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.

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.

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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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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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