Triumphant, Only by Love

1 Corinthians 13 says, Love suffers long and is kind. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story about Joseph, a highly favored, younger son, who truly suffered long and responded—in the end—with unconditional, amazing love.

Throughout my journey with him, I’ve learned God can take anything — even that terrible, horrible thing that happened to you or to someone you love — and use it for His goodness and glory.

Joseph’s ten older brothers were so jealous of him, they plotted to get rid of him (one even planned to kill him). They sold him into slavery and told their father a wild animal killed his favorite son. They even took the coat their father had made for Joseph, soaked it in the blood of an animal and presented it to their father as proof to back their story. You can read the full account in Genesis 37.

What was the catalyst that provoked Joseph’s brothers, you ask? Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers. In his dream he shared who his brothers would bow down to him, and with that the Bible says they hated him even more.[1]

But God, through the actions of Joseph’s jealous brothers, was able to save Joseph’s family during the years of famine that ravaged his nation many years later. After betrayal, slavery, prison, and finally finding his God-given place in a foreign land, Joseph’s ability to love and forgive his brothers in spite of all he’d been through at their hand gave life to his family and all of Israel.

Who do you need to respond to with unconditional, amazing love? Are you finding it difficult? Ask God today to show you how, and expect Him to take something once painful and use it for His goodness and glory.

[1] Genesis 37:5


The Comfort of His Peace

Excerpt from This Christmas, God Wants You to Know. . .

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out of my hand (John 10:27-28 NCV).

The great American Evangelist, Billy Graham said, “Christ alone can bring lasting peace—peace with God—peace among men and nations—and peace within our hearts.” Life can become so loud, you want to cover your ears and find a quiet place of peace to hide from the noise. As God’s child, His peace lies within you. It is always with you, but sometimes you need to turn it up.

Think about the lullabies that quiet children when they are agitated, upset or afraid. As the song plays, tears subside and a calm pours into the room. Much like a soft, comforting song, God’s peace can silence anxiety, confusion, fear and stress. His peace flows through you bringing a knowing that with God, all things are possible and He hold your world in the palm of His hand.

This Christmas, listen for God’s voice, and allow Him to bring security in the midst of whatever circumstance you’re facing. Take comfort in His peace!

Lord, I look to you for comfort today. I listen to your voice and find comfort in your presence knowing you have filled me with your peace. Amen.

With All of Your Heart

(excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

Most likely you’ve heard of The Ten Commandments. While they are God-given, commandments to follow, Jesus brought something new. In Mark 12, a scribe asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.[1]

I have asked myself, What does it mean—all of your heart?

In the physical arena, when you love someone or give them your heart, you want to spend time with them. If you’re married, think about when you met your wife or husband. I met Blaine on my fifteenth birthday. As we began to establish a friendship, we spent countless hours talking on the telephone late at night. My Mom asked what we talked about, and I told her “nothing.” We just wanted to be connected. get away

There was an anticipation and expectation before our dates. We could hardly wait to get together. As we dated, I enjoyed getting ready to see him, fixing my hair, picking out clothes I thought he’d like and anticipated his arrival.

Our relationship with God can often be similar to that. He waits for us. He is excited to see us when we come into His presence— where we are always welcome. He loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Physically, the human heart is the most vital of all organs. It is the life source that brings the life-sustaining blood by way of the heart to all the areas of the body. The heart is regarded as the seat of physical life. Often we use the word heart to describe the soul, or the mind, as the fountain and seat of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors, the life source of our inner being or spirit.

This call to love Him with all of your heart demonstrates God’s desire to become connected to us. His life becomes our life. Everything we are spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially and socially should fit into the heartbeat of the Father. Heart to heart means connecting to God on such a level that your own heart beats in rhythm with Him, and your lifestyle reflects such a heart.

You can read Love is Not an Emotion – available in paperback and on Kindle.

[1] Mark 12:29-30 NKJV

Rain in Me Again!

I lived in the desert for nearly eight years, and there were only a few times of year we actually experienced rain. Monsoons are desert storms that pass quickly and dump a lot of rain. Growing up in Texas and Oklahoma, I learned to love the seasonal thunderstorms and warm summer rains.

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During a Florida vacation, our family was thrilled to exit the airport terminal to find ourselves in the middle of a soft, gentle summer rain. I walked out into the rain and let it sprinkle me with that familiar feeling a southern summer downpour. I had no concerns about getting wet; but instead let the water fall on me and refresh my soul.

Throughout that week near the beach, we experienced rain at least twice a day. I needed a vacation physically—but even more so, my heart and soul hungered for time in the Lord’s presence.

I was ready for His presence to consume me and fill me like rain floods the dry and thirsty grooves in the earth.

