Rough Week

It was a rough week at work. One coworker just can’t quite get her act together. The job petrifies her. And it shows.  Her discomfort makes others uncomfortable. She’s slow to get her work done. She manages her time poorly. She avoids the hard stuff for as long as she can. And then she’s sweating bullets trying to get her work done accurately and on time. This week, her discomfort put someone else in a precarious position, and he snapped at her. She deserved it. Didn’t she? But she didn’t deserve the public dressing down.

Another coworker also had a tough week.  He comes in all cocky and macho. But his work habits speak of insecurity and lack of discipline. Oh. He’s quick to talk of his military combat experience. His PTSD. But his work ethic and dishonesty cause discomfort and lack of trust in his coworkers. He’s a tough one to work with. 

There’s another who struggles with insecurity. She doesn’t believe in herself enough to stand up for herself. She just doesn’t think to do that. She doesn’t even trust herself. She will point the finger of blame at someone else if she is challenged. Her lack of self belief causes others to doubt her.

I get it. It’s a tough job to do. You either get it or you don’t. And if you don’t, then where does that leave you? Not in a good place. That’s for sure.

I find myself torn down the middle. Wanting to snap at these people who are struggling. Yet at the same time, I remember when I was in their shoes. Not sure if I could cut it. Now that I know I can, I want to remember the struggle of beginners. Because it is a real thing. Struggling in a place where you’re not sure you belong can cut you to the core. I know.

But I find myself getting impatient. You can only claim the “new” card for so long. And I find myself wanting to say words to them that aren’t mine to say. I find myself caught in a place that I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be that person who snaps at others. I want to be helpful. and kind.


So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6


We all have issues that we try to keep hidden from others. Sometimes those hidden issues cause public problems. If they’re never addressed, trouble follows at every turn. It isn’t pretty.

Insecurity is a real thing. We all suffer from it. We try to hide it. We cover it up with false conceit. We over-exaggerate our words and actions. We tend to either talk too much or not at all when we’re insecure. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

Insecurity causes one to become defensive if they feel threatened. They may throw a friend under the bus when they’re just trying to protect themselves. Insecurity weakens your defenses to the point of not trusting yourself. 

I say go to God. Share your insecurities with him. Your doubts. Your fears. He knows them. He sees you. He hears your words and your thoughts. He loves you. He fights for you. He defends you. But in order to grow in your faith in God and in yourself, you must fight the fight. Defend yourself. Stand up for what you believe. Do your best. Don’t try to do things on your own. Depend on God for strength. He will provide.

Second Place

It was the game of a lifetime for these college players. The number two team was slotted to play the number three team. The number three team had won the national championship the previous year. No one wanted to play them in the playoffs. But here we were. We were playing them. Dumb luck.

The game started out well. It was going in our favor. We were ahead. And then we weren’t. Bad plays were called. Mistakes were made. At the very last play of the game that could have signaled our win, the other team caught the ball in the end zone. We lost.

We won’t play in the national championship game this year. Once again, we lost out in what was billed to be the game of the season.

Oh. There’s always next year. That’s what they say. Whoever they are. But after a winning season, this loss is a huge blow. A sting to the ego. A wrong that can’t be righted.


To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19


Someone else came in second place another time. I wonder if he even knew he was in the running. He didn’t ask for it. But, all of a sudden, there he was. He was in the running to replace Judas as the twelfth disciple. Judas had made some serious mistakes that cost him his life. Someone must replace him. That’s what Scripture says.

So a search was made of all those men who had faithfully followed Jesus from the start right through the end of his human ministry. They were to choose someone who was with them the entire time. Someone who was faithful. Which man would be chosen to replace a traitor? Who would want to fill those shoes? Was that an honor or a curse?

Oh. The remaining eleven prayed about who should be the replacement. And then they rolled dice. After praying, why did they gamble on the outcome? Was that a thing they always did? Was that the custom? Regardless, that’s what they did. They chose Matthias. Not Joseph Barsabbas.

I wonder how Joseph B. felt when he wasn’t chosen to replace Judas. He had been one of the seventy who were called disciples. But he somehow couldn’t break into the ranks of the top twelve. Maybe he wasn’t concerned about that. Maybe he was. We’ll never know. Did he think that he had escaped notoriety by not being chosen? Did he think he was safe from mistreatment and persecution? Did he think he would fly under the radar? Was he relieved or heartbroken?

