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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


February 13, 2015

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1

For as long as I can remember, I have had this dream.  I'm in a car, driving somewhere.  Traffic is flowing quickly and smoothly.  I feel comfortable behind the wheel and all is well.  It must be a road trip because I find myself still behind the wheel after what seems like a while.  

At some point during the dream, I realize that I am no longer in the driver's seat.  I am either in the back seat laying down, or sitting in the passenger seat, and no one is driving.  Immediately, I begin to panic and scramble to get to the driver's seat.  But I almost never seem to gain back control of the car.  

I have dreamed this dream so many times, I often wonder if this is a reflection of something going on in my life.  Is God behind the wheel?  And if so, am I such a control freak that I cannot comfortably allow God to be in control?  When I look and don't see anyone, do my doubts keep me from remaining calm?  

Faith is the substance of things hoped for.  On the same note, faith is the evidence of things not yet seen.  God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere.  He has engraved us on the palms of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).  Just because we cannot see Him, doesn't mean is He isn't with us.  Through faith, we believe that He is with us.  Through faith, we trust that He is able to take care of us and be our hedge of protection.  These dreams are symbolic of my relationship with God.  I start with something in control, and in a comfort zone.  I get tired, because doing the work of God is tiring when I do it on my own.  

I allow God to have His rightful place as captain leading the way.  Things are great, then I allow doubt and fear to get in my way.  Rather than focus on God, I shift my focus to thoughts of, "Nobody is driving!"  "How am I going to gain back control in time?"  

How many times do we take surrender something to God, only to take it back for fear that we'll crash if we let Him keep leading us?  I've done this more than I care to admit.  "Lord, I submit this to you.  Do what you will with it.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."  But then things don't go the way I expect them to go, or everything seems to be out of control, or better yet, I start to worry because things don't look like they're going to work out the way I expect them to.  Whatever the reason, I quickly take back what I submit to God, in a desperate attempt to "fix" it.  

It's almost like I say to God, "Whoa!  What is going on?  This is not at all what I expected....let me handle it!"  When our  expectations do not match our circumstances, we often freak out, and take back what we already submitted to God.  In so doing, our hope is that we are able to salvage more comfortable and familiar ground.

The other day I heard an incredible message related to our comfort.  The pastor said, "You cannot fulfill your calling in your comfort zone."  Anyone else feel convicted by that statement?  God has a purpose for for each of us.  He wants us to follow Jesus and do His will.  If we follow Jesus, He will lead us into that purpose He has called us to.  Through our obedience, He promised to bless us.  He wants to bless us.  One thing God did not promise was comfort through this calling.  

In reality, there's a sense of insecurity in the idea of being in a car barreling down a highway at 60+ miles per hour with "no one" appearing to be in the driver's seat.  But with God, no matter how scary, He has given us assurance that when we just have faith and trust in Him, we will eventually come off the highway and arrive safely at our destination.  We trust Him, no matter how scary and uncomfortable things may seem, remembering that our faith in Him has nothing to do with what we see, but everything to do with who He is and what He is able to do.  He wants to move us from where we are, to where we are called to be.  Are you willing to relinquish your control?



February 12, 2015

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts, unto y our children: how much more shall your heavenly father give the holy spirit to them that ask Him."  Luke 11:13

My son has a habit of asking for something over and over again.  He is 14 months and at the age where he is pretty much like, "Gimme, gimme, gimme!  NOW!"  He does not have all the words yet to express himself, but he has enough to tell me what he wants.

When I was a little girl, I used to ask for things over and over again.  There were times I'd get a No, so I figured continuing to ask would change the person's heart.  There were also times when I would receive a Yes, but I would keep asking.  For example, I would ask for a Popsicle.  My Great Aunt (who raised me) would say Yes, you can have one after you eat!  Okay, I'd say, Thank you.  Then I would get impatient. So I would ask again.  To this I would receive one of the following answers, "Yes."  "I already said yes." And depending on how many times I asked, I'd also get a, "Stop asking or my yes will become a no!"

Fortunately, God does not get tired of us asking.  But there is something to think about.  Jesus told us whatever we ask the father in His name, we will receive it.  So then why do we continue asking after we've already prayed about it?  There is something to be said about continuing to pray.  In Luke 18:1-8 the persistent widow got what she wanted by not letting up and continuing to ask the judge.

But there is something to be said of our faith when we ask God only once and follow Jesus' example, we believe that we receive it.  Then rather than continuing to ask God for what we already have in prayer, we thank Him for it believing we have received it until we do.

Much like my Popsicle.  Had I followed the example, I would have said thank you.  And gone about my business with the faith and knowledge that I would receive my Popsicle after I ate.

We often pray with an reluctant spirit, as if to say, "Lord, would you do this?  But if not...okay, no problem..."  If your child asked you for a snack at breakfast time, and you told them, "Yes, you can have one later."  How would it look for them to continue asking for one?  You've already given the answer.  So then, the most sensible response is to say, "Thank you." and move on.

Let's take it a step further, if you request time off from your boss, and they tell you yes.  Would you continue asking them to take time off for that same time period?  If so, they might have some concerns.

Jesus tells us that we are evil in comparison to God.  But we, much like God, love our children.  So if our children ask for something, we give it to them.  God is so much more holy and wonderful than we will ever be.  He is also so much more loving of us than we could be toward our own children.  Imagine that.  Take all the love you have for your child, multiply it by the biggest known number and cube it.  Whatever amount you get doesn't even come close to the amount of love God has for us.  So if we as "evil" parents can give our children good gifts, how much more will God give to us who ask Him?

Yes, sometimes we do have to be persistent like the widow in our prayers.  But when we ask for something and God says yes, we must learn to be patient.  We thank Him, and praise Him as we wait.  In the praise and thanksgiving, there is trust.  There is trust that God will do what He said He would do.  There is trust, because we believe He is able and He will answer our prayers.  Finally, there is trust that we need not keep asking Him because He already said Yes!



