Fresh Bread

As I was reading through the exploits of David in 1 Samuel recently, I came upon a little tidbit in chapter 21 that is often forgotten. It follows right on the heals of the story of David and his true friend Jonathan, which any kiddo raised in the church can tell you about. You all remember it I’m sure. The one in which David’s life is in danger and Jonathan warns him by a secret code phrase, “Look the arrows are beyond you,” Which meant “Run! my dad is after you!”

While we all recall that story, what happens next grabbed my attention as I read through God’s Word this year. David, on the run for his life, comes to Ahimelech, a priest in God’s house, and asks for food. The priest has no bread for common consumption, but he does have the Bread of the Presence that was put out in the temple each Sabbath and replaced with hot fresh loaves when it was removed. David was given the holy bread, not common bread, and he was given stale bread, not fresh-baked bread.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid my family regularly shopped at the “day old bread store.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with these or not. The idea is this. Fresh bread from bakeries is sold to grocery stores. When the grocery stores remove it from their shelves to bring in fresh bread, it is downgraded to go to the “day old bread store” for people pinching pennies to buy it for a reduced price. We were definitely a penny pinching family.

I didn’t really like the semi-stale breads we purchased, but it was food. I prefer fresh baked bread and the yeasty, rich smell that comes with it fresh out of the oven. As I mulled over this fresh and stale bread, several other scriptures popped into my mind.

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

I am the bread of life. John 6:48

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26

And then these thoughts followed:

  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the fresh bread that sustains me day to day.
  • Do I seek out my daily spiritual bread as eagerly as I do that loaf of bread that satisfies my physical hunger? Do I breakfast as quickly on Him and seek Jesus first thing each day as I do heading to that toaster and coffeemaker each morning?
  • If we don’t live on physical bread alone, but God’s Word, are we feasting on that word daily? Would you and I be spiritual anorexics or would we be richly nourished to carry out our missions He has for us each day?
  • Are we taking in the bread of life and allowing Jesus to become a part of us and sustain us? Or are we more apt to go through religious ritual that shows on the outside, but depletes the soul instead of nourishing it?

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Amos 8:11

Are you in a spiritual famine? Is your soul hungry for the words of the Lord?

God will provide manna for your soul just as He provided the physical manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness. They had to go gather it and so do we. We must dig into His Word for the spiritual food that sustains us through the ups and downs of life.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it  without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

And when we consume His Word, there will be good results in our life. God’s Word yields results – bread for today’s needs and seed to plant and harvest at another time in the future for another need. When we take it in, His Word brings about what He desires in our lives. His Word will achieve His purposes as it works in us.

Let us not settle for day old bread. Or is yours the stale bread of not just days, but weeks? Maybe you are even going on moldy old bread from months ago. Has it been quite a while since you have gotten fresh baked bread warm from His Word? Are you settling for “less than” in your spiritual food? Are you starving spiritually?

Let it be said of us as it was of the Christians of the early church in Acts:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Devote yourself today to seeking the Bread of Life through His Word.

I Failed College Chemistry

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Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

I failed college chemistry.

I enjoyed it and even though I had failed my introduction to college chemistry. I actually learned a good bit. Several of those things I can still recall today and actually use in my day to day. I failed the class, but I had a decent teacher, who despite my inability to balance equations and recall the common scientific nomenclature of certain things, was able to teach me a fair amount of material. I failed because I did not actually apply myself, nor did I want to.

Chemistry was a requirement for my diploma, (I am told it no longer is) and it required a lot of time I did not want to invest. There was the class time and the studying plus the lab. Too much for me to do. I attended class, took notes, listened to lecture but I did not fall in love with chemistry. I can tell you that NHO3 is ammonia and that HCO3 is bicarb, NaCl is table salt, and H2O is water but I have no idea what a covalent bond is. I can not recall what the majority of the elements of the periodic table are, although I know Au, Ag, and Pb, like I know my zip code.

I failed the class, but I likely retain a fair amount of material even decades later. I made an A in many other classes, but I have no idea what they are, or much of what I learned. I took bowling, but I know I didn’t make an A in that class; I was the worst bowler my instructor had ever seen. She told me so, and the handicap I had to put me on level with my fellow students was nearly triple digits.

