He Cares!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care…. you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29,31

I’m baking like crazy, right? I let myself get distracted watching a YouTube video while measuring the flour in a cookie recipe and lost track of how many cups I’d already put in. When I rolled the dough into balls and mashed them into shape, I discovered I’d put too much flour in because the consistency wasn’t right. This is not good for a perfectionist like me, but butter is expensive so I had to suck it up and keep going. By accident, I left one cookie ball un-mashed when I slid the pan in the oven, but God allowed me to catch it a couple of minutes into the baking time. When I mashed it, the consistency was perfect! I was able to remedy my problem for the rest of the batch! God is good and kind, isn’t He? I was the only one having a conniption about those crumbly cookies, but God showed He cared because I cared. He’s got dying children to save, terminally sick people to heal, and wars to end, but He took the time to stop by my kitchen and love on me. (Tears!)

Whatever is weighing you down today, My Friend, is not a triviality to God. Bring it to Him. Sometimes He gives a solution, sometimes something else, but He always gives a care. Let yourself feel loved by Him today!

P.S.-I would love to hear your story of a personalized kindness you’ve received from God. Thanks!

Resist the Roar!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Have you ever had that feeling? You know, when you need to start on a project or follow up on an opportunity that could move you forward, but you feel paralyzed? Maybe you were knocked down and are hesitant to try again. Some call it resistance, others call it fear, but I call it the roar. A lion roars at its prey in hopes of making the hunt easier. Paralyzed prey will stand still and save its predator the trouble of the chase.

The enemy who walks about as a roaring lion specializes in exhaling the lies that can kill your dreams. Listen to that roar and you’ll never get anything worthwhile done. His roars bluster out, “You can’t do this! It’s too hard and you’re not ready! Quit now before you embarrass yourself! Who do you think you are?” If any of this sounds familiar then you, My Friend, have experienced the roar.

You have two ways to overpower his bellow that harmonizes so perfectly with your worst fears. First, drown out the roar by surrounding yourself with a plethora of positive praying people and saturating your spirit with a stockpile of Scripture. The second part is my favorite: defying the lion by doing exactly what he says you can’t do in. his. lying. face! This particular lion was defanged by our Deliverer and all he can do is roar. A roar is only noise and it can only cripple if you let it. In other words, his lie only has power if you choose to believe it. Resist him and he will leave you alone. It’s not easy, but you can execute God’s plan as if you never heard a single roar. Even the tiniest step is a powerful move!

Move forward in power. Get back in the fight! Resist the roar!

When It’s Complicated

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

A situation. A relationship. A difficult decision. Feelngs about the way someone treated you or yours. Your response to a verdict or tragedy, or just your view of the world in its present state.

Like a tangled ball of Christmas lights the size of a city, life can be complicated. Sometimes you cope by avoiding the mass altogether. Most times, the tangle cannot be ignored but just the thought of untwisting all of those knots overwhelms you.

There is one fool-proof method for straightening out any mess: start small. For example, don’t try to understand and conquer every negative emotion you have. Pick just one and leave the rest for another day. Forgiveness for a wrong, especially a big one, usually happens in layers anyway. God knows this and wants to help you detangle the labyrinth one day at a time.

Relationships have complicated written into their DNA. Still, the solution is the same. Start with one broken part like communication and focus only on that for a while. You might work on just the listening part of communication or on keeping calm when it’s your turn to talk.

Christmas time is a reminder that God tackled our biggest problem when He “started small” in the form of a tiny baby Who strung together a life of thirty-three years. Weaving Himself into the calendar of human history straight to your heart, He invites you to roll all your complications onto Him because He cares for you. Nothing in your past is too complicated for Him to heal; no present situation He can’t simplify, but it doesn’t usually happen in one big save. He starts small, and in powerful ways He unfurls a beauty and clarity in you that is incomparable even when it’s complicated.

What small start will you make today?

Musings of a Dreamer: A Non-devotional Blog Post

I know she meant well when she told me I was the wrong race, age, and dress size to have my dream come true. She was one of those friends who said what everybody else was thinking, and her obvious love for Jesus added a sweetness to the bitter taste of those words. I clung to the only comeback I had, that God had called me to this dream and I’d bet everything on His promise to me. For one who would never win a contest for popularity or confidence, my “not-ness” provides a steady diet to my doubt and fear. In my naïveté in the early days, I thought those ugly twins would go away, but no. At best, they experience lean seasons but they never starve to death. The life of faith has knocked the stardust out of my eyes while building the marrow of perseverance in my spiritual bones. To the average American, that sounds like a tragedy, but as a pilgrim of heaven, it’s the coming true of the bigger dream of Christ-likeness. Some aspects of the dream have come true, but overall, my friend’s assessment has proven prophetic. Then again, every negative prediction seems true until someone proves it isn’t.

