The Story of Jesus

I love old hymns. I remember singing hymns at church on Sunday mornings. Sunday evenings. Wednesday evenings. Yeah. It was a lot of church. But I learned the stories of Jesus at church. and at home. I’m not sorry about that.

One of the old hymns that has been rolling around in my head for the past week talks about the stories of Jesus.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Refrain:
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding
While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory
For all the saints of His love.

The words of this hymn written by Fanny Crosby ring true. They’re taken straight from Scripture. They tell the story of Jesus. His life. His ministry. His suffering. His death. His resurrection. They are the message of God’s plan for all mankind.


I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11


I read the Bible. I know the Bible stories. I have heard them since childhood. Oh. How I cherish those stories. But to know them and to live them is two different things. I find that I still struggle with using my words instead of God’s words. I find that I still want my way when it’s the easier way. I find that to truly live God’s way is a tough road to walk. But I know the tough road is much more fulfilling. It’s leading to eternal life even when the walk is hard. Even when mistakes are made. and unkind words are said. The story of Jesus is one of forgiveness and mercy and grace and kindness. His love is never ending. That’s what I need.

Oh. I may never perform a miracle. I may never fast in a desert. I may never be nailed to a cross. I may never be raised from the dead. But I do plan to see Jesus someday. I plan to meet him face to face. I plan to go to heaven when I have finished the race. I plan to walk on streets of gold. I will stand face to face with God to give an account of my life.

So this story of Jesus rings true to me. I trust that every word is true. I believe it for my life. This story never grows old.

The Called

They have been asked to give their lives to serve God. They have answered the call. They will lead others to follow Christ. They will preach sermons. They will lead board meetings. They will pray with those in need. They will counsel people at their lowest moments. They will serve others in ways no one knows.

They work many hours that no one sees. They are on call at all hours of the day and night. They conduct funerals and officiate at weddings. They are a part of the saddest and happiest moments of others’ lives.

Their life and that of their family is on full display to be approved or criticized, as others see fit. They’re expected to have perfect marriages and well-behaved children. It’s assumed that they handle their personal lives and finances without flaw.

They are unlicensed counselors who hear the most private life situations for a family or marriage in crisis. Everything they hear in counseling sessions must be kept private. They are expected to keep all conversations confidential.

They are human. They make mistakes. They do not live perfect lives. And when their lives are falling apart. When their marriage is hanging by a thread. When their child is the one who’s gone astray. Who do they call? Who do they trust to keep their messy lives out of the news? Who do they call in the middle of the night when hope seems lost?

When they have a moment of panic.  When they have an unconfessed sin.  When they have a hidden addiction.  When they have a raw diagnosis.  When they need wise counsel. Who do they have on speed dial?  Who can they trust with their darkest moments?  


Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Hebrews 13:17


We expect them to know the Bible inside and out. Can they quote just the right Scripture when we need it? Can they give the most godly advice at the right time? If their sermon doesn’t hold your attention or if it rubs you the wrong way, do you stop attending church? Do you demand they run the church your way or else?

We must hope and pray that they are following God’s leading. We must trust that their relationship with God is their top priority. Above all else, they must lead the church as God leads them. Sure. They’re human. They mess up. Unless there’s evidence of wrongdoing on their part, we must trust that they are allowing God to guide them.

The thing is. We’re all called. We’re all human. But we hold them to a higher standard. They’re human, too. They make mistakes. They mess up. They’re working on their salvation one day at a time. Just like everyone else. 

Some are called to be shepherds. Some are administrators. Some are strategic thinkers and planners. Some are prayer warriors. Others are eloquent speakers. Still others offer solid teaching. And some offer wise counsel. But all are called. All are gifted. All are flawed.

What if we spent time praying for them each day. What if we spent time getting to know them. Getting to know their heart as they follow God. Getting to know their strengths and weaknesses. What if we truly trusted them to lead the church as God is leading them. What if we trusted them?

Let’s show them grace.  and trust.  and offer forgiveness.  Let’s hold them accountable.  But let’s let them lead. God will hold them accountable for their lives and their leadership. Let’s trust God.