By definition of the college classes I took, the presumed failed class should have made less of an impact on me, yet clearly it did not. Those A classes made such limited impact I can hardly recall the details of them.

As I reflect on life I am discovering it is not always the success in the world’s view that has the greatest impact. It is not always our appearance of having it all together that makes the most impact. I would venture to say it is our transparency and our realness that often is the most memorable, makes the most impact, and brings the most glory to Lord.

We strive to do all things with excellence, but excellence is not necessarily perfection. We are imperfect creatures made perfect by the love of Christ. May  all that we do be beautifully carried out in such a way that brings honor to the King.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23

2020 Vision: Deception

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14

I love mystery-thriller stories. Especially if they use cutting edge technology or odd theories or the makings of science fiction. My entertainment reading right now is Deception Point by Dan Brown, and it definitely fits the bill for the kind of reading I enjoy. I love it because it is a fast-paced read, the stay-up-until-2:00a.m.-reading kind. As with all these types, deception is key to the plot.

As I reluctantly put the book aside last night at 10:00p.m – it was not a stay up until all hours kind of night – I mulled over the deception going on in the story. My mind began to make connections and quickly turned to the spiritual realm.

We have a spiritual enemy who is a deceiver. Deception is Satan’s game. We must be vigilant to guard against his trickery. He is cunning. The deceiver has been working on people from the very beginning of time.  

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. … 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14-15

So what do we need to know and to do in order to be aware and protect ourselves against His subterfuge?

  1. Realize that all lies and deception are from Satan. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NASB. From the tiniest white lie to the grand plots of evading and distorting by businesses or governments, all come from the father of lies. 
  2. Deception is untrue. Lies aren’t the only untruth. According to, deception is by definition, “causing someone to accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid.” Just because I believe you are a good person does not make it true. We have probably all been duped by a card trick, a magician, a kind door-to-door salesman or worse, a person posing as a friend. “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.” Rom 1:25
  3. God does not use deception or trickery of any sort in His dealings with mankind. God’s character is based on truth. John 3:33 NASB tells us that God is true. It states, “ He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.”  
  4. Anything less than truth takes us prisoner. John 8:31-32 tells us, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If we are in need of being set free, then that means we are being held prisoner, in our hearts and minds at least. Through deception our enemy seeks to hold us captive and make us fearful, unloving, and unbelieving of God’s word. 
  5. The only thing that can release us from the mental captivity of deceit is the truth. God’s truth, not someone’s perception of what they say is “true for me.” “Personal truth” is not truth. We can believe anything we choose, but that does not make it true. I can be mad at my husband and think he is horrible in the moment, but he’s not. My perspective is skewed. Thinking that God doesn’t love me because of my sin may feel true in the moment as well, but it is not. God never quits loving His creations. Claiming a personal truth that is contrary to scripture is a clear sign that we have been deceived. 
  6. God’s Word is the source of all truth. Paul’s letter in 2 Timothy 2:15 makes it clear that God’s Word is the source of truth. Paul challenges Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Stay in the Word.
  7. We are to be shrewd and aware and discerning, alert to Satan’s tricks. In speaking to His followers in Matthew 10:16, Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
  8. We need to pray and seek God’s wisdom in dealing with deception. Psalm 25:5 says, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” 

With any deception we face, we can be sure that it comes from the enemy of our souls. When we are faced with lies and half-truths in our business or personal dealings, beware! That situation is being manipulated by the cunning of our spiritual adversary. When two different news networks have two different takes on the same story, beware! That situation is being manipulated by the cunning of our spiritual adversary. When you can’t get a straight answer from your teen and your heart tells you something is amiss, beware! That situation is being manipulated by the cunning of our spiritual adversary.

  • Go to the Word.
  • Drop to your knees.
  • Ask your Father to reveal what is hidden.

“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5

Daniel’s Prayer 

“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,… It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:20-22

Only Our Creator God can give us 20/20 vision in matters where we are being deceived. Seek Him. He will bring light to the murky, gray darkness of any situation. 

