Originally Published:  2-22-2017

Forgiveness can be very hard.  We feel deeply the injustices perpetrated against us.  These feelings drive us to hang on to the injustice rather than to forgive the offender.  The results of not forgiving are grudges, bitterness, hatred, a miserable attitude and a lack of joy.  This affects our relationships not only with the one we haven’t forgiven, but with others as well.  Above all that, our relationship with God is affected because of our disobedience.  He calls us to forgive others but we have our excuses and we stick to them.


This is one of the first complete sentences a child will utter.  We are born with a sense of fairness.  We don’t like it if we are commanded to forgive someone who in our opinion, doesn’t deserve it.  After all we are right and they are wrong!  The truth is life is not fair.  This world is sin-cursed and people are born sinners.  These two produce injustice.  As Followers of Christ we are called to live in this world while trusting God with our lives.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5  When someone isn’t fair to us we need to trust God instead of looking to ourselves for the answers.  We are to forgive.


We nurse our hurts sometimes just like we would a baby.  “It’s my hurt…don’t touch it!  Don’t take it away from me!” It becomes part of our identity. But this is not truth.  As Followers of Christ, our identity is in Him.  We are not to be known by our hurt.  When we refuse to forgive someone because it hurts, we are not remembering how we have been forgiven.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32  The only way to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving is to first remember God’s forgiveness given to us in Christ.  Yes, it may hurt; but to not forgive will hurt us even more.  We need grace to overcome the hurt and forgive.  God will give us that grace.  “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16  We are to forgive.


There is so much fear in this statement.  We think we can hold onto control by not forgiving, and keep the fish on the hook, so to speak.  We have to remember that it’s not our job to punish the offending person.  Our forgiveness is to be in direct proportion to the amount we have been forgiven.  As followers of Christ we have been forgiven all.  Do we think sin is okay because God has forgiven us?  NO!  Our responsibility is to be obedient to forgive and trust God with the other person.  The other person’s sin is not our fault.  We are not to harbor unforgiveness because of fear.  “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  Mark 11:25  We are to forgive in prayer and in our hearts even before the person asks for the forgiveness.  If we don’t then we are putting up a blocker in our relationship with God.  The blocker is a grudge against someone resulting in bitterness.  When we are bitter, the grace of God is blocked in our lives.  We are to forgive.


It’s unlikely we will forget a wrong done against us.  We will forget something like what to pick up at the store or someone’s birthday.  When we are hurt by someone it makes a deep impression on us and we remember.  “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  Hebrews 8:12  Does this mean that God forgets our sin?  Absolutely not, He is not forgetful; He refuses to call them to mind.  He promises not to bring them up again.  This is love.  In 1 Corinthians 13:5 we read that love keeps no records of wrongs.  We are not going to forget the wrongs done to us but we are going to choose to love.  This means when we forgive we make a choice to not bring up the sin to the offender or to others or even to ourselves.  We are to forgive.

We’re called to press on in our life with a forgiving heart.  We have been forgiven every sin past, present and future by the blood of Jesus.  This should make a difference in how we live.  We are forgiven!


Originally Published:  2-13-2017

Sin is progressive.  It starts small and then grows bigger and bigger.  When we begin to accept the small sins, then be assured that greater ones are just around the corner.  The problem is we believe the things we tell ourselves concerning the things we do.  We make justifications for our sins or blame others for them.  One of the things we do as we justify ourselves is use the phrase “yeah but”.  This is such a great phrase because it gives the appearance of agreement and yet follows that up with a justification.  Let’s look at some common “yeah buts” we use when it comes to sin.

Yeah but, everybody does it!

This says a lot about where we get our standard for living.  We begin to look to others for our standard instead of God.  Sin is never okay; but when our standard is man, it can look pretty good to us.  As Followers of Christ, we are to seek God’s standard for life from His Word.  We can certainly have role models to follow but they must follow God’s standard.  We are to be God-imitators.  “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1

Yeah but, I’m not hurting anyone.

Sin’s consequences nearly always spill over to others.  For example:  pornography can affect relationships in marriage, driving drunk can cause an accident and death affecting the families involved, or an abortion is the murder of a baby that affects both the mother and father, emotionally and spiritually.  Sin’s consequences can last a lifetime.  We need to check ourselves to see if we have hurt others with our sin.  We need to confess and repent seeking forgiveness from God and those who have suffered because of our sin.  Our lives are about God and others.  “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”  Romans 15:2

Yeah but, no one will ever know.

