Day two of day 21: I opened my bible to begin my quiet time this morning and started with a passage from a devotional book that I have. The devotional was on Psalm 106:8, 12 “He saved them for His name sake, that He might make known His mighty power….Then they believed His words; they sang his praise.”

This is what it said….

Perhaps you’ve wondered: What if I make the wrong choice? What if I make a terrible mistake? You have stayed awake at night pondering the right way to handle some difficult decision, and you are fraught with anxiety.

God knows all that you are facing, and He knows how you should handle the situation. Will He help you with the decision that you need to make? Will He show you how to make the right choice? The answer is yes, when you ask Him to show you what is best and you believe Him.

He may speak to you through the Bible or through a trusted Christian friend, but you must trust and obey Him when He speaks. Be still, listen for His answer to your prayers, and be confident that He will lead you.

Psalms to Soothe a Woman’s Heart


As I was reading this passage, the song

The Choice

I am experiencing a heart transformation that can only take place when I make a choice.  It is because of what took place on Calvary that I am free to make this choice.  This has become my prayer.  It is not original.  I have spent years praying that I would display the fruit of the spirit in my daily life but this prayer spells it out for me in a more detailed way.  Maybe you will find it helpful in your own prayer time.

I choose love…
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.  I choose love.  Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy…
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.  I refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker.  I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God.  I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace…
I will live forgiven.  I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience…
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.  Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so.  Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray.  Instead of clinching my fist at a new task, I will face it with joy and courage.

I choose kindness…
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.  Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.  And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness…
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.  I will be overlooked before I will boast.  I will confess before I will accuse.  I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness…
Today I will keep my promises.  My debtors will not regret their trust.  Those around me will not question my word.  My children will not question my love or fear that I will leave them.

I choose gentleness…
Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.  If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.  If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.  If i make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control…
I am a spiritual being.  After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.  I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.  I choose self-control.  I will be drunk only by joy.  I will be impassioned only by my faith.  I will be influenced only by God.  I will be taught only by Christ.  I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  To these I commit my day.  If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek His grace.  

When God Whispers Your Name
Max Lucado


“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.”

Matthew 15:18

The Pharisees did all the right things. They attended every service, gave ten percent of all they had and prayed several times a day. People looked at them and thought they were truly committed to God but they were not. Jesus called them “whitewashed tombs” who appeared to be neat and clean on the outside but inwardly they were dead and rotten. All their words and actions were meaningless due to the sinfulness of their hearts.

It is just like a sponge. Squeeze it and whatever comes out is what is inside. When the circumstances in our lives challenge us, our hearts and lives are tested and whatever comes out of our mouths, is a clear indication as to the condition of our heart.

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

Matthew 12:34b-35

Whatever flows from our hearts, will be revealed to the world through our words. Do we speak words of encouragement to those who are down? Do we keep our mouths closed when we could say something to hurt someone the way that they have hurt us? Do we praise and thank God for His faithfulness and strength? Do we choose to walk away from a conversation that is tearing down someone’s character? Do our words reflect a passion for God?

There is evidence in our lives when our hearts are full of self but oftentimes we do not even recognize it as evil because we have become so numb it. Doing the right thing just isn’t enough. We need hearts that are pure.

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “

Matthew 15:18-20

We cannot make our hearts pure. Only God can do that because a pure heart is a work of God. The Holy Spirit identifies the evil within us but we must claim and confess it in order to become clean. We can be encouraged by David. He not only sinned terribly by committing adultery with Bathsheba but he also committed murder to try to cover it up. When he finally came face to face with his sins, he threw himself on God’s amazing grace and repented. He experienced true forgiveness and was washed clean. He did not just want to be forgiven of his sins but wanted God to change his heart and make it pure.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We see the wretchedness of our own hearts and attempt to change but oftentimes fall back into our own ways. We have to seek God for stability to pursue a pure heart and our stability can only come from a daily walk with Him. Each day we must recognize that we can only depend on Him in order for our hearts to be purged and purified. We all could use a heart change and one day we will all have to give account for the careless words we speak.

