Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV), “ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

If you have read any of my devotionals, or are familiar with my blog, or know me at all, you have figured out that I use this verse a lot. Why? Because I have discovered, the hard way, that it is very important to keep our focus on Jesus, or as Isaiah says in Isaiah 50:&, to “set your face like flint”.

Think about it this way. The sun, which is huge, can be totally eclipsed by the moon which is about four hundred times smaller. How is that possible? The moon gets between the earth and the sun blocking out the light. In the same way we can allow “things” to get between us and the Son, Jesus. Sometimes it is a person, our problems, our anger, our disappointment, even our success and accomplishments. Other times we end up giving more attention to our surroundings, the devil, or our own selfish desires. No matter what keeps our attention, if it isn’t God, we can eclipse His glory.

A total eclipse pretty much caused darkness, a partial eclipse may still give us a small glimpse, maybe a little light around the edges, but God never intended us to live either way. His plans for us are uncountable, His thoughts for us limitless, as many as the sand (in the desserts, in the lakes and rivers, and even under the oceans).

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 40:5 (NLT), “O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.”

Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV), “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you.”

We can’t fulfill His purpose for us if we can’t keep our focus. A runner has to keep the finish line in his sight, a scientist has to constantly think about that cure, a writer works toward the end of the story, all of these things take focus.

In reality, His Glory should eclipse everything else. His love should overwhelm us! His light should cause every other distraction to fade away, including our problems. His promises greatly outnumber our afflictions!

If you need a little encouragement, listen to the song “He Is Jealous For Me” by David Crowder Band. Here is just a small sample “all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory”.

So, what are you allowing to eclipse Him?

Or have you chosen to allow Him to eclipse all else?

Choose wisely.

The Choice

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV),”This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
Life is full of choices, too many options if you ask me. Most restaurant menus are as long as the Declaration of Independence. My daughter changes her mind at least a half a dozen times when we go out to eat. Usually, my husband and I order the same thing over and over. Cable TV boasts 150 channels (don’t even get me started on that one!). More time is spent flipping through the guide than ever watching. Walk into any clothing store and it will make your mind spin with the options, colors, styles, and stylishly clothed manikins. Why do we want so many choices and options? Because we think that is a proof of our freedom.
But what is freedom, really? Is it being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want? Don’t those same choices sometimes bring baggage and bondage? We want more, so we have to work harder, or charge higher to get what we want. Then once we get it all, aren’t we bound to take care of it, use it, wear it, show it all off. What we choose or don’t choose is important. How many times have you wanted to toss that remote instead of flip for something good to watch, or how many times have you decided to stay home for dinner because you couldn’t make up your mind where to go? We all want to be in control, have our say, be our own boss, but to do that we have to grasp onto something. The choice is the rope that the world (ultimately the devil) throws our way, or the rope that Christ offers us.
Let’s take a look at the firs rope. All those empty promises, all those lies, that we “need” something else, that we would “be happier if…” that rope does one of two things, and sometimes both. It either wraps around us like a sticky web and constrains us from our true purpose, it binds us up like a spider binds her meal up for later, or it wraps us up into a cocoon of apathy. One that tells us that “I’m good, it’s all good, me and mine are fine.” It’s like you’ve been lulled to sleep. It may feel all cozy and comfy, but it is still a web! It isn’t the cocoon of a caterpillar, it’s the “I’ll eat you later” silk prison spun by a hungry spider. Don’t be fooled.
The second rope, the one offered by Jesus, is nothing less than a life line. It’s a way out of the mess, it is the safety rope of a mountain climber. Where the other rope is a sticky web that confines, and constrains us, Jesus rope is one that gives us security, comfort, and allows us to reach out. Think of those mountain climbers, securely attached to the safety rope, they take risks knowing that they won’t fall and crash to their deaths. Or think of the drowning person who sees that lifeline thrown their way, its rescue. This rope compels us to move on, to climb higher, and to take risks.
This is the Big Choice! Which rope will you grab hold of? You will grab one; not grabbing a rope isn’t one of the options to choose from.
I choose real freedom. Freedom to soar, to fly high. Just like that zip line that takes you quickly to the destination all the while keeping you above the cares and snares of the world. I want the safety line that brings true security, not the false security of hanging around waiting for something ugly to suck out my insides.
What about you?

Devote Your Day to God


Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT), “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Sometimes I feel like I have the strength of a wet noodle. The day seems so much longer than my energy reserve or my nerves seem more frayed than the cuffs of my favorite sweater. Something unexpected comes along and the though goes through your head, “give me a break,” or that last minute request from a loved one just about sends you over the edge. On those days my husband says, “I feel like I have been going a hundred miles an hour.” My favorite one seems to be, “I feel like I have been drug through a knothole backwards.” Do you ever have those days?

