If it’s going to be, is it up to me?

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Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5 Berean Study Bible

Immersed and imprisoned in the dark grip of binging and purging, I could not conceive of how God could free me.  Afterall, I was the one shoveling cookies or M&Ms into my mouth. No one else was causing this addictive behavior but me.

But God DID rescue me. He DID bring me up out of the pit of despair and I didn’t have to DO a thing. He simply gave me a more compelling desire, that of treating my body better when I found out that I was pregnant with our first child.

Fast forward decades.  This same living God who never changes has periodically directed my way of thinking, lifting me out of my no-exit vision and set me down in a more spacious place with broader vistas.

For the last year, I have ‘needed’ more pocket money than our budget allows. In August, I started praying, waiting for God to direct me. But after a month of no answer, I took things back into my own hands and took on a Friday substitute teaching gig. Yes, the extra money was what I wanted. But it lost me a day. For I had to block off one day a week to be ‘on call’. 

After 3 months, I realized that I had traded time for money.   I realized that I wanted my day back. The dilemma then became:

‘How can I make that extra pocket money without tying up my Fridays?’

I have churned over this for about 2 months, seeing ‘no exit’.

But last week God used a conversation, some podcasts, and time alone with him to lift me up out of this dilemma.  First, our son Graham mentioned in passing that at age 40 he works out hard twice a week.  When he shared that data from a recent medical exam brought him evidence that he is indeed uncharacteristically healthy, that gave me pause.

Next the Lord arranged for me to hear on a podcast that the most important factor in our physical health is the quality of our relationships.  Do we have friends and family members with whom we feel safe enough to be real? Can we express our feelings without condemnation?  

Since for years I have been exercising hard three or more times a week in order to stay healthy, Graham’s revelation coupled with the podcast point struck a chord. Logical reasoning gently led me to the possibility that if I cut back the number of exercise classes I take and pay for in a month, I would have the money I want without having to work on Fridays.

To reenforce that line of thought so I could see that God was behind my ‘metanoia’, my current theological reading has been preparing me to consider intentionally setting aside space in my week to be quiet, to listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to communicate.  All of a sudden, I felt a new energy, a growing desire to gently walk and be quiet, open to God.  This is what Graham does.  Twice a week he goes to the gym and twice a week he walks for 2 hours in the morning, listening to God.

Dilemma solved and direction shifted!

Now I come to a current need and issue.  This morning I gave it to God to handle.  What is this situation and how do I see it?  We live far from our two sons and their families.  I want to see them more.  I want to stay connected. I want to build rapport with our grandchildren. But I don’t know how.  Encouraged by the ‘time and money’ issue, I am excited to see what God is going to do.

As I ended this morning’s time with the Lord, I turned to a new page in my journal and rewrote Psalm 37:5, personalizing it by using other English translations of the Hebrew words.

Maria, roll off of yourself, unburden yourself from these cares/issues/problems/worries. Disengage from them and roll them away and ONTO the Lord.

Hand over your customary way of life and thinking, placing your confidence in Him. That way you can live care-FREE, feeling completely safe.

And HE shall attend to, HE shall put all those things you’ve given him in order. Psalm 37:5 Maria’s translation.

What a promise, what a savior!

Curtain Call

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“All the world’s a stage.”

 William Shakespeare in As You Like It

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

My friend Deb works as a dedicated teacher’s aide to a little autistic girl in a K-4 class. Serving this child is her sole assignment. She guides her in paying attention to the classroom teacher in order to catch all the instructions and follow the articulated sequential steps for each learning assignment. Deb knows just what her charge needs having spent every school day morning with her over the past 5 months.

Similarly, our Friend, God’s Holy Spirit, knows us intimately, having lived IN us since we were transferred into the Kingdom of Jesus to live forever with the Triune God. In this realm, we have been assigned to a new life-giving theater or stage. No longer are we held captive by the evil scriptwriter, director and prison guard.

Recently, this metaphor of our Kingdom lives being played out daily on God’s stage has captivated my imagination. As I imagine the Kingdom of God as a theater, I picture myself showing up for another day’s drama.  The point at which I lay my head on my pillow is the close of that day’s drama. Slowly I am realizing that how today’s business ended is not at all an accurate basis for predicting tomorrow’s scenes.  If I try to forecast what will be expected of me and prep for it, I only rob myself of the restorative rest and energy I’ll need for tomorrows’ drama.