February 11, 2015

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16

When I originally thought to write about this, it was based on the second part.  How often we hear the second part of this verse quoted unattached to the first part.  God created us for community.  The definition of fellowship is friendly association, especially with people who share one's interests. 

Christ followers are not called to live in a bubble away from the rest of the world.  But they are called to be in fellowship with each other.  Hebrews 10:25 says that we are not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together.  We are to encourage one another and confess to each other and pray for each other.  As we confess our sins to each other, we shine light on dark areas.  Hebrews 3:13 says, encourage one another daily as long as it is called 'Today', so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

When we see a brother or sister fall into sin, we are to bring it to their attention.  We first confront them in love (Matthew 18:15).  Jesus said that if we have anything against our brother or sister (in Christ) we are to confess it to them and attempt to make peace with them before presenting an offering.  Confession clears the way to prayer.

 The second part is that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  We confess our sins and our brother and sisters pray for us.  Sin holds us down.  It keeps us chained to a burden God never meant for us to bear. Confession helps free us of that burden.  It sheds light in dark areas, it can help you begin taking steps to work on the area you have confessed about.  Sharing it with someone also helps hold you accountable over that area where sin lurks. Furthermore, confession of sin to another is helpful because when they pray for us, it can help encourage our hearts through the words they speak.

Confession also opens the door for prayer and receiving God's blessings.  It is hard to receive blessings when you are holding on to a burden.  Let it go.

When we confess our sins, we are able to draw closer to Jesus, we ourselves are not righteous.  The Bible says that none are righteous.  Romans 3:10.  Not one!  But Jesus is.  Through Him, we have salvation.  Through Him, our sins are forgiven and through Him, we are made righteous.  We confess and recognize that we are out of alignment with Jesus.  We admit that we need Him to remain in that alignment.  He is the only one able to forgive us of our sins.

We confess to one another are are made righteous through the redeeming blood of Jesus.



February 10, 2015

"Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  Matthew 5:14-16

I am a writer.  I have been since I was less than 10 years old.  I remember I'd write stories about all kinds of things.  I even made up an entire language once.  I wanted to use it for characters in a book I created.  It was pretty unbelievable.

Although I got away from writing to work on other things, it was always in the back ground.  I remember having conversations with two different professors about my writing.  One was an English professor.  I could not stand that man.  I was convinced he hated me, so I always got very nervous around him.  He would grade my work hard, and I had a C in that class.  The only reason I ended up with a B overall is because he had to cancel class due to an illness.  He gave everyone with A's an A, and anyone with a B or lower a B.

Before he had to cancel the class, he invited the entire class over to his house one evening for a special class.  We had a chance to eat, work and have a brief one on one session with him.  In my one on one, he asked me if I was a writer.  I told him no.  He said that I should be.  It was during this session that I realized this man did not hate me, he saw something in me, and wanted challenge me in my writing in order to get it out.

A little later down the road, another professor from my major complimented my writing.  I was attending her office hours to review a major research paper assignment.  She asked me if I planned on going to graduate school.  I told her I wasn't sure yet.  She said, "You should.  You're a really good writer."

After those interactions, I carried the title of great with me.  I believed that I was great, I walked in that.  When I was led to write Stumbling Toward Jesus, I wasn't sure what it would be.  But when I finished it, I believed it was something that would really draw people to Jesus.

And the blog...writing every day is tough. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE IT!  But it can be challenging making the time, looking through Bible verses to find the one that aligns with whatever I am writing on, etc.  No matter how much I love it, or how great I am, it is a challenge at times.  I've had days and nights when I've been like, "Uh...okay God...what do I write about today?"  I start each night writing and out of nowhere, God puts a word in my spirit to share.  And all I can say is, "Wow! God did that!"

We all have gifts, God gives us gifts.  We are to use them to bring glory to His name, and make Him known. If we do not use them, we can quite possibly lose them.  As a writer, I am convinced that no matter how great our gifts are, God is able to take us and make them better.  He is awesome, and He cannot fail.  If He has commissioned us to do something with our gifts, He will go before us and prepare the way.  He will guide our footsteps and light our path.  And He will make us better for Him.  All we have to do is be obedient and pay attention to what He's trying to communicate to us.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


February 9, 2015

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24

I am a runner.  I have been a runner since 2009.  I never really saw the point of running before that.  I would run a bit, and call it quits.  I had no real desire to run a half marathon.  I had no idea what a 5K or 10K meant.  All I knew was I wanted to be in good shape and I wanted to be healthy, so I'd run at least a mile.  If I went for a mile and a half or two miles, I was pushing myself.

Since becoming a runner, I've learned that it requires discipline.  It is so easy to quit after going a few steps.  You may be all excited at first.  Before the start, you may see others running and think to yourself, "I need to do that!"  Or, "They make it look so easy."  You may put on a pair of sneakers.  If you are a beginner runner these shoes may or may not be true running shoes.  For me, I put on non running shoes.  I was fooled by great advertising.

So let's say you do buy some great running shoes, and  you find  and purchase awe inspiring running attire. The level of excitement is high.  You muster up the energy to put your run clothes and shoes on and you either go to the gym or go to the trail.  Now this situation has gotten real.  Then you start running.  After a few steps, it might feel good.  Even after a few minutes it's great.  Then it happens.  you feel all kinds of uncomfortable pains in your feet, your legs, your side.  You're having a hard time catching your breath.  You get a terrible stitch in your side, and you just want all the pain and discomfort to go away.

Following Jesus is much like running.  This run is not a sprint, but a marathon.  Although there are ultra-marathons nowadays, I'd say the most challenging runs for the average person is the marathon.  If you've ever run a sprint, you know that you don't really have to think about much while running.  You just go.  In a marathon, you have more than enough time to think.  You have all kinds of thoughts and emotions come up. These moments are not always comfortable, nor are they without pain.

