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...ask God

When everything seems to be going wrong in your life, and you find yourself at a crossroads, that also happens to be the worst time to make decisions on your own. We often search outside of ourselves for direction, advice, assistance, even rescue. But nothing and no one can rescue you from these necessary struggles in your life. You call your best friends, and they try to give you the best advice that they can offer. But when you hang up the phone, you’re still all alone. I think that’s why my earthly father introduced me to my Heavenly Father. As I mentioned in my previous post, he knew I would need him because God told him so. Within a year of him moving to be near me, I found myself a

Don't ask me...

Ask God. That’s what my earthly father used to say whenever I asked for his opinion or advice as a young adult. And that’s what King David did before forging ahead in battle. Unlike King Saul, who consulted a medium and communicated with the dead, David remained faithful to the Lord. Day 88 - 2 Samuel chapters 4-8 and Psalms 88 David was a flawed human being, as we all are, but he was always good about asking God for His direction. I learned how to do that in my early days as a believer, and I have my earthly father to thank for that. You might have read in my previous blog posts that I was a fatherless child raised by a single mom. But in case you haven’t, here’s a little background... I

Scary stuff

Scary movies are not my thing! Never were, never will be! Why the exclamation marks? Because I want you to know how emphatically serious I am about that!! Even as a child, I hated them. My mom used to love watching vampire movies, and they would freak me out. Then, when The Exorcist came on television, the images of that demon-possessed little girl burned in my memory for far too long. I remember going to bed every night with the covers over my head, except for a small opening near my nose so I could breathe. This might sound silly to some, but I believe there are dark spiritual influences operating in the background of those movies. Many view them as harmless entertainment, but I’ve always

My little pink book

Last night, I felt tired and uninspired. “It be like that sometimes,” as my sons used to say. But, tonight I’m full of emotion about what has become my second favorite book ever, second only to the Holy Bible. This book right here… Jesus Calling by Sarah Young ...has a way of speaking directly to the challenges I’ve been facing. And, it speaks in just the right moment, with all the right words. Whether I read it first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or any time in between, this little book is always right on time. It’s a little miracle really. Not in and of itself, of course. I’d never get myself in trouble by worshiping an inanimate object. But, the miracle of it is in the way

Nite Nite

Some nights, I’m just uninspired to write about that day’s trip through the Scriptures. Tonight is one such night. It’s not that King Saul’s obsession with David is uninteresting. Quite the contrary! I find myself on the edge of my seat reading about them. It’s not that David isn’t fascinating himself. He has the Spirit of God upon him. The ladies love him, and the men fear him. He wins at everything he does. David is untouchable. Day 85 - 1 Samuel chapters 25-27 and Psalms 85 The passion and intrigue written in the Scriptures is as enlightening as it is entertaining. And yet, I find myself with not the slightest motivation to discuss it tonight. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, a girl’s got t

...the harder they fall

Depression is no joke. It’s not something to be minimized or marginalized. It’s real. And it needs real solutions. I didn’t fully realize that until I experienced a bout of my own recently. Before then, I thought I could just shift my mind towards positive thinking, or get some sunshine, or watch comedies on TV. I’d even listen to uplifting music, like Saul did when David played the harp for him. Those things help somewhat, but not entirely. They have that band-aid effect, because when the sun goes down, or the TV shows end, you’re still all alone grappling with those negative thoughts that return to you like a boomerang. I wonder if this is what Saul experienced whenever David’s music would

The bigger they are...

King Saul was tall and handsome, literally head and shoulders above the rest. I envision him with movie star good looks. But, when he entered the pages of Scripture, he seemed humble, happy, and carefree. He ventured far out of his way to find his father's lost donkeys. The fact that he traveled with a servant tells me that his family was well-established. But, Saul didn’t have that sense of entitlement which often envelops the offspring of successful men. At least it didn’t appear that way, considering his reluctant acceptance of the kingly title. When he fully embraced the role, though, he became a great warrior. God had filled Saul with His Spirit, and his stature became even greater. The

Listen UP!

