“But Have You Forgiven Yet?”

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Psalm 51:6. NKJV

1996 was a terrible year for my family and our ministry. We discovered that we had been robbed and slandered by ministry friends. What happened was much worse but most people don’t know about that part. Every morning our feet would hit the ground and we would wait in dread for the next terrible piece of the puzzle to drop. As friends and acquaintances found out, the first question would be, “But have you forgiven yet?”  I was 16 when this happened. I’m now in my 40’s and I’m still dealing with the ramifications of this devastating time.

This question, “But have you forgiven yet?” has so many problems. So why is it usually one of the first things we are asked in the Christian community when others find out that others have attempted to destroy us? People do not like horror and pain. Walking someone through the “miry bog” that King David talked about requires uncomfortable truth. A friend of mine told me that cheap forgiveness is a way of sweeping the trauma under the rug. In modern-day terms, it is a form of gaslighting or saying that what happened was not THAT bad.

So what can we do for others when they come to us with devastation? We can sit with them and learn that being uncomfortable is ok. Downplaying wrong-doing is dishonest and hurtful. It can even cause as much trauma or more than what originally happened. God calls us to be image-bearers of Christ. That means embracing both love and truth. It means understanding that forgiveness is a process and does not always involve restoration. It knows that it is not always physically or emotionally safe to hop back into relationships with people who committed evil acts. Love wounded people and love them well.    

Fix Your Eyes

Just as Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus, so can we. When we allow ourselves to be distracted by situations, we will find ourselves in trouble.

Peter began to sink as he looked at the waves around him. He could only walk on water if he kept his eyes on Jesus, the very Author of that miracle.  It doesn’t have to be something terrifying that gets us distracted. I’ve been experiencing a time of spiritual testing. I have been distracted by many small mosquito-like circumstances. They’ve been biting at my arms and legs, irritating my spiritual skin.

In a time of prayer, I was reminded today of my life’s verse: “(We are)…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our 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.” The phrase “fixing our eyes” in the English language suggests a picture of “gluing our eyes on Jesus.”  The original Greek, however,  translates this as “looking in expectation.” Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us hope. He is the founder of our faith. He is the creator of peace. And if we are going to follow Him, we have to learn not to turn our eyes to the left or to the right, as it says in Proverbs.

What’s distracting you today? It could be something big. It could be a bunch of small things that, together, become the equivalent of something large. I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus with expectation. Without Him, there is no hope.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for loving me so much that You test me. Forgive me for not keeping my focus on You. I choose to endure in obedience to You so that You can make me more like Your precious Son.

God’s Alone Or For The People Pleasers Like Me?

“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35

As a mom, wife, daughter, church member and employee, people and projects clamor for my time. Jesus handled the demands of others according to each situation in a perfect manner (in the temple at age 12, to his family who demanded to see him while He taught, with the mother of His disciples who begged Him to let her sons have a position of power).

I know the things in life that I like: cobalt blue, apricots, green paint, biographies, mysteries, pens with blue ink and a fine tip, all kinds of well-performed music, pima cotton… So why don’t I know what I want? And does that even matter?

People circle around me, asking (and sometimes demanding) my time, energy, and resources. God gave me the time, energy and resources in order that I might serve the people He placed in my life. So what’s the problem?

God tells us that He created specific work for each of us before the foundations of the earth. Every child of the King lives with a destiny. The Bible also tells us that our Heavenly Father will give us the desires of our hearts if we just ask. There’s a catch though. God’s desires must be our desires. If I am so busy listening to everyone else, no matter how close, authoritative, holy and spiritual they are, I might miss God’s whisper to me alone. My most important role in this life is as God’s princess, His precious daughter. If performing as church member or child of earthly parents or wife overwhelms what God is saying, there is a problem.

In order to know God’s heart I’m going to talk to Him before reading the next article that gets thrown on my desk. I’m taking everything that I’m told, every suggestion with a grain of salt.

Oh, God, let my heart be attuned with Your heart.

We Can See With God’s Eyes

“…the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” Ruth 2:12b

Do you ever feel like events happen in your life for no good reason? I want you to know today that God’s hand is on your life and He can use all of your experiences for your good and the good of others.

Ruth knew to a certain extent that she was leaving behind the gods of her family and country when she decided to follow Naomi back to her homeland.  Back in Ruth 1:16, she told Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” What she didn’t seem to know was that this God of Israel had also chosen her. Ruth’s choice to walk away from her old life brought her to the very One Who gives new life.