The only thing for sure is that if you keep going, you will finish the race and be able to say, "I did it!"  No matter how life gets when you are following Jesus, if you decide to stay the course, when you stand face to face with Him, He can say to you, Well done good and faithful servant.

1 Corinthians 9:24 states that when people run a race, only one person gets the prize.  However, all of the runners are to run in such a way that they are going for the prize.  Runners do this through training, and focusing on the race route.  1 Corinthians 9:26 says that the writer does not run like someone running aimlessly, there is intention in every step this runner takes. They are focused on the goal and running to finish.
While on the treadmill earlier today, I shifted my focus from in front of me to the side to glance at my phone. I needed to adjust the music I was listening to.  Well you probably can guess what happened.  I lost my focus, and lost my balance.  My feet shifted to my new focus, and as a result I tripped and almost fell of the treadmill.

While running outdoors, I've tripped and lost my footing when not paying attention to what I am doing.  In our walk with Jesus, the same thing can occur.  We must be intentional in our journey.  We must stay focused on Him because when we shift our focus, it is very likely our feet will follow or focus and we will fall. Look at Peter.  He saw Jesus walking on water and wanted to join Him.  Jesus took Peter's hand, thus Peter began walking on water too.  (Matthew 14:28-29).  But as soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus to focus on something else, he began to sink (Matthew 14:30).

Jesus wants us to run the race, He wants us to finish strong.  And when we complete our race, the prize is Jesus.  We get Him for an eternity.  But we must keep our eyes fixed on Him.  We must let go of the pain and discomfort and focus on finishing well.


Monday, February 16, 2015


February 8, 2015

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

I don't know about anyone else, but I want God to make my path straight.  I have been on the side of life when I did things my way.  Before I had a clear understanding of God and His role in my life, I'd ask Him for something, and when He wouldn't do it, I'd get mad, bitter, and hurt.  I didn't understand why God wouldn't do what I wanted Him to do.  I didn't understand that God was not like my butler or like a vending machine.

I expected Him to jump when I said to jump, and respond to my every beck and call.  I expected Him to spoil me, bless me and serve me.  Did you catch that?  I was the boss and God was my employee.  He was to do what I said, when I said it, and that was that.  When He wouldn't I'd feel inadequate, or like I didn't pray the right way.  So I'd try again.  When I still didn't get what I wanted, I'd get more angry, more bitter, and feel more confused by God.

I didn't try to spend time with God, or spend time in His word unless I was trying to find a prayer to help me get stuff.  I wasn't looking for a relationship with Him.  All I cared about was finding scriptures that fell in line with what I wanted for my life.  All I cared about was what God could do for me to make my life happy, peaceful and easy.

When I gave my life to Christ, I lost my car.  I mean, within two or three days my car was repossessed.  I had no idea bad things happened to followers of Christ.  I lost my job, I lost my contact lens.  Really...I was going about my business for like 3-4 months with only ONE CONTACT LENS.  Finally in April or May, I had to get new ones because that one tore.  I had to wear my thick, ugly glasses in the mean time.  I did not understand anything about God.  I didn't know why he was doing any of this.

Looking back, I realize that my prior actions resulted in most of those consequences.  They just happened to occur after I gave my life to Christ.  I didn't pay my car payment on time more than once in a row.  I didn't renew my eye prescription like I should have.  And the job really was just a temporary gig.  They knew I was leaving for LA soon, they were bought out by another company, and they no longer needed my services.  I spent two years with them as a temp.  And they gave me a really great going away party.

Anyway, God does not work for me.  He is my heavenly father.  Yes, He loves me, but He does not have to give me everything I ask for.  He already gave me everything when He sent His only son, Jesus, to die on a cross and pay for my sins.

It's like my little boy.  He may be fascinated with my cell phone, and He may want to play on it all day, but I know he needs to do other things, so I don't always say Yes to him when he points for my cell phone.

We may not understand why He says Yes or No at times.  But He knows.  We are to trust in Him with all of our heart.  We are to acknowledge Him because He is God, because He is good and because He loves us.  We acknowledge Him in everything.  When He says Yes.  When He says No.  We must acknowledge Him, because He knows what is best for us.  He knows exactly what He has planned for us, and if we continue trusting in Him, and acknowledging Him, we will be more aware of the path that He has set before us.

I know that moving in the direction I choose without God's blessing is risky.  I don't want to operate outside of His will because although following Jesus is tough, not following him is worse.  Operating inside of God's will, I may not know what I will get, but at least I know He is with me.  God told Jacob not to fear or be dismayed because He was with him, and He would help him (Isaiah 41:10).  I want God to direct my path and lead me in the way that He wants me to go because although I may not know when, or what, or the outcome, I know that He will be with me always.

Though I may not understand what He is doing, or His ways and reasons for doing certain things I know that I can trust Him with all of my heart.



February 7, 2015
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Today I was a bit agitated with my husband for several reasons. I could go on and on about the reasons why.  I could even find more reasons for being upset with him by listing these reasons.  The both of us are quiet people.  We don't ever yell at each other.  We just have disagreements here and there.  But today, I was so upset with him, that I was ready to pull out my boxing gloves and go to toe to toe.

Although I was extremely upset, I had no intention of going to bed angry.  But I did have every intention of giving him a piece of my mind about several things.  But each time I thought to say them to him, I wondered how it would sound coming out of my mouth.

Would I sound like a nag?  Proverbs 21:19 says It is better to live in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.  YIKES!!  Also, I asked myself would this be edifying to God?  Would Christ see this conversation in my head as pleasing?  Would it be like the churches love for Jesus?  Ephesians 5: 22-24  .  Is this my way of respecting and submitting to my husband as I would to Christ?  Finally, I asked myself, If today was the last day we spent together, would any of this that I'm upset about matter?  My answer began with a "No, but..."  I continued asking myself to really think about that.

