us. While this can be good or bad, it is so important to be discerning.

Last year Replacing My Plans with Yours

Many times I uncover something in my life that I later recognize as being almost universal. We visualize how we want some situation to be and then we go about trying to make it come to fruition. When it doesn’t go as planned, which most often it doesn’t, we get frustrated, disappointed, or dig our heels in more determinedly to make it happen.

Sometimes, God mercifully just stops us. Finally, with the air finally knocked out of us, we have to admit that we can’t make it happen the way we want. The important revelation is not that we can’t control the outcome, but that God’s plan is better than ours. That job we couldn’t get, that man we just couldn’t catch or keep, that house that we wanted but that got sold before we could get it, and that whatever that we wanted but couldn’t make happen is replaced with what He planned instead.

It’s humbling, but reassuring to recognize that God not only had a plan, but that we would have been so much better off to have tried to submit to His lead instead of ours.

A friend shared with me about her recent experience that revealed how her failed plans were so much better replaced with outcomes that came as God propelled His over hers. I am again reminded of how this happens to so many of us. Yet, I am not sure if we recognize it as it happens. Do we appreciate that God intervened in ways that spared us heartache that would have come if our plans hadn’t been derailed? Do we value the rewards that we are reaping from His overriding our efforts with His?

“Lord, I am forgetful and need reminding that Your ways are higher than mine, Your plans are best, and that I need to not get in Your way, but to submit and follow Your lead.”

Last year We Can Make a Difference

“What’s the point? My life is over. There is no reason for me to take up space.”

Its heart wrenching to hear someone declare feeling this way. Yet, sadly many feel such hopelessness, despair, and little regard for their value. How does someone get to this point? What would make someone feel that he or she had no purpose or value?

I can only assume it was because of people hurting them. The main way we come to feel we have value is in how we are treated. Satan uses people to do his damage. This is likely not a difficult task. From the beginning of the fall of humankind, people have been destined to hurt each other.

Yet, the Lord calls us differently. His clear plea is to love like He does: To cherish and value being kind, and respecting others. If we were being like Him, we would take great pleasure in providing tenderness and care for others. We have that potential provided for us. Made in His image, invited to be His heirs through Christ, we can follow His lead in truly loving others in ways that help them recognize their deep value. We look beyond their imperfections, scars, acne, and obesity. We look beyond their weaknesses, character flaws, and addictions. We look beyond their poverty, differences, and crooked teeth. We look beyond everything that Satan tries to magnify as reasons to discredit another’s worth.

We listen and amplify the voice of the great I AM who clearly declares His love for each of us. We may never realize the power we have to make another feel of value. Each day we have the opportunity to respond to another in ways that show that he or she is worth our attention and respect.

If we could accurately see this potential, we would be awed by what power we possess to make a difference that not only influences others in far reaching ways, but also in delighting the very God who designed our hearts to love.

Last year He is our Hope

I was reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness in my life as I went with my daughter who was to have routine testing at Vanderbilt. Being a survivor of childhood cancer, she is used to being tested. As I walked through Vanderbilt, floods of memories came and I recalled how horrific my life was decades ago. Back then I couldn’t imagine feeling calm like I do today as I stroll through the hallways. Back then my life was full of terror as I struggled to have faith knowing that cancer was eating my precious toddler’s insides.

Today I realized that during my nightmare, the Lord knew all along that not only would she survive, but she would be back here as a mom herself. She would birth first a son and later, twin girls in this same hospital.

I thanked the Lord for His faithfulness, even though I had not always been faithful. I also realized that there were other parents living their nightmare on this same day. My heart aches for them as they journey through the long days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years of painful and fearful ordeals. Everyday life is suddenly transformed into procedures and tests that keep your nerves on edge and tears ready to flow at a moment’s notice. I also realize that some of the precious children will be going home with you soon Jesus.

Lord, I ask for your comfort, your mercy, and your presence with each and every child and parent clinging to the hope that only you can give.

While you and yours may be healthy, we all face heartache. The Lord is faithful, the Lord is good, and He is our hope.

Last year Anxious or Angry: Inquire of the Lord (Part 2)

As I read of the many escapades of David, I am fully persuaded that inquiring of God and following His lead is the way to live. Even though David didn’t always do right and inquire of the Lord, God still called him a man after His own heart. God knew David’s heart and it pleased Him. David sometimes blew it as we all do. Yet, David wanted to please God. He repented when corrected and when he inquired of the Lord, he obeyed.

Saul was very different. Like David, he sometimes took matters into his own hands, without consulting God. Other times, he acted in defiance of what God had already instructed. After sinning, he didn’t appear to truly repent. God knew his heart, like He knew David’s.
Unlike David, he seemed to only want God to protect and help him, with no regard for wanting to please God. He appeared to want to use God, without really loving Him.

We all have faced fearful situations. We all have been done wrongly. We are so vulnerable when afraid, angry, or wanting to react to someone who has wronged others we love or us. Those are times we desperately need to pray and inquire of the Lord before we respond.

Sometimes God may lead us to patience and a deeper recognition of His protection. Sometimes He may prompt us to be confident in confronting and setting boundaries that others don’t understand. Some may not understand our actions, whether judging them as either too harsh or too lenient and passive.

When David refused to take revenge on King Saul and didn’t defend himself, his own men didn’t understand. Other times, when he determinedly struck others who had sinned, with apparently no hesitation, they may have seen him as harsh. When he reacted just out of his human emotions, without God’s leading, he could be too harsh or too passive. We need to stay focused on how God directs us to respond, regardless if everyone agrees with us.

Thus, the challenge is to live so closely to the Lord, that we are hearing and following His voice instead of our own emotions or that of others.


Last year Anxious or Angry: Inquire of the Lord (Part 1)

What a mess we can get into when we don’t consult God before making big decisions. Even if we love God, we can make decisions that lead to great harm for others and ourselves. We are especially prone to taking actions without seeking God’s direction when afraid or angry. When trying to protect others and ourselves, we can take matters into our own hands and make matters much worse. We can also sin when reacting out of hurt and anger, even if the party we are taking action against was terribly wrong.

In the Old Testament David gave us several examples illustrating harm caused when he didn’t inquire of the Lord and great protection and victories when he did. Jealous King Saul was in hot pursuit in a demented quest to kill him. Sometimes when running for his life, David tried to protect himself without seeking God’s direction. One such time, he ran to the city of the priests and lied so that they wouldn’t know that he was running from King Saul. His actions led to the slaughter of eighty-five priests and all the inhabitants of the city, including men, women, children, infants, and even the animals.

Protecting himself, instead of seeking the Lord to protect him had brought horrific results. If he had inquired of the Lord, the Lord would have shown him what to do. The Lord always led him wisely when he sought His direction. Just like David, when we don’t, we can sure bring disaster.

David almost brought another calamity when he was angry instead of afraid. He was enraged from being mistreated by Nabal who was an evil fellow. It’s so natural to react when we have been deeply wronged.

In response to such injustice, angry David was out for revenge. Without inquiring of the Lord, he determined to slaughter a whole household. Nabal had wrongly cheated and disrespected not only David, but also the men he loved. They had risked their lives for each other. Again, like David, we may find it even more tempting to retaliate when those we love have been greatly mistreated.

This time, God mercifully sent a wise woman, Nabal’s wife, to stop him. I can imagine how stunned David felt as he realized what he had almost done. He expressed his horror and relief that she had stopped him from the horrendous bloodshed that he had been bent on.

As David humbly admitted his error and accepted God’s redirection, the Lord vindicated him in profound ways. Nabal, who had done him so wrong, died within hours and David was actually blessed with Nabal’s beautiful and wise wife, Abigail. David wed her, not only blessing himself, but also blessing her. Who knows how much Abigail suffered for years being married to such a foolish and selfish man. She likely had been mistreated and hurt, along with witnessing her husband’s mistreatment of others. When we follow God’s lead, good comes, just as it did for Abigail and David.


*Join me on CWA blog talk radio in exploring great outcomes that came from inquiring divine direction from the Lord and avoidable disasters that were suffered when no Godly direction was sought. Go to CWA blog radio/spreaker and log into the show: Uncover/Dr Peggy Karlosky

Last year The Protection of Healing

None of us get through life without being wounded both physically and emotionally. While most of our physical wounds heal, many of our emotional wounds don’t. Many common physical injuries heal with no intervention, since God designed our bodies with such splendor that it begins trying to heal itself as soon as an injury occurs.

However, emotional wounds are a bit different. They typically don’t automatically heal without our intentional efforts to attend to them. Many drag wounds with them through life. They may have occurred in childhood, teen years, young adulthood, middle age, or old age. We are never immune.

What’s amazing is that we may have old hurts that affect our lives that we aren’t even aware of having. Marriage is ripe for stimulating old wounds. Everyone brings into their marriage some personal wounds. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t aware of our mate’s wounds or ours. Thus, we hurt each other as our wounds are being tapped.

One of the greatest ways to foster a healthy marriage is to identify and heal from our own personal hurts and to uncover and be sensitive to our mate’s. If we marry someone with deep wounds, having a healthy relationship with them will be difficult, especially if he or she is unwilling to take responsibility for healing.

One of the greatest ways to protect ourselves in the spiritual war is to identify and seek healing for our emotional wounds. Doing so, we disarm the enemy’s ammunition designed to derail our lives.

Last year No Greater Love

In searching truth, I have gone from one end of a continuum to the other. I’ve been exploring how our lack of healthy fear sets us up for disaster. We are prone to lose fear that’s necessary for survival. Solomon’s loss of fear illustrated the depth of horror that can come from not believing God’s warnings and thus not following His instructions.

I went from the grief of Solomon’s tragic ending to the other end of the spectrum to a fresh view of the mercy and tenderness of God. Reading in Judges, the cruelty and disobedience of the Israelites was disgusting me. Repeatedly, they used God for what He could do for them and then discarded Him with no remorse as they succumbed to idolatry. I never understood thinking that some block of wood someone carved or some chiseled rock had superpowers that called for worship. It sounds ludicrous to me. Did they really believe such nonsense or did they just like to join in the crowd.

My journey through Judges was interrupted with a needed trip into town. While doing an errand, I saw someone that provoked memories of my encounters with her years ago. She didn’t notice me as I watched her. We had shared precious, but extremely painful moments together. Her husband, who had adored her once upon a time, had repeatedly ripped her heart apart as he went for other women to replace her, like the Israelites had replaced God with idols. The repeated extramarital affairs had left their cruel marks.

She had adored him so deeply that she repeatedly forgave him and tried to build their relationship anew. When I saw her in town, I wondered if her husband had ever become faithful, if they had divorced, and if she was happy. As I watched her, I sensed that she was different than I remembered. She seemed sad and closed. She used to smile easily, talk freely with others, and had an engaging personality.

I deduced that he had never stopped hurting her and the signs of damage showed. I had a current view of how people cause such pain with their selfish acts. Going back to Judges, I recognized that like my friend had been treated so unfairly, the unfaithfulness to God was most devious of all. He is the great “I am”. He had delivered them repeatedly, had cherished and protected them, and had always kept His promises. Yet, here again, they displayed their notorious lack of decency, due love and loyalty to God, just like that cheating husband had betrayed his loyal wife repeatedly.

I am struck by the Lord’s tenderness and ability to hurt for them even in the middle of their sin. Just one of those instances in the second chapter of Judges made me sharpen my views of God. Like a parent hurts for that son or daughter who is suffering even though it was due to their continued rebellion, the Lord hurt for the disobedient Israelites who had treated Him so badly.

“And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them.” Judges 2:18. Even though this passage didn’t say that the Israelites had called on the Lord and repented, He still felt such pity for them in their suffering He rescued them. They deserved what they had faced.

    I had watched the betrayed wife show compassion and pity for her husband when he hurt, even though he sure deserved it. I wonder if she eventually turned from pity to wanting to see him suffer.

    Again, after their many more betrayals and turning back to idolatry, the heart of God is revealed in Chapter 10. I wonder how God felt as He watched them bow to these stupid idols who had done nothing for them since they had no power or life. The Lord’s righteous anger resulted in turning them over to others who severely mistreated them.

    The Israelites had the nerve to cry out to the Lord. At least this time they admitted that they had sinned. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would have done so if they hadn’t been so miserable. At first the Lord wisely responded by reminding them of the numerous times He had delivered them from plentiful enemies. He then tells them to go and cry out to the gods that they had chosen.

    They continued to cry out to the Lord and I love the last of verse 16, “And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Again the Lord couldn’t stand watching them suffer any longer and He rescues them again.

    Even in their mess, filled with selfishness, the Lord hurt for His children. Even when they treated Him so wrong, He treated them so right. That not only gives me a glimpse of the unfailing love of God, but also gives me hope. Hope for when I or someone I love has sunk in a sin trap and may still be there.

Last year Fear: Our Worst Enemy or Our Greatest Advocate

Fear can be our worse enemy or our greatest advocate. Being a psychologist has given me a front row view of the effects of fear. Usually, I am trying to help people overcome fear. One of the leading, if not the top reason that people seek counseling is fear. Even those coming with hurt and depression, are also bound with fear. Fear even brings on depression.
So how can fear be our advocate?

It depends on what we are fearful of. There is a fear that is foundational to loving and obeying God. Some of the most quoted and powerful mandates to have the right kind of fear were given by Solomon. Proverbs 1: 7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Lord described Solomon as the wisest man ever and yet he miserably disobeyed a direct command of the Lord that came with a clear warning. The Lord warned the Israelites not to marry foreign wives because they would turn their hearts after their gods.

God had even appeared to Solomon to promise long life and blessings if he kept His commandments and warnings of doom if he didn’t keep them and if he served and worshiped idols

His love and desire of women would likely be labeled as sexual addiction today. How could he defy God and not be afraid of the consequences?

We can become so enamored with something that we lose our fear that protects us.

Solomon’s story was familiar to me, I realized that he not only married foreign women, he had an insane number (700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines). He even worshiped their false gods. I didn’t realize that the worship of two of the false gods was associated with the horrific sacrifice of children as burnt offerings. Even if he didn't sacrifice children, If Solomon was so wise, how could he have lived so foolishly? I don’t understand, and yet I unfortunately kinda do.

He not only was tolerant of idolatry, he even personally practiced it, worshiping images of wood and stone in the sight of the very temple which, in his early years, he had built to worship the Lord.

I was horrified as I thought of his decline. I am also greatly confused. How could he have been wise? I think of how I have frequently prayed that God would give me wisdom and help me to Follow it. The right kind of fear can help us follow wisdom. We need to fear doing what God has warned us not to do. If Solomon had followed the wisdom given him, he would not have squandered God’s blessings on his personal selfish pleasure. If he had followed his wisdom he would have kept his healthy fear intact.

As I read Ecclesiastes, I seem to hear despair and depression threaded in Solomon’s warnings. He aims to answer some of life’s most challenging questions. He concludes, from his unwise behavior, that the aim of life is to fear God and keep His commandments. Ecclesiastes 12: 13,14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”

I felt great sorrow when reflecting over how such a wise and blessed man had succumb to such devastating decline and sin. Ecclesiastes message gives me comfort and hope that Solomon repented and never let go of his faith in God. The overriding message he left us with is that those who fear God and keep His commandments have the hope of the good life and that this is the only reasonable response of faith. Conversely those who refuse to take God and His Word seriously are doomed to lives of the severest vanity.

Fearing God doesn't mean that we have to view Him as some big bully who will strike us with no concern for our suffering. Recall the old phrase that parents sometimes gave before a spanking, "This is going to hurt me more than you." Kids likely thought, "No it doesn't, it hurts me!" Yet the Lord who had clearly and lovingly instructed Solomon had wanted to protect and prosper him. He wanted Solomon to not only love Him, but to also to believe what He had told him. Its like a parent saying, if you touch that hot stove, it will burn you. The parent also hurts to see his child suffer, even when he or she caused it by disobeying. The Lord hurts and is moved by our suffering, even when, like Solomon, we brought it on by doing the very thing we were warned not to do. Our desire overshadowed our needed fear.

Solomon suffered from the imbalance of trying to enjoy life without regard for the fear of God’s judgment that would have protected him and kept him on the path of obedience. Doesn’t that describe much of society today? Everyone seems to be trying to enjoy life with no fear of the consequences of disobedience to God. We have plenty of fear—but it’s the wrong kind. The kind that costs billions, probably trillions of dollars—in medication, counseling, divorces, booze, crime, and a variety of outcomes that could bankrupt our reserves. Yet, the fear that could save our children, save our families, save our country, and save our souls is lacking. We are too enamored with our own pleasure to notice the vanishing fear with the consequences mounting. Solomon would scream, “Don’t do as I”. Can you hear him?

Last year Lessons from My Daughter: Getting our X-rays


    I recently posted a blog about the power of owning our sin. Owning our sin means that we take responsibility, admit, and repent for our wrongs instead of denying, minimizing, blaming others, or excusing and justifying it. It got me wondering about the various reasons we don’t. Of course, we may be in denial or deceived. Pride, shame, and fear may keep us from true confession and repentance. We may not want to see it, because we don’t want to give up our sin.

    In exploring these possible reasons, I recognize that sometimes we are blinded. I recall many years ago talking to the Lord about noticing how many Christians have blind spots—not recognizing sin in them. I was nudged—“I must have blind spots too”. While that wasn’t a pleasant thought, I knew that I needed to ask the Lord to search me and show me what was in me that was sin that I didn’t recognize.

    It was easier for me to do that because I had become more aware of God’s deep and safe Grace and Mercy. When we don’t see the Lord accurately, we don’t approach Him, as we should. As I asked the Lord to reveal in me what I needed to see, He was clear, yet gentle. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with shame and fear. I felt loved and accepted. I knew the Lord wanted to help me.

    He showed me areas of selfishness and wrong that I didn’t recognize as such. I still get nudged at times with reminders that I am being critical, judgmental, or having a bad attitude. I may be nudged that I am getting too caught up in my pride, selfishness, or controlling attempts to make things happen that I don’t have the right or power to control. I need the nudges. I also don’t want to have to be slammed instead of nudged. I also don’t want to become so affected by my blindness to sin that I leave my family or me open for increasing harm.

    While God doesn’t give or want us to have a spirit of fear, He does want us to have the right kind of fear. I want to be alert to my blind spots; that I still likely have them. I want to be fearful of not asking Him to show me what I may not enjoy seeing, but need to see.

    Satan tries to get us to view God inaccurately-as unapproachable, demanding and ready to punish our wrongs, or unconcerned. He sure doesn’t want us to recognize our vulnerability to have blind spots. He doesn’t want us to see the protection we need that comes from having essential deep probing of our insides by the Holy Spirit.


When my daughter was little, she had cancer. The kind she had was fast growing, could kill, and was resistant. Even after chemotherapy was completed, they x-rayed her every month for a year, then every 6 weeks, every 8, and so on for a long, long time. She still gets checked and x-rayed. Why?

They want to catch it early and blast it away as quickly as possible. While the threat of her childhood cancer is considered over, she still is checked.

My experience with my daughter taught me much. I also recognize that just like those tiny cells could multiple and become a tumor that was so destructive it could take over and kill even organs, my sin can cause vast destruction. I need my insides x-rayed frequently.

Last year Lessons from My Son

This is a longer blog than I usually write. I tend to stop reading when a blog is too long. Yet, I still felt compelled to share it. I hope to do a series on lessons from my children. I begin with my son today.



When my son was growing up, he accused me of loving to lecture. If he only knew, I thought. I would tell him, “I hate having to lecture. Instead, I just wish you would “get” what I am trying to teach you.”

I knew that I needed to follow what I taught other parents to do: 1) explain 2) set consequences, and 3) follow through. Excessive lecturing or arguing is not effective. Instead, it causes harm—it depletes energy, since it is wasted energy. It fuels frustration and it gives undue attention and power to the one you are lecturing and arguing with.

    So why did I keep doing it? I yearned to protect my son. One of the most common lectures I gave was birthed from my heartfelt fear of what was going to happen to him if he didn’t learn to admit or “own” his wrongs. From early childhood on, he was my one child who would resist admitting his fault or failure. He tended to always blame someone else or he would argue or defend his actions.

    He would accuse me of always having to be right. He truly made it sound like he thought the problem was that I always thought I was right. Over the years, I recognize he might have a point in that I do tend to think I am right most of the time—one of my faults I’m sure.

The other belief he had I didn’t accept, at least not completely. He thought I just had to win the argument. There are many times, I hoped I was wrong. Yet, I knew deep within me that there was a huge problem in him not admitting his wrongs, even when caught.

    Watching my son’s resistance in admitting his wrong; listening to him make excuses or blame his wrong actions on some circumstance or someone else, provided me with a clear illustration of what most of us do, even if not as pervasively. Watching I learned what we must look like to God. Being in the play by play with him, also gave me insight into how the Lord feels when we do the same thing.

    I tried to enlighten my son about the danger of resisting self-evaluation, of not taking responsibility for our actions, and refusing to admit when we did wrong. The Lord tries to enlighten the same to us through His Word. Story after story is told throughout the Bible, His teaching manual, of the effects and consequences for those resisting owning their sin and the amazing outcomes for those who did.

Like my son, some hear those stories and sermons as just lectures that they are tired of. They see the Lord as just wanting to always be the boss for only selfish reasons. They don’t see His attempts as trying to protect and help us.

When trying to teach my son, I had already had a vast history of personal experience in finding out that God was gracious, forgiving, and merciful when I fully owned my failures, admitted without excuses my sin, and asked for His forgiveness. Making excuses and blaming others never got me anywhere but in a bad place.

In his early twenties my son made a confession to me. He told me that when he argued with me so much growing-up that most of the time he knew deep down that I was right. I was shocked. I would never have known that he felt this way. He had me fooled completely. He really seemed to believe that he thought he had done no wrong. I didn’t know whether to be horrified or relieved by his confession. I choose to be encouraged and hopeful about it.

Yet, I also recalled my hurt, frustration, and fear that colored our relationship during those times of struggling. I loved him. But, it caused pain during those conflicts.

I also realize that we cause pain to our Lord when we resist owning our sin. When we minimize it, make excuses for it, deny it, or blame it on someone else, I wonder if God’s heart is pricked like mine was. It hindered the joy of my son’s and my relationship at times, just like it hinders ours’ with the Lord. He never stops loving us, just like I never stopped loving my son. However, the communion and pleasure of our time together was high jacked during those times.

Most importantly, we make ourselves vulnerable to the enemy, who will influence and hurt us as much as allowed. We rob ourselves of God’s forgiveness, restoration, and protection. Why in the world would we do this if we knew that our confession and owning our wrongs would bring God’s grace, forgiveness, and restoration? I still can’t answer that.

There were countless times that I tried to teach my son the truth that if he confessed, the consequences would be much less, sometimes even eliminated. I repeatedly tried to get my children to see the importance of owning their wrongs, knowing that it will also position them for help.

When my son genuinely expressed his remorse while admitting his wrong, my heart always melted. I would feel the love and joy overtake me as I relished the moment. The closeness and connection between us was precious.

The Lord has shown me that this is how it is for Him when I similarly admit and repent. As I pour out my attempts to let Him know that I am sorry for hurting Him, His heart melts and I believe He feels the tenderness to me as I do for my son.

I don’t expect perfection from my son. The Lord doesn’t expect it from me. But I do want honesty and a willingness to own his wrongs. My Lord lets me know that He wants the same.

The Lord has taught me so much through my son. He also taught me through His.


** By the way-I made sure that my son was okay with me posting this. Maybe he’s getting better than I at some things! Guess he’s teaching

Last year Life Under God's Wing

We are living in a time of distress and uncertainty. We are plundering through the horrific battle of presidential nominations. The Presidential debates were notorious. Some people cringe with fear at the possibility of a certain candidate winning. Others profess horrific consequences to come if a different candidate becomes President. Every candidate provokes fear and disgust in someone.

Since the fall, our world is not lovely. It’s infested with greed, immorality, and evil. It seems like the straying away from God has went from occasional detours and slow decline to an increasing race to get as far away as possible. It like the sin dial was cranked to high speed. Rules of morality were replaced with goals to live in whatever ways makes one happy, no matter how it affects our moral codes or defies God’s commandants.

The threat of mass decline and misguided leadership has birthed much fear. Like me, do you need a reminder of God’s protection? Psalm 91 provides it beautifully. It may become my stand-by that needs to be read almost daily in the months to come. The Presidential elections always tend to provoke the “what ifs” and impending doom predictions.

Yet I am reminded: Psalm 91:1: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (The secret place is an intimate place of divine protection).
2: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
3: Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
4: He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Life under God's wing is where I want to stay in all this mess and craziness. We are clearly shown that when we need refuge, we can find it under His wing.

8: Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked.
What reassurance is this verse—it’s saying that the righteous are so safe when disaster is all around them, that they are only spectators.

With Christ as Savior, we are the righteous. We will be spectators of increasing moral decline and judgment upon those defying the Lord. Run to Psalm 91 and pray for the lost to be found, truth to be proclaimed and revival to come.

Last year It Will Be Well With My Soul

Today was a distressing day in which I was faced with an unjust and pervasive trend occurring in the world that is victimizing many. Without giving specifics, let me add that what is happening is perfectly legal, while clearly wrong. Most of the day I felt grief, anger, disbelief, and powerlessness about what I had learned. It seemed even more alarming to know that the general public doesn’t even know about such.

I struggled to get peace and relief, yet wasn’t sure that I didn’t need to keep some of my distress. In Isaiah we are told that Jesus was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief. I believed He grieved about the hurt in the world, the cruel injustices that prevail, and those who try to do right that are victimized.

I was in a war between that part of me that wanted peace and relief and the other part that wanted justice and needed to grieve for the hurting. I seemed to vacillate between them. My struggling led me to aim for hope.

Do you also desperately need to be reminded of hope? Are you in a situation that is so hurtful and unfair that you need hope like a smothering person gasping for that fix that only air could give? I can relate. Our need is multiplied drastically when we are in such cruel and painful situations and we feel powerless.

In my experience today, I felt the tears of frustration knowing that I can’t make the giants before me do right. I can’t stop the injustice. Yet, I love the hope that the Lord reminded me of. Jesus’ sweet model prayer makes me wonder if Jesus also felt like I did today as He prayed, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven”. In Heaven, people won’t victimize others.

Probably my greatest frustration today was that those part of the injustice acted as if what was happening was fine and completely justified. When pushed with reason, they shirked responsibility and blamed others.