Forgive me, Lord, but I am exhausted tonight! My grandbabies were with me the last 28 hours, and they have worn me out completely. Although I enjoy them immensely, it’s difficult to find time to use the bathroom, let alone time to write, with a one-year-old, three-year-old, and five-year-old demanding your constant attention. Day 81 - 1 Samuel chapters 13-14 and Psalms 81 Thankfully, the Lord opened my eyes much earlier than usual (at 6 a.m.) this morning so that I could read before they all woke up. But, my notes were rushed and my fuel tank is running on empty. So, in an effort not to falter on my commitment to write nightly about my Bible journey, I’m submitting this brief entry about how

Divine providence

1 Samuel gave me so much life today! It took me over an hour to read five chapters because I kept stopping to jot down my thoughts and impressions. Sometimes, one over-arching theme will jump out at me, and that will be the topic of my nightly post. But, there were more than a few good ones today, and I’m having difficulty choosing just one to write about. Day 80 - 1 Samuel chapters 9-12 and Psalms 80 So, this is one of those nights when I’ll be sharing some of my raw notes as they occurred...verse by verse. (The Scripture references are clickable links that will take you to the actual text.) CHAIN REACTION! 9:17 - The chain of events described in chapter 9 are so remarkable to me. If the do

There's hope

No wonder most pastors avoid teaching from the Old Testament nowadays! They’re probably concerned about discouraging their congregations because it seems impossible to please the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The questions that come to mind while reading it are probably difficult for them to answer. War, famine, oppression, sexual immorality, and death are the status quo. And, there’s no hope of redemption for those who sin against God. I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s included in the Hebrew Bible, but so far it has become clear that threats of utter destruction do nothing to entice obedience. Not for the ancient Israelites, and definitely not for modern believers. Now I know wh

Daughter-in-love

I’ve always loved the relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. I’ve seen old movies and read commentary about the pair, but never cracked open the book of Ruth until a few years ago. Realizing it was just four chapters, I devoured it in one sitting, and it left me wanting more. The Story of Ruth, 1960 (available on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix DVD, YouTube) So, when I read it again on Sunday, that same feeling returned. I wanted more of that heart-warming story, especially after barely making it through the terrible events described in Judges. In fact, I’d like to spend the rest of the week with Ruth. But, I can’t. If there’s one thing we should accept about being in relationship

Battered and broken

Today’s trip through the final chapters of Judges was devastatingly brutal. This is definitely not a vacation, and it’s certainly no picnic. My journey of enlightenment has turned into a horror film where women are snatched, forced into marriage, raped, abused, and dismembered...not necessarily in that order. When I read that a concubine ran away from her Levite husband to her father’s house, I raised a slightly suspicious eyebrow. Part of me wondered what he did to her to make her run. But, I became distracted by her father's excessive hospitality towards her husband when he showed up to take her back home. Day after day, he presented him with a feast, begging him to stay just one more nigh

Her sweetness is his weakness

I’ve always felt sorry for Samson. He fell for a woman who tricked him into telling her the secret of his brute strength. In his sleep, she shaved off the locs he had been growing his entire life. Samson was invincible to everyone, except for the woman he loved. And, she used that love against him. He was then captured and blinded by his enemies, and turned into their prisoner for life. Day 75 - Judges chapters 16-18 and Psalms 75 If only he didn’t fall for the wrong woman! If only he didn’t trust her with his secret! That’s how I felt when I only knew part of the story. Now, having read the chain of events from start to finish, I have a different opinion of poor Samson. I still feel sorry f

What time is it?

It's question time again! As I read through the Scriptures, I often have thoughts and questions that pop into my head along the way. I don’t necessarily expect answers to fall out of the sky, but I do sometimes get clarity just by pausing to marinate on certain verses. Every now and then, I like to share my raw reactions as they occur, instead of tying things up in a nice tidy bow, ready to present on my page. Here are some of the thoughts and questions that came up as I was introduced to Samson and his parents... "And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son." Judges 13:3 This soun

OMG I'm so sorry!

