Holiday Havoc


If you are ridden with anxiety as Christmas events begin, I want to point you to a convicting story and remind you (and me) of those heart cutting words of Jesus in Luke 10:42, “but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

In this scene Martha, Mary’s sister, is frantically stressing out over the preparations and there’s little Mary, distracted and sitting around at Jesus’ feet. Martha pipes up, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Allow me recite the voices in my head… [Insert whiny voice]… “How come you guys are sitting around watching that dumb football game when I’m stuck with all the cooking, cleaning, serving and garbage removal. How come for the past month I’m the one doing all the shopping, gift wrapping, tree decorating and cookie making?”

Yep, that’s me. Embarrassing isn’t it? I imagine God sitting on His mighty throne shaking His head. “Oh Sarah, when are you going to learn?”

So, just as God is God, he shows up in scripture at just the right time to remind me about what is important and how He wants me to conduct myself today and every day.  Which one of these verses speaks to you?

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jeremiah 4:18 ““Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!”

Galatians 6:4 “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,”

1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Titus 1:16 “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

So if you needed to hear this, as I did today, I hope that you and I will remember that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, God’s son. God did not send His son to increase our stress, turn us into nagging, selfish, crabby wives and mothers. On the contrary, He wants us to mimic the thoughts, words, actions and deeds of Jesus so we can bring glory to him today and be a blessing. Let’s pass this chaotic Christmas finish-line with joy in our hearts, love in our actions and kindness on our lips.

The Key to Success

Secret to Success

Today’s Devotional: Deuteronomy 17

A valuable chapter which deals with the regulations that would control a king. I do have a verse that jumped out at me and inspired this blog today. It’s verse 19, “It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”

It is written to instruct a king, but I see application for us. What if we made it personal and read it as, “God’s WORD is to be with YOU, and YOU are to read it all the days of YOUR life so that YOU may learn to revere the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of His law and these decrees?”

God may have been giving advice to prepare a king for his role as a leader, but I also know that the bible is our source for preparation in our daily lives. When I imagine the roles and responsibilities of a king I think of all the decisions he has to make, the people who are depending on him to lead them and the great responsibility on his shoulders not only in his household, but in his kingdom.

How is that different from our lives? We have decisions to make, we have people who are depending on us to lead them and we have great responsibility on our shoulders in our households and our workplaces, neighborhoods and communities. Should we need God’s Word less than any king of any land?

I think verse 19 has a very important instruction for us and I’m blogging this to help us remain firm in whatever life is throwing at us right now. You’ll find what you need in His Word and He is all we need. That may sound cliche, but I’m not intending it to be. Read, pray, meditate on his word daily. God sums it up perfectly in Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Worth Repeating


Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 5

If you have kids you have probably used the phrase, “Please don’t make me tell you again!” or “How many times to I have to tell you…”. I’m a Mom and I have used them, unfortunately, often. I also have a Mom and I have had them said to me, unfortunately, often. Then I open up my bible and I’m having a flashback to Exodus 20, there’s the ten commandments being given to us, all over again.

There are several reasons why Moses is repeating them. 1 – It’s been practically forty years since they have been wondering through the wilderness. Those who were given the Law back in Exodus are no longer eye witnesses of that burning bush event. 2 – People forget – We forget.

One thing that is utterly amazing to me is how patient God is with us. Usually by the time I have to remind my kids that I’m tired of repeating myself, I have run out of patience; my plea with those words usually mean I am at my last straw. Moses so eloquently repeats the Ten Commandments. In 5:1, “Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.”

But did you notice? “Learn them and be sure to follow them.” It’s one thing to hear something, it’s a whole different level of commitment or surrender of will to actually do them. And then think about this… We’re not talking about a dirty pair of socks here, we’re talking about laws that God is giving us as a standard to live by.

