The Best of Us

July has been a rough month for my family.  Within a week or two of the month starting, my husband was required to start commuting an increased distance to his job. And when you’re asked to start doing something for your job, you’d better be prepared to do it if you want to keep said job. We were talking about this the other day. When he was still commuting to his job locally, he was gone from our home eight and a half hours a day. He lived close enough to work where he could come home for lunch and have a semblance of a life with me and our children in the evenings. Now, he is gone from our home eleven hours a day. This includes a one hour commute each way as well as the actual  eight hours working and the one hour he takes for a lunch break. As you can imagine, when he gets home now, he is tired, and he is not able to spend much time with us, at least during the week, because of that fatigue.

Now, this is not going to be a ‘bash your husband’ post or a ‘bash your husband’s work’ post. I am so grateful he is making this sacrifice for us, and I know he feels guilty we are no longer getting the best of him.  No, this post is going to talk about something different.  When we, as Christians, think about our relationship with God, what is God actually getting from us in terms of said relationship?  I’m not talking about church or doing things at church although that is a part of the relationship. I’m talking about our prayers, the time that we talk to God, and our study of Scripture.  Does God receive the best of us when we are talking to Him?  Does God receive the best of us when we are studying Scripture? Is He our first thought when we get up each day?  Or, do we give Him the last parts of our day when we are tired and before we go to bed?

I’m not going to pretend perfection on this. There have been many times when I have not given my best to God – when my prayers, when my study have just been items to check off a list and go on to something else that I consider vitally important to get done.  But, that is not what God wants from us.  He wants the best of us.  He wants us to rely on Him for counsel, to depend on Him for comfort, and to completely and utterly trust in His goodness.  There are many Scriptures that talk about this. I think I will quote just one of my favorites.

From Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

This is my goal, and I hope yours as well.

God’s blessings on you all today!


First Corinthians 13 in the Scriptures is known as the love chapter as the love is the main subject. Several verses in this chapter of my Bible are highlighted because they are verses I wish to keep in my heart. Love, however, is not the subject I am covering today. The final verse of the chapter, Verse 13, says this, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  I’ve covered love and faith in previous posts so that only leaves hope which I am going to cover today.

There are a few different definitions of hope in the dictionary, but this is the one I feel is most relevant to the discussion.  “A  feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

Hope is spoken of many times in the Bible. Here are just a few examples. Romans 8:24 – 25 says, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  Second Corinthians 3:12 says, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” And finally back in Romans 5, the first five verses are a combination of faith, hope, and love, and I think an integral part of the Christian faith. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

So, what does hope have to do with all of this, and what does it mean for the Christian today? Back in the first days of the Christian faith, it was spread by the disciples who had lived with Him, who had walked with Him, and who had seen His resurrection. They had a very powerful testimony because they had actually heard what Jesus had said. Jesus, however, had not given any indication of when He would return so that is where the faith and hope come in. I know you all have things you hope for as do I.  I hope for good things for my children; I hope there’s not a lot of traffic on the road when I go to church tonight; I hope I win the lottery. (just kidding, lol) I say that though to make the point that many of the things we hope for end up not coming true.  But, our hope in Jesus, that is one hope you can always count on.

God’s blessings to you all today!


Without Saying a Word

There are times we can be an example for God without saying a word. These examples can be good or bad, and something we, as Christians, need to remember when we are out in public.  So, how can we be an example for God without saying a word? The biggest way to do so would be to have some sort of Christian symbol either on your person, like with a shirt or piece of jewelry or to have it on your car, like a bumper sticker. People tend to have expectations of how Christians should behave, and when they behave according to those expectations, the example for God is a good one.

What about when the symbols seen on a person and the behavior of that same person conflicts? I know there have been times when I’ve displayed behavior that has not been a good example while wearing my cross. That’s never a good thing for a non-Christian to see, and I regret every instance I’ve not been a good example.