We may think things like no one can see me, no one knows what I’m thinking or I’m in a different town where I’m not known so it’ll be okay.  We’re only deceiving ourselves when we think like this.  There is nothing hidden from God.  There are not secret sins that we don’t have to be concerned about.  We can’t hide from God.  He is all-knowing, all-seeing and ever present.  He knows about what we do; He sees and He is there with us when we do it.  God wants to reveal our hearts to us to bring about repentance.  He’ll use consequences to do that in our lives.  He wants to bring about repentance in our lives.  Don’t be deceived.  “Your sins will find you out.” Numbers 32:23b

Yeah but, I wouldn’t have sinned if he or she hadn’t made me.

We hate to take responsibility for our sins.  We want it to be someone else’s fault and we make that happen by blame shifting. We shift the blame of our actions onto someone else.  If we always blame others, then we will never change.  When we take responsibility and call sin, sin then there is hope.  We have hope because Jesus died for our sins and there can be forgiveness granted to us.  We get so used to playing the blame game that we never learn or grow.  We just spend our time pointing our finger at someone.  We need to remember that we are to take responsibility of our sin before we can point at someone else.  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” Matthew 7:5

Yeah but, I couldn’t help it, I love him.

Hollywood would have us believe that lust is love.  They are always showing those who fall all over themselves to be together after just looking across a crowded room.  This assumes that we don’t have any self-control.  As a Follower of Christ, I have the Holy Spirit indwelling me who has a gift for my use.  Part of that gift is self-control.  This tells us that we don’t have to sin.  We don’t have to give into feelings of lust.  In the midst of a situation like this one, we need to preach to ourselves instead of listening to our desires.  We need to depend on the Spirit to overcome.  “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7

When we acknowledge sin as sin then we have hope.  There is hope at the foot of the cross of Christ where forgiveness is found.  This forgiveness brings about peace because of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.  We need to check our lives, call sin, sin and then confess and repent of it.




Originally posted 3-13-2017

It’s easy to forget as a follower of Christ how we relate to the world.  Jesus said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16  We don’t belong to the world.  We belong to God but we still have to live in the world.  It’s also easy to think that it’s our job to correct the world.  Correction of the world will come when God sits in judgement over it.  We’re called instead to be witnesses of the truth as we have contact with the world.  One of the places we hit the world head-on is the workplace.  It can be so hard to work among those who don’t share the same beliefs as we do.


We all know who this boss is.  He is the one who wants everything done yesterday with a smile.  He wants things done his way and only his way.  He acts as if he owns you and your time.  This man or woman is not someone we look forward to seeing every day.  This boss is so unreasonable, others know it too, and the conversation at lunch can become a boss-bashing time without any thought at all.  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” 1 Peter 2:18

These verses are a great reminder that our jobs are not about us but are about God.  We are to respect even those who don’t earn it because we are God’s representative to this boss.  We are to abstain from joining in on the boss-bashing at lunch by bringing up something good about the boss.  We need to take some time and seek to understand our boss by watching and listening.  Then we should respond with pleasantness by giving him what he does not deserve.  As a follower of Christ we’re certainly familiar with receiving what we don’t deserve.  If the boss isn’t a follower of Christ, you could be the witness God will use to save him.


This happens when we work in a place where the habits of this world are used as appropriate behavior for business.  For instance in order to network with others in your same business, you may find yourself spending time at a bar.  If you choose not to join in the drinking, you may not be asked out again.  Or maybe someone wants you to take something from the workplace and sees it as no big deal.  When you don’t participate in this activity, you may be talked about or left out of other things that are happening in the office.  If you are left out you can be tempted to have a pity party which can lead to bitterness. If we allow bitterness to take root then the picture of Jesus Christ we should be painting at work will become a scribbled treasure of the immature.  We have to be on guard against our feelings and where they will take us if we allow them.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”           2 Timothy 1:7

God has given us the power through His Spirit to stand firm in the faith in all situations.  Getting to know co-workers and pray for them.  Have our own party or dinner to invite others from work to attend. Be courageous by rising above the crowd and not letting their treatment of us determine our treatment of them.


The people of this world do not live by the Word of God.  They live by their feelings and their desires.  We expect people to live the way we want them to live.  No follower of Christ wants to hear inappropriate language or should she want to use that language.  In a work environment we must remember to be who we are in Christ.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12

We are called to put these characteristics on display; therefore be kind to our co-workers even when they speak inappropriately.  Instead pray for them, change the subject, or speak with positive tone and words.  We must focus on the person, not their words. Have compassion for the lost using the eyes of Christ.  The biggest thing to remember here is God does not need us to defend Him; He needs us to be Jesus to others.

Let’s press on in obedience to God in spite of our work circumstances.  Remember that people should be interested in God because of who we are.    Are you willing to die to your flesh and press on in obedience to God in the workplace so that God will be made known?