Good and Kind

Her name is Rosie. She is a 102 pound Mastiff/Lab mix. Yes. She’s a dog. A big dog. A good dog. A gentle dog. She’s a rescue. She has a checkered past due to no fault of her own. She feels very secure with who she is. She stands up for herself. She loves her people. She protects her people.

When she is at the dog park, she loves all the dogs and wants to run and play with them. She actually likes to chase the dogs who are chasing the balls. She runs to the gate to greet anyone who enters the park. She stands up for herself when other dogs are aggressive. She lets them know that she won’t be bullied. But she always has her eye on her people. She needs to know that they are there waiting for her. But she avoids them when they’re ready to leave, because she is never ready to leave.

When Rosie is in the yard at home, she feels responsible to protect her turf. She isn’t happy with the neighbor dogs walking on her sidewalk. They’re encroaching on her property and that shouldn’t happen. According to Rosie. When she is in the house, she sits in her chair and watches the activity in the front yard. She barks out a warning if anyone is invading her space. At times she jumps on the window to make sure the potential invaders know this isn’t a safe space for them.

Since Rosie has a habit of lunging for passersby on the sidewalk, I’ve taken to given her instructions before we walk out the front door. Once her leash is on, we stop at the door for a second to slow down and relax. I want Rosie to remember to treat others with respect. I want her to know that the neighbors and their pets aren’t trying to cause trouble for her. They are just passing by. Each time we walk out the door, I give her the same command. Let’s be good. Let’s be kind. I do that in hopes that she will be good and kind to those she may run into.


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


I think about how I treat others. Do I attempt to protect my turf at all costs? Do I warn others to back off if they get too close? In the name of safety, do I keep people at arms length? Do I build that invisible wall when others try to get too close? What am I afraid of?

If I were other people, would I like the way I treat them? Sometimes my bite may be worse than my bark. And sometimes my bark is downright brutal. Is it intentional? Do I think before I speak? Do I act without considering how the other person will feel?

I like to think that I’m comfortable in my own skin. So why do I get offended easily? Can I accept the same type of criticism that so easily flies out of my mouth? I wonder if others see me as kind and thoughtful. Or do they see me as the one who speaks before she thinks.

It’s natural to want to be treated kindly. One would think it is natural to treat others kindly in return. Not so. Feelings get hurt. Conversations get interrupted. Drivers are in a hurry or they’re too slow. That one coworker sits too close and talks too loud. Are we ever really happy?

Grace is a thing I’m learning. To stop and look a little closer at the situation. Perhaps the other person just received bad news and is in a hurry for all the right reasons. Perhaps the information I’ve been given is for my ears only. Perhaps my words were more offensive than I expected or planned. Perhaps I need to step back and slow down before I enter the world each morning. Perhaps I need to stop and remind myself of the command I give Rosie.

Let’s be good. Let’s be kind.

Signature Scent

I remember when I was introduced to essential oils. The women were smelling each oil and oohing and aahing about how great each scent was. Then the bottles were passed to me. I got a whiff. It wasn’t pleasant. Each of the oils smelled awful. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would think these oils smelled good.

But I got hooked on them. Somehow. As I began reading about them and experimenting, I fell in love with them. I began using them for simple health issues. And I found that they worked. I could get rid of a headache with peppermint. I could stop the bleeding from a scratch or a cut with lavender. I could clear up an earache with melaleuca.

Now I find that I enjoy the scent of the oils. I know the good that they can do for me, and the scent is comforting. I’ve fallen in love with essential oils.

I recently started using a new oil. When I opened the bottle for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the scent. It was unfamiliar and pungent. It was a scent I didn’t like.

I began using the smelly oil as I had planned. And as I opened the bottle each morning, I would turn up my nose. It just stunk. But I continued to use it.

I’ve noticed a change, though. Within the last week or two, I don’t even notice the scent when I open the bottle. It’s become familiar and comfortable. I have become accustomed to the scent, and I’m not offended by it.

Now I can’t imagine my life without the oils. They signify life and health to me. At times, someone will smell an oil I’m wearing. They’ll ask about it. I have an opportunity to share what I know about the oil, and why I am using it.


God uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:14


I am a believer. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have fallen in love with him, and I want to have a close personal relationship with him. I’ve read in the Bible that believers are a life-giving perfume to other believers, but an awful stench to those who don’t believe. We smell of death and doom to those who haven’t made a commitment to follow Christ.