In my earlier years, I didn’t understand that Christians weren’t supposed to be perfect. I thought that once saved, we would always behave the way God wanted us to behave.  That is not true, not by a long shot. I know now that we are all sinners saved by grace, and we will make mistakes. Now, it doesn’t mean Christians are allowed to behave however they want. Since we are saved by grace, I believe we need to pay even closer attention to how we are behaving in public, especially when we are wearing Christian symbols. And if we behave badly, we should ask for forgiveness.

Today, God, I ask that you help me be an example for you even when I don’t say a word.

God’s blessings on you all today.

Investing in Other People's Lives

I was part of an interesting discussion yesterday at church. I’m sure those of you who are Christians probably had interesting discussions as well, but this one was one that led me to my topic for today. It was during Bible class. The purpose of the small groups we had been divided into was to talk about ways we could reach out in Jesus’ name to the community around us.  Some traditional ideas were proposed, and it turns out they were proposed in each group which tells you they had been done many times before. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them. It just means they had been done before. I won’t mention all of them, but I think it is important to mention two. One idea was to help the widows and orphans in our church. James 1:27 specifically calls for Christians to do so, and a shepherd in our church had been passionate about this before his death earlier this year. The other was to expand upon a project we had done earlier in the year when we had collected food items for a school where one of the members taught. It was suggested that we collect school supplies since it is almost time for school to start.

Now, let me make one thing clear before I go any further. Both of those ideas as well as the others suggested were great ideas.  An idea, however, was suggested in our group that takes those thoughts one step further.  The idea was to find a family in our church and a family in the community to help on a long-term basis, not just on one specific occasion.  Many times Christians feel like if they collect things at Thanksgiving or at Christmas or when school starts, they have done their duty, done what Jesus has called them to do and retreat back into their churches.

But, that’s not what Jesus has called us to do. He has called us to live in community and help each other. Living in community is not something that happens on a one-time basis. It happens on an ongoing basis. It happens when we establish relationships, when we get our hands dirty with something we might not want to do, when we sacrifice ourselves and become the hands and feet of Jesus. For this is what Jesus did. He sacrificed himself during his earthly ministry, not just by his death on the cross although that was most certainly a sacrifice.  Now, you might ask how He sacrificed himself. I mean, wasn’t He the Son of God? Of course, He was and is. But, He was also totally human. He got tired; He got irritated; He was familiar with the prejudices of the Jewish people. He helped people anyway though. He fed the 5000; He helped the Samaritan woman; and He came to the disciples during the storm.  Many more instances are recorded in Scripture.

Is it possible to do that nowadays though? With the independent spirit that many of us who are Christians have, especially in the United States, it’s hard to knock down the shields we have surrounding us. But, in answer to my question, yes, it is possible. It just takes commitment and purpose.  How do I know it is possible? I know because someone invested and continues to invest themselves in my life.  This person and many others who have formed relationships with me in the past year are precious to me. I hope I bless them as much as they have blessed me, and my prayer is that I strive to be just like them as I do what Jesus has called me to do by investing myself in other people’s lives.

Philippians 1:3-5 says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.”

God’s blessings on all of you today!


Over the last few days, I’ve had several instances where faith was an important thing to have so I thought I would explore it from a Christian perspective. The verses from Scripture that most exemplify faith for me are in Hebrews 11. Verse 1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Here is what Verse 3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.” Finally, Verse 6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So, what is faith? Here is the dictionary definition.  “Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, view, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It can also be defined as belief that is not based on proof as well as confidence based on some degree of warrant.”

I have heard and read many times how there are some people who cannot have faith in a deity they cannot see.  And that is true.  You cannot see God. But that doesn’t mean those same people don’t have any faith.  They have faith the lights in their homes are going to come on in the morning. They have faith they will be able to make phone calls and access the Internet. They have faith they will be able to access their money in the bank.  And I could go on and on, but you get the point. But, then people would try to make the argument those are things you can see.  I could expound upon that and ask if the person knew those things would all happen each day.  Of course, the answer would be no, because you really don’t know they will happen.