But, in God’s theater where I now live, I sometimes forget my new home, where I live. I can quickly fall into old habits of worry and anxiety. These are nothing but long-practiced reactions that created a groove in my brain. I spend little energy in being sucked back into these routines. I knew my lines well for nothing new ever happened in my former prescribed role as a pawn in Satan’s drama.

But each day in God’s drama, new, fresh and creative describe the dimensions in which I live and work. As Jamie Winship, my favorite author from last year, has written, our minds only deal in what has worked up to now. The mind has no fresh, new ideas. It only knows the past.

But here’s the good news about our infinite God who is always doing something new. He is the Creator and it is his nature to generate the novel, imaginative, and freshly beautiful. Stunning us brings him joy.  Sure, our daily scripts include the hard and painful, but we trust him, for he is good, wise, holy, righteous and wise. And he has eternal kingdom goals in mind

This kind of thinking is transforming me. I picture God the Father as the Holy Screenwriter.  Jesus is his Director, to whom each of us as Jesus’ student report morning by morning. Reassuringly, his Divine Spirit, aka our Acting Coach is ever present. 

The Spirit greets us with eager anticipation as soon as we awake, just as my friend Deb welcomes her small student with a smile.

Jesus hands us no script.  He and the Spirit alone have the Father’s playbook. But no worries, all has been prepped and planned. Our Coach supplies what we need at the right Kairos moment.

To me, it feels like I’m an improv actor, since I don’t know the day’s plans. This metaphor keeps me concentrating on the present moment.  I watch Jesus for cues.  I pay close attention to what my brother and sister actors are doing around me. I have my ear tuned and open to the Spirit, with whom I engage in ongoing dialogue.

I’m learning not to even think (or predict) what I will need for the day. How could I possibly imagine the day’s events, my interactions with people who cross my path, since I’m not privy to future plans.  My responsibility is to rely on Jesus and his Spirit.  My Coach is prepped.  He has at the ready all props and and costume changes I’ll require for the day.

Since there is no need to be anxious, I can relax and look forward to all that is new, beautiful and challenging the Father has in store.

So far, this seems to be a far less stressful to approach each day.  And I am growing quicker at catching myself ‘planning and worrying’ in the middle of the night. I remind myself of the futility and waste of God-ordained restorative time for one of his beloved family cast members.

Empty Hands


The Lord is on my side as my helper Psalm 118:7 ESV

 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So, we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 ESV

Have you noticed those therapy animals that accompany people on airplanes or in stores like Home Depot?  Their role is to provide emotional support and comfort. Knowing that this beloved and reassuring creature is always with them helps people face whatever stresses or scares them.

We believers have something better than a support animal. We have Jesus. In one way our Lord is similar to the four-legged friend; he has committed to being with us as long as he lives, which is forever. Beyond that, the comparison changes to how Jesus is so much more. 

For one, he knows our thoughts and he understands our heart. He has already planned the events of our today. He promises to provide not just comforting companionship, but wisdom, strength, guidance, protection, rest, safety and instruction.  He truly has our best interests at heart.

The only ‘drawback’ if any, is that we have to practice using our creative imagination to picture Jesus with us. We can’t reach out and feel him as we do when we rub our hands through the fur of an animal friend.  But Jesus won’t die on us.  We are and will be always with him and he with us.

In the last few weeks, I have been guiding my imagination to picture Jesus.  I have picked our ‘encounter’ location to be, what is for me, the most beautiful spot in the world – a Northern Italian alpine meadow.

I visualize meeting Jesus in a summer-day’s field, surrounded by mountains.  Cattle, with their tinkling bells, and sheep peacefully graze.  I’m either sitting on a bench with Jesus or we’re walking along an unpaved rural road – wide enough for a tractor or an agricultural truck, used only by local traffic such as farmers.

In this part of catholic Europe, you sometimes come upon small roadside shrines off to one side.  The other day while walking with Jesus he stopped as we came upon one of those way-side rustic altars.  Jesus turned to me and indicated that I was to lay down my burdens. So, I placed some worries on the altar.  With a pointed gaze he prompted me to continue

“Do you mean I should place my longings there as well?”  He nodded. I paused, “And my ‘sads’ and disappointments?” Again, that gentle assent.

My hands still held onto one more burden, my fears for the future, specifically what I and we might have to do for my declining mother-in-law. She lives on the other side of the country, with no family nearby. 