Joseph Barsabbas. Who was this man, anyway? He may have been the brother of James. One can never know these things for sure. Legend says that he went on to become a bishop. And just as the other twelve disciples, he also died a martyr. Did he know that he would meet a death similar to all the other disciples? Death at the hands of others. At the hands of those who were against his beliefs.

First place is what seems to be the top goal. Number one or none. Why is number one always the goal? No one wants to be thought of as a loser. But losers may have something to prove. Perhaps to others. But mostly to themselves. It’s not for all to win. Sure. Disappointment can set in. And move into resentment. But losing isn’t the end of the world. It can be the start of the next best thing.

I can’t call Joseph B. a loser. After all, becoming a bishop is not for the faint of heart. He was a bishop in a very important city. Sometimes not being chosen is the best thing that can happen in someone’s life. Life and happiness shouldn’t end just because a dream is left unfulfilled. Just because hopes are dashed doesn’t mean new hopes can’t thrive.

Second place. Not being chosen. It’s just that. A closed door. Time to look for the place that’s right. That’s better. That’s the perfect fit. Find the next thing and move on. After all, whatever happens is God ordained. What is better than that?

Bravery Counts

The neighbor described her as a tough looking Lab. She is half Mastiff and half Lab. So the toughness is evident in her stance. In her hulking chest. Her bark is pretty tough, too. Animals cower at it. People back off at the sound. Her bite? Well, she’s never bitten.

She’s a protector of her caregivers. The one who feeds her is always guarded. She would probably offer her life as a substitute if needed. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

She loves her people with all she’s got. When one of us is not at home, she shuts down. She will lie on the bed as if she’s lost her best friend. As if she has no energy to move another muscle. But as soon as he comes home, she has boundless energy that is unmatched. She moves through the house with a smile on her face. Her pack is together. As it should be. All is well.

But then it happens. He sneezes. And that sneeze knocks the socks right off of her. You would think that that sneeze could blow a house down. As soon as she hears it, she runs for the one who feeds her. She needs protection. She is shaking like a leaf in the worst storm of the season. She can’t quite calm down until she has been comforted and consoled. This hulk of a dog cowers at the sound of her master’s sneeze. All efforts to act tough and protective are thrown out the window with a single sneeze.


Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10


As a Christian, why do I cower when my Master makes an unfamiliar move near me? When he makes his presence known? When he asks me to move out of my comfort zone? Why do I run for cover hoping he won’t find me? When he isn’t asking the impossible of me. He’s only stretching my faith and my trust. Why don’t I see that?

Why don’t I trust that he is with me even when the frightening sneezes of life throw me off guard. When those life sneezes send me cowering to my favorite hiding place. Why don’t I believe that he is in control, even when it seems all hope is lost. When life seems hopeless, the hope of life has my back. He carries me through those storms of life when I have no fight left.

He’s never failed me. He’s never forgotten me. He’s by my side. I have to remind myself that whatever happens in my life is God’s will. Otherwise, it wouldn’t happen. So it may be a life lesson. It may be a reward. It may be a reprimand. Regardless, it is the right thing for me at that moment. I have to place my trust in Him in all situations. Even though I can’t see the road ahead.

Favored or Not

The popular Christmas song “Mary, Did You Know” asks Mary if she knows what she is getting into by giving birth to the Son of God. When the angel of God appeared to her, he said that she had found favor with God. She was bewildered. What had she done to be noticed by God? Scripture doesn’t say why God chose her.

When Jesus was 8 days old, an old man named Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her very soul. He said this God child would cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. This babe had been sent as a sign from God, but many would oppose him. And as a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts would be revealed. She realized her days would not be easy.

As a twelve year old, Jesus was a growing boy. As he grew physically and spiritually, he found favor with God and man. That favor lay upon him as he matured and began his ministry, but it didn’t exempt him from terrible abuse and suffering at the hands of his accusers. Favor led him straight to his death on the cross.