Misery or Blessing; Worry or Peace

An Allegory

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9


Once upon a time there was a woman named Misery who lived in the land of Worry. Her name was appropriately fitting, for she was a woman full of woes and worries.

One evening, she had a visitor come knocking at her door. It was her friend Merry from the land of Rejoicing. Merry bubbled and encouraged, much to the dismay of Misery. This overly-cheerful friend never seemed to join in with Misery’s complaining and fretting and fearful predictions of doom and gloom. While Misery loved a bit of company, part of her wished her friend would reciprocate her worries when she came over to visit, yet another part of her found a modicum of peace in the rejoicing of her friend.

The next morning Misery woke up wanting some peace. So she set her heart to apply Merry’s joy-filled attitude. She headed off to the market that day determined to find something in her pitiful life to rejoice over. 

On her way down the street she passed her neighbor, Gentleness. Gentleness was always so kind and Merry noticed that in return, people were kind to Gentleness as well. Bill collectors weren’t as aggressive and the neighbor who was mad about the dog, calmed down quickly. Misery decided that she herself would benefit from dishing out some gentle behaviors to others. So she began to treat her family and people she met more gently, which in turn made her more gentle on herself.

As days went by with Misery trying to put into practice the habits of rejoicing and gentleness, she found herself not quite so miserable, with less worries clouding up her mind.

pexels-visionpic-net-321576A couple of weeks later she heard the church bells ringing in town. Those sounds made her rejoice a bit more. She thought to herself, “Maybe more peace and joy can be found in my religion. I have been slack about that and I have sort of given up on The God Who Sees Me.” So she drug out her dusty Holy Book to read the words of her Creator.  As the warm, afternoon sun was setting, she read away the last hour of light and felt comforted. It seemed as if the God Who Hears was sitting right beside her talking to her, and she knew that he discerned the prayers of her heart. He felt near, and real.

She loved that feeling of nearness to the Holy One so much that she began a habit of spending time reading the Holy Book in the afternoon setting sun each day. As she read she found herself wanting to talk with Him. So she did! This conversation she knew was called prayer, but it seemed less like a religious activity and more like opening up her heart talking to a friend. And her heart filled with more contentment. It seemed that as she was filling up with positive thoughts of Her Beloved, those nagging thoughts she had been having didn’t have room to fit into her mind so much. 

Her heart seemed lighter. She had more freedom of mind to think about important things and to be grateful! Misery found that the darkness that had surrounded her turned into glimpses of light when she expressed her gratefulness to Her Heavenly Father. She decided to start writing down a few things she was grateful for each and every day.

pexels-francesco-ungaro-1671325But one day, a horrible thing happened! In the aftermath Misery was thrown back into her old darkness! There was nothing good she could see to write down – nothing to be grateful over. There was no rejoicing. She was afraid. That fear boiled up in her as anger and she spewed hateful, fearful, accusing, unkind words at those she loved the most. And when she did that she even hated herself and could not manage to show gentleness to anyone, even herself. The afternoon sun did not lure her to her normal warm spot under the shade tree that day. She did not even miss reading the Holy Book and hearing from her Father. She had no inclination to hear from Him or to speak her prayers to Him. Her heart felt cold and alone. All her thoughts were consumed with fear, self-pity, anxiety, and worry over how this horrible thing could ever be made right. It seemed impossible to her!

Falling back into her past habits of miserable thoughts, her days and weeks began to feel desperate again. One day through the gloom she heard the church bells ringing again and had the thought “Thank you Father for giving me at least that one bit of joy in this horrible day.” As she thought that, it occurred to her that she was grateful for one small thing again! She was surprised that her bitterness waned a bit with these thoughts of rejoicing and gratefulness. 

So she said to herself, maybe I can choose to think one good thought each day. Maybe that will give me a glimmer of hope. So that afternoon at her usual time when she used to read the Holy Book and talk to the Father, she had a good thought. She thought briefly about her previous happy times in the sun with Her Beloved. With that thought she decided to go out to Her place in the waning sunlight and make herself read His Holy Book again. 

