You should really try this!

So daily life is full and prayer is taking on a much greater importance and dedicated time slot in my life. (Thank God!!)

There’s also the dairy-goat life and staying in touch with good friends. This week a neighbor asked me if I’d like to join her weekly for prayer and Bible study. We got together Monday morning and prayed together for an hour. It was the most wonderful morning I’ve had in… years.

I’ve been studying first Peter on an inconsistent basis.  The 12 hour shift days I work pretty much knock out everything except, eat, shower and sleep.  But when I have been engaged in the study I’m amazed.

One of the things this study by Jen Wilkin is having me do is re-write the one or two verses in focus for the week in my own words.  Have you ever done this?  You should.  I’m sure there are studies that show that comprehension is increased when we regurgitate something we’ve read in own words.

(As a side note, I have a screaming goat outside.  It’s very distracting.  Keeping a buck goat during the rutting season is truly a challenge.  I don’t suggest you try it.  Okay, back to what I was saying.)

1 Peter 1:1-25 in my own words:

From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.  To the people God chose as his own who have been kicked out of their homeland and are living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythneia, just as God the Father intended ahead of time would be the case to set you apart by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ. 

God is so wonderful!  Because he is so extremely merciful he has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  And our new birth through Christ is a real, live guarantee that one day we will receive all that God has for us in Christ- an inheritance that can never loose value, breakdown or die. It’s kept in heaven for us by God who’s power through faith is keeping us saved until the day we get to fully see all that that salvation is! 

In this amazing salvation God has worked for you through faith in the risen Christ, you rejoice.  Even though for now you are suffering and are saddened by all kinds of trials.  It will only be a little while though.  These trials are testing and proving the genuineness of your faith which is worth much more than gold that perishes.  And the genuineness of your faith is going to result in glory and honor and praise when you see Jesus fact to face… when he is revealed to the whole world.  Though you have never seen him you love him and believe in him, and this is evidence of your true faith which saves you!

The Old Testament prophets prophecied about our salvation.  They longed to know what time and who they were prophesying about, searching and asking for answers.  Christ’s Spirit was in them prophesying about the time when he would come, but they only knew that this was for a people to come, not for themselves.  They were prophesying the good news that we get to know and understand.  Angels don’t even know what we know!  They would love to understand what we understand! 

Since then you have been so mercifully saved, prepare your minds for action!  Be sober-minded!  Let your only hope be all the grace and good that will be yours the day you see Jesus face to face.  As children of God, be obedient, not letting yourself be molded by the passions that intoxicated you before you knew Christ!  But just like God is holy- be holy in the way you live. 

If you call God Father, who is the judge of all and who doesn’t play favorites in his judging, live your life in reverent awe, knowing that you were bought out of a life of meaningless living; not with money, or material treasures, but with blood- the blood of the Son of God, who is the only perfect sacrifice for your sin. 

Christ has always been known in heaven.  He is eternal but in these last days he has been made known to us who believe in him through God who raised him from the dead.  So our belief in Christ is really belief in God. 

So, since you have been totally re-born by God’s living and indwelling word and have purified your soul by believing and submitting to that word (which is the good news about Christ) so that you can genuinely love these other people in God’s family who have become your eternal brothers and sisters- love one another earnestly from a pure heart!  For it is written: All flesh is like grass and all the glory of flesh is like a flower- it all dies and fades away.  But the word of God never dies and never fades away!  It remains healthy and perfect and vibrant and living forever!  And this is why you will live forever!  This is what you have been born again by!

You should really try this!  Take in a few verses of God’s word.  Read and re-read it over and over again.  Then pray it.  The re-write it in your own words as though you were trying to speak it to someone who’d never heard it before.


Things were different this year. But one thing never changes.


Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house… everyone was doing their usual thing.

But as I look back over the last month (which flew by at record speed) I’m glad we did things a little differently this year.  I hope it’ll be even more different next year.

All those gifts under the tree that crowded out the nativity scene aren’t there now.  They produce sounds of glee and smiles and excitement for about an hour and then came the complaining.  One boy came out of the bedroom tattling on the other, “Mom ___________ says this is the worst Christmas ever.”  It’s no fun seeing and hearing the evidence of the fallen creatures we are come out of your children.  The self-centered twist from the Christ-centered way is in all of us.  Even our children.

This could evoke punishment, anger, rash-consequences… all of those rose up in me like embers from a flame and then fell like ash.  Then grace and truth like a faithful friend rose up and I called the erring boy to my side.  He confessed with tears, knowing the very words that were coming out of his mouth were evidence of the poisonous wound deep inside.  He spewed out all the reasons why.  He didn’t like this.  There weren’t as many as last year.  And the tears flowed and shame filled the air thick.  There was the option of using shame against him, rubbing his nose in it, taking presents away, etc., but that Paraclete moved me forward and I lifted his quivering chin and looked into his guilty eyes and said, “This is in all of us son.  This is selfishness and its in us all and its not the way God made you to be.”  His tears flowed more, truth and grace are like keys unlocking the guilt and letting the flow of sadness over sin come.  “Why are you crying son?”

