This treasure

I’ve always looked at salvation as being a precious gift. We receive gifts all the time and hold some more dear to our hearts than others, but the most precious ones we guard. I’m reminded of a piece of jewelry my mom gave to me a couple of years ago. It’s a wedding set that has been in my family for several generations, and it’s the most beautiful piece of jewelry, not just in appearance, but what it represents. To me it represents a sturdy bond. This piece of jewelry somehow has remained solid and present to the point that it’s made it thru those multiple generations. I will go ahead and tell off on myself, that I evacuated for a hurricane and before leaving my home I not only grabbed boxes of pictures, but I made sure to grab this piece of jewelry. I didn’t want anything to happen to this treasure, it’s that important to me.

I recently made the statement that we, Christians, don’t guard our Salvation like we should. The Word clearly states:

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

We have a treasure inside of us, but we are fragile clay jars. We are so fragile at times we don’t guard our salvation. We take it for granted when we get caught up in gossip sessions instead of praying for that person we are talking about. Ouch! I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. We have access to the power of God, but dismiss it in order to not be called out. We allow peer pressure to take over and just absorb into the scenery so we aren’t the odd one. I say “we” because I’m just as guilty as the next. I fail daily and so many times I end up warming my hands alongside Peter when he denied Christ in Mark 14:66-71. Sometimes my actions spew out “oh, no I don’t know Him (Jesus)”.

Jesus is Salvation and at the time Peter was questioned about being a follower, he denied his Salvation, literally and figuratively. He contained “this great treasure” and so do we. Instead of resorting the power of self, depend on the power of God. It doesn’t matter what he/she will say about us. All that matters in the end is we aren’t ashamed to call Jesus our Lord and Savior. Let’s make sure we grab our treasure on our way out the door, when we enter into a conversation, while we walk thru trials, as we take this journey called life in a dark world. Don’t evacuate from whatever hurricane is coming without it. Let’s guard our precious treasure – Salvation!

Listen with your heart

Listen With Your Heart

There is so much power to be found in words. We rarely think of the power our words can hold over someone else. We may say something never realizing that it changed the course of someone’s day, week, month, or maybe even life. We speak so quickly without realizing that someone could hear the words and hold on to them for a lifetime, hearing them in their minds and holding them in their hearts.

Now these words can change a person’s day for the better, or so often for the worst. I can’t tell you how many times words spoken to me by my 3rd grade teacher have resurfaced as I have journeyed through life, words spoken to a child in ignorance because she learned differently carried into her life creating fear of never being smart enough. Words that I have always tried to go above and beyond to prove wrong.

These words we throw around so freely, wow what a sword. I also remember words of power and overcoming being spoken into me, these are the words I hold precious and dear to my heart. I found myself thinking of the strength in words as I sat reading birthday posts on social media. I thought to myself “oh the joy to be found in the kindness of a word” you see… I do not celebrate my birthday, and I have tried to avoid the day all together for a very a long time.

Yet somehow on my least favorite day of the year I found joy in these words sent to me, and it reminded me of a conversation I had not to long ago about words.

There are spoken words and then there are written words. For me the written word is so much harder hitting, I mean think about it… If someone yells at you in anger it is hurtful yes, but you can often remember that very little real thought probably went into the things said in the heat of the moment; but imagine getting those same words sent in a letter or an email or even a text really… SO MUCH MORE HURTFUL. See to write it out you really must put thought into it… you must think about your words two times… once to form the thought and then another to put it to paper. I mean really this is why journaling and blogging is so therapeutic.

The average human processes 70,000 thoughts a day… SEVENTY THOUSAND that’s a brain fact that will blow your mind right! That my friend, is a lot of words. So, to write them down can be so helpful because it forces our mind to sort through the madness and get out what we really need to get out we can often find the real root of our troubles or joys in the process of writing. But the next step is deciding what to do with them once they are out there living and breathing on paper… do we take that time of thinking and writing and begin to see both sides of the equation and think “this really was a silly thing to be so mad about” or do we feel justified and decide to push send?