“Especially those!” came his response.

With empty hands I backed away. He smiled warmly, approval in his eyes.  Then he hoisted me up on his broad shoulders to carry me.  We resumed our walk.  What was I now to do with my hands, since I had emptied them back there at that altar?  Before an answer formed in my head, Jesus reached up and clasped them tightly. 

As we continued walking together down the road, both of us soaking in the beauty of Alpine Italy that he had created, I felt the comforting top of his backpack underneath my perch.  Besides carrying me, he had brought along all that I would need for the day in a small rucksack.  My daily supply lay close by.

Reassured, I started salivating, thinking about enjoying a chunk of warm, fresh Italian bread.

Do we trust the Lord in dire times?

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Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

Habakkuk ticks off six dire circumstances that he and his fellow Hebrews are facing. He doesn’t even mention that the Lord has announced his plan to hand over their homeland, Judah, to the cruel pagan Chaldeans.  Habakkuk reacts with horrified surprise.  Earlier he had pled with God to save Judah out of her very own wickedness.  He knows his people have broken God’s covenant time and time again.  So, he appeals to God’s love for God’s special people. 

But sending a cruel enemy TO Judah as part of God’s remedy is not Habakkuk’s idea of a rescue plan.  Toward the end of his dialogues with the Lord, he simply hands over the entire situation to God.  Communicating his ‘so be it, Lord’, he specifies all the conditions he had hoped would change for the better.

I decided to write my own version of Habakkuk’s prayer to communicate to the Father that I trust him even if he never provides, heals, restores or changes the issues weighing on my heart.


  • our retirement savings might not last us and….
  • We still live far from our 7 grandchildren, hindering the close relationships we long for and…
  • Our adult children continue to struggle with work, parenting and relying on God and…..
  • Mike’s mom is suffering alone on the other side of the country away from all family and….
  • We might not ever get to satisfy our desire to live overseas again and…..
  • Aging in these bodies doesn’t loom pleasant

Yet, will I consider myself blessed because I KNOW Jesus is with us. I KNOW for sure that our future with Jesus is going to be bright.

Hanging out with Jesus, permanently

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Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:13

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:17

The New Testament has a lot to say about staying connected to Jesus. Our savior uses many images to communicate union with him.

Mentally, I understand what Jesus teaches. But living as though it is reality challenges me. The promise staggers the mind: ALL of God’s spiritual resources are available to the born-from-above Christian. We are promised protection, energy, wisdom, direction, understanding of heavenly things, love, hope, joy, strength and much else. To his small group of disciples, Jesus taught and re-taught connection with God using simple agricultural analogies, such as vines and branches, and being yoked with him.

To my relief, our Bible also records how often his guys forgot their master’s words and lived out of their own pathetic resources. Just as they did, I need help getting used to this offer of ongoing supernatural help. And I need to practice it. Or to put it in modern language, I need to bushwhack a new neural network in my brain. Over decades I have worn a deep rut that is easy to follow, that of depending on human strength and know-how.

Over the past two and half weeks, I have felt encouraged and emboldened to pick up my machete and forge a different pathway or neural network, one that I trust will become my default before too long.

I’m using a meditative app created by John Eldredge and his team. This is what it looks like.

If you put in the search bar of the app store ‘John Eldredge Pause’, you’ll see it. The app has some individual meditations, but I’ve been following the 30 Days to Resilient program. This morning (Day 16) the team talked much about staying connected and receiving from Jesus.

What has been hard up to now is that when we receive from Jesus, we don’t FEEL anything. To help myself, I jotted down some other ‘receivings’ that we probably don’t physically feel. These examples might not be perfect, but maybe one will spark a connection that helps.

Consider being hooked up to a dialysis machine. I did a little research and most sites said that if you are connected properly, you shouldn’t feel anything during the cleaning of your blood. This quote encouraged me:
“The best sign that you are getting good dialysis is that you feel well, look healthy and can do the things you want to do. With adequate dialysis, you should have a good appetite. When it’s time for your next treatment, you should feel like you don’t need it. This is the goal of dialysis.”

I thought of other illustrations:

  • A feeding tube
  • Blood transfusion
  • Oxygen masks
  • A wireless insulin pump
    I like this last one. A device is planted under your skin and administers insulin when your body needs it. I don’t know whether one FEELS the insulin entering his body, maybe not.