READ THIS!…Life with Mom

Originally posted 1-10-2017

My mom lives with frontal lobe dementia disorder.  Sometimes I wonder what she thinks about her days.  They are pretty much the same for her.  She stays in bed for longer periods of time now even into the afternoon.  When I turn her over to get her up she always begins to count the blades on the fan with awe.  She counts a lot.  What’s that about?  It’s always a little different when I seek to interact with her.  Perhaps I shouldn’t call it interacting but more like entering her lack of reality.  God, how can I better love my mom?

Yesterday was no exception.  It was an odd day for her because she was up and busy.  What I mean by that is she was wandering around opening cupboards.  She said she was looking for something but didn’t know what because she didn’t find it.  It sometimes takes me a while to decipher what she is saying.  I watched her reach into the silverware drawer and pull out a spoon.  Then she walked to the back door with it and then she took it and handed it to my dad.  While he was still looking at the spoon, she came back into the kitchen and picked up a bowl of cashews.  She took the cashews to him.  He said, “These are nuts, I don’t need a spoon”.  I wanted him to just say thank you.  She was doing her best to give him something to eat.

After a while she settled down at the kitchen table with a can of Dr. Pepper.  There was a paper towel on the table with which she was playing.  When I came into the kitchen she shoved it over to me and said, “Here read this.  You’re not going to believe it”.  I picked it up and flipped it over a couple of times and assured her that she was right I didn’t believe it.  She shook her head in a knowing fashion as if we shared some secret.  This was hard for me.  There are things that happen which cause me to cry and this was one of them.  God, how can I better love my mom?

Her life is an existence every day.  She exists because God wants her to continue to live and breathe right now.  Some people might think there’s a lesson to be learned by me but really my mom’s life is not about me but about God.  We are all here for Him.  So a better question is, “What can I learn about God as I love and care for my mom?”  This incident with the paper towel brought to mind my forgiveness.  You see when Satan accuses me, I hand him the blank paper towel and say read this!  Jesus has taken all my sins and there is nothing there.  There is nothing to read!  There is nothing to bring about accusation.  That too brings tears to my eyes, tears of gratitude for a Savior who completely and utterly forgives me.

“In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace,”  Ephesians 1:7

You see I love my mom better when I understand my God and His love for me.  I want to see Him on this road.  I want to reflect Him.  I want to honor Him as I seek to honor my mom.  That’s what I want to learn in all of this.

So the next time you feel accused, pick up a paper towel and read it.  Then thank God that it says nothing because Jesus has washed you clean.




Originally posted 10-20-2017

In 1978 Jackson Browne wrote the rock song, “Running on Empty” and it became a number one hit.  People could relate to going through life and not feeling like they had the energy to keep up with what was going on around them.  Reading through the lyrics brings about an understanding of the emotions Browne is trying to relate to his listeners.  The chorus is as follows:

Running on, running on empty…Running on, running blind

            Running on, running into the sun…But I’m running behind.

We have all been there. Maybe you’re there right now.  Life seems to overtake us with its twists, turns and road blocks.  We don’t know which way to turn; making us feel like we’re running with no purpose.  It can also make us feel like all we’re doing is running and we can’t catch up with life.  There’s always something more we have to accomplish or should be accomplishing.  So, how do we approach this as a Follower of Christ?

It may sound simple but we must believe the truth about God, others and ourselves.  Let’s look at four areas we can apply the truth to as we seek to keep going even if we feel like we’re running on empty.