Either way, the extra time to think about it was not wasted. We are so quick to speak and so slow to listen these days that I walk around and see it… I see the anger people hold at people who at one time or another were their friends. I see the person sitting alone, now the outcast because of something that more than likely could have been worked out. But alas… the words were spoken quickly; opinions were formed and now people are divided, and sides have been chosen.

It is a trickle affect really; one person gets hurt by another’s actions and they need an ally, so they share the story and boom, friends part, and that’s that. I wonder how just a quick inhale and exhale and decision to not react in the moment could have changed the outcomes. I really do hope that I can continue to work toward being a person who can speak slower and hear quicker.

I do this in my conversations with my teenage daughter, and my gosh the difference it makes. She is a teen living with and learning to manage ADHD. Now somethings she says, and I am like IMMEDIATELY NO… but so often if I just let her speak and take mental notes as she is speaking and give her the opportunity just to GET IT ALL OUT, she will come to the same conclusion on her own that I would have spoken over her.

See I have poured into her life for all these years and whether I thought she was at the time; she was listening and watching and learning. She has turned into this amazing human right in front of my eyes and has so much to say. I am a sanctuary for her; her safe space that she can say all the things and feel all the things and know that I am just where it ends. She has no fear of me repeating her feelings or judging them. I am simply a wall with ears. She will literally fall into my bed at the end of the day most days and just word vomit all the things of her day and how they made her feel and how she didn’t respond, and she just held the thoughts until she reached her sanctuary. She knows that when it is something that needs to be addressed, I will absolutely address it and a lesson and or consequence is coming, but I always give her ample time to complete all her thoughts and feelings freely. I in no way let her get away with anything, but I also understand that she lives with ADHD, and a teen with ADHD says things off the cuff; without thought even more than every other teen, and if I jump down her throat every time she says something wrong well… she’s going to stop speaking to me and even worse she is going to stop trusting me with her thoughts and feelings. When a person feels safe speaking, they will say things that will show you what was really going on and what lead them to respond in a way or do things that aren’t really telling of the person they are.

Sometimes you will realize you were just a catch all in a day of 70,000 thoughts that ended up coming out at the smallest possible trigger. You see people say and do the wrong thing… because we are just mere humans with very real faults. So maybe if we could just slow down to hear people even in their anger, the way we do when they are speaking joy and be slow to respond we could work through these major dividers that live between two sides of a story. If we could just give people the benefit of the doubt we may change their hearts with our silence. In John 16 Jesus says a lot of words yet the disciples are not understanding; they are hearing him but not grasping the meaning of his words. Yet, they never came out and asked him. That is the picture I am painting here… we hear pieces of things and interoperate them without truly ever hearing them to start with. The disciples were saying behind Jesus’ back “what do you think he meant by that?” or “we do not get what he is saying.” It took Jesus himself seeing that these people weren’t getting it and saying it in a different way for them to say in John 16:29-30 something to the extent of “AH! ok…. Well, when you put it like that we understand AND (do not miss this next part) AND… we believe you”. Sometimes if we really listen to people and simply respond with “I need you to tell me what you are really trying to say” we can fix a life altering division and keep a friend. Throughout Jobs troubles he was told more than once to “be silent” “pay attention” another meaning for the words pay attention is “to incline ears”. Job was told these things by God because God needed him to learn the wisdom in waiting to speak even when he was in times of trouble; the wisdom would surely be found in the patience that came with listening first and speaking later. Words can absolutely destroy a relationship BUT they can also mend one if we extend the grace of a listening heart.

John 16:29-30

29. Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Job 33:31-33

31“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. 32 If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want to vindicate you. 33 But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Fill the bowl

Filling up the bowl.

This is a phrase I use often when it comes to praying. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my prayers are being heard and that eventually, the answer will come. In the meantime, I’m filling up the bowl and at a set time, it will be poured out.

It comes from Revelation.

“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.”