The selfish answer is, "No, but..."  What would God say?  A Proverbs 31 woman has her husband's heart.  It trusts her.  There are times when I get so upset that I just want to yell and scream and put down to inflict all the hurt and pain and discomfort and guilt I feel.  But that is not a Proverbs 31 woman.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  Proverbs 31:12.  That is my flesh rising up and allowing the enemy to use me for his glory.  The enemy is referred to as the thief in John 10:10.  And he came to steal, kill and destroy.

Jesus came that we may have life and to the full.  By allowing the enemy to use me, I almost allowed him to steal my joy.  I woke up praising God for my husband.  And if I'd allowed myself to give in to my flesh, I would have yelled and said ugly things and by continuing to do so, I allow the enemy to kill my marriage.  Further, by continuing to give in to this fleshly desire, I allow him to destroy my family.  No thank you.

We must love one and other, as He calls us to.  Wives are to love their husbands.  Husbands are to love their wives.  Period.  Love doesn't always FEEL good.  But we are to do it anyway.   Like Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, we are to die to self regardless of how we feel.  His love for us is what made Him get on the cross in His innocence, and it is what covers over our multitude of sins.

If sin leads us to death, love leads us to life.  The life that Jesus came to give us.  I make mistakes.  I don't always do what I should.  I sometimes say the wrong thing.  But I am reminded that through God's grace, for what I have done, I have been forgiven.  With that same grace and love, I am to be an example with my husband of the Churches love for Christ.



February 6, 2015

I am tired right now and really just want to go to bed.  I want to ask God to give me words and help me complete this one supernaturally by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When I was writing this blog out, I even put January 6th instead of February 6th.  So let's see what God does...

I am saying this for our own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.  1 Corinthians 7:35

I am a multitasker.  I always have been. I take on many projects, and love the feeling of completing them all.  I cannot stand when I have to quit before I am finished.  Or I should say, I cannot stand when I have to quit a task before completing it.  It is possible to finish something before it is complete.  Okay, maybe they mean the same thing, and I am just getting too deep.  But I digress...

I take on many projects because I like to finish the jobs quickly.  I like completing tasks.  The first time I tackled a list one thing at a time instead of doing 2-3 things a one time, I had to take many deep breaths.  I notice that when I do more than I probably should, I lose my focus and I forget my main point.  For example, my place of work is always busy.  I get various tasks from my boss and from her boss, and her other boss, often.

I realized a while back that although I may have once been a great multitasker, I no longer am.  So I create lists of important tasks to get through.  Every once in a while  I find myself overwhelmed and so I attempt to resort to my old ways of multitasking, trying to get through these tasks as quickly as possible.

I may begin one very large task with the intention of not doing any other tasks until I am done.  Then I find myself thinking, "Well this one is really short, so I will just do this, and this one should be easy too, so let me just do this one too...then I'll start on this major project."  There in lies the problem.  I end up completely off task only to realize that I haven't done any of what I set out to do.

I realize that after blindly being sucked into some social media platform, or texting, or you name it, I have not only wasted a good 10-30 minutes, but I have also forgotten what I need to do.  How many times do we practice this in our own lives?  God gives us a task, a calling.  He has given us talents and skills in order to complete what He has called us to.  We may set out to do it, only to be distracted by things of this world.  It can be anything.  Fear, anxiety, depression, material items, money, people's opinion of you or social media.

By the time we look up, a year has passed, we come out of this cloud of distraction and wonder,  What was I supposed to be doing?  Where did the time go?  And how on earth did I end up here?  It is so important that we do our best to fix our eyes on Jesus.  We each have an incredible calling and task that no one else can do quite like we can.  We must fight hard to stay on the path that God has set out for us.

While often these distractions are no good, others may seem great.  But we must stay in constant prayer asking God to help us stay focused on Him and the path He has for us NO MATTER What life throws our way.



February 5, 2015

When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.  
Matthew 14:13-14

When I first professed Jesus as my lord and savior, I was convinced everything was going to change.  I was going to be happier, have more and never be burdened or bothered again.  Yep...that was about right.  When I lost my car that same week, I was confused.  But I was convinced that I'd get my car back.  I did, for a short moment, but ended up losing it for good, after I drove it with a hole in the oil pan.  I was very confused and seriously thought I'd never experience a bad moment in life again.  Clearly, I did not read the book.

Jesus suffered, so of course we would suffer also.  I noticed that after becoming a Christ follower, I was delivered from a few things pretty quickly.  For example, after about three months of being a Christian, I lost the desire to want to drink and party.  Some other things lingered behind.  A couple of those things are anger and impatience.

I can get a bit snippy with people at times. I might have ugly thoughts in my mind about them.  Or have a passive aggressive attitude with them.  As much as God has delivered me, and the fact that I still struggle with certain sin is only proof that I am still in need of a savior.

I did some serious soul searching about this the other day.  The office I work in is often very busy.  I have lots of work to do.  There are times when I get 3-6 assignments back to back, and I begin feeling overwhelmed because so many things are coming at me like a semi automatic rifle.  I want to duck and move out of the way, but apparently, I am too slow.  Too caught up in everything I have to do.  And that usually stresses me out.  So when students come to hang out or to chat, I can always tell when I'm busy working on something.  I am very short with them, and also less warm than usual.  I also may ignore them because I am trying to complete the work tasks that I've been given.

The other day, I was working with a student on a paper--which by the way, I don't usually do--she was taking more time than I thought she should.  I tried to be helpful, but I just didn't have  a lot of time to dedicate to her.  I had many unfinished projects from my director, and her boss and her other boss.  I was almost to the point of breaking.  I kept having thoughts like, "Hurry up!"  "This isn't even my job!"  "I don't understand why you asked me to do this!  There are TWO student centers within minutes from my office.  They actually get PAID to help you!!"