Are you in this situation? If you aren’t, I bet you have been some time in your life. We all have been. I encourage you with the hope I cling to. The Lord is gracious and compassionate and when we are where His perfect will is done, all will be well with our soul.

Last year Don't Settle for Wine over Treasure

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, I wonder how many found themselves feeling unloved. I went into a McDonalds on Valentine’s Day and saw hearts and Valentine décor galore on the walls, ceiling, and counters. I found myself wondering about who had decided to put all that up. I think it was a young person, probably a girl. Some of the decorations looked handmade.

People yearn to be loved. I can’t imagine people not embracing Jesus if they knew Him, since He is the epitome of love. I have heard pastors tell a new Christian to start reading in the book of John. I wondered why so many times John was advocated as the place to begin—as if it was a good introduction to the Lord. I figured that they wanted new converts to understand about the love of God, displayed through Christ.

Recently, I began reading John with a quest to have a fresh insight into the love of Christ. I got to the first recorded miracle of Jesus in the second chapter of John where he turned water into wine.

While this was a familiar passage, I realized how I had overlooked the real nugget of truth embedded in the scripture. I always thought that Jesus’ response to his mother when she told him that they were out of wine seemed rude. He stated, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

I knew that Jesus is love and He would not have been hurtful in the way I was interpreting. My study Bible pointed out that using the word Woman was not an impolite term for then, but instead was a way to distance Himself from His mother and her request. Again, I thought, isn’t that hurtful and rude? Yet, as I read on, I understand.

The thrust of his statement was to emphasize His mission on earth. He knew the human heart and how people would be drawn to the miraculous and for what He could do for them in their temporary earthly life. They would want the wine he provided, instead of their redemption. They could miss the whole point. They would settle for a cheap sign of love and overlook the essence of real and abiding love. This simple statement that seemed abrupt, was profound.

Just like Jesus thought, I too had paid attention to the miracle he performed instead of the profound truth He was trying to secure: that He had a mission to rescue us from destruction and secure our salvation. In fact, most refer to this passage emphasizing that this was His first recorded miracle. What was important instead, was that He was trying to clearly emphasize why He came and what was really important.

As I look around at the wrappings of Valentine’s Day, I see the candy boxes, paper hearts, and flowers. They are sweet and enjoyable, like the wine was delightful and welcomed by those at the wedding where Jesus attended. Yet, I know deep within me that love is so much more. Jesus’ words that seemed harsh to me have taken on a new meaning. He was intent on trying to get us to see what real love is and how to follow His lead to victory.

I cringe to think of abusive people injuring the heart of the person they are supposed to love one minute and then giving them valentine cards, candy, or flowers the next. I want to shout to the injured, don’t settle for a cheap and easily purchased candy or card. Jesus also wanted us to recognize there’s something so much more valuable that He offers than cheap wine. We live for our temporary comforts and pleasure, while ignoring the treasures we are offered for eternity. We are prone to be enticed by trinkets, and pass over the jewels before us.

Sometimes we don’t recognize love. The showy expressions impress us; while we don’t distinguish the deep sacrificial love that Jesus so passionately wanted us to embrace. The wine was pleasurable, but don’t settle for wine over real treasure.

Last year Examine My Insides Lord

Recently, I went to a long awaited appointment with a medical specialist. I had gone to him about symptoms suggestive of arthritis. I mostly went because I was concerned that I would become contorted from rheumatoid arthritis like some of my ancestors. I also wanted him to address other concerns for which one wouldn’t go to a rheumatologist. I thought he might be offended and unwilling to address symptoms outside of his area. Yet, I wanted someone to assess several possible concerns, some of which may be nothing but the aging process.

I was delighted that he was so thorough and knowledgeable that each and every concern I told him of he welcomed and appeared equipped to explore. While I don’t wish for problems, I was so relieved to be so thoroughly evaluated. I not only had to disrobe for a physical exam, I had to have several x-rays, and extensive blood work.

Why don’t we want that same kind of assessment emotionally and spiritually? With my physical exam, I knew that if he found something, I had a chance to make it better. I might not like a diagnosis, but my not knowing about it wasn’t going to just make it go away.

Similarly, the Lord is so gracious and willing to help us if we are willing to be examined and exposed in ways that might cause pain, but also will open the door for healing and His help. I am intrigued and awed by David’s plea in Psalm 139: 23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting”.

I won't enjoy seeing wickedness in me. I might have myself convinced there isn’t anything bad enough to be labeled wicked. David so wanted to be led into righteousness, he was not only willing to bear his heart to such a stringent evaluation, he asked for it. He also was open enough about himself to realize that there may be wickedness of which he was unaware. He knew he wasn’t above such. He knew not to trust his own opinion of himself. He needed the Great Physician to x-ray his insides.

I know a woman who avoids going to the doctor and instead just proclaims her own diagnoses over herself. Of course, her diagnoses are always mild and not nearly as dangerous as ones that might be more accurate. Symptoms of severe heart problems she explained as being overweight and out of shape. Luckily, she was practically forced by others to go for a medical exam that led to open heart surgery that spared her life in the nick of time.

We may look at her pattern of diagnosing herself and avoiding exams as ludicrous. However, many of us do the same thing about our emotional and spiritual condition.

“Lord, help us be willing to regularly ask for you to examine and expose our insides. Help us not trust our own perceptions and diagnoses. Help us want to please You so much that we are willing to face any pain that the results of our examination may bring. If we know You like David did, we will feel the safety of You doing the exam. You are gracious, merciful, and love us so much that You want to forgive, heal, restore, and protect us. Just like I had to disrobe at the doctor’s office, help us disrobe before You".

Last year Hope for the Hurting

It seems that every day I am confronted with how much of what happens shouldn’t happen. I guess it doesn’t take long for all of us to realize this growing up. Tragedies, injustices, and just people treating each other so hurtfully define much of life here in a fallen world.

Just now I was listening to a heartbroken woman tell details of her past and current life that could almost overwhelm me if I let it. My first instinct is to somehow fix it. It only takes seconds for me to realize that I can’t.

I can’t cure bodies, I can’t make people act like they should, and I can’t make the world live by fair rules. But I could listen, care, and remind her of whose love is unfailing. I was feeling inadequate and thinking that I was probably such a disappointment to the woman looking for me to help.

Yet, I was humbled and encouraged as I heard her sincere expression of how much it helped to talk with me. I was almost at a loss for words as I listened to how much calmer and hopeful her voice sounded.

This brief encounter demonstrated the power of someone caring, the power of being reminded of who God is, and how someday things will be as they should be. It also reminded me of how we are made in God’s image and how when we respond from that part of us like Him, beautiful things happen.

Recently, there was a local accident in which a young child was airlifted to a trauma center hospital with what appeared to be injuries that would likely end in tragedy. There was an outpouring of people texting, posting on Facebook, and displaying deep hurt and heartfelt prayers. I thought to myself, this is the heart of Christ. This is that part in us that’s like Him and it is absolutely beautiful and how our Creator meant it to be. What’s reassuring to all those turning to me with pain is to know that this is just a glimpse of what it will be in Heaven.

Most who know me well, know that I talk much about eternity. It helps keep me not only sane in an insane world, but it also helps me stay focused on what really matters. It also gives me a great pain reliever to offer hurting people.

Last year The Great Deception

    I recall looking into the sky as a small four or five-year-old child, with a sense of foreboding. It’s impossible to define for myself, let alone put into words. I just had a sense that there was something going on that we couldn’t see that was monumental. I now think I was experiencing a tiny glimpse of what I would have a sensitivity about when I grew into adulthood. I had an awareness of spiritual matters at an unusually young age.     

    While I didn’t understand these strange stirrings I experienced, I somehow sensed that people were clueless to something going on that was colossal. I still believe this. Most live by what they see in front of them, with no ongoing awareness of the spiritual war, let alone the eternity stretching before us.

    Francis Chan gives one of the most graphic illustrations of eternity. He holds up a rope and instructs listeners to imagine the rope having no end. It stretches for eternity. He shows one end of the rope he is holding that has that last couple of inches colored red.

    Then the startling reveal comes. He says, “The rope is a timeline of your existence and the red part is your time on earth.” Those few short years on earth seem insignificant as you see the rope stretch as far as one can see, knowing that it goes forever.

    The great deception is exposed. We live as if the red part is all that matters. We are consumed with the red part! We focus our efforts, emotions, what we strive for, and thoughts on this tiny section of our existence with little or no thought about the millions, billions, and trillions of years to follow. The everlasting existence that comes after our life here has very little, if any, impact on how most people live.

    We yearn to be comfortable, to save for the future, to plan for a great retirement, to look forward to traveling or purchases we crave. All of these are confined to this miniscule section that reflects not even a speck on our timeline of existence.

    What a deceived way to live! There is an epidemic in humanity of those afflicted by the great deception. It has caused profound harm and even vast destruction for so many that no one can calculate the casualties.

Last year Uncover: The Real God, The Real You, and The Real Enemy

The intrigue of people is largely what drew me into wanting to become a psychologist. People can have such different personalities even when they come from the same family. When you watch people, do you notice that some seem to be outgoing and comfortable with most everyone, while others are reserved and seem closed? Some are very disciplined, while others are a mess. Sometimes we notice other people’s habits, traits, flaws, and strengths and ignore our own.

How accurate are our own perceptions of ourselves? I venture to say that even those of us who think we know ourselves well, don’t nearly as much as we think. On the other hand, we know more about how we really feel than anyone besides Jesus if we really take the time and effort to uncover our deepest thoughts, emotions, hurts, and yearnings.

Many have challenged us with inspiring messages concerning the New Year. We have been encouraged to lose weight, get out of debt, and go after our dreams. I join in by challenging us to let this be the year that we come to know ourselves and God like never before. The more we understand our Maker and ourselves, the more we can embrace being who God uniquely designed and living the life He ordained. Join me on “Uncover: The Real God, The Real You, and The Real Enemy” on CWA blog radio/spreaker. Each week I will be exploring and hopefully share what we all can benefit from uncovering.

Last year Seeing the full picture: Living by Faith

As we begin the New Year, many are thinking about what they need to change. While they usually think of bad habits, we also need to think of attitudes. We might need to drop some and add others. On CWA blog radio, I began the New Year with a new series on my weekly show, “Uncover”. I chose to address faith because it is so essential for living effectively.

In researching faith, I am eager to share how it shows up in our attitudes. Faith promotes gratitude, reverence, hope, and patience. When I think of faith, I think of how essential it is to understand who God is and to always live with eternity in mind.

The preacher, Francis Chan, gives a powerful illustration of eternity that would be great to see daily as a reminder. Picture holding the end of a rope that represents your existence. It stretches farther than you can see. It actually goes on forever. Yet, as humans we have difficulty with picturing forever, so just realize that it goes as far as your vision can reach.

As you look down at the rope you are holding, the end has about an inch of it colored red. That’s the part of your existence that is on earth. It seems insignificant as you look at the length of the rope. Yet, that is what we focus on. Most obsess about those fews years on earth, not even thinking about the million, upon millions of years that go on forever. What other deception can be as great as that?

We even obsess about a sliver of the rope that we aim for reaching: Having the house paid for, having enough money to retire well on so that we can live in style. We obsess about having a good time during that little portion of our existence.

When we look at the rope going on forever, hopefully we realize how foolish we have been to put all our attention, feelings, and efforts into such a snippet of our existence. Its an even more sobering thought as we come to understand that how we live that little snippet affects how we experience the rest of our existence.

Each time we visualize the rope, we get a wake-up. I have the chance to affect my eternity by how I live in this brief life that is not even an eye blink compared to eternity. While Jesus made it possible for us to even be able to face eternity with hope, we affect our rewards or regrets by choices during these few short years.

If you really get the picture, like me, you will believe that this understanding of our earthly life compared to eternity is what propels us to live well, to live wisely, and to truly live by faith.

Last year The "Faith Hall of Fame"

Even though I don’t think New Years is the only time we can begin needed changes, it is a time that many people reflect and dig deeper into trying to live life better. I can’t imagine living life well without faith.

How do we face such a world without it? We all have likely questioned why certain experiences happened and why desired other ones didn’t. Christians recognize that this isn’t our home and that we look to another where we won’t need faith—we will be in the Lord’s presence, absent from evil, and within the realm of God’s perfect will. Until then, we need faith like we need air.

What does faith look like? You might be surprised what is found in the famous “Faith Hall of Fame" provided in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Many different faces of faith are described and provide us a clear case study on faith. Join me at CWA blog talk radio/spreaker as I explore the “Faith Hall of Fame” on my weekly show: Uncover.

Last year New Beginnings

As my husband and I take down the tinsel, lights, and Christmas tree, I think about the New Year beginning. We’ve never made a big deal about New Year. I don’t understood why so many do. It’s another day in our brief life on earth. It’s not any more of a new beginning or chance than any other day. We have the same opportunity to start over, to make needed changes, and to embrace the life God designed for us any other day that we choose.

Maybe we like having some sort of tangible sign that we have a new chance that the New Year provides. It’s funny how some talk about having a bad year or a good year as if the whole year is defined as one chapter of our lives.

I find it helpful to take a day at a time, even a moment at a time. If we redirect our thoughts and actions to truth, we can turn around those dark and destructive episodes. We can begin again each and every moment if we remind ourselves of truth. When we are disappointed in ourselves, hurt by others, and feel that we are of no value, let us remind ourselves that that we were created by a God that wants us, loves us, values us, and suffered greatly to protect and redeem us.

Reminded of truth, we can create a fresh start like those who see the New Year as a blank screen to be written upon.

Last year Taking our Stance for Jesus

Next week is Christmas, which is the chosen day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. While we aren’t sure of His exact birthday, December 25th has been the day decided upon long ago. The world has made Christmas mostly about Santa, parties, and an excuse to be off work. When décor and attention is given to Christ, it shows the form He came to earth - a sweet baby.

Recently, my mom was at my house for a dinner party and noticed that our outdoor nativity had baby Jesus lying on the ground. The manger was broken and we hadn’t repaired it yet or found what to replace it with. My mom was so appalled and distraught about Jesus lying on the ground, she insisted we find something in which to place the plastic baby Jesus. I found a basket and she tenderly placed Him first in a towel to wrap His cold body and then in the basket that protected Him from the cold, hard ground.

We associate the baby Jesus with Christmas, while His birth was a means to an end; His crucifixion. This end was actually the beginning for us in that it secured our ability to be heirs of salvation. I can’t seem to see the baby, without thinking of the man.

As I think again of that baby Jesus thirty three years later being the Savior hung on a cross, Christmas takes on the meaning that is declared in Hebrews 1: 1-3 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He Hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the Worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High”

While we celebrate Christmas, we know that America is now under attack like never before. We have had wars in the past. But the current terrorist war on America and the evading evil has infiltrated our homeland like never before. Many here at home have invited some of the tide of deception and vulnerability.

In turn, Christianity is under attack from within. Believers are being shunned and attacked as the enemy, the abusers, the haters, and unfair. Even some professed Christians are being deceived into compromising to the point of accepting what the Bible declares as sin as being acceptable and right.

We are deluded into thinking that we should embrace those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God as being just as valid in their thinking as the Bible. While we should always love others and treat them as Jesus would, we are not to say that all beliefs are equally valid. That would be ludicrous. How could we say that Jesus is the only way to salvation and at the same time say that other’s beliefs are just as true?

I was awed as I watched mom’s treatment of the plastic replica of baby Jesus as a treasure that was cherished by her touch. That precious baby grew up to pay a huge painful price brought on by those sins we declare as acceptable. Watching mom made me feel ashamed of my careless actions that had placed him on the ground.

Then I turn my attention to how most treat Jesus. We have enjoyed decades of mostly peaceful times in the homeland of America. Yes, there have been crimes, evil, and tragedies. However, for the most part Christians were not persecuted. We have been spoiled in comparison to other parts of the world.

I never dreamed of Christianity being persecuted in my lifetime. However, it is here and we will either rise to be strengthened in our faith or decline in backing off in fear or apathy. It seems that the early New Testament Church and those persecuted in other countries have tended to be more motivated, focused, and willing to suffer for their faith. Oh, that we will too.

When we face not just ridicule, but attack, loss, possible arrest, fines, or even death, how will we respond? When we are pressured to conform to wrong, will we resist? When we see deception, will we fight with truth and resistance? Hebrews 1:3 needs to be our reminder of why we won’t ever surrender to those against Jesus, who we declare defines Christmas.



Last year The Greatest Gift

As the days till Christmas fly by, so do my opportunities to connect with the one we are supposed to be celebrating. It’s a wonder that most don’t think it’s all about Santa and having parties. It amazes me that the Christmas movies, décor, and greetings mostly show everything but Jesus.

I am guilty myself of getting wrapped up in all the fluff. I run from shopping, planning, and doing the festive dance. I love Christmas and even the traditions that seem silly to many. Heck, I still fill stockings for my grown children and husband.

Yet, as the Christmas lights twinkle both inside and outside my house, I find myself getting a check in my spirit. Do I love the one who birthed all the true hope that Christmas represents? Do I pray that all will come to know that God loves them so deeply that He wanted to right all the wrongs, heal all the hurts, and be with each and every one of us forever?

Do I keep the hope of Christ alive in not only my heart and mind, but in my daily walk and talk? The décor will come down in a few weeks. The lights will be shut off. The presents unwrapped and some even discarded. We will go on with our rituals and tasks of life.

Will we plunge through life either surviving the stresses or grasping for the coveted achievements we think will define success? Will we remember? The greatest gift is ready for embracing, cherishing, and protecting and He is called Jesus.

Last year Great Beginnings to Tragic Ends

If I didn’t think people could be transformed and change, I wouldn’t have become a psychologist in private practice. What would be the point? While many don’t make needed changes, many do. I have been thrilled to witness progress and change for the better.

However, people also change for the worse. That intrigues me. How does that sensitive and considerate boy become an embittered man? How does that honest and kind woman become selfish and deceptive?

The story of Saul, who was chosen to become the first King of Israel sheds some light on how decline sometimes comes. Saul, who had started out so well, had become disobedient, proud, jealous, and a mess of a man. His kingdom was taken from him and given to another.

From Saul we see the danger of not following the Lord’s directions and commands. We see the danger of taking matters into our own hands, independent of the Lord. We see the danger of getting too proud and being unwilling to take direction. Much devastation was provoked by jealousy. We definitely see his later decline, as he became a bitter, vindictive, and deceptive man.

Like Saul, our disobedience affects not just us, but also our families. On CWA blog radio/spreaker, I will be exploring what led to Saul’s decline on Uncover, the weekly show I host. We can learn from other’s successes and failures. These stories were included for our benefit. They illustrate truths that can help save our destiny, protect us from our own decline, and advance our families and future.

Last year Helping or Hurting

Why do we try to fix everyone’s problems as if we are that powerful? Why do we try to keep everyone from being disappointed? Why do we feel guilty for telling someone no?

Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t try to fix everyone’s problems, you don’t think you can prevent all disappointments, and you don’t feel guilty for saying no. If so, you likely didn’t get programed for feeling responsible for the world.

However, many (especially women) have been programed this way. Just recently, another woman complained that she felt guilty if she didn’t try to do everything to help, even if it meant taking responsibility for others who were capable. We sometimes hinder others’ development and learning by trying to make everything easy for them, for doing what they should do for themselves, or for removing the painful consequences of their choices.

How do we tell the difference between being merciful and getting in the way of another’s development? Its not always clear-cut. However, staying in tune with the Holy Spirit provides the means for that nudge to guide us. Next, we must be willing to obey, even if it means others we love will suffer. Trusting God to want the best for our loved ones is essential if we are to stop rescuing and removing consequences that may not only help them grow, but sometimes even saves their soul.

Last year No Headaches in Heaven

Her face looked tense and she absently rubbed her forehead. I recognized the signs that her head was throbbing with another of her frequent headaches. I grieve for my friend who has been plagued with headaches, some even debilitating, for decades.

I recall the years of headaches my mother endured while I was growing-up. Once I remember being amazed as I watched the hair on the top of her head move back and forth likely in sync with the throbbing.

I am sure there are many irritants that trigger headaches: stress, allergens, and high blood pressure, to name a few. As I talk with my friend, I yearn for her head to stop hurting. I realize it probably won’t anytime soon. Also, unless a miracle happens, she will have many more to face in the future.

Yet, I also feel the relief knowing that there will be a time when she will never again experience the pain that has taken her head captive with no warning and with no way to stop it. Someday she will no longer be at the mercy of whatever hijacks her and keeps her prisoner until it decides to relent its vice grip on her brain.

Whatever our pain and whatever we are at mercy to will someday be gone. We can choose to follow Christ to a place far better than over the rainbow.

Last year Open Our Eyes

One of the strongest human drives is to feel significant. It begins early in life. Toddlers try to get that coveted recognition as they turn somersaults waiting for dad’s applause and mom’s words of acclaim. “How smart you are!” “Wow, you can jump so high.” Such praise fertilizes the growing desire for more.

Some people go through life still doing somersaults trying to prove to the world that they are significant. What’s crazy is that we still think that mere humans can establish whether we are significant or not. We may think we don’t succumb like others to this need to be admired, but sadly, we do.

Satan has milked this need to feel significant and this deception that we aren’t since the beginning. The first chapter of Ephesians is a powerful antidote for our insecurity if we grasp its full meaning. Paul’s message clearly establishes our significance that has been determined by God, not humans.

I can’t imagine how differently life would be if we didn’t strive so for feeling significant in others’ eyes. If we relaxed and accepted how God feels about us and everyone else too, we would do life very differently. Many come closer to this as they move into the senior years. While our bodies may fall apart, our spiritual eyes get keener.

Paul’s earnest quest was that his fellow believers would have their “eyes of understanding be enlightened; that they might know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Open our eyes of understanding Lord.

Last year Desperate for Hope

With the craziness of the world spinning out of control, people seem to be trying to find some footing, anchor, or refuge to cling to for surviving. We may have heard of impending doom with each generation. Yet, I can only add my own voice in declaring that there has never been a time such as now in my personal history of life.

People seem to be hesitant to even listen to the news anymore. Children are being snatched right and left, even from ballgames, front yards, and places we associated with safety, fun, and carefree childhood. Terrorists have become the norm and we wait for the next attack. Instead of facing their enemies in the open, they attack in secret, like those who hit someone in the back and then run for cover.

Many are fearful to go to malls, stadiums, and even movie theaters. Some are even fearful of sending their children to school.

We live in a world that gives perverted messages. What God declares as right, is labeled as wrong and what the Almighty defines as evil, is promoted as good.

We are desperate for hope and direction. While there has never been a time such as now in spinning towards destruction, there has never been a time such as now for those who love Jesus to unite, to declare hope in the darkness, and to lead the way.

I wonder if others feel like I do at times. It’s as if I am still in shock, reeling from the changes that have perverted the world I knew even a decade ago. Its like I need to catch my breath, to collect myself, and then to get equipped for this new chapter in the war.

Fear is ever present, ready to bombard us with the “what ifs” that come for standing against the sin that is promoted as being enlightened, accepting, and open to expression. I never dreamed that in my lifetime we would face legal action for following the Word. Yet, that time is here and it isn’t going away.

I hurt for my grandchildren who will never know childhood like I did. We played outdoors for hours with our parents never even knowing exactly where we were. We might be having an adventure in the alley playing kick the can when I lived in Detroit. We might be playing on our homemade houseboat that consisted of planks spread across the creek banks when living in Tennessee. We road our bikes, went to each other’s homes for snacks, and no one thought to be afraid for our well being.

With all that seems so dark, I run to the Word. I read of God’s faithfulness, His care for those who love Him, and His promise to pour His spirit out in the last days. I read that many will be filled with His spirit and lead others to salvation and hope.

Counseling for decades has firmly shown me the universal desperate need for Hope. It’s there for the taking. When I read in Psalms of David’s desperate cries to the Lord when he felt hopeless, I can relate. Each time, David found hope and we will too if we cry out to the same Lord who has provided help and hope from the beginning of time.

Last year What's Love Got To Do With It?

Do you recall the song “What’s love got to do with it” recorded by Tina Turner in the 1980’s? It was her most successful single. Was it because of its catchy beat, her raspy voice, or because so many of us could relate to its message?

The lyrics tell a story:
“You must understand though the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it’s only the thrill of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract
It’s physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore that it means more than that
What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken"


Tina Turner had gone public with the abuse she suffered in her marriage. The beatings, cheating on her, and disrespect sure didn’t look like love. No wonder she would sing, “What’s love got to do with it?” Who wants to have their heart broken?

Yet, if we are going to really live, love has everything to do with it. The disciple John understood that to really know the Lord, one would see and recognize love. The challenge of life and the most powerful medicine for our hurt is to recognize and embrace God’s love. No wonder Satan has tried to blind us from recognizing God’s love from the beginning.

When John was distinguishing between children of God and children of the devil, he referred to Cain as from the evil one. As I read of Cain and Able, I found myself thinking that Cain must not have recognized the love behind God’s responses to him whenever his offering was not accepted.

God’s first response to Cain after the rejection of his offering was to notice Cain’s emotional condition. “So the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry: And why has your countenance fallen?” (Genesis 4:6).

We women relate loving someone with noticing and caring about how that person feels. God cared enough to notice Cain’s countenance and ask about his feelings. He followed this response with another that also displayed love. He encouraged Cain by telling him “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4: 7)

It’s like telling a friend who has just failed the test or faced disappointment, “Hey, keep trying and you will get it”.

God gives a third loving response, He warns. “And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)
Why would we warn someone if we didn’t care about him or her? God not only warns Cain, he lovingly instructs him what to do to protect him. He tells him to rule over sin. If God didn’t think Cain had the ability, He wouldn’t tell him to rule over it.

After all these loving responses and efforts God made toward him, Cain goes out and murders his brother, Abel.

Surely, he didn’t recognize and interpret love in all these attempts on God’s part. Wonder if we also don’t sometimes fail in recognizing God’s love. Living in a fallen world with hurtful events and unjust situations, we might lose sight. That’s likely why it was so important for Paul to offer his famous prayer in Ephesians to his brethren. His prayer was focused on those who were already believers. Maybe we all need reminders of the need for increasing knowledge of God’s love.

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1: 15-18)

If only Cain's eyes had been open to the revelation of love behind God's actions.

**Join me on CWA radio network/spreaker on the show “Uncover” as we explore what love has to do with it.





Last year Jewels From John (Part 2)

    John keeps providing us hope by giving timeless messages of the power of our prayers. In I John 5: 14-15, we read, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.