Truth is, it is humanly impossible to obey them, but at least we know the standard. It gives way to grace, our need for Christ and makes sure we don’t try to get to heaven on our own merit. So, I appreciate that God puts it out there once again. After all, we do need to be reminded and LORD knows we forget. Let’s not just read them as if they are a re-run. They are deliberately placed there for us to learn and follow.

God Keeps His


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 30

Have you ever taken a vow? According to a vow is a promise, pledge, or personal commitment. It makes me think of marriage vows, a vow of secrecy, the Pledge of Allegiance, oath of office, promissory notes, and debts to be repaid.

Chapter 30 speaks of vows; a young daughter under the authority of her father and a wife under the authority of her husband. Vows are our responsibility. God doesn’t make us make vows. He doesn’t force our hand in marriage, bond us to a 30 year mortgage or strap us with the pinky promises we make between girlfriends. God says in verse 2, “When a man [woman] makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

As sinners, who fall short of God’s perfection, we break vows. It’s unfortunate because vows are the most sacred promises God entrusts us to make and commit to follow through. Statistics show that keeping our vows are not stacked in favor of the people making those vows.

But God keeps His!

His Word is FULL of promises. Among my favorites are:

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Acts 16:31  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”

So, my takeaway in Numbers 30 is that we need to be true to our earthly vows and take them very seriously. However, one thing that we can be confident in…. God keeps His.

More “You” and Less “Me”


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 12

A short chapter that is packed with teaching, but my favorite is found in verse 3 “(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)”  Not only are the words themselves saying something, but the fact that they are in parentheses gives it extra attention and emphasis.

So we’re kicking off the new week with humility. I think that is an excellent way to start. As we approach our work, families and trials that we face (and any number of them that could be), I think it is a great place to enter the day and week.

My family has a Christmas tradition. Every December we read a chapter a day in the book of Luke. There are 24 days until Christmas and 24 chapters of Luke. I love this yearly reminder of the story of Jesus – his birth, life, and resurrection. It truly brings the meaning of Christmas to the forefront of the chaotic season. Sure, this is a random tangent, but I do have a point. My point is that we just read Luke chapter 14 and the majority of the chapter is about humility – taking the lowest seat at the banquet table, the cost of being a disciple and verse 11 says it best, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

So how can we be humble today. To me, humility means to esteem others not yourself. To make everyone around you feel significant, valuable, appreciated and accepted. Using the word “I” less and “You” more. Serving others and seeking ways to meet their needs rather than your own and giving credit, not taking credit.

The bible has a lot to say about humility and God clearly loves humility, especially in Moses as taught in Numbers chapter 12. I think the fact that Moses was recognized for it is for us to know that it is a character trait that God wants and we need to be. Let’s proceed confidently into the day with humility.

Secret Sin


Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 15

Oh boy! This chapter is a dusey. As I’m reading, I’m thinking, “How do I create a blog over this one – this stuff makes me uncomfortable?” Then, it occurred to me – it’s private and personal, not something people talk about open and freely – it is uncomfortable! I believe God is pointing out that there are some things that each one of us deals with that we keep to ourselves, namely sin.

So let’s go there, let’s call it out. I’m sure that most of our sins are kept a secret from the outside world. After all, nobody wants to be known as a thief, rapist, liar, adulteress, gossip, or murderer. You know what I’m talking about, those skeletons in our closet.

God wants us to be aware that even our secret sin needs to be dealt with. He is fully aware that they are there and if we try to hide them, especially from Him, we are only kidding ourselves. We need to come clean and deal with them. The apostle Paul says that we are in bondage or slaves to sin. Slaves are trapped and we, as slaves, are controlled by sin, but worse, when we sin we are further hunted or in bondage to guilt, grief, depression, regret, anger, paranoia and pain. Then we act it out through more sin; rage, withdrawal, addiction, short tempers, etc. It’s a perpetual cycle of ugliness until God is allowed in to clean our mess up.