Like suffering, dying without yet seeing the promise is an unpopular lot assigned to some of God’s children. It’s too soon to know if that’s my story, but when I see Jesus, I won’t care and neither will anyone else. The dream has bummed me a ride to places I would never have gone otherwise, and my life is so much richer for those experiences; therefore, achieving the dream would be a bonus.

I picture this pursuit like an alley fight against a muscle man. He may beat me, but I’m determined to at least give him something to bandage up before it’s all over.

Here’s to perseverance, adventure, and musclemen with black eyes!

Happy Thanksgiving

“he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10

“Girl, your behind couldn’t stand the whippin’ it needs!” Truer words never came from the mouth of my mother. Who knows which of my mischiefs provoked those words, but she made a good point about me and all of us. Whatever may have gone wrong for you this year, the dam of God’s grace held back what you deserve. Because of His great hand of generosity, even life-long troubles are only temporary.

This is a wonderful season to itemize all the good He’s done, not the least of which was to provide you with a choice on how you want to pay for your sins. You could pay in cash, if you will, by trying to be good enough; however, the interest keeps you in debt because God requires absolute perfection. Trust me, credit is much better (Romans 4:24). All your sins were paid in full by Jesus and He offers His perfect credit to you. When you accept it, God sees you like He sees Jesus. If you haven’t already, you can click the link to learn how to obtain that standing with God today.

God is good and the giving of thanks is due Him in abundance. May your praise to Him be as sweet as your favorite dessert and your adoration pile as high as your holiday dinner plate. Offer Him the sweet smelling savor of a grateful heart for a salvation you could never earn and love you could never deserve.

Happy Thanksgiving, My Friend!

Handling Your Inner Critic

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it… I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Have you noticed no matter how hard you try, a little voice inside you finds fault? Sometimes it sounds like your own, or it may be the voice of someone impossible to please. You must learn how to handle that negative commentary, or it will drain the joy out of your present and plant spikes under every step in your future. You are daily aware of how far short you fall from God’s standard, and that keeps you humble, but the condemnation part has nothing to do with Him. Growth is what is pleasing to the Lord! No, you’re not as far along as you’d like to be (who is?) but if you have moved forward and improved in any way, God is pleased with you.

Don’t get the idea that Jesus saved you from Hell, but the rest is up to you. This is not about acquiring a holy hernia trying to please God. Jesus did the heavy lifting at the cross. Like a steroid, His Holy Spirit empowers you to accomplish what you never could without Him. The approval you want from God is already there, but the pleasure of God is a daily cultivation; not a giant beanstalk that sprouts overnight. Perfectionism will tell you otherwise, but don’t you believe it! Spiritual laziness is the other extreme, it’s a liar too. The balance is not easy to find, but it’s address is always at the feet of Jesus where He’ll center you while communing with you, but never chide you.

If God were to visibly mark the trail your life has taken, it would not be a straight line. No, there would be detours and backtracks, places you skipped and spots you stayed in too long. It’s ok. He offers forgiveness, and He grades on how many times you recalculated and got back on track. It looks sloppy on a map, but if you’re moving toward Him instead of away, then it’s sloppy beautiful. Gag that inner critic with this truth: Good and faithful servants aren’t flawless ones nor do they aim to hear “Perfectly done,” but “Well done.”

The Best Way to Love Yourself

“Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5

Obedience to God is one of the best ways to love yourself. It is the daily bath that wards off the disease of terrible consequences. Applied to the private parts of your heart, obedience disinfects and deodorizes what might otherwise stink up your character.

The obedience to His command to forgive moisturizes dry and cracked relationships, making them vibrant, elastic, and wholesome.

Obedience to regularly attend worship has a way of realigning thoughts you didn’t realize had popped out of joint. Stubborn pride calories are burned by the exercise of denying yourself. This builds muscular faith too! Daily intake of God’s Word fortifies your spirit and builds a healthy reserve for the lean days when trials come. Aren’t you glad He commanded us to read it?

Exfoliate those nasty little habits that build up in your language. Generously apply selflessness and watch how others will enjoy the fragrance of Christ. At first, even loving your enemies may feel like more fiber than you can take in, but you’ll discover it will detox hate and make room for the flow of God’s blessing and purpose in your life.

To love yourself means to do whatever it takes to achieve maximum health in all areas. Obedience to Jesus is the perfect antidote to anything that threatens the abundant life He died for you to enjoy. Love yourself today, My Friend. Do whatever He tells you to do!