Those who don’t believe are appalled by the scent of believers. Oh. We don’t have a distinct scent. But our relationship with God is a sour reminder that they have denied him authority in their lives. We are a reminder that they have chosen a false god over the one true God.

Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

People who don’t know Christ are appalled at his scent on believers. They are repelled by it. It’s a strong offensive odor. Once they meet him and allow him into their life, the bad odor becomes a life saving aroma.

I want to be prepared to give an answer for the reason I believe if I’m ever asked. I want the aroma of Christ to become a fragrant perfume for those around me.

What is your fragrance of choice? The aroma of life or the scent of death and destruction.

Work in Progress

It started with an unexpected job layoff. Followed by 5 months of unemployment. Then a new job. Starting over is always tough.  This job in particular was tough. 

Through the tough times, and there have been many, God has never left my side. He has walked with me. At times he has carried me when my strength was gone. What I know is that he alone is God. He loves me even when I feel unlovely. Even when I doubt my ability. He is with me.

I have this unguided thought that at this age I should be close to perfect. But sadly, that isn’t so. Daily I’m faced with my faults and failures. I have to ask God daily for strength and wisdom.

This past year has been one of the toughest I’ve faced. I’ve asked God for three things each day. Empower me. Enable me. Equip me.

And he has.

I’ve never been one to speak up when I disagree with decisions at work. But somehow now I do. I’ve finally realized that my silence is agreement. If I don’t speak up, then others will assume that I will go along with their decision. Other times, I feel free to ask those hard questions. Or bring up topics that need to be discussed. As I have asked God to empower me, he has removed my fear of what others think of me. He has given me boldness to confront situations that I would usually ignore. I find that others respect my boldness in a way that I never imagined.

I find myself to be a mentor to coworkers who are struggling with the job. They come to me for help with uncertainties. They trust me. They know I won’t judge them for being insecure or for asking a multitude of questions. I asked God to enable me to fulfill his will for me in this place, and he is doing it. He gives me the strength to face my responsibilities in a way I never thought possible.

I find I am more dependent on God than I have ever been in my life. Daily I ask him to equip me for the work he has laid out for me. I know I can’t do it alone and I need his help like I never needed it before. God has given me the ability I need to do my job and to do it well. He equips me for the responsibilities for each day.


And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6


The life of obedience isn’t easy or comfortable. It’s a daily choice to walk in step with the Master Teacher. It doesn’t mean that I’ll quote Scripture to someone every day. It may mean that more often than not, I’m living out Scripture. 

There have been times during the past several months that I’ve wanted to run the other way. But in order for me to follow God’s will, I knew I must continue on the path he placed me. I’ve wanted to run. I’ve wanted to quit. But more than all, I know that I want to be true to God’s calling on my life. So I’ve stayed put. And I’ve learned that with God in control, I am able to do exceedingly more than I thought possible.

Annie Downs says to say yes to the open door. Say yes to the situations that stretch you and scare you and ask you to be a better you than you think you can be. Say yes to the movement that will only come once.

So that’s what I’ve done. That’s what I’m doing. I’m saying yes to the situations that make me uncomfortable. And I’ve found that with God’s help I can do them. I’ve learned that God actually does what he says he will do. He doesn’t lie. I just have to let go and trust him. He is faithful. And I must be faithful.

He started something good
And I’m gonna believe it
He started something good
And He’s gonna complete it
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished

–Mandisa

Forgiveness

He had killed her family when she was a child. Mother. Father. Brother. He was in prison. He asked to speak with her. To tell her that he had changed. So she met with him. He told her that he had tried to kill himself twice. But failed. He showed her the scarred attempts. Then he told her that he had found God. In prison. He told her his mission in life was to help other prisoners find healing and forgiveness. He didn’t expect her to forgive him. But he wanted her to hear how the wrongs he had done had impacted his life.

She was beside herself. The day before her wedding she was meeting with her family’s killer. Angrily, she said she would never forgive him. She told him the one thing he could do was try to kill himself again. and succeed this time. She was spewing with anger.

This was an episode of a tv show that I watched. It caused me to think. Seeing this beautiful young woman who had been wronged. Her families lives cut short. She was living with unforgiveness in her heart. The next scene showed her walking down the aisle. Beautiful. Composed. Elegant. Ready to meet her groom. As if her life was in perfect order.

