Holy Commonality

Holy Commonality

You made him a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor… Hebrews 2:7

I like to find out what I share in common when I first meet a new person. If I’m open to finding a similarity, it will always become evident. And that is one of the most important aspects of Christmas.

I have a friend who, for whatever reason, chooses to see what makes himself different from other people. He does this for the purpose of judging. If you are always looking for something bad in other people, you will always find it. It’s not exactly the best way to go about making friends. So what did our God do? He didn’t just go about finding out what we had in common, He sent His Son to us, as a human. A baby human!

In a culture that values uniqueness, it’s important to rediscover the holiness in the common, the normal, the everyday. Our God is not common, but He made Himself into a person, like us. Up to this point His people could only look up to their Father in Heaven. But God wanted to do something new. Something common, yet supernatural. He wanted us to be able to look straight into the face of Jesus the Son. Jesus didn’t just come to be like one of us. He came AS one of us! How marvelous! Finally, once and for all, we could look into the very face of Mercy. Human, yet perfect. Flesh, yet sinless.

That is how much our God wanted a close relationship with each one of us. So, while our humanity is common and everyday, it is also precious and holy. It’s nothing short of miraculous. We are that valuable to God. So have you accepted that we all need Jesus? We all share that in common. That TV preacher needs Jesus as much as the junkie sitting in the gutter. Will you accept that today? Just ask Him. He won’t withhold Himself from you.

Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for wanting a relationship with me. Your Son is so precious to me! I celebrate His first arrival by loving those around me., In Jesus Name Amen

God’s Donkey

God’s Donkey

And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.” Numbers 22:32

How did we get in this political mess? And why do we put so much stock in our leaders, both religious and secular? God’s Word gives us answers to both.

After the children of Israel left Egypt and approached their new country, Joshua read the law to the people, corporately. In addition, they were to each meditate on it day and night. This is the same law that our same God gave to Moses on top of Mount Sinai. The Judges and Prophets followed in this manner. Remember Deborah? This amazing prophetess helped guide Israel to victory. Then there was Samuel, who said, “Speak Lord, I’m listening.” May we all respond to our Father this way.

Eventually, the people began to fall away and demand a king despite all of the prophets’ warnings of future tyrannical rule. God answered by giving them Saul with the evil spirit. After that followed David, and then Solomon. The kings were required to write out God’s Word by hand and study the law. And yet, this didn’t stop the kingdom from splitting.

So what do we do when we have no good options? What do we do when we have to choose between bad and worse? Our amazing God knew our predicament ahead of time. Look at all of the godless people He has used for His purposes. Consider the evil people that He has turned into good. Look at the donkey that He made to speak! And remember all of the holy people that He placed close to the ear of kings. Esther, Daniel…

So if God can make a donkey speak, can we trust our God to do the same with politicians? I believe so. Today I’m praying for wisdom. And, I’m praying for God’s donkey.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for knowing what will happen.  You don’t slumber or sleep so that I can rest. I trust You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen 

Questions and activities:

Listen to God Is In Control by Twila Paris

What situations have you seen God turn from bad to good?

Why do you think God chose for you to live during this time period?

Write out Romans 8:28 and memorize it.

My Hope Speaks

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19 and 20

We all need hope. I long for it desperately. It is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going.

Reading and watching the Anne of Green Gables series was, and still is, one of my favorite pastimes. Early on, there is a scene when Anne, an orphan, finds out that her new guardians might not keep her. She said, “Tonight, I am in the depths of despair.” Her foster mother rebukes her saying, “To despair is to turn your back on God.” While I think Marilla, Anne’s foster mother, is being a bit harsh to a child, this answer is perfectly appropriate for most adults. To despair is to lose hope. Hope is to believe what we cannot see.  That means that total and utter despair is to deny God’s power. Even Job, broken and at his worst, declared that he, in his flesh, would see God. He knew that in the end, all things would be made right.

