Message: In the Hard Times

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Have hope

Be you hopeful

Have peace

Be you peaceful

(But what if

There is no hope?

What if

There is no peace?)


14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.

Have grace

Be you graceful

Have life

Be you living to the full

(But what if

There is only anger?

What if

There is so much death?)


17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Have truth

Be you truthful

Have spirit

Be you full of Him

(Even when

There are lies?

Even when

Christ is despised?)

20 On the contrary:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21


Where is the LORD?

Where is the LORD?


When no one is there

To help me through

When all are silent

And liars too

When there is anger

Deep in my heart—

Where are You?

Where have You gone?


When there is deep anguish

Inside of me

And I despise the task

In front of me

But my love for these people

Makes me feel guilty inside—

What should I do?

What shall I decide?—

When all is clouded

And I just want to hide—

Where are You, LORD?

What is good in Your sight?


Awake, my soul,

Stop your distress

The LORD is working here

Here, in the midst of this mess

Do not hate those who have lied to you

It is not against flesh and blood you war against

Do not let the darkness consume you

And make you blind to His way

He is the LORD and He still reigns

Talk to your brothers

And pray

Look in the Scriptures

And pray

Observe all the paths before you

And pray

The last days are coming



Here is the LORD.


“8By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.  9I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”  10My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  11Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” ~Psalm 42

“10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” ~Ephesians 6

‘1I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”  2So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good.  But my anguish increased; 3my heart grew hot within me.  While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.  5You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.  Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.  6“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.  7“But now, Lord, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.  8Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.”’ ~Psalm 39

The Faithful

I met a young man the other day

Who’s heart was big and his mind bigger

But the world had crushed him

His lack of comradeship  bruised him

And all the sorrows he’d faced

That had in the end made him so bitter

Had blinded him to his need

Helped him believe in a lie


It’s the lie we so willingly believe

As sinners we are never to blame

It’s always the family that never listens

My unappreciative job

It’s the fact that no one notices me

Or my personality

And so I’m never offered love

That’s why I am the way I am

And you can’t blame me

Until my life changes I’ll be miserable

If only

If only

If only


My heart bled for this young man

Who thought the answer was to get a wife

He was so lonely, so hurting

So blinded by the lie

But I knew the truth

I knew what he needed

He needed to confess his sins to Jesus

And let God take the reins

Let God take over

Let God take care of him

He needed the LORD


But did I speak?

Did I say a word of truth?

No, I was too afraid

I was afraid of how silly it would sound

I was afraid of what others might think

And how could I pretend to know

What God wanted to do?

But I knew it, I knew

God wanted me to speak

And when the opportunity left

When he walked away

I felt the shame fill me

I am not part of the faithful


So now I pray for him, this young man

And pray that the next Child will not be afraid

Will not be selfish and keep the truth away

Will not keep away the joy found in the LORD that day

I pray that God will forgive me

Will help me to be faithful to Him

For He forgives

And He is Faithful

And He is my Father

And I want to share Him with others

Let them know this joy of the LORD

I want to share Him

I hope you do too


LORD God in Your mercy

Bring this son of yours home

LORD God in Your mercy

Teach me the way of the Faithful


16For 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. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”~ John 3

26“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.b 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 10

“11Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,

we will also live with him;

12if we endure,

we will also reign with him.

If we disown him,

he will also disown us;

13if we are faithless,

he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.” ~2 Timothy 2

Shekinah: Love

We couldn’t fulfill it

We didn’t fear Him

We refused to remember Him

All He’d done

To have mercy on sinners

We scorned His law

We went our own way

And yet still He had promises

And He promised to fulfill them

For His Name’s sake


Pillar of cloud

Pillar of fire



He humbled Himself

Came as a man

He lived and breathed

And walked among us

He spoke words amazing to us

And we were amazed

And yet we despised Him

We did not believe Him

And so we crucified Him—

If indeed He was God,

Why didn’t He save Himself

From such a shameful death?



The Christ

King of the Jews



He was laid in a rich man’s tomb

The stone was sealed

The guards stood watch

So no trickery would befall his body

And yet the earth shook

The stone rolled away

The guards became as dead men

And the angels did say

“He is not here! He is risen!”

And all the women were amazed

Jesus said “Mary.”

Jesus came into the locked room

Jesus rose up into the heavens

Jesus is alive!


Cloud in the heavens

Took away my Savior



God had mercy because of His love

God humbled Himself because of His love

Christ said nothing because of His love—

He was the sacrifice of love.

Death could not hold Him because of His love

He appeared to many because of His love

He ascended to Heaven because of His love—

He will indeed return.

His Spirit dwells in us now because of His love

How much more ought we to love?

Shekinah, His glory dwelling, is all around us

Indeed in us

Let us love every person we meet

Even if they aren’t so sweet

Remember God…

Sermon on the Mount: Prayer in Secret

5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~Matthew 6


Righteous one,

Pray for me

Pray that

The Son

Might be gracious

To me

And I’ll run

To His Place

And I’ll fall

On my face

Oh pray,

Righteous one

For me.