    I am so glad John didn’t make those flippant promises like greedy, shallow advertisers do. Instead, he told us that IF we love and follow Christ, our prayers are powerful. He didn’t say God will grant any request that is selfish or out of line with what’s best. Those that are sincere and line up with His will (which is always for good) are heard and honored. That means He wants to forgive us, He wants to restore us after a relapse; He wants to empower us to live above the messes.

    As I examine the jewels that John uncovered, I review that I am God’s daughter, that when He comes for me, I will be like Him and I will see Him clearly. The more I recognize who Jesus is, the more I will feel loved and will love like Him. The more I abide and stay close to Him, the more I will be empowered with His Spirit to resist sin and keep His commandments. Yet, I am encouraged to know that God so wanted me close that He sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins, to appease God’s Holiness. He knew I would never do it myself. Do I ever agree!

    Just like we should want to find true treasures, we need to protect and value it. John concludes with reminding in II John 1:8 to monitor ourselves and protect our jewels, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”

    I urge you to seek the jewels, embrace them, and guard them earnestly as you allow them to light your life with the sparkle of hope.

Last year Jewels from John (Part 1)

    John is known as the disciple who had an amazing understanding of the Lord’s love for him. He repeatedly referred to himself as the “one who Jesus loved”. That may sound like he was conceited. However, I think he just knew the Lord more deeply than most. If we truly knew how much we were loved by Jesus the way John did, we would not suffer near as much as we do in life.

    This is evident to me as I read in John’s writings. Its as if his heart’s bursting with delight as he writes I John 3: 1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

    John sprinkles his messages with jewels that when we find, the quest is to never let them go. To know that we are the sons and daughters of God changes how we not only see ourselves, but also how we face the struggles. Being a psychologist, I hear the heartache people face day in and day out. Some that are particularly painful are feelings of shame people face when bound with addictions and strongholds that they feel define them as failures.

    As if the jewel that John gives in verse one wasn’t precious enough, he follows with verse two (I John 1:2) that gives hope to all of us who claim Jesus as Savior. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

    It provides a way to turn from overwhelming shame and defeat to anticipation that changes everything. When we feel the despair of failing again, giving in to that sin that keeps coloring our life, John reminds us that in this life we can’t see what we will be. But, when He comes, we shall be like Him! Not only that, we shall see Him as He is. That means, we won’t struggle, we won’t fall, and we won’t disappoint others or ourselves. We will fully see Him, not as that critical father who lets us down. We will see Him in all His glory and full of acceptance and love.

    What greater comfort can we receive or give others stinging with disappointment in ourselves? John goes on to follow with jewel after jewel in his attempt to share what he has learned in walking with Christ. Throughout chapter 3, John shares how when we come to know Christ, we love more like Him. The more we abide in Him, the more we have power to keep His commandments. While we still mess up at times, we have a yearning to follow Him.

    This yearning to love and follow His commandments, reassures us that we are His. When we love someone, we want to please him or her. We sure don’t want to hurt him or her. Don’t you feel unloved by those who don’t seem to care if what they do hurts you or when they show no effort to please you? When we hurt Jesus, we grieve. We also delight in pleasing Him.

    John goes on in Chapter 4 to remind us again of God’s love for us. Maybe he knew that after talking about keeping His commandments, we would need to be reminded. When I see how far I am from never messing up, I love John’s reminders that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. When you look up the synonyms for propitiation, we find words like appeasement and soothing. You also find definitions like, “to find favor”. So as I look at me, I also need to know that Jesus made it possible for me to find favor with God even when I am stumbling. That provides the soothing we need as we cringe in the face of our addictions, strongholds, and setbacks or stumbles.

Last year Messages: Good and Bad

It seems that life has both a good and bad message at all times. The saying goes that every cloud has a silver lining. I say, every promise also comes with a warning. If you follow Jesus’s messages, it will become obvious that he encourages and cautions. He promises and warns.

In the famous message He gives in John 10:10, He tells us the horrifying truth about the enemy and turns around and reassures us with the words that have comforted and provoked hope for all who embrace them. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Recently I listened as a friend was sharing how much John 10:10 has ministered to her during some dark days. She sensed the Lord giving her tender reminders of it when she least expected, but desperately needed. I found myself intrigued that she only referred to the good message, while I seemed more intent on the bad.

She was being encouraged by our Lord’s message. I found myself being more focused on the warning. I sensed the alarm was to be vigilant and obedient in order to not give the enemy legitimate access into a controlling position to harm.

Focusing on only one part of the message sets us up for problems. If we only think about the Lord wanting to give us life and to make it even more abundant, we don’t recognize that He said that He is come that they MIGHT have life. It wasn’t like He was saying all would have life and abundant life because He came.

We not only have to choose Him as Savior and Lord to have life, we also must never forget that He warned us that the enemy is out to destroy. To have abundant life, we have a part to play. When He is our Savior, He is Lord. All through His Word, He gives us instructions and advice on how to live. The enemy attacks, yet when I am following Jesus’ lead, there is great help. When I allow myself to give in to laziness, rebellion, and bitterness, it’s like opening myself up for harm.

On the other hand, if I only focus on the warning message, I would get discouraged, fearful, and maybe even hopeless. Who wants to be a target for a cruel, vicious, and formidable enemy for which I am no match?


And then I hear Jesus . . . “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”. Words don’t adequately describe the joy, the hope, and the wonder I sense to know that the Lord of Lords, who can strike the enemy down like lightening with just a word, tenderly and passionately loves us that much. How can I ever not love John 10:10?

When I consider that even His warning is birthed from love, I guess both messages are good. Won’t it be great when He never has to give warnings? We call that Heaven!

Last year The Greatest Quest

Doesn’t it appear that the older we get, the more time seems to speed up? It was just getting into spring and then its summer. It was beginning into the heat of summer and I turn around and leaves are falling. Yes, for me it seems that the dial on time tends to keep slipping into the faster and faster mode.

With all the talk and awareness of Biblical predictions smacking us in the face, I am mostly attuned to the spiraling advances in technology and knowledge. In Daniel 12: 4, we read, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO, AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE INCREASED.” It seems almost at a breakneck speed.

If we had a time line of human history, we would be amazed at the last few decades in comparison to all others. We seem in a mad rush and we can zip from one country to another, talking and even seeing someone across the earth from our common cell phone.

Life is like a fantasy episode from a science fiction movie of the future to those who were born over fifty years ago. I heard a man telling of a neurosurgeon on the cutting edge of medical advancements telling of plans to transplant a human head from one person to another by the year 2017!

In this surge of advancement and knowledge, I watch with secret knowledge of my own. God is not impressed or startled by our proud and even wonderful feats. I inwardly yearn for His wisdom in the race to the finish line. I am reminded of a quote of Henry David Thoreau, born in 1817. “Time is but the stream I go a fishing at. I drink at it, but I while I do I see its sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It’s thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

Eternity is so difficult to grasp and yet so necessary to our ability to hope and plan wisely. Wisdom tells me that while it is wonderful to seek and chase advancing our inventions and ways to promote life and minimize suffering, the greatest quest is to know God and to become as close as we can to who He designed us to be. We will leave all the technology and human accomplishments behind one day. What we considered marvelous and world changing will fade and eventually evaporate as we slip from this side of eternity into the next. Oh that we go after the greatest quest.

Last year Grieving with Hope

What comes to mind to you when you hear the word, grief? Most think of physical death. Yet, grief comes in many ways. The breakup of a treasured friendship, heartbreak over being betrayed, death of a marriage, loss of a job, and grief over the vast disappointments that sprinkle life with pain.

Grief comes in waves sometimes with no warning and knocks our feet out from under us. Sometimes its best to just ride out the wave. Other times, we need to paddle with determined strokes not to be swept under to destruction.

Not all grieving is restorative. Restorative grieving doesn’t imply that all pain is gone. Restorative grieving means we are able to finish our race and continue our journey in purposeful ways that God designed. That’s why sometimes we have to use determined strokes, meaning we may not want to go on. We might rather just allow the waves to plummet us to the bottom of the ocean of pain’s floor where we remain, never to truly live again.

When betrayal or divorce steals our reality, we aren’t sure what to believe, what to feel, and how to trust. Determined strokes lead us back to our haven of safety and eternal love that rest in Christ.

The cruelty of death that rips our loved one’s from our side, the rejection that defines us as unwanted, and the dashed hopes of a dream that fueled years of yearning and effort all demand a response. Only those that cling to the love of Jesus temper our grief with hope.


On CWA blog radio, I will continue our series on grief on the show Uncover. We all need to be ready to deal with grief since we are either grieving now or will in the future. We don’t have to grief without hope.

Last year Grief: How do I go on?

There are experiences that all of us will face that will provoke grief. None of us will get out of life without having to experience it. So many opportunities for grief to swallow us up in pain spring up, sometimes with warning and sometimes with none. Death, divorce, rejection, loss, cruel attacks, and loss of innocence impede our journey.

Many have written about grief from the beginning of time it seems. How do we recover? Do we ever completely recover? Some deal with grief in ways that at least help promote their ability to not just survive, but also to complete their race well. Others derail under the pressure and constant nagging grief. They never get back to really living.

Even those who persevere don’t do so without some lasting tinges of pain. Just because we go on to productive and obedient lives doesn’t mean we don’t hurt. It’s easy for people to have false expectations about how people SHOULD respond to grief. Life here will never be without hurt; that’s only in Heaven.

If you are in the throngs of grief, I offer you the comfort and hope of Jesus and the reminder of God’s provision for us to someday live where pain doesn’t exist.

On CWA blog talk Radio, I will be hosting a new series on grief. This week on my weekly show: UNCOVER, I will be talking with my guest, Gladys Burgess. Gladys will be sharing about the overwhelming agony that came as she experienced the death of two of her precious sons. Only the love and hope of Christ enables her to continue her race and even experience joy along with the pain.

Last year Knowing Yourself

Have you ever taken a personality test? Many have taken at least a simple personality quiz out of a magazine. If you did, what did you think of the descriptions of you that it gave?

Sometimes we seem to know ourselves well. Can you describe your temperament, personality, patterns in relationships, and tendencies in dealing with life. Sometimes we are pretty clueless about ourselves.

If we asked a close friend or relative who would give honest feedback to describe our personality, I wonder if we would be surprised. “Do you think I am controlling?” “Do you see me as reserved, cheerful, outgoing, wounded, negative, or fearful? Do you think I manipulate, am a show-off, or seem insecure?” How would we feel about their answers?

While it might seem a little disconcerting to hear other’s honest views on how they see us, it could be terribly enlightening. Terribly could mean just that; it may tell us of qualities and traits we don’t like about ourselves. It could also be encouraging in that it told us of ways that others see some of God’s image in us.

Either way, the more we understand ourselves, the more we are equipped for the wars of life. All of us will face them. Of course, we need to know God, our Savior, and the tactics of the enemy. Yet, we also need to know ourselves. Where am I still wounded? What is my innate personality? What are my spiritual gifts and what do I yearn for? What patterns of behavior have I adopted in dealing with life’s challenges? Am I a hot head, prone to over react? Or do I possess a quiet spirit and think before I act.

The more we will take an honest evaluation of ourselves, the more we will be equipped for ways the enemy will attack. If we are prone to fear, the enemy will throw in those “what if” thoughts that provoke our fear. If we are prone to pride and crave admiration, its no surprise that others may lavish us with compliments. The enemy studies us to cause harm. We need to study ourselves to not only protect ourselves from walking into his traps, but also to excel in fulfilling our purpose and using our talents and personality for His glory. We can even use our wounds to have compassion and minister to others.

Prepare for war and for victory: Seek getting to know yourself.

Last year Seeing Ourself Like God Does

People constantly compare themselves with others. It robs us of joy, keeps us focused on junk that doesn’t even matter, and hinders us from using energy on what really does matter. Even though most of us know in our head that it is unwise and even ridiculous to compare with others as a way to measure our own worth, we still do it.

I thought about the pictures we post of our children and grandkids on Facebook. When we look at our own kids’ or grandkids’ pictures, they melt our heart and seem to grab our attention more than all the others. It doesn’t matter if others' posted pictures show them to be prettier by the world’s standards or performing some feat better than ours. Ours' still delight us.

Wonder why we don’t think of our Heavenly Father looking at us like that? We are His and He adores us and looks on us as precious. He doesn’t delight less in us because someone else can talk better, is smarter, faster, or in some way more accomplished than us.

Wouldn’t it be life changing if we accepted ourselves with gratitude for the unique features, abilities, and nature that God gave us and just focused on being the best us we can be?

Last year Lift Your Voice

In such a time of uncertainty in our world, isn’t it reassuring to know that God is not caught off guard? He is prepared, knows it all, and is unfolding a plan. I may sound like a broken record, but I find myself repeatedly thinking, “How in the world do people keep from being consumed with fear, pain, and discouragement if they don’t believe in Jesus?” We either are in the middle of a mess, coming out of stressful situation, or will be in one in the future. Even if we aren’t in a current crisis, someone we love likely is or will be soon.

Yet, the Lord wants to reassure us that He is trustworthy, dependable, and wiling to help. I was talking with another woman today about how one of the best ways to a deal with pain is to remember that it is temporary. We both referred to childbirth and how it would be unbearable if we didn’t know when the labor pains are intense that the pain is temporary and that we will have something grand afterwards.

Wouldn’t it be phenomenal if we could look at hurtful situations in life like that? Yet, that only applies if we have Jesus as Savior and Lord. We know that no matter what pain we endure in this life, it will be worth it all when we get to the next.

I am scheduled to speak next week at the World Conference for the American Association of Christian Counselors. I realize that there will be impressive and brilliant speakers, some who are world-renowned. Here I am a simple minded woman who knows that she is not brilliant, notable, well versed or well traveled.

Yet, I join with others who want to reach the world with hope. I lift my country sounding voice to encourage the hurting and to warn those who ignore the impending traps of the enemy. All of those with Jesus as Savior are part of a massive army and a family of God who can proclaim to those who will listen: The pain is temporary if you love our Lord.

Last year The Tapestry

People use a lot of analogies to describe life. While many are so cliché, they are still applicable. One of my favorites is thinking of life like a tapestry. The individual threads and pieces are woven together and if you look at it from the wrong side, it looks a mess. Some patches or threads may be ugly and dark. Yet, when woven into the pattern, they help create its design. And when you finally turn it over, the tapestry’s beauty is finally revealed. Suddenly, those crazy threads, patches, and meaningless parts make sense.

My life has patches of experiences that were ugly and some terribly painful. Some represent deep regrets and poor choices I have made. Others shine brightly as some of the highlights of my life. Like me, you may also have some threads that don’t make sense. Sometimes, we get a glimpse of our personal tapestry that reassures us of God’s finger weaving together our life story into a divine design. Other times, we are still holding on to a weak attempt to somehow make sense of much of our experiences.

I Corinthians 13:12 reminds us that we won’t see the full tapestry until we get to Heaven. There we will see it all. Be encouraged that the more we trust and obey the Lord’s instructions, the more He is able to make a masterpiece.

I am continuing a series on “God’s faithfulness” on my weekly CWA blog radio show. This week I will be having Niki Payne as a guest. She will be sharing her story of God’s faithfulness in her life. Her horrific drug addiction and destructive journey would have ended in total loss if God had not intervened. Her remarkable testimony will encourage you to believe in the willingness and power of our God in taking our messes and making a purposeful and victorious life that reflects His grace. To listen, log into Uncover-the CWA radio network. Remember all episodes are saved so that you can log on and listen to any show at anytime you choose.

Last year Who Do You Trust?

Janie looked lost and bewildered. She didn’t know how to respond. The awkwardness of the moment was intense. She looked from the young woman’s startled face to that of her husband’s. She noted how flushed he looked which is what always happens when her husband, Mike is extremely uncomfortable. Janie had seen those familiar tense features many times when they had faced the stresses of life together as a team. No longer her teammate, he seemed more like a stranger to her.

No one knew what to say and the moments seemed frozen and suspended in time. Finally, her husband gave a nervous laugh and tried to introduce his mistress as a work acquaintance. While it was obvious that she didn’t believe that, Janie went along with the charade in attempt to not make a scene. She mumbled something about needing to do an errand and exited as fast as she could.

It’s amazing at what ridiculous thoughts and emotions we can have in a traumatic situation. Why in the world would he wear that green tie with that shirt? The blue one would have matched better.

It was evitable that the other feelings would come. Overwhelming shame flooded her as Janie realized that she should have slapped his face, told them both off, and acted like a woman who deserved dignity and respect. I’m ashamed that I was such a coward letting them off the hook by pretending that I didn’t know they were having an affair. I look like the fool!


Memories of another man from years ago began to sweep over her tormented mind. The man looked like her husband, but was different. The man from decades ago looked at her as if she were a grand prize that he couldn’t believe he had won. They were both young, in love, and glued to each other. He had sought to spend every free moment with her. They talked for hours and he seemed to find delight in all of her funny stories or compassion for each of her hurts.

While the memories were exquisite, they made the present events more painful than ever. She could never in a million years have expected what she had just faced. Most of her friends thought all men cheat. She had always known that Mike would never. He adored her, had such a tender heart, and strong convictions that guided him. That’s why she not only loved him so much, that’s why she trusted him with her whole heart.

Janie, like all of us, was facing the pain and shock that comes from feeling hurt by someone we deeply trusted. All of us have been wounded at some time by someone we had trusted. We yearn to be able to trust without reservation. We want to trust our parent, spouse, boss, the pastor, the medicine we take, those in government, and particularly God.

Some of us have been injured so deeply that we will carry a sliver of pain with us until we get to heaven. Some have been so affected by hurt that we don’t trust anyone to the degree that we can have close relationships. We may not let anyone get that close emotionally.

Others of us bounce back more. Maybe we were not victimized as much. There may have been people who loved us so well that they made up for the pain.

We all need to explore what trust really means. I read a book where the author said, “Don’t trust anyone but God”. While that statement seems extreme, I understood. Everyone will let us down in some way, either intentionally or not.

Our expectations can make us even more vulnerable for being let down. If we expect others to never fail us, always say the right thing, do the right thing, and understand us completely it won’t be long till we have our reality shook with the realization that people won’t measure up. In turn, we won’t measure up either.

What about God? If we expect God to never allow us to suffer, to stop every injustice in this fallen world, and to give us everything the way we want it and when we want it, our disappointment will not only devastate us, our trust in Him will be destroyed.

Janie’s trust in Mike was taken in a moment. Whether some of it is salvaged will be contingent upon both his behavior and her expectations.

Our trust in God is also dependent. The faithfulness of God is unquestionable, yet we question it; especially if we don’t accept that we can’t see the whole picture. Our trust must hinge on our believing He is who He says He is, no matter what happens here. Other times, the faithfulness of God hits us in the face. Its overwhelming when we look back over our lives and recognize that what we thought we could never face, He has provided the way to survive and even sometimes thrive. Janie will find that too.


On my weekly show on CWA blog radio, my mom and mentor, Geneva Davis will be telling amazing stories of God’s faithfulness in her life. Having lived over 84 years, she has many to pick from that will encourage and inspire you to trust in the God who is always trustworthy and faithful. To listen, go to CWA radio network/spreaker and click on the show Uncover. The show is titled: God’s Faithfulness with guest, Geneva Davis.


Last year The Power of our Words

Decades ago a woman I was counseling made an unusual declaration during our session. “I wish my husband would hit me”. She went on to explain that if he struck her with his fist she would clearly label it as violence, while when he struck her with his words, she wasn’t as sure how to recognize it as abuse. Although many years have past since that encounter, I have never forgotten the insight that came from my brief time with her.

Words are more powerful than most of the human race realizes. Most who come to counseling because of damage from others have come from the harm of words. Physical and sexual abuse is readily recognized as heinous. Yet, we sometimes don’t grasp the long lasting effects of critical, demeaning, and destructive words.

While some of us haven’t been physically and sexually abused, we all have been hurt due to the words of others. We also have caused pain for others with our words.

Many have refuted the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. We all know that isn’t true. Instead, I believe the unknown author was trying to promote our ability to keep others’ harsh words from having such power over us.

Words have an ability to influence throughout the ages. We don’t recognize how much power is available to us to affect the world. Instead, we tend to underestimate. Some feel downright powerless. The power of words is available to all who aren’t totally handicapped. Our power can do amazing feats for good or for harm.

There’s a woman I so look forward to seeing each time we have an appointment. She will likely never realize the extent that God has used her words to encourage me. I have told her, but I still wonder if she knows how much her words have been timely messages that inspire me that my efforts make a difference.

The Word has emphasized not only the power of our words, but the responsibility to use them for two main purposes: To encourage and to edify. I actually thought of encouragement and edification as the same thing. However, when you look up the definitions, they are different. Encouragement is when you praise, inspire, and reinforce others’ efforts. Edification is when you educate, equip, instruct, and enlighten others.

I call out to you to be encouraged and edified and to encourage and edify others. While some try to encourage others with kind words, they may not speak truth that is needed. Others think because they speak truth, they are edifying others. However, just because something said is true, does not mean it edifies, which also means builds up. If we say truth without the spirit of love, the listener likely is so affected by the harshness that they don’t receive the wisdom needed. If they are reeling with hurt or offense, they may miss the truth that could save.

“I’m just brutally honest”. Have you heard someone who uses this statement? Its like they say it as if it justifies their actions that have caused harm. I recall my retort, “its not okay to be brutal.”

Jesus spoke powerful truth, yet He did so with a spirit of love. Those who want to defend their brutality, point to Jesus getting angry and driving out those selling in the temple. Yet, look how Jesus was defending the Lord, not himself. Jesus motive was always for good, not bad.

We see that Jesus could encourage and edify without being brutal, with love always birthing his words and even his times of anger. Do we have the Holy Spirit not only guiding our words, but kissing them with love, even when fueled by righteous anger? Are they targeted on encouraging or edifying?

God’s words framed our world into existence. Words can also inspire us. I invite you to listen to words that will encourage and edify you as you hear of God’s faithfulness. On CWA radio-spreaker, (my show is titled Uncover) I am hosting a series on God’s faithfulness. Several guests will be joining me in the next few weeks as they tell their personal stories of how God’s faithfulness was manifested in their lives. What greater way to use our words than to tell of God’s Faithfulness.






2 years ago What's your Burden? (Part 3)

His Burden is Light, but His Cross is Heavy



Jesus said that His burden is light, but His cross may be heavy. Don’t we all sometimes feel burdened down in life? There are the bills, the chores, the kids fighting, a spouse who doesn’t love us right, conflict at work, and any number of other distressing situations. Some have burdens that make ours look like only small nuisances. Some are lost and trying to survive a life of tragedy, abuse, and regret. Some are bound with addictions that rule their life and others with shame that sucks the joy out of living.

This life comes with the potential for burdens that propel us either to destruction or to Jesus. Even though I was labeled as the strong and determined one in my family, I know the real truth. I am a wimp without Jesus. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer or the resilient and tough person they think. I don’t have assurance in myself; I have confidence in the Lord who loves me.

Many of my burdens come from the way we treat each other. Everyone wants to blame someone. We see others’ flaws and either don’t see our own, or we feel destructive shame. I have never figured out how some people live without having faith in God. How do they face the problems this life throws, and more importantly, how do they face life after this one.

When I feel the burden of life, I run to Jesus. I tell Him of my hurt, try to admit my wrongs, and I ask Him to help me. The Lord is so much more gracious than we usually are. He is so willing to be kind to me when I admit what a jerk I’ve been. His Word reminds me that He will embrace me, still see my worth, and carry my loads as I carry my cross.

A cross is taking a stand whenever doing so will bring persecution and denial. A cross comes with sensitivity to what hurts God. If that show I want to see, that verbal attack I want to give, that relationship I want to have, or anything else I crave causes pain to Jesus, I can’t easily enjoy it. My human side might like the pleasure, but my cross weighs me with remorse. I don’t want to make Him cringe as He watches my offensive behavior.

A cross coerces giving when it requires denying my own comfort. A cross compels apologies and forgiving others, even those who seem underserving. When you carry a cross, you aren’t able to skip through life and run unencumbered without the task of trying to make a difference. Instead, a cross slows us down as we notice the needs of others and our ability to lighten their load with encouragement and directions to Jesus. He will forever lighten their cargo of sin.

The heaviness of the cross is outweighed by the honor of being able to carry it. Only by finding Jesus, the lover of our soul, will we ever pick up the cross and follow.

2 years ago What's your Burden? (Part 2)

Why in the world would we choose to carry a cross? If it’s our cross, it is assigned to us and it’s a clear message of our love for the Lord. Those of us who have had babies recognize how difficult those late night feedings were and how exhausted and stressed we were at times. Yet, for those of us who loved our babies, we did it anyway. We carried the load even when it was uncomfortable. Some want to carry only when its fun. It’s so fun to dress up the baby in cute clothes, to cuddle, and play when we feel like it. But many who are not ready to be parents, aren’t willing to carry when the load hurts, and when it denies us what we want, whether that’s needed sleep or fun events.

    If we don’t expect the cross to be uncomfortable and to involve sacrifice, we are not prepared for being His disciple. Jesus knew this, just like we know that those expecting parenthood to be just like playing with dolls, crack under the load or abandon by either neglect or emotional damage.

    For those not willing for the cross to involve sacrifice, they don’t need to sign up. That’s what Jesus is warning.

    On the other hand, we sometimes carry crosses that aren’t ours to carry. We sometimes carry loads that He didn’t assign us and the result can range from discomfort to disaster. Carry the wrong cross can also keep us from carrying the right one, the one assigned to us.

    When we carry the cross-assigned to us, we are equipped with power and protection that reminds us that the Holy Spirit is fueling the way. We will have times of pain, but also unbelievable times of fulfillment, joy, and intimacy with the Lord. Parenting has love fueling our ability to sacrifice and face the stress and sometimes pain of parenting. Ask those with teenagers. Yet, the love of a parent is absolutely awesome. The ability to love another being more than ourselves, for their well being and comfort to be more important than our own is an experience that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

    Loving Christ has sometimes not only involved sacrifice, it has involved persecution. It has also made some parts of life hurt me more than if I hadn’t loved Christ. When we see sin, the way we hurt each other, and the disrespect for the Word, it hurts more deeply for those who love the Lord and carry a cross on their back. I have been in settings that others think are fun and entertaining. I felt like the party pooper because I can’t have fun if I see people getting drunk, cussing their kids, or acting in ways that led to the cross that was assigned to Jesus. He carried His painful cross to pay the punishment for what they are doing. Believe me, I’m aware that my actions also put that cross on His back. I don’t want to ever take that lightly. I hurt when others do.