This is what our ongoing union with Jesus is like. We are permanently connected with our savior. Our challenge, especially in view of Satan, whose goal is to make us forget and FEEL alone without hope or help, is to RECALL our gifted and permanent connection with the Son of God. The passage way is always open for us to receive from Jesus, our vine.

It’s okay we don’t FEEL it physically. We have to SEE this pipeline with our new eyes, eyes of faith. Yes, we have new eyes, because we are new creations, grafted into Jesus and he into us.

Mike and I are facing difficult circumstances with his mom living on her own and far away. She is quickly fading physically and mentally, but what is MORE troubling is that she refuses to budge in her understanding of Christianity. She clings to the distortions she learned as a girl growing up catholic.

We need divine wisdom, guidance, financial resources and a host of other provision. All of which the Lord promises to provide. We just have to stay connected to our life-source and receive what he is ready to give.

What does God care most about?

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He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His faithfulness.
Psalm 147:10-11NASB

We all know that as people age or fall sick, they start losing physical and mental abilities. This is to be expected in a broken world. Death entered God’s creation because of human sin. In fact, Jesus himself promised affliction for all of creation to include animals and nature. But this state is temporary and the Lord, in his kindness, doesn’t want any bodily afflictions to frighten us or steal our peace. Afterall, he prioritizes our ‘heart’ health, rather than our physical health. What pleases our Father A LOT is when we prize, live for and treasure Him.

As both Mike and I turn 65 this summer and with an elderly mom who is half-way to 94, this fact about the Lord’s priorities and goals for us brings great comfort and mental/emotional stability.

Reading through my Bible I can see that what God prioritizes and values totally guide his actions and plans. Over and over, scripture records him saying that he ALWAYS and only does what he wants. And what he wants is always good, regardless of whether we agree or not.

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalm 135:6 ESV

Knowing how God operates, given what he loves, here is how my mind worked out the truths of that verse in Psalm 147.

Don’t you think it’s important to know what makes God happy, what he delights in? It’s obvious that the Lord takes pleasure in our hearts’ inclination. What we prize, revere or value (another way to say, what we ‘fear’) is the first thing he notices about us. So, we should expect God’s blessings in our life to be NOT primarily about our bodies, our health, but connected to our longings for him. He eagerly answers prayers to transform our desires, our delights, and all the content of our heart.

For example, when we moved to Huntsville, Mike was plagued with a physical and mental condition that wouldn’t let up. It had been in abeyance for a few years, but struck him after that welcome absence. In this round, he suffered for about a year, then by grace, God removed this ‘thorn’. We have not stopped being grateful.

As we prayed every day through this season, besides asking for physical relief, we also asked the Lord to help us NOT waste this suffering. We wanted him to use it to grow our hearts toward him, to deepen our confidence in the fact that he is good, no matter what his plan for Mike turned out to be.

The Lord answered those prayers and our confidence in his goodness grew stronger during this affliction. Recently, I realized that God is doing the same thing with me regarding sleep.

Consistent restorative sleep has alluded me as I’ve aged. Mike prays every evening for the gift of a good ‘through’ sleep.

Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit gave me a new insight. I had slept super well the previous day, but felt oh-so-tired by early evening. That night, I slept poorly and woke yesterday feeling that lack. But, by grace, I suddenly knew that how my day would go did not depend on ‘good sleep’ the night before, but on the Lord. Afterall, energy and strength come from him.

Sure enough, that lack of rest did not affect my day’s activities. God enabled me to stay energized until my normal bed time.

I see the warning in God’s lesson this week. I can easily (and have done so) make good health and plenty of sleep into an idol.

But the fact is my body IS going to weaken as I get older. But what God cares most is how much of my heart is his. If I were a wagering woman, I would bet that God will answer ALL my requests for a heart that obsesses only for him and his presence. I risk nothing praying for his heart and soul work.

Living with Jesus is like being a substitute teacher

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We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go. Proverbs 16:9 CEV

Have you ever been a substitute teacher or had one as a child? Then you know what it’s like for these stalwart men and women who never know when or whether they will receive that early morning wake-up call. When the phone does interrupt that last hour or two of REM restoration, they quickly dress, heading out the door to such-and-such school by the designated time.