But I wondered. Her heart was still full of anger and unforgiveness. If this were a scene from real life, how would that anger come out and respond to other events in her life?

I see it on the news from time to time. Someone has been wronged. They want to get even.  They want the offender to pay.  They are full of anger and hatred. They say they want justice to be served. 


And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. Hebrews 8:12


Unforgiveness can eat a hole in your heart. It will cause you to strike out at someone who has committed a minor offense against you. And the other person may have no idea what they have said or done. You may not know either why you’re so offended. But lack of forgiveness will cause more damage than we realize. It will fester inside like an untreated infection until it causes irreparable damage.

And then I read of how God always forgives when we ask him. He never says no. No. I can’t forgive you. You’ve offended me too greatly or too many times. Instead he wipes our slate clean. Time and time again. Even though he knows we will continue to mess up.

If we try to harm ourselves and fail, he doesn’t say try again and this time be successful. He doesn’t harbor ill will against us even though we continue to sin against him. He forgives each time we ask.

Forgive someone even when it hurts. It will take time. It will be hard work. 
It will produce a clear conscience. A good night’s sleep. It will result in a healthier life.

The act of forgiveness takes work. Hard work. It takes effort. It requires a change of attitude. The letting go of strong emotions. The working out of past hurts. Replaying conversations in your mind. Releasing the loss of what could have been and replacing it with a new normal. Letting go of unfounded fears.

Oh. It isn’t easy.  But it is possible.

Betrayed by Gossip

I don’t know how much longer I can do this job. 

Those are the words I heard someone say. I thought they were having a conversation with someone else.  So I was surprised to find him sitting alone when I walked by his office. So I did what no good Christian should ever do. 

I told someone else. 

She was concerned with his words, and I realized I should have kept quiet.  I asked her not to say anything to him. Of course not. She said. But less than an hour later, she had already shared the information with at least three others. 

I could have kicked myself. I knew better than to say those words to her. I knew I shouldn’t have said them to anyone. I felt ashamed and convicted. I felt as if I had betrayed this man who trusted me. Yet he didn’t know that anyone had even heard him. But I knew.

I’ll never know why I did it. I just know that I did it. 

I should have known she would tell others. She always does. She’s gossip central at the office. Now I’m just like her. 

He doesn’t know what I did. I can’t tell him. I want him to trust me. But can he? If I swear on a stack of Bibles and don’t step on a crack and break my mother’s back, would he trust me then?


Troublemakers start fights. Gossips break up friendships. Proverbs 16:28


That’s the problem with gossip. It can offend those closest to you if you don’t learn to keep quiet. Words once said can’t be taken back. So just don’t say them. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it should be said to someone else.

I read that the Trinity (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) talk about me behind my back. Imagine it! The words they are saying about me are truth. Oh. It may not be pretty what they’re discussing. I know what I’ve done. I know what I’ve said. And so do they. I would love to hear what they say about me. They are speaking hope and life for me. They love me even when I don’t deserve it.

The thing about their conversations is that they aren’t gossiping. They want the best for me. Did I say the words about my coworker because I wanted the best for him? What were my intentions? I have to ask myself. What was my purpose in sharing the words I had heard him say in a moment of frustration?

I’m reminded of the song “Words” by Hawk Nelson. Even though my words are truth, they need to be life to someone else. Not make them feel like a prisoner. Not be spoken in a whisper so the “wrong” person doesn’t hear. I need to make sure my words are the type that can be heard by anyone who is listening. Because I know that God is always listening. I need to make sure my words are pleasing to him.

Words

They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king

They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’d never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

You can heal the heartache
Speak over the fear
God, Your voice is the only thing
We need to hear

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Let the words I say
Be the sound of Your grace
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh, I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Let the words I say
Be the sound of Your grace
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts
Or put it out

I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

The Gift of Obedience

It’s a comfortable life she has. Money to buy the things she wants. She travels a little. Has a great family. Oh. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. She loves God. She wants to obey him. She has taught her kids to trust God. To depend on him. To call on him in times of need. To thank him for his goodness.