What would it look like if I chose to stand and fight for hope in my life? Every choice I made, and every thought I would have, would go through this sieve and have the effect of anchoring my soul. This war is not made of flesh and blood but is of a spiritual nature.

Today, will you stand with me believing that we are more than what we feel? We are lovely, pure, beloved, and worth dying for. Don’t give into the despair of unbelief. Let the Son of God be the anchor of your soul. He won’t allow it to blow away to far and remote sections of the ocean. (As if He couldn’t reach you there. He could. The Bible tells me so.)

So Beloved of God, believe. Receive. Walk. Live. Worship. That will be the best antidote to keep you from falling back into the pit of devastation. Take it from someone who knows.

Heavenly Father, Your Word says that You keep my foot from slipping. I’m plummeting into unbelief. I am being worn thin. Wrap me in Your arms. Hide me in the safety of Your name. In Jesus Name, Amen


Whose opinions do you value?

Do they line up with God’s truth?

In what areas of life do you struggle with unbelief?

It’s Not What I Dreamed

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Disappointment. It’s one of the most devastating words in our language. It conjures up the memories of circumstances where my soul was in the pit.

So what do you picture when you hear or read the work “disappointment?” Despair, devastation, destruction?  Shame, guilt, loss?  There was nothing I wanted to hear less growing up than “I am disappointed in you.” And then there’s personal disappointment, like . . . “This isn’t how my life was supposed to turn out”. For men, it usually has to do with career, or so I’ve been told. That great job that they worked so hard for isn’t found to be satisfying or they didn’t get it at all. For we women, it has to do with a variety of things. The loss could be about a career, marriage, or lack of it, children, or appearance. (We have our marriage on the horizon, as the Church to the Lamb, so don’t despair!) Job had it worst of all. He had everything: respect, property, children, marriage, and money, and it was taken away. His wife was there but her comfort to him was “Curse God and die.”

I struggle with disappointment. I build up in my head how I think things should be. But rarely does anything in this life live up to what’s I envisioned. So why does God allow us these dreams if they are not to be fulfilled? God has a specific dream for each one of us; a dream that brings glory to His name. Our ability to imagine gives us a taste of Heaven. This life was never supposed to satisfy. No matter how hard we try, it will never be enough for us. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. Solomon had hundreds of wives and eventually hundreds of gods. If anyone knew better, it was the richest and wisest man of his time! Only can God change and heal our hearts if we pursue Him. No, our lives will not be perfect, but they will fulfill the holy dream that God created for us before the foundations of this earth.

Heavenly Father, You are a good father. Show me Your dream for my life because my dream has become a heavy yoke around my neck. I don’t want to miss the work that You have for me. Let my life bring glory to Your Name. In Jesus Name, Amen


How have you been disappointed in your life?

Can you see how God is pursuing you?

Ask God what His dream is for your life.

The Most Beautiful

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

There’s more to the sadness we have over our unbelieving loved ones. Many of them think we want them sitting next to us in a pew, being part of our special club. That’s just not it.

My grief over unbelieving loved ones is not just about where they will go when they die nor us not seeing eye to eye. It’s the beauty; the loveliness that is Jesus Christ and what He did for us. I’m so captivated by Him that at times it about blows me over. Take the best smell, the devastatingly delicious foods, the most gorgeous music, the sights so colorful, and add infinity with the deepest love. And that doesn’t even begin to capture it. But they don’t see it. It’s foolishness to them. This beautiful grace that is saving both you and me is nonsense to them. We cry out to them, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” and they look at us as if we said that we believe in unicorns. What I think will reach my loved ones only alienates them even more. My own clumsy attempts at personal evangelism push them away.

And then I remember, it’s not me who saves. It’s not me who gave up everything so we could have everything. It’s not me who has “Faithful and True” written on their thigh. No. Only Jesus. Only the Spirit of truth can whisper that subtle beckoning to a heart so cold that the person is almost dead ~ and then set them on fire.

Does that mean that I will give up? No. And you shouldn’t either. But we need to remember that we can’t always even guess what will remove the spiritual blindfold. So we remain faithful and ask our God to hide our loved ones in His name. Only the name of Jesus saves and heals.