    Are you carrying a cross? Are you sure that it’s the cross that’s assigned to you? Sometimes we take the wrong cross because the truth has been twisted. We think that we are supposed to please everyone, say yes to every worthy cause, fix things that we aren’t capable of fixing, reach everyone, relieve all the pain, and do all that needs to be done. Wow, none of us could carry a cross based on those assignments.

    The Lord’s message rings through the centuries to those who have ears to hear. The challenge is to love enough to take up our cross and to make sure it’s the cross assigned to us.

2 years ago What's your Burden? (Part 1)



    The most repeated statement that Jesus made in all the gospels is “take up your cross and follow me” (McAuthor Study Bible). We are warned that those who won’t pick up their cross and follow aren’t even worthy of Him.

    Why was this statement repeated so much? People repeat themselves for different reasons. Some because they are neurotic, getting senile, or are overwhelmed. I can relate. The times I repeat myself the most is when I’m trying to share a message that is not being heard or when I feel passionate about the importance of the message.

    When raising my children, this happened most often between my son and I. Having ADHD, he didn’t listen well and was easily distracted. In turn, he had a personality that didn’t receive instruction well. I loved him dearly, but I recognized that it was so much more difficult to speak truth into his life and to advise him because he was so resistant.

    Thus, I frequently did exactly what I told my clients not to do in parenting. I kept repeating the important messages and warnings, even when he was not listening or not willing to be receptive. I so wanted to protect him. He would accuse me of just liking to lecture and of just wanting my way because I thought I was always right. I wanted to spare him heartache. I also wanted him to gain the rewards that would likely be forfeited if he didn’t heed the messages.

    Jesus must have felt His message was paramount. Thus, it’s important to understand what it means to take up our cross. For one thing, we must understand that crosses aren’t comfortable. They take effort and sacrifice to carry. They keep us from doing some things in life that would be available to us if we weren’t carrying that cross on our back.

Is the burden you carry a cross or just a burden that needs to be let down. A cross may hurt and involve sacrifice to carry, yet an honor to embrace. Jesus said His burden is light, yet His cross may be heavy. Burdens are ones that likely hinder us from following Jesus, while a cross draws us near Him. The cross points not only to the need of Jesus, but also the redemption of His sacrifice and the truest sign of the cost of love. Sometimes love costs, just like that self-denial that comes from good parenting.

2 years ago "Impressions"

What happened to my sense of pride? I know that I cared deeply about how I was perceived, once upon a time. Its not that I don’t care---I like being perceived well. It’s just that I realize how much the decades have changed what I care about.

I was getting ready to end my session with a client who had just begun counseling. Most counselors make an impression on clients early. Clients must decide whether they would be comfortable opening up their private life and connecting with the counselor they have chosen.

As she got up to leave the session, she timidly said, “I think I ought to let you know that you have on two different earrings. “

“Oh well, I think I will just leave them and see how many other clients notice.”

I could tell she was concerned if her statement had embarrassed me. “Oh please”, I thought---“I guess I got over myself long ago”.

We’ll see if she comes back. If she does, I don’t think it will be because of my fashionable presence!

What makes people want to be a part of our lives? What makes people want to talk with us or to seek solace and help from us. One of my professors in the doctoral program had me to review and write a description for my qualifying exams that was over research on what makes clients see their counselor as professional. The research had gathered surveys from clients about what factors made the difference in their perceptions of their counselors.

I was amazed that many were highly swayed by how the person dressed instead of how they acted. I think my clients are much more insightful than that.

I have been so blessed in my private practice. I have prayed that God sends those that He chooses for me to engage in counseling. He has blessed me with so many who are open and receptive to truth.

I have been spoiled----I have clients who have been so receptive, respectful, and motivated that meeting with them has been such an honor. No one makes appointments with me for what’s going good in life. They come with pain, but I always want them to leave with hope.

We all need to be more aware of whether we give an impression that draws people—not for our outward appearance, talent, or surface presence. Do they see a person who cares, a person who has wisdom, and a person who loves Jesus?

2 years ago The Voice of Reason

We hear all kinds of voices in life. We didn’t have a choice about the voices we were exposed to as a child. Our teachers, parents, and others around us provided what we heard. Even as adults, we don’t have the power to always choose what we hear.

The voices we were exposed to the most and particularly those we heard when we were vulnerable children tend to become lasting voices in our head. Enduring thought patterns that were birthed from those voices now guide us with either encouraging messages or ones that darken our path.

None of us heard only uplifting and helpful voices. We all have some thought patterns that likely need tweaking. The quest of life is to take responsibility for birthing and maintaining the voice of reason.

God’s promises and what He advises provides all that we need to develop the voice to guide us. It doesn’t only tell me of all the joys God plans for me. My voice of reason tells me that my life here will involve hardships, disappointment, and wrongs. What happens here will sometimes be unfair and even tragic at times.

My voice of reason reminds me that most everything that happens here that upsets me won’t matter in the long run. My voice of reason reminds me that I don’t have to have a spotless house, look attractive to the world, make lots of money, or be popular. It reminds me that I won’t get everything done that I wanted to do and that it’s not the end of the world. It points out that if I lost my job, a friend, my house, and even my physical health, the real me would survive.

The voice to hear above all others is that of the Holy Spirit. However, we must also hone our own, since our thoughts will influence our emotions and actions. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks, so is he. The Word also tells us to take every thought captive that doesn’t line up with truth (II Corinthians 10:5) and to renew our mind with the Word (Romans 12:2).

Reflecting on God’s advice tells us that there are two main processes that will mark a successful life: 1) rejecting voices that aren’t based on truth and 2) replacing them with the voice of reason, which is based on truth. How we do this challenge will be the determinant of whether our lives will be marked with victory or defeat.

Voices we have heard have developed our thought patterns. Whether we keep them, discard the damaging ones, nourish the helpful ones, and definitely be intentional in birthing the voice of reason is up to us.


I am continuing a series on Choosing Voices on CWA Blog radio. Would love to have you listen in. Just Google CWA blog radio and scroll to the show "Uncover".

2 years ago Distinguish the Voices

My sister and I have voices that are so similar that people can’t usually tell which one of us is talking if they don’t see us. We recorded a radio show a few months ago and it was so difficult to tell which one of us was talking that I warned my listeners for fear that they would think I was just pretending to be two people talking.

If we label our thoughts as voices in our head, would we recognize the different sounds? Could we identify the voices that are telling us lies, promoting fear, resentment, or shame? Would we recognize those that encourage and redirect us to truth?

Recently, I met with someone who described having reactions to life situations that clearly were overreactions based on fear. She didn’t even recognize the thoughts or voices provoking her as being in error. She was listening to them as if they were credible. She discovered that she needed a “Voice of Reason” to redirect those voices that were exaggerating simple nuisances as catastrophes.

We need to monitor our voices and distinguish those that need to be rejected. We need to intentionally create the voices we need. They should speak loud and clear the messages of truth, wisdom, and hope. They will need to challenge the voices that lead us down the wrong paths. Developing our voices is worth the practice and effort it takes. Following them wisely will take our Lord’s help. Thankfully, He’s willing. He reminds us, “My sheep hear my voice and that of another they won’t follow.”

2 years ago Eyes to see; Ears to Hear

We’ve all heard the phase, “Life’s not fair”. As I listen to my clients share their stories, I am daily reminded of why that phrase has been so popular. Why are some born into families where they are cherished, protected, and loved, while others face a life of neglect, harm, and rejection?

We were created in God’s image. This means we have the innate need to love and be loved and the potential to love others. Under the right conditions, that capacity thrives. If you were born into conditions that were far from those needed to grow your precious seeds of love, go after them.

It won’t be easy. Nothing great usually is. It’s worth fighting for. Seek getting to know the great “I am”. Talk to God, ask Him to send messengers, read His Word as if it was written to you, and never give up. Act in loving ways to yourself and others, whether you feel it or not. When we act loving, we can grow love. The Word doesn’t tell us to love others and ourselves ONLY if we deserve it.

The greatest quest will be finding and loving Jesus, the lover of our soul. As I listen to so many tell of feeling unloved and unimportant growing up, I hurt. He never meant for you to feel this way. He wanted you to feel cherished, adored, and protected. Just knowing that this is what He wanted for you should ease your hurt and establish that you are just as important as those born into loving families.

We can never fully love without God equipping us. I pray that whoever reads this message that doesn’t feel loved will have eyes opened to how loved you are by your Creator and ears to hear Jesus’ message of love and hope.

2 years ago Stomping through Mine Fields

Wouldn’t it be ludicrous to just stomp through minefields as if we were in no danger? With explosives hidden throughout the ground beneath me, I would be frozen with fear. How could I bring myself to even move, to even take one step? What if my next step was my last? Would I die standing there, paralyzed with terror? That would be an excruciating death.

    As I picture the scene, I realize that if I had someone on the other side of the minefield that knew where each and every explosive was buried instructing me where to place each step, I could move. I could little by little, walk my way out of there. I would not take a step without him telling me exactly how. My eyes would be glued to his, my ears listening to only his voice, and I wouldn’t look down except to place my foot where he advised.

    Oh, how I would cling to his presence. I would be forever grateful of his help. I couldn’t survive without him. My greatest fear would be for him to leave me there to fend for myself.

    Does no one else ever feel that our lives are like that minefield? It seems that we sometimes go stomping through life as if there aren’t any hidden traps waiting to either take us out or mane us or our family. I know the answer is not to be paralyzed with fear. The Word tells us that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. Yet, there is a great difference between having a spirit of fear and following His instructions: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).

    Its not only because I have counseled for decades that I have uncovered that most live oblivious to the war. I have also experienced my own disregard of how my actions or lack of, have placed me in danger, have taken me in different directions from where my protector advised.

    I know that the Lord says that perfect love casts out fear. The more we love Him, the more we seek His presence, listen for His voice, and heed His directions. Doing so, we walk through the minefields. That doesn’t mean, we never hit an explosion. I know that sounds contradictory. However, being flawed we will never follow His lead perfectly. Even when we are following, sometimes He allows us to step on one He knew would make us more attuned to His voice, more aware of our dependency on Him, and more committed, compassionate, and wise in helping others stomping through the minefields.

2 years ago Extremes: Present or Future; Joy or Despair

I have never forgotten wise word that I heard years ago from a pastor. “You can take anything to an extreme and lose it’s meaning.” In other words, “You can pervert its message”. I have found that true with much of life.

For the last several years there have been seminars and other types of messages emphasizing what is referred to as mindfulness. It promotes being in the moment not focusing on the past or future. We need to be fully aware and living in the moment. While I highly regard much of this message, I also recognize that if perverted, it doesn’t give place for looking forward to what God has in store for us.

Don’t we all enjoy anticipating pleasurable events like great vacations? We don’t want to go to the extreme that we don’t invest in the present and embrace our present life. Yet, we don’t want to negate ourselves the privilege of pleasurable anticipation. The Bible is packed with enticement to anticipate the good to come.

Another extreme would be to think we should only feel joy and happiness or we can only feel pain and sorrow. Recently, I was reading Revelation 10: 10 which says, “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”

The angel had warned John that this would be his reaction. We too can have great joy and sorrow. When Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we have hope, joy, and great anticipation. At the same time, we have deep sorrow and pain for those who never will know Christ. The sweetness of honey and the bitterness of doom remain.


2 years ago The Dangerous Lull

Have you ever been trapped in the “Lull”? The lull is a state of mind that’s like a fog; a slowed down version of life where one has a fatigued dulled state of being.

It reminds me of when my daughter practically lived in the hospital when fighting cancer. We would be in there for day after day when the lull would creep up on me. There is a tired state when we have exerted ourselves physically that actually feels good. After a hard physical workout, your muscles may ache, but you have a sense of accomplishment.

The lull is very different. It’s a kind of sick tired. At the hospital, I would think, I have sat here all day, why am I so tired and have no energy?

The lull is dangerous. It can creep upon us and keep us in a trance that robs us of fully living. Many don’t recognize the lull that is keeping them from investing in life. They drag through day after day without really living.

The lull also makes us vulnerable to Satan’s influence. I recall those old movies that showed poor souls being hypnotized by a villain. They were made to look into some swirling object that took them into the lull and then completely under the control of the villain.

While the lull may not involve complete control over our mind, it does dull our sensibilities and is difficult to snap ourselves out of. We may keep going through the motions, like on autopilot, yet avoiding other important tasks, opportunities, and adventures. We can find ourselves looking back over our lives and thinking I can’t believe years have past.

I heard a client sadly disclose that she can’t believe that years have past since her divorce and that she was realizing that she had been stuck in the lull ever since. Oh, how I encourage her to WAKEUP and take whatever steps (as long as not damaging) to snap out of the lull.

What gets us in the lull? What gets us out? I will be exploring that on my CWA blog radio show called “UNCOVER”.

2 years ago Moments

The older I get, the more I realize that our greatest investment is our time. The easiest way to uncover what is important to a person is to find out (outside of their required workplace) what they spend the most of their time doing.

Do they spend most of their free time seeking pleasure? How? Do they garden, travel, read mysteries, play golf, or shop? The list is endless of course. Do they spend most of their time making money, or at least trying to?

My husband has told of how some of his coworkers spend every moment possible trying to make another dollar. They would work every day for as many hours as the company would allow. How sad.

We make decisions how to spend each moment. What do we think about, who do we spend time with, and what do we strive to do? All these questions prick my heart with concern. We have only so many moments in this life on earth.

While I believe eternity exists for all of us, either in joy or despair, our moments here are fixed. The Bible says where our heart is; there our treasure is also. Again, how we spend our time shows our heart.

2 years ago Clinging to Jesus

Our world seems to be advancing and changing at such a rapid rate that it’s almost mind-boggling. Maybe the young don’t notice the whirlwind, but us older folks do. I can’t imagine how life will be when my grandchildren are grown, if the Lord doesn’t come before then.

While I love many of the great advances in medicine, in travel, and technology, I also cringe at some of the decline and ramifications of our supposedly advanced thinking. Many in our country no longer hold the Word of God as revered truth, even some who are labeled Christian.

As I read about the New Testament followers of Christ being tormented while they tried to lead others to salvation, I am always in awe of those who seemed to stay so focused on truth. They must have held tightly to the love of Jesus and to the promises of a better life after this one.

Did they ever wonder why God allowed them to be terribly persecuted and to suffer so wrongly? Did they doubt the goodness of the Lord they were serving because of the great harm that was happening to them and those they loved? If not, why did they seem to have such different expectations of their earthly life than we do?

Lord, I plead for your intervention. Open our eyes to truth. Expose the rapidly growing deception that is upon us. Help us be more concerned with pleasing You than pleasing our baser desires. When we don’t understand some of the injustices and hurts of this world, help us cling to You.

2 years ago Who's Your Daddy?



Yesterday was Father’s Day. I have been seeing Facebook posts of people's pictures accompanied with words of admiration and gratitude to dads. I feel for those who either were hurt deeply by a messed up dad or abandoned by their father. So many on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day don’t seem to recognize that many do not feel the same adoration and deep connection with their mother or father. We are so blessed if we have had a loving mom or dad.

No parent is perfect. Yet, some have been so wounded by their father that it is difficult for them to trust a heavenly Father. If you are one such person, you are not alone.

Have you ever wondered why the Bible doesn’t talk much about Jesus’ earthly father? We know that Joseph was informed that Mary was carrying the Messiah. We know that he accepted the truth and stood by Mary.

Yet, we don’t hear much about Joseph’s life and how he interacted with Jesus as he grew up. We don’t hear about how he disciplined, how he taught, how he encouraged. I am curious about how he was as a father.

How was your father as a dad? No matter how he was or is, your Heavenly Father is absolutely great. The Word tells us that if Jesus is our Lord, then His Spirit is in us. We are equipped to love, to be wise, and to display His characteristics, regardless of how our earthly father was as a parent.

I never knew my father’s dad. He was dead even before I was born. From the stories I was told (mostly by mom), he was an alcoholic and beat my dad. Yet, dad seemed to still love him. I was never sure of all the effects of this on my dad. I know that there had to be damage. I am so glad that my dad found Jesus and recognized that his Heavenly Father loved him deeply, was protective of him, and would never beat him in a fit of rage.

I have no idea of what caused all the damage in my dad’s dad. Obviously harm led him down a dark path. I heard he eventually accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now that dad is with his Lord, I can’t imagine what it is like for my dad and his dad now. Are they finally close, loving, and enjoying each other in Heaven. What a thought!

2 years ago The Challenges of Life: Tolerating Pain

Living in a fallen world sure comes with challenges. We are all going to face hurt. I sometimes wonder why some people tolerate pain better than others. Some will have a dental procedure and want the strongest pain reliever they can get. Others can have the same procedure and not even fill the prescription for pain pills. Some can have a headache and will not go to work. Others wouldn’t even think of missing work for a headache.

I have watched people struggle with debilitating back conditions. I recall watching a client who had multiple back surgeries. He would walk slowly and carefully as he struggled to not move in any slight way that would make his back hurt worse. I could see the pain on his face as he winced. Yet, he would not take the pain pills that had almost ruined his life and brought him into counseling in the first place. He had learned how trying to numb his pain had created some of the worse pain in his life: addiction.

What influences our pain tolerance? I don’t claim to know the answer. I assume a number of factors, including our physiology. While I don’t know all the whys, I do know that if we aren’t able to have some pain tolerance, we will likely fall into an addiction of some sort. Our pain may be physical or emotional. Either can lead to addiction and poor choices.

Accepting that we may have to live with some pain is necessary to living wisely. I have a great compassion for those with chronic painful conditions. Many are cruel in their judgments of those who succumb to addiction. I don’t know how far I would be willing to suffer pain before giving into increasing use of pain relievers. However, for those with chronic conditions, it seems necessary not to ever expect to live pain free until Heaven.

I think of my friend who has told me many times that she refuses to use enough pain pills to remove ALL of her pain for she knows she would be dulled into the bondage of addiction. I know she hurts, badly at times. Yet, her resolve amazes me.

I have seen others who hurt emotionally so deeply that I know they yearn for Heaven. I think of my aunt who has two of her sons die. Her pain has never stopped as she is forced to live without their presence. Yet, I watch as she forces the smiles and faithfully attends church and serves her Lord.

I consider their ongoing choices to try to live with pain, while still finishing their race well. I consider others who refuse to live with pain. They numb it at all costs, regardless of the harm caused.

Thank-you Lord for your mercy. Only You are the one who knows all the facts, understands each person’s history, pain, and weaknesses. I also ask You to help us tolerate pain, look for Your comfort, and to never expect to live completely pain free until Heaven.

2 years ago The Challenges of Life: I am loved, I am valued

It’s amazing how much we are affected by our perceptions of how others view us. Just recently, I was preparing for a presentation I am doing at a conference. I had submitted my PowerPoint presentation and was working on my handouts. I received an email letting me know that they had to cut down my PowerPoint and that I had not addressed one of my listed objectives.

How ironic was my reaction to the email. My presentation is about how we respond to hurt. The first point in my presentation is that one of the most common unhealthy ways we respond is to let it define how we see ourselves.

Yet, as soon as I read the email, I began thinking, I bet they think they shouldn’t have picked me as a speaker. They probably think I am not qualified and as professional as the other speakers.

I finally realized I was responding just as I was trying to teach others not to do.
One of the most destructive threats to our emotional and spiritual well-being is our insatiable desire to be admired and how easily we allow others actual or imagined views about us to have great power over us.

Our desire to please others many times may be fueled by our desire for acceptance, approval, and admiration. It may be prompted by our trying to establish our worth by promoting ourselves in other’s eyes. We may be trying to prove that we are valuable.

Whatever the reason, our quest to please others and to be admired can get so out of hand that it overshadows our life. What a great medicine for our flaws and struggles is available when we embrace our Lord’s deep abiding love of each of us individually. If we could only fully understand that we are of great value all the time, not just when we are performing well.

Yet, sadly, that’s the challenge of life that we frequently never fully meet.


**I am beginning a series on CWA blog radio titled: The major challenges of Life. Join me on www.spreaker.com/user/cwaradio.com.

2 years ago Don't Overstay Your Alone Time

The last couple of weeks I have been reminded about the danger of isolation. I have watched as many people declined, both emotionally or spiritually, after they increasingly withdrew from others. What makes us isolate?

I can recall warning clients about isolating so many times. More than one relapsed in addiction not long after my warnings fell on deaf ears.

Depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, shame, disappointment in people, anger, illness, and any number of reasons, including laziness, can cause us to withdrawn and isolate. It seems that we just don’t function as well if we go too far in being alone. While we may enjoy some of our alone time, too much can begin a decline.

God created us for relationship. In turn, when alone, we may stay too focused on ourselves. We may have no reality check when we need one. We also are devoid of receiving encouragement from others. We are definitely open prey for our greatest enemy. Satan will delight in attacking one who is alone.

Just like my flowers need sun and water, we need others. Everyone is not good for us; some may be toxic. However, we all need others. That’s why the Bible advises us not to forsake getting together. It says “even more so as we see the day approaching”. I think that means to come together, particularly when in distress and under attack.

I encourage you to follow the Lord’s advice. Don’t isolate for long. We all need some time to be alone, think, and seek our private time with the Lord. Yet, we don’t need to overstay that alone time, just like we don’t want company to overstay their welcome.

2 years ago The Great Erase

Have you ever had a debt that seemed to weigh you down? You may have that even now. I sometimes have found myself thinking, “If I didn’t have this debt, I could do . . .” The greater the debt, the greater it has the ability to have power over us, being able to restrict what we can do.

Probably most of you reading this may be thinking of financial debt. Me too. Yet, I invite you to think of the kind of debt that we may owe that affects not just our earthly existence, but also our eternal existence.

While our financial debt typically gets our attention and can stress us out if it is extreme, we may not be so attuned to our eternal debts.

Recently, I was reading Colossians. While I have read it before, likely many times, I had a passage jump out at me. I got to Chapter 2, verse 14 and read “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross”.

Picture the handwriting: There’s the contract written up that shows what I owe. Financial contracts show my purchase or the goods that I received that I now owe for. Yet, Colossians is referring to the handwriting for the offenses or sins I have committed that I now owe the punishment.

As I picture each sin handwritten out, I picture the punishment for that particular sin written across from it. Wow! Mine would seem endless. I am overwhelmed. How can I face all that?

Then I picture verse 14. It says Jesus wiped out all the requirements or punishments I owed, including each and every sin written against me. He then took it and nailed it to the cross.

The MacArthur Study Bible points out that criminals being crucified had a list of their crimes nailed to their cross to display what violations they were being punished for.

On Jesus’ cross they nailed “King of the Jews”. Some argued that it should say, “He claimed to be the King of the Jews” instead. Yet, they left it as written.

Yet, Colossians points out the truth: He took our sins and what we owed as punishment and had it nailed to His cross. He paid the debt, the punishment.

Some of us would fall over with gratitude if someone paid off our house mortgage. We would love that person forever! Yet, we might either forget about or not even acknowledge that Jesus paid a much greater debt off. It can’t even compare with any amount of debt we own in this life. Even if we were on the brink of bankruptcy, that overwhelming debt doesn’t compare to what Jesus erased from the handwritten score board I would shutter to have to face.

When I really grasp what this means, I am overcome with relief. I hope I am also overcome with gratitude. Are you?


2 years ago Marriage: Is Your's Thriving or Just Surviving?

Who we marry is one of the biggest decisions we ever make. Those who have married would agree with me, I’m sure. The quality of our marriages affects our lives in ways that we may not even realize. Being in a fallen world with our carnal flesh nature determined to live within us makes having a healthy relationship a continual challenge. That’s likely one of the reasons in his New Testament writings, Paul cautioned so much about marriage.

Do you ever feel that the marriage books, sermons, and advice on marriage seem to be written with the assumption that both spouses are motivated to work on the relationship? I find instead that in most marriages, there’s one mate that is more motivated than the other. There’s usually one mate who is healthier, loves God more, and is more willing to sacrifice.

We only have power over ourselves. We can’t change our mate, but with the Lord’s help, we can sure work on ourselves.

It’s true that it always takes two. Yet, there can be one that is working harder than the other to foster a good relationship. There is likely one who is more damaged than the other.

One of the best attributes to have is to be willing to examine ourselves in an open and honest way and to take responsibility for our own character flaws and bad behavior. It’s so easy when we are hurt or angry with our spouse to be unable or unwilling to hold ourselves accountable for having a bad attitude or being unwilling to pray effectively for our mate. It is especially difficult if your spouse is excessively selfish and hurtful.

I have such compassion for those in marriages in which they feel unloved, unimportant, and alone. There are many hurting in such marriages that notice others who seem supported and cared for by their mate. In reality, all marriages have problems, since they are based on human beings with flaws. However, those in excessively hurtful marriages face a more painful ongoing struggle.

To you, I offer encouragement to seek compassion and help from the Lord and from someone who is trusted and healthy spiritually. You may have a friend or family member who is always your advocate, but may not be spiritually healthy, wise, and mature. You may need insight on setting boundaries, healthy confrontation, and a better understanding of what is influencing your mate, along with yourself. You may need equipping in how to communicate better, how to understand you and your mate’s perceptions and wounds.

Please know that you aren’t alone.


***I am doing a series on marriage on CWA blog radio. Just go the to show: Uncover/Dr. Peggy Karlosky if you would like to listen.

2 years ago Dealing with the Toenails

Do you wish God would speak to you so clearly that you had no doubt that it was He? When you hear others talk about God speaking to them, do you wonder what did they hear? Did they hear an audible voice or was it a feeling or thought?

I have had times over the decades when God gave me such a direct message that I had no doubt that it was He. It typically startled me. For me it was like a thought that popped in my head that I knew instinctively was God.

Those times have been precious, but more infrequent than what I wanted. I yearn for more of those clear and direct messages.

Recently, I have been grieving because it seems like it’s been so long since I had a dramatic and direct message. I have been moved by scripture, encouraged by messages, and sometimes sensed His presence. Yet, I want those personal and direct messages too.

I wonder about God’s sense of humor. I tend to perceive God as serious. Yet, I had an experience recently and found myself recognizing a spiritual lesson from it that was comical. It made me wonder if this was another type of message from God.

