Monday, February 27

Ooh...Did I Say That?

I love the old Andy Griffith Show. A gentler time...then.

In one of the first season episodes with the new regular star Elinor Donahue, Ellie, Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bee are enjoying a picnic out in the woods. Opie and Aunt Bee decide to go for a walk, while Ellie cleans up and Andy lies back on the blanket, covering himself with the local newspaper.

An article catches Ellie’s eye: those running for city council. Ellie wonders why there are no women running. She gets huffy trying to defend womanhood as Andy tells her she’s taking it too personal.

“That’s a silly attitude!” he tells her.

“Silly?” she retorts.

“Ooh...ooh...I didn’t mean to say that. No, I didn’t mean to say that a bit. It just slipped right out of my mouth. Here, give it right back to me. (pretends to put it back in his mouth) (slurp!) It’s back. And it had a ba-a-a-ad taste. A whole lot of times, we do things and say things even though deep down we know they’re just plain silly.”

Ellie glares at him.

“Ooh, did that bad tastin’ word slip out again?”

How often do we let those bad tastin’ words slip out of our mouths?

Sometimes, we speak negatively, spewing out empty, worthless words, like death, fear, doubt, unbelief, defeat, hate, depression, and discouragement when we should be speaking Life-giving words, like peace, faith, hope, love, encouragement, and blessings?

Jesus said, “On the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak…Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36 Amp, Matt. 12:37 TLB)

Whew! That’s a lot to think about!

He also said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45b TLB)

What overflows your heart into speech? Do you have to say, “Ooh...did I say that?”

Linking up with...


Thursday, February 23

I Once Was Blind

Dust particles stick in his nostrils and his throat, causing a constant cough. Dirt, imperceptible to him, accumulates between his toes and under his fingernails.

His garment looks like an old, shabby rag, needing a good washing and mending.
Why? Because he sits in the dirt on the side of the road.

Darkness surrounds him, even in the hot, noonday sun. He is blind. He is a beggar.

Bartimaeus is his name, but he is usually called more unpleasant things.

He begs for coins, any coins, just to buy some bread.
An occasional mite plinks in his meager cup.
Gratefulness is always offered to his benefactor.

People pass by. Their gestures and stifled laughs go undetected.
If he could see them, they would be a rushing blur of avoidance.

Hunched over with dejection, he sits in the grime, day after day, his soul shriveling a little more with each sundown.

“Alms? Alms for the poor?” he cries out each morning, awaiting a response. His voice slowly grows softer by evening, as a sea of discouragement drowns his plea.

What’s that sound?
cupping his hand to his ear. It’s growing louder and closer. He’s puzzled. “What is that commotion?” he asks someone nearby.

“It’s Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth passing by.”

Jesus? I know that name. The One in the prophecies. They say He’ll rule from the throne of David. Isn’t He the One I hear Who heals? I need to...

“JE-SUS,” he yells. “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Shhh! Be quiet!” some reprimand him.

But their stern warnings only spur him to cry louder, “SON OF DAVID! HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

The footsteps halt.

What’s happening?

“Bring him to me,” commands the authoritative voice.

“Be of good cheer!” the men say. “Take courage! Get up! Jesus is calling you.” Strong hands grip his arms but Bartimaeus jumps up. Yanking off his old, pauper’s garment, he throws it aside. He walks definitely in Jesus’ direction.

“What do you desire Me to do for you?” asks Jesus.

Can this be true? I stand before Jesus?
“Please, Rabboni!” he begs, for he knows no other way. Four small words loom large in his heart and catapult off the end of his tongue, “I want to see!”

“Receive your sight; it is given to you, for your faith has saved you,” declares Jesus.

Immediately, the familiar darkness dissipates and unfamiliar light fills his eyes. Shielding his eyes from the brilliance of the sun, what does he see? Jesus! Before him stands a crownless King with gentle, loving eyes, crinkled up in pleasure.

He falls to his knees in gratitude. Gratefulness is an understatement! With a myriad of visuals before him, a rush of exhilaration then triggers unrestrained jumping.

“I can see! I can see! Thank You, Lord! Thank You!” All those in the entourage rejoice in praise with him.

He “saw” his chance and he seized it. His darkness dissipated. And the Light of the world flooded his heart and soul.

He left his squatter’s residence, his beggar’s perch. Never to return. For from that day, he became a companion of Jesus, following Him on His journey.

I once was blind. I sat in the dirt on the side of the world, my filthy, old garment needing to be cleansed, my life needing to be mended. Darkness surrounded me. I was a beggar of life. My soul shriveled a little more with each sundown.