As she sat down and opened the Book, her eyes fell upon these words: 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9)

Misery was surprised! Her Beloved was talking to her about Her thoughts! Could her thoughts and behaviors bring peace to her despair? The Holy Book said it could. And it must! What had brought her to this place? A thought of rejoicing over the bells! A thought of the warm happy times in the sun. Then a thought to come talk with her Beloved Creator! Yes! Thoughts could make a difference! 

Misery went into her home and wrote these words upon a parchment and hung it on her wall where she could see it each day. 

True. Noble. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. Praiseworthy. 

These were the only thoughts she would allow herself to think. Yes! She would choose to drive out those thoughts of death and despair, the lies and fears, and even the hateful or jealous attitudes toward her neighbors. Misery made a Pledge to herself and prayed a brief prayer asking her Father to give her strength to live out this commitment. 

At just that moment, her neighbor Gentleness knocked on her door.

She answered the door with joy and invited her in. “Oh Gentleness, I have been in such a state of worry, but I heard the church bells ring and was grateful for at least that. I met with My Beloved and His Holy Book reminded me how to think aright! I want to do that. But I fear I will fail.”

Gentleness replied, “Friend, I understand. My Middle name is Anxious!”

Misery was shocked! Could her gentle friend have even a tiny anxious bone in her body? So she asked, “You? But how? You always exude the gentle joy of Our Heavenly Father.”

Gentleness responded, “O, but the answer to that is a long story. I must tell it over a course of days not minutes, it is the story of my life walking with My Beloved.”

“Would you come every week and tell me more of your story?” Misery asked. “I would love to know it and learn from you and find out how I too can live at Peace.”

“Of course,” said Gentleness. “You can be my little learner, my disciple, and I will guide you with all I know so that you too can choose Peace and the Holy Way. Then you can change your name from Misery.”

“I would like that said Misery. “My middle name is Blessing, and I have always wanted to be called by that name, but it never quite fit my woeful life.”

From that time forward the worrisome Miss Misery became known as Blessing Upon Blessing because she walked with her Beloved Creator and learned from her friend how to live life fully, fighting off the worry in her daily battles that had previously controlled her life.

The End


Called by a New Name

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Like a good Southern girl, I named my daughter after her great grandmothers. And, like a good Southern momma, I stubbornly decided she would be called by both names. I know. I know. But where would the world be without those wonderful double name traditions. I mean, who doesn’t love a Sarah Beth or an Anna Grace or a Betty Lou? Those names just roll off the tongue like sorghum, don’t they? (Insert eye roll emoji here.)

What I didn’t realize is the frustration those double names would cause my girl as she moved on to college and the professional world. When she first started taking college courses online in high school, she realized those double names made it really difficult for her to engage in her virtual class discussion. Her name took far too long to type in when she wanted to answer a question. So Mary Catherine became Catie. That name soon followed her as she started classes on campus. It was on her first college student ID.

pexels-quang-nguyen-vinh-2159129A similar thing happened when she started working as a barista at a local coffee shop. She couldn’t realistically fit her entire name on her nametag, so she shortened it to MC. Then you had the whole standardized test and college application complications where she was only recognized by her first name. So, on campus she was Catie, at work she was MC, and in any official capacity, she was Mary.

Now she’s headed off to graduate school at a new university and is considering going by Cate. You can imagine the type of identity crisis she’s had over the past four years or so. Thankfully, as her momma, I still stubbornly call her by her double name. Not because I’m trying to be difficult, but because that name has meaning to me. It is the name I thoughtfully and prayerfully gave her before she even came into the world. So no matter what everyone else calls her, she is Mary Catherine because that’s the name chosen just for her.

Recently, I was reading through Revelation. It’s not a book I tend to get settled in because, to be honest, the content absolutely boggles my mind and overwhelms my soul. As John promised through Revelation 1:3 I have been blessed by reading Revelation, but I’ve also been perplexed by it. I come back to it reluctantly throughout the year. I read through and pray and ponder and ask the Lord to give me some insight. This time around I got stuck on this idea of names.

