Our Christian Testimony Matters

Last week, as I was driving to work listening to an interview by a Ukrainian reporter, the sound of air raid sirens filled my car. My legs became weak, my heart broke, and tears began to flow down my cheeks freely. My thoughts raced to the parents trying to comfort their frightened children, let alone themselves, as they rushed to grab what items they could and seek shelter. In my heart, I know that their reality today could be ours tomorrow.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has directed my heart to marinade in the Old Testament prophets. It doesn’t take long to recognize that condition of the world today mirrors the times the prophets wrote about. The study text reveals that “Justice had become twisted, and the righteous were treated like dirt. The truth had become a liability and could endanger anyone who spoke it, and trust among the people was pretty much non-existent. Bitterness, corruption, and treachery had poisoned the community of the Lord’s people.” The condition of their hearts, minds, and attitudes wreaked with malice and smelled of pride and self-love.

If I’m being honest, my heart has been grumbly lately. I’m tired of all the rhetoric, false information, and blatant division in our families, businesses, and even our churches. I have been prideful, and my attitude has been a little smelly on more than one occasion. I look at the world’s condition, and I’m ready for Jesus to come, but then there’s the ending of Jonah when the Lord says, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Ninevah has more than 120,00 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

In Francis Chan’s book “Unity Unity,” the dagger digs even deeper when he says, “My fear is that perhaps without even realizing it, we’ve fallen into the very dangerous habit of neglecting God’s command in favor of our logic.”

I’m not skilled in understanding what God has willed or what He has planned, but I do know that just as he commands the rains to fall on the just and the unjust, he requires me to love them both. He does not want my sacrifices nor ritualistic worship, but my heart. When my heart is aligned to Him, he can help me in my relationships with and towards others. There was a saying in a recent sermon at church, and I loved it. It was, “Jesus didn’t go around poking people in the eye, but did his best to connect.” Jesus modeled how we are to love. He connected, gave testimony to their sin, showed compassion, and told them to go sin no more. He didn’t run after or shame each person for what they did or didn’t do. Most already knew the weight of their sin. He provided the way out.

The study text for Micah 6:8 says, “As they are motivated by love, their actions will be tempered by justice, mercy, and humility.” We get an upgrade that affects our hearts, minds, and attitudes when we abide in Christ. We were never meant to dictate and pressure others into submission with our opinions or ways, but to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This is what pleases the Lord and brings him glory. It was never to be of ourselves.

The book of Jonah has an open ending. There is more to come; we just don’t know what is next, but the Lord is here and is living among us, and He is mighty to save. One way to prepare for his kingdom on earth is by the cleansing of our hearts. May we throw off the cloaks of division, pride, bitterness, malice, jealousy, comparison, etc., that we may reflect Him as we deal with others to make Him known. Our testimony for Christ is essential in an oppressed and confused world; the world is watching! May we no longer grieve the Holy Spirit but come together in Christ to restore hope to lost, extend grace and compassion to all who are hurting and looking for a way out.

The Broken Mirror

I busted my mirror backing out of the garage last night. It reminds me of the time I backed into a tree. The back bumper fell off, and no matter how many times I stopped to put it back on, it kept falling off and dragging behind me. My kids laughed, people pointed and stared, and I sat, staring straight ahead, knowing full well what was dragging behind.

The broken mirror now flaps in the wind, ready to take flight, much like we do when trouble comes our way. The mirror reflects what is behind, just as our hearts do when deep-seated hurts resurface.

Sometimes, life can break us. We only see or reflect upon the past and what has been done to us, or what we have done. We cling to the could, would, shoulds, never fully stepping forward or dealing with the pain endured.

Our focus is not to be on what’s behind, but the promises we have in Christ moving forward. I’ve learned that sometimes a trigger brings up something that we haven’t dealt with entirely or released fully to the Lord. Nobody wants to revisit or linger in the past, but sometimes it becomes necessary to move forward. I think of Joseph when he saw his brothers for the first time since they sold him into slavery. I can empathize with his feelings, can’t you! O Lord, prove to me they are not the same people they were so many years ago.

This life gives us many broken views and perceptions on who God is and what He has done for us. It gets lost in the rhetoric of the chaos. It’s not so much about God proving to Joseph or us that people have changed, but showing us the hardened areas of our hearts, that we may become tender to His healing.

