Let’s Catch Up!

It’s been way too long, friends, since I have visited this space. Let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of life being lived on this side of the screen.

However, for those who don’t follow my Bible journaling on my Insta page, I wanted to post some highlights from recent weeks.

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(I read this book every year during the week of Easter. I highly recommend it!)

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(As I sit here this morning, do I feel peace or panic? Do my efforts seem fruitful or in vain? Is the Lord’s presence evident in my life?

Often, I want to blame (or give credit for) the answers on my current circumstances, other people or my own effort.

What if it were all dependent upon my obedience to the Lord?)

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(God starts out by saying, “I have a command for you.” And, before anyone can even respond, He says, “it’s not too hard for you.”

{I would like to point out that He didn’t say that it wouldn’t be hard – but it wouldn’t be TOO hard.}

The command is to choose life.
To choose good.
To choose Him every time.

Also, how cute is this phone case from Prone to Wander LA?!)

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(It’s been said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

God’s “past behavior” has always been faithfulness. He has kept every promise He ever made. Anyone can be a promise maker but our God is a promise keeper.

One really fun way to study scripture is to begin at the beginning and highlight every promise made by God. Then, as you make your way through, highlight or somehow mark the fulfillment of those promises. )

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(Our hope comes from what we KNOW and not what we feel.

Also, another super cute phone cover from Prone to Wander LA. I have signed my blogs and books with “You are loved” for years so I am in love with this one!)

He is risen, friends.

He is risen, indeed.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead… 2 Timothy 2:8

You are loved. ❤

He’s God and He’s Good

We read the story of Jesus calming the storm. The winds are howling, the waves are crashing and the disciples are panicking. Why were they so concerned?

As far back as I can remember, I have been terrified of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, hot dogs. I have frozen in fear at the sight of a canine and the phobia still seems to be going strong after all of these years. But, here’s the thing. If I pass someone walking their dog on a leash, I don’t freak out and act a fool. I trust that the owner of the animal is in control of it. Now, if I encounter a dog and there is no owner in sight, it’s every woman for herself.

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These men found themselves in the middle of an out of control sea and simply didn’t realize that Jesus had the storm on a leash.

All throughout Scripture, Satan tries to make people doubt two things about Jesus. First, he wants people to doubts Jesus’ Godness.

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Matthew 4:3

If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. Matthew 4:6

If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. Luke 23:37

If.

If.

If.

The problem is that, once someone has a face to face encounter with Christ, there is no doubting His Godness.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Mark 8:29

 

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This doesn’t deter Satan. He just moves to the next trick in his bag. If the enemy can’t make you doubt His Godness, he’ll attempt to make you doubt His goodness.

Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die? Mark 4:38

Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Luke 10:40

Don’t you care, Lord?

When the job doesn’t work out, the baby doesn’t come, the prodigal doesn’t return, our health fails, Prince Charming doesn’t arrive, someone betrays us, we’ve been rejected. Underneath it all is one vital question: Don’t you care, Lord?

Satan wants you to wonder if Jesus is good.

Spoiler alert: He is good.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord is good to all. Psalm 145:9

Maybe you’re grieving a loss. Perhaps, you’re making your way through the valley of the shadow. Possibly, you’re coming to terms with the fact the God’s plan doesn’t look quite like your plan did.

Here is what we need to cling to in any and every situation.

We have a Saviour who is God and who is good. That’s a combination worthy of our worship and our faith.

You are loved.

From Grave to Grace

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I’ve always loved the story of Lazarus. I mean, who doesn’t love a good man-raised-from-the-dead tale?

I wonder how Lazarus felt about it?

We’re usually okay with folks hearing our success stories.  But how do we feel about the people who witness the whole fall from grace?

We are happy to emerge from the wreckage to the cheers from the crowds. But how do we feel around the ones who watched us crash and burn?

We are often embarrassed about our stories. We feel awkward or ashamed around the ones who were there when our children went astray, our marriages fell apart, our personal sins found us out, our car was repossessed, that unexpected pregnancy became known, or we caved to that addiction once again.

Do you know who continued to bear witness to what Jesus had done in Lazarus’ life? It was the ones who had been there when Jesus called him from grave to grace. It was the ones who saw him step into daylight with the stench of death still lingering.

We want the pomp of the resurrection but not the pain of the death, but it’s a package deal. It’s painful; there’s no way around it. Just remember, it’s pain with a purpose. We have to let some things in our lives die so that God can do a work in us.

Don’t be afraid to endure death in order to experience resurrection. God has a plan for you, my friend. It’s good because He is good and it ends in freedom.

You are loved. ❤

When Buddying Up Leads to Betrayal

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Buddy System and what it looks like for grown women trying to walk it out. The fact is that we’re all a little broken and it’s just a matter of time before we cut one another. Often it’s the person closest to us that gets hurt the most or, on the flip side, who hurts us the most.