In Revelation 2:17 the Spirit reveals to John these words for the Church at Pergamum, “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Similarly, Isaiah 62:2 says, “The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.” And back in Revelation 20 we read about the book of life and in it are the names of those who belong to Christ. I couldn’t get over this idea of a new name. I not only was a new creation, but I had a new name. I had a new identity. An identity conferred to me by my Abba. And I think that name is the one written in the Lamb’s book. So naturally, this piqued my curiosity and I kept asking the Lord in private moments of intimate conversation, so what’s my new name?

name-s-2319472_1280A few weeks after I asked that question, I was reading through 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God.”

I sat before the King with those verses and the Spirit whispered, “You are no longer called by these names because you are now called by MY NAME.” I sat and wept at that truth. My old name was Unrighteous. My old name was Unholy. My old name was Condemned. My old name was Separated. My old name was my identity as a sinner. But that is no longer my name. Because of Jesus. Because of the Name above all Names, my sin no longer defines me. Because my old name is now washed away in the blood of Christ. In Christ, my new name is Righteous. My new name is Holy. My new name is Redeemed. My new name is Restored.

Too many times even those who are in Christ tend to define themselves by their old names. By their sin, but if you are in Christ you are no longer called by that name. You have been given a new name. And as I have pondered and prayed over the powerful and beautiful truth that it only matters that I am called by the Name of Christ. That new name could be Rescued. Restored. Redeemed. It doesn’t matter the specifics as long as I know the One who gave me the New Name, and I know that I am no longer defined by who I was, but Whose I am. I am His. He is mine. I am called by a New Name. A name the Lord Himself has given me. Jesus. Jesus. Precious Jesus. That is the only Name I need to know.  


Filling Big Footsteps

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV

“You’re following in your Mama’s footsteps aren’t you?” 

I have heard it half a dozen times in my lifetime. I’d often nod my head, acknowledging the speaker was correct in his or her assumption. Truth be told though, I never really understood exactly what that meant. It sounded good. Ask near anyone who genuinely knows her and they will tell you that my Mama is a pretty good one to follow. She is gracious and wise. She is a peace-maker and brims over with hospitality. So why wouldn’t I want to follow in her footsteps. I just never fully understood the meaning behind it, so I would agree. In many regards I have unknowingly followed in her footsteps and as I tend to to do, I just accepted it as such and moved on. In my mind we wear almost the same size shoe, so it didn’t seem odd to me that I was stepping into her shoes, after all they fit just fine. Clearly I had confused two expressions, “having big shoes to fill” and “following in someone’s footsteps.” 

To follow in someone’s footsteps means, To pursue something that someone else (often a family member) has already done. 

Having big shoes to fill roughly means that it’s going to be hard for you to do the job as well as they did it.

For most of my life, well all of it until now, I reckon I did not fully understand what I was agreeing or not agreeing to in regards to shoes and footsteps of others. That was until recently anyway.

pexels-james-wheeler-1522285We had made our way to our annual beach vacation trip. The previous year had not yielded such a luxury, so this year was an especially anticipated event. I counted down the days and would decide “How many more sleeps until the beach.” I would say in my head “Two weeks from today, where will I be?” The answer was always the beach, no matter if it was two weeks, two days or tomorrow. I was ready. More than ready. I had been depleted for quite some time, and the waves and the wind, the constant of the always-the-same, never-the-same gulf leaves me filled up and ready to push through. I have been known to sit and to soak and to hear the King speak through His creation. I have often said, “A rainy day at the beach is better than a sunny day at home.” I am not sure if that rings true for everyone, but it does me. 

As the thunder began to rumble off in the distance and the sky darken, I knew we would have to head indoors soon. It had been a successful day for me, one filled with books, and snacks, sun-kissed shoulders, and a breeze that drowns out the noise of the world better than anything else I know. My feet looked like they’d been dusted with caster sugar.

My Sweetheart had worked some while we vacationed, catching up on things neglected at home; then he made his way down to the seaside. He isn’t filled by it like I am, but he does enjoy a lazy afternoon listening to music, people watching, and most of all watching the sky. It was the same place, sky watching, several years ago that ushered in a career change for him from artist to meteorologist. 