Months ago I noticed that my big toe was looking as if it either had been infected by a fungus or had been smashed and was bruised. I didn’t recall injuring it, yet I know that I can get so busy and absentminded that I might have just forgotten about stumping my toe or dropping a brick on it!

It must have been a big brick because I realized weeks ago that my toenail was coming off. It was as if my toe recognized that it had to discard the nail keeping it from new birth and healing and it was forcing the nail to detach. I had deduced that I must have injured it because initially part of the nail looked bruised.

It amazes me that the nail has taken so long to come off! Its like there’s a war going on with the nail fighting to stay attached, “No I won’t leave” and my toe trying to heal, “You have to go”.

Needless to say, the toe won’t seem to get better until the nail is gone. Yet, underneath the nail that has come lose, I can feel a new, fresh, and healthy nail forming. However, that dead nail that keeps covering the new growth aggravates it.

My husband has advised me, “You need to pull the nail completely off”. He reassured me that it will hurt, but it will promote the healing. He’s an expert since he has had a number of toes and fingernails hurt while working on projects. He knew from experience that there comes a time, you need to take the plunge, pull the dead nail off that is hindering your healing.

“No, I can’t”, I whined to him. There’s a part of the nail that still is firmly attached. It’s only a small part, but a very well attached part. It would be like ripping my flesh off! Instead, I thought it wise to wait until the nail naturally detaches. Needless to say, I think the time has come that I need to intervene and help the process.

I began soaking my foot in warm Epson salt. I noticed that as the toenail softened, I was able to begin cutting off the dead nail that was already detached. When I came to the firmly attached part, I cut around it. I was amazed that if I kept soaking the nail, the softer it got and the easier it was to begin prying and cutting even the attached part.

I now have only a tiny part of the nail still attached. It feels so much better that I am amazed and determined to keep soaking and working it as needed.

While this is a long version of what’s likely boring to you, it hit me of how my experience is so like that of trying to deal with our human flesh nature and strongholds that keep us from life, growth, healing, and the ability to function in healthy ways.

We sit back, ignoring what’s going on and just wait for whatever holds us back to fall off on its own; Old hurts, bitterness, addictions, character flaws, sick relationships, ugly patterns in our live, and fears. The list of emotional dead toenails is endless. On the other hand, we may not even realize we are injured. I didn't even remember hurting my toe and didn't recognize the harm until the toenail started to bruise and detach. You too may not be attuned to your injuries and strongholds.

Paul talked of having to crucify his flesh daily. Maybe we all have dead toenails that need to be intentionally cut, pried, and at least soaked daily. Sometimes it hurts, yet it always promotes healing if we do it right. We could yank off the nail with no regard to infection, damage, and the need for soaking. We can also damage ourselves with cruel self-punishment such as shame and rigid feats we impose on ourselves that Jesus didn’t require.

God so divinely made us that it’s as if He built us with an inner drive to heal. That’s why when my toe was injured; it began trying to heal itself. It began detaching what could no longer help me, what would actually hurt me. Yet, it also replaced it with new and functional life.

You too may have something inside that is pushing you toward healing. Some part of you wants to detach what hurts and hinders you. It wants to find new life.

I encourage you to recognize where the Lord may also be giving you messages that may not be direct statements. Yet, what lessons is He giving us in our everyday experiences?

I also encourage you to join me in asking, “What do I need to soak with God’s word, prayer, and in His presence?” Only after such soaking can I begin the more potentially painful part: cutting, discarding, prying loose what must go. Today’s message for me: “Face and deal with the toenails that hinder what God wants for me”.

2 years ago God Good, Devil Bad; Don’t Confuse the Two

You would think that it would be almost impossible to confuse what Satan does with what God does. You would think that we would never mistake God for Satan. They are so opposite that it seems ludicrous that we would ever confuse the two. But we do! How can that be?

Even in the beginning, Eve was led to such confusion. Satan tempted her to think that God just didn’t want her to be wise, that He was holding out the good stuff from her. Thus, she accepted this deception and the rest is history. The same confusion still happens. Just recently, a client who had been greatly hurt said, “Why would God do this to me?”

I was stunned and responded quickly, “God didn’t do that, He’s not like that”. We then began to explore where her confusion came from, what God was really like, and how evil distorted God’s plan for good. It’s true that by God creating us with a free will and with God allowing evil to continue its influence, great destruction would come. I don’t begin to think that I can understand it all. The Word clearly tells us that we won’t (I Corinthians 13: 12).

Yet, one of the most effective ways to protect our minds and hearts is to be determined to not confuse God with Satan; to not blame God for the bad stuff, and to recognize that God always wants well for us, even if that means allowing us to suffer.

2 years ago Judging or Loving?

It may sound corny, but how do we know if we really love? That word love gets thrown around a lot. I sure don’t think we all mean the same when we use the word love.

I recently was discussing a situation with friend in which we found we had such different views. I was admitting that I was uncomfortable hanging around a person we both knew because he engages in self-destructive behavior. I had rarely been around him when he wasn’t drunk or at least well on his way to being. In turn, he can be friendly and charming and suddenly sarcastic and hurtful to others.

I explained to my friend that I felt sorry for the man in question, that I saw such good in him, yet hurt for how destructive his behavior was to both he and those around him.

My friend instead said that he didn’t care what the man did, “it was his life” and that he wasn’t judgmental, insinuating that I was. I was stunned to say the least. I felt instead, that I loved the man. I grieved for him, did care what he did, while I agreed that it was his choice how to live.

I found myself pondering on my friend’s views. Was I being judgmental? As I thought about it, I feel that we so misuse what the Lord meant about not judging another. I in no way feel that I am without fault. Yet, a person would have to be blind, lying, or downright mentally challenged to not realize that the man in question had a problem.

We read In James 5:20,
Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

If we really love someone, aren’t we grieved to watch as he or she self-destructs? How can we watch and not be moved at all? I recognize that we can’t change others. We don’t have the power or right.

Yet, if we love others, we hurt for them. We care about whether they are destroyed with alcohol and whether they abuse their families. While we aren’t to go around trying to boss others, preaching to them all what they should do, we are to pray. We should care enough to pray, to encourage, and to speak up with love if the Lord leads.

I recognized, I haven’t loved enough to earnestly do that. Forgive me Lord. I pray for this man right now. If all I do is feel uncomfortable watching him self-destruct; if all I do is hurt for him, but don’t pray, I guess I am not loving.


What is the difference between being judgmental and caring enough to notice? What do you think?




2 years ago Looking for Hope

I just posted a blog last night about how discouraged we sometimes get when we see what's happening in our world. However, the Lord presented me with hopeful messages this morning that I wanted to share with you. I invite you to listen to an upcoming show on CWA radio where I share about messages the Lord wants all of us to be encouraged by. We all could use messages of hope from time to time. My show is titled: Uncover. The show is supposed to play on Saturday, May 23 at 10 am (central time). However, it will be saved and you can listen to any show that you choose, since each is saved and made available for listening. It is such an honor to share with you and I hope you too share your messages of hope with me and others.

2 years ago "Can you hear Him?"

I recently had two different people open up to me in counseling about how grieved and distressed they feel about the immoral and greedy society in which we live. They seemed stunned as they reflected on how the world of their childhood was replaced by one marred by crime, distrust, greed, sexual perversions, and a lack of decency. Listening to them prompted me to think of a recent Facebook post I had read telling of how Dr. Dobson had recommended that children not be allowed to do sleepovers anymore. I guess he too had recognized that it seems a different world than the one we grew up in decades ago.

I recall the fun sleepovers and slumber parties of my childhood. We stayed up all night giggling, playing games, and eating junk food. What fun, what memories, and what innocence defined our times together as children. Yet, I too would not be comfortable allowing children to attend such in today’s world.

It saddens many of us to admit that life is so different. I grew up in my early years in downtown Detroit. Life was a grand adventure, with kids playing in the alleys, kick the can, and going from house to house. Parents didn’t even think about being afraid to let the kids roam and play. Come home when the street lights come on was the norm. We never even heard of “child abductions”.

I’m not naïve enough to think that there wasn’t crime back then. I am sure there was sexual abuse and dangers of which I wasn’t aware. Yet, like many from my generation, I know that life was less scary and we trusted others more. Parents didn’t have to monitor television because there was no cursing, nudity, or perverted morals to confuse us. Stores weren’t even open on Sundays because that was considered the Lord’s day and was set aside for worship and rest.

It seems it was such a different world. In some ways, it was. Can you imagine everything closes up on Sundays, except for hospitals? What happened? It seems that many of us feel that the world started down this dark path that pulled it against our will.

Maybe we didn’t pray enough. Maybe we didn’t complain and fight against the pull of evil. Maybe we just didn’t care enough. Whatever the reason, life will never be the same in many ways. Its like when your innocence has been robbed and you can never go back to where you were before you knew of such evil, such hurt, and such shameful things.

So many feel like my two clients who recognize that they are becoming discouraged and depressed in light of the world’s condition. Yet, I challenge the darkness with light: the light of a God that so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to save us from the evil. My hope, my joy, my reason to not sink into despair is because of Him. He still loves us. He still wants to rescue. He still is calling to all who will hear and respond. Can you hear Him?

2 years ago More Alive Than Ever

It’s amazing how sun can brighten our hearts. This time of the year everything seems more beautiful. The trees become lush, the grass greener, and the flowers are in bloom.

I went to pick out flowers for some friends who just had their dad’s physical body die. I have felt such excitement for him and them. I realize that many would think this is strange. I knew they would be missing him, but that they also knew he so wanted to go home. He had lived a long life serving the Lord and was so eager to meet his sweet wife and Jesus.

As I looked for the card for my flowers, I just couldn’t make myself pick the only one available for taking to the funeral home. It said something like "with deepest regret".

How could I send such a message? I feel for them in terms of missing their dad. Yet, how could I say that I regretted his going home to paradise whenever he had lived a long life, was bedridden, and unable to respond to those he loved the way he wanted.

Instead, I picked up a card with no words, only beautiful butterflies all around. They looked so light and so unencumbered. My message: He’s more alive than he has ever been.

His ability to quickly, effortlessly, and delightfully lift to where he will never be encumbered seemed so represented by those flittering, light, and cheery butterflies.

As I look around and see new life being birthed; the buds forming, the grass sprouting, and the green all around me, I ponder on what is real life. All this green will be dying soon. Each of us is in the process of dying physically.

We live in a time that there is much focus on our physical bodies; not just our appearance, but also our health. Do we even think about that part of us that will live forever? Our spirit never dies. When we get out of these decaying shells, we are more alive than ever if we have found and loved the true creator of life. I call him Father.

2 years ago Learning to Confront

Does anyone feel that they are comfortable and healthy with confrontation? I am regularly faced with people avoiding confronting someone when such was needed. I too can so relate. Many, if not most, people I know are not comfortable with confrontation.

Is it because we don’t want to hurt others? Is it because we don’t want anyone to be mad at us? Is it because we don’t want others to not like us? Is it because we think if we confront, it will come back to bite us? Do we think others will retaliate? Do we think it is wrong or mean to confront? Do we think we don’t deserve to confront, like everything is our fault?

Whatever the reason, we will not deal with life in healthy ways, if we never confront. Those who love confrontation are sure not any healthier. If fact, they likely have even more serious problems.

Many who don’t confront, have avoided doing so because they found that nothing good ever came from confronting. Maybe they were given the guilt trip. Maybe they were ridiculed or blamed. Maybe they were hurt, ignored, or in some way made to feel sorry that they ever tried to confront in the first place.

What are some nuggets of truth that help us learn to confront in healthy ways? We need to explore why we are feeling the need to confront. What are our motives? Have we prayed and asked God to show us, lead us, and help us. If we have uncovered that we truly need to confront and that we want good to come from our confrontation, its not over. We need help with our delivery, our timing, and our follow-up. Prayer paves the way for our confrontation and our reactions afterwards.

Not everyone is going to respond to our confrontation in healthy ways. We don’t have power over anyone but ourselves. The Lord sometimes leads us to not confront others, even if we feel they are in the wrong. Other times, we may be led to confront others even though they won’t respond well. Yet, it still may be what God leads us to do. Ether way, He will teach us, lead us, and encourage our efforts.

I find confrontation easier if I think of it as self-disclosure. Instead of saying, “You need to stop telling me what to do.” I may say, “When you keep telling me what I should do, I feel that you don’t trust my ability, that you see me as incompetent.”

The journey to healthy living is just that, an ongoing journey. I encourage you to explore your own pattern in dealing with confrontation. Who or what do you need to confront---or self disclose about?

2 years ago The Greatest Mental Health Resource

It amuses me and even amazes me when the wisdom that God provided in his Word is found through human research that doesn’t give the credit to the original one who proclaimed it thousands of years ago. Researchers may think they have uncovered the findings and publish their research for all to learn from. While I so appreciate research, many times I find myself saying “It was there in the Bible all along”!
Its still awesome to see the truths of God supported by research today.

I was recently reading about a research study that was conducted by Dr. David Spiegel, director of clinical and medical programs at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety-Related Disorders. In his study it was found that the use of antidepressants and cognitive therapy work equally well. However, the relapse rates were much higher among those treated with medication versus cognitive therapy.

Think what this is showing. Promoting healthy thoughts has lasting effects. Cognitive therapy basically is learning to deal with our thoughts. The goal is to recognize which thoughts we are having that are unhealthy—leading to fear, worry, and negativity. Then those thoughts are replaced with healthy ones. The person actually tries to be intentional in directing his or her thoughts in ways that promote healthy mental health.

For decades cognitive therapy has been shown as one of the most effective approaches for depression and anxiety disorders. Even though the study from Spiegel was encouraging in that it showed the power of our thoughts, the Word of God had shown it way before researchers.

We read in Proverbs 23:7, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. We also read in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Verses before and after this famous verse talk of the peace of God and how to obtain it.


The Lord emphasized the importance of our thoughts and how we need to take every thought captive to the pulling down of strongholds. I wonder how the Lord feels as he sees the studies showing what He had told long ago.



I am doing a series on fear and anxiety on CWA blog radio. I will be hosting a couple of women who will share about their personal struggle and journey with fear and anxiety. You are welcome to listen on CWA blog radio. Just go to CWA radio on your computer, scroll down to Uncover, with host Dr. Peggy Karlosky. You can click on any show displayed, even the old ones to listen.

We have access to the most powerful resource to find the means for dealing with fear, anxiety, and depression. Will we read and follow it? Even when we are taught cognitive therapy, it is only effective if we use it.

2 years ago Dangerous Alliances

Its amazing how the struggles and influences that hinder our life were the same that we can read about back in the centuries before Christ ever came. I was reading in second Chronicles Chapter 17 – 20. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, had dramatically sought the Lord, walked in obedience, and had led his people into honoring God. I was excited reading about how bold he was in leading his people in the ways of God. Finally, a wise and godly King!

    Yet, I was fascinated that he made one of the most fundamental mistakes that we continue to make in life. He was enticed into a relationship with someone who did not honor God. He went on to align himself with Ahab, King of Israel who was living ungodly. The King of Israel had showered him with gifts and persuaded him to form an alliance.

    We may wonder how a man who had served God so devotedly, could make such a stupid decision. How could he ever think that this relationship could produce anything but destruction?

    Within a brief time, massive harm was done and Jehoshaphat was able to see the devastation that comes when we allow ourselves to be influenced by someone who is not honoring God. God was merciful to Jehoshaphat because He knew that he still had good in him. Yet, painful consequences came for him and his people.

    Even if you think that King Jehoshaphat was crazy to do this, we see it all the time. People can love God and yet allow someone ungodly to draw them into a relationship that makes them compromise their walk.

    When Jehoshaphat first connected with Ahab, King of Israel, it seemed right, honorable, and kind. Jehoshaphat encouraged the King of Judah to recognize that they were kindred and that he was loyal to him and his people.

    Yet, when Jehoshaphat was confronted with King Ahab making decisions by seeking counsel from men instead of God’s prophets, he should have heeded the warning. He recognized that this was wrong, yet he didn’t withdraw his alliance and willingness to go along with King Ahab's plans.

    Its difficult to imagine that when a Christian has gotten into a relationship with someone who doesn’t love God, that there aren’t warnings along the way. Yet, we too sometimes don’t retreat.

    I can relate to this story. Can you?

    

2 years ago Accepting You and Wanting to be Me

Have you ever wondered about how differently people are wired? Researchers have found that even infants have different temperaments. Being a psychologist, I mostly focus on the environmental influences on our personality and behavior. Yet, like most parents of more than one child, it is difficult to deny that kids can be wired differently.

Take my twin granddaughters who are turning two the end of this month. It is impossible to not know that Mallory is around. Her zest, her temper, and her excitable personality cannot be ignored. Morgan is quieter, goes to sleep easier, and is quite the thinker.

Their mom laughingly tells of their escapades. Just yesterday, Mallory was throwing a fit about not wanting to go to daycare that morning. Just as soon as her dad took her to her room, he turned to see that she had opened the door somehow and was running up the hall screaming with her teacher chasing her. I can imagine Morgan thinking, “My sister is so dramatic that it’s embarrassing!”

Morgan is a prissy one who can be found sitting in her bed with a play crown on her head after waking up. She daily asks for a hair bow. She must have a frilly gown to sleep in with princesses on the front. Just tonight, after bath time, Morgan gets on her sparkling gown and carries her baby dolls. Mallory comes running up the hall wearing her brother’s old PJ’s that have a lion on the front. As she runs, she growls proudly like a lion.

Its amazing that being so differently, they are so uniquely loved. I can’t imagine wanting them to be different than whom they are. I can’t imagine loving or preferring one above the other.

Yet, don’t we all tend to compare with others and act like some people are more valuable than others? I wonder if God wishes we could see from His position and heart as he looks at us the way I look at my granddaughters. I so cherish them individually, adore their features, likes, and personalities. I’m so glad God made them and really all of us as individuals. He could have made us replicas or clones.

I can only hope that Mallory loves her dark waves, full lips and taller frame instead of wishing she looked more like Morgan. I can only hope that Morgan loves her straight blond hair, blue eyes, and more petite frame instead of wishing she looked more like Mallory.

I can only hope that Mallory loves and accepts her twin, while still wanting to be herself. I can only hope that Morgan loves and accepts her twin, while still wanting to be herself.

I pray that we will love and accept each other, while still wanting to be ourselves. We will if we understand God’s great love for us and know that He chose to create us individually.

2 years ago The Damage of Avoidance

For the last decade or more, I have been saying that one of the most destructive behaviors in life is avoidance. To understand this statement, we must qualify that it depends on what we are avoiding. It’s wise to avoid evil, sin, and all kinds of influences, including a rattlesnake.

Yet, I am referring to when we avoid what we need to face. It may be a task that needs to be tackled, a sin or addiction that needs to be faced, an apology that needs to be given, and repentance that needs to be sought. It may be avoiding a confrontation that needs to be made. It may be avoiding salvation and Jesus Himself. It commonly is avoiding emotional wounds that need healing.

My decades of counseling have involved seeing the damage that avoidance has brought to so many. All of us have likely experienced damage from avoiding when we shouldn’t have. I have avoided my treadmill and have the damage to show for it.

Some avoidance has caused more hurt than others. I grieve as I hear and realize that certain hurtful outcomes in people’s lives could have been AVOIDED if they hadn’t of AVOIDED what should have been dealt with years ago.

As I recently listened to a couple describe their current family problems, we all realized that it didn’t have to have become so dysfunctional if they had faced and dealt with some issues and patterns long ago. Yet, like in most cases, some were willing to face and deal, while others were not. Typically, there’s a vital person who is avoiding that can derail the progress that could come.

The older I get, I also realize that not only can avoidance be destructive, but that the only one we have power over is ourselves. We can’t make others stop avoiding. We can’t make others face harsh reality or difficult changes that need to be made. We can only choose for ourselves what needs to be faced and not avoided. I encourage you to review your life and ask the Lord to reveal if there are areas you are avoiding that need to be faced. I know I sure have some!

2 years ago Don’t Forget to Flush

How many times have you gone into the bathroom to find remains in the toilet? It’s disgusting when someone forgets to flush the toilet. We may be a little more forgiving when it’s a toddler who forgot to flush. Yet, its always yucky and a relief to push the lever and see the commode get rid of the mess and fill again with clear fresh water.

I recognize that my example is gross, yet it is a visualization that sets the stage for remembering how we need to flush many emotions and thoughts daily. I recently met with a client who was describing his irritation with people and situations. He flippantly commented on how he needs to regularly flush it out.

I instantly found myself clinging to the expression and thinking about how effective it would be if we could remember to flush out of our mind and heart what needs to be flushed, just like that toilet that needs flushing every time its filled with waste.

When I allow that irritation, that offense, and sometimes even that hurt to remain, it begins to stink and to stain my life with damage. Some hurts and offenses are harder to flush than others. It may take longer and require more effort and grace. The analogy doesn’t fit some situations as well as others. Yet, some of life’s daily offenses and irritations fit precisely. Our flushing protects our emotional, spiritual, and physical health. So don’t forget to flush!

2 years ago The Blahs

Do you ever have the blahs? You may not be in despair, but you feel like life is missing something. It’s like the coke that’s lost its fizz. When you think about it, life has many of these times of feeling like we are waiting for more. Even though our journey is interjected with times of excitement, it’s also plagued with blahs. We feel the excitement when getting that new car, the birth of a baby, the new boyfriend, and numerous other experiences that temporarily fill our world with zest. Yet, I find that quiet yearning creeping upon me. Do you?

Even if we are prone to contentment and a grateful attitude, we all were made for more. Since we were made in God’s image, we were made for eternity, for loving interactions, and creative expression. Stuck in a fallen world stifles our being.

If we accept that our completeness, our being FULLY who we were created to be comes after we leave these earthly bodies, we are positioned to live wisely and to embrace the blahs with hope. We know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We will see Him face to face and we will be like Him.

1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.


Sometimes I find comfort in just validating that my blahs may just be my reminder that I yearn for completeness, for knowing Him in full, and being fully who God designed me to be. That wouldn’t include my old flesh nature that is so prone to junk like selfishness, jealousy, pride, and boredom. I yearn for myself and others to be real, to love each other like Jesus does, and to stop the madness that comes from comparing and trying to impress each other. Don’t you look forward to being fully led by the Spirit instead of ever having to deal with the baser flesh nature? I definitely look forward to being in a place where there is no evil to interject its influence.

I can’t imagine the beauty and magnificent splendor of Heaven. I can’t imagine the lack of any pain, boredom, and temptation. I can’t even fully imagine what it will be like to see Jesus and the Father face to face. Yet, when I get the blahs, I am called to try to imagine and to recognize that my blahs may be my spirit just wanting to go home.

2 years ago Don't Waste Your Invitation

Have you ever found hidden treasure? The Lord referred to the Kingdom of Heaven as hidden treasure. On CWA blog radio, I am doing a series called The Great Treasure Hunt. I have been asking the Lord to prompt me to uncover and describe jewels that He wants to share with His children that are hidden from the world. These jewels equip us as we live in the war zone that comes from being in a fallen world.

This week I was prompted with my next jewel to explore: Romans 8:28. I can’t imagine how many times that verse has been the rock of truth that sustained me. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose”. So many are familiar with that passage. But, do we believe and stand on it?

When life’s terrible blows come, do we stay under the umbrella of truth that this verse promises? We might not see how it will be used for good, we may not see any signs of good coming, and we may begin the decent toward dismissing the promise Romans 8:28 provides.

Do we recognize that the promise is conditional? It doesn’t say that all things work for good to just anyone. It says to those who love God. Since we are also told that if we love God, we will keep His commandments, we could also say, all things work together for good to those who are obedient. I haven’t always responded with obedience. Yet, its amazing when the Holy Spirit convicts and I repent and obey, how God can begin the process of making all things work together for good. I may not see it immediately. Yet, He always has plans for good to those who love Him.

The last part of Romans 8:28 points out that the promise is to those called according to His purpose. Verse 29 explains more: His purpose is to transform us into the image of Jesus. What the Lord is referring to as good may look very differently from what the world or my flesh nature defines as good. Recently, I met with a woman who told of how she was stripped from a prestigious job, great income, and successful position in the world’s eyes. Yet, she tearfully told of how thankful she was for the loss. Instead, it positioned her to be humbled from the destructive pride in her heart. It drew her into the greatest treasure in her life: Her tender relationship with Jesus.

She had found hidden treasure. Her definition of good was like the good promised by Romans 8:28 and explained in verse 29: she was being transformed more closely into the image of Jesus. What a treasure! She had learned to value true treasure, not the world's idea of treasure. She didn't want to trade her new treasure for the prestige, money, worldly pleasures and all the admiration that comes from where she had been.

We are invited to the greatest, most valuable treasure hunt that ever existed. Don’t waste your invitation.

2 years ago The Powerful Stall Button

Life sometimes seems like a movie with no pause button. The scenes, plots, and challenges keep coming. There’s not even a speed button to slow it down at times.

Being a counseling psychologist for decades has helped me uncovered strategies that are necessary for dealing with life in healthy ways. Yet, that hasn’t insured that I always use them in my own life. We not only need to find these strategies, we have to remember to use them intentionally. Each time I discuss these approaches with clients, I find myself realizing how it helps me to review them.

One of the top five strategies, if not the top one, I have uncovered is what I call the “stall button”. I tend to develop visual images to represent whatever I am trying to be intentional in using. I picture my stall button being right in the middle of my stomach. I picture pushing it like a pause button when I need a moment to stop, reflect, and think before I react.

I can’t emphasize enough how critically important it is to use the stall button when we feel attacked emotionally, feel disappointment in ourselves or someone else, when we are full of anger, shame, or fear; or when we are ready to give up. When we are vulnerable to lies of the enemy or to reactions from our carnal flesh nature, our stall button is our greatest protection.

I actually bought one of those “easy buttons” from Staples that was shown on their famous commercials. My intent was to cover over “easy” and replace it with the word “stall”.

Even when I am wise and willing enough to push my stall button, it is just as critical what I do when stalled. While I may need different messages while stalled, I always need to remind myself of truth. I may need to take a deep breath and relax my clinched jaws and fists. I may need to slow down my racing heart. I may need to remind myself that God loves me flaws and all. I may need to recognize that the person I am most hurt or angered by is likely reacting from his or her own wounded heart.