That’s how I’m beginning to look at my life.  Even though I do all my work these days as a volunteer, I still have a schedule.  I’m learning to hold it loosely. Recently, I readjusted my week so I could fly out to Seattle to encourage and help my mother-in-law.  This family need trumped what I had penciled in on my calendar.

That decision altered an entire week. I’m also finding that the Lord redirects my steps not only at the beginning of a day, but in the middle of the day. I’m developing the mindset that allows me to hold loosely every plan I make. 

I see the life of a substitute teacher as a metaphor for how we family members of God are to live.  We are not the ones running God’s household.  But he’s included us in his family to learn and to serve, obeying out of love. We should expect the Holy Spirit often to change the schedule according to the needs of the Godhead.

Mike’s clients in his contractor’s job often don’t clarify what they want, making it difficult for Mike and his team to provide value.  He sometimes laments the murkiness of his job. He frequently doesn’t know what to expect.  How like the daily duty of a substitute teacher!  I remind him to count on the Lord to unfold his plan for Mike when he doesn’t foresee how he should proceed.

This approach is so like the one a sub has to adopt. She regularly has no idea what the day will be like when she shows up to a classroom.  But usually there is a plan, already purposed and laid out awaiting her. She arrives and carries out the regular classroom teacher’s lessons, following all the directions.  She doesn’t have a say in what she is to do.  She is under ‘orders’, so to speak.

I have found a certain freedom in anticipating God’s sudden changes.  There’s no longer a reason to stress.  For example, when I flew out to Seattle, I had to change in Dallas.  The margin was a mere 34 minutes.  Therefore, I packed a small carry-on bag that would not have to be gate checked, costing me minutes.  When the pilot announced a delay in our arrival time due to a headwind, I had to fight against anxious thoughts which attacked my peace.  Proverbs 16:9 was the weapon I used.  During the 2-hour flight, I wielded that promise about 6 times, finally reasoning that if I missed my connection, then Jesus had a good reason that would be better than making my connection. Anxiety finally gave up.

I’ll leave you a final thought connected to this idea of a substitute teacher.  A simple way of thinking of the grace that Jesus provided is that of a substitute.  He took my place as guilty sinner, deserving of God’s just anger and punishment.  What is more, his perfect life also substitutes for my fouled-up record.  A double substitution. Maybe it’s only fitting that I can sub for him as hands and feet in the part of the world he has placed me.  What do you think?

Jesus really wants us to be care-free!

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I have gone back to reading Oswald Chambers’ devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  A few years ago, someone gifted me with Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. So, I put Chambers’ book aside.  But a friend quoted him a few months ago. I dug out a copy and have so enjoyed and been challenged rereading his thoughts.

This morning I copied down a Chambers’ teaching: “Worrying means we don’t think God can look after the practical details of our lives and it is never anything else that worries us” (May 23)

That admonition ties together today’s reflections about worry and relying on Jesus.


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 ESV

Being an ‘ezer’ to my husband is a serious responsibility.  Yet, I know God has assigned me to be Mike’s helpmate. I pray a lot, though still succumb to fretting over possible ‘wrong’ advice.

Mike had been experiencing frustration at work. So, I encouraged him to seek other local jobs in his field. Boeing had an opening.  He applied and Monday was offered the position at a salary way more than he even asked for. All along we prayed for God’s wisdom. But, when I suggested that he let his boss know about the offer, we moved out on a limb of faith, being unsure of the reaction the email would spark. Would he write back: ‘Good luck and in touch!’ or something worse like, ‘After all we have invested in you, you search out another job!!!!’

Brad did not respond the day Mike pushed ‘send’ on his email. It wasn’t until the following day that he connected with Mike. But Mike did not let me know until he came home.  In suspense that lasted until early afternoon, I wrestled with doubts and fears. “Father, did I ill-advise Mike?” Peace came only after throwing myself on God’s sovereign control of even my ‘wrong’ decisions.

Being a wife stretches my faith!


Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Philippians 4:5 NET

I keep re-reading this teaching.  Like you, I am aware of the many cares and burdens that loved ones have. If God is sovereign, then these problems are planned for the good of His people. And He alone gets to define ‘good’!

How are we to handle suffering?  By casting our ‘unsolvable’ burdens on Him.  We specifically ask His help and then hand over the matters.  That means we are CARE-free.  Freed from cares that are too much for us, those situations for which we have no visible resources.

Our mental space then is freed up to reflect God’s desire: ‘Let your gentle carefreeness, which is due to Jesus’ nearness, be evident to all’ (my translation).

