Friday, June 26, 2020

Compromise

Unless you are a hermit, doing life with your community will mean sometimes you have to compromise. You have to give a little in order to get along.

I understand that.

I do that.

But there are some things you cannot compromise and still be able to look yourself in the mirror with dignity.



Some rock-solid truths I stand upon:

There is one God. You have the right to believe who your God is; but you do not have the right to take away my freedom to worship the God I know is God.

We all come from one place. All of us got our start from Adam and Eve. And so, no matter what nationality, tongue or color of our skin may be, we are brothers and sisters.

God has told us what He requires:

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT
I cannot compromise any area that does not fall under those three things: doing what is right, being merciful, and walking humbly with God.

I am an American. I love America. I stand on her constitution and the three branches of government, which each has their job to do and should not overreach into the other areas. As a lover of America, I should be able to stand tall, knowing that we have made mistakes, but we can still grow and learn and become. We are not where we need to be, but we are not where we once were.

I am free to live life the way I believe God wants me to, just as you are. We do not have the right to harm others by using our freedoms.

It's really pretty simple.

~~~

Today, I've joined the 5 Minute Friday community by free-writing 5 minutes on the word "compromise." However, these thoughts are by-products of days and days of wondering what God wants in these uncertain times.

Really, He has said what He wants in His Word. Yes, in Micah 6:8, but also the whole law and books of the prophets are summed up in two statements:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’      
This is the first and great commandment.   And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV

And who is our neighbor? Anyone with whom we come in contact.

What about you? How do you feel about compromise?


~~~


I'm sharing this post with the communities at 


Friday, June 19, 2020

Counting blessings in the midst of crazy

It's been awhile since I did my regular end-of-the-week searching for favorites. I'm a strong believer God wants His children to be thankful. What better way to show gratitude than to regularly stop and reflect on where you saw God at work and then share it online with my friends at Friday's Fave Five? Susanne has been leading us in regularly naming the good things God sends our way for over 580 weeks! Mind-blowing!

So far 2020 has been crazy-town for sure. For most of what has been happening, I still have no words. You, too?

Yet, there are blessings surrounding us and it's time to name them.


  1. The twins turned six recently and we took a little trip to commemorate the event. Rory got to go with us too, so our hearts were full. Here's a clip of PaPa and Rory in the hotel swimming pool, with Brody photobombing us. When I think back to our infertility years, it blows my mind to have three daughters and now three grandchildren. What a blessing!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

In the beginning ... and image bearing ...

Dear readers, I have missed you.

The journey has been quiet the last couple weeks because ... well, I can't even deal. I've been an emotional wreck.

You, too?

I've thought and thought about what I could possibly say in a helpful and encouraging manner. I don't want to be another voice yammering in the wind.

I do my best thinking while driving. This morning, there were all kinds of thoughts swirling in my cranium. Lassoing one of them, I examined it and realized I often think this when overwhelmed; go back to the beginning.




In the beginning was God. And He decided to create. What's the first thing He did? 

He made light. And to this day, light is associated with goodness.

It's interesting light came first. Light is an aspect of His character.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 NKJV

And being full of light and good things, He went on to create a beautiful world, teeming with plants, animals and color and beauty. He then crowned His creation with image-bearers.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NLT

Each human that walks the earth is an image-bearer of God. Now, having never seen God with our own eyes, we are not exactly sure what it is in each of us that looks like Him. Could it be the spark of life in our eyes where our soul shines through? Our creative process that each person has the ability to say or do something in their own unique way? I don't know, but He said it Himself: We are made in His image.

Granted, some act as if they don't know they are a creation of God. Man can act in carnal baseless ways, trampling over the rights of others and harming and yes, even killing a person bearing the image of God. They do it physically. They do it spiritually. They do it emotionally. They do it ignorantly. They do it wilfully.

This should not be.

And this is why we need a Savior. On our own, we cannot come up with enough solutions to keep all the image-bearers living in peace and harmony. Only through Christ can there be peace.

One of His names is Prince of Peace.

He is the Light of the World. Only in Him can each image-bearer see, really see themselves. Unless you can see the problem, you can't turn from your wicked ways. He's promised to help if you want to make a fresh start.

