More Time To Sin

More Time To Sin

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Hebrews 6:4-6

Are you scared to die? Are you eaten up with worry over the safety of your loved ones even though you know that they are followers of Jesus? I have some words that are meant to comfort, even if they don’t seem so from the outset.

Currently, I am obsessed with comparing King David with King Hezekiah. They were both men who tried to follow God’s ways. Both of their reigns were marked by their zeal to bring their country into a state of holiness – a holiness that was unseen in the majority of kings. David led processions by dancing and worshiping God in the streets. Hezekiah tore down the high places of idol worship to the point of desecrating them so that they could not be rebuilt. These were awesome things!

But in spite of that, both men sinned to the detriment of their kingdoms in the winter of their rule. David was moved by Satan to take inventory of the men in Israel. God exacted justice by killing off thousands of people. This king after God’s own heart quickly repented. Hezekiah asked God to extend his life and was given fifteen more years on earth. The next record of his reign shows that he revealed all of the kingdom’s treasures to other kingdoms. God promised judgment after Hezekiah’s death. (David and Hezekiah had similar sins with very different reactions, but that will be for another day.)

Scripture tells us that we have a number of days allotted to us to live, given to us by God. None of us knows what will happen tomorrow. That is why we say, “I will see you tomorrow, God willing.” Instead of living in fear of dying or of losing a loved one, may we be moved to pray that we follow God while we live. Better a shorter life of obedience and blessing than a long one that ends with disobedience and harmful consequences for our loved ones.

Heavenly Father, Only You know how long I have to live. Help me to serve you zealously. I want to finish this race well. Prevent my loved ones and me from being caught in a snare. Give me a second chance in Your mercy.  In Jesus Name (the One Who keeps us), Amen


How do you feel about death?

How does God value life?

Look up instances in the Gospels when Jesus brought people back to life. What did he tell them to do? How did they live afterwards?

Distractions At The End

Distractions at the End

Then he said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…”

My desire to sin and my desire to serve God… Which one will win? And why does it matter so much?

Someone mentioned recently that my devotionals have taken on a more serious, urgent tone. Not just mine but others as well. Do you feel the tension in the atmosphere as well? Bilbo Baggins expressed it well in the Lord of the Rings when he said, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” We are reaching the end of the page, having to make our words small and cramped so that they can fit on the paper. Our world is shifting, about to be turned upside down.   Many will fall, never to get up.   The harvest of people demanding to know the gospel is ready. People’s hearts are ripe with expectant longing to meet Jesus.

At the same time, the battles around us and within us are burning. The biggest struggle I have faced over the past few years is that of distraction. Don’t let the term fool you. It is so much more sinister than anyone could guess. Many people have died because they were texting while driving. More recently, many young people have perished while taking a selfie, unaware that they were about to fall over a cliff or stumble into traffic.

Let’s bring it home. What is Satan using to distract me from doing God’s work? The harvest is ripe but so few workers are available to do the work. God has convicted me of this time and time again. He keeps saying to my heart, “While you are busy pursuing your interests, what important things are you missing?” So I’m asking you today: Ask for the heart, eyes, and mind of Christ so that you don’t miss the very people that God has put in your path. They are ready.

Heavenly Father, Forgive me for being so distracted and blind to Your harvest. I don’t want anyone to be lost because I was focusing on the wrong things. Turn my eyes in the right direction. I am ready. In Jesus Name, Amen


King David and King Solomon were both distracted. What were they distracted by? What were the consequences?

When the disciples tried to turn children away from Jesus, what did Jesus say?

Cleaning House

Cleaning House

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3

There are few things in this world that I enjoy more than cleaning and organizing. And I’ve found that, like gardening, this work is full of rich metaphors.

I think that everyone likes their world in order to some extent. For some, that may mean knowing exactly where that one document is in a pile of papers. For others, it means color coded files in a cabinet. For months I’ve been going through every drawer, every box, and every corner of every closet. At the same time, God has been doing the same thing with my heart and mind.

After to talking to other women, I see that I’m not the only one. Maybe you feel this last push of church history as it comes to a close. The train is picking up speed. Jesus is coming back soon and I want to be ready. As part of the bride of Christ, we are being called out, sanctified, and separated from this earth. And I know that I’ve become all too comfortable with my life. The Psalmist asked, “If the foundations be shaken, what will the righteous do?” That is a question for us right now. The foundations of our culture are being shaken and turned on its head. The Psalmist gives us the answer. We will be tested while God watches. Our evil culture will be part of the test. So, we can be angry and scared, or we can let God turn this for our good. Because what is for our good is ultimately for His Glory. So let’s rend our hearts and not our clothes. And there is a reward at the end. The best reward of all. We will behold the face of Jesus. Be swallowed in His divine beauty and His glory.

Heavenly Father, I’m perplexed and confused by all of these changes in my world and in my life. But I know that You are constant. I give myself over to whatever Your plan is for me in this small part of history. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


What are your feelings about what is happening in our culture?

Do they align with God’s feelings? Why or why not?

Are you willing to let God search your heart?

Good or Great?

Good or Great?