In my quiet and alone moments, I sat listening to the washing of the waves across the shells and sand on the beach. His presence and peace consumed me. I closed my eyes and took a deep drink of His refreshing presence.

Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return to Jerusalem, singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with joy and gladness (Isaiah 34:10 NLT).

You don’t have to get away to another state to drink in His refreshment. You can sit or stand quietly anywhere and open your heart to Him. He is faithful to quench your thirst.

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.”

~E. E. Cummings

Let Tears Sooth the Broken Places

One fabulous revelation that has occurred to me over time is everyone—EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US—has stuff. The enemy of your soul desires to mess you up, isolate and immobilize you. He starts looking for a way to “damage” your heart from the moment you’re born. It can come from the death of a loved one, words from a mean teacher or classmate, or even a misunderstanding of unmet expectations. Whatever it is, we have hurts, pains, scars and debilitating wounds. Sometimes they are visible, but most of the time they are emotional—hidden deep inside and protected—where only a few really know what has skewed your perspective of life.

“Tears spoke what I couldn’t.”

My deep wounds started with the loss of my first family when my parents divorced, and it fractured my perspective on life. Thankfully, my husband believed in our marriage and trusted God to repair the breach. Healing can take time, but more importantly, it usually takes hard work on our part. (I went through grief recovery, and it was so powerful for me that I became a grief recovery specialist.)

Tears are one of the wonderful ways we can move toward healing. Like me, you probably spent nights crying out to God—crying until you ran out of tears. Other times, His presence brought me to my knees and tears poured silently. I may not have had the words, but through the washing of my soul, the tears spoke what I couldn’t.

The language of my tears comforted my heart and soothed the broken places in my life. They refreshed me and made me new. My tears gave me the strength I needed to let go, forgive and move on. They opened me up to receive love from God and others.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  John 6:63 nkjv

Are you in one of those difficult places now? He will help you recover. As you let go and allow your tears to express what your heart needs to say, God can wash away the places in your life that you thought were completely ruined, and help you begin again.  I pray you will open your heart and let your tears speak to Him today.

"Pay close attention to your tears. 
What you weep over has to do with your destiny.” 
- Lou Engle

Believe Your Faith is at Work

Faith in what you can see is easy. You live in a natural world, and you rely on your physical senses to tell you what to expect in the things you do each day. You expect the engine in your car to start when you turn the key. You assume your tires will hold air and you trust others to obey the traffic lights and signs for your safety on the road.

You may desire to have an even higher expectation to see the promises God made to you fulfilled; and yet, it can be difficult sometimes to believe when you pray.

Jesus said, “Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.”[1] That is a promise from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself. Yet, day after day we find ourselves doubting because we can’t see our faith at work.

How many times have you given up on what you’ve asked God for because you didn’t see it in the time frame you expected?

I have given up before. It’s hard to understand, but God doesn’t work on our timetable. Sometimes the things we ask for literally require time, effort and energy for God to move circumstances around. It’s not difficult on God’s part, it’s just a matter of working within the wills of humankind to bring about those things sometimes.

You’re faith makes a demand on your desired result as long as you’re believing, but when you give up, there’s no longer a demand.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice (Psalm 51:16-17 MSG).

Imagine yourself in a park. You throw a Frisbee to someone you can’t see (perhaps they’re in the wooded part of the park). The first few times it comes back to you. Then, there is a delay. You waited awhile for it to come back, but then you became discouraged, disappointed or distracted, left the park and went home.

Imagine the Frisbee came back, but you were gone. The answer to the prayer you prayed is coming back to you, but you’re gone. You never came back to receive it.

God does what He does in his own time.

We have to be patient and keep believing that He’s working behind the scenes to bring answers for your life. He wants to give you the desires of your heart when your will pray according to His purposes and plan. Don’t let go. Keep expecting to receive.


[1] Mark 11:24 NLT

Doubt Your Doubts

Excerpt from Legendary Leaders of the Bible

Leadership Lesson #39:  Doubt Your Doubts

“Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him (Matthew 11:11 MSG). 

We all have doubts, even John the Baptist. At this time in John’s life he sat in Herod’s prison. He had done all that he had believed he should do to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming and Jesus had stepped into his ministry—yet, John sat in prison.

He began to doubt what he had believed all his life.[1] Things weren’t really going the way he thought they would go once Jesus was revealed.

Jesus reassured John’s faith by addressing the signs and wonders that had been prophesied about the Messiah and that Jesus had fulfilled—healing the lame, deaf and blind, raising the dead, and preaching to the poor. In Jesus’s own words, no one fulfilled his God-given destiny better than John. Jesus was the Word made flesh.

When we are tempted to doubt those things we’ve believed, we can look to the Word of God and discover the truth. We can doubt our doubt with the truth.

[1] Matthew 11:4-6