So, if people could have faith in all those other things, they could also have faith in a deity they couldn’t see. They just choose not to.  You see, faith is a choice. It’s not always the easiest choice, and it hasn’t been easy for me this week.  But, the God I believe in is a big God, and I choose to have faith in Him!

God’s blessings on you today!


Galatians 5:6 says, ” For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

This verse, along with several others,  was part of my minister’s sermon this past Sunday. While the sermon itself was wonderful, I am not planning to repeat any thoughts from it. Instead, I want to focus on the second part of this verse. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” If more Christians would look at this verse and only this verse when living out their faith, the world would be a much better place.

What kinds of things would change? One, I believe, would be a major game changer. If we just showed Jesus’s love to everyone and quit trying to judge their sin as being worse than ours, those who are not Christians would be more willing to hear about who Jesus actually was. What a radical idea! Showing love!  Why do you suppose people who claim Christ are not willing to do that?  I’m pretty sure it’s because we have a problem with accepting God’s grace. God’s grace is radical, like I’ve said before. We think we need to do something to gain it when we don’t.

But, God considers love to be just as important as grace. There are many examples in Scripture. I will state some of them.  From John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”  Another comes from a verse earlier in that chapter, John 15:9. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.”  There is one in 1 John 4:10. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  One of my favorites is in 1 Corinthians 13:4. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”  Here is another one that I think is relevant to how Christians are supposed to live in this world – 1 Corinthians 16:14. “Do everything in love.” And finally, the most important verse in the Christian faith, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So, for Christians, God loves us and wants us to show that love to others. Is that something we should just read in Scripture and forget about? No, of course not!  We should try to find tangible ways to express that love even if it is just being there to be a shoulder to cry on or pray with.

God’s blessings on you today!

Trusting God

There are many passages in Scripture about trusting God and probably just as many thoughts from prominent Christians about trusting God. And, if that wasn’t enough, there are people who ascribe to the “prosperity Gospel”, which says, in and of itself, that if we pray hard enough, God will give us “riches” to enjoy on this earth. Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way before I start. I do not believe in that kind of Gospel. You could say the opposite thing about people who are poor and say they are poor because they haven’t prayed hard enough.  That is not true and perverts what God says in Scripture!

But, my post today is not about money although it might seem like it. No, it’s about trusting God to provide. In modern-day society, especially American society, we are taught to save for the future using things like savings accounts, retirement, insurance, and any other product you can think of that relates to this. Now, I’m not saying anything bad about any of these things. They are all good things to have. I do think though they might interfere with us trusting in God’s provision. Let me explain. In the book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses and Aaron are with the Israelites out in the desert. The Israelites are all concerned they are going to die from hunger and thirst, and they start complaining to their leaders. Moses prays to God about it, and God tells him he will send manna (bread) and quail six days a week. He also gives instructions for them to gather only what they need of the manna for each day on five of those days and then gather double that amount on the sixth day to use for the seventh day.  Did the people listen to God’s instructions?  No,  some of them did not. They tried to save the manna for the next day, and it turned out to be unusable.

Also, on the seventh day, some of them tried to gather manna even though they had already gathered enough the previous day; ignoring God’s instructions that the seventh day was to be a day of rest.  It was just as hard for the Israelites to trust God as it is for some Christians today.

So, you might ask what I’m taking away from this story. I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life that require trust in God’s provision. It’s been hard for me;  especially thinking of what might happen in the future.  Then I realized I was coming at this from the wrong angle. God wants me to trust He will provide for me and my family today and only today. He doesn’t want me to be concerned about the future. He just wants me to trust Him today. And, I figured out something else too.  If I trust Him today and leave any concerns I have at His feet, then I will have the energy to do what He wants me to do.

God’s blessings on you today!


A funny thing happened as I decided what I would post about today. I looked at the calendar and saw what the date was. Now, that might not seem important to many of you, but it was to me.  For today’s date is my twentieth wedding anniversary. Wow, twenty years! In many ways, the time has passed by like lightning, and in others, very slowly. So, when I saw the date, my topic was easy. As the title states, I’m going to talk about commitment.

