Thursday, November 10, 2016

Five Daily Gifts

if there is 
any encouragement in Christ, 
if there is 
any consolation of love, 
if there is 
any fellowship of the Spirit, 
if any affection and compassion,   Philippians 2:1 | NASB

Five amazing gifts have been offered here:  encouragement, consolation, fellowship, affection, and compassion.

Consolation is defined in Webster as: something that makes a person feel less sadness, disappointment, etc.

So all five of these gifts, freely offered from the Lord, are ours for the taking, but we need recognize them and be willing to receive them from Him.

Do we truly recognize the way in which the Lord has given these to us on a regular basis? I think we get so caught up in our day that we miss these daily gifts. How do we begin to open our hearts to recognize them?

1) Decide to look for them every day
2) Keep a journal of them
3) Place sticky notes around reminding ourselves to look for them

Thursday, November 3, 2016


For it is only right 
for me 
to feel this way about you all, 
because I have you in my heart, 
since both in my imprisonment 
and in the defense 
and confirmation of the gospel, 
you all are partakers of grace with me.   Philippians 1:7 | NASB

     It makes sense to Paul to feel the way he feels about the Philippians, because they have proven themselves as brothers and sisters. They have been with him during his freedom, his imprisonment, and have worked in his defense.
     Who comes to mind that brings tenderness to the heart because of their faithfulness?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

His Work in Us

For I am confident 
of this very thing, 
that He 
who began a good work in you 
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:6 | NASB

     The work of Christ in us was sparked by the Heavenly Father. He created us, knew us, and when our hearts were ready to properly respond, He brought into our lives the flame that would ignite a desire for Him. We choose how to respond to the spark and when we say yes, the Lord runs with it! 
     On those days when we royally mess up, repentance opens the door for the Lord to flood His grace and mercy over us. His transformation in us breathes life into every part of our hearts and lives.
    We must never give up, when we sin. Our hatred of sin and surrender to the Lord are evidence of His work taking root in our lives. We cooperate with His work when we honestly face those sinful areas in our thoughts, words, and actions that dishonor others and our Savior and seek His forgiveness.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


in view 
of your participation 
in the gospel 
from the first day 
until now.   Philippians 1:5 | NASB

     Paul is grateful for the heart of the Philippians who participated in the gospel on a continual basis. We need to not only be known as people who know the Words of Jesus but those who put it to practice. All around us are people who are dying without ever meeting Jesus. 
     What would Paul say about our participation in the gospel if he met us?

Monday, August 29, 2016


offering prayer 
with joy 
in my every prayer 
for you all,   Philippians 1:4 | NASB

     "Always" is a high expectation but something Paul encourages the Philippians about in regards to his goal for them in prayer. His heart desire is to always be offering a prayer for them. He wants them to know he prays for them.
     What does it do for your spirit when someone not only says they will pray for you, but you actually know they are doing it?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Question?

my God 
in all 
my remembrance 
of you.  Philippians 1:3 | NASB

     As Paul thinks about the saints in Philippi, he is grateful.  These saints have earned his respect. As we continue our reading through the book of Philippians, we discover the reasons Paul feels this way, but for now these few but powerful words stimulate one question. Do our words and actions stir others to gratitude?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grace and Peace at a Glance

to you 
and peace 
from God our Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:2 | NASB

     Paul begins his letter with the Heavenly Father and Jesus' offer of grace and peace. In a fallen world where so much pain resides around us, we all need His grace and peace.
     Grace is an undeserved and unearned gift freely offered for all. It's bestowed on us from the One who knew us from before time began. The Father and Son withhold it from none who truly seek after it.
     Peace is the assurance of a relationship with our Creator who made us for fellowship with Him and one another. It means the enmity that once existed between us due to our sin has been removed because of what the Father provided through Jesus. It's about reconciliation and restoration.
     Grace and peace, gifts, free and ready for all to receive.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Leave With Grace and Kindness

I recently handed in my resignation at my job. With it, I sat down with my manager and supervisor and gave them an explanation as to the reason this place of employment was no longer a good fit for me. I honestly but kindly voiced the areas that caused me concern and the reasons that I no longer felt comfortable working there. 

During my three years of employment I've sat down with the leadership within and without my branch many times to discuss my issues with the way things were being done. Sometimes it resulted in the necessary changes or a compromise that was best for everyone. Other times the only adjustment necessary was with me and my attitude.

I made sure whenever I talked about my issues, I didn't degrade the person, even though I strongly disagreed with their methods in doing the job. I always treated my co-workers with kindness and respect even when no compromise took place.

When it came time to leave, I didn't butter my resignation with "God's leading" me away. The truth is, rarely will anyone seek a new place of employment when they love their present one. Dissatisfaction with the job or workplace causes one to look for something new. 

