Thanksgiving Isn’t Just for the Good Times

Is it hard to be thankful this year? Have things not gone well for you? Did you have your heart set on a certain type of year, and it never materialized? Did everything that could possibly go wrong go wrong? Did all the goals you set for this year crumble at your feet? Do you feel like life is worse than it’s ever been?

Have you stopped at any point this year and looked for the good moments? Have you paused long enough to count your blessings?  Have you looked past the ugly and seen beauty? Even for a moment? After all. The daffodils bloomed in the spring. The lilacs and peonies still offered their sweet fragrance. The leaves on the trees didn’t fail to do their job.  The apple trees and grapevines produced their bountiful harvest. The sweet corn tousled. The wheat was harvested in the fall. Life went on, not as usual, but it continued.

Our country isn’t at war. And yet it is.  We’re at war with ourselves.  And it’s the worst battle we’ve ever faced. We face an uncertain future like never before. We’re unprepared. Yet God is in control. God’s will is being accomplished.  For that we must be thankful. For if we aren’t thankful that God is working during the tough times, why would we expect him to work in the good times? Where is our trust?

This year, chickens have produced eggs and cows have provided milk. The sun rose each morning and set each evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served in most every home.  Every day. Life does go on.

Why does life have to be good in order for us to be joyful?


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:16-18


Some say that desperate times call for desperate measures.  How about we desperately seek God? How about desperately looking for things to be thankful for? How about desperately trying to please God? Above all else. 

Lest we think this year is wasted and useless, it is not.  It is far from that. Oh. It has been a trying year for many. But we have gained much from these daunting times. More time with our family. A slower pace of life. We’ve learned that there are storms we must sit back and wait out. We’ve learned there really are some things that are out of our control.  We’ve learned to just wait. We’ve realized the need for community is really a need. We’ve always taken it for granted. We’ve also taken for granted those who serve the sick and the poor, the needy and the lonely. Those workers are so needed and appreciated. Much more than they will ever know.

I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have.

anonymous

We can learn to find joy in the smallest of things. Things we once took for granted. The chance to actually see someone smile without a mask. The fist bump from a friend.  The copier at work actually working. The neighbor stopping by to deliver chocolate chip cookies. The beautiful flowers sent by a dear friend. The unexpected nap on a rainy afternoon. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

It would be easy to focus on everything that went wrong this year. But if we just take a minute to search for what went right, our perspective on life will change. Oh. The future still seems uncertain. There are obstacles to recovery. But hope is on the horizon. Without hope, we might as well give up. But God is good, even when life isn’t. God is with us. In the midst of the trials and fears and uncertainty, God is true and certain. God is sovereign and powerful. He hates evil and loves good. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. For that we can be thankful. Let’s put our hope in him.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord ! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17‭-‬19

Swaying Trees

We live in a neighborhood that backs up to a wooded area. It is breathtaking to gaze out at the trees in bloom in the springtime. And in the autumn, the colors of the turning leaves are a showstopper. Nature at its finest is my backyard.

The ground drops off to a ravine that ends in a small creek. To know that deer and fox and coyotes run loose in the space is thrilling, to say the least.

But it’s the trees that catch my attention on this day.

We’re having a windstorm and the slender trees are swaying in rhythm with the breeze. The beauty of the rhythmic swaying is almost tranquil, if I wasn’t aware of the damage one strong wind could cause.

In a wooded area, the older trees have much larger trunks than the young saplings. They’ve had the time and space and light to grow wide and tall. But the younger trees are a different story. They are thin and reedy. Wispy and willowy. They sway easily with the wind. They count on their roots to hold them steady.

The small trunked trees must grow tall in order to catch the sun’s rays. Their trunks don’t reach a fully mature size, due to the space and light restrictions. So when the windstorms come, these small trees sway with all they’ve got. It’s amazing and frightening at the same time to watch them bend with the wind. And yet, somehow at the end of the storm, they stand tall and strong. They’ve learned resilience. And strength. Their trunk may be small, but they bend as the force pushes.

But I’m wrong when I think that the wispy trees are strong and steady because of their roots. Just this morning, I noticed a casualty from the windstorm three days ago. One tiny but tall tree had been easily uprooted by the wind. The exposed roots told the story. They weren’t deep and broad. They weren’t made to withstand the strength of the wind. The tree was lying on its side among the leaves and branches fallen from another day’s wind.


Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakeable foundation. Matthew 7:24


I work for a consulting firm that helps hospitals and other healthcare organizations prepare for and guard against disaster. Not just one kind of disaster, but many different types. Ransomware. Hacking. Phishing. Environmental. You get the idea.

This year has been a true test for our clients. It began with the pandemic. These clients had to pivot practically overnight to be able to provide care for patients infected with an unfamiliar virus. They sent some workers home to avoid exposure. They lost revenue due to canceled procedures and strategic plans gone awry. Now, just as they thought they were turning the corner, they’re facing another round of the virus.

And to top it all off, some hospitals have been hit with a disastrous ransomware attack. The bad actor, as it’s called, is unknown at this point. But it’s causing procedures to be canceled. Entire email systems have been shut down in order to avoid spreading the attack to other hospitals.

My job is to help make sure they are aware of these attacks and to fight against them. That means they should have a plan in place so they’re ready at a moment’s notice. We’ve advised clients to pull out that unused plan and dust it off. Put it into action to see if it really works. We’ve told them that now is the time to act. Don’t wait until disaster happens to start preparing.

You can’t wait until the storm comes to build a boat.

Tara Leigh Cobble

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. Matthew 7:24-27

I find that life is the same as the trees. We sway with the winds of change. We bend low when the momentum of the moment takes us beyond our comfort zone. We don’t know where to turn. We’re tossed on every side. And we’re unsure which is the right path. Confusion and doubt set in. We question everything that we once knew to be true.

But what have we done to prepare for the storm? Have we stored up supplies and built a reserve? Have we, through the years, held fast to our faith and followed God’s path? Have we dug into the Word and studied as though the final exam is tomorrow? How deep do our spiritual roots really go? Are we susceptible of being toppled, roots and all, from the least bit of tests and trials that blow our way? And then what? Do we still have faith to hold on?

Or. Have our roots grown deep and wide in the soil of faith? Have we built our spiritual house on rocks that won’t budge when the mightiest winds blow our way? Do we have a band of fellow warriors holding us accountable and praying for us? Do we hold onto the pylons of God’s goodness, knowing he is with us in every step of our battle?

Swaying is fine. It builds strength and perseverance. When the waves of doubt come, it’s time to dig deep to find truth. Hold onto hope. Giving voice to those doubts and looking for answers are stepping stones to building a strong faith. Don’t give up. Give in to God’s goodness and love and ride out the storm in his arms.

After we moved into our house, the city planted a tree in the green space between the sidewalk and the street. The previous tree had died, and the city replaced it. Free of charge. Oh. We didn’t get our choice of trees. It was a freebie, after all. And the next year, a city worker came by and added a stake to stabilize and straighten the small, crooked tree. This poor tree needed help as it was growing. It had begun to lean to one side and needed support in its formative years. The stake is still in place, and the tree is still leaning. But it’s growing. Perhaps, the leaning will be its signature story of its survival.

The neighbors have a tree that is leaning precariously toward another neighbor’s house. It was hit with an onslaught of wind last week, and I’m afraid one more strong burst of wind will topple it. I don’t think there’s a chance of recovery. I’m afraid it will soon be turned into mulch. While the tree looked strong and healthy, one windstorm has shown the true story of this tree’s struggle for survival.

Trees face an uncertain future if they haven’t grown firm, strong roots. Even then, the winds and storms can destroy them in one fell swoop.

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a person is struggling and holds in all their doubt, does it mean their pain isn’t real?

It’s in these struggling moments that we need to be prepared. We can’t wait until the storms of life are upon us to start preparing. We must act now. It’s never to late to strengthen our faith. Let’s dust off that Bible. Let’s fall on our knees and pray. Let’s attend church and fellowship with other believers. Let’s ask those questions of doubt and seek answers until we find the truth.

A house built on sand will not stand. But a house built on rock will stand strong. What is your house built on?

Goodness Gracious

I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to be inconvenienced. I don’t like to be forgotten. I don’t like being lied to. I don’t like being cheated. I guess that I’m saying I’m selfish. I don’t want to be selfish,  but I like things my way. 