If you’ve ever experienced the betrayal of a buddy, you’ve probably thought one (or more) of these things:

  1. I must have picked the wrong buddy.
  2. I must have been a bad buddy.
  3. I won’t buddy up ever again.

We always seem shocked when someone lets us down, don’t we? Perhaps, we had our expectations a little too high. We expect people to understand us completely and to always behave like we want them to behave.

As I was reading through the gospel of Luke, I came across the passage where Jesus selects His apostles. At this point in time, He had thousands of disciples. {A disciple is simply a follower.} Out of the mass of followers, Jesus was ready to pick his inner circle. He was ready to buddy up, so to speak.

I must have picked the wrong buddy.

The first thing Jesus did, prior to choosing His apostles, was to pray. In fact, Scripture tells us that He prayed “all night” (Luke 6:12.) After spending the entire night speaking to and listening to His Father, Jesus selects the twelve men who will be His closest confidants. What I’m trying to convey to you is that Christ did not pick the wrong people. He buddied up with the exact men that God wanted. And yet…

When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:13-16) emphasis mine

Do you see it? Jesus prayed fervently and chose the men God told Him to choose and there, in the midst, was one who would betray. There are times when we buddy up with someone who will break our heart. We will invest in them and they will walk away. That doesn’t mean you chose the wrong buddy.

I must have been a bad buddy.

Can we all agree that Jesus was a perfect buddy? There was nothing He did to warrant Judas’ betrayal. Think about it. One night at dinner, Jesus announced that one of the apostles was going to betray Him.

And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:21

Did they all give each other a knowing look and give the side eye to Judas? No, they all were shocked and asking the Lord if it was them! Why? Because Jesus treated Judas just like every other disciple. He loved Judas like the others; He broke bread with Judas like the others. He washed Judas’ feet like the others!

Someone’s betrayal is not a reflection on you. Christ was the perfect buddy and, in the end, Judas still chose to be a traitor.

I won’t buddy up ever again.

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been wounded by another woman and we’ve promised ourselves it won’t happen again. We aren’t playing this game anymore; we’re taking our ball and going home. No one will get that close to us again. It seemed to be all pain and no gain. Peace out, ladies, the buddy system isn’t for me.

The apostles certainly could have chosen that route. They had walked side by side with Judas. They experienced trials and triumph together. They were the chosen few and he had played them. One man short, they could have just tightened the circle a little and refused to allow another possible traitor to join their ranks.

The apostles must have been paying attention because they did what they had seen Jesus do. They prayed about who should take Judas’ place. They sought God’s will on their next buddy. They selected two men who had been with them from the beginning – someone who had been faithfully on the fringe for Jesus’ entire ministry. They presented the two names before the Lord and waited.

And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.” Acts 1:24 emphasis mine

They were brave enough to buddy up again. To risk betrayal again. To not place the sin of one man on every man that came after him.  They didn’t ask God for “a good buddy” this time. They simply wanted the one God had chosen.

Ministry is messy and there will be many who turn away. But those of us who are committed – we carry on. We link arms with another woman and keep moving. There is much work to be done.

You are loved!

 

For When You’re Broken and Broke

I’m making my way through Leviticus and, wait for it, I’m learning stuff! I just finished reading chapter 15 and, before you flip there, I’ll just warn you – it’s about bodily discharges. You’re welcome.

Leviticus 15:25-27 caught my attention. It’s about a woman who bleeds for reasons other than normal menstruation. We’re talking about a medical issue beyond her control. Do you know what it says about her?

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She’s unclean.

Her clothes are unclean.

Her bed is unclean.

Anything she sits on is unclean.

Anyone who touches her or any of her unclean things is ( you guessed it) unclean.

On top of all of that, we read in Leviticus 13 that unclean people had to proclaim their uncleanness when out in public. Can you imagine?

I’m unclean! I’m unclean!

What if we had to speak our shame everywhere we went? What would it be for you?

Addict? Adulterer? Gossip? Divorced? Unwed mother? Criminal record? Bankruptcy?

What if that thing that you label “nobody’s business” was, in fact, everybody’s business?

This is the world in which the woman in Luke 8 lived.

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And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. Luke 8:43

Twelve years of uncleanness.

She’s unclean.

Her clothes are unclean.

Her bed is unclean.

Anything she sits on is unclean.

Anyone who brushes up against her is unclean.

She’s broken and she’s broke.

And she has to announce her uncleanness everywhere she goes.

Now, go back and read her story (Luke 8:43-48) in light of Leviticus 13:45 and Leviticus 15:25-27.

A weaker woman would have been consumed with hiding. This was no weak woman. This strong woman was consumed with healing.

Do you need healing? Stretch out your hand, unclean as it may be, my friend. Jesus is within reach.

You are loved. ❤