Righteous one,

I know your prayer

Is the only one

The LORD on high

Will listen to

For you’re too good

To be ignored

You are too good

For this world,

Oh righteous one

Pray for me.

As you stand there

In the wide open place

Pray for me.


Thank God that

I don’t have to be

Known as

The ‘righteous one’

To be heard by Him

Thank God that

I can stay

Right here

And He’ll know

What I say

I know I’m not

Good in any way

I never was til

He entered me

And I cry out now

And say “Forgive me!”

He’s forgiven me.

He has forgiven me.


So I’ll hide in my closet;

Righteous one on the street.

My reward is in Heaven;

Righteous one, yours you’ve already found.

I’ll praise the LORD;

Righteous one you’re so adored!

And I’ll be forgiven ever more;

Oh righteous one, what is it all for?


The LORD weighed them

On His scales

The tax collector

And the Pharisee,

The sinner

And the righteous one.

The LORD heard their prayers

He weighed them in His hands

He dropped the righteous one

For there was no righteousness to be had.

He lifted up

And washed clean in love

The sinner,

Tax collector,

For this one had made Him glad

There was righteousness to be had.


So pray in secret.

So pray to the LORD.

So pray for forgiveness.

Pray in humbleness.

Pray to the Righteous One,

Jesus Christ His Son

For there is no one righteous,

No not one,

Without the Son.

So pray.

“2All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” ~Proverbs 16

“9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” ~Luke 18

“…12those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; 13those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful…” ~Proverbs 30

“15To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” ~Titus 1

Food for Thought: Being Shy

“47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~Matthew 5

I have always been shy, for as long as I can remember. I would listen to people talk but then feel very awkward and uncomfortable if anyone gave me any sort of attention. As a result, I’ve grown up feeling like I would rather avoid as much ‘stranger danger’ contact as possible. If I go for a walk I look down when a car passes or I adjust my route if I see that I might cross paths with another person. I’ve always felt a little guilty about it and sometimes I’ve tried to make the change of smiling and saying ‘hello’, but then I draw back inside, finding the place of being comfortable, lined with flecks of guilt.

Some part of me has always seen my shyness as some kind of sin. I know that it really isn’t, but I treat it like it is anyway. I don’t speak easily to people, how can I share the gospel then? I would rather not look up and smile, how is that showing God’s love? I don’t know what to say in the instant, how does that fit with always being ready to give a reason for the hope I have (1 Peter 3:15)?

And in the past, I would read the end of Matthew 5 and feel guilty about it. “43You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I would read this and somehow always come up with ‘I need to be more outgoing’, because obviously to be perfect like God you need to be able to talk easily and be super friendly, right?

That’s what I used to read whenever I read the passage. But when I reviewed it again for writing the poem for Tuesday’s post, I realized that isn’t what the passage is saying at all. In context, Jesus is talking about friends verses enemies. He’s saying that we need to take notice of others, be kind to them, just as God is kind to us. We are living in a time right now when God is showing mercy to both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’—how much more should we be willing to show mercy? I realize now that God isn’t burdening me to be more outgoing in this passage, but He’s explaining again the calling we have as Christians: that we love one another, just as Jesus said in John 15.

So be encouraged, all you out there that are shy like me. I know that God created all personality types for a reason and He doesn’t despise any of them. But there is a calling we all share: to love one another, good or bad.

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17This is my command: Love each other.” ~John 15

Have a blessed weekend!

Sermon on the Mount: Sun Shining

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~Matthew 5

Today I see sunshine

Is it shining on you?

Are we both being so perfect

That it’s shining down?

I see that sinner—

It must be raining above


And I am afraid

To say anything to him


It might start raining

It might start raining

On me


It’s storming outside

Is it storming by you?

Have we both angered God

To cause these torrents of dew?

I see that righteous one—

It must be sunny above


And I want to speak

To gain forgiveness from him


Please stop it raining

Please stop it raining

On me


Shake your head

At me

Tell me to read

God’s Word

Shake your head

At me

Please rebuke me by

God’s Word


It was shining sunlight

Over Job’s head

And yet the sky

Turned blood red

What had he done?

What could he do?

God shines on sinners

And rains on the chosen few


Did you know that?

Did I know that?


It was shining sunlight

On me, a sinner

And God in His kindness

Rained down tears

On me

I rained down tears

Of repentance

And now I am called

To shine on those all around

Just as God does on me

To be kind and graceful

Towards everyone I see


I hope the sun shines

The sun shines on you


“16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~Hebrews 4

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” ~Luke 6

“30But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’

31Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”~ Luke 5

“1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” ~Psalm 1

“1In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East…

“6One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’

“Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.’