Revelation 8:1-5 NKJV

This thought carried me through last year when my sister was in an extended and unexpected stay at the hospital. I knew many prayers were going up from numerous people and it gave me faith that the more that went up, the sooner her healing and recovery because the bowl was filled faster. It was a constant request in that season.

I fail to be so diligent in my own prayer life. I fail to make requests with others. I fail to bring matters before the Lord with such persistency or consistency. This was a needed reminder.

And it occurred because of a silent Sunday service at church. As I sat there experiencing this holy hush, I thought of heaven being silent for half an hour. My spirit was stirred in that pew with excitement — God was up to something BIG! Correction: God IS up to something big. Our prayers are tipping the bowl. The pour out is happening. Heaven and earth are stirring.

Our moments or seasons may be filled with silence, but the heavens are shaken. I’m finding more and more that it’s in those quiet times, those moments heavy with a hush, the seasons of silence, that God is working the most. Our hearts continually crying out in those seasons, filling up the censor, an incense before the Lord.

But how often do we remain so desperate in seasons that aren’t silent? I know for me personally, I’m not likely to push through as much when it’s “mountaintop” moments with the Lord. I ease off. But I should continually be entreating the Lord. For His promises to come to pass, for salvations, for healings, for guidance, for His presence, for His will.

This reminder to keep praying set an excitement and expectancy in me. A desire to keep seeking, asking, knocking. Where I was weary, I am now encouraged to press through. The prayers are filling up the bowl. Where I was once disheartened with time, I am now expectant for God to have perfect timing and at peace knowing He is lining it up even now. It will be poured out. Where I was once disappointed, I am now excited to see His hand having guided it along the whole time. There is a fire to the prayers that bring along a preparedness for when the time comes. Things are moving.

It’s beautiful the way He works!

So, my friends, may I encourage anyone who is weary or disappointed or discouraged to pray without ceasing — in the high or low. Your Heavenly Father is listening. It’s joining with others prayers as well and others join along with yours. What a beautiful thing to think and picture in our minds! Like smoke rising up, our prayers are lifting up. Like a bowl being filled with water, each prayer a drop. And when many voices are lifting up a certain situation, name, desire then it’s a downpour in the bowl. How exciting!

Be encouraged.

Keep asking.

Keep seeking.

Keep knocking.

The door WILL be opened to you.

Stand up

Sometime within our first years of marriage, my husband and I went tent camping with some friends. One couple had brought their boat for everyone to enjoy some time out on the water. Growing up as a kid, water activities were not a frequent part of our lives mostly because of my mother’s fear of water. I remember feeling nervous on the boat. The anxious feeling that can come when you are not in control and your mind races with all the things that could happen.
My husband and others took turns riding a kneeboard. I decided I would do something outside of my comfort zone and attempt to ride it. Standing near the bank, I knelt and strapped my legs onto the board. As I held onto the pull rope, the boat slowly began to go. After a little ways out, I lost my balance falling over with the strap still holding me to the board. Frantically, I got the strap undone and even though I had a life jacket on, I’m sure my face showed some doubt. My husband, knowing how my mind tended to go to the worst case scenario, stood up and shouted from the boat, “Lisa! “ to get my attention. Once he did, he said, “Just stand up!”
I was still able to touch and that immediately brought assurance and hope. Once I could get a sure foundation under me, my perspective about my situation changed. Now that I knew what to expect, I went on to try several more times. Balance is definitely not my strength! We still enjoy camping, and I love being out on the lake fishing (no kneeboard). The story of that first attempt is something that still gets a head shake and laugh from my husband. Really, it’s fine, you can laugh.
Yes, this is a silly story, a moment of fear that I can now laugh about. But, I thought about how many times I find myself in circumstances where my automatic response is fear and panic. Those moments when my thoughts and imaginations make me believe I’m in over my head. I’m frantically looking for some kind of assurance and hope- a place to securely stand. As humans we want and need security in life. Take away security and it is soon replaced with anxiety.
God, with just the utterance of a few words, the heavens and earth were created. At His word the very foundations were established. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:9 NIV). “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).
God’s Word was made flesh in Jesus Christ. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone.It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.” (Isaiah 28:16 NLT).