Commitment is an important part of a wedding ceremony.  The vows men and women say to each other imply this,  and there is a societal expectation that the commitment made at this ceremony will be long-lasting. This is seen by the traditional vows used by many couples. “I, (name), take you, (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” (wording found on “Death do us part.” The implication of commitment can certainly be seen by those final words.

Nowadays, though it’s hard to be committed to anything in our society.  The messages received from the media state that it’s ok to move to the next chapter when things get difficult. This is not only witnessed towards marriage, but towards any other thing that would be important to maintain a commitment to. Why do you suppose that is?  Well, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, commitment is hard. I mentioned in the first paragraph that my twentieth wedding anniversary is today.  Has it all been tulips and roses? No. I have spent more time in hospitals than you can possibly count. I have experienced deaths of friends and family members. I have experienced financial hardship. I have moved several times and experienced more change than I could have thought of twenty years ago. I mean, I really didn’t expect I would be living in Birmingham, Alabama now, on my twentieth wedding anniversary.

I’m betting your next question is why have I stayed. I meant what I said twenty years ago. I’m not one to drop things lightly. I do my best to stay committed to the things I say I’ll do.  Most importantly though, I made my commitment in the sight of God, and that is why I will keep it!

God’s blessings on you today!

Praising God in the Storm

This has been a hard thing for me in my walk with God, and I think a lot of it has to do with the way Christians are taught in the United States. Those of us who live here know that we are an individualistic, performance-based society. That makes it hard to ask for help when we need it or to even ask for a listening ear. Of course, it comes from the other side as well. We, as Christians, need to be willing to help others or provide that listening ear.  Scripture is replete with many examples of Jesus ministering to others and praying for others, and He wants us to do the same.

So, how do we praise God in the storms of life? First and foremost, I believe it is a conscious choice. Every day I wake up with a choice to make whether to let my burdens overwhelm me to the point of despair or to praise God despite my burdens. That doesn’t mean the burdens are ignored. It just means the burdens are left in God’s hands, and our hearts are lighter. A funny thing happened as I was writing these last few sentences. I turned on my phone to play some Christian music. Those of you who have iPhones are familiar with the shuffle button. I pressed it, and you will never guess what song came up first. If you guessed Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns, you would be right. I think it’s neat that God sends messages through the smallest things.

Second, it helps to have others carrying and praying for your burdens which means you need to be willing to share them. Now, that is a very hard thing because it means making yourself vulnerable to rejection. There have been many times where I’ve felt rejected when I’ve shared something, even with people who claim Christianity.  I believe that’s where God gives us courage though (divine courage, as someone recently told me). It’s not between being afraid and not being afraid. It’s being afraid and allowing God to carry us anyway.  It’s being afraid and praising God anyway. It’s letting God work through us, our fragile human selves, anyway.

It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, and I will probably be figuring it out until the day I die. But, I will still praise God every chance I get, even in the storm.

God’s blessings on you today.

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day in the United States–the day that this country declared independence from England two hundred and thirty-eight years ago. Many people will spend today going to barbecues, watching fireworks displays, or spending time with family and friends. All of these are good activities, and I hope everyone has an opportunity to relax at some point during this national holiday.

I had some thoughts though about how a person of faith might relate to this holiday. Is a Christian truly independent and only relying on himself? If you think about it in this fashion, the answer should really be no.  Spending time on my knees every day in prayer and relying on God for His counsel on how to live my life is paramount in directing my days as a woman of faith. Is this something I am perfect at? No, not a chance. I fail at some point every single day and have to ask God for His forgiveness. Isn’t that the point of grace though? To be able to ask for forgiveness and know that God is right there waiting for His children to come home. The verses at the top of this page certainly illustrate that, and there are many more where those came from in the Bible.

So, on this day, on Independence Day, I will be spending time on my knees praying to God to direct my life and praying for my nation,  for those who are people of faith and for those who are not.

God’s blessings to you today!