So as uncomfortable and seemingly odd that this chapter would be in God’s Word, I can see now that He wants us to recognize that He is aware of every dirty one of our sins and we are only kidding ourselves to think we can continue living that way. There is no such thing as a secret sin so come clean with God and let Him make it right.

Interior Decorations Of My Heart


Today’s Devotion: Exodus 26. “Things are what they seem in the bible.” I heard this on the radio yesterday on my commute to work. The radio guy said that we need to take the Word of God literally. Many take scripture, read it to what they want it to say, and twist it to defend it against itself. I can’t say I completely disagree with that because I have had people take it out of context and misuse it. I used to be a surface reader, but I have come to appreciate reading God’s Word and looking deeper, beyond just the words to the heart of the meaning.

I especially find myself doing that as I read the intricacies of the tabernacle. If we were to read it too literally, we would think God is quite the interior decorator. So I ask myself why God put such a thorough description of this tabernacle in His word? I can muster up a lot of theories and questions like, “Where did they get all of this stuff? They are supposed to be in the desert. Is it a literal desert with sand and cactus and stuff, or is it one of those deserts that I have faced in my life that are places of isolation, discomfort, and pain?”

For this I went to my commentary and this is what I learned from Dr. Vernon McGee, “Everything in the tabernacle speaks of either the person or work of Christ. Every covering, every thread, and every article of furniture reveals some facet of the Savior. As the bars held the tabernacle together, so the Holy Spirit of God holds true believers together today. Believers should be held together by the Spirit. In fact, believers are told “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

McGee, J. Vernon (1984-01-06). Thru the Bible Commentary, Volumes 1-5: Genesis through Revelation (Thru the Bible 5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 11849-11852). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I love that! It all points to Christ. God is very deliberate in the old testament to point to the coming Messiah. I find it especially interesting that He has every detail covered. This tells me (us) that He has everything in my life covered too. I also can’t help but realize that He is pointing every detail of my life to the return of Christ and He is being very deliberate about that too.

Life may be a metaphoric desert, but it doesn’t have to be hell, nor does it have to be insignificant. God has a plan and His plan is detailed and perfect. What an honor that He has all of that figured out in advance for us. We simply need to be reading His Word, growing in knowing Him and having a relationship with Him. It’s as if He’s decorating my heart with His love.

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 23

Sign Collection

We’re on the 3rd day of rules and I’m beginning to pick up how proactive God is.

When I get into my car, I am like a statistician behind the wheel. I think of the different routes that will take me to my destination. I calculate the most logical way to get there with the most right turns (to minimize stopping or crossing traffic) and I evaluate how to get to my destination with the least disruptions i.e. stoplights, stop signs, construction, railroad tracks, etc. You can argue that this is a whole lot of energy spent on something meaningless. Or it is?

I’m efficient, faster, safer, fully aware of my actions, and in control of my choices BEFORE I have to make them. Why? For one, it doesn’t hurt anybody and it’s one of those simple mind games that I play.

Chapter 23 is God giving more rules, but as I read this chapter today, I realized how he is preparing Moses and the Israelites for a variety of causes and effects. He’s says, “Don’t” and “Do”, but He also says, “If!” IF assumes that it could happen and He wants us to know the right way to act, behave, react, or manage should the situation occur.

I love that we serve a God who prepares us for what could happen and lets us know in advance; not only the possibility that it could happen, but if how we handle it in the best way.

Here’s the kicker…. Do we listen? Do we do what he says to do, prepare in advance for the worse case scenario or do we go on with our lives taking shortcuts, avoiding ‘construction’ areas, or minimizing stops? Maybe God’s message to us today is to get on the road and drive metaphorically speaking. He has all that ‘stuff’ covered. It’s there for a reason and whatever is to come, He gives us His Word, which He has it all figured out in advance.

But we need to know what His Word says so thank you for taking this journey through the bible with me.