Then, Jesus of Nazareth passed by one day. Standing before Him, I heard Him say, “What do you desire Me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see!”

He said, “My grace is sufficient for you. Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.”

After falling to my knees in gratitude, I yanked off my dirty rag of unrighteousness and threw it aside. I received my sight and the robe of righteousness. The darkness dissipated; His Light filled my heart and soul.

And His eyes crinkled up with pleasure.

Unrestrained gratefulness is the order of every day. I can see! I can see! Thank You, Lord! Thank You!

I am His companion. I follow Him, day after day, glorifying Him and giving Him praise.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

I once was blind...but now I see!

Hooking up today with...

Reflections of His Grace

...and with...

Beholding Glory


Wednesday, February 22

A Mother's Heart...of Love

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” so said Milton Berle. I love that.

But as we all know, a mother can do ten things at once, right? She must do all and be all to her children: nurse, chauffeur, economist, counselor, laundress, chef. As the saying goes, she is chief cook and bottle washer!

But a mother has a surpassing divine mission...To read the rest, join me at The Mom Initiative today.

Saturday, February 18

The Veiled Lady

An empty water jar balances precariously on her head. Her face is veiled not only to avoid the searing stares of Sychar’s society but also to shield her from the rumors of a ruined reputation.

Too many husbands have drained her nuptial well and now she attempts to fill it with another, an unbetrothed suitor. She must go now to the watering hole to draw from its depths the water to quench her parched thirst, a thirst that lies deeper than the surface of her tongue.

Slipping through the back streets, she shuffles her way out the city’s gate to fulfill her daily duty. As the sun beats down with its heaving swells of heat, she is forced to come to the well of the ancient fathers at the noon hour. The other women choose to draw water during the cooler hours of the day, coming later to remove their veils, to relax, to laugh, and to gossip, usually about this woman.

The heat of the day diametrically differs from the chill of passion that has penetrated this shunned woman’s being. The empty water jug she now carries on her head parallels the emptiness of her heart.

She hides behind a veil of secrecy, as she tries desperately to become invisible. As she approaches the well, she peers out from behind her veil, and, seeing a man who sits on the well’s edge, her eyes meet the eyes of this stranger.

He looks deep into the longing of her soul and sees a parched and depleted well. She sees acceptance beyond anything she has ever experienced.

“Give me a drink,” he asks.

“But you’re a Jew,” she says. “Why do you ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”

“If you only knew. I would satisfy your hollow yearning from a living well, teeming with waters of life that never run dry.”

“Oh, sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

“Call your husband to come here also,” he says.

“But, sir,” she whispers, hanging her head, “I have no husband.”

This stranger, peering into her lifeless eyes hiding within the veil, now seems to know her so well, as he recounts the depth of her past existence.

“Sir, you must be a prophet,” she says. Yet, she discerns him to be more than a prophet, for there is no hint of judgment or condemnation in his voice, only the love of the ages.

Throwing off the invisible veil over her eyes, she sees this man for who he really is and receives the love for which she has so recklessly searched. She drops her water pot by the well and runs back through the city gate to tell the others of the everlasting love she has found in the man called The Messiah.

Have you dropped all to tell others about the everlasting love you have found in Christ?

“Go…and tell…”

(My mind has rusted shut. Hope you didn't mind a rerun.)


Tuesday, February 14

The Journey Chapter 2

~ If this is the first time you’re reading about the journey, welcome aboard! Grab your basket! We’re taking a stroll through the great field of God’s Word, gathering grains of inspiration and seeing the remarkable parallel between the Christian life and the ancient, Hebrew twelve steps of betrothal.

~ (If you did not read the reason for this monthly journey, you can read it here and the first step of the journey here.)

The dowry or the price of the bride is the second step in the betrothal tradition. The dowry, which in Hebrew is mohar, had to be paid in order for betrothal to take place. The bridegroom paid the bride’s father the mohar, an agreed upon amount of money.

***Here are this month’s kernels of truth:

* Did you know you were bought? “You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own],” (1 Cor. 6:20 Amp) because “[you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:19a Amp)

Jesus paid the Father’s price for His Bride, having “given Himself a ransom on behalf of all.” (1 Tim. 2:6 RGT) The Greek word for “ransom” is used only this once and means the redemption price of a slave or captive or that which is offered in exchange for another.