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

I’ve been very guilty of settling spiritually in my life. This sort of complacency was a plague in the Old Testament kings of Judah.

A few years ago I remember when God began to talk to me during my study time about parts of my heart that I wasn’t giving over to Him. I continue to struggle with areas that I want to hold back. Thoughts that I want to keep to myself. But as I read about the kings of Judah I realized something important. They were classified as evil, good, or great. The evil kings followed false gods with heart and soul. They sacrificed their children to Molech and led their people away from the one true God. The good kings worshiped the one true God and followed His ways. But they did not tear down the high places, the altars where people made sacrifices to false gods. The great kings not only pursued God, but they also tore down every high place that they could find and led their people to the truth. They didn’t care if it made them popular. These kings burned with a righteous anger toward anything in the land that was unholy. One of the kings went so far as to desecrate the high places so that no one could worship idols there in the future.

I realize that I’ve settled for my own goodness, tolerating things in my heart that have no business being there. And if I want God to be great through me then I have to give up the fight. I can’t continue to ignore the high places. I need to destroy them. It takes so much energy and time to hold on to those idols: thoughts of revenge, entertainment, lust, gluttony, greed, gossip and other distractions. So, join me in letting go of what is holding us back from loving God with heart and soul and mind.

Heavenly Father, Forgive me for cherishing grudges and wrong desires. Anything that is a high place I give to You. No turning back. I want to love You with every bit of my being. In Jesus Name, Amen


What does the Bible say about high places?

What high places have a stronghold in your life?

What needs to happen for you to break free?

Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 2 John 3

When we become followers of Jesus, we literally become followers of Truth and Love. He is the epitome of both in a world that confuses them with perverse theories.

Last week I wrote about how painful it is when someone lies to us. It shatters everything that we thought was real. Let’s take a look at truth because it can have the same effect.

It is totally possible to find out that we’ve been lied to because we didn’t get the full truth. The book of 2 John addresses truth in a church context. Churches received false teachers whom John called deceivers and antichrists. So truth is important. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God but so many people aren’t hearing the truth of it. They are hearing lies and partial truths about the Word. They believe that Jesus was just a loving prophet without any real power. How devastating! Only an all-powerful God can heal a broken heart. Only a King can take away a slave from Satan and make him or her a part of the Bride of Christ. Only a Redeemer can forgive and save an adulteress about to be stoned and then give her the strength to walk in holiness.

John said, “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” But if truth and love aren’t given out together, we forfeit endless gifts such as grace, mercy, and peace. Mercy is compassion in action, according to my Greek dictionary. That compassion helps us to shoulder other people’s burdens, which may mean hearing the painful details of their story. And if we want peace, the only way is to embrace the Loving Truth. ‘Embracing’ means seeing my need for Jesus to save me from my sin, my flesh, and my desires.

The Word came with power. Let’s not dilute any part of that truth by only offering love. The message – spoken with truth and love – is the only thing that will keep our foundation secure.

Heavenly Father, I know that I’ve sacrificed truth and love because I haven’t wanted to offend. Forgive me. I’ve been angry for the times that I have spoken the truth and was rejected. Your Son was rejected, so redeem all of this pain for good. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


Are truth and love contradictory? Explain.

Look up examples when Jesus was both.

Listen to Open My Hands by Sara Groves and release to Jesus anything that about His nature that you struggle with.

“Father, Forgive Them.”

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  And they cast lots to divide his garments.  Luke 23:34

 One of the biggest betrayals is discovering that we’ve been lied to.  Lies have a way of ripping the ground from beneath us and bringing us down.

A family friend reprimanded me as a child on a regular basis because she perceived that I didn’t trust people. That was simply not true. I did trust some people.  Just not her.  I knew that this adult in particular was untrustworthy and she was someone who lied constantly.  While painful, this was great training because, now, I can usually spot a lie or an ulterior motive a mile away.

This school of hard knocks also taught me how to spot a red herring.  In the field of communications a ‘red herring’ is an argument or event meant to distract people from a greater truth.  One of my professors in college said, “It’s called a red herring because it stinks!” While a humorous description, it does paint picture of dishonesty effectively.

Now for the part that hurts.  Finding out that we’ve been lied to makes us doubt ourselves and everything that we’ve ever believed in.  We think, “Well, if this is not true, then what else has been a lie?”  Deception erodes relationships, destroys churches, and sometimes changes people forever.

What do I do if I find out that I’ve been lied to?  I do have options.  I can become bitter and angry.  (I’ve totally been there and it took me a long time to break free.)  Or, I can brush the pain under the rug and not deal with how much it hurts.  But neither scenario ends in a forgiveness that brings the freedom Jesus promises.  Both leave us as mere shells of the people that God meant us to be.  So here’s the good option.  Be willing to feel the pain.  We can because we aren’t alone in it.  Jesus was sent to the cross because of lies.  His yoke is easy and we can rest in Him because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  King Jesus came to liberate us and He is the only one that can set us free.

Heavenly Father, I know the pain of being lied to.  People have let me down.  You’ve taught me to recognize that I battle sin as much as they do, even if it doesn’t look the same.  And You have forgiven me even though I hurt You.  So help me forgive deceivers because, “they know not what they do.”  In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


How was Jesus betrayed?