Whatever truth I need, the stall button gives me a chance to find it. As I stall, I am positioned to praise my Lord, ask for His Spirit to quiet me, fill me with peace, and remind me of truth to dispel the lies. I ask for help in my delivery when I need to confront or set a boundary with someone. Wow, what a wonderful opportunity my stall button presents me.

My stall button seems broken at times. Even if I remember to push it, it just doesn’t stop my big mouth. I have to power up my button by plugging into the source of fuel; the Holy Spirit. If I don’t regularly ingest the Word, talk to the Lord, confess my wrongs, and seek His presence, my button is disabled and I’m on my own risky tightrope.

I can plummet into destructive thoughts, actions, and attitudes. I can hurt those I love, including myself. I can make dumb impulsive decisions. The harm I can do is pretty amazing. I bet you can too.

Today I heard a client say that he was trying to reprogram himself. He will definitely need a juiced up stall button to do that. Living in a fallen world, a spiritual war zone, and with a vulnerable mind, heart, and body should make all of us alarmingly aware of our need for the powerful stall button. Keep it fueled and push it wisely!

2 years ago GET STUBBORN!

I fluctuated between anger and sadness as I listened to a woman I counseled describe how unloved she has felt by everyone in her life. I could understand why as I heard of how everyone seemed to use her, while never being willing to sacrifice for her. No one seemed to put him or herself out to meet her wants and needs.

No wonder she has struggled with not feeling good about herself. It is vital to believe what the Word says, even when our experiences are so different from what we read. God wanted husbands to love their wives like Jesus did the Church. He wanted fathers to be protective and sacrificial for their families. He wanted mothers to love and nurture their sons and daughters. He wanted wives to respect and support their husbands.

How many of us have experienced what He wanted to the full degree? Right! It’s a fallen world, being influenced by evil moment by moment. None of us have experienced entirely what God wanted for us because of this.

We must DEMAND ourselves to foster truth in ourselves, whether our feelings match with truth or not. We may not feel valuable; but we are. We may not feel loveable; but we are.

Stubbornly going after truth is the best endeavor to be stubborn about. I was told that I was the stubborn one in the family. That can be good or bad. I yearn to be and stay stubborn in pursuing truth. If you’re not stubborn enough, please join me. Get STUBBORN!

2 years ago Relief for Mothers

As a mom, do you ever feel the enormity of the role you play in the forming of your children? Before I had children, I had been in graduate school studying psychology and learning about the powerful influence a mother has upon her children. It provoked a little fear in me as I realized I could really cause some harm.

Later, after becoming a mother, I still felt the seriousness of my influence. I was likely more concerned than most who had not spent years studying all the research on one of the most powerful forces upon our development: modeling. The studies illustrated how children imitate and copy others they watch in those young formative years of development.

Can you relate to me in realizing that I sure haven’t done it all right? There’s so much more I should have done. There’s so much I should have not done. There’s so much better I could have been as their model.

Yet, deep down, I know that I don’t have the power to make another person be who he or she is going to be. Yes, I am an influence. As mothers, we are one of biggest influences upon our children’s development.

In thinking about the responsibility of my role, I recall a poem that my mom recited to me when I was a young girl. I was so fond of the poem that I had her help me memorize it. She had learned the poem decades before me. She too had cherished the message from the poem. She recalls that the author is unknown and she didn’t even know of it having a title.

Whenever I would recite the poem to myself, I had a nagging feeling that there should be more to the message. While I want to assume my responsibility, I also know that it is not all up to me. In fact, the most powerful influence of all is that of my Heavenly Father who is the greatest model. What a relief!

I share with you the poem I learned decades ago and the addition I added. I hope it blesses and relieves you when you may feel like I do at times when I am reminded of my own imperfections as a mom. P.S. I gave it a title.




Molding Clay together


I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day.
And as my fingers pressed it still
it moved and yielded to my will.

I came again when days had past
That bit of clay was hard at last
The form I gave it, it still bore
And I could change it nevermore.

I took a piece of living clay
And gently formed it day by day
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart

I came again when years were gone
It was a man I looked upon
The early imprints he still bore
And I could change him nevermore

        Author unknown

Yet, the potter made the clay so grand
Its only He with the powerful hand
That can smooth the cracks and mend the holes
And change hard places into pockets of gold

He gently bent and stroked the heart
And shows that he knew just where to start
I watch with wonder as I exclaim, “oh me”!
The resemblance is striking as Jesus I see

How could I have not known all along?
The potter’s hand is where he belonged.
God always had the plan in mind
My son would look like His when Jesus he’d find.

        Author: Peggy Karlosky

2 years ago Remind Us

Tomorrow my first cousin will come to church. He will be dressed in some of his favorite clothes, surrounded by his family and friends. He will be in the familiar sanctuary where we have sung hundreds of praises, had family weddings, baptized many, and heard my brother preach many a passionate sermon.

We sat in the chairs sometimes passing notes and chewing gum. Our moms have stood at the entrance doors Sunday after Sunday greeting those coming in to worship.

Yes, tomorrow my cousin will come into a place with many memories. Yet, he won’t walk the familiar aisles. He will be rolled in a casket. He won’t be sitting in the back, where he preferred. He will be center stage for all to see.

This room has been filled with many emotions over the years; some joyous, some sad. Tomorrow, the tears will be many. The walls will echo the pain of those who don’t want to let go just yet.

Lord, it would be unbearable had we not been so equipped being within these walls. Within this familiar room, we have been filled with the truth to prepare us for this moment and for the moment when we too will be rolled down the aisle.

Don’t let our memory fail us Lord. Remind us that you are ever present; to be absent from the body is to be present with you. Remind us that our life is just an eye blink to eternity for all of us. Remind us that where we go will be sweeter and more familiar than this room with so many precious memories. Remind us when the pain is great, the loss feels overwhelming, and the enemy strikes our mind with cruel lies.

Remind us of Jesus calling and that my cousin just got ahead of the line.

2 years ago Wake Ups

Our family has experienced terrific pain this weekend. My first cousin, who grew up across the street from us, was found dead Saturday. He was sleeping on the couch, snoring away one minute and unresponsive and dead the next. A life gone too soon; only 49 years old.

The older I get, the more I recognize that this isn’t our home and that we will all have the wounds to prove that as we check out of here. My cousin sure had his share of scars to prove that life here wasn’t God’s original paradise.

Times like this weekend jar me into keener insight. What are we doing? Our days here are so brief and so uncertain in time that we need to make each count. Many think of this as having as much pleasure out of each day as possible. That’s still missing the point. We will have a blast in heaven; nothing here can even compare.

Yet, just as my cousin now knows, our time is over before you know it. He didn’t begin the day saying, “In just a few hours I will be meeting my Maker and then I will have no more opportunities to bring anyone with me. I will have no more opportunity to do my assignments here that God wanted me to do. In 4 or 5 hours, I will have no more influence upon eternity for myself or anyone else”.

He was sleeping one minute, the next he was waking up in eternity elsewhere.
What a wake up for not just him, but for all of us who loved him. We all need to have some practice wake-ups to tune us into what’s really important.

3 years ago A Case Study on Love

Have you noticed all the hearts, flowers, and talk about love this weekend? Being Valentine’s Day, I expected it. I bet many of the church sermons this weekend also focused on love.

This Saturday, I did my blog radio show and was continuing a series on dealing with hurt. I thought, “Wow I should have had the show topic to be on love, since it was Valentine’s Day."

After the show, I was amazed to realize that the story I was discussing from I Samuel displayed one of most tender examples of love. The scripture was about a time when David was at one of the lowest times in life. An enemy army had attacked, burned the town, and taken their goods, along with their precious wives and children. Some of David’s own men were ready to turn on him as they plotted to stone him.

Devastated, David turned to the Lord. After strengthening himself in the Lord and seeking His approval, David and 600 men courageously went to rescue their families. While in hot pursuit, 200 of the men, exhausted beyond measure were unable to get across flooded waters that blocked the path to the enemy. They collapsed and stayed behind as David and the 400 men continued the rescue.

The Lord gave them victory and all was recovered; wives, children, and all their stolen goods. The men, who had wanted to stone David, began their usual bad attitude. They declared that none of the goods should be shared with the 200 who had been unable to complete the mission.

Yet, David, who God described as a man after His own heart, tenderly displayed the heart of God. He adamantly declared that those too exhausted and unable to help would not be denied. They too would be rewarded, just like those who had completed the mission.

Aren’t you glad that’s the kind of God we serve? I had gone to that scripture to do a case study on how to deal with hurt, and yet, what a display of love I found.

If you have also ever been too exhausted to complete what God had called you to do, remember that we have a God full of mercy and compassion. David’s willingness to reward those who had tried and yet fell with exhaustion reminds me of that. It also encourages me to get back up and try again.

3 years ago God Dependent

Do you ever feel overextended? Do you have a hard time saying no to others? When someone you love is distressed, do you always try to fix the situations in life that are causing him or her pain?

If you answered yes to these questions, like many of us, you may also need to review the importance of using healthy boundaries. It’s great to love others and try to help when we can without causing harm to ourselves and when we won’t be hindering others by helping them.

I recall hearing all the buzz about “Codependency” when I was in graduate school. Since I was in graduate school in the early eighties, codependency was the new rave in psychology and recovery circles back then. I couldn’t figure out why I felt grieved by all the talk about it.

I finally realized that it was because I was hearing it from a secular setting that made it sound cold and selfish to me. It seemed that what was being advocated was to just take care of yourself, don’t be emotionally affected by others’ pain, and definitely don’t try to help them.

However, from a Biblical/Christian framework, I get it! Needed boundaries are essential to living a healthy life. We all need to use wisdom when deciding how to use our time and energy. There’s no way to please everyone and to eliminate all of others’ pain.

We are not limitless like God. We can’t carry all the responsibility; we weren’t made to. When I have tried to take all the pain and struggle away for my children, I recognized that I am not that powerful. I also recognize that the struggles and pain can be what is needed to remind us of our need for God, a loving Savior, and a hope of Heaven where no struggles and pain exist.

I hope to always hurt for others, help in healthy ways, recognize my limitations, and to encourage others and myself to recognize how dependent we are on the Lord’s help.

Maybe we need to use the term: God Dependent.

3 years ago Take Me Away


Do you remember the Calgon commercials in the seventies? If you don’t, let me enlighten you. The commercials began with a woman expressing her frustration: the dog, the kids (who were screaming in the background), the boss, and a few other stresses. The woman finally throws up her hands and says, “That does it, Calgon take me away!”

Next thing you know, you see her in a calm, peaceful bubble bath. She smiles as she basks in the soothing tub that took her away from all that distressed her.

I wonder what happened to the screaming kid, boss, and all the other responsibilities she whisked herself away from.

Do you ever wish you could do the same? It may not be a bubble bath, but we all sometimes wish we could just get whisked away from the stress, frustrations, and demands.

Sometimes we need to just withdraw from the whirlwind of life and be in a quiet, soothing place to regroup. Maybe that’s what God meant when He said, “Be still and know that I am God.” What a peaceful thought if Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

Being still and knowing that He is God, reminds me, “He’s got this”. Years ago I recall thinking everyone could benefit from identifying and using a motto to remind themselves of whatever they needed to embrace to be healthy. Each person’s motto needed to fit with what he or she struggled. Our motto may change over our life situations. I remember thinking mine at that time was, “I’m not God”. That may seem a strange motto. Yet, it was my reminder at the time that I couldn’t carry the load of everything and everybody.

Maybe we all could use that reminder. He is God. We can’t handle what He can. That’s better than even Calgon.

3 years ago Having the Right Fear

    Our society is in a time of such overwhelming change, confusion, and crime that we are plagued with worry, tension, and fear. The multi billions spent on anti-anxiety medications don’t begin to tell the full extent of the epidemic of anxiety. 



    Why are we afraid? Most simply put, “We don’t want to suffer”. We don’t want to go bankrupt, get cancer, our children to end up on drugs, our spouse to have an affair, to be robbed, raped, or murdered. We don’t want to feel insignificant or be alone. The list of possible fears would be longer than we would be willing to read.
    
Do you live in fear? What do you fear the most? Fear is what sends most people to counseling. As a psychologist, I have spent almost three decades trying to help people overcome their fears. Yet, I am passionate about promoting the right kind of fear; a fear that could be the most powerful promoter of your life. I invite you to welcome this fear. It’s the fear of not becoming who you were created to be.
    God created you and I with specific, well thought out plans. We were to develop our unique personality, skills, and interests. We were to have rewarding relationships and to display characteristics like Jesus.
    Our life was meant to tell a story. What story does your life tell so far? When I think of what my story tells, I recognize that I want to change some of its chapters. While I can’t change those already written, I sure hope to add some chapters that tell the story God meant for mine to tell.

3 years ago Behavioral Sink

Do you ever wonder, what’s missing from my life? Is there more than this? Famous people who are what the world would think of as highly successful have illustrated that they too feel this way.

Actually, we who have Jesus as our Lord and Savior were not meant to experience complete contentment and fulfillment here. Yet, we still want it, don’t we?

We yearn for more fulfillment and our mysterious itch to be satisfied. We may have moments of intense joy, peace, and a sense of well-being. We always have the truth to comfort us: We are loved, saved, and have a great eternal home, away from evil, our own flesh nature, and suffering.

Yet, while we are here, this world is not our home. There is an anthropology term called “behavioral sink” that helps validate our struggles. Most of my counseling clients have heard me use this term if they have met with me for a long time.

The term refers to research conducted on different species in which researchers were trying to identify the environmental conditions that are necessary for that particular species to thrive---to be at maximum potential. They were looking at gradually overcrowding them, even though they had the conditions to live. They found that when they gradually changed the conditions, their behavior gradually became more destructive and damaging to them.

We can generalize the concept from this line of research to us. What conditions are necessary for us to thrive? We were created to thrive when in our natural habitat and it sure isn’t here. When we are close to Jesus, others who love Him too, following the Word, filled with His Spirit, the more we thrive. Yet, to be fully in His presence, rid of our carnal flesh nature, and away from temptation and evil we will fully thrive. We will be complete, at home, with no unsatisfied yearnings or struggles. Until then, we sometimes have those behavioral sinks.

3 years ago A Society full of Anxiety: What are You Anxious About?

A society full of anxiety. Kind of rhymes doesn’t it? Anxiety is likely one of the top three, if not the top, motivators for people seeking counseling. We are living in a time of such overwhelming change; stress, confusion, and crime that we are plagued with worry, tension, and fear. The multi billions spent on anti-anxiety medications don’t begin to tell the full extent of the epidemic of anxiety.


Why are we afraid? Most simply put, “We don’t want to suffer”. We don’t want to go bankrupt, get cancer, our children to end up on drugs, our spouse to have an affair, to be robbed, raped, or murdered. We don’t want to feel insignificant or be alone. The list could go on for longer than I can type.

One of the greatest fears we should have is to waste our opportunity to love Jesus. We could live and die and never know how loved we were. If we know how loved we are, our anxiety begins to fade. We still may not want to suffer, but we know that God is always looking out for us and wants well for us. He never said we wouldn’t suffer. In fact, He said we would. Thus, we may still be prone to get anxious at the thought of pain.

In Revelation 21, we read that He will wipe away our tears. If they were happy ones, why would they be wiped away? If we were on our way to hell, why would He wipe them away? The verse must be talking to those headed for heaven. It only makes sense to me that He will wipe away painful memories. Will this include rejection, betrayal, physical pain, and grief only? I can’t imagine what else we would have tears about if we knew we were on the threshold of heaven, except for regrets; “Why didn’t I try to lead others to Christ more; be a better light to the lost, treat Jesus and others better?”

I am so thankful for His grace. Yet, I hope to keep some anxiety; the kind that makes me not forget the stakes involved. We are all headed somewhere; are we lighting the way?

3 years ago The Need for Significance

I recall my dad telling me many years ago, “The worse thing in life is to be ignored”. I didn’t respond to his statement with much enthusiasm. I thought that it seemed much worse to be abused or ridiculed. I think I would rather be ignored.

Yet, I realized that dad was making a profound point. Our very soul is wounded when we are ignored and feel that it doesn’t matter if we exist.

Do you feel significant? We all have a need to feel significant, as if we matter. Unfortunately, we usually determine if we are significant or not by how others treat us. This begins the problem. Some of the worse damage in life comes in our unhealthy attempts to become significant in others’ eyes.

I will be exploring our human desire for significance and ways that our attempts can cause damage on CWA radio. I welcome you to log in to CWA radio on your computer. This is a weekly blog radio show where you can listen to shows on your computer. After logging in, scroll down to the show UNCOVER: The Real God, the Real You, and the Real Enemy with host Dr. Peggy Karlosky.

We all need to realize that all of us are significant to our creator. God had wonderful plans for each of us and we need to UNCOVER how He sees us.




3 years ago What do you think?

I was in awe tonight as a witnessed one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen during any basketball game, or any competitive sport for that matter. As a psychologist I sometimes focus on the behavior and emotional expressions and reactions of players and coaches instead of just the game. It’s a rare coach that doesn’t display intense frustration and anger during competition, and even more as the game is a close and important one. I’ve often thought about how hard this is for their blood pressure!

Tonight, North Carolina, ranked 15, was playing North Carolina State, which is unranked. They were playing at North Carolina State and one can only imagine the rivalry between them. North Carolina had beaten them for the last few years; last year beating them by a basket.

The intensity was great and they were down to the last second of the game. North Carolina State was down by three points. The only way to tie the game required the North Carolina State player who was shooting a foul shot to make the first point and then to intentionally miss the second so that they could rebound and make another basket. The announcers explained the strategy, which was the only likely way for North Carolina State to have a chance, since only a second remained in the game.

However, the player made the first basket and then accidently made the second also and they lost the game. He knew immediately that they had no chance as soon as the ball went through the hoop. With only a second left, the ball would be given to North Carolina and the game was over, with them losing by one point. The crowd had been tense with excitement and the disappointment for the home team, North Carolina State was overwhelming. The player visibly looked shaken and shocked at what he had done. He knew he was supposed to miss the shot and yet had made it. He instinctively dropped over and writhed with despair.

He must have instinctively looked to his coach, because the cameras turned and caught the private, calm, and tender look and gesture that the coach gave to the devastated player, as the coach mouthed that it was okay. The gentleness of the coach’s smile spoke volumes. One could see it was a private one on one connection between them.

I found myself welling up with such emotion and admiration. The whole crowd was likely full of angry and heartbroken faces. Yet, the one the young player turned to was full of compassion. I wonder if that coach will ever know what an impact he had made on not only that young man’s heart, but also me and anyone else who recognized the importance of his gesture and reaction. He had such power to influence a young man and had chosen wisely.

Games come and go, they don’t really matter in the big scheme of things. We get so excited as if those scores affect history and eternity. We rank those coaches with the great winning records and national championships among the elite. I wonder how God ranks them. I tend to think God would count the actions like I witnessed of this coach as a championship that outranks the others easily. What do you think?

3 years ago Relish the Moment

My husband and I were lying on our bed watching a ballgame on the television, which is positioned perfectly on the wall in front of us. I found myself just enjoying the soft warm comfort of my bed. After a busy full day, it felt so great to just relax and enjoy my comfort.

I signed and said, “I love my bed!” “Don’t you just love our bed?” “It’s a bed”, he said as if he was indicating what’s the big deal?

I too usually take for granted simple and expected pleasures. If we ever had to sleep on the floor or ground for nights on end, we likely would exclaim with enthusiasm our delight for our soft, warm, and comfortable beds.

Although we were both having the comfort of the bed, I was blessed more because of that sudden rejoicing in the moment. I wish we would intentionally train ourselves to search for those opportunities daily to recognize the pleasures as events to relish and for which to give thanks.

3 years ago One Day


I love some of what comes with aging. After moving to the last half of my life, I accepted that there is so much I will never understand until I get out of here. People hurting each other, tragedies happening to kind people, stupid rules that don’t make sense, and so much more that God allows.

One of my favorite verses, or at least one of the verses I have needed the most to have hope and to stay sane is I Corinthians 13:12. We read:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face-to-face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”.

As I encounter damage and pain of living in a fallen world, I have desperately clung to that verse. Its so reassuring that God wanted me to know that I can’t see it all from here and thus, I sure can’t understand everything. It is also reassuring that He promises that one-day I will see fully and understand.

If we don’t use this truth as we face the hurt of our world, we may become like the atheist who responds with, “God doesn’t exist” or the deceived who responds with, “God isn’t loving or fair”.

While some may respond to the “whys” by abandoning their faith, I want even more to desperately cling to mine. I Corinthians 13: 12 has enabled me to do so. Thank you Lord for promising me ONE DAY.

3 years ago Complaint or Divine Intervention

I wonder how many times what we complain about was actually a divine intervention. It may be the man of our dreams not being interested in us. It may be the promotion that we didn’t get. It may be the illness that laid us flat on our back. It can be all kinds of hurts. Some we may never recognize as helping us. Yet, sometimes we have our eyes opened to the lengths and ways that God intervenes.

I was enlightened to a situation today that I am beginning to think was one of those divine interventions that I had misperceived as a life frustration to complain about. In my office, where I spend literally much of my life, I have a vent less fireplace. I have had it for years and since I am very cold natured, I love its warmth. I typically make it too hot for others if I am not turned in to the obvious signs; their reddened face and sweat pouring.

My office also has a French door. Way before it should have, that lovely French door began to stretch oddly so that it left a huge opening between the main doors. Even the shape of the opening was odd. This allowed air to easily blow right in. We attempted to have it fixed several times. Nothing worked long at all. Before you know it, that stupid gap would be back.

We finally just had a new door installed. Sometime later I started feeling queasy and tired. I had even gone to the doctor to see what was wrong with me.

Well I thought we had gotten to the bottom of the mystery whenever I found that we had a gas leak that was coming from a pipe above my head in the office. We had this fixed and I realized how lucky (actually protected) I was from being seriously hurt or killed by such.

However, something kept nagging at me to get it further investigated. I began having the queasy feelings again, along with fatigue. Today a professional used a meter to check my office. While I didn’t have a leak, I found out that my vent less fireplace was too big for my office in that it was building up carbon monoxide in my room. The expert explained that it was quickly building up in my office each time my fireplace flame was burning. He said that it was just like someone running his or her car in a closed garage. Many have died that way intentionally. As I explained about my queasy stomach and fatigue, he responded by saying, it eventually puts you to sleep. I didn’t have to ask what comes after sleep.


It didn’t hit me until much later that day. I kept saying, “I have used this fireplace for years, probably ten at least”. Then I recalled that stupid French door that kept stretching out of shape. It was so bizarre. Nothing could stop it. It may sound crazy, but its like protective hands kept pulling it apart so that fresh air came in and likely saved my life. In fact the odd shape of the gap looked like what you would picture if someone had put his hands right in the middle of the door and pulled them apart on purpose. It literally bowed in the middle. No human hands would be that strong. Could it have saved me from both the leak and the carbon monoxide that was building?

Well meaning people tried to fix the door. Sometimes well-meaning people are getting in the way of what you may really need or what God is trying to do to help you.

Lord, help us to trust you, even about what we complain. You may be saying our life.

3 years ago Never Give Up!


Do you ever get sick of the downs that come with the ups of life? We can be going through life, sometimes feeling content and even blessed, when suddenly life isn’t so rosy anymore. Sometimes we know why, sometimes we don’t. One of the most helpful books I have read in the last couple of years is, The Invisible War, by Chip Ingram. If you know me very well, you likely have heard me mention it.

Chip discusses his own spiritual attacks and how he has come to recognize the times we can almost expect an attack. These include times we are growing spiritually, getting ready to launch ministry attempts, or trying to expose the enemy.

We all sometimes need to remind ourselves that the reward of doing our assignments for the Lord outweighs the pain of the spiritual attacks. The attacks are attempts to either discourage us, get us to give up, or to punish us after we have put much effort into assignments.

I sure get sick of the attacks. It’s so important for us to remember that sometimes that cloud of doom, that yuck feeling, and almost ludicrous frustrations are spiritual attacks. When I finally wise up and sometimes sigh, “Oh yeah, I think Satan is just messing with me”, I can sometimes feel a little better. That doesn’t mean it just stops. Yet, it helps me to recognize the source. I know my Lord is greater and will faithfully help me.

I know that life here will involve ups and downs. Living in a fallen world will involve pain and frustrations. However, some of those will be strategic spiritual attacks. We need to be ready to stand firm with Jesus, never give up, and know that it will be worth it all in the end.

Months ago I signed up to host a radio program on Christian Women Affiliate, which is a blog radio program. That means people can listen to the program weekly on their computer by clicking into CWA radio.

I was excited to be able to share with others and to provide a program that will expose truths that might help others in their own spiritual war. In turn, my hope was that the program would provide a voice for others who would share their stories and insight on my program.

While I am still excited, the obstacles in getting up and running have been so ridiculous that I can’t help but believe that Satan is trying very hard to stop my efforts. I admit that more than once I had thought about calling the whole thing off and telling the CEO of the program that I had changed my mind.

Yet, I can’t seem to feel okay about quitting. Do you have aspirations for doing something for the Lord? Do you keep facing such obstacles that you get discouraged? If you do, I can’t begin to tell you how much I can relate.

Bottom line: I get sick of attacks. Heaven is going to be great in that we have no more attacks. Yet, I don’t think any of us will regret keeping on trying to do our assignments; but we will regret giving up for the wrong reasons.

3 years ago Significant in His Eyes

We have experiences early in life that may affect us so deeply that we carry the effects (good or bad) into adulthood. We are so vulnerable when we are young. We don’t have the experience to help us know how to sort fact from fiction. We sure don’t know that others who reject us don’t define us as being of no value.

We all have a need to belong and to feel significant. Yet, we all have had experiences that tell us we don’t belong and that we aren’t significant. I recall coming to school one day eager to meet up with my best friend since 4th grade. We were now in junior high and needing to cling even more to our friends who helped us feel secure in all the stress of trying to fit in.

When I found my friend, she was acting funny. She just kept looking at me in silence when I approached her. On each side of her was a girl who was a well-known athlete at our school. They seemed to be cushioning her between them as if they were her personal bodyguards. I didn’t know what to make of the situation and yet was soon to find out what was going on, although my friend never said a word.

One of the girls looked at me pointedly and stated, “She is going to be hanging with us now”. She made it clear that my best friend, who was now going to be their best friend, was dumping me. It was also clear that I didn’t belong with them. I guess I wasn’t cool enough.