As she worked in Boaz’s field, she was about to find out what it meant to serve the God Who is not made by man. He’s not wood or stone. He made the very materials that the Moabites used to make their own silent gods. As Boaz put it in Ruth 2:12, “May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” While Ruth knew she was leaving her old gods for the God of Israel, I’m not sure she understood that she would be blessed. And it took a man such as Boaz to see her as God saw her. God, in His sovereignty, chose Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, to be Boaz’s mother. His own personal experience helped him see what others could not.

Sometimes God puts us in the path of others because He knows we will see what others are blind to. We will recognize things only because we’ve seen it before from our own painful experiences.

Dear Heavenly Father, Some of the situations that I have been through have been painful and only You have the power to bring any good out of them. I give all of my story to you and ask that you would help me see others with the eyes of someone who has experienced Your redemption. May I never miss anyone that You want me to see. In Jesus Name, Amen

Frustration and Disappointment

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Lately I’ve been plagued by disappointment after disappointment.  Sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve also had some unexpected blessings and I am also focusing on those.  Some things are going better than planned.  But before I go there, I need to deal with my sadness.  Close this door before I open a new one.

Bad news, even when it’s expected, is still bad news; we just have more time to anticipate it.  Don’t you find that some things are just hard to wrap your mind around?  So where does this leave us?  Our help comes from God.  Just as the Psalmist said.  He has a plan for us and our loved ones and He uses our circumstances to get us where He wants us to go even if Satan does his best to get us off of it.  Since we are His children, God only lets us stray so far.  Remember that the next time you worry about your children.

Sometimes the terrain is rough when we try to get back on track.  Disappointment, if left to its own devices, can turn to bitterness, jealousy, and many other dead ends.  Disappointment is no small emotion.  So, Jesus, Lover of our souls, what do you have to teach us in this?  How are our circumstances leading us to a different, and better, place?  We know You will be there with us, wherever that may lead us.

Heavenly Father, I praise You for making emotions.  Help them not to consume me.  I put them under Your direction.  Be where I am and where I am going. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


Listen to Lead Me On by Amy Grant.

What emotions or situations get you off track?

Look up some examples from Proverbs about walking and paths.

What do they say?

Knowing Better


And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Mark 14:30

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “If only I’d known what the consequences of that action or word would be, I would do something different.” Have you been there?  I have kicked myself so many times thinking that I would have chosen differently if I’d only known what the repercussions of my actions would be. But after reading a passage in Mark 14, I’m wondering how much foreknowledge would have helped me.

Jesus told Peter that he would betray Him three times. You see, Jesus always knows us better than we know ourselves. Peter could not believe that he would do anything so terrible, but Jesus knew better. Fear would get the best of Peter, as it does all of us from time to time. Not only would Peter deny Jesus. He would do it three times. Even though he was told what he was going to do beforehand, he did it anyway. Sometimes a warning does prevent a bad situation, but not always. I can think of quite a few examples from my own life when I chose to sin knowing that I would reap unwelcome results.

The bottom line is this: We are all born with a sin nature. It’s so natural for us to sin. That’s why we need Jesus. It takes something supernatural to rescue us from the fast track to Hell. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death.” We need to choose here and now, if we haven’t, where we will spend eternity. This is the biggest choice that we make. Please choose Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, I am so sorry for my sin, both intentional and unintentional. You forgave me, even after I sinned on purpose. You are Love, Truth, and Holiness. I bask today in what Your Son did for me. In Jesus precious name, Amen

What We Leave Behind

What We Must Leave Behind

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. Hebrews 12:1 and 2 (NASB)

Just as we cannot drive forward by looking in our rear view mirror, we cannot live meaningfully if we are consumed by the past.

I knew at age 11 that God called me to the ministry but I got distracted. It took me years to get focused. While they were not wasted years, I let people and situations hold me back. I let fear of hurting others’ feelings keep me from walking out on the stage God set for me.

Time is fleeting.  Life coaches encourage us to add things to our lives; exercise, healthy food, new hobbies, etc. But what do we need to leave behind?  That’s often omitted in the discussion.  Is God tugging at your heart? What has He been leading you to give up? Dead weight can come in all sorts of forms; a house that’s too big, a bad attitude, other people’s expectations, friendships that discourage you from obeying God…the list can get lengthy.

Jesus left behind Heaven for us. His love led Him to the cross. Right now, you and I can embrace resurrection power, the same kind that brought Jesus back life, to empower us to let go of the baggage that is keeping us from running the race.