It took me a while to discern a pattern on those days. I can pretty much predict when they will come now. They don’t have so much to do with what does happen during the day as what didn’t happen during the day. If I jump out of bed (honestly I never jump, I roll and yawn, and shuffle) without spending some time in prayer that will not be a banner day. My daily schedule during the week starts with a time of devotions, bible reading, and prayer. Since I am an empty nester, it is much easier now to do this. When the kids were at home, and when they were little, it was much harder. Now, I set my alarm early so that I have time to pray with my husband before he leaves for work. Then I am up to let the dog out, make my coffee and unload the dishwasher, I found I have just enough time to do this while coffee is perking and dog is doing his thing. Next, I am back in my bed, with pillows propped, bible in hand and doing my daily reading. At this point in the day I just read through my bible, either chronologically or straight thru, it usually takes me about a year to do this. After my reading time I either talk to God about what I have just read, and then pray, or I pray and allow Him to talk to me while I pray. I keep a prayer journal and my daily entries help me see answered prayers.

This is my favorite time of the day. The house is quiet, I am not distracted by jobs that need to be done, and I am comfortable with my coffee. If I start my day this way, the world, the devil, or my own stupidity can throw me a sucker punch, but it doesn’t knock me down. There are some days that things don’t work out, maybe my grandson is coming earlier, or my husband needs some help with something in the morning, and my morning routine is altered. On those days, I make a point of finding some time later in the day. I determine to have a thankful heart and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it isn’t a “magical” routine that promises a good day. It also isn’t something I have to do to earn God’s blessings for the day. If we are on vacation, have company, or something else gets in the way, God isn’t sitting in heaven thinking, “you’re on your own today, you didn’t devote yourself to me this morning.”

What those times do, especially first thing in the morning, is remind us that God is good, that He loves us, and we have that special time of fellowship with Him. It builds a relationship with our Father. That way we burn for Him instead of getting burnt out. Burn out happens when we don’t take the time to refresh ourselves in Him. That fire inside of us, is supposed to be like a beacon to the lost, not a forest fire that destroys our lives and those around us. Let’s face it; life can be overwhelming at times. When we stay rooted and grounded in Him, in His word, we can not only face it, we can overcome it. I read a good Christian fiction book where the main character talked about “devoting” herself every morning. I always called it “devotions” but her version is so much truer. We are saying, by that set aside time, “Father, I am devoted to you and I devote my day to you.” What a great way to start each day.

David knew this.

Psalm 5:3 (NIV), “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

So did Isaiah.

Isaiah 50:4b (ESV), “Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.”

Maybe your mornings are crazy busy. I guarantee you that if you just set your alarm for an extra fifteen minutes and devote that time to God, make it a habit, you’ll wish you would have tried it earlier. For those of you like my children, who have little ones that get up between four am and five am, use their nap time as your set aside time. I used to nap with my little ones, however if I had known what a difference it would have made, I easily would have given up those power naps. I would have had more patience with my kids, I would have not felt so frazzled at the end of the day, and I am sure that my relationship with God would have been so much better than it is now.

I challenge you, put away that phone, turn off the computer, get up early, do whatever you have to do to give God a purposeful time during your day. It may feel like you are wasting time at first, especially when you have a million things to do, but trust me, it’s will be the best used time of your day. I used to try and do it before bed, big mistake, I was so tired and stressed at the end of the day I either fell asleep or my mind jumped around like a ball in a pin ball machine. Those times now are reserved for some reflection and thanksgiving.

At one point in Martin Luther’s life he was faced with a large day ahead, when he proceeded to begin his usual two hours of morning prayer time, an assistant said something like, “you are too busy to pray today,” Martin’s reply says it all. “I am too busy not too pray.” He realized that He needed the strength and peace of God for his day.

Don’t we all?

Psalm 143:8 (NASB), “Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.”

Do Over!


Lamentations 3:21-26 (NASB), “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.”

Remember the school playground? When we were kids whether we were playing foursquare, hopscotch, or kickball, at some point you would hear the words shouted, “Do over.” Usually it was by the kid who threw the rock across the blacktop instead of in the hopscotch boxes, or tripped instead of kicking that ball. I loved that phrase. It allowed us to pretend we hadn’t messed up. Our mistake didn’t count against us. We could totally miss the ball and then in a “Do over” hit it out of the park.

Have you ever, as an adult, wanted to shout “Do over!”? Or maybe you weren’t that kid, so that phrase isn’t one you are comfortable with. Instead you would say to yourself, “why did I do that?” or, “I wish I could start over,” this one is popular, “If I had it to do over again…” When we say or think these things it is always with regret. In our thinking it’s a done deal. There is no “do over’s” in real life. Right?