“8Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’

9’Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. 10’Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

“12The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’

“Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” ~Job 1

Sermon on the Mount: Show Mercy

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” ~Matthew 5

I deserve so much

So much pain and fear

I sent it on

To terrorize here

I saw the pain in your eyes

When I accused, when I lied

I saw the fear shaking you

When I threatened to

Ruin you


I deserve no mercy

I deserve nothing really

I deserve no harmony

I deserve punishment fully


I’ve tried to

Justify my wicked acts

I remember when you

Hurt me over and over again

I felt like I was slapped on the cheek

I wanted to bite that hand

I remember when I was accused falsely

Made to repay what wasn’t my wrong

I had to give what didn’t belong

To you


You deserved no mercy

You deserved nothing really

You deserved no harmony

You deserved punishment fully


Perhaps all of this is true

Perhaps punishment is due

But in the end does revenge

Accomplish anything really?

In the end

What do we have left?

Is it better

To suffer for being

Wicked or good?

Is it better

To show you

Mercy or justice?

Is it better

To act now or wait for

The Righteous One

To act later?

Because truly


We deserve no mercy

He owes us nothing really

We deserve no harmony

He owes us punishment fully


But the Lord

He doesn’t want to give

That punishment

He will give it even so

For He is Holy

But He offers mercy


To the one who repents right now

And turns from wickedness fully

And I hope I have done so

And will continue to hold on

To His mercy seat

And that means I owe

I must do this

Show you love

Show it no matter what

And I hope you will forgive me

When I fail



He has shown mercy

He has given everything really

He has shown harmony

He has forgiven fully


“14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” ~Matthew 6

“Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.” ~Proverbs 20:22

“19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22’He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’

23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” ~1 Peter 2

“29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~Ephesians 4

“28Do not testify against your neighbor without cause— would you use your lips to mislead? 29Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” ~Proverbs 24

Sermon on the Mount: Honesty

33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” ~Matthew 5

What good

Can the tongue bring?

That thing

Set ablaze with fire?


Perhaps it wields


It surely reveals

The heart

It is desperately evil

I boast of it

Every day

When things are easy

I promise it

And when it’s time

I struggle to obey


I remember Jephthah

A mighty man of God

Chosen to lead

Israel in battle

But he didn’t fully trust

God would help him through

So he easily made a vow

To sacrifice what came out

Of his home on his victorious return

And what should it be?

His only child

His only daughter

And he was bound to obey

His tongue had shackled him

To obey


If you make a vow

To God

Keep it

But is better not to do at all

Be honest in all you say

And you won’t be condemned

On that last day

Surely we will have to give an account

Even for the empty words we said

Can you remember any of those words

You said? I can’t.

Fall at God’s feet for mercy

Yearn for the good fruit of truth

And say only what you mean

For by it you will be acquitted

Speak always as to the Lord.

Speak always as to the Lord.


“12Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.” ~James 5


33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” ~Matthew 12


“5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” ~James 3


“21If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.” ~Deuteronomy 23


“29Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.’

“32Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

“34When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, ‘Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.’

36’My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.’

38”’You may go,’ he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.” ~Judges 11

Food For Thought: Let it be

“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” ~Daniel 11:35

I woke up this morning still feeling groggy.  All I could think about was getting some things done that I knew should get done.  And so I walked downstairs, trying to wake up enough to start doing them.

That’s when I encountered a family member, equally as determined to get things done, and so focused was he that he was getting flustered by anything hindering him.

His inward annoyance started rubbing off on me and so I didn’t want to be faced with him anymore.  I decided to just take a shower while he was off doing something.

Turns out he wanted the bathroom first.

As I hurried taking my shower, I felt angry thoughts flying through my head, convincing myself that he was being ridiculous and unfair.  I got out within five minutes, irritable.  I made my way upstairs– and then I let myself go in a torrent of tears, sick of the heavy burden anger had laid on me.  I knew I was being selfish, that I shouldn’t be placing blame on him.  I knew it was all just a big misunderstanding.  I read Daniel 11 at random, and the above passage really stuck out to me.  The appointed time will happen.  It reminded me that God has an agenda.  That He means all things for the good of those who love Him.

My sister later came to make sure I was alright.  She said that he was in a better mood now and I should try to keep him that way, not be mad at him anymore.  And what was my first thought? No one tried to keep me in a good mood.  I instantly regretted the selfish thought.

The truth of the matter is, things sometimes happen.  Sometimes two people’s plans collide, butting heads instead of uplifting each other.  Sometimes the sky is gloomy outside instead of blue.  Sometimes it’s too hot or too cold.  Sometimes you realize just how ugly the world is that you live in.

The real question is, are you going to blame others or circumstances for your negative mood?  Or are you going to say, “Despite this I’m not going to be mad.”  Are you going to go at it alone in self pity, or are you going to dive in holding the hand of family, friends, and God?  Are you going to go out in selfishness and hatred, or love and mercy?

In the end all we can really say is, “God, let Your will be done.  Let it be.”  Because even if we don’t, it’ll happen anyway.


“13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” ~Philippians 2

“6For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  7He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  9Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.  10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  11Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” ~Proverbs 2

“5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9