So, when I was standing in line at the grocery checkout, I had to decide. Would I show my annoyance or would I show grace. After all.  The person in front of me was trying to use a special coupon that the cashier couldn’t scan. Someone with more authority had to scan it, and they were struggling with getting the job done. I was silently sharing in that struggle.  And all I wanted to do was sigh loudly and glare. But I didn’t. I avoided eye contact and sighed inwardly. I berated myself for having such a poor attitude.

 So when the cashier thanked me for waiting, what was I supposed to say? No problem? But I was feeling like it was a problem.  And why? Where was I going that I was in such a hurry? My mask was hot, which makes me grumpy. I was hungry, and that makes me grumpy. What is my problem?

You each have the ability to let the words restore, inspire, soothe and build bridges instead of wound, separate or belittle. Let us pause before we speak, listen before we judge and stay curious, even when it hurts.

Darling Media

I admit it. I’m struggling. Just when I think I’m doing ok with all that has happened this year, something new comes along and sweeps me off my feet. And not in a good way.


The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalms 103:8


In case you aren’t aware, there was recently a presidential election. There was a winner and there was a loser. Some say there was a definite winner and let’s move on. Others are challenging the results due to voter fraud and demand legal action. Someone has to be the winner and someone has to be the loser. In a race of two, that’s how the ball rolls. At this point, it seems both parties are losers.

Oh. I wasn’t a political candidate. I never will be. I’m not an athlete. I never will be. I’m not big on open competition. It just isn’t in my blood. But I do love to win. I admit it. I will be a fair weather fan if my favorite sports team is losing their game. If they can’t show up to play, I can’t show up to cheer them on. Call me a bad person. I’m not. But I don’t like it when things don’t go my way. Just being honest.

I’ve found that both the winner and the loser have a role to play once the results have been determined. The winner needs to win graciously. And the loser needs to lose graciously. Neither role is easy. One wants to gloat. Maybe it’s payback. Or pride. Or greed. Or finally my day has come. The other wants revenge. Or a second chance. An opportunity to prove the other wrong. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe they’re just a sore loser.

The telling is in how the winner and loser respond to the results. How does the winner win graciously? And how does the loser lose graciously?

It’s easy to spot idolatry in another. It’s very hard to be humble enough to see your own.

Mary DeMuth

I find I’m aging. I can tell it in the way my skin wrinkles. I can see it in the lines and creases in places that once were smooth. I know that if I can see it, others can too. But that’s the way life is. I can ignore it, but it won’t go away. I can pretend I look as youthful as I did 50 years ago. But it just isn’t the case.

I find grace is needed when it comes to aging. An acceptance of the way things were and the way things are and the way things will be. It’s not that things are ok. It’s just how it is. But I also find that there’s still time to make a difference. Gracefully, of course.

I find that when someone disagrees with me, I must be graceful in how I respond. Can I see their point of view, or is it my way or the highway? Can I accept their position in a kind, agreeable way? Can I respond in gentleness and fairness? Can I willingly hear what they’re saying and not judge?

Grace is a lesson to be learned. I find it’s a trial and error process. Oh. Being ungracious can be intentional. But so can being gracious.

We sat at lunch watching the young waiter. He didn’t seem to understand the idea of multitasking. He was able to complete only one task at a time. And it slowed down the entire lunch for the multiple tables he was serving. I heard him apologize more than once.

He seemed to be a nice young man. He was trying to do a good job. He was pleasant and kind. He was attentive when you had his attention. The trouble was that his attention was divided. I knew my patience had already been tested at the grocery store, so I decided I needed to take a deep breath and hold my tongue. Was it really that hard to do?

I don’t know what he is dealing with in his life. Maybe he’s trying to balance his school and work schedule. Perhaps he was struggling with wearing a mask all day while doing his job. Perhaps he has an upcoming midterm that he isn’t quite ready for. Or maybe he was assigned too many tables and just couldn’t manage his time well. There could be a multitude of reasons why he was struggling. Why not just give him a break?

I pray for God to envelop me with peace. I ask for his grace to overwhelm me as I consider the forgiveness I have received.  Now I must offer that same grace to the person who may challenge me. Or to the neighbor who stands opposed to my beliefs.