Psalm 103:8-18 (God’s Word Translation), “The LORD is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive. He will not always accuse us of wrong or be angry [with us] forever. He has not treated us as we deserve for our sins or paid us back for our wrongs. As high as the heavens are above the earth- that is how vast his mercy is toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west- that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself. As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him. He certainly knows what we are made of. He bears in mind that we are dust. Human life is as short-lived as grass. It blossoms like a flower in the field. When the wind blows over the flower, it disappears, and there is no longer any sign of it. But from everlasting to everlasting, the LORD’s mercy is on those who fear him. His righteousness belongs to their children and grandchildren, to those who are faithful to his promise, to those who remember to follow his guiding principles.”

David wrote this, before Jesus paid for our sins. Under law, he knew of the compassion and mercy of God. Our opening scripture in Lamentations, still under law, written before salvation had come to mankind. If Jeremiah and David knew that “His mercies are new every morning” and that “As far as the east is from the west” He has removed our sins from us. How much more, now that Jesus has died for our sins, should we know of His everlasting mercy and grace?
So are there still “Do over’s”? You bet there is! It’s the biggest “Do over” of all, and it won’t cost you a thing.

You just have to be like that little child again and admit you messed up. Go ahead, dare to think it, yell it, or even scream it… “DO OVER”, now accept the work He did for you and let’s move on to a better life, shall we.

Father God, Thank You for Your patience. Only You could continue to love me, care for me, and extend Your hand of mercy again and again. Your love knows no bound, Your forgiveness is complete, and your patience is monumental.

Staying On Course


Psalm 119:1-8 (Message Bible), “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, GOD, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.”

Every one of us can get off course. We get distracted, frustrated, or confused and the next thing you know, you have stepped off the path, or taken a completely different one. Thankfully, God is merciful and we are only ever one step back. His mercies are new every morning. Every day is a clean slate, as long as we have repented of yesterday’s wrong doing. However, there are blessings when we stay on course. God’s plan was never for us to step on and off the path. In His great love, He never leaves us and continues to help us stay on track, but His perfect plan is for us to never step off to begin with.

Remember when you were a child? Then you know there were times when Dad and Mom did “know best”. They tried to warn us, or give us clear instructions, but we did things our own way, only to find out that there were consequences for our, dare I say, stupidity. Maybe you have youngsters around now, even teenagers, who can be some of the most stubborn people on the earth. You may have tried to guide them, but since they are flexing their wings, they still did something their own way and now you have to let them learn the lesson. It isn’t always life and death. The consequences sometimes are little more than being late for an appointment, or some burnt toast, but things could have been easier.

That is God’s plan for us. His way is best. Always. We will miss out on some things if we take our own way. According to Psalm 119 we will miss out on blessings for sure. He didn’t “prescribe” a right way to live just to see if we could obey, or because He loves watching us try to live up. He did it all because He knows what is best for us. Earthly parents may make mistakes. Maybe in some situations they, or we, didn’t know best. God is perfect though, and He can’t make a mistake! It’s impossible. So, His way is perfect.

Just being on God’s path doesn’t keep us from trouble. In fact Jesus promised us we would have some of that stuff.

John 16:33 (NIV), “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.”

There may be some obstacles along the way, but He promises to give us a way around or over each one. He has already overcome, He won. He is the one who declared, “It is finished.” We just have to walk in that victory.

I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT), “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Not sure how to find that path? Just ask. He’s faithful. His word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. It will point you in the right direction. He is there, not just beside you, in front of you, and behind you, but He is in you! Don’t hang your head, walk tall. Go in His strength. Be blessed.

Matthew 28:20b (NIV), “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Victory Lap


Philippians 3:12-16 (KJB), “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

We are all running in a race. Some are racing towards certain destruction; others are racing towards a glorified body and a life in paradise. We who have accepted the atoning work of Christ have already attained Heaven. He gave eternal life to us freely. We have it right now! However, we still have a race to run. There is a finish line. Paul isn’t being double minded in our verses from Philippians. When he says that he hasn’t already attained, he is referring to the finish line. The attainment we have already is the finished work of Christ. We know He already ran this race and the wonderful news (the Gospel) is that He won! He ran this “track” before we ever even put on our running shoes. Not only did He run the race He removed the hurdles and the stones. He laid the path straight.

Luke 3:5 (NIV), “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.”

A leader always “goes there first” and Jesus was the ultimate leader. If you get lost just go back to the spot where you left your lane on the track, and step back in line, take a deep breath and run. Follow those who follow Christ.