Heavenly Father, Only You have wept with me in the middle of the night over my unsaved loved ones. Reveal to them Your beauty. Call them and open their eyes. Keep them so that none may be lost. In Jesus name, the only Name that saves, Amen


List unsaved friends and family.

What have you said to them about Jesus?

What was their response?

Write out a prayer for them and pray it.

The Trade-In

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. Romans 3:27

If you are anything like me, you can often catch yourself striving for God’s approval. But trying to gain worthiness is the way of Hell.

I am hard on myself, so much so that my friends and family worry about me from time to time. While I’m not nearly as hard on others, I hold myself to a ridiculously high standard. That is one of the reasons I believe that God has allowed an autoimmune illness to come into my life. It has been creeping in slowly, beginning with migraines at age two. I’ve never known what it’s like to not be exhausted and in pain. To compensate, I’ve pushed myself above and beyond to become an over-achiever. I do not have the time of day for laziness and whining. So, some of this is good. Very good, even.

But, do you smell the sulfur of legalism here? I do. I’ve lived it. Illness has forced me to be so dependent on God that I am daily aware that my heart can’t beat even once without Him. While my life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, I have joy and know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. There has been very little room for me to get off the right path, but there have been times when somehow I’ve managed to veer off anyway. Through it all, I have come to know that my Heavenly Father boxes me in out of love. I have nothing good to give Him. I have less than nothing because all I have is flesh.

I was grieving in prayer the other day that I didn’t have lovely things (like gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to give the Savior, the One who gave me everything. Then I heard the softest, sweetest reply in my spirit, “Just keep giving me what you have. Trade in and I will give you something better.” The point is that if we give Jesus the soul junk that we harbor, that makes room for His heart to connect with ours. The fact that we care at all means that we belong to Jesus Christ, the ONLY originator and definition of goodness.

Heavenly Father, I look up out of the mire to Your glory. I praise You and am so thankful that You clean me up to be shiny and new. You live in me, making me precious. Being unworthy makes my spiritual adoption all the more lovely.  In Jesus Name, Amen


Do you have parts of your life that look holy but are just legalistic?

How do you discern the fine line between disciplined holiness and fleshy legalism?

Write out a prayer thanking God for His adoption, through Jesus, our big brother.

Tests of Humility, Tests of Friendships

Tests of Humility, Tests of Friendship

Job 1:22
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

We know Job for the incredible testing he endured: loss of property, riches, children, and health. But what about the less tangible yet equally devastating losses?

Job was laid low with his head bowed, and surrounded by his closest confidants. They chose to believe the worst of him despite everything they knew about him. Everyone had an opinion. Fools even ridiculed him. On top of that, he felt more than one evil presence near him when he was alone and trying to sleep. Can you imagine it?

To some degree its human nature to try to figure out why something happened. In arrogance, Job’s friends hurled accusations at him because his life had been destroyed. They believed he had to be at fault somehow. But before we get too hard on Job’s friends, lets remember that they sat with him in grief for seven days. I don’t know many people who would do that. And from what they said, they were true followers of God. They were just not humble in this area and were grasping at straws because they wanted an answer. If Job were guilty of some terrible sin, then all of this tragedy would make sense by their standards. He could have at least had peace that he deserved all of this heartbreak. I can hear them saying, “Job, man, just admit your secret sin and everything will be okay.”

One of the worst experiences ever is to witness a loved one in pain. You would do anything to stop it or, at the very least, make some sense of it. The act of watching can be its own test. We know that Job was innocent but it would be so much harder for his friends to admit that. If he could lose everyone he loved, all his possessions, and his health, then it could happen to any of them.

Heavenly Father, I can never completely know what is in Your head or heart. You alone are God. Give me eyes of discernment to know what to say to friends who are in pain. In Jesus Name, Amen


What is the worst thing that you have ever experienced?

What did people say to comfort you?

Do you feel that you were judged fairly?