* Did you know you have a Kinsman-Redeemer? You were redeemed by the Lord, for “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph. 1:7 NKJV)

What is the purpose of a kinsman-redeemer? According to the law of kinship, or Levirate marriage, the next nearest, living, blood relative, was obligated to preserve the life, property, and integrity of the family name by marrying his relative’s widow and producing offspring that the family’s name not be blotted out, to represent a family member’s interests at the gate at the seat of authority, to stand in one’s stead, to redeem from bondage or slavery, and all duties and fulfillment of needs fell to him.

If we miss the meaning of kinsman-redeemer in the Bible, we miss a fundamental principle: God’s redeeming grace.

The tender and affectionate story of Ruth and Boaz depicts this redemption as an earthly representation of the heavenly relationship between God and His people.

Filled with great allegoric meaning, the whole book of Ruth supplies an abundant field of spiritual grains just waiting to be gleaned. Planted thousands of years ago and lying dormant in the soil of time, this book’s historical illustrations awaited the proper harvest time to reveal Christ’s redemption of His Bride, as His mohar.

At a time of famine, Elimelech took his family, his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion to live in Moab. While there, Mahlon married Ruth and Chilion married Orpah. Within ten years, Elimelech and both sons died.

Hearing that the LORD had visited His people in her homeland again by giving them bread, Naomi decided to return home. Joining her were Ruth and Orpah, up to a point. While Orpah departed for her homeland, Ruth stayed with Naomi.

Through a series of divine events, Ruth met her kinsman-redeemer. His name was Boaz, and, as a near kin, he was obligated to redeem.

Ruth’s heritage, her alien birth as a Gentile, afforded her no earthly rights and barred her from claims to any portion, but God provided for her, grafting her into the family. Her redemption came through her betrothal to her kinsman-redeemer.

Before our spiritual rebirth, we were of alien birth, having no heavenly rights, but through God’s provision of a Kinsman-Redeemer, we were grafted into His family.

How beautifully this exemplifies Christ’s sacrifice and great love for an unworthy people, grafting us in through the Jews and betrothing us to Himself. Christ became our Kinsman-Redeemer, for He “redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” (Gal. 3:13 NKJV)

The Greek meaning of the word used here for “redeem,” describes beautifully what Christ did for us. It means to ransom, to rescue one from loss to improve opportunity, to purchase one for his freedom from another’s power by paying a price to recover him, or to buy up for one’s self or own use. Isn’t that beautiful?

A Kinsman-Redeemer! One who paid an inestimable price for His Bride.

There is a Kinsman-Redeemer…
…His Name is Jesus.
And He paid the Father the price of His blood to redeem you... betroth you to Himself.


Sunday, February 12

A Valentine Special

~~A special Valentine just for you~~

There is a beautiful love story of a prince and his peasant bride in Max Lucado’s book, When Christ Comes. The prince is stately, peerless, yet she is common, plain. “His attraction to her is baffling.”

She is sometimes “sullen and sour, even cranky.” Not the type you’d want to spend the rest of your life with. Yet, he cannot live without her, so he proposes to her. Soon afterward, he leaves to build their future home and take care of his father’s kingdom duties. He promises her that he will return for her as soon as everything was ready.

In the meantime, she forgets that she is betrothed. She lives as she pleases, not caring that her behavior reflects on her family and on her betrothed. “She forgot to prepare herself for her nuptials. She was even seen doing things that made others whisper.”

Rebellious and forgetful. Distracted and too busy. Preparation for the wedding? What future bride does not plan and prepare for her beautiful wedding day? A prince was coming for her. Forget the groom? How could she!

And how could we. We are that peasant girl, that covenanted bride-to-be. Do we behave as though we are betrothed to our Beloved? No. Our behavior should be fitting of a princess...not a peasant. Our Beloved’s return for us should be uppermost in our minds.

Max says we are “amnesic.” “To forget the purpose of gingko is one thing. But to forget our engagement to Christ is another.”

We need a reminder! And here it is:


You, the one He loves truly. You, the one for whom He died. You, the one to whom He yearns to be close. You, The Lord’s espoused, His intended, His precious companion for all eternity.

A wedding day is the culmination of preparation. Everything is ready. And the bride and groom desire to look their best for each other. All decked out in their wedding finery; he, fit to meet the bride, and she, fit to meet the bridegroom.

Where is your focus? Is it on your heavenly Bridegroom? Are you preparing every day for that beautiful wedding? Are you fit to meet your Bridegroom?

When I go to a wedding, I always keep my eyes on the groom. The look on his face is always a precious glimpse into his heart.

He stands there, first on one foot and then on the other. The epitome of royalty in his wedding finery. Ready to whisk his beloved away to their future home. His smile – crooked. His cheek – twitching.