Cultivated Hearts

As a little girl, I grew up surrounded by the rural fields of western Kansas. To this very day, the dancing of the wheat in the summer breeze or the vibrant greens in the giant corn stalks to the deep red hues of milo in the fall still causes me to pause as I admire their beauty and reflect upon my childhood. A farmer’s life consists of busyness in planting and harvesting and then rest during the cold winter season, but some crops still lie in wait for the spring rains to boost them forward. 

Rest is vital for farmers, and we know that rest is essential to God. After He created everything and saw that it was good (Gen. 2:1-3), he rested. We see a weekly Sabbath day required for the Israelites in the Ten Commandments (Exd. 20:8-11). In our reading today, rest is now extended to the land, not for just a day but a whole year (Lev. 25:2-7) and two years when the Jubilee fell the year following the Shmita (Lev. 25:10-11).  Land connected the Israelites to their ancestors and was the primary source of provision for their families, just as our vocations are. Can you imagine how a mandated year rest would affect us today? 

I find the word “solemn” interesting as it refers to the kind of rest God required. The word comes from the Latin word “sollemis,” which means formal or ceremonial, and “a serious, or formal in manner, behavior or expression, a solemn moment or occasion.” This rest wasn’t a time of pleasure as we see it, but time set apart for the Israelites to reflect on God’s holiness. 

It was still a time of cultivation and plowing, just not of the land, but hearts focusing on their relationship with God. God is holy; therefore, we are to be also (Lev. 19:2). We are not instantly holy, it requires personal reflection and understanding of who He is, and that is serious business.

The Shmita and the Jubilee year were requirements that brought provision and release, whether from slavery or debt. The Jubilee also restored the land as allocated (Josh 13-21) to their ancestors back to their families. God provides for us spiritually in the same way that he delivered us from sin (slavery) and atoned for all our sin (debts) (Rom. 3:25) through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.  (Luke 24:46-47) We cannot do that on our own accord! (Titus 3:5-7

The times in which we live have changed, but God has not. He is still the primary landowner and creator of all things and dwells within our hearts. We can’t dedicate a year to reflect upon God and our relationship with him solely. But we can intentionally soak in His Truth and allow Him to cultivate the fallow grounds of our hearts. That isn’t always easy and can be pretty challenging. But just as the Kansas farmland dances in the summer breezes, our hearts can spring forward his tender loving mercies as we grow more like Him.

Nothing but the Blood

We recently enjoyed a visit to the greater DC area. With reports of protesters in recent days at the White House, we were unsure of what we may encounter. As we approached the area outside the front lawn, we didn’t see the large protests taking place as noted in the news. We did however see two lone protesters, one with a sign concerning Korea in the middle of the road and another standing next to the fence with a sign that said “Traitor!” A news agency rushed over for an interview but I didn’t know why this particular sign caught my eye.

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The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

Today is Good Friday! Many ask how can it be good in the midst of the darkness leading to Jesus’ death. While it is hard to see the goodness in the circumstances and events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, it’s more of a time of reflection on what’s been done for us.  As we ponder upon the things we have done or have been done to us, not all things are good.  But Jesus came and nailed everything we have done on the tree and took it with him! He was and is the Lamb who knew no sin! He died a criminals death, not because of anything He did, but all we have done against Him.  We are cleansed by His blood ALL because of His love for us!  This is what makes Good Friday, GOOD!



The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[e]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Continue reading

Go Deep, Surrender, and Finish Strong

The above words have initiated several conversations over the years. The conversation usually begins with the recitation of them, followed by, “What does that mean?”. It is easy to say what it means to me; trusting in God, surrendering my plan, and focusing on him to see me through. While right, as I studied more, I realized that there is more to it.

Who do you turn to first when trials come? God, others, or even self? We all go through trials, sufferings, or circumstances that challenge us beyond measure. As Christians, it’s in these times that we tend to seek the Lord more. We want insight into what the Lord is doing, but do we trust him?