I recall looking at my best friend, who I had shared so many experiences with since childhood. I had always thought that she adored me, like I did her. I had more fun with her than any of our other friends. Yet, now she just sat there, watching me as I struggled to know how to respond. I don’t recall saying anything. I just looked at her and them and exited the scene. Humiliated and full of embarrassment, I slunk away in silence.

For weeks, the pain hurt deeply. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Everyone had known the two of us as best friends since grade school. Everyone was in his or her respective click. I had other friends who allowed me to hang with them. Yet, it was awkward.

I don’t know what really happened that changed it all. Yet, several weeks later, she was back being my friend. It seems a blur and I still don’t recall how we got back as friends.

I have never forgotten the experience, although I don’t think it caused lasting damage. Yet, it was one of my first powerful glimpses of how people hurt each other. The flesh is selfish and our desire to be significant can lead us to reject others in our attempt to establish our importance. I had been naïve. I didn’t even think about someone who I trusted being so willing to discard me in such a hurtful way.

Can you relate? Do you relate more to having been rejected or having been the one who rejected and hurt someone else who trusted you? Either way, the Lord wants us to heal, to forgive, and to embrace our significance in His eyes.

3 years ago Christmas Forever!

Recently I ran into a friend who looked stunned as I talked of taking down my Christmas tree and decorations right after Christmas. She looked appalled and said that she likes to keep hers up for as long as possible. I softened the blow to her by admitting that I put my up weeks before Christmas and love enjoying the lights, tree, and special treasured décor.

Many feel let down after all the excitement of Christmas. Others are glad its over. Mason, my three-year-old grandson, is likely the most enamored with the Christmas tree and lights than any I have ever witnessed. He cried for hours when it was all being put up after Christmas. He didn’t understand why anyone would not love keeping all the Christmas fun going forever.

Even with all the commercialism, little Mason clearly understood that it was all because of Jesus. Over and over I heard him exclaim, “God gives anybody good gifts, thats sooooooo sweet!”

While we don’t know when Jesus was actually born, at least some still recognize Christmas as the time we designate to celebrate Jesus’ birth into humanity.

Somehow He seems to sometimes get lost amidst the presents, parties, food, and rush. I am amazed at how most of the Christmas décor and movies don’t even include Jesus.

Even with all the confusion, many enjoy Christmas. However, at the same time that many are rejoicing, many others are hurting, heartbroken, or fearful. I don’t want to ever get so caught up in my own joy that I forget about those who need encouragement and hope.

Because Jesus came into our broken world, because He hurt for us, and because He took our punishment, not only do we have hope, we can give others hope also.

My friend wanted to prolong the loveliness and glow of Christmas by keeping the tree and décor up for weeks. Instead, why can’t we keep it forever like little Mason wanted? We can by living each day remembering that Jesus’ birth into humanity outshines any Christmas magic portrayed in movies or by beauty we create with our lights, tinsel, and trees. Yes, Mason is right, we should never stop cherishing Christmas. Christmas is forever.

3 years ago WAR

If we lived in a war zone, with bombs blasting, enemy forces hiding in the bushes, and causalities all around us, we would be on guard at all times. We would be attuned to our surroundings and ready to react to enemy attack. Have you ever thought about those living in countries where this describes their lives?

Yet, we are all living in a war zone and most don’t even realize it. There is a spiritual war going on at all times. Attacks are happening and more attacks planned. We have a formidable enemy. We could live in fear at all times, if we focused on the horror of the war.

While we don’t want to live with a spirit of fear, we also don’t need to live with a blind heart and mind. Jesus clearly warned of the war and the cruelty of our enemy. More importantly, He assures our victory if we follow His lead, stay close to Him, and never give up.

Day after day, I hear others' struggles and pain from the war. But, day-by-day, I recognize the comfort and healing that the Lord offers. I rejoice that He provided the strategic war manual that guides us to victory. No wonder our enemy hopes we don’t open our Bibles, let alone study it, and definitely not follow its instructions.

3 years ago What do you associate Christmas with?

Many have said, “I love Christmas”, while many others said, “I hate Christmas”.
Why would anyone hate Christmas?

Some hate the crowds, stress, and commercialism. Others associate Christmas with their loss. They miss their loved one who has died and are not there to share the season. Many are reminded of their loneliness and dysfunction in their families, which is in stark contrast to the rosy Christmas cards, movies, and commercials.

I yearn to help them associate Christmas with life, forgiveness, and a loving Father who wants to spend eternity with us. Regardless of our pain in this life, Christmas represents the healing love of Christ. While we don’t know the exact birthday of Jesus, we should always recognize what His birth into humanity really means.

It means we are so loved that our Creator was willing to send His son into a world that would hurt Him deeply, treat Him cruelly, and provoke the only separation between them that ever existed. Yet, His willingness to send Him anyway knowing what was to come blows this mother’s heart. How could I bear to send my son into such?

If we can see the significance, we will always associate Christmas with hope.

3 years ago Touching God’s Heart

Recently, I received a long, detailed, and passionately written text from a woman I had given a gift. Whenever I started to give the gift, I hesitated because it seemed slightly extravagant for a birthday present. As I questioned myself, I succumbed to give it anyway, whether I felt like it was asking too much from myself or not.

I initially received a generous verbal thank-you from her. I didn’t really need big thanks from her to feel the joy that giving and obeying the leading of the Lord brings. I wanted her to be blessed and I knew that she could greatly use what I had given. I feel hesitant to even write about this experience since it looks as if I am bragging on myself. Believe me, I know that my humanness comes with great pockets of selfish. I frequently don’t give, as I should.

The woman’s long text came days later, as if the more she had thought of my giving, the more she felt thankfulness. She poured out her heart in the text, telling me details of her life, how my gift met needs and seemed to confirm how important she was to me. She went on to express how much she hoped and strives to be able to bless me back someday.

Even though I was already blessed by the contentment of giving, I never realized how much her specific and personal expression of thankfulness would touch my heart. It made me think of how much potential I have to touch God’s heart if I took the time and effort to be detailed and passionate in expressing my thankfulness to my Lord.

3 years ago Cling to Hope

As I looked into the young women’s face, her sadness was obvious. I ached with her as she vented her pain. Her voice sounded forlorn, yet resigned to her current situation. She quietly explained, “This is so far from how I had planned for my life to go. Its so different from how I pictured it.” She then went on to stun me with the revelation she shared. God too had felt, “This was not how I had planned. Its so different from what I had envisioned for humanity as I created them.”

Even the Almighty had faced the heartache of what He wanted twisted into something very different from what His heart desired. Can you relate?

We don’t envision our efforts to suddenly derail by a tragedy. We don’t envision our adorable toddler growing up to be destroyed by drugs. We don’t envision the one vowing to love us forever to suddenly stop and be done with us. We certainly don’t envision ourselves succumbing to a temptation that exemplifies the face of evil. How could this have happened?

While we don’t have all the answers here, we do have the main one we need. We all have the invitation to someday go to a place where no disappointments exist, no divine plans are derailed, and no temptations or evil mar our world. Jesus invites us all.

Until then, we need to cling to this hope.

3 years ago Thankful for Eternity’s Sake

I heard a minister today who asked a potent question. “If whatever you are thankful for today is what you will have to experience for eternity, what will your eternity be like?”

Wow. Do I even keep in mind all that are blessings that make up my life? Do I take them for granted, while I go from one challenge to the next? Even what some would consider small details, are gifts that enrich my life.

As a psychologist, I meet with people each day of my private practice who are coming for whatever hurts them. Some have horrendous pain, some have struggles that aren’t nearly so intense as others, yet all come with blessings too.

If whatever I am thankful for today is what I get assigned to me to experience for eternity, I have a long night ahead of me to begin the thankful list. How about you?

3 years ago Him and Him Alone

Why do we let others define how we see ourselves? We may think that we don’t do that. Yet, we do. I can picture faces of women, men, young and old with hurt clearly in their eyes. Much of the pain is from feeling bad about who they are. Sometimes it came from making bad decisions, of giving into sin, or of listening to the lies of Satan. Much was birthed from messages from peers who labeled them as less than, insignificant, or downright disgusting. We know that rejection from those we love injures our heart. Rejection from peers is sometimes overlooked as influential. Don’t underestimate the power that others' opinions have over how you see yourself. It’s even more important to take that power back. God alone has the right and the credibility to define us; Him and Him alone. He defines us as valuable, loved, and significant.

3 years ago A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry

Don't we all want to be happy and enjoy life? Yet, all kinds of influences hinder our quest to attain and keep a joyous life. One of the main reasons our joy gets overrun with pain comes from one of the most common problems that bring many clients to me for counseling. It is having someone they love living a destructive life and/or hurting with pain.

I have found it confusing when so many seem to emphasize how we Christians should always have a smile and be joyous. While I so agree that we have much to be joyous about: Our names written in the Book of Life, a Lord who adores us and wants to take care of us, and a merciful Savior who is so forgiving. Who wouldn't be joyous when attuned to such truths?

Yet, Isaiah said that Jesus was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief. Have you ever wondered what He grieved about? I think He grieved about much of what many Christians grieve about. The effects of evil, the hurt of others, the lost who don't even realize that they need a savior. How can we be only on cloud nine all the time, when so many are bound with sin, deceived, and without hope? We may be one of the blessed who have wonderful loving parents, great kids, and a family like on the Christmas cards where everyone looks so kind and happy. Yet, most don't. We all love someone who is a mess, hurting, and it grieves us.

I know that the Lord came to give us life abundantly. We need to embrace such. We also need to grieve. Its not just the smiling and obviously happy Christian who witnesses to me and the world. Its the weeping one who hurts for others. They both reflect God's love for humanity.

3 years ago Mercy

One of the greatest challenges of life is motivating ourselves to resist expressing our character flaws, while still having the grace and tenderness that defines loving our selves. Recently I hurt for a friend who poured out her pain and self-condemnation as she talked of repeatedly failing at self-discipline in a certain area of life. I sensed her disgust toward herself and how she felt that she deserved no mercy since she had repeatedly vowed to do better, yet slipped back into old bad habits.

I found the sweetest mercy filling my heart as I yearned to help her enjoy the relief and healing that comes whenever we embrace Jesus’ grace and forgiveness. Maybe I could relate so deeply because I had messed up repeatedly in the same area she had. Oh how I need that same mercy and grace toward myself, while still seeking the Lord’s help to do better.

Can you relate?

3 years ago Relax & Be in this Moment

Being in the moment is likely one of the most difficult mental states to not just achieve, but to maintain. We tend to either keep thinking of what’s to come; trying to plan or worry about the future, or dwell on the past and what has already happened, either good or bad. Yet, all the while, God reminds us, “I got this”.

I was reading in Psalms 33, where we are reminded that we don’t have the power to save ourselves. When we realize that the Lord loves and wants to take care of us, we are able to relax, be in the moment and allow Him to watch over us and to keep us safe. That’s hard for our human mind to do whenever we see all the pain and destruction in our world.

If we believe that we have to take complete care of ourselves and loved ones, that pressure is too much for our soul to take. While we need to make wise decisions and do our part, we were never meant to think that we could carry all the weight. I yearn to recognize what God is whispering all through the Psalms: “I love you and want to care for you. Relax, knowing and trusting Me”.

3 years ago The Grace of Looking Ahead

Recently, we went on a absolutely wonderful cruise. We had been anticipating it for months and were so excited to be experiencing it with several family members. While we had a great time, I found myself feeling the blues when I got home. It wasn’t just going from such sun, fun, and excitement to dreary cold rainy weather. It wasn’t just going back to routines and taking care of myself instead of having others serving me.

Instead, I believe some of the blues was from the recognition of how much I ignored God and the opportunities to be a light to others while I was busy having fun on the cruise. I mingled with people from all over the world and yet, I had missed many opportunities to plant a seed about Jesus.

I don’t mean that I wished I had been an intrusive Christian who pushes his or her preaching on others. However, we always need to keep in mind what is really important and how temporary our life on earth really is. The delights and heartaches are just brief flicks in the big picture of eternity.

Do we lift up a silent prayer for those around us, like the hassled mother running after her toddler, the drunken man trying to prove he still can party, or the miserable clerk who is easily recognized as hating his job and life?

I so appreciate the grace of my Lord. I was reading in Luke 22:31 of how Jesus was warning Peter of his upcoming denial of Him. One of Jesus statements seemed to jump off the page. “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail: and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” What really touched me was the phrase, “and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Jesus was already looking beyond Peter’s failure and his turning away from Christ to whenever he would return. He was already encouraging him to minister to others. How much I can relate to Peter. We don’t have to deny Christ to have walked away and ignored the Lord. And yet what grace and hope to know that Jesus is already looking ahead for us to return and be used in the kingdom.

3 years ago Real Treasure or "a hill of beans"

I recall the years of studying psychological theories while in graduate school. Many described how people develop beliefs early in life about what’s important. While those beliefs may change over our life span, we aim for what we have established as important or what we believe will make us happy and significant. It might be fame and admiration from others. That might come from physical beauty, athleticism, intellect, wealth, or some great talent.

Have you ever wondered why the Lord described the Kingdom of Heaven as a hidden treasure in Matthew 13:44-46? Jesus emphasizes that the one who found the treasure saw it as worth more than anything he had. Similarly, if we could recognize and understand the fullness of an intimate relationship with the Lord and the hope of eternity with Him, all would pale in comparison and importance.

I wonder why we sometimes live as if we lose sight of the treasure after it has been found. Its like our eyes get caught by some other fancy and the next thing we know we are caught up in chasing some temporary prize that eventually won’t matter “a hill of beans” as we say in the South. Even though we may still love God, we may start putting more effort and zeal in our earthy pursuits.

Its like we need regular reminders like Solomon proclaimed after he had had it all. All here is vanity---or in other words it won’t matter “a hill of beans”. Loving God is the real treasure.

3 years ago Blessed

Do you ever get just plain sick and tired of the frustration woven into such a fallen world? Stupid rules that only exist because of someone’s greed; losing our calm because of our own mistakes; and just the pressure of trying to stay ahead of the next unexpected calamity. Life can be merrily going along with sunshine and smiles and suddenly intrusions come that remind us of God’s creation colliding with curses.


My day seemed destined for joy and purpose. Somewhere at the end of the afternoon, the intrusions came. It wasn’t traumatic, and some might even say, “What was the big deal? Why did you get so upset over the events?”

I guess it was just disappointing to be so aware of the blessings of life and then be blindsided with junk. Misunderstandings, disappointed at my own reactions to such, and hurt by the reactions of others who were stressed in their own life.

Sometimes I yearn more than other times for Heaven. No more frustrations, misunderstandings, hurt, or disappointments. No greed and no pressure. We won’t ever even be disappointed with ourselves since we will be fully who were designed to be. Just pondering on such resets my attitude. Yes, I am blessed.

3 years ago How’s your Sight?


It seems the older I get, the poorer my eyesight. While I am immensely glad that glasses make me be able to see hundreds of times better, I find it amusing that our physical sight tends to worsen with age, while our spiritual vision gets better. Many who boasted with great eyesight when young, end up with glasses as they go over the hump into the second decade of life.

I recall how sharp my husband’s eyesight was during much of our marriage. While I was the one plagued with glasses or contacts since childhood, he almost seemed to gloat over his exceptional vision. Decades later, I watched humorously as he squinted and resisted admitting that he needed glasses.

Just as he didn’t want to admit that his vision was declining and that he needed aid to see well enough for many tasks, we sometimes don’t want to admit our spiritual visual decline. Getting older doesn’t always bring us improved vision.

Yet, for so many of my counseling clients who are over fifty, I recognize that they have sharper spiritual vision. They may be hurting or struggling, yet they seem to see life more accurately. They recognize what’s important, see God more accurately, and are more likely to see the attacks coming instead of being blindsided.

What makes our spiritual vision get better with age? Admitting we need help to see and willing to seek such from the Lord promotes our vision.

My last counseling client today was also my oldest. As she told of decades of living, she also demonstrated her growing vision. She talked of realizing how much God truly adored her, cherished her, and wanted to protect her. She talked of the shame she had carried in life and how she has realized how much the Lord wanted the shame replaced with grace. She also shared of how she is recognizing that the enemy wants her to carry shame, blame, and fear, while her Lord wants her to soar with victory.

Wow! What great sight. How do I improve on that vision? No spiritual glasses needed from me. Even if we see better with age, we still sometimes suffer, need a listening ear, and someone to clean the smudges from our glasses.

3 years ago Still Enlisted

I just spoke at a seniors’ life group last night. As I looked into the crowd, I saw a room full of faces showing decades of having lived. I wondered what their journeys have involved. Who had suffered greatly, had any of them been jilted at the altar, had anyone done amazing feats, and had they been a light to those around them? It was overwhelming to contemplate the vastness of experiences that were represented in this room.

Many couldn’t hear well, some couldn’t even drive after dark due to failing eyesight, and others needed canes or wheelchairs. Yet, here they sat, eager to hear a word about their Lord or how to advance in the spiritual war.

I’m sure many had regrets; yet, I could tell that they are the veterans of the war. Each life there had its own story to tell. While I am not far behind them in age, I wonder if I will be a seasoned veteran who will still be enlisted at their age. Will I decide that its time to withdraw and fade into the background? Will I still be trying to make a difference in the war?

Their attentiveness and eagerness to keep being used to reach others for Christ was contagious. Their eyes seemed to say it all: Never be fooled into thinking that your assignments are up as long as you are on this side of eternity.

3 years ago Who am I? Who are you?

How do we know who we really are? I know that sounds like one of those weird philosophical questions. Yet, it seems so strange to recognize that we don’t really know how we would have turned out if we experienced differently in life. We are so influenced by those we encounter in life, from parents, friends, media, and peers. How much of our thinking, behavior, feelings, and attitudes are products of our experiences with others. Are we just an outcome from our own personal socialization?

Have others defined how we see ourselves? Who was I intended to be? Surely our Creator had plans for us. If we aren’t enlightened enough to realize that God is real and that He planned intimately and individually for each of us, we leave ourselves vulnerable to getting greatly derailed from His plan.

We must realize that there is evil and Satan is a devastating force targeted to the great derailment of our life, much like a missile locked on to its target that’s set for destruction.

Yet all the while, God is striving to lead us into His divine plan. If we don’t realize that we have the potential to follow His course to our destiny, we wander with misguided lives. How sad. We may never become who we were truly meant to be. I may live not as the real me. You may not either. Who am I? Who are you?

3 years ago He Does Everything Grand

I recall with wonder the warm summer nights spent playing in the yard at my grandparents' house as the grown-ups sat on the front porch visiting. It seems like another world that is foreign to those under the age of fifty. People actually just visited each other, sitting on the porch, while the kids played in the yard. One of us kids’ greatest adventures was catching lightening bugs.

The glow from them fascinated me as I watched their sparks light up our dark nights. It intrigued me that God would make such remarkable creatures who would live so briefly. While they could fly through the air and magically glow with wonder, they were so helpless and easy to catch that even small children could keep them captive or kill them for play.

I think of my own life and realize that mine is so much longer, yet compared to eternity is but a blink. Why would God put so much trouble into you and I whenever we can’t even breathe without His permission? Why would He pour Himself into our destiny, grieve for our pain, and sacrifice for our redemption?

What a remarkable God! The giver of life, from glowing lightening bugs, to people, He does everything grand.


3 years ago How are You?

When greeting others, why do we ask, “How are you?” Do we really expect them to tell us? Do we really want to know? What if they were truly honest or what if we were truly honest when asked the same question? I can only imagine the type of answers we would give and the ones we would hear. They sure wouldn’t always be the standard, “Fine” or “Good”,

Yet, the Lord really wants to know how we are doing. While He already knows, I believe He still likes us to talk to Him about how we are doing and even to ask how is He doing.

While we may think God is always great, don’t we realize that He also feels? Jesus grieved, got angry, and felt pain. I can only imagine how hurt the Lord sometimes feels by those who act cruelly or by those who are in great pain.

How are you doing Lord? Are you feeling left out or rejected? Do you feel like no one really wants you? Haven’t we all felt those ways too at times?

How are you really? Get honest with yourself and with the one who really always wants to know.

3 years ago Lighting the Path

I get excited whenever I have a young person come in for counseling. Its not that I am glad that they are having problems, but since we all struggle at times, I am thrilled that they are seeking help. Even though many have been set up for counseling because a parent or other concerned adult orchestrated it, I still have the opportunity to help.

As I listen to their stories, I frequently think, wow, I wish I had dealt with some of the same issues as they are bringing up when I was their age. I might have avoided stupid pitfalls, made better decisions, and accomplished more.

My hope is that I will not only provide them a safe place to explore their feelings, but also that I will equip them with insight and truth that they will use throughout life.

Since they have their whole life ahead of them, the more insight they have, the more they are equipped to live wisely. I realize that being young, they have to learn from their own experiences. In turn, just because we have insight doesn’t mean we always follow it.

Yet, I know that if I can plant some nuggets, they may use them to influence their life direction. If they recognize that people, including the almighty peers, don’t define our value, what protection from derailment is available? If they learn how to self-sooth, how to recognize unhealthy thinking, how to seek great counsel and wisdom when making decisions, and most importantly, what’s really important about how we live our life, their life will go in very different directions than it will without such knowledge.

I know that decades of living have usually been required for such learning. I find it ironic that by the time I gained needed wisdom; I had already made the big decisions, raised my children, and lived most of my years.

As I look into those youthful eyes looking to me as their counselor, part of me realizes that they too will have to live decades of learning sometimes from great suffering. Yet, the other part of me feels excited and honored that God has given me an opportunity to implant understanding, encouragement, and powerful truths that will light the path.

3 years ago Getting to the Other Side of Pain

I used to work in a psychiatric hospital for children. It was amazing that children could be so emotionally/mentally disturbed that they would be hospitalized sometimes for up to a year. While they were able to go home on the weekends, they had no contact with the world outside the hospital during the week.

I worked there over thirty years ago and have wondered many times about what happened to the children. Now grown, do they still struggle with their emotions and behavior? Did they come to know that God had a great plan for them and that their stay in the hospital was only a brief chapter?

We all have had some chapters in our lives that we didn’t enjoy. Some we may have buried so deep that we don’t even recall them. Yet, they still may fuel our behavior in hurtful ways.

After counseling others for decades, I still haven’t come up with a way to fully describe why allowing ourselves to feel the emotions birthed from having been hurt and expressing them with a safe and supportive person promotes healing. Yet, it does. I am not sure why and how either. It doesn’t change what happened to us, but it does change how it affects and hinders our life.

It takes courage to do that kind of healing. We may not want to stir up painful memories and feelings. Why would we enjoy experiencing them over and over? Yet, this kind of healing requires facing and feeling the pain, the anger, the shame, and whatever other emotions and memories are trapped within us.

This type of healing is aimed at only the past that sill haunts or hinders our current life. We all have painful parts of our past that are woven into our current life. Some past hurt makes us more compassionate, wise, and useable to the Lord.

Other hurt may isolate us from God and others, may fuel destructive emotions and behavior, may torment our mind, and give Satan more power to influence our direction. This hurt must be faced in order to rid its progressive effect over our life.

This reminds me of how infection can invade our physical body. Whenever I was about ten, I noticed a small scab on my shin that was itching. As I scratched at it, I tore off the scab. I hadn’t even known that the injury was there until the slight itch got my attention. I was stunned as I looked at the yellow pus underneath where the scab had been.

Even as a kid, I knew that there was something in there that had to come out. I saw the tip of a splinter that was surrounded by the pus. As I tried to get the splinter out, it began to hurt. I found it odd that it hadn’t been even hurting until I tried to get the splinter out. While part of me wished I had just left it alone, I knew that if that splinter didn’t come out, the infection was going to get worse. The pus was already oozing.

I also knew that if I would be brave and bear the hurt, it would heal and quit hurting after I got the splinter and all that infection out. I knew deep down that it was a good thing that I had noticed the slight itch and had scratched off the scab, even if it made me face pain. If I hadn’t of, I would have faced more pain and possible destruction in the future.

I don’t think I was an extra smart kid to have instinctively known these things. Yet, it seems more difficult for us as adults to understand how the same process applies to emotional wounds that are deep within us of which we may or may not be aware.

When we notice the wounds, will we intentionally go after getting all that hurt out, like that splinter and growing infection I had in my shin? It might hurt, but the courage to heal will be ours as we understand that we can survive and we will be better on the other side of all the pain.


3 years ago "Bone Tired"

Have you ever heard the phrase, “bone tired”? I have vented with a sigh, “I’m so bone tired”! I guess the person who came up with that was trying to emphasize that the fatigue was so pervasive that it had penetrated through the outer layers of soft flesh, tissue, and organs and had bore through the hardest, solid, and longest lasting part of us; our bones. The bones are the last remains of a person to disintegrate after death.

What do we do when bone tired? Beyond the first line responses to get more sleep, eat better, and exercise, we need to make sure there is not some other undiscovered medical problem. Similarly, beyond our physical condition, we sometimes need to get a thorough exam of our emotional and spiritual condition. If discouraged, we need encouragement. If grieving, we need compassion and hope. If rejected, we need acceptance. If deceived, we need truth. If guilty, we need forgiveness. Whatever the condition, there is a remedy that the Lord provides.

I have sometimes been so bone tired, that I feel too weak to pursue my remedy that I know is there. I may just muster a frail, “Help me Lord”. He is so much more kind and patient than me. I don’t sense His harsh, “Oh you can do better than that”. Yet, I sometimes confuse my own critic or the accuser, Satan, with the Lord. “You are so lazy, you need to . . ..”

If you are bone tired, I encourage you with Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

3 years ago Dreams

Have you ever felt like just giving up on a dream you thought God had given you for your life? I have listened as dynamic motivational speakers, including television preachers, have passionately proclaimed that God wants and will give you your dream if you don’t give up. Do you sometimes struggle like I do with thoughts such as, “How do I know this dream was from God or if it was just a dream I had?” Even if it was just my dream, does that mean that God wants or condones that dream for me?

When I have heard some television preachers talk of such, some don’t seem to point out the possibility that we might have dreams that were not ones God wanted for us. They don’t have to be sinful dreams to be ones that God doesn’t want for us. Ours just might be different from His in that they would take us away from God’s plans and dream.

Does God really want me to start that business? Does God want me to wait for that person to come back to me? Does God want me to pursue a singing career, buy that house, or launch this ministry? Whatever your dream, don’t we all want to know if God backs or even ordains that dream?