And if you do? Well, then, as I see it, a person who has accepted the gift of a fresh start is now empowered to become a light.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

In this time of turmoil, I want to shine my light.

Join the conversation: What are ways we can shine our light?

One way might be to listen, really listen to what our brothers and sisters of color have to say. Let us listen twice as much as we talk! 


*Read the creation story here.

~~~

I'm linking this post to the communities at 

Friday, May 29, 2020

What I learned during COVID



I'm wrapping up approximately 6 weeks of Shelter-at-Home from COVID, as I imagine you are, too. (Well, maybe not those in Michigan. So. Sorry. Praying for you all.)

My habit is to wrap up months and seasons with reflection. What did I learn? What was life giving? What was life draining? How can I stay away from life draining?

You know, all the things. Here is what I came up with:

1. I'm a former toilet paper snob. So sad, but true. I had one brand I liked; if the store was out of it; no problem, come the weekend when I traveled to the state my church was in, I'd buy it at a store there. (I live in a tri-state area.) Then came 'Rona 2020 and I'm buying whatever brand I can get my hands on. Turns out the two comparable brands to my favorite are actually nicer! Who knew?

2. The excuse I told myself about being able to write more when I worked less hours is a lie. Truth is, I can crank out more words when my mind is in the right frame of mind. The hours I work actually have nothing to do with it.

When words are burning on your heart? You find time to write them!

3. I'm living my best life right now. I do not want to be insensitive to those who are suffering during this time; but I can only report what is happening to me. I've always said I could be a hermit. And now, I know. It is true.

4. I loved sharing with my bible study students via morning devotionals. For the writer in me, it was a great way to connect. But I must admit, since my church opened back up, face to face is better. You get feedback!

5. The main lesson I learned during COVID-19 is this: Don't be so busy. I have to admit I'm still working this out in my life. Rest is hard for someone like me. But I have to trust God that 6 days of work is enough.

Everyone is talking about what life will be like once all restrictions have been lifted. I don't think it will ever be exactly the same - and that can be a good thing.

What I hope and pray for my world is this: Let us each be more intentional about how we spend our time.

Let's first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Then everything else will fall into place.

What has been your experience these last few months?

~~~

I'm sharing this with the communities at

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Holy Nation of Good Citizens


Mound City, IL, National Cemetary

The Memorial Day holiday is designated  as a time when we honor our war-dead; but it has morphed into a time when we honor those who’ve had significant impact on our lives before they passed on. It’s also a time when we have barbecues, kick off summer activities, decorate with our national colors, and focus on patriotic thoughts.



Not all these activities might happen, depending on where you live, but I want to focus on patriotic thoughts today since coincidentally my email devotional series happens to contain a passage of scripture which speaks so relevantly to us in May 2020. 

The following is today's email:

1 Peter 2:13-17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

·        Being a good citizen reflects on God

There’s no getting around it, God intends us to submit to government. When Peter wrote this during the period of the Roman Empire, there were some Jews who recognized no king but God and paid taxes to no one except God. It’s not that Rome was a friend to Christians; but remember what Jesus said? “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21

The exception would be if government ordered us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then we stand on Acts 4:19 – to obey God before man.

·        Rulers are sent by God

Peter tells us God sent us these rulers to “punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right,” as the New Living Translation tells us.

I originally wrote this devotional in 2014, and I asked the question then, “What do you think about negative political ads and those who bash Obama on Facebook?” How could I have known then about the level of negativity on social media and in mainstream media in 2020?

Just as God chose Obama in 2008 and 2012, He chose Trump in 2016. We’ve no right to bash; but are called to pray for our President.

·        God wants you to both speak and do good.

Our conduct is a way to defend the gospel. Those who never read the Bible will watch our lives. It is by living a good life that we can silence ignorance of foolish men.

·        Don’t use your freedom as an excuse for sin.

Peter warns us against using the liberty we have in Jesus as an excuse for sin. Instead we are free to show the kind of love and respect God asks from us.