What are my intentions? What do I want to accomplish in the exchange? Am I willing to sever a friendship or a family relationship for many years to come just because I think I’m right? Is holding a grudge more important than gentle concern and kind humility? Is saying those harsh calculated words more important than my relationship with God? Am I willing to say those derogatory words in front of God? Because if I say them, then I’ve said them in front of God. 

Let’s be humble and kind, even when we don’t want to be. There are no regrets in that.

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On the Hunt

I’m on the hunt for righteous people. Where are they all hiding? We say we believe in God. We say we’re following the way of the Cross that leads to our heavenly home. We say we believe in truth. We say we’re Christians. 
But where is everyone hiding?

For generations,  we’ve allowed liberal, ungodly people to tell us what is right or wrong. And we’ve believed them. We’ve allowed them to write laws that are slowly removing our religious freedoms. And we’ve stayed silent. Why? Why have we allowed this to happen?

I don’t want to make this about us versus them. It’s not that. It’s not about a presidential election. It’s about godliness versus ungodliness. That’s what it is. I’m looking for righteous people. Not self righteous people.

I wonder. Can God find enough righteous people in this land to stir the embers of revival? Or are we too afraid of persecution? Of cancel culture? Of being doxed?

If you’ve read the Good Book, you know the story ends well for true believers. We will be face to face with our Heavenly Father once our earthly life has ended. We will be in heaven. Oh.  But it will be a fight to get there. It will be a race for the ages. There will be trouble. And I’m mean big trouble until our race on this earth has ended. Are we bold enough to stand?

There was Sodom and Gomorrah. How many righteous people were found in that city? God promised Abraham he would spare the city from destruction if he found only ten righteous people. Ten. Such a small number. And even in that vast city, God couldn’t find ten righteous people. So he destroyed the city and all the people. Only one family of four escaped. And one of them turned and looked at the burning city and lost her life. You can read the story in Genesis 18:1-19:29.

There is no looking back. We can only move forward.

Abraham approached God and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked?” Genesis 18:23

You may wonder. Who are the righteous people? Those who pursue the character of God are called righteous. Those who follow in the steps of Jesus Christ. I’m looking for those who love the things God loves and hate the things He hates. Who are you?

After a great show of God’s mighty power, Elijah was threatened by the evil queen Jezebel. She sent a warning to him letting him know that it was either him or her. One of them must die by the next day. So he ran for his life. He was very fearful of the future. He thought all the prophets but him had bowed to idols. And God showed him that a quiet remnant had never bowed their knee to a false god. You can read the story in I Kings 18:1-19:18.

Where are those people today? Where in our land can we find the faithful? Let’s come out of hiding and stand for truth. Let’s be bold. Let’s be strong in the fight for righteousness. 


For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Psalms 78:5-8


I pray for calm, restoration and civility for our nation. If we can’t solve our differences peacefully, what have we come to. As a nation, we have rebelled so long against the God of all creation. The Giver of good gifts. We’ve pushed aside the one free gift he is offering.  Forgiveness. He’ll wipe the slate clean for us. Let us begin as new creatures in his sight. We only need to respond on bended knee and with broken heart. Ask for forgiveness and repent. Then we can begin the work of true restoration and revival.  Is that too much to ask?

Generations past let down their guard. They weren’t diligent about staying true to Truth. They started a slow slide into disrespect, disobedience and distrust.  Now here we are. How do we dig ourselves out of this rotten mess that we’re in? Our generation sure hasn’t made any improvements. We’ve continued further down the path until what is wrong is widely accepted as right. What is false is spoken as truth. What was created is destroyed and a false creation has been attempted. Can we right our wrongs? Is it too late?

The passing on of faith keeps getting weaker with each generation. It’s a shame. It’s a disgrace to the strong faith of our forefathers. We’ve dropped the ball. We’ve let our faith slide so far that we’re no longer a Christian nation. As a nation, we can no longer say in God we trust.

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10

We’ve got to get America back to God.

Let’s take a stand for right and truth and justice. Let’s be bold in our faith. If we won’t, then who will? If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. Isn’t that obvious?

Jesus is coming back. Sooner than we think. Oh. We don’t know the day or the hour. But just know this. He is coming back to take his true followers to be with him in eternity. The rest will be left behind.