As the sky darkened and he nudged me I knew it was time for our party to return indoors. We gathered  up our belongings, and began the arduous task of take down. 

Loaded down with a burden of camp chairs, trash, all manner of sandy toys we made our way up the beach. We moved single file, our party of ten, and I was directly behind my husband. As he walked, his large size 14 sandal-clad foot made exaggerated depressions into the sand. Without realizing it I was following in his footsteps. Then I began to actually step in the places he has stepped. The walk was so much easier when I would place my foot just where he had been. The sand already packed and solid made for easier stepping. His stride is larger than mine and that proved tricky but the burden I carried was much more tolerable when I followed in his footsteps. Many times after, as we made our way up, I noted that following in his steps was always less of a hardship than going my own way. I likened that to my walk with the Lord. Sure there are times when following Christ can feel awkward, when His stride doesn’t match mine, but I can follow in His footsteps knowing, He already knows the way, He has already made a way, and in fact He is the Way. 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 NIV



20/20 Vision: Computer Glasses

I love new things! Always have. When I was a kid, if I saw something new advertised during Saturday morning cartoons I wanted it. It didn’t matter what it was – it was new! I was curious. I love to try new foods, visit new places, and make new friends. I even love moving to a new town – though that one is a double-edged sword since I hate to say good-bye to old friends.

At my recent yearly check-up with the eye doctor, I found something new! It may be old hat to you, but I did not know opticians now offer computer glasses. I was complaining to my optometrist about my struggle doing research that combined book work and computer work for several hours in a day editing this blog, and writing lessons and Bible studies. She responded that I would probably benefit from “computer glasses.” She went on to explain that the lenses were made to accommodate up close and moderate distance vision, but not the needs of seeing at a far off distance.

It was new! It was intriguing! I took the bait and ordered a pair. I must say, they solved my problem. No more neck aches from leaning my head back to see out of a different place in my progressive lens. Blue-light blocking built in so that my eyes don’t get tired or damaged from so much screen time. And clarity, whether I’m reading small print in my book or scanning a screen for Greek word definitions or C.S. Lewis quotes.

On a particular sunny morning as I sat at the kitchen table researching, my work-at-home-because-of-COVID husband strolled through on his coffee break to get some pistachios. He paused, looked at me seriously, and asked, “Are you wearing your computer glasses?” I reached up to touch the glasses I had on and realized I was not.

pexels-karolina-grabowska-4468154“No. I forgot to swap them out for my driving glasses when I came in from the post office,” I replied.

“I thought not, you were leaning your head back at a weird angle to look through the bottom of the lens. I figured if I didn’t say something you’d end up at the chiropractor with pain in your neck again.”

He was right. I was grateful. I’m glad I had someone to notice and offer me correction for something I was totally unaware of.

Sometimes we are like that in spiritual life. We may be doing something that we don’t realize may hurt us. Unless someone with insight notices and points it out before the consequences set in, we may find ourselves in pain or trouble. That is why discipleship/mentoring relationships are so important.

What is discipleship?

A discipler/mentor is one who walks alongside another to train them as followers of Christ by scripture study, prayer, accountability, and modeling the Christian life to them just as 2 Timothy 2:1-2 and Titus 2:3-5 show us.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Tim. 2:1-2

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5

We all need a mentor, one to walk through life with us and point out to us when we don’t have our computer glasses on. When what we are doing does not line up with what is best as we see in God’s Word.

pexels-samantha-garrote-2467396It has been said that the discipling in our life should look like a ladder. At any time in life, whatever rung of the ladder we are on, there should be someone one rung above us reaching down to help us move up. At the same time we should be reaching out to those on a rung below to share our godly wisdom and help them move up to the next rung of understanding and spiritual growth.

Is it time for you to invest in another’s Christian walk?

Would you pray about discipling someone today?

(Check out GFBC’s Flourish Discipleship opportunities!)