I was doing my best to take lots of deep breaths, and not show my agitation.  Then I had a couple of thoughts that really sobered my angry mind.  If this was Aron, and he wanted help from someone, how would I want them to treat him?  She obviously came to me for a reason.  This thought cut me deep.  Then I had another thought.  If Jesus was here, what would he say about my behavior?  Was I a reflection of Him to her?  Could she see how annoyed I was?  I had to take a time out and regroup.

Why are we so human at times? I wondered.  Why couldn't things just be easy, and God take all this ugliness away and replace it with patience and love?  But there is a reason God doesn't take all our afflictions from us.  There is a reason God doesn't take us right up to Heaven when we become saved.  He leaves us here for a reason.  We are to be the reflection to people that expresses, Although I am saved by God's grace, I am still a mess.  I may be broken, but His love fills the broken places in my life. 

In Matthew 14, Jesus learns of His cousin, John's death.  When He learns of John's demise, He goes away to be in solitude.  But that doesn't happen.  A multitude of followed Him.  Jesus did not respond with aggravation and anger, He had compassion.  And He healed many of their sick.  No matter what Jesus was on His way to do, He always took time to help those that came to Him for help.  Maybe I don't have the skill set to assist a student with a physics project, but if they come to me asking for help, I am to be like the example Christ showed, and have compassion.

We are to be the difference. We are to be the light.  That light is to shine brightly, so that people are attracted to our light, so that they can ask what it is that is different about us.  Thus we have the opportunity to share the hope that we have in Jesus.  Things are not easy breezy.  This is with purpose from God.  He doesn't promise us easy when we begin following Christ.  He just promises that He'll never leave or forsake us.

Giving our lives to Jesus is an incredible moment.  It is a moment of transformation.  Through Jesus and the gospel, we are changed.  We become new creations.  Some things we used to do, God takes from us (drinking).  Other things, we may struggle with for a time, or for as long as we are on this side of eternity.  Though it would be great not to struggle with any sin after giving our life to Christ, having to deal with some of those things on a daily basis is a sweet reminder that no matter how mature I become in my faith, I will forever be in need of a savior.



February 4, 2015

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 22:37-39

When we lived in California, I had a lot of free time.  My husband had a job that was 45 miles from where we lived.  He had a very long commute, so I spent many a day during regular work hours on my own.  If I wasn't working, I was either at the park exercising, or at the library job searching.  I often would go on prayer walks or go for walks after spending time in prayer.  I wanted God to use me in a powerful way as I waited on my big acting break.

One day, I remember walking through our neighborhood after spending time with God.  Although I didn't have anything to do that day, I decided to get out of the house. I was tired of sitting around inside, and I told myself I couldn't share the love of Jesus in my room.

I went on a walk and asked God to lead me to a divine appointment.  Well...there are times when we don't have to ask God for what we want.  He just sends it our way.  He does like us to ask Him for what we want, and I did.  I asked Him for a divine appointment.  I asked Him to lead me to that person.  On my walk, I passed this woman.  She looked distracted, maybe even a little bit distraught.  I had the urge to give her a $5 bill I was carrying in my pocket.  I  wondered if I should stop her and ask her if she needed anything.

I would love to say that I boldly took her hand with gentleness, looked her in the eye and said to her how Jesus loves her and sent me to pray for her.  But I did not.  I walked right by her.   I had doubts that she was the divine appointment.  I had fears that she would reject me and look at me crazy.  I turned at least three times to watch her, debating whether or not I should turn around and approach her.  But the third time I glanced back at her, I decided that she was too far away, and that God would send another appointment if I had missed that opportunity.

I thought about God's grace and His willingness to forgive and love unconditionally.  Yes, God does extend His grace to us.  Yes, He is ever forgiving us our sins and disobedience.  But He has us here for a reason.  It is not to enjoy life and live in a bubble.  Jesus told His disciples to go out and make disciples.  Matthew 28:19

How can we make disciples for the kingdom of God if we don't open our mouth  So there I was.  I didn't go forward in obedience.  I was afraid of what she would say or how she would respond to me.  Now, when I look back, I think to myself how unimportant that stuff I feared is.  Life is short and God has given us a job to do.  We cannot assume we will be here until we're completely comfortable doing the work He has called us to do. God doesn't always care about our comfort.  He does care about our trusting Him.  In order to go forth not feeling secure in ourselves or what is to come, we are to find ourselves secure in Him.

We as followers of Christ need to be confident in Jesus and walk in that so that we can be obedient, no matter what!  We need to remember our identity in Christ.  What does it matter how people respond to me?  People will not always accept me, what I have to say, or my beliefs.  That's okay.  They felt the same way about Jesus.  John 15:20.  We may not have it as bad as Jesus did, but we are told to expect persecution.  However,  we must not allow fear of that, or not being accepted keep us from doing what God has commissioned us to do.

Loving someone as our self takes a lot.  If I knew I had to do something in order to save my life...guaranteed...I'd do it.  I'd fix my eyes on my survival and endure whatever it took, because I'd know that in the end, my life would be spared.  That's how we need to live out and share the gospel.  We are guaranteed an eternity with God.  But He told us through Jesus that we need to share this news with others.

If we fix our eyes on Jesus, who happens to be bigger than our fear--and any other situation we deal with--we are able to let go of the fear, and walk in confidence.  We would be able to boldly complete whatever He may commission us to do.

Finally, if I love my neighbor as I love myself, I must have a desire, a true desire, to make sure that person's soul will be saved.  Or at least, I've made an attempt by sharing the gospel (After all, that part isn't up to me, it's up to God).  I must share the gospel with them.  They will either reject it or accept it. My job is just to complete the task God has mapped out for me.