Did you know that trust is five-dimensional? I didn’t until I came across Psalm 37 and the supporting text shared. It said that,

Trust is:

  1. The renouncing of irritability and envy.
  2. Delighting in the Lord
  3. Submitting to the Lord
  4. Practicing patience in hope
  5. Avoiding anger

Dig Deep

If we’re going to go deep, we have to dig deep. Digging deep is more than reading God’s Word during difficult times, but it’s also about self-reflection. Our response to whatever we are going through matters. Sometimes, the things we think are God turning his back on us or punishing us; He is using to grow our faith and our character. Our emotions indeed get the best of us. We are human after all, but instead of focusing on others, it’s time to get real and ask ourselves the hard questions.

  • Am I being prideful, envious, selfish, judgemental, or hypocritical?
  • Am I unkind in my speech to or about others? How do I treat others?
  • Why does this irritate me?
  • Why am I angry?
  • Am I being fearful?
  • Do I believe God is all-powerful?
  • Do I believe God is with me and will see me through?

How we answer these questions reveals the condition of our hearts. Are we ready to receive what the Father wants to say to us?


But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet.

Hebrews 10:12-13

Some may relate surrender to giving up all hope. Some see it as a relinquishment of personal rights. Most relate surrender to weakness, and nobody wants that! We want to rally the troops and fight to defend our opinions, our ways, our lives. We see in the above verse that God patiently waits until we are humbled. What does humbled mean? It realizes that there is a better way than envy, pride, anger, hypocrisy, addiction, unbelief, and seeks help. That is a significant strength! When we humble our hearts to His ways, he reveals the answers and gives the power needed to either move forward or to stand in His truth. (Hebrews 12:10-11). It’s in these times that we begin to understand and experience His mercy and grace.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

Many say the absence of chaos brings peace; however, with Christ, peace is found within and settles on the heart and mind. This peace causes us to stand firm as we endure the trials and persecutions before us.

Finish Strong

Sometimes we are called to bow our heads and endure the storm. It doesn’t seem right or fair at all; but, justice belongs in the hands of the Father and not our own. We can combat the lies, rumors, and hurt around us, but does that resolve anything? If we are honest with ourselves, it typically does more harm than good.

Standing firm under persecution is proof of a changed heart. It is proof that we have a strength that goes beyond our human capacity and a God-given determination to stand up under all those insults, hurts, lies, losses, and ruins because our Saviour is worth it.

– Love God Greatly

We learn in Romans 12 three things that we can focus on when we encounter trials.

  1. We can rejoice in the hope given
  2. Be patient in tribulation
  3. Be constant in prayer

In all things, God wants our hearts. He desires to shape and mold them to reflect His plan and purpose, not our own. The Lord can’t grow our faith or develop our character if we don’t let Him dig deep into our hearts. It’s through prayer and supplication that we see he fights for us. We need to get out of the way. As we see Him move, we can delight in Him and rejoice in His mighty hand.

Proverbs 27:19 says, ”As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” To whom do you reflect when waters rise? God, man, or self? Be honest in your self-reflection. We need to remember that the Lord does not reflect upon how we see things. We focus upon the outward appearances of others, but the Lord digs deeper and sets his eyes upon our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7).

And So I Wait

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” 

– Lamentations 3:22-26

Waiting is hard during difficult times. Trusting the Lord seems even harder. I know for me, my desire is to want to fix the problem based upon my interpretation of the situation before me. My heart cries out to the Lord to do my will and the silence in return is deafening. The still small voice within me presses upon my heart that I can only see in part and that the One who sees me has a better view. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. My ears fill with the resounding crescendo of the words, “TRUST ME!” And so I wait upon the Lord and His perfect timing.

The Spider’s Web

Who would have thought you could gain insight into life from a spider’s web? They are beautiful, purposeful in their design, but they are also a snare, deceiving prey with its beauty.

As I reflect on this today, it reminds me of Ecclesiastes, and it states that there is a time for everything. There are no guarantees that life will always be as I currently know it to be. People and things wither away and won’t endure the test of time. Whom will I put my confidence in when these changes happen? Who will hold me together and bring me through? Where will my hope be found when the sword crushes my spirit? If it’s in anything other than Christ, I deceive myself.

Where is your confidence today? Is it in your job, your relationships, self, or is it in the things you have and your talents? As beautiful as some items are, sometimes they can turn into a web of deception when we hold tight to them for security.