Not My Forever Home

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.                    2 Corinthians 5:1

House hunting was surreal to me at the time. It had been so long since I had been a homeowner I somehow felt like I was pretending. We had moved from house to house, and I had long declared we moved more than a band of gypsies.  I had seen the grand old house on the internet, social media most likely, and from the moment I saw it I was head over heels in love. I looked through those pictures dozens of times. I imagined myself living there and what my days would look like. I have a flair for the dramatic and an overactive imagination, so before long I had myself tied up in a mortgage, living my best life in the century-plus beauty built by the Railroad Man. In my imaginary world I had forgotten completely the obstacles to be overcome. The Old Girl had a contract on her, in person she was in disrepair, she needed so much in the way of work. I lacked the budget and the skill to bring her up to code. As the closing date for the contract that was on her drew close, my realtor called me to say she was off the market. I cried.

How could I have been so wrong? I just knew the Old Girl would make me happy. I mourned her loss and felt lackluster about continuing the home search. I was in such despair I had failed to recognize the goodness and faithfulness of God.

I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3

I had seen past her peeling paint, saggy floors, uninsulated walls, faulty wiring, pest issues and insurmountable yard work and made her mine in my imagination, how could anything even compare? Every subsequent house after that, paled in comparison and I always managed to find something wrong with every house we went to.

My Husband and our realtor must have grown weary with me and my constant complaints. They are both patient and gentle souls. Both love music, are musically talented, and both love the Lord. We had been to see a home my husband had found. It was modest, in a neighborhood, had all but one of my boxes checked, no fireplace. I just kept saying, “I just don’t know.”

We were sitting in my realtor’s office when she spoke one of the single most life-changing, thought-provoking truths to me. As I write this, I wonder if she even knows. I wonder if she has any idea the impact she had on me that sweltering summer evening. She was perusing the MLS again, looking for anything that might fit us. She knew how much I loved the Old Girl that never was and she sympathized but she’d advised early on that it was a lot of work and that we would be tied to that Old Girl every free moment we had. As we had spent another day traversing the roads and shopping for abodes she had to have been tired. I just kept the “I just don’t know” monologue up. She put her folded hands on her desk and leaned forward in my direction. She said my name to get my attention. 

“I think you’re like me, this world is not your home, and there is not a house on this planet that is going to make you happy.” If she’d’ve had a Nerf gun and hit me between the eyes she wouldn’t have made more of an impact. She was right. My dissatisfaction was not that I could not have what I thought I wanted or that every other home was subpar.

My problem was I was looking in the temporal for the contentment of the eternal.My problem was I was looking in temporal for the contentment of the eternal. My forever Home is Heaven; I am just passing through this earthly one. I made a decision that day to purchase the all-but-the-fireplace checked box house. I live there now. It is my home. We have spent hours in the yard, gazing at the Heavens. It has become a work from home weather office, a school. It is just right for us, and it amazes me still that I have a back porch where I can look at the trees and talk to the King. He knew all along what I needed, not just a home but someone who could see beyond my protests and speak the Truth in Love to me. Recently, I said something about the Old Girl, a reflection or a memory perhaps, when my son declared his favorite house is our home.

“The one we live in now?” I clarified.

He confirmed it was. He is content, and in his contentment I came to the realization I am too. 

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6


Delta Means Change

My daughter moved this week to the Mississippi Delta. Her husband is working at Delta State University (DSU). As I saw the green triangle, a symbol for the school, I was thrown back to high school physics and Mrs. Frankie Underwood, my outstanding physics teacher.

Mrs Underwood was a tall, buxom lady who ruled our honors class with an iron fist, yet benevolently. She expected the best of us: study diligently, turn in your work on time, make the best grade you can, pay attention in class – all the basics. If we failed to toe the line we were loudly reprimanded in front of the whole class. In her booming Southern voice she warned us that we were about to become “a lost ball in high weeds.” This was the greatest tragedy and failure in her mind. We, the brightest and best in math at our high school, to be lazy or careless or not try, to be a useful object lost by the wayside – this was failure.