The vein in his neck usually is about to pop from anticipation. Anxiety increases as he awaits that lovely figure in white to take her place beside him.

If you take a closer look into his eyes, you’ll see the reflection of his bride as she comes down the aisle. And you are that precious reflection in the eyes of Jesus, as He waits to take you home with Him.

I wonder...are we all that anxious to “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” and look so beautiful for our precious Bridegroom? If so, someday we will be thrilled to hear, “How beautiful is your love…my [promised] bride!”

Prepare yourself, Bride. Ready yourself for your beloved Bridegroom. Remember, you are engaged. Behave as a proper princess should. Keep your eyes on the Groom. He is returning for you.

As Max says, “You are engaged to royalty, and your Prince is coming to take you home”!!! “Behold, your bridegroom is coming; run out to meet him!” (Matt. 25:6)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled…I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3 Amp)

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
(SOS 6:3 NKJV)



Thursday, February 9

Hulio! Hulio! Hulio!

Ever have a day like this?

The kids are fighting and yelling.
Your husband is late for dinner, again.
You just found out your best friend spread rumors about you.
The phone rings and so does the front doorbell;
you answer the phone and it’s the electric company about to turn off your electricity because you forgot to pay the bill.
The guy at the door is there to repossess your car!
Oh, you also forgot it’s your mother’s birthday
and one of the kids has a school project due tomorrow!

Ever just want to throw your hands up in the air and scream, “I surrender”?

I love the old M*A*S*H series, which takes place during the Korean War in the early 1950s (if you’ve never seen the show). I watched one episode the other day where Hawkeye and BJ (doctors) drove to get a supply of penicillin. On their way back to camp, they wreck the jeep, so they start walking.

A lone, enemy soldier appears and bows to the ground before them. Mystified, the two doctors keep walking. However, not ready to give up his efforts, the man picks up his trusty rifle, points it at them, and starts spouting something they do not understand.

He then drops the rifle and throws his arms up in the air, waving his hands, and yells, “Hulio, hulio, hulio!” (Well, that’s what it sounded it.) In essence, he said, “I surrender! I surrender! I surrender!”

That’s my new hand signal now: arms thrust in the air, yelling, Hulio!

When you have one of those days, when everything comes at you at once, do you ever feel like doing the same thing, screaming, “I surrender”?

But who or what are we surrendering to? Our circumstances? Certainly not the enemy! And we can’t surrender to ourselves. So what is left? We surrender to the Lord. Which should be the action we take in the first place!

When a multitude of voices scream for your attention, when so many scheduled duties clamor for you to perform them all at once, when chaos invades your space, and you want to pull out your hair, then throw up your hands and yell, Hulio, hulio, hulio!

Tell the Lord, I surrender! As the old hymn says...

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Surrender it all, and when you do, peace will flow like a river...

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Is it well with your soul on those harried days? As David said, “He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.” (Ps. 55:18 NKJV)

I love The Message’s take on Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Wow! Learn to live freely and lightly! Does that resonate with you like it does me?

The Lord says, “Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isa. 30:15 NLT)

Circumstances may still be the same. But you? If you have surrendered it all to the Lord, you will know peace and bring a calming influence to all you do and to all those around you. You will live freely. Lightly. In quietness. With confidence as your strength.

I have hulio-ed!

Ah! Peace. Like a river. It is well with my soul. Living freely and lightly. How about you?


Sunday, February 5

But We See Jesus!

“In putting everything under him, God left nothing
that is not subject to Him. Yet at present
we do not see everything subject to Him.
But we see Jesus.” (Heb. 2:8b-9a NIV)

Don’t you love it when a familiar scripture leaps off the page at you as if you’ve never seen it before? As I read the above scripture the other day, this part bounced up and crashed right into my heart, “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus.” (Heb. 2:8b-9a NKJV)

Though some circumstances may not be subject to our control, they are always subject to the Lord’s control, even when, at times, they do not appear that way to us.

Without the same point of view as God, the same Spirit-realm vision, we fail to see God’s hand in action or His Word at work. We wonder why He is taking so long to remedy our circumstances or why He doesn’t answer our prayers.

But, no matter...

No matter what others say about us, we see Jesus.
No matter how discouraged we become, we see Jesus.
No matter what trials and afflictions pursue us, we see Jesus.
No matter how dark the night’s grief enshrouds us, we see Jesus.

As David said, “I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven.” (Ps. 123:1 NLT)

Whatever comes our way...we see Jesus!