The Emerald Waters

Our family recently spent some time captivated by the emerald green waters of Destin, Florida. It was fun to watch my husband and daughter roll with each wave among the ombré hues of the Gulf.  With each swell, they would lean back and let the wave carry them and then look to the shore to measure the distance.  They would then swim out and wait for the next big one to carry them further. As I watched them from the beach, a pressing upon my heart began and the words, “Keep watching me.” filled my mind. It wasn’t a watching of people but something of the waters that stirred within my heart.

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If You’re Driven, You Can’t Be Led

That is a hard thought to wrap your brain around first thing in the morning. We go throughout life in the drivers seat weaving in and out traffic just to make it to our destination wherever that may be. More often than not, the speed or gusto used to get there leaves us either tired and restless, or hung up in road construction with all the people we just passed pulling up beside us. We want to get out ahead again to not undue all the ground gained when we passed them earlier. It’s a vicious cycle really. Our driving force should not be based upon the me, the I, or the want, but based on God and His leading. When we are our own driving force, we can’t stop until our goal in life is attained. We throw others under the bus or use them as speed bumps to gain height over them. When God is in the driving seat, we wait until the next green light. We May still get held up in traffic, construction, or even an accident for taking a speed bump way too fast, but He is there to guide us through. The length of time it takes depends upon who has hold of the steering wheel and how we reply to the journey ahead.

Awake O Sleepers

I’m reminded that my walk in Christ is not about wandering aimlessly about but walking in His light and worshipping in spirit and truth. We have sent many back into darkness due to fear! What was non-essential in recovery is now essential. What is right is now wrong! It’s been treading that way for a while but with a pandemic at hand, it’s clear to see to see how far the scales have tipped. Everyone has a truth but how does it measure in the light of His Word! We are to expose truth not harbor it or give it a sanctuary. Where are the sleepers! It’s time to rise up and stand. In our anger we are given the demand to not sin, but we can still turn over the changing tables and crack a whip.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:8-14

Rise up it’s time to shine with Christ!

Of God or Man?


Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases

Psalm 115:1-3

If God is the source of true hope and blessing, and all glory and honor go to Him however, why do we still ask where He is today? I find the study text supporting verses 2 and 3 applicable to our lives even today. It says, “People deny God’s presence or power when he does not act as they think he should. God is in the heavens and he has all power, authority, and knowledge. He does as he wishes and not what people think he should do. He works out his plans in accord with his will and acts in ways he chooses.”

We live in a broken world where we pray for God to do our will and what we believe is good for us. When He doesn’t answer how we want Him to we become angry, question His goodness, and believe He doesn’t love us because we didn’t get what we thought we deserved. We tune our eyes and ears to align with the worlds way and not that of God and instead miss the very provision given.

Could it be our inclination to see our prayers unfold in the world disrupts our vision of the unseen God present in our lives and who He wants to be for us?

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What is Truth?

child-830988_1920I remember my younger years in elementary school. You could name anything about school and I loved it; from the smell of freshly sharpened pencils to the sound of chalk on the chalkboard. My mom even made arrangements with my teachers to make extra copies of seat work to bring home. I would then teach my younger sister who was my only physical student among a host of invisible ones complete with names and imaginary desks.  It was the life!

There was one thing however I disliked about school.  It wasn’t P.E., music, or even the school lunches but it was most definitely the language arts exercise of Fact or Opinion. I recall the vulnerability felt not being able to decipher between them.  Similarly, we see the same struggle even today. The concept is in our homes, churches, schools, and anywhere in community life where a person or organization tries to place their opinions on others seeing them as truth. We see the church called false when facts collide with false truths or opinions but we also see churches compromising truth to those seeking their own truths.  There are many scenarios that we can unfold here but what we fail to realize is we like to make our own rules and cross lines never meant to be crossed to satisfy our own way and desires. We don’t have to look far to see this truth come to light in the Bible.
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The Resurrection of Jesus

Thank you for joining me this past week as we read through the Bible on Jesus’ betrayal, trial and crucifixion. As we read today, we see He conquered the grave and overcame death that we may live with Him one day soon! What a great promise to hold on to as this world with all its troubles tries to distract us from what’s been done.  I close with this verse spoken by Jesus in John 16:33,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Happy Easter!  He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!


Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.

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