I walked the block searching for that woman, telling God that I'd come right our and tell her how much Jesus loves her if He put her in my path again.  He did not.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015


February 3, 2015

"But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.  O Israel, the one who formed you says, Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine."

When was the last time you attended a party or gathering, met lots of new people and left remembering all of their names?  There are a few that are very gifted at remembering names.  However, the majority of us are terrible at name memory.

I once worked at a high school.  The first principal I worked under had this gift.  She knew the names of all 400 students in our school.  It only took her once to meet each student and remember their names.

When we lived in California, we would occasionally visit my husband's uncle's church.  His pastor had a very large congregation; but if he met you, he would remember your name.  I am always fascinated by this gift.  How can anyone keep all those names straight in their head?

As a high school counselor, I made it a point to work harder at remembering names.  I realized that if I wanted to have a better relationship with my students, and really, truly gain their trust, I needed to remember who they were.

The desire was sparked by seeing the response my students gave me when they realized I had forgotten their names after working with them for a long period of time. I knew some of my students, but I decided that in order to really help them, they had to know I cared for them.  In order to really care, I had to put some effort into knowing their names.  How on earth would they believe I cared, if I didn't even know their name?

So I decided to find a characteristic about them to help me remember.  I would also use word association to help me remember their name.  Both of these practices helped me increase the memorization of my students' names.

5 years ago, when my  husband and I decided to start this blog, he suggested we call it, "What's in a Name?"  Back then, I am not sure we truly grasped the importance of the title.  Even today, I don't believe I fully know why God placed that title in Marcus' heart.

If I have a friend who claims to love me and have an interest in my life, but they cannot remember my name, can I really call them a friend?  If they don't remember my name after two months of hanging out, six months, nine months, a year, can I trust they have any genuine interest in me?

Our names are what identify us to others.  Even if we are not the only person in the room with our name, there is something about our name that matters deeply to us.  When we hear our name, our ears perk up.  Even when we completely zone out, when we hear our name called, our ears perk up and we respond to it.

I work for a university as an administrative assistant.  If I walked by our university President and he acknowledge me by name, I admit, I would feel honored.  The idea that someone that far removed from me recognizes me and knows me by name generates a reaction to me.  It makes me feel important.  I have to admit, it even warms my heart a bit.  Why?  Because my name matters to me. If someone remembers my name, that shows me that I matter to them, and that they have some invested interest in me.

Especially someone like God.  Who would want to pray to a God that doesn't know your name? More specifically, why on earth would I waste my time praying to a God who created the universe, myself included, but has no idea what to call me?  If He is too busy to remember my name, how could He possibly have time to hear my prayers, or meet my needs?

But God loves us, and He does know our name.  In Jeremiah 1:5 God tells him that before He formed him in the womb, He knew him.  Before he was born, God consecrated him, and he appointed him a prophet unto the nations.

We can rest assured that the same promises God made to Jeremiah in this scripture, He made us.  He knit us in our mother's womb.  But before He did that, He knew who we were.  He knew us before we were born.  He set us apart in the very beginning, and He had a very specified calling on each of our lives.

We are important to God.  He knows our name.  He has put so much care into each human life that He created.  The love He has for us is beyond comprehension.  He love us, and He calls us by name. What's in a Name?  God's love for us, and His reminder of just how much we matter to Him.


Monday, February 2, 2015


February 2, 2015

"Be ye angry, and sin not, let not the sun go down upon your wrath."  Ephesians 4:26

On Superbowl Sunday, I waited until the game came on television and went to the grocery store.  I decided this was the perfect time to go because most of the store traffic would be at home or somewhere else fully engaged in the game.

Although it was still a little busy, the store traffic was no where near the busyness of earlier that day.  Originally, I had no intention of going grocery shopping.  I'd only planned to be at the store for 15-20 and pick up a few items for dinner.  I ended up grocery shopping, and was in the store for about 90 minutes.

By the time I finished loading up my car to head home, I was more than ready to see my boys!  I started my car, turned and looked both ways, looked out my rear view mirror as well as my side mirrors, then I turned to check behind me once more.  Confident that no one was coming, I slowly began making my way out of my parking spot.  That's when it happened.  I heard a very loud blare of a horn, followed by the flashing speed of a white car.

The horn scared me, and the speeding car gave me another jolt.  Glad I didn't hit you, I thought.  I tried to pray and ask God to keep other drivers around them safe from their lack of patience, when I began experiencing this burning sensation in my chest.  I was getting angry.  All kinds of thoughts began racing through my head.  Who does this?  What gives them the right to be so rude?  Seeing that they were still in the parking lot, still driving fast, I decided to follow them.  So I sped off after then, following in hopes of seeing a glimpse of this rude and impatient person.  Remembering all the "friendly" faces I passed in the store, I wondered which one of them was behind the tented windows.

Upon reaching the street, I noticed a father on his bike with a toddler, as well as a teenager riding on another bike in front of him.  The mysterious impatient person was at the stop sign in front of me, and I was behind them waiting. This driver, didn't seem to have the desire, or patience to wait for the teen girl who began crossing in front of them on her bike.  They began driving when she reached the middle of the front of their car, and almost hit her had she not noticed and sped up to get out of the way.

This made me even more heated.  Who does this person think they are?  I wondered.  How dare they do such a thing!  They almost hit that girl, and the almost side swiped the Dad and toddler on his bike while attempting to speed past the girl.

At this point, I was seeing red.  I was so upset, and so determined to follow this person.  My goal was to catch up to them and either throw something at their passenger window, or get out of my car, bang on their window and spit some choice words all over them.

Still driving fast, the caught the first stop light, put their left blinker on, and turned on a green arrow.  For a moment, I considered following them. It was well out of my way home, but someone needed to teach them a lesson.