·        Value all people

Strong’s Concordance says the word translated honor in verse 17 is  timaō  (tim-ah'-o)  to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere: - honour, value.

Value all people.  Value all sovereign power, or authority.

You can honor government and still do what is right. God is available for help in doing so. Call on Him!


~~~

If you who would enjoy receiving a devotional as well -it's open to everyone - just shoot me an email to prov31grace@yahoo.com to be added to the list.

Today, I'm sharing this post at:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Checking In - Restored, Favored and Rescued

Something I do from time to time is send an email to someone I know is going through some kind of struggle, or a person I've not heard from in awhile, and I'll put "Checking In," in the subject line.

I know the readers of my blog did not hear from me last week, so I'm checking in. Truth to tell, I got overwhelmed with other projects I was doing and just did not get blogging time carved out.

So, I thought I'd drop in with a little nugget - a Scripture that is like gold to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.


Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved! Psalm 80:3

This beautiful thought is expressed in Psalm 80 three different times. I've always believed when scriptures are repeated, we are to take notice.

This Psalm was written to the Shepherd of the Sheep. Psalms itself only calls the Lord Sheperd twice: here and in the 23rd Psalm.

What does a Shepherd do? He feeds, watches over, defends and rescues His sheep.



And in this Psalm, the Shepherd is asked to restore His people. Ever curious, I looked up the word “restore.” It can mean a bringing back to an original state; but when the word “restore” is used biblically it also means made better than the original state. Different translations use the words, “refresh,” “renew,” and “revive” for restoring the soul.

God's people as a whole need their souls restored. He knows just what we need for restoration. Sometimes, we just won't rest unless we have been made to rest. Sheep can be stubborn!

Not only does this Psalm ask for restoration; it asks for favor. "Cause Your face to shine on us" has the idea of God's presence, favor and delight in us. Doesn't your face light up when a loved one is near?

Then we shall be saved. Our one defense is God. Never forget that!

When you truly believe He is your source, and He willingly provides what is needed, peace will come and your soul will be restored.

Restored, favored and rescued ... what could be better?


~~~

I'm linking up with:
Inspire Me Monday
#TellHisStory
InstaEncouragements Link-Up
Recharge Wednesday
#TuneInThursday




Friday, May 8, 2020

Wrap Up the Week with Joy

It's time to focus on the good stuff.

I like to reflect on my week each Friday when possible. This is kind of a unique Friday, because ... we're gearing up to go back to church!

As you may know, I live and work in one state, but attend church in another. The state I live in is still under a stay-at-home order; but the state where my church is located has released churches to meet as long as they practice social distancing.

We're a small church with a huge sanctuary so there should be ample room to be a safe distance apart; still, I'm excited for corporate worship.

I'm also excited to teach my class again. Instead of the small cozy setting of my class room, we will be meeting in the sanctuary. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity.



On the home front, I finally buckled down and got the last part of my trilogy done! It has only taken me a year and a half to do it. I face a bunch of edits and then the scary part of actually having people read it, but it is such a good feeling to finally type ... The End.

Continued healing: last year the hubs had a scare about his kidneys. This week, test results showed good numbers and the doctor was very pleased. In fact, he had improved. I give God all the praise - and also, I award props to my hubby for faithfully drinking water and kicking the sweet tea habit.



And, as always, the twins bring joy to our lives and brighten our day. Here's a recap of the latest amusing things they've said:

At dinner, Brody was encouraged to "just try a bite of White Chicken Chili. You don't have to eat the beans, just try the broth." After slurping a spoonful, he remarked, "Hey, it's good but a little spicy down my neck."

He's also been saying lately when thirsty, that "his neck is dry."

In Baylee's packet sent home from school, her mom found an activitiy they'd been working on for Grandparent's Day that sadly they never got to have.  She was asked the question:


What do your grandparents do all day while you are at school?

Baylee's answer:  "I think they cook vegetables and watch scary movies. They work outside and water the flowers. Sometimes they go visit family.

She must be talking about Grandma Deena! I never watch scary movies.

And that's a wrap for my week. What about yours? 


~~~

I'm linking this post to the communities at Friday's Fave Five and Grace&Truth.