Mary had pondered many unanswered questions in her heart ever since she found out she was going to be a mother. After all, this God child was born from her virgin womb. How is that even possible? Did Mary feel favored when she searched frantically for her twelve year old son who disappeared for three days while meeting with leaders in the temple? Did Mary know that favor meant that she would endure the most heart wrenching days of her life as her son was tortured and killed? Did she ever wonder if God’s favor was supposed to be so difficult? I wonder if she pondered what kind of favor this was meant to be, since it caused some of the most heartbreaking times of her life.


Don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. Luke 1:30


At times, we pray for favor. We ask for God’s blessing on our lives. We’re asking for health, wealth and happiness. We’re hoping bad times escape us. We hope the trials of life somehow miss us. We want our blessings to be just that, blessings with no sort of hurt or trouble in the mix.

Does the mother of a special needs child feel as if she’s found favor when her responsibility for her child is as overwhelming as her love is? Does the grandchild who’s caring for their elderly grandmother feel favored when time and funds are in high demand and short supply?

What is God’s favor anyway? Do we think God’s favor has been removed from us when we suffer? When we endure hardships or trials? Paul wrote that we are to rejoice when we run into problems and trials. Don’t we know that those trials will produce endurance? Endurance develops strength of character. Strength of character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. God says this hope will not lead to disappointment. I see favor written all over our suffering. Favor that God has paved a way for us straight to Calvary. He hasn’t forgotten us or abandoned us. He who suffered for us is with us in our suffering.

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-2, 5

Undeserved privilege. Favor. Mercy. Peace. Joy. Confidence. Because of God’s great love for us, we can confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing His glory. But if we say we want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead, why do we try to avoid the fellowship of suffering that comes with it?

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

History has been written. He was charged with trumped up crimes. He had been arrested by the leading priests out of envy. A kangaroo court was held at night. Bogus witnesses were brought in. Lies were told about him. Fabricated stories were shared to make the man appear to be a criminal.

He kept to his story. The truth. That’s all he had ever shared. No embellishments. No condemnation. He proclaimed that he was the great “I Am”. 

He had been seen performing miracles. He had been heard explaining Scripture and prophecies in the temple. Some people were amazed at his teaching, while others ridiculed him for speaking the truth. His former neighbors couldn’t believe that this man who once was a carpenter was claiming to be the Messiah. The Savior of the world. He was saying he was God himself.

Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he performed a miracle on the Sabbath, they cried foul. He called them out for their double standards. They demanded justice. He looked at them with pity, for he knew their hearts were hardened against him and the truth. They plotted how to kill him.

The teachers of religious law claimed he was possessed by satan. How can God Almighty be possessed by the devil himself?

Now he was on trial. Crowds rallied against him. Even though they had witnessed his miracles. Even though he had welcomed them and their children with open arms. He had broken bread with them. He never spoke ill of them. His crime was loving them. That he was guilty of. There is no doubt.

When asked to prove who he was, he kept silent. He was beaten to a pulp. His clothes were pulled off of him. The soldiers rolled dice to see who would get a piece of fabric he wore.

Oh. He was mocked. He was taunted. He was spit on. He was abused to the nth degree. But they could not prove that he had sinned or committed a crime.  Because he hadn’t. He was innocent.

When they placed the crown of thorns on his head, you can bet he shook with pain. When they heaved the heavy wooden cross on his back, he trembled from the weight of it. When he was forced to walk up the path to the hill of Calvary, he struggled from weakness. He couldn’t carry the weight of the cross alone. Someone else was forced to carry the weapon of death for him. When his side was slit open, he gasped from the shock. When the gall soaked sponge was pressed to his lips, he drank. Then his torn, worn out body gave up and breathed a final breath. It. Is. Finished. 

This man was innocent of any and all crimes. But through the three years of his ministry, he was constantly ridiculed and mocked. He was denied justice. A hardened criminal was freed in his place. At his sentencing, a murderer was set free, and the innocent Son of God was sentenced to death.


Don’t be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36


His name is Immanuel. God with us. Whether we seek his presence or even acknowledge him, he is with us. Even now. So many years after his birth as a human, he is still with us.

Even as a toddler, he was hunted. King Herod went on a rampage and had boys age 2 and under killed. This child was on the wanted list before he could speak. How dare he even be born. This God child. It was his Father’s plan for him to physically come to earth. He knew his birth would start a revolution that to this day has never ended. But he still sent his son to live among God’s creation. He worked and moved among God’s chosen people and those who rejected God. He was one of them for 33 years.