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:36-37

A Gift

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:29

When our resistance is weak and we have grown tired, we need someone who will come beside us and show us understanding. We need someone to root for us and motivate us to have the strength and dedication to move forward. When jobs are lost and the money is gone, we need an encourager. When we become a single parent and the world seems against us, we need an encourager. When friends and family turn against us, we need an encourager. Those who encourage inspire us with courage and hope. What we would not give to have someone to come alongside of us and comfort us. We must make the choice to follow the example of Christ and choose to encourage others. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” Romans 15:5 Encouragers give us a beautiful gift when they bring renewal through encouragement.

Abounding Love

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 86:15

Many walk around finding it necessary to bring down others in order to feel as if their own life makes more sense. We find ourselves wrapped up in sin and the ways of the world and become blind to God’s truth and so we begin attacking those around us who focus on truth and try to walk in a way that is pleasing to God. In a sense, you could say that we are spiritual bullies. We tend to rebel and blame others as our reason for not attending church because it is easier than recognizing our own faults and failures. Why focus on our own faults and the mistakes we have made in our lives when we can place the blame on someone else. We are choosing to pull away from God and walk in disobedience rather than walking in truth and it is heartbreaking to God.

God is compassionate and abounding in love and more often times than not we have trouble forgiving others or showing mercy or moving past hurt because we have not discovered the depths of God’s mercy in our own lives.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1

What excuses do you throw at the world when you are down? Do you tend to blame others for your lack of commitment to Christ? Do you find yourself finding it necessary to hurt others in order to make yourself feel better? What is the condition of your heart? Whom are you trying to please? We have a Father in Heaven who loves us and wants nothing more than to be the center of our world. He wants us to be wrapped up in His love so that we do not even notice the punches that the world throws our way. When we are wrapped in His arms and in His love, we can overcome any attack that crosses our path as well as forgive those who hurt us, and most importantly love them.

Examine your heart. Are you that rebellious child that needs discipline from your Father? Maybe you are unmerciful and are denying others the mercy that they need so much. Rebellion and disobedience will keep you from feeling love and mercy from God. Stop going through the motions “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate.” (Joel 2:13)

Our children and Truth

God gives us the incredible blessing of putting people in our life to love and to love on us but He will also place people in our lives to teach us to love when they seem almost impossible to love. He will also place people in our lives that will give us the opportunity to grow our faith as well as practice patience.

Lately we have been dealing with neighborhood bullies and my two older boys have had to endure the pain, physical as well as verbal, associated with the typical bully. Eventually the time comes, where as a parent, you must intervene in order to protect your children from those who are trying to harm them. As a mom, loving children who are bullying your own children is very difficult and so through this trying time, God is really testing my faith in this area as well as my patience. I have come to recognize the part that we as parents play in the actions of our children. I truly believe that for the most part, children are innocent and end up being a product of their environment. I have seen in my own children, how my actions and words effect how they behave and respond. I have amazing kids. My kids love the Lord, they are compassionate and tenderhearted and have a desire to love on people and serve but they are also kids. This means that they can be selfish and obnoxious, disrespectful and rude but because I recognize these things, I in turn am given the opportunity to discipline and teach them truth. We should be careful not to walk around with blinders on to the world and in turn, we should be careful not to walk around with blinders on when it comes to our children. Either we can choose to see them and their actions for what they truly are or we can simply choose to dismiss it as “child-like” behavior. I know many who will dismiss the deliberate disobedience of their children as being child-like and because of this; the children are the ones to suffer. God has given us the responsibility as parents to train up our children in the way in which they should go. This means that we are to teach them truth, love, obedience and respect for others. God has placed the responsibility upon us that we should want nothing more than to show our children the love of Christ and what He has to offer to them.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

His Love

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I walk from earth into

Lyrics from the song Hosanna, Hillsong

I am sure everyone has heard the saying that when you pray for patience God gives you the opportunity to be patient. If you pray for courage, God gives you opportunities to be courageous. Along those lines, I prayed the words to the above song over a year ago asking God to teach me to love others the way that He has loved me. In the past year, God did not just give me this kind of love to use for other people but instead He put people in my life for me to love. He brought a complete stranger into my family and in that taught not only myself but also my children how to love someone who was a stranger and different than we were. God places all kinds of people in our lives. There are family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers and we tend to put people on different levels according to their place in our life. I have learned over the past year that God intended us to love one another equally and in that He blesses us with relationships, that go deeper than ever thought possible. When we open our hearts, our homes and our lives to people and love them with the love that only God can provide, we create a bond with one another that is insurmountable to anything else we have ever known.

