A Christmas Moment in July




As the blistering sun toasts our grass into a crispy brown, I’m thinking about Christmas.

Yes, that’s right. Christmas. In July. (Cue eye-rolling for those of you who think I’m nuts.)

Let me explain. I’m not thinking about the Christmas in July sale ads or even the Hallmark Christmas movies that are playing right now.

What I’m thinking is we could all use a Christmas moment.

A moment where we pull back from what’s going on in the world around us and focus in on a little miracle that wasn’t so little after all, changing our lives in a big way.

Jesus Christ. Our Savior. The Messiah. The One Who came to save us. The One Who’s coming back for us.

Of course, we can think about the smell of almond extract coming from the candy cane cookies baking in the oven (my daughter’s favorite). We can think about snuggling under a cozy blanket with a cup of hot cocoa while reading a Christmas book or watching a Hallmark Christmas movie. (Where’s the remote?!)

We can even think about snow, remembering how those delicate flakes reflect Christmas lights like wintry fireflies. Or the way the snow frosts the ground like a sugar cookie, those tiny flakes dazzling like sugar sprinkles in the moonlight.

We can remember Christmases where little feet in footy pajamas raced to the tree, sleepy eyes opening wide with anticipation and excitement. Or the first Christmas we wore wedding rings or just settled into a new house with hardly any furniture.

We can even remember final Christmases with someone we loved before we had to let go. Those painful moments replaced with joy when we remembered where they were going, Who they were going to be with, and the celebration they would experience like nothing we could even imagine.

And we can remember the moment when the true meaning of Christmas became real to us—when we began to understand the miracle that took place so long ago that still changes lives today.

The calendar may tell us Christmas is still months away. The temperature may be a scorching ninety-something and summer chores may be tugging on our shirt sleeves like impatient children. And it may be the season to toast marshmallows over a fire instead of plopping them into a mug of hot cocoa.

But Christmas is just a moment away. All we need to do is take the time to remember Jesus and be thankful.

And the joy that fills our hearts will undoubtedly spill out and into the world around us, reminding us all that when God brings great joy, He brings great hope.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV.)


(Photo from pexels.com.)





Peace in the Midst of Chaos


I’m a word girl. I know, big shocker there to discover a writer that likes words. What can I say? Words are the tools of my trade. Without them, I would be scribbling stick figures with awkward, uneven eyes and jagged lips doing all sorts of acrobatics to indicate their internal turmoil. It just wouldn’t make much sense.

Similarly, God’s Word is the tool of the Christian’s trade. That would explain how, when the world seems to be falling apart and is in total chaos, we can read God’s Word to find wisdom, understanding, direction, and peace when the world offers us none.

Instead of looking through our own eyes at what’s happening in the world today, we can look through eyes of faith and see things more clearly the way God intended through His Word:

“If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15 NIV, emphasis my own.)

The word that stood out to me was “devour.” I remembered reading that here:

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV, emphasis my own.)

Can you see how “devour” in both of these cases consumes in order to destroy?

There’s another word. Destroy.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a NLT, emphasis my own.)

So our enemy, the devil, is out to destroy us, wanting to devour us. That’s his purpose. Can people actually be used by the enemy to destroy each other?  If they’re not filled with the Holy Spirit and staying alert to the enemy’s schemes, sadly, yes.

What does God’s Word say about how we should treat each other?

“This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17 NIV.)

 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NIV.)

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT.)

There’s a powerful word. Love.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT.)

So when we look through our eyes at a world that seems to be crumbling all around us, we have the opportunity to look through God’s Word and see. Really see. We can see through eyes of faith that the enemy is behind the killing, stealing, and destroying.

As we know, the thief comes to cause harm, but Jesus Christ has come to give us life to the full (John 10:10) and peace. True peace which the world can never give us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV.)

We are not to be troubled or afraid, my friends. We are to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12 NIV.)

And when the world looks back and sees God’s children joyful in their hope as they seek their Father’s face, patiently awaiting His direction during times of disorder, and faithfully praying to God for each and every need and person the Holy Spirit guides them to pray for, then the world may very well get a glimpse of peace in the midst of chaos.

What a beautiful sight that would be for all eyes to see.


(Photo from pexels.com.)













Don’t Give Up on God


Are you broken or wounded? Has someone hurt you so deeply that you don’t know how to move forward? Maybe you even feel like giving up on God because you feel like He’s already given up on you.