“Because I know what I did wrong.”

“You know, God gave a gift and we did the same thing to his gift too.  He gave us His Son but many people refuse the gift of God.  They don’t like it.  It’s not what they wanted.  It’s not something they can unwrap and hold and play with so they don’t want it.”

Tears start to clear.  Head begins to lift.  Thoughts are turned towards the truth.  And quietly it sinks in.

“You know what to do to stand against that selfishness in you?”

He shakes his head.

“Be a giver.  And give thanks.  Some things people give you, you may not like, you may not want, but be a giver.  Give thanks.  Think about how they wanted to give to you.  Give thanks for them wanting to give.  And remember those people who got chickens and rabbits and a water filter from us?  I bet they are sure glad someone gave to them.  The more you are a giver the more giving will be a gift to you.”

I’m sure much of that conversation was not understood.  But it was a seed planted.

This year Ann encouraged me to take these words of His and receive them as His preferred birthday present.  So I did.  And I took that seed of truth to the hearts of my boys and planted it there.  And they seemed to get it, after all, they have birthdays, and on their birthdays they get gifts.  So what He wants for his birthday was something they could understand.  They wanted to give Him a gift.

This year the Jesse Tree grew and the tradition took on more permanence even amidst opposition.

This year giving to each other took on a from-the-heart quality.  The boys made a Lego game for their dad out of Lego’s they already had, and they did chores to earn a 7 and 9 year old’s wage so they could pick out a gift they wanted to give to each other.

And after it was all over, and all the trash from the torn paper and boxes were thrown out, I looked and there was the scene and I heard the words:

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever. – Isaiah 40:8

God’s word, the Word made into flesh… lastly God spoke to us in His Son, and if we’ve seen the Son, we’ve seen the Father.  Immanuel.  God with us.  The incarnation of the Savior of the World.  He endures forever.  Past the gifts.  Past the complaints. Past the lessons. Past the day after Christmas.  Oh what a steadying, secure, confident and calming anchor we have in heaven while we endure the sin and fleeting feelings and thoughts in the world!

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] – Psalm 145:14


A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches.- Proverbs 11:16

I get myopic real easy.  Especially when I’m in pain.  I need to go to church once a week if for no other reason than to get my head pulled out of the proverbial sand and aimed higher than Tuesday!

I’ve used up the 9 volt battery in my Tens 3000 which has effectively taken me from unbearable to bearable in the pain department.  But I’m glad that didn’t happen until after my head was lifted.  It’s easy to give thanks when the trouble has passed, its faith to give thanks in the midst of the trouble.

This morning, sitting there, cringing for a less painful position, faith came by hearing.  Hearing God’s word.  Truth greater than my circumstance.  How petty.  Who cares!  It’s gonna pass in a flash and what’s waiting is better than Italy!  Thank you Lord for your patience with my numb-head self and your Word which yanks me out of the pit and into the light!

My back is actually feeling a lot better tonight after three days of rest, ice, and electricity.  I hope to learn something from either the chiropractor or the physical therapist or both that will help me prevent this from happening again.

My sister is fighting a much tougher battle with her broken wrist, post-surgical plat and pin placement.  Numbness and tendon damage may be irr-reversible.  Lift her head Lord!  Lift her head!  I pray tomorrow’s follow-up brings news of surprising improvements and a positive prognosis.

Tonight I read about Christians in Syria fleeing for their lives.  My husband read about another high-school teacher having sex with her students and her husband’s non-issue with it since they regularly engage in threesomes. And tonight Ryland asked me what Nine – Eleven is.  

We were asked today what on the list of 13 from Romans 12:9-13 were most missing from the Church in 2012 Phoenix Metro. 

“Abhor what is evil.  Hold fast to what is good.”  I said it out loud tonight as James was reading the headlines.  I told Ryland very matter-of-factly, “Men set out to do evil on September 1, 2001.”

I was convicted.  Its easy to see the evil of 9-1-01.  The evil of sexual deviance is poo-pooed not abhorred.  What about lying?  Causing division in a family?  Having a looking-down-my-nose-at-you look in my eye?  The taking of an inconvenient life? (Check here for more)

Create in me a clean heart oh God!  Renew a right spirit within me!  Cause me to abhor what You abhor for You are good.  Totally and completely good!  You are love!  You never hate something wrongly!  You don’t abhor something that is ok.  You don’t twist truth.  You aren’t calling wrong wrong just for the fun of it.  You are good.  Nothing you hate is good.   Give me the courage and humility to say what You say.