For you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

1 Thessalonians 4:9

Individual or Team??

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1

I had a friend ask me the other day if I preferred team or individual sports. I thought for a moment and answered with team sports but after this morning, I realize that I need to change my answer. Now not being particularly athletic I have never really played sports other than a year of softball and a year of soccer, which I hated. I LOVE to watch basketball and hockey but the idea of playing any type of sport does nothing for me. Where is this going you may be asking yourself? Well, I have started running again. When I was younger, I ran just about every day for the fun of it. No one made me I just loved doing it. I loved putting on some music and just running. Running until I could run no more. Two and half years ago I took up running again and was quite consistent with it until I had minor foot surgery and then ended up pregnant with my youngest daughter and never got back into the habit but this past Friday I started running yet again. Now because it has been quite some time since I have done any kind of running, it is more like a run/walk kind of deal because if I ran straight I feel that I would physically die.

This morning, before the sun had even made an appearance, I ventured out into the freezing cold with my mp3 player and took to the pavement. As I was running, I thought about why I prefer individual to team sports and here are my thoughts. You see I do NOT like to have to count on people for things. Partly because I have been let down so much that, it is easier just to do something on your own then to bring other people into it and find yourself disappointed with them. More than once, I have gone into something with other individuals and ended up finishing whatever alone. My reasoning became that of “you can’t count on anybody”. This in some cases is true. This morning though, as I was running, I was able to pray for each family in our neighborhood twice. While I was praying, the thought also popped into my head that we never really know what is going on inside the homes of those around us. Partly because people just do not open up to one another but instead try to hide their issues. Many times people really just do not make the effort to invest in the lives of others. It may not always be that you cannot count on people. Instead it may be that they are dealing with something that keeps them from following through. As I thought about that, I prayed one more time for the neighborhood as a collective and then for my attitude and myself.

Truth be told though, people will always let us down because we will all mess up at times but the amazing thing is that we each are running our own race in life and though we may choose to do things alone, we can never run our race alone. When Christ lives within us, we are never truly alone. No matter how fast we think that we are running, He is always right there running beside us just waiting for us to trip and fall from our mistakes so that He can pick us up and wipe away our tears. He is always there when we lose our way and find ourselves lost to bring us back home and He is always there to encourage us when we get it right. No matter how much we may want to do something on our own He is there. Sometimes we try to do things thinking that we know better but quickly life will throw a curve ball our way and we realize that only with His strength and direction can we actually hit that ball.

Running requires discipline in order to finish what has been started. This is true with our walk as well. The road under our feet will not always be easy but with focus, determination and discipline we can live a life that is honoring to our Heavenly Father. We have to put into practice not focusing on what is behind us but instead press ahead toward the goal before us, a life that God has planned. We must surrender every part of our lives to Him so that He can accomplish through us all that His plan entails. We must offer true forgiveness that can only come from the Holy Spirit and relinquish our worst enemy over to Him. It all comes down to reaching out and grabbing our Father’s hand and allowing the Holy Spirit to clean up our wounds so that we can live out the life that God has for us. It is our choice as to whether or not we will try to run that race on our own or give God the control to take over and direct us so that we can move forward because He will never disappoint us.

The Center of His Will

“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.”

Isaiah 53:6

Do you ever find yourself wondering if you are in fact in the center of God’s will for your life? Every day we make decisions about our life that not only affect our own lives but the lives of others in our life as well. Sometimes our decisions find us wondering if in fact we have made the right choices because the wrong ones can be life shattering when in turn the right ones can bring a flood of blessings.

Many years ago I heard a great illustration about how being at the very center of God’s will can be just like being right in the middle of a fast flowing river. The current is strongest in the center but slower toward the edge. When we are at the center of God’s will for our lives, His guidance within our lives is strong and certain but when we drift away from His will we find His guidance to be a bit harder to discern and we move further from His protection and direction. It can mean moving from His perfect will to His permissive will and then to being completely out of His will.