  1. Looking back – We have a tendency to look back on our lives in a couple of ways. We’re either looking back saying “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” or we’re reliving hurts from the past.  These two ways of looking at our past are not helpful to us.  When we do this we are not filling ourselves up in order to run but quite the opposite.  To dwell on past hurts or bad choices we’ve made will only drain energy from us to live for today.  We have to believe the truth about the past.  It may be acceptance of the choices we’ve made and the realization that God has brought us to where we are regardless of those choices.  If our past has hurts in it, we have to evaluate them in truth.  It did happen but it’s not happening now and God has rescued.  We may need to exercise forgiveness even if only from our heart.  The truth is the past doesn’t determine our identity.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”              2 Corinthians 5:17
  2. Survival – There are times in our lives when we feel like if we could only survive another day. We are running but those trials and road blocks keep throwing us off our race as we face things we don’t want to face.  Just another day to be up and going can be a chore as we run and run but can’t seem to accomplish anything.  The dreams we had when we were younger are not happening and we are simply surviving.  What is the truth?  As a Follower of Christ my life is about Him, even the hard parts.  Am I surviving the day to day while focusing on Him?  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21  On the days when we are running on empty, trying to survive, we need to remember God’s goodness to us even when we’re hurting.  He never changes.  On this truth we need to press on even when we feel empty.
  3. Community – People need people. We need each other to help us as we run this race of life.  The community of believers is necessary for us to survive.  The encouragement we receive from one another is vital to our race.  We are all people who are running on empty.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring or maybe even what the next hour will bring.  It is helpful to hear from others how the Lord has helped them and then run on their encouragement.  Maybe we just need to know that someone will hold our hand or hug us in our time of empty.  The truth is we are needy people.  We need the Lord and His community to help us daily.  “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  4. Eternal View – The trials and the troubles of this life can blind us to the truth of our future as a Follower of Christ. We can be running blind to our eternity on a daily basis.  Our eyes need to be opened to what is ahead.  We know that this world is not the end.  As we are going through this life running empty, we must fix our eyes on the future prepared for us.  This is the greatest thing of all.  “…there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11  Oh that will be the day when our song will not be “Running on Empty” but will be “Running Eternally Full”.

Are there going to be days when we feel like we’re empty, blind and behind?  Of course there are, but we can focus on the truth about our past, our survival, our community, and our eternity.  Jackson Browne has a line in the song that states, “People need some reason to believe…”  and as Followers of Christ we know our reason to believe is Jesus.  He ran this race before us and for us; so let’s follow close behind Him.


SINGLE WOMEN – PART 3 Single Women and the Church

Originally posted 4-10-2018


You are not a victim of circumstance.  Your identity is either in Christ or in the world.  If you are a follower of Christ, then you have a charge from the Word of God.

“her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit” 1 Corinthians 7:34

You are to be devoted to the Lord.  What does that look like?  Does it mean that you will never marry?  How does the Lord want to use you?  How are you going to fit into your church?

Being devoted to the Lord is quite a concept.  We don’t really like to devote ourselves to anything because it’s hard work.  Being devoted is complete dedication.  This requires a commitment which is so hard to give…what if something better comes along?  That is how we normally think; but what could be better than God, himself?  If you are single you can be in complete dedication to God as the scripture says; your interest is not divided with a husband.  God is part of every decision at work, at home, at church, in your family, or with your friends.  This will only happen as you choose to seek his counsel from the Word of God regularly.  In doing this, you will begin to understand God.  As you understand who He is, your decisions will be influenced by what you know of him.  You will find yourself in devotion to him.

Does that mean you will never marry?  No.  Following hard after God opens many doors and behind one of them may be a wonderful Christian man who would make a great husband.  The priority is not the man but God.  That is where so many single women get hung up.  They spend so much time on desiring a husband that they lose sight of God.  Do you trust God to handle your life?  Do you trust God to help you in your singleness?  Do you trust God to lead you to a husband?  When you are devoted to God these questions have a simple answer and it is YES!  God’s plans and purposes will not be thwarted.  If he has marriage in mind for you, it will come about in his time and in his way.

If you don’t marry, God is going to use you right where you are.  You can fit into your church by serving in the areas where your gifts are needed.  Seek the Lord and the counsel of others to determine your gifts.  After you know what they are, use them for God’s glory.  Don’t let your singleness stop you from serving God.  You can be a part of many lives regardless of their position in life right now.  Look for ways to serve and then do it!  Join in the fellowship with other people from different places in life.  We can all learn from one another.  Don’t run and hide because you don’t have a mate!  This is not God-honoring.

Devote yourself to God! Seek to please him in all you do!  Live as a follower of Christ!  Remember Miriam…God used her and He will use you too.


The followers of Christ make up God’s family.  As God’s family, we are to contribute to, encourage, enjoy and spur-on one another.  The family of God isn’t a group of couples. It’s much broader than that.  We are couples, singles, children, widows, widowers, and divorcees.  Various backgrounds and experiences are represented by each member of the family of God.  We need to remember our job is to benefit one another.  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10  Our gifts are for the benefit of others in the family.

In the church, we judge single people and find them lacking because of the place they are in their lives.  We are so wrong!  A single person can contribute wisdom in the body of Christ.  Marriage doesn’t equal wisdom.  God’s Word is wisdom.  Our single sisters study, pray, and meditate on the Word.  They are learning much that can be helpful to others.  Our judgments get in the way of reaching out and allowing ourselves to interact with our single sister, instead we dismiss her.