This is not the time to turn to another drink in hopes of finding comfort. Or to buy another lottery ticket in hopes for a better future. Or to watch one more sports event in hopes of finding an escape from reality. No. This is the time to finally open the Bible and read God’s Word. This is the time to fall on our knees and repent of our sins. This is the time to seek truth and stand for it.

We should be ashamed. We have let down future generations. They are unaware of our failure, and we must stop ignoring it. It’s time to set things right. It’s time to take our faith seriously. It’s time to get back to the basics of biblical truths. 

Shall we stand.

Early Voting

The election is a few days away. We’re being told that this is the election of a lifetime. Aren’t they all, though? Doesn’t it seem that each presidential election is a make or break it time for one of the parties? But this time, it seems to be true. That’s what they say. Whoever they are.

I voted early. I stood in line in the cool weather waiting my turn. For an hour, I listened to the couple behind me discuss many topics that were of no interest to me. She went through each of the presidential elections since she was eligible to vote. She discussed which candidate she had voted for and why. Her husband asked how she had ended up voting for a certain party when her parents were staunch supporters of the other side. She gave her reasons. She firmly knew where she stood on certain issues and specific candidates. She voiced her pleasure in switching her husband to her party. She brought him over to the good side. She said.

She shared that the reason the first president she ever voted for got her vote was because he had appeared on MTV. Wow. That should definitely be a deciding factor on who to vote for in the most important election every four years. But she was impressed that he had put himself out there on a channel known to attract young people with impressionable minds. And guess what?! He won the election that year and again four years later.

Vote early. That’s what we’re being told to do. And millions are. We’re casting our vote and letting our voice be heard. We’re doing our civic duty, and we should be proud of that. It’s our responsibility and our right. Let’s not forget that.


Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15


We also vote early on our eternal destination. We live our lives as a vote for either heaven or hell. For most people, this isn’t a decision that can be made at the very last second. Because we don’t know when our time is up. We must be ready at any moment of the day. However, some people do have the opportunity to make a last second decision. But why take the chance? Why not be prepared way ahead of time?

Each of us places our vote every day on the authority of our lives. We have two choices. God or Satan. Heaven or hell.

I think about the conversation I overheard. She could give a reasonable argument for each presidential candidate she had ever voted for. She knew where she stood on the issues. Good for her. I wonder if she could give such a thorough and eloquent answer for the eternal destiny she has chosen.

I wonder about myself and my decision about eternity. Can I give a reasonable argument for why I believe what I believe? Can I defend my faith? Do I know where I stand on issues of biblical truth?

I’ve chosen God and heaven. With that choice, I wonder if I can actually defend my decision. Can I wax eloquent on the merits of God and heaven? Can I explain why hell is a choice no one ever should make? Can I give the reason for the hope that I have? I should be able to do so. I should work diligently to bring others to the side of following Christ. I should be proud to defend my beliefs. At all costs.

Are You Broken?

How to get away with murder. The show. I’ve been binge watching it. Don’t ask me why. And please don’t judge. I know. I know. It’s full of scenes I don’t want to see. I started to watch the show a few years ago and stopped. Spoiler alert. They really were trying to get away with murder. I just couldn’t watch it then. But, for some reason, now I am.

A couple of the characters were abused as children. A couple others had distant fathers. One had a rocky childhood. One lost his mother by suicide. One had been in prison. Another had a criminal record. They all admitted that they were broken people.

In one of the episodes, one of the characters said they all deserved hell because of all the bad things they had done. Oh. I think he just spoke for all mankind. We all deserve hell. Because of all the things we have done. Not one of us born on this earth is good enough to escape hell on our own. We need help. We need someone to rescue us from our sins. We need a Savior.

And there is a remedy. There is a Savior. He gave his life for my sins and your sins. For my brokenness and your brokenness. For victims and victimizers. We can be forgiven and healed.

So when you think of yourself, do you consider yourself to be broken or sinful? Do you step outside yourself and look at who you really are and at what you’ve done? Do you try to soften the blow by saying you’re broken instead of sinful? Because, hey. Perhaps someone else’s sin is what broke us. And some sin has broken the one who broke you. And, in spite of all the brokenness around us, we are all sinners. We don’t have to be broken to be sinners.