Oh, precious soul, if I could take you in my arms and hug you today, I would. I would whisper that it’s going to be okay, that you’re going to get through this. I may not understand what you’re going through, what tragedies or suffering you dealt with in the past, but God does.

But maybe God is part of your pain. Maybe you believe that God is somehow a reflection of the cruelty of others, especially if you’ve been hurt by someone in the Church.

Unfortunately, there are times when His children, being human, fail to reflect His love and compassion. There are even those who claim to be Christians while lashing out at others. (When “Christians” Throw Stones.)

Please don’t take this out on God and walk away from Him.

I believe God is calling to you during this time of isolation and wants to heal your broken heart.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV.)

I believe in the depths of my spirit that this is the time He’s reaching out to you, through this post, through quiet times at home or in your backyard, through a word from someone you know.

He wants to take you in His arms and hold you. He jealously longs for you. He knows how people have failed you, how their words have cut into your heart, hardening it like scar tissue.

Please don’t turn away from Him.

I don’t know the “why” to your questions. I don’t know why you suffered or struggled, why you felt abandoned or hopeless. I don’t know why others hurt you the way they did.

But I can tell you I’ve been hurt too. And in the darkest moments of my life, when others struck me with the cruelest of words, turning their backs on me and abandoning me in my pain, God never left me.

He may have been quiet, but He was still there.

“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5b NLT.)

I believe He was silent during those times because I was either shouting within my spirit and couldn’t hear Him over my pain, or He was quietly joining me in my suffering. (You know, those times when someone you love is suffering and the pain is so unbearable you can’t speak a word but instead you sit beside them hoping to bring them comfort. I believe God does that too.)

When you hurt, God hurts with you.

And I believe no matter how dark the storm, no matter how the waters rage, God will reach right through it all to grab onto you, to save you, to steady you until the storm passes.

Perhaps He will lift you from the storm, lifting you high above those things that are hurting you.

But maybe He won’t, instead choosing to pull you closer to Him as He endures the storm alongside of you, shielding you and singing to you so you’ll focus on Him instead of the howling winds.

You may consider giving up on God. Please don’t. Don’t give up on Him. He promises He will never give up on you. Never.

Come back to Him. Cry out to Him. Call upon Him. Whisper His name.


And He’s right there with you. Strong, solid, and forever. Loving you completely and helping you to move forward.

“God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master, Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9 MSG, emphasis my own.)

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.(Luke 18:1 NLT, emphasis my own.)

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8: 35, 37-39 MSG.)


(Photo from pexels.com.)

Now Is the Time


We’ve all been hurt by someone. Perhaps it was a parent or a close friend when you were just a child. Maybe it didn’t happen until you were much older, blindsiding you and leaving you crushed and wondering how you’ll ever come back.

Maybe you were even hurt by someone in the Church.

It can happen. The Church is not a building where people gather but a family of believers, a group of imperfect people trying to follow the perfect Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, most families do hurt each other at one time or another.

But what devastates a soul is when the pain becomes a loud rushing sound, drowning out the voice of God, and that soul walks away from Him.

I imagine Almighty God lowering His head and sobbing, longing to hold His child who has turned away from Him and is suffering alone. (If this is you, please turn back to God. Please let Him hold you and help you to heal and move forward.)

Now is the time, dear Church, to prepare to bring back those who have been wounded by our imperfections; each and every lost and wounded soul. Now is the time to open our hearts to God so He can fill us with His love to overflowing, so when the doors of the building open wide and the injured, the broken, and the lost come in, we are ready to pour out His love upon them.

We must be ready to love like never before.

And we must prepare to find those who have wandered off, to take His love to them and not wait for them to come to us. Let us remember this time of being the Church outside of a building and not grow comfortable when we return to meeting inside of a building again. Let us be so moved in our desire to please God, the One we met with when we were withdrawn and in our homes, that we can’t sit still, that we must go whenever He calls and wherever He leads.

Heavenly Father, help us to be ready to obey You when You call. We invite You, Holy Spirit, to have your way and lead the Church inside and out of the buildings where we meet, beyond the social media sites. Expand our territory. Jesus Christ, You are the head of Your Church, and we yield and surrender ourselves to You. Use each one of us as the members of Your body, Lord. Please forgive us for the time we’ve wasted and redeem that time, Lord. Our hearts need You. Our spirits long for You. Our desire is for more of You and less of ourselves. Lead us, Holy Spirit, guide us and teach us how to love others more deeply than ever before. Teach us to worship in spirit and in truth. Teach us to speak Your Word with great boldness. Show us how to reach those who are hurting in the world. Help us to bring the wounded back into Your fold. And teach us to love You more deeply with all that we have and all that we are without worrying what others might think, aiming only to please You.  It’s in Your name, the powerful name of Jesus Christ, we pray these things. Amen.