And when the time came for him to show and prove his true identity, the naysayers also showed themselves for who they really were. Was it a crime to heal people? Was it a crime to speak the truth? Was it a crime to be God?

Some say it depends on who you ask. But it doesn’t. In this case, the truth will prevail.

He showed the world. The past world and present day. Sure. They killed the physical body that God wore for a few years. But they didn’t kill God. God isn’t killable. He was alive. He is alive today. And he will always live. He is not guilty of a crime. He cannot sin. He loves and He forgives. The one who died in that body on the cross is sitting at the right hand of God in heaven today. He is preparing space for you and for me to join him.

Mirror Image

Soft cussing. That’s what he called it. How do we get her to stop soft cussing? He said. What is soft cussing? I asked. In my eyes, any cussing is hard cussing. There is no difference in the words. I suggested praying for her. She said it was in her heart.

Someone else once asked how to compromise and still get everything they wanted. Oh. They realized that compromise means giving up of some things, but they still wanted it all. They wanted their way. Period. But they also wanted the other person to feel like they were winning, too. When they weren’t.

I know someone who gets really annoyed with her husband’s habits. He thinks only of himself. He’s disrespectful. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. She wonders how she can live like this until death us do part. Because that seems like a really, really long time. As in forever. But she made a vow.

A co-worker turned in his two week notice. He’s moving on to greener pastures. That’s what he thinks. That’s what he hopes. The thing is. He hasn’t been a stellar employee. He’s used company time and resources to complete schoolwork. He appears to spend more time on social media than he does on work assignments. He got drunk on a business trip with the big boss and spilled the beans about his new job offer. After talking with other co-workers, it seems that no one is sorry to see him go.


Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2


  • We all make mistakes.
  • We all say things we shouldn’t.
  • We all do things we shouldn’t.
  • We all think things we shouldn’t.
  • We all don’t say things we should.
  • We all don’t do things we should.
  • We all don’t think things we should.
  • We all need forgiveness, grace and mercy.
  • DAILY

–Christine Caine

How can we who are made in the image of God be so unlike him? Especially when some of us have said we are his followers. Oh.  Everyone is made in God’s image. We are his mirror image. But the heart is nothing like his until we change our behavior to match his.

I want to say it’s trial and error, but it isn’t. It’s a conscience, deliberate daily choice to live as Christ would.  Oh. He had his moments. Angry at others for breaking the Sabbath. Calling out sins in public. But he walked and talked with those sinners. He invited himself to the dishonest tax man’s house and ate with him. And in all of it, he didn’t sin. With all the temptation surrounding him, he kept his eye on the prize. His calling was an eternal gift that he surrendered to. 

Oh. He walked right into that temple. Through the crowds selling goods where they weren’t supposed to be doing business. He was so mad, he could have spit nails. Instead he ended up nailed to a cross. Between thieves. He half walked half crawled up the hill with a crown of thorns on his head.  He was so emptied of blood that someone else had to carry his cross. But in that act alone, he covered my sin and shame with his blood. Those nail prints and shed blood were his sacrifice for my human acts of disobedience. Do I so easily disregard his sacrifice when I am made in his same image?

Perhaps I need to shine that mirror so his image is clearly seen. Instead of streaks of personal opinion, greed, slothful behavior and disregard for others, I want to see his image looking back at me in that mirror. Is it really possible? How much will I have to clean up my act in order to see him through that mirror?

Can I not do the same as him? Can I not keep my eye on the eternal prize that has been offered to me?  Can I not treat others as I would want to be treated?

We have a real opportunity to influence, if our lives model what it means to follow Jesus with our words, attitudes and actions. –Luke Greenwood

The Thrill of Hope

The thrill of hope. I’ve been seeing that phrase on everything Christmas this year. It’s a marketing slogan for one company. It’s the title of Advent devotionals. Oh. The words are taken from a well known Christmas song “O Holy Night”. We sing it every year, but do we notice the words we’re singing? Do we pay attention to the meaning of the words?