The further we move from the center of His will the closer we get to being out of it all together and closer to living in our own pride and independence. Being out of His will only makes our life more difficult as we try and move ahead. We are certain to face more obstacles and troubles along the way as we manage to do it all in our own strength. As those obstacles come along, they cause us to move further and further from God’s will and we find ourselves frustrated because His plan for our lives becomes unclear and decisions become harder to make. There just seems to be no clear direction. In the end, you end up feeling as if you are headed down the wrong road or you have definitely hit a dead end.

Sometimes when we recognize the place at which we have found ourselves, it is too late and life as well as God’s plan has moved on and we may not be able to reenter where we left off. It is however never too late to enter back into the center of His will and He waits for you there. Do not be afraid to dive right back in and head back to the center of that river. Do not settle for the ankle deep or even a knee-deep place in that river but head right to where the river flows the fastest and find satisfaction and complete abandonment in being back in the center of the strongest and most certain will of God.

The Hand of Providence

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD”

Jeremiah 29:11-14


There are so many people including myself that are struggling and hurting. People waking up every morning wondering what in the world is happening in their life and why God is allowing the pain that they are experiencing to take place.

So many times, we truly believe that we have given God every part of ourselves. We believe that there is really nothing more we can do but truthfully, we are walking in deception. Many are pleased with the twenty minutes that may give God each day if that and think that showing up on Sunday morning is all they need to live righteously. What a wicked web we weave when we fall into those lies that Satan uses to deceive us.

This past week there has been a lot of joking around about the providence of God. How He has a bigger picture for our lives than what we can see in the moment that we are living. Back in high school, I participated in a youth musical by Michael W. Smith that was about this very thing. The story is about a high school student who is accidentally killed and how it affects those in her life as they try to figure out why she is gone. It is the discovery of how God used her life while she was there to lead those to Him. I had not thought about that musical until this past week and it has led me really to reflect on my situation and the situations that those in my life are experiencing.

I have written in the past about the distress that we cause in our own lives. Sometimes we choose to take control of our own lives and think we know exactly what it is God wants us to do. We start making decisions on our own choosing to go our own way and we end up falling flat on our faces.

We cause our own distress out of disobedience to the Lord. We find ourselves in the middle of a storm and the only one, who could end it, is the One we are running from in the first place. How many times do we run away from God instead of into His arms? Clearly, His arms are the safest place to be and there is protection from the elements of the world within His arms.

Sometimes we think that not all may deserve God’s mercy and grace and so this attitude will put us in harms way especially when we try to take care of situations ourselves instead of turning it over to the Lord and obeying Him.


  1. Sometimes we cause our own distress. We can easily make a situation far worse than what it may be by not acknowledging God and giving Him control of it or our life.
  2. By trying to take control ourselves, we end up in a dark, cold, and lonely place until we become broken and recognize our need for a Savior and His mercy and grace.
  3. Once we call out to Him, He will deliver us no matter what we have done or where we have been because of His love and forgiveness.

Jonah 2:8 says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” A point to ponder is this: we think of idols as a wooden statue or money or TV but there is more to it than just these things. It can be people pleasing or lack of faith and trust in the Lord and these types of issues can become our idols. We worry about what others may think or whether or not God will really provide or pull us out of whatever situation and it becomes our focus instead of God. Because of our disobedience and lack of faith, we cause ourselves more distress and may miss God’s grace and blessings. Wow, what a revelation!

Clearly, there are two important messages that we should not forget. First, we should never run away from God because it will not bring about positive things. When we run, we can cause some serious storms for ourselves that we can avoid if our focus is on pleasing and obeying Him. He IS the calm in our storms. Second, His grace and mercy are for everyone. We are not to judge who is worthy of His forgiveness because Christ died for everyone and He extends His grace to all. When we forget this, God will quickly remind our narrow hearts by those storms we encounter.

The question becomes, how does this all tie into the providence of God for us? Well, He has our life already planned out for us. It was written before we were born and He has gone before us and prepared the way which means when we choose to follow Him and not our own way, the road ahead will be much easier to travel because He knows just where we are headed. His providence is what we should search and strive for instead of our own agendas and plans. He knows the plans that He has laid out for us. His plans are to bring us hope and they are for our good when we seek after Him. We should find peace in knowing this and turn toward Him and His ways. By doing so, the storms of life may not be as long and as hard to endure.