Jesus talked about this foundation in Matthew 7: 24-27 ESV. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been found on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
How do we stand on this foundation? We trust His Word. We abide in His Word. We apply His Word. We have faith in His Word. Because of the foundation of Jesus’s death and resurrection we can have an eternal perspective. Living with eternity in our minds helps bring assurance and hope that can sustain us in daily life as we face hard things.
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever”. (2 Cor, 4:18)
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand ( In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend)
If today finds you searching for assurance and hope, this is what I say to you, “Friend! Just stand up!”

Who we are

I hope everyone had a blessed and amazing Holy Week last week – I know I did!

Today, I wanted to talk about identity. In this modern day, it’s hard to know who exactly we are. More specifically, who we are in Christ. There are so many outside forces telling us who we SHOULD be or what the world expects us to be. But friend, I want you to know that in Christ:

You are loved- (1 John 3:11)

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

You are forgiven- (1 John 1:9)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

You are redeemed- (Ephesians 1:7)

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

You are a new creation- (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

You are holy- (Hebrews 10:10)

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

You are set apart- (Romans 8:30-39)

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, then he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified: and whom he justified , them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, not powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You are a temple of the Holy Spirit- (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ; 6:19-20)

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

You are made with purpose- (1 Peter 2:9 ; 4:10)

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”

“As every man hath received the gift, even though minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

You are loved beyond compare by a Savior that died to know you and save us from ourselves. 💜🌿


So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Matthew 27:66

Yesterday was hard. Reading Matthew 27 is like getting punched in the gut – as it should be.

I did that.

We did that.

To Jesus.

To the one person that loves us despite.

Despite it all.

And we did that.

It’s interesting to dig into the end of the chapter and really see what was happening behind the scenes. The people that did this were floundering.

They were scared – as they should be.

Deep down they knew nothing could hold Him back. He wasn’t going to stay in that cold, dark grave.

After all, He is the light.

So they sealed the grave and secured the guard, which just helped Jesus’ testimony even more.

He’s about to make the impossible possible. He’s about to break that seal and roll that stone away. And everybody’s about to know.

It is finished indeed.

Good Friday

Good Friday is an odd name to commemorate something so horrific. On that day:

Jesus was betrayed and given over to enemies. He had done nothing wrong, yet He endured great pain as He was beaten beyond recognition. (Isaiah 52:14)

Jesus gave Himself over to physical beating and humiliation. (Isaiah 50:6)

Jesus actually became sin, even though He was completely perfect. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus was tortured and crucified. (Mark 15:15-20, 24)

Since all of that was incredibly horrific, why do we commemorate the day with the term “good”? I don’t know the exact reason it was given the name “Good Friday”, but I do know there was good that came out of those horrible events.

When Jesus experienced all of those terrible things, He did so willingly. He “gave” Himself to the torture that marred Him from recognition. “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6) The fact that He “gave” Himself to it means He chose to do it. His torture was a gift of love for us. He willingly endured it all for us. He paid the price for our sin, for our unrighteousness. We deserve what He endured.

After all of the horrible things He experienced, He then “gave” Himself to death with the cry, “It is finished!” “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30) His death completed the atonement of sin for all mankind. His willing submission to torture and death completely satisfied the wrath of God, the wrath we deserve. His cry, “It is finished!” was not a cry of defeat or giving up, it was the cry of victory.

“It was a Conqueror’s cry; it was uttered with a loud voice. There is nothing of anguish about it, there is no wailing in it. It is the cry of One who has completed a tremendous labor.” (Spurgeon)

He had finished a work that no other man could finish. Our sin debt was paid in full when Jesus made that victorious cry. When we accept the gift of salvation that is offered because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can also proclaim victoriously, “It is finished!” because our sin debt is canceled and our eternity is secure! That glorious victory is the good that came from the horrific events that are remembered on Good Friday.

The bare minimum

This might make some people uncomfortable-

Shouldn’t we all be prayer warriors?