The thrill of hope. What is that?

thrill/THril/noun a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure.

hope/hōp/noun a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

My dog looks up at me with anticipation. Her tail is wagging faster than a foot can walk. It beats against my leg, as in rhythm with a band only she can hear. It beats so hard and long that I’m surprised she isn’t sore or injured from the constant movement. She’s waiting for her favorite treat. Or for a walk outside. Perhaps she’s longing for a trip to the dog park. She knows the thrill of hope. Hoping that her anticipation will turn into reality.


Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19


It’s December.  The seemingly longest month of the year.  At least in terms of darkness and light.  With the time change in the fall, the days are getting longer.  They’re so long now that it seems we spend more time in the dark than we do in the light.  I drive to work in the dark.  I drive home in the fading sun.  If the sun shines in the morning, the day suddenly seems full of hope.  It brings an anticipation of good things to come.  Until the darkness falls again.

When January turns the corner, I feel hope rising.  I know that by the end of the first month of the new year, the days will begin to lengthen by one minute a day.  Doesn’t seem like much.  One minute.  But that’s 31 minutes by the end of January.  By the end of February, there’s 28 more minutes.  Almost a full hour of light has been added in the darkest of winters.  It brings the thrill of hope that spring is coming.  That spring will show up again as it always does.

God will make a way through the wilderness. He will make a river in the desert. If he can do those things, why not trust him to make a way through your wilderness? Why not trust him to lead you to the river in your dry wasteland? He will, you know. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But God will make a way. He is working for you. Not against you. In his sweet timing and perfect plan, God’s way will shine forth as the dawning day.

The thrill of hope keeps me holding on to the promises God has given. The thrill of hope lets me know that my eternal future is brighter than I can imagine. My hope is in heaven. This life will have trouble, but the thrill of eternal hope moves me forward as I cling to God’s love, forgiveness, grace and mercy.

The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. ‎–Placide Cappeau

Honor and Kindness

World kindness day was recently celebrated. So I searched for some encouraging phrases about kindness.

  • If you can be anything, be kind.
  • Choose your words wisely.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Always be a little kinder than necessary.
  • Kindness is free. Let’s pass it on.

These are all great words of wisdom. Words easier said than done. Why is that?

When someone offends me or slows me down, why are my first thoughts to go for the jugular instead of offering a warm hand of understanding. Most people are looking for redemption while withholding it from others. Why is it so difficult to be kind to others when that’s all anyone is looking for in their own moments of failure?

Why is kindness so hard? Why does it seem that we’re being put out if we have to extend a helping hand or apologize? Especially when it’s someone who rubs us the wrong way.

It’s critical that we choose to honor those we disagree with. –John Bevere


What comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart.  Matthew 15:18


It most likely started as a practical joke. A prized possession was missing. If it was taken as a joke, then the joke soon got out of hand. The owner was highly offended. Management got involved. Soon HR was on the scene. The joke had gone too far too fast, without the possibility of being reeled in. The supposed offender did not raise their hand in humility and repentance. They were too embarrassed. What could they say? What would become of them? What type of punishment would be administered?

A week later the offended was still visibly upset. She couldn’t move past the incident. Her inexpensive souvenir was gone. Lost forever. She filed an incident report with Security and building management. I was the key witness. I was the one person who had knowledge of this item’s last whereabouts. A lot of pressure for something that had been blown too far out of proportion.

Now she is making veiled threats if the offender is ever identified. But basically, the truth of what’s in her heart has been identified. The state of her heart has been placed on public display. It isn’t pretty. Retaliation. Vengeance. Bitterness. Hatred. One never would have thought that this behavior would come from her. But what is within becomes outward if the opportunity arises.

Everyone we disagree with bears the image of God. –Greg McNichols

Why is it so easy to lash out at someone rather than take a step back and breathe? 

When someone rubs you the wrong way, just step back. Just for a minute. When you’re in the checkout line and the person checking out has a full cart, just take a breath. Not a noticeable sigh. Pause. Just know that at one time or another, you too have been the cause of someone else’s frustration.

I’m talking to myself here. 

You should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you. Matthew 7:12

I wonder what would happen if I treated everyone the way I wanted to be treated. Sure. I get it. Not everyone wants to be treated the way I do, but I want to be treated kindly.  And fairly. I want others to respect my privacy and my opinion. We don’t have to agree, but we can still get along. 