God has gifted her with talents. A love for others. A listening ear. A gentle heart. He has showered her with friends. He has provided for her needs. He has rescued her from difficulties. He loves her.

God has asked certain things of her. She knows it. But she struggles to obey.

I wonder why it’s so hard for her to obey. To do the simple things he’s asking of her. I’m so quick to judge. I think of what he’s asking of me. It’s also simple things.  Trust. Obey. He’s not asking me to move a mountain. Or to move to Timbuktu. He’s asking me to stay put when I look to move. Why can’t I just trust him when he says I’m equipped where I am? Why is it so hard for me? Why do I seek what isn’t best for me?

I know he loves me regardless of what I do or don’t do. He wants more of me than I think I can give.  All or nothing.  Hot or cold. Don’t be lukewarm. 
It sounds so easy. 

When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal? -Mark Batterson

He’s right. You know. God doesn’t ask us to play it safe in our relationship with him. He asks us to go deeper into knowing him. To move out of our comfort zone and really live through him. He wants us to go all in.

When we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus. -Corrie ten Boom

Why do I try to twist his request to suit my plans? Why do I stall for time hoping he’ll change his mind? Has God ever said that my ways are better than his?


But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice. Luke 11:28


What if Zacchaeus hadn’t climbed down from the tree when Jesus called him by name? Look at what he would have missed. This hated tax collector chose to come clean on the way he acquired his wealth and return money that wasn’t his. He chose to follow the unknown path of obeying Jesus.

What if the rich young man who was asked by Jesus to give up his wealth and comfortable life had actually obeyed? What other riches and blessings would he have received? He was already obeying the laws, but there was one thing he wasn’t doing. He willingly chose to keep his comfortable life instead of surrendering to Jesus. He’ll never know what he lost.

Comfort and complacency are never safe. It’s stagnant. It isn’t growth. I’m preaching to myself here.

Saying yes to God requires a sacrifice on my part. I will have to give up my comfort and convenience. But look what I gain. Perseverance. Growth. Peace. And so much more. I wonder what I’m giving up by choosing the path of comfort and convenience. Is it worth it? If I allow God to stretch me and use me as he wants, what can go wrong with that? Oh. I may be ridiculed. I may be mocked. I may be an outcast. I may be persecuted. But in the end I won’t lose.

Obedience. That’s the name of the game. Trust. That’s the art of letting go. Sounds so simple. So easy. But not knowing what’s ahead. What’s behind the door that’s ready to be opened. It can be daunting. It could be the best time of my life. And I’m willing to miss it just for the sake of playing it safe? Really? But I won’t know what’s on the other side of that door of obedience unless I walk through it.

Bold Prayers

Do I dare to pray boldly? What request do I have that would seem rather bold and extraordinary to bring to God? Do I dare tell him the deep longings of my heart? Do I risk sharing heartfelt needs that only He knows? The ones He already knows.

When I think of my prayers, I think they’re bland. They’re not daring. They don’t make me uncomfortable. They don’t take my breath away with the thought that I just asked such a bold thing of God. But why not? Why don’t I pray extreme prayers? I don’t want to be complacent, but then I don’t like the thought of being uncomfortable either. I can’t have it both ways. 

I want to pray boldly. I want to see first world miracles. But what exactly is that? What is a first world miracle? What miracle could I possibly need today that would satisfy my deepest longings? Perhaps it’s not my needs I should focus on. Perhaps I should look at the bigger picture and consider the needs of others before mine.

Oh.  I get it.  People in third world countries pray for their basic needs to be met.  Sometimes on a daily basis. Missionaries in foreign countries pray for safety and protection.  They pray for God to provide immediate desperate needs. But I don’t live in a third world country. 

Oh. I trust God. I do. So why don’t I ask for things bigger than I can imagine? Why don’t I make requests that seem impossible? After all. Nothing is impossible with God.


And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.  1 John 5:14-15


I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. I don’t worry about where I will sleep at night. I have a closet full of clothes. I don’t doubt that my family loves me. I have enough money to pay my bills. My health is good. I have everything I need.

So what should my bold prayers look like? What should I ask for in bold faith? Perhaps the boldness comes in not asking for petty things.  The need isn’t always about having stuff.