May the Lord prepare His Church for the mighty movement of His Spirit. May He stir us from our sleep, stir something deep within our spirits now so when we are drawn together in the physical realm again, the whole world will hear His voice and know our God reigns.

And those who have wandered off, those who are lost, and those who have been wounded will be overwhelmed by the very love of God who never, ever gives up on His children.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV.)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV.)


(Photo from pexels.com.)


There Is Still Screaming in the World Today



This world can be a painful place.  Cancer is ravaging our loved ones.  Alzheimer’s attacks without mercy. Children are suffering from hunger, neglect, and all sorts of horrific abuse.

And the coronavirus is out to steal, kill, and destroy our peace, lives, and finances.

Somewhere in all of this, there is screaming.

Can you hear it?  If you quiet yourself, you can.  Those suffering are screaming from the depths of their souls, crying out for help.  Just a word.  Something to give them hope that it will get better, that there is more than pain, fear, and lack.

They need to see that God is moving. And if they’ve never experienced Him before, they need to know He is real.

And sometimes God will choose to use you to show them. Sometimes He will use your mouth to encourage them, your creativity to be present in their lives while keeping socially distant, and sometimes, yes, your money to provide for them.

Are you letting Him?  Or are you keeping your mouth shut when you should speak up?  Are you so preoccupied with surviving the quarantine that God can’t possibly use you? Maybe you’re keeping your hands wrapped so tightly around your money “just in case” that He can’t use that either.

So while you’re keeping quiet and holding on to your checkbook, someone is screaming in God’s ear.

Of course, God hears it all. He sees it all. He sees one child hurting and crying out for help while the other with a heart too hard, too stubborn and self-absorbed to help.

Which child are you?

If you are one of those who are screaming, please know I’m praying for you. Don’t give up. Keep crying out to God. He hears you. Your rescue is coming.

You see, I’ve also screamed in God’s ear, begging for His rescue. And I’ve seen Him move in my life in miraculous ways, sometimes choosing to use others to reach me.

God knows how to reach you too.

Perhaps you are not screaming, but you can hear those who are. You can do something about it. Don’t let the enemy trick you into believing you are stuck at home with no options to reach out.

You can help by allowing God to use you to speak encouraging words through a phone call or to share kind words through a text or social media post; your words can offer hope to someone struggling. Your tender words are the closest thing to a hug you can offer right now. (Maybe you can even be creative in the approach – God will lead you.)

Perhaps you can provide financially for a need. The amount you can share may not seem like much to you, but to someone who is screaming, it is the answer to an agonizing prayer.

And regardless of age or location, no matter if you are completely isolated at home or cooped up with a few family members, you can pray for someone suffering physically, lifting them up to the One who continues to comfort and heal today.

Will you let God use you to ease the screaming in the world today?

Or will you wait until the screaming has stopped and hope seems lost?

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” (Psalm 18:6 NIV.)

“Kind words heal and help.” (Proverbs 15:4a MSG.)

“Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24 NLT.)

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16 ESV.)

“I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. (Romans 15:30 NIV, emphasis my own.)

This is an updated version from an earlier post


(Photo from pexels.com.)

Loving God While the Paint Chips Fall



In the midst of rushing to finish summer projects (or finally starting them!), I feel a surge of adrenaline after school starts and I’ve got a little bit of alone time.

My brain begins listing things that need done. It’s a convenient list stashed in the back of my brain where I (hopefully) won’t lose it:

Scrub the siding on the house.

Finish spring cleaning the kitchen. Sheesh. It’s almost fall.

Scrape and paint the trim for multiple outside doors. (Oh yeah, basement windows too.)

Weed, weed, weed. And trim the dead plants and scatter extra seeds for next year.

Organize the basement. Yep. All those Christmas decorations that never went away.

Garage sale? (Yikes!)

And the list goes on and on and on…

But while I’m rushing around like a mad woman, a still, small voice whispers in the back of my brain, pushing past my list:

I’m waiting for you.

 In all my hurrying, in all the madness that is my hamster wheel (if I let it become that), God is waiting to spend time with me. Little ol’ me.

And little ol’ you, too.

But we need to make God not only a priority but the priority. The very top priority in our hearts.