Heavenly Father, Show me what I need to leave behind. Empower me to release these things with grace, faith, and love. Help me to walk forward into what You have called me to do. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen

He Hears Our Prayers

And have mercy on those who doubt… Jude 22

Lot didn’t deserve to be rescued, but then again, neither do we. It was a kindness, a mercy to Abraham, whom God called friend.

God also calls us to intercede for our family, friends, and even our enemies. I personally believe that He may answer our prayers because of His love for us. God loved Abraham so much that the pre-Incarnate Jesus, along with angelic company, physically went into Sodom and Gomorrah to rescue Lot and his family from the coming fire. The end of the New Testament book of Jude commands us to reach out “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Lot doubted and was not quick to obey Jesus’ command to leave the doomed cities. But our gracious God remembered Abraham and blessed Lot and his family with safe passage.

Jesus delivers us in the same way. He knows we distrust and doubt. He hears the unbelieving words of our loved ones. You know what I mean ~ the words that play over and over in our memory at night. These are the words that break our hearts and make our pillows wet with our tears. Jude provides us hope and ends with, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” It’s His delight to save our loved ones and us. He grants us the privilege of sharing in the process.

Jesus, we are broken before You offering up our doubting and unbelieving loved ones. They know not what they do. You call me friend, so come to my rescue.  In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


Who are you praying for?

Do you believe that God will intervene?

What are your doubts?

He Came To Warn

But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. Genesis 19:15

One of the most dramatic theophanies is when the Angel of the Lord appears to Lot. Even in the Old Testament Jesus came to save.

Sampson didn’t have the corner on making bad choices. Many people came before him in biblical history that could share that spot. Even before Lot went to Sodom, he was causing trouble in Abraham’s camp. Lot’s shepherds fought with Abraham’s shepherds, which led Lot to make the brilliant decision to take his family to a little, unknown area called Sodom and Gomorrah.

God will never abandon His children and Lot is no exception. After every trail of poor choices is the opportunity for redemption. So God prophesied, to Abraham, the complete destruction of the sister cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It became clear, after a time of haggling, that this place was not worth saving. God decided that it made more sense to rescue the holy remnant, Lot’s household, than to spare these cities.

In this theophany, angels, including Jesus, we believe, went to Lot’s house. My Mom and I have encountered some scary situations on the road, but nothing holds a candle to this. A group of men, intent upon raping these holy beings, demanded that Lot give the visitors to them. Lot offered his virgin daughters instead to no avail. (This one action puts Lot up there with Sampson, in my book.) The angels blinded the mob and sent them into confusion. You would think that this would be enough to make Lot’s family flee but not even the prediction of destruction moved them. The angels physically pushed Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of the city. Our almighty God was faithful to Abraham and merciful to his nephew, Lot. He offers the same rescue to us if we will only receive it.

Heavenly Father, Rescue me and deliver my whole family from potential destruction. Help me to move the first time that you ask.  In Jesus Name, Amen


How has God rescued you?

In what areas do you need deliverance and rescue?

Do you believe that God can help you?

In The Fire

“But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25

I doubt that King Nebuchadnezzar had any idea what he was getting himself into when he brought young Jews to serve in his court. Their captivity would lead to spiritual freedom for others.

I’m not sure what King Nebuchadnezzar was thinking when he made an image of gold and told his people to bow down to it. Personally, I suspect that God, in His sovereignty, allowed the enemy to whisper this idea in his ear. Three young exiles stood out because they refused to obey the king’s command. Our almighty God set the stage for the most dramatic theophany of all. If this persecution had not happened, we would not be witnesses to this awesome deliverance. We would not realize that our hardships and torments have much greater significance than we realize.

I can just picture it. The king’s orchestra began to play and thousands of people flattened their bodies to the ground at the same time. The king was then made aware of three men in his employ that refused to bow down. The Bible actually says that Nebuchadnezzar “was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was set against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” But what should have been the end was only the beginning. The king looked into the furnace once it cooled down enough for him to approach. He saw not three, but four men standing in the fire. The fourth was the Son of God Himself standing in the flames.

Can you picture that today as you walk through your own personal fire? Jesus is Lord even in our pain. Even our persecutors will see Him. I think that is the point of this theophany. Jesus is Lord. He chose not to let the fire burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Instead, hundreds of years later, He would allow the nails to pierce His hands for our freedom.

Heavenly Father, You are Lord over my pain. Shine through. Make this worth it all. In Jesus Name, Amen


What is your fire?

What is the purpose of it?

How can Jesus be made know because of your situation?