It was in that moment I remembered myself.  This is ridiculous, Patricia.  It is a waste of time.  Leave them to God, pray they don't hurt anyone, and let this go.  None of it will do any good.  While driving home, ruminating on what just happened, and the things I would have said to them had I been given the chance, I had to correct my steering a few times.  My mind was so focused on my anger, and the desire to tell these people off, that I almost got into a wreck a few times.

I  used to think that if I professed to be a follower of Christ, I could never be angry.  I'd have to walk around happy all the time. If I didn't something was wrong with me.  And If I was not happy about something, the best thing to do was keep quiet about it, and grin and bear it.  The thing is, God gave us all our emotions.  Every single one of them, including anger.   In Ephesians 4:26, we are told to be angry, but sin not.  The fact that we get angry does not bother God.  It is what we do when we experience this emotion that God does not want.  I was on my way home, ready to see my boys and spend some quality time with them.  But I so angered by this person, I was almost willing to go out of my way to satisfy this growing itch of anger building inside of me.

Moreover, when I came to my senses on that, and decided to stay my original course and head home, I was still so focused on my anger for this person that I almost ended up hurting myself and possibly someone else.  Do you see how powerful anger can be when we use wrong motives behind them? In Matthew 21:13, Jesus got angry.  He flipped tables and raised His voice at the money changers. What was His motive behind it?  It was not to hurt them.  It was to clean out the temple in order for it to be used for it's original intent: a house of prayer.  He wanted to make sure the people coming were not being robbed of their money.  His motive was filled with love and compassion for the individual experiencing injustice. He wanted to straighten out those thieving, and save those being robbed.

God revealed to me just how blinded I became by my anger in that moment.  Not only does He want the very best for me, He has an incredible plan for my life. When I take my eyes off of Him, and allow foolishness to rob me of my joy, I also lose sight of His plan, which has the ability to knock me off that path.  When I fix my eyes on Jesus, and remember that He alone is the author and the perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), I may still get angry at foolishness, but my focus is fixed.  With fixed focus, I remain balanced, and am less likely to fall into sin.



February 1, 2015

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

February has become synonymous with a month of love.  It is all about loving your spouse, your significant other, your family, friends, and neighbor.  If I had to choose one Bible verse to represent February, I'd choose 1 Corinthians 13.  I love 1 Corinthians 13 because it is all about love.  I used to have a poster of the scripture on my wall before I really understood what it was or meant, because of the focus on love.

When I was a little girl, I used to dream about fairy tale romance.  The kind you'd read about in a book or the kind you'd see on television.  And to be swept off my feet on Valentine's Day was the ultimate romantic desire.  I was convinced that God would bless me with a romantic to top all of my dreams and romantic requirements.

When I first met my husband, I was taken by his gift for working with children, his gentleness, kindness and patience.  He was also very attractive to me.  He seemed attentive, and genuinely caring.  I believed we would get married, almost like it was "love at first sight".  Sure enough we ended up married years down the road.

I remember my first day at work.  I came home and told my roommates and a good friend of mine that I had just met the man I was going to marry.  They seemed excited for me, although I am sure they didn't really believe anything I said.  A year later, however, he and I started dating.

I just knew God had given me my dream guy.  If this was the man I was supposed to marry, then he must meet all my required characteristics.  He was sweet, funny, handsome and caring.  He seemed to have this warmth and love for others that I had never seen before.  Yes, all of these things were perfect!  CHECK!!  He passed.  As for the romance?  Not in the least bit...God has a sense of humor. I thought.  How in the world could this guy with no romantic bone in his body be my future husband, I'd ask myself and God.  Unbelievable.  There must be some kind of mistake.

I was convinced that either Marcus would turn into this hopeless romantic I'd always dreamed of just like on the television.  Or God made a mistake, and He was biding His time until He got it right. 2008, God assured me with confirmation that He had indeed chosen my husband to be my husband.  He went even further with proof when my husband proposed to me immediately after I said, Lord, I thank you for my husband you chose for me.  I ask in the name of Jesus that he call me within the next 10 minutes.  He called me a minute later and ended up proposing in that phone conversation...but I digress...

My point is, God does not make mistakes.  He knows exactly what He is doing and why He is doing it.  1 Corinthians 13:3 says, If I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I love not, it profiteth me nothing.    My idea of romance was based off some television or story book idea.  Sure, there are men out there that do those sorts of things.  But not all that do have the kind of love that God can provide.
I once dated someone that was a bit of a romantic, but he called me a female dog.  Is that love?  I also dated someone who bought me flowers and was emotionally abusive to me.  Is that love?

So what's the point of all this?  My point is this:  God could have blessed me with a man who had all the romance in the world, but had little or no love for me.  Instead, He had another plan, a better plan.  God blessed me with a man that knows exactly how to love me.  He blessed me with someone who has all the love for me one human could have for another human being.

As if God's sense of humor wasn't enough in the first place, He showed me that my husband actually is romantic.  He may not be romantic by television or story book standards, but he is romantic in a very unconventional way.  I find this fascinating and intriguing and I have grown quite fond of the how he does things in his own quirky way.

It is as if God said to me through my husband, Patricia, I know exactly what you asked me for.  But I am showing you another way, a better way for love and romance.  Though it looks nothing like the world's way, it is what you need.  His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Once again, God has outdone Himself by blessing me with His chosen mate for me.  Though to the world, our romance may not seem like a story book, if you take a peak at 1 Corinthians 13, you will notice all the characteristics of one.



January 31, 2015

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

When I was a little girl, I'd go to the store with my great aunt.  I don't really remember much about our trips to the store.  But one thing I do remember is her egg examining custom.  She would open the egg carton, and examine all eggs.  If there was one with a crack, she would either put back the entire container or exchange the one cracked egg from that container with a solid egg from another carton.  To this day, when I shop for eggs, I practice this custom.