It sounds like common sense to me, but I’ve come to realize that some aren’t born with common sense. The Bible says that we are only evil all the time. Without God as our guide and compass, we will be unkind. We will treat others unfairly. We will take when we should give. We will undermine the goodness of others. We will steal, kill, cheat and lie. We want to have our way and we want it now.

What will it take to change? What has to happen to get the ugly out of your heart?  Hearts can change. Repentance. Forgiveness. New habits. New attitude. God is in the business of changing hearts. We must be willing.

Soul Surgery

The patient had complained of unusual symptoms. Heartache. Unfulfillment. Despair. A nagging ache of hopelessness. Unsure where to turn. He was self medicating, but it wasn’t helping. He was searching for help in all the wrong places. All hope seemed lost.

He heard of the master surgeon. He scheduled an appointment. Curiosity brought me here. He said. I’ve heard it’s a radical surgery, but I want to know more. Tell me about the procedure and recovery time. I’m a busy man, and I don’t have time to be laid up. But I’m desperate for healing.

The patient asked about the cost of the surgery. The wise surgeon looked at him and opened wide his arms. Someone else has already paid the price. For you, this surgery is free.

The surgeon noted on the patient’s chart that there was no prep for the surgery. We see best results to this type of surgery when you come as you are. You are welcome in your current state. There was a large note at the top of the chart:

Come as you are. Do not try to change your current routines before surgery. All adjustments to your care will be made during rehabilitation.

The soul is lying on the operating table. The surgeon opens up the soul. There is a hunt for goodness. Kindness. Love. Peace. Joy. Patience. Truth. Honor. But all that can be found is darkness mixed with hatred and anger. Lust and fear. Dishonesty. Greed. Grudges. Gluttony. Adultery. Addictions. The cords of selfishness are wrapped so tightly around the soul that any good intentions are strangled.

It started slowly at first. Seemingly unnoticeable. A white lie led to a bigger lie. Until now, truth is hard to find. Where once peace and love ruled the heart, now grudges and discord run rampant. 

The surgeon tries desperately to find some noble deed that’s worth saving. But the search is fruitless. Life support can’t support a soulless life. The madness must end. If truth be told, truth hasn’t been told in so long that it’s unrecognizable.

As the soul was laid bare on that table, the surgeon saw that this particular surgery would be long and complicated. It was as if time stood still. But for this surgeon, a minute was as a day. And a day was as a minute. For all intents and purposes, this soul would need a miracle. 

During the procedure, he removes every wrong act and thought from the patient. He wipes out all record of wrongdoing. He cleans up the arteries and increases blood flow. Any tumors or growths are cut away. As the surgeon closes up the incision, he covers up the wound with his own red blood. He will not remember what he has seen in that soul he has made clean.


Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13


The surgeon was later asked if it was possible to find any life in this lifeless soul. Was there any reason to hold out hope for a new beginning? Could this soul be saved if fed a proper diet? If specific life saving disciplines were established, could this soul be fruitful and multiply? Was a miracle possible? Oh. He said. Miracles are my specialty.

Recovery would require discipline. Soul therapy would need to be scheduled on a regular basis. This soul’s eternity was at stake. Healing would take a lifetime.

In the follow up appointment, the patient asked about rehabilitation. What is involved? How long will it take? How many sessions? Can you recommend a good therapist? Where will the therapy sessions be held? Does my insurance cover this part of recovery?

The master surgeon sat down and explained that the rehabilitation would be long and arduous. It would be difficult. At times, painful. But, oh the joy when hurdles have been crossed. When victories have been won. When old lifestyle habits have been conquered. When new disciplines have been set in place.

There is no time limit to the rehabilitation, he continued. It will last a lifetime. You, the patient, play a large role in your own success. But you can’t do it alone. You will need help. You will need others who have survived and are still on the road of recovery to help and guide you. But choose wisely where you seek advice. There will be those who have been through the surgery, but didn’t fulfill the rehabilitation requirements. They will try to lead you astray. They will say that the surgery was a mistake. Don’t listen to them. Then there are others who have never had the surgery. They will be as slippery as snakes with their advice. Run from them with every ounce of strength you can find. Stay close to those who continue to seek rehabilitation. Spend time with them.