Tonight I was feeling the discouragement of facing another obstacle in the way of my dream. Maybe this dream isn’t what God wanted me to pursue anyway. Maybe that’s why I keep hitting brick walls with my efforts.

Sometimes we don’t need to give up. We have an adversary that will never give up as long as he is allowed to hassle and hurt our efforts. With that in mind, we must seek the direction of the Lord in either affirming His approval of our dream or His tender reassurance that He has a great dream, but one different from the one we are focused upon. In doing so, I remind myself that being in a fallen world with evil ever trying to hinder our efforts means that we cannot assume that God is leading us by circumstances. Instead, having that gut feeling, inward witness, peace or distress points the way. He wants our dream to be His dream and His dream to be ours.

3 years ago The Pain of Betrayal

Betrayal has to be one of the most painful hurts of life. I guess I could label myself as an expert on hurt since my career of over thirty years has been to try to help others with their pain. Being a counselor has involved hearing stories that display from minor to devastating pain.

Betrayal is like rejection, but has some important differences. We all will experience some rejection in life. Betrayal is where we have already established a relationship of acceptance and trust before the rejection occurred. Having loved and been loved by someone creates an emotional vulnerability to that person. When betrayal occurs, devastation comes. It is like a personal attack that redefines our realty. This person has already come to know us. The closer and more deep the commitment has been, the more painful the betrayal.

Have you every experienced betrayal from someone who loved you deeply at one time? If so, you can relate to why it is described as one of life’s most painful hurts. You may feel, “Why was I not valuable enough to maintain their love, devotion, and trust?” “Did they ever really love me?”

I encourage you with truth. You are valuable and worthy of love. Why do I know this? Because our Creator and the Lord of Life itself says so. If anyone knows the depth of hurt from betrayal it is Jesus. You are in great company.

3 years ago The Best Antidepressant Ever!

Have you ever had those moments where you are intently aware of the profound hurt in the world? While we may feel loved and experience many joys in life, we can’t live long without the awareness of the devastating effects of the fall.

Broken and diseased bodies, cruel words and actions of people, tragedies, and waves of despair invaded our Garden of Eden long ago and continue to prevail. Being in the midst of others’ difficulties comes with the territory of a psychologist. While I love trying to help, I am also aware that someone is hurting at all times, even during our times of great joy.

Yet, I am hopeful, while stuck in a world not immune to evil and hurt. Believing in a God who has a plan for redemption is the backdrop on which to focus when life’s hurtful moments sneak in. The reminder that when our temporary bodies die, we can live forever where no evil or hurt exists is the best antidepressant ever!

3 years ago Top Ten List

What do you think would be the top ten problems that plague our emotional and spiritual health? Many come to mind. At this moment, I am so aware of our universal preoccupation with comparing ourselves to others and never feeling good about who we are.
    I’m not talking about not wanting to work on healthy self-improvement or thinking we are righteous in and outside of Christ.
    I’m referring to how we begin to compare early in life and from thereafter are prone to jealousy and to not being content with our own individuality. We want our straight hair curly or our curly hair to be straight. We want to be taller, shorter, smarter, or more gifted musically. We may want spiritual gifts different than those God gave us. We might someone else’s personality. The list is endless.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we just were content and even pleased with how God chose to create us?
    

3 years ago Banning "in love"; replacing with "infatuation"

Many marriages are doomed to fail because of the phrase “in love”. I can’t count how many people I have counseled who wanted to end their marriage because they were no longer “in love” with their mate. They would say, “I love my mate, but I am no longer “in love”. Oh how I wish that we would ban the phrase “in love” and replace it with the more accurate word “infatuation”. What we mean by “in love” is actually infatuation.

The movies and media fill our heads with this idea that we are supposed to feel infatuated our whole lives. However, they call it “in love” so that we fall for such a notion. Most of us would understand that we don’t stay infatuated. We know that infatuation is a temporary state. We meet someone and feel the excitement of physical attraction, newness, and the challenge of getting that person to want us too. We don’t seem to notice the person’s unattractive features, body odor, and bad habits. Instead, we are so caught up in the thrill of the chase that the person is above all that.

Researchers have found that the human brain puts out chemicals that produce effects kind of like cocaine whenever we are infatuated, or what the movies and world call “in love”. Research also indicates that the average length of such effects in the brain is about two years. While this high that is produced in the brain feels great, it is not meant to last.

However, true love can last a lifetime, if fueled by a healthy spiritual life. Yet a healthy spiritual life doesn’t just happen. We have to make choices and be intentional to develop and keep a healthy spiritual life. We also have to be intentional and make choices to develop and keep a healthy love for our mate.

If I could only start a petition to ban “in love” and replace it with “infatuation” how many would understand the significance of such a change. We want to believe infatuation is a state of love and that we are supposed to feel that way forever. Yet, if we did, how would we do what we need to do?

Infatuation makes us stay up into the wee hours of the night flirting and talking, when our body needs rest for the next day’s tasks. Infatuation makes us neglect our studies, work, and sometimes even God so that we can be with the one who makes our world spin.

Instead, true love leads us to overlook our mate’s flaws as we continue to be faithful. True love leads us to forgive even when we don’t think our mate deserves it. True love means we continue to cherish, even when the belly is rounded instead of flat and the face is wrinkled instead of smooth. Mostly, true love makes us care more about our mate being ready for the next life than him or her trying to make our temporary life what we want.

3 years ago The "What if" Disorder

As a psychologist I am trained to diagnose mental disorders. I realize that we all have some tendencies towards different disorders. We may be prone to negative thinking and seeing the glass half empty, yet not clinically depressed. We may be prone to anger, yet not meet the criteria for intermittent explosive disorder. We could find some behaviors we display from time to time of most any disorder we pick.

I find that most of us suffer at some time in our life from what I call the “What if Disorder”. It is characterized by excessive anxiety and tension brought on by contemplating painful life events that would be experienced if some dreaded event happened. Many creative and imaginative thinkers are more prone to “What if” thinking.

What if my spouse cheats on me? What if that pain is actually cancer? What if I don’t learn that new computer program at work? What if I can’t pay my bills in a few months? What if I flunk out of school? What if I am never happy? What if I don’t find a mate? The list of “What ifs” is endless.

The prevalence of the “What if” disorder keeps my private practice full. This doesn’t imply that I take the pain it causes lightly. In fact, I have suffered much distress from the “What if” syndrome myself. I periodically need to ingest promises from the Bible to help counteract my “What if” thinking.

As I encourage my clients, I know that what I suggest applies to me too. Most of what we worry about never happens and if it did, we could and would survive. In turn, the Lord’s sweet Spirit comforts our hurts. Even if we died, we have the opportunity to live forever in glory if we so choose Jesus. Lastly, “What if” I decide to believe what the Word tells me: I am loved, destined to Heaven, forgiven, and protected by a loving God. What a great "What if!"

4 years ago Looking Ahead

    Little Morgan, my 9-month-old granddaughter slept with me last night. As she lay sleeping in my arms, I examined her sweet face and began to wonder about her future. She looked so comfortable and at peace.

    "You have no idea of the pain and joy you will experience in your life. You don’t even know to contemplate about your future. But I do."

    Counseling others for decades, I have been involved in the struggles of others’ lives. Walking with others through tragedies, betrayals, fear, and depression is what I do. I can’t count how many times people have let me know that they would hate what I do---that they wouldn’t want to hear all the pain.

    I don’t feel that way at all. I can’t imagine not loving what I do. I don’t expect to retire. I don’t enjoy people hurting. Yet, I know we will all face pain in this fallen world, just as little Morgan will.

    Being able to let others know that someone cares about their pain and helping them find healing is one of the greatest joys. I believe we were created to want to make a difference, to reflect the love of our creator.

    I give a last squeeze to little Morgan before having to get up and face the day. I know she will experience hurt that we who love her can’t protect her from. But, I also know that she will have people who care, a God who adores her, and His sweet spirit that will love on her when she is hurting. She will also experience the love and fellowship of relationships.

    It’s so important to not think of the future without also including the Lord.

4 years ago Why we all can love Christmas

While many of us love the Christmas season, many don't. Have you ever wondered why some people say, "I hate Christmas", "I wish Christmas was over"? When I hear such statements, I automatically wonder why. I find my mind scanning the most common reasons people associate Christmas with displeasure. For some, they feel even more reminded of their own loneliness, family dysfunction, and broken relationships as the Christmas movies, songs, and cards talk of love and family. Others are reminded of how broke they are and feel the stress of trying to buy gifts that they can't afford. Some have hurtful memories associated with Christmas---drunken fights and family discord.

Even though I realize that being in a fallen world has caused pain and damage, everyone can associate Christmas with absolute wonder and joy if they recognize why Christmas ever came about in the first place. When we recognize that the big deal about Christmas is that Jesus provided the way to live forever where we will never be hurt again, it takes on the meaning that provoked all the attention in the first place. I past a church sign that said it well: "God gave the gift, Mary wrapped the gift, will we receive the gift?

4 years ago How well do we love?

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to just love better than others? They seem to be more willing to sacrifice: to let the other person have the bigger piece of pie, the best seat, or the last word. I wonder if those around me were instructed to watch my actions to determine how well I love others, what would they see?

Today I went on a girls trip and it was a blast! We sisters, cousins, in laws, nieces, and aunts all shopped till we dropped. I found myself watching others and noticed so many acts of kindness, my heart was encouraged. Sometimes amidst the greed and cruelty of the world, its difficult to believe that there's still some who live with love guiding their actions.

Lord, help me love like you do. There's no greater medicine, no greater power, and no greater gift than love.

4 years ago Life changing moments? Choose to Believe.

Our life can change profoundly in an instant. That frightening diagnosis that came out of nowhere, that stunning rejection and betrayal from someone we would never have expected it from, or that crushing sin we just committed - such can turn our life upside down. How can this be happening to me? We all will feel this way some time in our life. We may think "its just me". Yet, its not.

Oh that we have hope, someone who cares, and the willingness to pursue the true lover of our soul. You may or may not feel that you have someone who cares. Yet, we all really do. Jesus cares even for those who don't even believe He exists. I appreciate that Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe in me who have never seen me." He knew that it would be difficult for us to believe whenever we haven't seen Him, touched His hand, or watched His movements as He walked the earth. I have resolved myself that I must choose to believe, choose to be intentional with my thoughts, and give myself permission to fuel the hope that comes from what the Word tells me about my future. I can't just expect to naturally believe with my human mind with no effort and intentionality on my part.

Making choices to believe makes dealing with those life changing moments possible.

4 years ago The Power of Words

I wonder how many times we have made a comment to someone that we never knew had a profound effect on his or her life. Today I had an eye opening experience. A woman tearfully informed me that a statement I had made to her following her husband’s tragic, sudden death had been what she had repeatedly replayed and clung to in attempt to survive. As she made the statement, I wondered, what had I said?

It amazed me to realize that I could not even remember making a statement that had actually been so powerful to someone else. Yet, I immediately remembered making the statement as soon as she reminded me of it. “He’s more alive than he’s ever been”, I had declared.

Life has so many challenges and opportunities for hurt to strike us. Life also has opportunities daily for us to make statements that will either injure or promote comfort and encouragement. Today’s encounter prompted me to be more intentional with my words. Recognizing the power of words is essential in being who we were created to be. The old saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Who came up with that anyway?

Yet I realize how absolutely wonderful it is to know that we each have the potential to be a powerhouse for promoting healing, health, and joy in other’s journey. Mark my words --- its true.

4 years ago The Wind Beneath Our Wings

Remember the passionate and beautiful song, "The Wind Beneath my Wings"? Every time I heard that song, I couldn't help but be emotionally connected and moved by what the singer was declaring. The song's whole message was directed at acknowledging someone who had propelled the singer's life for good. The singer declares, "Did you ever know that you're my hero" and "you are the wind beneath my wings". The singer is passionately recognizing that this hero had been the force that had led to her ability to soar.

Although I always loved that song, I was also slightly bothered by the lyrics. At first they sound so loving and good. Yet, how can we identify another fallible human being as being the source for our life victories, our reason for soaring, and as our hero? People can bless our lives and influence us in amazing ways. My mom has been that for me. Yet, Jesus Christ is the only true hero and the only one who can be the wind beneath our wings.

I recently was honored to lead a conference on "Uncovering: The Real You, The Real God, and The Real Enemy. Without giving the cory details, let me say that I felt attacked greatly the weeks before the conference. Satan did not want me to do the conference and if he couldn't get me to stop, he at least wanted to make me ineffective. A number of distractions were hurled my way.

Days before the conference, I found myself excited, yet concerned about being effective in speaking; making the conference interesting, yet also helpful. I had asked God numerous times to help me, to actually speak through me, and to bring those He wanted there to be there. Yet, I still found thoughts creeping in, "Will they be bored?" "Will I ramble?", "Will they even get anything out of it?"

Finally, close to conference time, I came to a focussed and simple stance that put my thoughts in perspective. "God, I just want to say whatever you want said, no more, no less. I want You to be pleased; thats all that matters."

It's as if that declaration set the stage for me that God was pleased. If I could live life like that: "God, let me please you. Some might like it, some may not, some may not give a rip one way or the other. Yet if You are pleased, that's all that matters."

Yet, don't we all like others to be pleased? Several kind folk gave me sweet words of approval following the conference. I was so thrilled to know that God had ministered through me. While their words felt great to hear, I knew who was the source of any good done from my efforts. He wants to be the wind beneath all of our wings if we want Him, we seek Him, and we acknowledge Him as the Wind. He is my Hero!

4 years ago "But not Now"

Day after day I listen as people tell me of their pain. The stories cover the gamut of harm that comes from living in a fallen world. How do I understand? So many had cried out to you for help Lord. So many had been victimized and suffered cruel harm while they tried to live by your precious Word. Why did you let all this happen? Where were you Lord?

Suddenly, scenes begin to come to my mind. I recognized that the Lord was leading me to replay the most painful chapter of my life, one scene at a time. I see my precious 2 and a half-year-old daughter with tubes sticking out of her tiny body as she lay helplessly in a hospital bed. Another, she is wailing as I hold her down as she is subjected to a painful ordeal during cancer treatment. Another, I am holding her as they come to take her to surgery. Another, I am holding her head as she pukes for hours after receiving the poison chemotherapy. I watch scene after scene in my mind, even though I am not trying to remember them. I also realize that there are so many more that exist that aren’t included in my replay.

Why are you having me to relive at all this pain Lord? . . . . . . Then I get it. Every scene, every painful ordeal that my daughter endured in her fight with cancer involved me. I was in every scene. I actually was the one taking her to each and every horrid procedure. I recall my obsession with being with her for it all. I couldn’t make it painless, but I was determined that she would at least have her mother with her through it all. Now I realize that I was associated with all the pain; the one taking her to have it all done to her.

“Why did she trust you”, I sensed the Lord ask. Without even thinking, I responded, “She knew I loved her, there must be a reason why I was doing it.” At two and three years old, there was no way I could explain to her about tumors, chemotherapy, blood tests, surgeries, radiation and such. Yet, she loved and trusted her momma.

“I get it Lord”! She didn’t have to understand or know why I was subjecting her to such pain. She just knew that I loved her, that I would always be with her, and that there must be a reason for it all.

My personal lesson from the Lord went on to include reviewing one of the most powerful verses in the Bible in the war with my mind. As my mind struggles to still see God as real and loving in the mist of all this unexplained pain, I read I Corinthians 13: 12, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." (NKJV)

Again, the Lord helped me with one of the greatest struggles in life: How to believe and trust God with so many unanswered questions. It’s not a coincident that this verse is in the famous love chapter. Maybe God knew that we would be prone to doubt His love whenever we were faced with pain we didn’t understand. The passage also included verses describing how whenever a child, I thought as a child, but whenever a man, I put away childish things. As a child, my daughter thought as a child and wasn’t able to think and understand as an adult. As an adult, she has emphasized her amazement and appreciation for what I went through in trying to help and be there for her in her fight to live through cancer. Now, she understands, she knows fully. As a child, she went on faith—faith that her mom loved her even though she didn’t understand why she had to be subjected to such painful events.

I’m like that two year old who doesn’t understand many things here in my world. I wonder if God hurts knowing that He can’t explain in such a way that this two year old could understand. Thanks Father for helping me keep knowing you love me, you will be there for me, and that someday I will understand it all----but not now.

4 years ago Passing Days

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were startled to realize how much of your life is over? Its like you have been so busy surviving the days, dealing with the issues at hand; even the good ones, that you just didn’t realize how many days have turned into years and years that have turned into decades.
    I had one of those moments today. I realized that my daughter is going to be turning 30 in a few days. It feels like I should be only in my thirties instead of fifties. Its not that I mind getting older; I have actually loved the freedom that comes with age. I embrace elastic waistbands, love flat shoes, and don’t take more than about 5 minutes to do my hair and make-up.
    Yet, I feel the urgency of time running out. I don’t think of all the goals of youth like getting a mansion, traveling the world, or achieving a fortune. Instead, I wonder if I have done anything to affect eternity. How many opportunities did I squander where I could have ministered to someone who no one loved, where I could have shared my message of hope to someone hopeless, or I could have enlightened someone headed down a path of danger.
    It seems that I just deal with the next task at hand much of the time. Can you relate? “Lord, help me not miss the chances you give me to be your hands, your mouthpiece, and your tenderness.”

4 years ago The War for Our Destiny

We were thrilled as we looked upon our tiny twin granddaughters for the first time. Most people seem to want their twins to be identical. Yet my daughter wanted hers to be fraternal, with different physical features and personalities. Five months later it seems that she is getting her wishes come true. Mallory is dark headed with full lips and a zest for adventure. She takes on a curious and eager gaze as stimuli present before her. Even her two-year-old brother doesn’t seem to scare her, even though he has playfully caused slight bumps and hurtful squeezes.
    Fair headed little Morgan is quite different. Born a minute later, her personality seems more like the timid follower. While she coos and smiles as others approach, she appears more cautious and definitely more on guard as her brother approaches. She seems to remember his impulsive and sometimes painful attempts to hug her. Her more delicate features seem to match her more quiet and hesitant countenance.
    We parents are front row viewers of the journey that our children take as they develop into who they are going to be. As each of us holds our newborn and gaze into his or her face, we likely don’t even register how risky his or her journey will be. We don’t think about the war for our children’s’ destiny that is taking place from their conception. As we gaze adoringly, we don’t picture him or her as a strung out drug addict, as a selfish and arrogant man, as a depressed and defeated woman, or as an angry and vindictive adult. We don’t contemplate them filled with worry and fear, as feeling rejected by others, or full of self-hatred.
    Similarly, our Creator didn’t picture us as cursed and dejected either. He had great plans for us, like we do for our children. Yet, the journey to become who God had intended us to be will be filled with forces that impede our growth and development. The frustrations of life, the hurt from other people, and the frailty of our own bodies can challenge our progression. The most deadly risk comes from evil itself. While God’s plans are for us to prosper to reflect the splendor of his character, Satan’s devices are to derail us into painful and destructive people who reflect his cruel traits or to be defeated, frightened, and sad.
    Uncovering our emotional and spiritual needs and how to deal with hurt equips us to pursue being the whole and fulfilled person we were created to be. Being thus equipped enables us to live intentionally. When we don’t live intentionally, we drift through life as if on a current that takes us wherever it flows. We may assume that we will like where we end up. What a risky assumption to make since we are not in heaven. Living intentionally, we monitor and choose wisely how we deal with needs and hurts and this promotes our lives towards a healthy destination.
    We don’t want to be consumed with fear, yet we sure don’t want to be unwise in not being equipped in the war for our destiny.
    

5 years ago Magic Glasses

The older I get, the more I think we all need a pair of magic glasses. Most might think magic glasses would give us x-ray vision or enable us to see for miles. Yet, the glasses I wish I could invent would provide vision even more remarkable. We would be able to see into the future. I realize this may sound kooky and way out there.

Seeing into the future seems creepy and we would likely be grieved and terrified to see painful events that would be in our future. However, my magic glasses would actually equip us to change the direction of much of our future. They would be like a GPS device. We would be able to see where we would end up if we stay on the course we are on. Thus, by looking through our glasses, we could make adjustments that could change our future!

Although we don’t have such glasses, we do have the ability to think ahead, to learn from others who have traveled the course before us, and we have the directions from the Word of God. He does see the future. Yet, sadly we usually just keep trucking without using the means to help us make adjustments that would steer us away from potholes, ditches, and even deadly cliffs.

Now that I am crossing the line (some would say I’ve already crossed it!) into the senior years, I find that many of my counseling clients are younger than me. I find myself wanting to warn and advise many in teenage years, twenties, and even thirties about what’s to come if they don’t make adjustments in their course. Sometimes the knowledge I want to share has come from my own experiencing the outcomes from taking the same road they are on. Sometimes its knowledge I’ve gained from watching others and some is from knowing what the Word has predicted and warned.

I recently began counseling a young woman who I counseled years ago in her early teens. Back then, I had passionately tried to warn and encourage her to change her course. During our counseling, I cringed for what I predicted her future would hold if she didn’t make adjustments. However, I felt powerless in influencing her. Now about a decade later, she sits before me with a mountain of hurt and damage. As she cried a million tears, she admitted that I had clearly warned her. Oh, if I could have invented the magic glasses when she was young.

We all would likely enjoy seeing into the future if we could all see great things to come. My magic glasses can also help us see the wonderful events God has planned for us. I try putting on such glasses whenever the world gets too hurtful. I look into my future in a better world, into my real home, into a place where we won’t need magic glasses because we will see our Lord face to face. Until then, I encourage us all, search and wear magic glasses.

5 years ago The Scurry of Life

People scurry from bed, to work, to games, to church, to bars, to stores, to here and there. Wonder if we look to God like ants look to us. They seem so busy, so intent on their tasks, and yet much of it is so meaningless. We can simply sweep our foot across their universe and destroy them at a moment’s whim and they don’t even realize it.

Yet here we are in the same boat. We could be gone in a moment’s time and it would be as if we hadn’t even been here. Yet, we would be somewhere forever. We think we can just stop existing. We don’t have that power. Even if we don’t want to exist, we can’t undo what our Creator started. He made us to last forever----somewhere.

The older I get, the more I connect to Solomon’s heart wrenching revelation in Ecclesiastes of the meaningless of life, the vanity in humans’ pursuits, and how this vapor we make such a fuss over is gone before you know it. Yet, his life search ended with the discovery of what matters: Fear God and obey Him.

Solomon had experienced it all. He eloquently tells of his vast fortune, his wisdom, and experiences that other’s only dreamed of. He goes on to say that he had not denied himself any pleasure.

“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, an on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11 KJV).

As Solomon faced being closer to the other side than this one, he felt the irony of it all. None of it brought meaning, purpose, or any eternal influence.

We start early in life, competing in all areas. We want to be the strongest, the prettiest, the richest, the best athlete, the smartest, and the most famous. We want, we want, and we want. What a waste whenever we look back and realize that most of our life is spent and our pursuits leave us empty and regretting not using our time for what really mattered. We were made to love God and reflect His glory. Yet, many of us spent most of our days seeking to establish our own glory.

The next time we look upon that mound of ants, lets recognize our own scurrying and meaningless pursuits. Let’s stop, take a sobering Solomon moment to join his infamous declaration: Its all vanity, its all meaningless. When it’s all said and done: Love God and Obey Him.

5 years ago Waste of the Worse Kind

    Throughout my life, especially as I get increasingly closer to the other side than this one, God has been nudging me about how wasteful I am. I grew up with one of those mothers whose life ambition seemed to be to never waste anything. It was commonplace to recycle and reuse everything; from straws, to paper cups, to plastic containers, and to definitely any morsel of food leftovers. The younger folk made jokes of her constant pursuit to salvage what they flippantly discarded.

    One might think my mother an obsessive hoarder; yet, not so. Instead, her resourcefulness helped her stretch tight budgets, feed the needy, and faithfully appreciate and use the provisions of God wisely.

    While many experience painful conviction of their ongoing relapse into sins of choice, I am frequently reminded of my wasteful behavior. I buy what I don’t need, have too many of everything, throw away leftovers, and overspend for those I love. I look back and realize that if I had been more frugal, I would be out of debt with a big nest egg. I would have blest the needy more and been able to give to those souls struggling to survive.

    Yet, as I again throw myself at my Savior’s merciful feet, I admit my waste and plead for His once again forgiveness. His tender reassurance comforts and restores my soul.

    Just last night, following the Christmas hoopla, I scanned the house full of stuff and my dwindling bank account. I had a tender “come to Jesus meeting” concerning my waste. As I recognized His gracious forgiveness and encouragement to do better, I also realized His wise prompting to recognize the most disastrous kind of waste. It’s as if He had me review my life with its hurry-scurry endeavors or laid back pursuits of my own pleasure of the moment.

    He gently nudged me about wasted opportunities to make a difference that would affect eternity; wasted gifting and chances to fellowship and love on my Lord. Wasted precious moments that I could have been pursuing my true purpose and reason for being created in the first place: To love God and reflect His glory; wasted chances to make a difference in others’ lives that would bring a smile to my Father.

    Years ago a man I had met told me of a profound way to remind ourselves of the ever quickly passing of our lives. Ironically, this man had gained worldly success to later sink not only financially, but also in his walk with the Lord. While at the brink of his betrayal to God, he shared the following with me that I have shared with others ever since.

    The medical field has an average life expectancy for each gender. Currently, it’s about 78 for females and 75 for males. You subtract your years in age from that figure and then multiply that number by 52 (weeks in a year). I am 55. Thus, I subtract 55 from 78 and get 23. I multiply by 52 and get 1196. The number you end up with is supposed to represent how many weeks you have left to live, if you live an average normal life span. We may live beyond the average or die a much earlier death.

    Once we have our number, we take that many marbles and put them in a clear glass jar. Once a week, we take a marble out and reflect what we have done with it---that week. Were we full of bitterness? Were we intent on earthly matters? Did our week count for something worthwhile? Are we content with how we lived it? We must then discard the marble. No marbles go back in and each week, we have one less.

    As I found my number, thought of the marbles consistently reducing, I felt the urgency our Maker has repeatedly tried to get us to see.

    I don’t think I ever saw marbles the same. We all need some powerful wake-up moments. This was mine. Yet, even though I have these moments that I earnestly and genuinely think I will never forget what’s really important, my life gradually begins to respond like most others. We go through our motions of daily living and we are guilty of waste of the worse kind.