Perhaps I’m afraid to pray bold prayers. Perhaps I’ll discover that my bold prayers are answered. Or maybe they’re not. Can’t I reach out in faith and pray those prayers that might just break open heaven’s floodgates? Imagine what might happen.

The King of kings says to come boldly to his throne.  He says we have the same power that caused Jesus to rise from the dead. This offer is free for the taking, because he’s already paid the price.

We need to pray specific, continual radical prayer says Greg Pruett. He also says we should intentionally pray the kinds of prayers that tap into all of Jesus’ open-ended promises about prayer in a way that achieves maximum Kingdom impact.

Oh. I’ve prayed bold prayers. Others have prayed bold prayers. And they’ve been answered. I think of the prayer for the unborn baby who received a diagnosis in the womb. Family and friends prayed for that baby. He was born perfect and healthy.

I think of two churches. One looking for a new location. The other was looking to overcome a tough financial situation. Both churches were praying. Believing God would provide the miracle. Little did they know that God was working on a plan to combine those two churches in one overwhelmingly beautiful location.

The thing about praying bold prayers is that I need to be comfortable with the answers God gives. I must be willing to accept his miracles as he performs them. They may not always be the answers I would have chosen or dreamed of, but they are still answers and miracles. I must be willing to accept the gifts as they are given.

What if I prayed for God to work his plan in my life, instead of asking for him to work my plan. What if I asked God to do the impossible instead of asking for the probable. What if I stepped aside and allowed God to do what only he can do. What if.

To Tell the Truth

She’s new on the job. It’s her second week. She’s deep in the throes of training. She got the job because her friend works there. So she’s in. She’s in the cool girls group already. She didn’t have to earn a spot. She just showed up the first day and took her place. Oh. If only life was so easy for everyone.

But I’ve heard rumors. I’ve noticed things. She has a flaw that could prove very harmful down the road. Once she’s on her own doing this job, she’s going to have trouble if she doesn’t pay attention. Literally. She sits in training glued to her phone. Texting. Back and forth with I don’t know who. Sure. She has kids. But I’m sure she doesn’t micromanage them or their sitter all day every day. Does she? So then. Who is she texting? What is more important than paying attention and learning this new job? Beats me.

I mentioned this to a friend. They gave me a good word of advice. Someone needs to set her straight early on. If no one does, then she will think that what she’s doing is acceptable. I agree. I just don’t feel called to share that message with her. So I’m in a quandary. I want to say something to her. I really do. Well. I want someone to say something to her. Just not me. I’m not sure it’s my place to do so. How do I know if I should be the one to break the news that she’s setting herself up for trouble, when I have no authority to say those things?


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


Who wants to be the bearer of bad news? Who wants to give criticism to someone else, even if it is constructive? Who ever wants to provide feedback when it isn’t positive? Certainly not me.

But what if the feedback is the truth? Wouldn’t she want to hear it from someone who isn’t going to berate her? Wouldn’t she prefer it to come from a friendly face instead of from someone who might hold it against her for a very long time? Wouldn’t she rather know now than wait until she’s too far in to be told? Wouldn’t she wonder why no one ever said anything?

Wouldn’t I?

Oh. She might be grateful for the advice. Who knows. She may think I’m crazy. She may run to her group of cool girls and throw some shade my way. Should I care? I know those cool girls already talk about others. I’m sure I’m a regular topic of conversation with them.

I think of Jonah. He was in a similar predicament. Only his included eternal circumstances. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and announce God’s judgment on the city. The people of Nineveh were wicked and had turned their backs on God. It was time to repent or die.

That would be a tough message to share with people you didn’t know. How would they respond? Would they kick him out or kill him?

Jonah didn’t want to share the bad news, so he ran in the opposite direction. No way was he going to tell an entire city that they were going to be destroyed. Not Jonah. He was asked to do a very difficult job, and he said no. He was reluctant to obey God, because he didn’t know how his message would be accepted. He also didn’t seem to mind if the city was destroyed or not.

Of course. He did end up going to Nineveh. He took the long way there. He did share God’s message. And the people of Nineveh repented and turned to God.

I have to ask myself. Do I care what happens to my coworker? Do I want her to succeed at her new job? Do I want what’s best for her, instead of what’s easy for me? How would I want to be treated if I were in her place?