You will need to schedule daily appointments with me, the surgeon advised. Please make sure to do this, as it is of utmost importance to your survival. Continue to read the prescription that I wrote for you. It will tell you all about me, but it was written with you in mind. Call me anytime you think of me. I am always available. Do not hesitate to call me at any time of the day or night. I cannot stress enough how important this step is in your healing. Many who have come through the surgery with flying colors fall short in this area. It weakens them and opens them up to unnecessary heartache and trials. Please. Please. Please. Remember that this is most important for your recovery and survival.

This surgeon has seen a lot of souls in his day.  His daily schedule is always full, but he’s willing to perform any surgery at any time. Day or night. He is always on call. He reserves time each day for last minute appointments. He is always available for emergency surgeries. He orchestrates each surgery, but he has a band of helpers. A host of heaven’s armies are at his disposal.  Heavenly angels perform at his bidding.

The surgeon inspects each soul as if it’s his favorite. He opens up the soul and does a thorough inspection. He has seen some souls hardened by abuse and despair. Crusty and misshapen by bad attitudes, grudges, lies, distorted truths, shame and regret. Can those souls be saved? Only the surgeon knows. He is the giver of life. And he is the taker of life. He alone decides the final resting place of the soul. It is a great responsibility. Only fit for a sovereign God.

Garden of My Heart

I knelt there in the flowerbed. The weeds had been mowed down. The stubble was all that remained of the flowers of the summer. What once was full of beauty, color and life was now brown, broken and dry. No use for it.

I began cleaning up the remaining fallen leaves. I pulled the overgrown weeds that had been left to grow wild. The flowerbed hadn’t received the best of attention this summer. Life got busy. I was tired. My free time was spent relaxing and doing more enjoyable tasks. Cleaning flowerbeds and pulling weeds isn’t my idea of fun. Oh. It’s a necessity for a beautiful flowerbed, but it can be hard work. It can take time. And after a week of hard work, I was looking for a break come Saturday.

My spiritual life is much like my flowerbed. It has its moments where it shines. Where I’m in perfect rhythm with my God and Savior. Where I’m obeying and seeing the fruits of my hard labor. Where I’m pulling the weeds of disobedience and pride from my spiritual flowerbed. Where I’m spending time in prayer and Bible study. Where I’m sharing moments with godly friends who share similar beliefs. Encouraging and building up each other.

I think of the times that I don’t keep my spiritual garden tidy. I’m tired and stressed. Perhaps I’m frustrated about a situation and a bad attitude creeps in. I could be expecting an answer to prayer that doesn’t come or it doesn’t happen in the way I want. The seeds of doubt begin to grow. A dose of self pity makes its annual appearance. The perennial questioning of why continues to bloom each season.


I love you, Lord. You are my strength. Psalms 18:1


Too much sun and rain, both good in and of themselves, cause gardens to grow quickly and abundantly. It also means that the garden needs constant attention. It’s easy for weeds to overtake a garden. Pulling weeds. Deadheading worn out blooms. Trimming and thinning out overgrowth. Pruning old branches that have left their prime. Making sure the best flower buds are the ones that bloom. It’s a necessary, never ending task. If left on its own, the garden will lose its beauty and grace. If routinely tended, it will provide hours of pleasure and fulfillment.

The same goes for my heart. Bible reading and prayer are good for the soul. Too much is never enough. But there’s more involved to keeping the heart right. It takes action. Hard work. It takes cleaning out the cobwebs of a cluttered mind that can lead one astray. It means making sure the self-centered desires and actions are rooted out by God’s will and plan. Allowing God to prune the budding heart so that only the most beautiful buds will blossom.

I’ve read that sheep need to be sheared on a regular basis. If left unsheared, a sheep’s wool will add extra pounds to the sheep’s weight. This will cause unnecessary health problems, and it can even be life threatening. The sheep needs continual grooming and care from his shepherd. He needs his shepherd.

I am like that sheep. If left to my own devices, I will add extra baggage to my life. If I don’t allow God to groom the ungodly areas of my life, my poor habits and desires will take control. My soul will be weighed down and threatened, if it is left without a steady diet of spiritual food.

My soul needs constant attention. Daily feedings from God’s word and an attitude of prayer keep my soul alive and healthy. My prayer is that I remain disciplined to keep my soul in check, so I stay close to the One who loves me most and knows me best. I need my Shepherd.