She taught us about force, inertia, and friction. She ground into us the slope formula, I still remember it, m=rise over run. She made us do word problem after word problem, turning the real world into mathematical equations that were useful. We talked through aps,504x498,small,transparent-pad,600x600,f8f8f8and experimented with velocity, acceleration, drag, wind and Delta, Delta V I remember particularly. We should have all become experts under her tutelage. I remember her showing us this simple equilateral triangle used to represent “change” in physics formulas. I still use that symbol in writing notes instead of writing out the word “change.” I’ve long forgotten how to compute formulas using the delta, but I still immediately think of change when I think of this symbol. 

So, this weekend as we moved my daughter and son-in-law into their new apartment, change was definitely on my mind. With triangles everywhere at DSU, I would have to be blind not to think of change. But also, there were the drastic changes in their life together: an upheaval, leaving a home they’d been in since their honeymoon, a church family that was more like biological family, and all their friendships, old jobs, favorite restaurants, and sentimental places around town.  

Change was heavy on my mind because my adult daughter will tell you she has never liked new things or change. She was the 2-year-old who didn’t want to learn to dunk her head under water at the pool, and was furious with me when I dunked her. She was the 8 -year-old wanting to grow up and sing solos in her children’s choir, but was fearful of the new changes she would face trying. She was the 10-year-old girly girl who was upset when her tomboy-ish 13-year-old sister suddenly wanted to start dressing more girly. She is the 27-year-old who lamented leaving her old home, friends, and church this week even though she knew an exciting new adventure awaited her with the Love of Her Life there in the Mississippi delta.

pexels-alexas-fotos-2277784Our world is also in a state of change – upheaval. The security we felt a year ago to just live life, spend too much money, hang out at the ball park, and hug people we met, that has melted away. The security of life operating by pretty much the same rules we had known since childhood has vanished. A willingness to share our opinions has dissipated as we feel we may be attacked for our ideas. The world is in a state of change. 

Are you, like my daughter, struggling with change?

Is all of this pandemic, political divisiveness, and social unrest just too much?

Are you struggling with an underlying sense of uneasiness, worry, nightmares, depression, or anxiety attacks?

Then ladies, it’s time to do what we always do in every situation, especially in uncertain times, we turn to God’s Word.

So I take you back to the time of the Patriarchs… Jacob was a man who faced many great changes. He changed (faked) his identity with his dad to steal his brother’s blessing. He was forced to leave his childhood home in fear of his life after that, so he moved far away. He fell in love with a beautiful girl and asked her dad permission to marry her, but his father-in-law changed out the bride on him! He went into marriage single and care free, and within a week had TWO wives and a battle of jealousy on his hands. He had 11 sons and decided to head back to his parent’s homeland only to find out his father-in-law had changed out the sheep to keep Jacob and his wives there. Jacob’s life changed with grief at the death of his precious Rebekah. Then he had grown sons who acted with jealousy against their brother and caused Jacob grief again at the loss of a favored son. He faced the changes of environmental factors as famine hit, which triggered more risk and loss. His whole world was rocked when he found out his dead son was really alive! And finally, in his last days he had the huge change of moving to Egypt to live out his days.

What can we learn from Jacob about change?

Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’” …

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. Genesis 32

Jacob learned…

  1. He learned that God speaks to us in our moments of change.
  2. He learned that God blesses us and is faithful to us.
  3. He learned that we have a choice – to choose God as our own Lord or to live with our old sinful, deceptive ways.
  4. He learned to revere God as Holy.
  5. He learned how to trust God through all the change, deception, betrayal, and loss.
  6. He learned that God is a gracious provider and deliverer.
  7. He learned not to fear, but to trust.
  8. He learned to wrestle with God in prayer in the middle of the night, and to not let go of Him.
  9. He learned that God can give you a new name, new habits, and a new identity when He becomes Lord of your life.

Don’t fear change, ladies. Embrace it. Learn from it. Seek God in the middle of it. Stay in His Word, listening for Him to speak to your heart. Pray. Let Him find you there in your fear and wrestling, and He will bless you and give you a new name. And don’t be A Lost Ball in High Weeds! Live with Him in faith and fulfill your potential in His plan! 


Do not fear! Change is all around in the world Our Creator made!