I hear people say, “Oh, she’s such a prayer warrior!”

Or, “thankful for my prayer warriors out there!”

“Thank you for being the prayer warrior we all need!”

But shouldn’t we all be prayer warriors?

There’s nothing wrong with using the term, but if we are going to be using the term prayer warrior then it should be used to describe each and everyone of us. If we are praying like God says we should in the Bible, then aren’t we all prayer warriors?

But here’s the problem, we aren’t praying like we should. We might say a little prayer before we eat or sleep or that little time after worship but before the sermon. But that’s just the bare minimum!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray without ceasing.”

Can you ask yourself this question – how often are you really praying?

Are you just doing the bare minimum?

Or are you praying without ceasing?

Sunday’s Coming

John 17: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter.

It’s a big, heavy awesome week. If you have time this week read all of John 17. In it Jesus is about to head to the garden of Gethsemane and He prays for Himself, His disciples who were with Him and me……and you.

It’s hard to wrap my head around what God planned and Jesus accomplished on the cross. It seems too much, it’s too big and I am so unworthy.

This prayer that Jesus prayed is one of unity. He wants us to be united with each other. We have the same Spirit dwelling within us so why is it so hard? The difficulty lies in the fact that unity is how we are to reach the lost world. If we are separated that makes the world doubt our message. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit still draws people despite our shortcomings.

Jesus also prays for us to be united with Him. The Holy Spirit within us as believers unites us with Christ. We can walk and talk with Him at all times. God is in Jesus and His Spirit is in me. How much do I take that for granted? 😭. Jesus forgive me. It is so hard to keep a grasp of that, to walk in it and live that reality.

As we reflect on Jesus this week let’s try to stay in unity. What does that look like? It looks like me decreasing so He can increase in my life. I need to connect with the Spirit in a more conscious manner; allowing Him to rule and reign within me so my thoughts and actions become His.

Why do all this? Why not just jump on the world bandwagon of self?

Because He alone is worthy.

Sunday is coming.

Not always

Do you know the Lord has a perfect plan for your life? He wants to use you, but it’s not always going to look the way you expect it to look. I am completely humbled by the opportunity to write today. And I mean COMPLETELY humbled by the Lord! Two months ago, Mrs. Daisy so graciously asked me if I would be willing to write a devotion for this page. As I had a baby due in one month, I didn’t want to commit to a date sooner than that and then the baby decide to make an early arrival, so I asked to push it back to now. For some reason, I thought I would remember without putting a reminder on my phone, but I have terrible mom brain, and didn’t remember that I made this commitment until Mrs. Daisy texted me, “I need your picture, bio, and devotion by tomorrow, thanks!”

I immediately felt sick to my stomach that I had completely forgotten. Then I heard the Lord speak to me. “You have been asking me to use you as a vessel; here’s your opportunity. You don’t have time to make up eloquent words on your own, so lean completely on me.” Wow! YES, LORD. So here goes…

Many of you know the story of Joseph found in Genesis 37-50. For the sake of time, I am going to borrow part of Stephen’s sermon found in Acts 7. Stephen summarized the text for us.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.”

“Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died.” Acts 7:9-15 (If you don’t know the details of this story, I would encourage you to go read in Genesis.)

What can we learn about forgiveness, God’s providence, and why He would want to use little ol’ me (us) for furthering His Kingdom? What we can learn is that when we step back and view our lives through a biblical or Godly lens, we can give forgiveness and have peace knowing that God has a perfect plan for us. We can forgive our wrong-doers knowing that God didn’t use them for evil, but that He used evil to bring about goodness and provision in our lives. We forgive because He first forgave us. He is THE God of possible. He is not a God who only lives in the moment, but He lives in the past, He’s with us in the present, and He is planning our future. When you commit your life to Christ, it doesn’t stop there! He wants to take you further than you’ve ever been in His presence. He is calling you for more! Don’t let un-forgiveness and bitterness hold you back from stepping into the calling that God has on your life.