Yes, I believe the Lord provided my new job, and it will be a better fit for me. Yet, I left because I wasn't happy there, and I accept full responsibility for my lack of contentment. I displayed honor in my explanation of my decision, and when I left I did it without burning any bridges in my relationships with the people there.

Honestly, it breaks my heart as a pastor's wife when the same consideration and kindness doesn't take place within our places of ministry. I understand the need for some to leave and seek a ministry they feel may better fit their preferences. What hurts is the way most choose to do it. 

Some leave without ever voicing what they are unhappy about to my husband, and others voice their struggles but eventually leave. The decision to seek a different ministry is not the issue as much as what is done in the process of leaving or after they leave. Both groups described above, usually leave and proceeded to speak unkind words to others about my husband's personality, education, methods, and/or talents. Rarely do we hear they have complained about his theology or doctrine.

I myself fell prey to this sin when it came to my problems with my job, and then the Lord reminded me that voicing my complaint about others behind their back dishonored Him. He showed me that if I was unable to work out my differences with others face-to-face, He wanted me keep my words to myself and choose to disagree in an agreeable and kind manner toward them and when speaking about them. I realized since I was the one uncomfortable with the way things were being done at my job, I needed to seek employment that better fit my needs and preferences.

People have never told my husband they were leaving, because they didn't feel it was a good fit for them anymore. Instead they have given false excuses while telling others the real reason. Others buried my husband alive in their cruel and angry words before leaving.

My husband's conclusion after multiple exit interviews like these over the years was to no longer seek doing one with those who don't ask for it. He lets people leave without providing them with an opportunity to sin against him. The church is a voluntary place to serve and everyone has a right to stay or go. May we always choose to make our decisions in a way that honors the Lord and others at all times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ruffle Me Feathers

     My panties are definitely bunched in a wad. I accidentally and carelessly backed my Lacrosse into someone's car parked in my driveway, and my husband’s silence unraveled my emotional securityDespite the minimal damage to both vehicles and no one being injured by the incident,the claim increased our insurance’s monthly premium by 20%.
    I understand the reason my husband lacked words for me. Unfortunately I'm prone to these types of incidents when I'm behind schedule or rushing through a task. I don't intend to damageproperty or even hurt the feelings of others when I'm in a hurry or preoccupied. 
    In fact, I beat myself up when I realize the consequences of my actions. It really irritates meeven more that I can't undo it either. I desperately wish when we took responsibility for our actions and sought restoration that it instantly made a permanent erasure of the entire occurrence.
    Since the elimination of my mishap was impossible, I thought about it all the way to work the following day. I found myself mostly wallowing in the sorrow over my husband's irritation with me. As I prayed through my disappointed feelings with his response, I discovered how easily I let others responses affect my mood. 
    Suddenly the Lord brought to mind Ephesians 2:10 (NASB), a verse I read that morning. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” As I cried out to the Lord with my frustrations, He popped aspecific application into my thoughtsIn that moment I realized the good work the Lord prepared beforehand” for me to learn was to not let others choices steal my joy and peace.
    I must admit. Despite how easily those words flow on to paper, their application to everyday living presented a challenge to me. Even as I meditated on the Lord's desire for my walk, I knew without a doubt that the task in front of me would be a moment-by-moment challenge of obedience. 
    The reality of life is that we all face days when we find ourselves bombarded withopportunities to respond to others who ignore us, speak rudely to us, or blame us for their poor attitudes and actions. Outwardly we may appear to have responded correctly to them, but inside we may be seething. It requires every ounce of self-control to muster up a desperate prayer to the Lord, seal our lips, and avoid blurting out our real thoughts or reactions.
    However, we experience tremendous freedom as we trust the Lord to enable us to remain obedient in our thoughts. We also discover how uncomplicated our lives become for us, when we learn to eat humble pie and fight the battles in our heads in silence. It’s easier to face the Lord with our sinful thoughts than working out issues with others injured by our hurtful words and actions.
    As I reflected on my husband’s response, the Lord showed me that sometimes the “good work prepared” for me is acceptance of the gift of silence. My husband understood the way I personally beat myself up for my carelessness and didn’t wish to add to my pain with hurtful words. In those moments on my drive to work, I chose to receive my husband’s gift with joy and peace.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Seeing His Heart for Others

I noticed through my office window, a customer leaving her home. A thought ran through my mind that I wish I could talk to her about my book. I knew the Lord would need to make it happen, because this customer usually only comes to our drive-up window.  

I went on with my work forgetting all about my random thought. An hour passed when suddenly that same customer walked into our branch. The services she needed required me taking her into my office where I kept a supply of my books.

I instantly told her that when I saw her earlier I felt a desire to show her my book.  She read the back cover, asked to purchase it, and informed me she just got back from the doctor's office with a depression diagnosis.

We both agreed that the Lord winked and provided me with the resources to give a story of hope and healing to her.  I love when the Lord uses me and my past to help others.

Do you follow the leading of the Lord when He lays it on your heart to do something?