One of the really amazing things I’ve learned about God: He doesn’t mind if we pray and talk to Him while we’re scraping the trim to that kitchen door or laugh with Him while scrubbing the siding on the house and the water runs right down our armpits. And I think He smiles when we stop and notice with little-kid joy all the butterflies, thanking Him for them (and for the cool breeze, the deer in the woods, the much-needed break etc., etc.).

I have to wonder if spending time with God in our hearts and loving Him while our hands are busy scrubbing the house and watching the paint chips fall brings us closer to Him.

I believe it does.

‘“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?’ Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list.’” (Matthew 22:36-38 MSG.)

(Photo from Pexels)


Witches and Mediums

witches and mediums

We were recently watching TV and saw a woman who claimed to be a witch, praying to her “goddess.” Moments later there was an advertisement for a program where the central character is a medium. (If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find a medium is someone who claims to be able to communicate with the dead.)

My dear friends, if you’re into this sort of stuff, I’m about to step on your toes.

You see, I’d rather step on your toes here and bruise them a bit than ignore the truth and leave your toes and the rest of you to be in big trouble.

But wouldn’t you rather know the truth? I mean, if you have something stuck in your teeth, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you rather than going through your day with dark green spinach right there in the front of your smile?

So wouldn’t you rather know the truth about much more important things like what’s going to happen if you are involved with witchcraft and mediums?

In the Old Testament, God warns the Israelites not to imitate those around them (like us here today!), so we can see how He feels about this sort of stuff:

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.” (Deuteronomy 18: 9-12 NIV, emphasis my own.)

Again in the New Testament, Paul warns the churches in Galatia:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV, emphasis my own.)

And again, Jesus Christ revealed to John in the book of Revelation what is going to happen:

“He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murders, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’” (Revelation 21:6-8 NIV, emphasis my own.)

I know that’s a lot to read, but isn’t it good to know the truth? I know sometimes the truth can hurt. It reminds me of the time I spent hours crimping my hair when I was in high school only to have my grandma stare at me and shout, “You look horrible!”

Ouch. But it was the truth. What loving grandma wouldn’t feel obligated to let her grandchild know she was walking around with crazy scarecrow hair? And you know what? I never crimped my hair again.

As a Christian following Jesus Christ, I have an obligation to tell you the truth as painful as it may be.

As you read above, witchcraft and mediums are detestable to God, not something to enjoy or be involved with in anyway. And if you are claiming to be a witch or a medium, please stop immediately and ask God to forgive you.

Why? Because I’d like all of us, each and every one of us with bruised toes that someone had the courage to speak the truth to, to be together in the loving presence of our Heavenly Father when our time here on planet earth ends.

Oh, and another part of being a Christian following Jesus Christ: I also have the privilege of loving you by praying for you.

And that’s just what I’ll be doing.




Nestling Closer


I remember walking in the grocery store with our daughter when she was just a little thing, wrapping my arm around her like a momma hen while she pushed the cart with me. I knew it made her feel like such a big girl to help, and I loved keeping her close and protecting her.

As the years went by, she got taller and we’d laugh at how she could tuck herself under my arm when she stood right by my side. I loved squeezing her as she snuggled closer, making her laugh, and feeling her close. We could whisper and share inside jokes no one else would understand.

But eventually she got too tall to fit under my arm, and she got too old (as teenagers sometimes do) to want to do such a thing.

Honestly, it made me a little sad.

I wonder if that’s how God feels when He wants to hold us close and tuck us under His arm, but we pull away. Is it because we’re too grown up in our thinking to do such a thing? Do we feel like we can handle things, we don’t need Him, or we’ve just outgrown our need for Him, our desire to have a close relationship with Him?

But what if God wants to pull us to His side to protect us from running ahead of Him when it’s not safe. Or maybe He’s trying to draw us closer so we don’t trip by turning around to look back at our past.

When God holds us, when He holds you close to His side and sings over you while you nestle closer, singing praises to Him, perhaps that is when your songs intertwine as a single, lovely song, just between the two of you; something so personal and deep the world and all that’s in it can’t touch or change a single note.

And the truth is, we need that closeness with God. We need our Heavenly Father to hold us close, to heal our brokenness, and to teach us to sing when our hearts have forgotten our song. We will always need Him to protect us, to be the safe place we don’t just run to but the safe place we reside and thrive in.

When God pulls us close to His side, my friend, we can pull away. But why would we ever want to do such a thing?

“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37b NIV.)

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:7-8 NIV.)

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV.)