I Corinthians 11:1 (KJB), “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Philippians 3:17 (DBT), “Be imitators [all] together of me, brethren, and fix your eyes on those walking thus as you have us for a model;”

If Jesus has cleared our path, why do we stumble and even sometimes come crashing down with the road rash to prove our failures? Think of it this way. Jesus removed the obstacles in our way, it’s done. Picture a bowling alley. There is a device that sweeps away the pins that have fallen before every frame, clearing the way for a potential strike. Now, picture that track. Jesus cleared it, yet our enemy continues to put things in our path to distract us and cause us to get off track. All we need to do is use the authority Jesus already gave us and push the “clear” button to sweep those things off of our lane. Sometimes we lack faith and we either run smack dab into those hurdles or we think we can just go around them. The consequences can be rough. Sometimes it takes some skinned knees to get us to admit we weren’t allowing His Spirit to lead us, or we forgot that His word lights our path. It’s not the end of the race! We get up, realign ourselves by focusing on God and repent from our lack of faith, and begin again.

I love the fact that in this race there isn’t only one winner. It isn’t the fastest runner who wins. All we have to do is finish the race. You might be the last one who crosses that finish line, but that doesn’t mean your prize is any less than the first person who crossed (Jesus Himself). Sometimes I get discouraged when I think that finish line is so far away. I feel like I have run a marathon, but looking back it was the fifty yard dash, or worse yet I was only on my treadmill and didn’t move a foot. Thankfully the Holy Spirit faithfully reminds me of the truth: Christ already ran the race and won, so we are really just taking the victory lap. Then I can see that finish line and it looks right there. The path looks clear, not a pebble or a banana peel in sight. On the other side of that line…is Jesus and man is He cheering! I see some others there too. They have already finished their race, but instead of soaking in a hot tub relaxing sore muscles, they are encouraging me to run.

We win. Take that victory lap!

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV), “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Live Your Life Worthy Of God

I Peter 1:13-24 (ESV), “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

We aren’t worthy; nothing we could have ever done would have made us so. God knew that, He still does. That’s why He sent One who was. His Son, Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God With Us, is worthy. So in His worthiness we are accepted by God the Father. After having said all of that I don’t want you to think that there isn’t anything we have to do. We can’t just accept all of that wonderful, precious sacrifice and continue on with a life in this world. It isn’t just a free ticket to heaven and a get out of hell free card. We can’t continue to be conformed to this worlds passions and lusts.

God saved us for a purpose. His desire is that all men might be saved. It wasn’t just me, even though His plan wouldn’t have changed if I had been the only one who sinned. How selfish would it be if we had the means to help every poor person in the world, but didn’t want to share our money? We have been given something so much more than finances. Shouldn’t we want every person we meet to have this same salvation?

I Timothy 2:4 (Douay-Rheims Bible), “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Jesus said that if we loved Him, we would do what He said. Then He told us to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and to cast out demons. We are supposed to live a life that glorifies God, lives that are worthy of Him. No, there wasn’t anything we could do to earn this worthiness, but now that it has been given to us, aught we not to walk in it, to live like we are? Our verse in I Peter tells us to prepare our minds for action. It isn’t about what we aren’t supposed to do. It’s not a long list of things and activities we are never to participate in, clothes we shouldn’t wear, things not to eat and drink. It is all about what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to live a life worthy of Him. Doing what Jesus asked us to do. Help others, serve one another, pray at all times, love the brethren, encourage and exhort one another, and the list goes on. Just because it is a long list, doesn’t mean it isn’t attainable.

I Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV), “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

God is the one who sanctifies us, sets us apart. We are now blameless. It is time we stop trying to do penance, or to somehow live by a certain set of rules and guidelines to earn anything from God, or worse yet to be accepted by men. If our total concentration is on trying to clean our own mess up, how will we ever fulfill the purposes that God has planned for us?

I Thessalonians 5:23 (AMP), “And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”

It’s time to be the Church and stop playing Church.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV), “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, For our God is a consuming fire.”

Romans 14:17-18 (ESV), “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.”

Matthew 15:8 (KJB), “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

God gave us free will. We have a choice. Are we really going to live for Him, or live for ourselves? Are we His children or are we products of this worlds systems?

When our live here is over what do you want to hear Him say? “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21) Or, “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:30)

I know that is a little extreme, that you are probably thinking to yourself, “but that man wasn’t saved.” I also know that you can accept Jesus as your savior, be guaranteed heaven, and still live a pretty carnal life. I also have to admit than when people persistently, constantly, and stubbornly continue to live this way, I can’t help but wonder if they are truly saved. Salvation is a process. We all have to work it out with fear and trembling. However, a living thing is a growing thing. Are you maturing in the things of God? Can other see changes in your life? Are you making an effort to draw closer to God? The more we know Him, the greater our love grows. The more we love Him, the greater our desire is to please Him.

Are you living a life worthy of God?