Another judgment that is made against single women is that they are all out to grab a husband.  Because of this judgment women don’t want to invite single women over to dinner out of fear.  They’re afraid that the single woman will be a threat to their marriage.  This fear can cause suspicion, jealousy, and withdrawal.  This fear will lead to a missed opportunity for fellowship and enjoyment.  Be careful to not create this world!  We have to remember that not every single woman is grabbing for a husband.

As followers of Christ, we are all on the road of progressive sanctification which means ups and downs with many changes in our lives.  We have to realize that life doesn’t stay the same.  If we have been in community with all women, married and single, we will gain varied wisdom.  God wants to use every member of his family in many different situations.  We must remember that not only can the single community contribute to the church but the church is to help the single community.  It’s a give and take relationship. God has designed it that way!

Don’t judge the single community!  Embrace the single community!  Unite together to become a family of Christ followers which can’t be separated by role!

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3



Originally posted 4-5-2018

Let’s take a look at a single woman from God’s Word.  Her name is Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron.  It would be very difficult to call this woman a victim in her singleness.  God chose Miriam to be one of the leaders of the children of Israel as they left Egypt and their slavery behind.

The first time we see Miriam in scripture, she is following the instructions of her mother by watching her brother, Moses, floating along in the Nile River in a basket. “His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.” Exodus 2:4   Moses was in danger of losing his life.  Remember Pharaoh wanted all of the Hebrew male children killed but Moses’ mother hid him until she couldn’t do it anymore.  She put him in the basket which was prepared to be waterproof and placed him in the Nile.  Miriam watched him from a distance.  The daughter of Pharaoh saw him and knew he was a Hebrew child.  God uses Miriam here to provide a nursemaid for Moses. “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Exodus 2:7b   Who does she get to nurse the baby?  Miriam brings back her own mother who is able to keep Moses until he is weaned.  God used Miriam to save the man who would bring the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.  What a task for this single young lady!

In Exodus 15:20, we are told Miriam was a prophetess.  This means she was used by God to be his mouthpiece for the people.  God used a single woman!  She didn’t have to be married or have children to be used by God.  She was a lively woman who was not afraid to express her emotions as she praised the Lord.  She sang, played tambourine, and danced as she praised God for his delivery of the children of Israel from the Pharaoh and his army.   We are told other women followed her joining in with tambourines and dancing.  She was followed.  She was a leader.  God used a single woman to lead others who may have been married, mothers, or widows.

Why would God use a single woman to lead?  There were so many parts of the life of a woman she hadn’t experienced so what did she have to offer?  When God chose prophets or prophetesses, relationship was involved.  Miriam had a relationship with God.  She didn’t ride on the backs of her brothers.  She loved god and rejoiced in Him because of her own relationship with him.  She was a leader because God called her to be one.  It wasn’t based on her experience as a woman but on her calling by God.

One of the dangers of being a leader is falling into the sin of pride.  Miriam was not exempt from this temptation.  She and her brother, Aaron, began to grumble against Moses. 

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.  And they said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has he not spoken through us also?’  And the Lord heard it.”  Numbers 12:1-2

As we read this passage we can sense some jealousy between the siblings and also pride.  After all, the Lord had spoken to Aaron and Miriam too, why should Moses be the leader of the camp?  The talk concerning the wife was a smoke screen to cover up the real issue of their jealousy toward Moses’ leadership and relationship with the Lord.  The Lord dealt with this by giving Miriam leprosy.  Aaron intercedes on Miriam’s behalf to Moses who in turn intercedes on her behalf to the Lord.  She is confined outside of the camp for seven days and then returned to camp healed.  Miriam is not heard of again until her death in Kadesh.

Miriam was instrumental in the leading of the people of Israel.  She gave them hope through her music.  She gave them an excitement for praise as they followed God.  She was God’s mouthpiece to the people.  God didn’t allow the fact that she was a single woman stop him from using her for his purposes.

The identity of Miriam wasn’t that of being single but of being a God-follower.  She lived as a God-follower.  A God-follower is conscious of God and lives to please him.  She worships him in all her actions.  Being a God-follower is what sets her apart.  We learn from Miriam’s life that a God-follower isn’t perfect. When her eyes were not on the Lord but on herself, she sinned.  This is a warning for all of us because we too can fall flat of our faces as we trust in our own ability rather than in the Lord working through us.

In our church today we have single women who, as followers of Christ, can have an impact on our community.  God can use our single sisters to encourage, confront, help, rescue, lead, and walk alongside other women of the church regardless of their role.  Don’t discount advice from a single woman!  Don’t disregard rebuke from a single woman!  Don’t take advantage of a single woman!  What should we do?  We should see our sisters as followers of Christ and as family.  We can trust God to use each of us for his purposes.

So pick up your tambourine and let’s dance together in celebration of the gospe