If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9


Maybe it wasn’t my fault at all that I’m the way I am. But I do have a choice. I do have the ability to name my brokenness. And I can name my sin. Whether it’s your sin or my sin that caused my brokenness. It doesn’t change the fact that we are all sinners.

There is the mess that life gives you and there’s the mess that you make.

Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder)

If we call our lives messy or broken, it doesn’t really describe the gravity of our sins. It somehow softens the blow of sin. Oh. Our lives may be messy and broken as a result of someone else’s sin or our own, but sin is a result of disobeying God. How messed up is that? When do we take responsibility for our sins?

Just imagine standing at the foot of the Cross looking up to the One who died for those sins. We must compare our sins not to other people’s sins, but to God’s holiness. Since sin is rebellion against a holy God, it means that God can’t have any part of sin.

We cannot redefine what God calls sins and presume to identify that ethic as Christian.

Alisa Childers (Another Gospel)

Oh sure. Our brokenness may be on different levels. One person may have suffered massive loss or abuse. Another may have experienced deep depression or anxiety. Rejection by someone who has suffered at the hands of others can lead them to hurt still others. Sometimes our brokenness is due to someone else’s sin. Their sin is not my sin. But sin shouldn’t go by any other name.

Sin isn’t pretty and it isn’t helpful to soften it up with gentle words. Oh. It may make me feel better for a while, but the root of the problem is that I have sinned. Sin will separate me from God. Is that what I want?

WWJD

She says she’s a Christian. But she hasn’t darkened a church door in years.  She hasn’t read her Bible since God disappointed her 18 years ago. Her prayers are only said in desperate times. She doesn’t spend time with believers unless it’s required. 

Is she a Christian? When she is someday standing in front of God awaiting her final judgment, what will God say to her? Well done, my good and faithful servant?  Or will he say. Depart from me. I never knew you.

I’m not her judge, so I’ll leave the judging to God.  He gets it right every time. I’m afraid I don’t. He shows mercy when I might not. He intercedes when I might not.

She knows enough about the Bible to calm her nerves by reading that God loves her. Or scare herself senseless by reading about Jesus’ second coming. But is that enough?

She knows to ask believers to pray for her when she’s frightened or hurting.  Does she pray herself?

Oh. She’s a good person. She helps those in need. She’s kind. She’s a good parent and wife.

But is she living as Jesus did?  There’s that age old saying.  WWJD. What would Jesus do? Does she ever ask herself that question? Does she pattern her behavior with that question in mind? I don’t know.

What does she mean when she says she’s a Christian? Is she saying that she’s living her life as Jesus did?


Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 John 2:6


I wonder. Does she ever stop to ask herself what Jesus would do if he was in her situation. I wonder. Do I ever stop to ask myself what Jesus would do if he was in my situation. How would I live? What would I do differently?

Just like her, I say I’m a Christian. I attend church regularly. I read my Bible daily. I pray throughout the day. I spend time with other believers. But does that make me a Christian? Do I have to do those things in order to be a Christian?

I don’t know if she has ever repented of her sins and asked God to forgive her. I don’t know if she has ever claimed to have a relationship with God. But she says she’s a Christian. I wonder what she means when she says that.

I know that I have repented of my sins and God has forgiven me. I have a personal relationship with God. I try to be like him every day. Some days I’m successful. Other days, I fail. I know what I mean when I say I’m a Christian.

But do I always do as Jesus would have done if he was walking on this earth beside me? Do I make the same decisions he would make? Do I say the words that he would say? Do I treat others in a manner that shows Jesus is the ruler of my life?

I say I believe in Jesus, so do I live as he lived? Is there evidence in my life that points others to Jesus? Do my actions say that I’m becoming more like him with everything I do and say and think? Can others easily believe that I am a follower of Christ? Or is it hard to see that what I say I am is really who I am? Who am I fooling?

Do the Word

The Bible is pretty clear about some things we should and shouldn’t do. But sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the instructions. It’s easy to disregard the commands when they aren’t what we want to do. But if we say we’re believers, then wouldn’t we want to obey what we read in the Bible? Wouldn’t we?

If I’m called to be a doer of the Word, then what does the Word say that I should do?