I always thought that was odd. But I never questioned it.  The older I got, the more I deduced her reasoning for doing this must be about the quality of the eggs.  Cracked eggs are like sliced fruit, more likely to go bad faster.

The thing I notice about a cracked egg is that if left unattended, the crack continues to get bigger and bigger until it gets to the point that the egg breaks.  That is incredible.  The crack in the egg doesn't stop until it eventually breaks the egg.  Not only that, but a cracked egg breaks much more easily than a solid egg.

Remind you of sin?  One tiny little sin can lead to a crack in your character.  If the sin continues to go uncorrected, it can lead to more sin, which can eventually lead to a break.  When we continue in sin, we are much farther away from God, thus we are much more fragile.  When we are in close relationship with God, working on turning away from our sins, we are better able to stand firm in Him, and less susceptible to the crack of sin.

The beauty of God is that He is able to heal our cracks.  He did it through Jesus.  In Him, God heals and mends.  He fills in the cracks with what we need in order to be less vulnerable to a break. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.  Much like a cracked egg, when we continue in sin, we will eventually reach a breaking point.  A broken egg means the end for an egg.  The egg will either be eaten or thrown out.  The egg shell will never be whole again, and it will no longer be useful.

Fortunately for us, we have Jesus.  Although continued sin can take a tiny crack and turn it into a break, Jesus is far more.  He who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5), has the ability to fill in the cracks and mend the broken pieces.  Jesus is able to make us whole again, and therein lies the hope.



January 30, 2015

And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.  John 14:13-14

This morning I got out of bed at 4:am and did my morning reading.  I had to meet with a friend at the gym, so I couldn't read the content from my reading through the bible devotional and I completed the day 12 of an activity book I am currently working through when I got home from the gym. I didn't get to the devotional content until much later in the day.

While at work I decided to go ahead and give myself a break.  I work in a very busy office, and there are many days when I have to eat at my desk.  I eat and work, with very few breaks.  For whatever reason, today, I really needed a break.  So I decided to take 10 minutes for myself.  I went to a small study room and shut the door.

Since I began working on this personal development activity book, I have been choosing one word each day to focus on.  Today, my word is faith.  I was praying on my way to the gym this morning about my littlest niece who was born 3 months premature and has been through many obstacles and had several surgeries.  Today, she is scheduled for another surgery, which the doctors shared would be a very serious surgery.  So I prayed to God asking Him to heal her, and praying for the surgery to go well.  I said to God, "Lord, I do believe.  Please help my unbelief."  Mark 9:24.

I told God that although I want to increase my faith, right now, I have the faith of a mustard seed.  And Jesus said, that's all I need in order to tell a mulberry tree to uproot itself and go replant itself in the sea (Luke 17:6).  So, I was like, with this faith, I ask you these things regarding my niece.  When I returned home from the gym, I continued writing about faith.

Although my word for the day was on faith, and I prayed to God about her and my faith, I was a bit uneasy and nervous about her and her surgery.  I was scared.  Scared for her outcome and scared for her parents, what they must be thinking, what they must be feeling.  So I just kept praying.  There were moments during the day, when I was in the middle of something, and then my mind would shift to her.  My heart would start pounding, and I'd get that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, would try to pray and the words would get caught in my throat.  So I'd just say, "Heal her lord.  In Jesus' name."

At some point during all this back and forth, I had a thought.  How much faith do we need?  I mean, in the bible, Jesus said that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed...But I wondered, is that enough?  I mean, what if I ask God to heal 100 people, and I activate my mustard seed faith...will He do it?  Will He heal all 100?  Or will He only heal some of those people?  And if He does only heal some of them, how does He choose who to heal and who not to heal?

This was the question I had for God today.  Jesus said whatever we ask Him in His name, He will do in order for the Father to be glorified through Him (John 14:13-14).  But Paul had a thorn in his side. He asked God to remove the thorn, and God did not.  God told Paul that His grace was sufficient for Him.  He told Paul that His strength was made perfect in Paul's weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9).  So Lord, what is that?  Are both these true?

Funny how God works, I actually received revelation from Him after reading the devotional contents from my read through the bible in a year devotional.  The content and verses were related to answered prayers.  The writers of the devotional referenced Cricket.  There are two positions in this sport that rely on communication with each other throughout the game.  In order to move, one says, Yes.  In order to stay still, one says, No.  And when they want see what happens before making a decision, one says, Wait.  The writer referred to this as Yes.No.Wait. 

Yes.  God does answer prayers.  All the time.  When we pray according to God's will, the answer is usually yes.  There are times, that we ask God for something, and though we may not deserve it, He will give it to us. Simply because He is God and He is good, and He gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11).  Maybe He does it to increase our faith, or just to show how much He loves us.  Or maybe it is not for us, but for someone else to believe.  Luke 7:1-10.  Jesus heals the Centurion's servant immediately because He had such incredible faith.  Jesus was astonished by the amount of faith and understanding the Centurion had.

Wait.  God's yes, may be a yes, but not now.  (Job 42:10).  After Job prayed for his friends, God restored all that he lost, and then some.  There are times when God makes us wait because He is preparing us for what we have asked for.  There are other times, He has us wait, because there is a lesson He wants us to learn that is far greater than getting what we want, when we want it.

No.  There are times, though, when regardless of our faith, God says no.  Most often when the intentions in our hearts do not line up with His heart in our request, His answer will be no (Matthew 20:20-22). In Matthew 20, we see that the Mother of the son's of Zebedee asked that Jesus allow them to be at His right and left hand in His kingdom.  She wanted them to be second in command to Jesus.  She wanted them to have great power.  Ultimately, if we pray and make a request to God, and our faith is good, and hearts have the correct intentions, know that He may say no.  Know that God does not answer no, because He does not love us, and not because He does not want to bless us.  God gives us this answer because He has another plan for us that is far greater, and can accomplish far more than we ever could imagine.