And God said… “Why have I forsaken YOU? Is that what you think I’ve done? I want you to take a serious look at your life, and ask Me that question again.” Then like a child, I look down at my shoes and stammer, “Umm...well, uhhh...” “You children can be so ungrateful sometimes,” He says. "You face a little adversity and suddenly it’s all My fault? How can you fix your mouth to complain about the one thing that doesn’t go your way, when everything else does? Maybe I should ask you, ‘Why hast thou forsaken ME?’” By now, I just want to hit rewind. “You know what? I was trippin’. Can we just forget that any of this happened?” “No, you can’t dig up seeds you’ve already sown.” Then He sits down, a

Why hast thou forsaken me?

It’s easy to be a Christian, believer, follower of Christ, person of faith...when everything is going great. You can casually ask a Christian how they’re doing, and you’ll get, “I’m blessed and highly favored!” or “God is good!” or “My cup overfloweth!” And, all you really wanted was for them to say, “I’m good. How are you?” Well, sometimes you’re not good. But if you admit that, then either you’re not operating by faith, or you’re letting the devil steal your joy, or you need to spend more time in the Word. Because if you’re feeling bad or doing poorly or suffering in any way, well, it must be your fault. So, you try to suck it up and put on a brave face in the face of adversity. You try to

Untamed thoughts

Tonight, as I stare at a blank white screen, my mind is consumed with worldly concerns. No matter how badly I’d like to write about the first warrior woman I’ve met so far on this Bible journey, a prophetess by the name of Deborah, my thoughts won’t let me. There’s a part of me that wants to examine the cunning yet brutal way that a man had to die in today’s chapters. Another woman, by the name of Jael, calmly drove a stake through his temple as he slept. I gasped when I read that, and perhaps I should explore those emotions further. But, my thoughts won’t let me. Day 71 - Judges chapters 4-5 and Psalms 71 Maybe I should write about how I have to avert my eyes even from movie screens when sc

A purpose-filled life

Joshua lived until the ripe old age of 110, and he fulfilled all that God set before him. As we all live on this earth, that’s all we can ever ask for...long lives full of purpose. It’s crucial that we find out what that purpose is, so that when we’ve also reached the end of our days, we haven’t left anything unchecked on our task lists. Day 69 - Joshua chapters 22-24 and Psalms 69 Time goes by very fast! When my husband and I were very young, we thought it would be fun to grow old together. Now that we’re looking at each other’s grays, we’re amazed that our goal of growing old together is already happening! So, he just asked me this evening, “What’s your purpose?” After spending my entire a

Fatherless child

Technically, I was not fatherless. And technically, my mother was not a widow. Her husband, my father, was still alive when she raised me as a single mother. But God looked out for us just the same. He was our Father. I see that so clearly now. Mom and Dad When their marriage didn’t work out, my dad decided to leave the household. Then, my mom decided to leave the state. With their 4-year-old daughter in the back seat of her green 1965 Ford Mustang, she set out for parts unknown. If she was going to have to raise her child alone, she was going to do it in a place where there was more opportunity. Less baggage. More sunshine. Less racism. California here we come! Me (right) and my older cousi

Seek God

I love it when all of my favorite Bible resources converge to communicate a unified message. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence when this happens. The message I received today from multiple sources is this: Seek God, and let the light of His infinite wisdom shine down upon you and whatever decisions you are faced with...today and every day. Day 67 - Joshua chapters 9-12 and Psalms 67 Sometimes I feel like God is knocking very loudly, trying to get my attention. Today is one of those days, and here’s how it unfolded: When I woke up, I rolled over and opened my Jesus Calling devotional book to the page for March 8: Then I read the Scripture references written at the bottom of that page: When I