I’ve read through some of the commands that we should obey if we say we’re followers of God. I read them through the lens of the happenings of my week. Here’s what I discovered about myself.

Be kind. When the unexpected call came that my appointment was canceled at the last minute, I was two minutes away from my destination. I had to turn around and go home. I wanted to be frustrated, but I knew the situation was not her fault. There was nothing to do but reschedule. I told her that I would pray for her, because she was now facing some unexpected decisions. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Honor those in authority over you. Those at work who are in authority made an unpopular decision last week. Some people are reeling from the news. Trying to figure out how to move on. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I was invited to voice my opinion. My words need to reflect a heart of respect for those in authority over me. So when the time came for me to speak, what did I do? I was prepared to share my thoughts on the decision, but I felt led to keep my opinion quiet. So my conversation went another direction. I was able to end the discussion on a high note instead of dragging down the leadership. Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. Titus 2:9-10

Do good to those in need. I was stopped at a red light, and I saw the person standing at the street corner. She was holding a sign that said she was homeless. I know times have been tough for a lot of people this year, but I’ve seen her there for at least four years. What am I supposed to think? Is this a scam or are times that tough for some people? I was torn trying to decide whether her need was legitimate or not. Call me a skeptic or distrustful. I honestly wasn’t sure whether to look her straight in the eye or look the other way. But it isn’t my job to decide if her need is real. I need to obey God when and if he instructs me to help people holding a homeless sign. I ended up driving away. Was it because I didn’t feel led to give or because I didn’t even stop to pray about what I should do? Father, forgive me if I have sinned. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. Matthew 5:42

Don’t be anxious. He went to an emergency dental appointment. I heard rumblings in my head of annoyance and felt anxiety in my heart. I wondered about the cost. What is covered by insurance? What will have to be paid out of pocket and up front? I made stew with my thoughts. But I did actually pray as he walked out the door to the appointment. Then the call came. Nothing to worry about at this point. We’ll just monitor it. All the x-rays and tests showed no change from previous years. The cost was minimal. Ahh. Relief flooded through me. The stew of worry was turned to a prayer of thankfulness. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6


Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. James 1:22


I can’t say I was perfect this past week. But as events happened and words were spoken, I stopped to reflect on my words and actions. Did I respond as a follower of Christ or as one who lives for myself? As long as I have breath in me, I know there will always be room for improvement.

I find that a lot of what I do is respond to events and words I’ve heard. Do I respond from the viewpoint of a doer of the word? Are my motives pure? Do I treat others unjustly? How do I respond to negative news? How do I deal with the happenings of current events? When all the information I hear about the upcoming election is negative, how do I respond? When the pandemic shut down the world, did I shut down? Am I doing the Word in my daily life?

Because what is in my heart is what comes out of my mouth. Was the word in my heart at the right moment?

As believers, we can’t just hear the word and then do nothing. We must act on the Word of God. We must live the Word of God. Because we are deceiving ourselves, if we think we can get by with just hearing the Word. We must allow the Word of God to infiltrate our thoughts and words and actions. Oh. It isn’t easy. But if we consistently and actually open the Bible and read it, God will speak truth and correction to us. Then we are responsible to put His Word into action.

But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Matthew 7:26

Don’t Lose Heart

Do you remember the day that your world fell apart? Was it a diagnosis? Or a job loss? The ending of your marriage? Or the loss of a child? Or parent? Or someone very close? Was it the last straw in a bad situation gone worse than expected? Was it the last door closing on a much awaited second chance?

Did you get a call in the middle of the night with unexpected news? Was a false accusation thrown in your face? Was your credibility questioned? Were evil people trying to ruin your reputation? Were your enemies attacking you?

What was that thing that made you wonder how life could ever be good again? Did you wonder how you could go on? Did you wonder if life was worth living? Was all hope gone?

Even the best of us are faint of heart when our world bottoms out. Being in dire straits is not an everyday event in most of our lives. We don’t live by the seat of our pants for day to day survival. Oh. Once that may have been the case for some of another generation. But today. Today, we have most everything we want. And more. Life is pretty good for most of us. But on occasion, the bottom drops unexpectedly. It’s in those moments that we can question everything or cling to the Giver of Life.