I can follow Jesus this day, serving others in love, doing my assigned tasks BECAUSE I know who this Jesus is. He is none other than the loving, faithful, sovereign Creator and Lord of the universe.

If He, the Almighty One, is handling my issues, no worries. But help me, Holy Spirit! It’s far easier to know how I am to handle life’s issues, than to follow through.

Jesus is not who we think!


Jesus startles. He is NOT whom we expect nor does He act like ‘normal’ people. Sometimes He’s not even whom we want. But we don’t get to choose our particular flavor of our Savior.  He is God.

Martha and the man in the crowd want personal ‘justice’.  The disciples want reassurance as protection against future suffering.

Father, give us the desire to want to receive Jesus just as He is!


Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Luke 12:13 ESV

This request has got to be the ‘male version’ of Martha’s complaint to Jesus in Luke 10.  I can’t quite picture a gal this focused on land and wealth.

Jesus responds with ‘anthropos’, translated by my Bible as ‘man’, although the Greek word can mean either man or woman. 

Just as Jesus rebuked Martha for focusing on cooking and serving dinner, our Lord here points out to the complaining brother that life isn’t about collecting riches or ‘stuff’.  Jesus suggests a better way in verse 21:  Man, don’t be rich for yourself; instead, be rich toward God, by offering Him your abundance.

Likewise, I can picture Him gently reproving Martha in a similar fashion: Martha, don’t do your household tasks for yourself, do them for God, to please Him!


“Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered?” Luke 13:2 NLT

I was telling a non-Christian friend about a woman I had recently who had suffered trauma in the past two years: the sudden death of her husband, a double mastectomy and now she was facing more cancer.  My friend reacted with a rhetorical question, but one you hear a lot these days: “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people!”

This sentiment is the opposite of that held by those in Jesus’ day and even earlier. (Consider Job’s friends.) Furthermore, because of God’s Law handed down through Moses, people reasoned differently: “All this bad stuff happened; ‘they’ must have sinned!”

In either case, whether one hails from the western world in the 21st century or from Jesus’ day and earlier, the conclusion is the same: Good people deserve favorable circumstances.

Jesus responds in the next verse, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!” Luke 16:3 ESV

There are no good people, by nature.

Are you weary of thinking about yourself or the world?

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Last night I was reading Vaneetha Risner’s latest book Walking through Fire.  One comment she made stayed with me through this morning.  She sensed God say to her, “It’s not about you.”

So often I flit between three emotional sinkholes (they don’t get me anywhere):

  • evaluating what will make me content
  • wondering if what I am doing is the best use of my time
  • pondering whether someone I care about is saved since I don’t see much ‘fruit’

All three keep me locked up thinking about me or others. When all along it’s not about me, but about God.

The only solution is to focus on Him and trust His plans.

I offer these two short devotions from my daily writing.


For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed… he has done great things for me. Luke 1:48-49 NLT

Usually, I boast about my accomplishments in order to impress others.  But sweet little Mary, all of 14 or 15 years old, doesn’t.

I can imagine her marveling at how God noticed her, she a ‘nothing special’ among many other rural backwater Hebrews. To boot, she’s a young girl in a patriarchal society, with no status at all. The fact that God singles her out, sends a mighty angel to speak personally to her, announcing an unimaginable future must have stunned her.

She proclaims her future fame as an insignificant participant in God’s story by bursting into praise for how people will one day make a big deal over her.  Not for anything she has done. It’s all about the Almighty and the great things He has done for her.

Has done’. She knows that Gabriel’s announced future event is already recorded in God’s history book.


…Don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. 1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT

Sometimes I feel discouraged about the few changes I see in the lives of those for whom I care.  I’m thinking particularly of believers, in whose patterns of daily living I would like to see more Christlikeness.  They view me the same way, no doubt. 

This exhortation from Paul should relieve us greatly. The story is not over! Do you remember Polaroid cameras?  A simple click and a picture would emerge.  Someone, something caught for an instant.  That is how our evaluations are; we base them on ephemeral snapshots.  We use too little information each time we draw a conclusion.

Not only is this way of thinking not based on God’s reality, it is sin. I defame someone when I make a negative judgment formed from one of those earlier captured moments.

Today’s scripture both rebukes me AND encourages me.  I can leave the judging to God who sees all, and keep on praying in faith.

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