What was His response?

Jesus forgave Peter for lying about knowing Him.  How did forgiveness change Peter?

How has Jesus forgiven you?


Forget The Steeples

Forget the Steeples

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. Psalm 63:3

            Whenever I hear someone say, “I want nothing to do with Christians,” I can’t blame them even though I am one. If you are struggling with this very thing, or know someone who is, read on.

            Oftentimes, the biggest struggle I have with my faith is what I experience when sharing it with others. “Why” you ask. I encourage you to look at some of the things that ‘Christians’ say about other people ~ online and in the news. If we are followers of Him who is Love, then why do we have the reputation for being the most unloving? We’ve become an unkind culture that breeds itself in the church like bacteria on an old sponge. We no longer handle disagreements graciously by saying, “Well, I disagree with you and this is why.”  Instead, the norm is for conversations to disintegrate into insults.

            I’m not talking about times when we are called to stand up for truth. That requires guts and holy boldness for sure. But this is a topic for another day.

            So, maybe you have been on the receiving end of a personal attack. I know I have. Does that mean that we should leave Christianity altogether? No. Absolutely not. The fact that we can choose to love in the face of hate is testament to the power of Jesus Christ. The world needs to see and experience believers who defy the stereotypes by being authentic, courageous, truthful, and kind.

Heavenly Father, I’ve been holding on to unforgiveness towards other believers. I choose to let go of it ~ realizing that I have done so much worse to You. Let me be a beacon that radiates Your love. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


Find references to love in both the Old and New Testament.

How does love factor into forgiving?

  • How can we, as believers, reverse the bad stereotypes against us?

Trickery Most Foul

Trickery Most Foul

Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What shall we do?” 2 Samuel 16:20

Even trusted leaders can fall. It happens so often. So how do we avoid being burned?

Good people can change. Good people can be persuaded to make very bad decisions through trickery and deceit. King David ended up being betrayed by his own advisor, Ahithophel. Say that name three times fast! He was the grandfather of David’s wife, Bathsheba. Yes, that very one. So not only was this man David’s trusted advisor, he was family. It also involved his son, Absalom. It wasn’t the first time he was betrayed by family. It wouldn’t be the last either. But isn’t that how it happens? Maybe the betrayal comes from blood or adoptive family. Or worse yet, it sometimes comes from God’s family.

So what do I do when it happens to me? I have to understand that each and every one of us is fallible. None of us gets it right all the time. And that includes the people that I look up to. Ahithophel may have been deceived. Out of that would most definitely come bad counsel. History is full of murders and wars stemming from bad information. Leaders are also as vulnerable as anyone else to volatile emotions. One bad argument between King David and his advisor could have easily set off these horrible actions.

While we shouldn’t be suspicious of leaders, we need to be wise. If I stick closely to Jesus, I will be less likely to second-guess myself because I will know that I am going on much more than just a hunch. And it’s always a good idea to have more than one person that to go to for advice. Earlier in his reign, the prophet Nathan rashly told David to do whatever was in his heart regarding his desire to build a temple. But this wasn’t God’s will. In the end, only our Heavenly Father is omniscient and I can always trust Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know I can trust You to guide me and take care of me. You are perfect and will always give me what I need. So today, I’m asking for you to give me wisdom. Your word says that You will not withhold it from me. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen


List times when you or someone you know was given bad advice by a trusted person.

Look up the word wisdom in the Bible. How does God give wisdom?

Church Traps

Church Traps

 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them… Romans 12:6

 How do we define Christian passion? Are the most emotional people in a church the most godly? I want to take a closer look at this today.

 I have been in Christian churches of all kinds and varieties. A “one size fits all” denomination just doesn’t exist. That said, most churches fall into the same kind of trap. This trap involves public displays of religion. I’ve experienced polar opposites of this legalistic device in different religious communities. My Christian college was very stoic. Swaying to worship music was frowned upon. There was even a sign that was posted on the huge screens behind the chapel stage that warned against dancing during concerts. Any sign of emotion was seen as a lack of self-control. Continue reading “Church Traps”

Frustration and Disappointment

Frustration and Disappointment

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

I am having a frustrating week.  And my weekend looks no better.  So where is this all going?

Lately I’ve been plagued by disappointment after disappointment.  Very little in my life is going as planned.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve also had some unexpected blessings and really I should be focused 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.  Even if it’s not earth shattering, some things are just hard for me to wrap my mind around.  So where does this leave me?  My help comes from God.  Just as the Psalmist said.  He has a plan for me and my loved ones.  And He uses our circumstances to get us where He wants us to go.  He keeps us on the right path, no matter our best efforts to get off it, if we are His children.  He only lets us stray so far.  Remember that the next time you worry about your children.  Yes, Jaime Lauze, dear self I’m speaking to you, too!

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 sinful frame of existence.  It can be one of the worst offenders.  It’s no small emotion.  So, Jesus, Lover of my soul, what do you have to teach me in this?  How are my circumstances leading me to a different place?  I know You will be there with me, wherever that may lead me.

Dear 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?