I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13


Our faith is the stronghold of life. Our faith is the lifeline we reach for when we’ve reached the end of our rope. Our faith in God can and will support us through our darkest days and nights.

I’ve felt overwhelmed when it seems my world was falling apart. I’ve worried about the future. I’ve had moments where I’ve wondered if I’ve lived my best life, and that the remaining life I have would be less than what I wanted.

Our momentary troubles today are sometimes of our own making. We drop our phone and the screen cracks. The brakes of the car are squealing and in need of new pads. The door of our three car garage isn’t working correctly. We dig ourselves into debt that we can’t climb out of. We start a new job hoping it’s the one, but instead turns out to be worse than the one we left. When we’ve worked through our self help list and finally give God a chance, God will help us. Why not go to him first?

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

If you’ve read Psalm 27, you know that David was in trouble. His enemies were in hot pursuit. They were closing in on him. No. He didn’t say a word against them. He turned to God, the only One who could rescue him. Instead of asking for enemies to be ruined, he asked for God’s grace and mercy to shine upon him.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

The goodness of the Lord is nothing to laugh at. Imagine how desperate we would be if we didn’t have the promises of God to rely on. Imagine the emptiness that must set into an unbeliever’s heart. What do they hope for when what they were hoping for falls through?

God’s goodness is so extreme, yet so simple. God is still good even when life isn’t. God never changes. He is consistent. His love endures everything and lasts forever.

God’s goodness, grace and mercy continually flow, surrounding us with his presence in the midst of turmoil. Life may not always be good. But God is good. Always and forever.

We must hold firm to our belief that we will see the goodness of the Lord. God’s goodness will be evident when we step through heaven’s gates and enter his presence.

Deathbed Wishes

Whether it’s true or not, it has been said that she spoke final wishes. She supposedly didn’t want her boss to name her replacement. Yet the fact is. She had been asked on many occasions in previous years to relinquish her post. She had said no. She wasn’t finished. So she waited. Biding her time. Hoping that luck was on her side. Well. Her luck ran out. And now the last thing she wanted was what she could have had long ago. It doesn’t make sense. But it’s too late, anyway. Her wish will not be granted. Things are out of her control.

It has been said that her progressive opinions have shaped modern American life. Her way of thinking paved the way for many who felt they had been left behind. She was a woman before her time. And her time has come.

Oh. She’ll be remembered. For a time. Her legacy will be noted in all the notable places. Her accomplishments have been documented for all of history. I’m sure there will be class lectures and assignments given in her name. In her honor, other women will tread a path not taken, hoping to make their own mark on history.

But at the end of the day. What does it matter?

Come two hundred years from now, her name will be on a long list of high achievers. Notables who have come and gone. Ones who have made their mark on history. Influencers in their day and age. But where are they now? Oh. They’re occasionally remembered. At times like this. When a new name is added to the list. But then they’re forgotten until the next name is added. And soon. Their name will be so far down the list, that there’s no longer a mention of their accomplishments.


In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds. Ecclesiastes 3:17


But just as those who have gone before her, she has now faced her Maker. She has had to give an account of all her days. Her deeds, good and bad, have been displayed in front of her as she faced God. Oh. She believed in God. But did she ever ask him to forgive her sins? Did she humble herself and bow to Him?

The judge has been judged. She has now stood as tall as she could in front of God Almighty. She has received her final judgment. What was her fate? But it isn’t fate. It is a choice she made. She has reached her final destination. There’s no turning back and there’s no going forward. She is in eternity.

I doubt that my name will go down in the history books for great accomplishments. Most people on the earth will live without knowing my name. I’m afraid my successes will never be listed in the annals of history. I will never be applauded by kings and queens and presidents. And I’m ok with that. Who knows how notable my life’s work will really be.

But what I do know is that I will stand before the One who knows my name. I too will give an account of all my thoughts and actions. I will be judged. My eternity will be determined on whether I asked for forgiveness and repented of my sins. I pray that I will not be found wanting. I pray that my life will be lived always in honor of the One who died for every last sin of mine.

It isn’t fate that will take me to my eternal destiny. I too have a choice. I pray that my deathbed wish is to be found as a good and faithful servant. I pray that I will be found worthy of entering heaven’s gates.