The Highly Disfunctional Biblical Family

Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau

Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Deceit, lies, manipulation, stealing and intent-to-murder are the behaviors that are exhibited in chapter 27 of Genesis. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like a family who is blessed by God. The theme from the Adam’s family should be playing in the background while we read this story. There are so many things that are wrong about it and on so many levels.

Isaac is supposed to give the family blessing to Jacob (his oldest son), but does not because he selfishly favors Esau. Rebekah selfishly manipulates Jacob to disguise himself as Esau so that Jacob (her favorite son) can receive Isaac’s blessing. Jacob lies to his father, Isaac, to receive his brothers blessing and Esau wants to kill his brother for stealing his birth given blessing. The result: division, grief and strife.

There are consequences for their actions, we can’t live without having consequences for our sin. I had coffee with a friend yesterday and she asked an awesome question. “Why does God give us free will?” If God didn’t give us free will we would be merely puppets. I’ve never been in the military, but my only tangible comparison that I envision is that a puppet of God would be like being a soldier who is told what to do, when to do it, and is subject to obey every command – without exception. If or when that soldier acts – in any way – independent of those commands they are disciplined, punished, and forced to comply. That is not the character of our loving God.

God wants 2 things to come from our free will:

1 – God wants to know that we (freely) choose Him. Free will gives us the ability to choose between God and sin. He is pleased to know our love and desire to please him is sincerely, not forced. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told what to do. I’m much more likely to do what I am asked to do instead of being told what do to.

2 – He allows our choices to strengthen our faith in Him. If we go down the wrong path or mess up along the way, we know that God is faithful to bring us back to him. We can then repent of those sins (admitting we have done wrong) and grow closer to him as a result. He forgives and allows us to learn from our own mistakes as to not repeat those sins and further validate why His ways are the best ways for us to live our lives. When my Dad used to demand that I do something I did it begrudgingly or would rebel against his wishes. With free will, its as though God warns us in advance and if we chose not to heed that warning – we learn!

So Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau are going to learn (the hard way) that their way is not the best way. They all made choices and those choices will not benefit them. However, it will benefit us because they gives us yet another example of why we need to trust in God, not ourselves.

There Is No Party in Hell – It’s HELL!

Genesis 8:6-8

“After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground.” (NIV)

The time when Noah sends out the raven and the dove signifying he old nature (sin) and the new nature (saved). In chapter 7 when God brought the animals he brought clean and unclean; I never made that connection in the past. It is convicting to know that I have both natures within me and know I bounce between the two. Unintentionally of course, so that’s why I’m in God’s Word daily. To put on my armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) and prepare – to the best of my ability – for the battles I will face each day.

I once heard it said that the devil works overtime on the believer because if someone is not a believer, he already has them right where he wants them. In other words, I have a target on my back and when I walk out my door in the next 15 minutes he’s on the prowl to make me fall, discourage me, trip me up, and knock me down. Isn’t that an unsettling thought? I hope that motivates you to crack open your bible and put on your armor. It’s a war zone out there.

As I read Genesis chapter 8, I can’t help but grieve those who were destroyed in the flood. It is mentioned that the water receded so the mountain tops appeared. MOUNTAIN TOPS! That is a lot of water, that is a lot of deaths.

I understand it – I see why God did it, but I do think that as believers, we should be unsettled about it. I just can’t chalk it off as a victory for Noah and not take into account how many lives were lost because they chose death over life. Then I think about how many people I have in my life that don’t have a relationship with the Lord. Especially those who outright reject Him and look forward to the “party in hell and have fun getting there.” There is no party in hell – it’s HELL!

Pray with me:
Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for your word and the biblical examples you have given us. Not only to model after, but to learn from. I pray that you would guide me today in my words, thoughts, actions, and deeds. Father I especially pray for those who are living for and loving this world. Use me to speak truth, be Your light and share with them your generous love and eternal assurance. I pray for my friends and family, the people I love most, that they would receive your gift of eternal life.  Please give them a hunger to know you and if not me, place people in their path who will tell them your truths. In Jesus Name, AMEN.