Nailed It!

Nailed It BestJesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:34-36

My pastor gave a sermon a couple of weeks ago in which he noted that the more convinced we are that we are wretched sinners in need of a Savior, the more we will serve Jesus with the passion of our lives. Luke 7:47 says “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

In our modern culture I wonder if we appreciate how serious sin truly is. Since the beginning of God’s law, mankind has been pushing back, re-interpreting and just plain fooling ourselves that we didn’t hear God quite right. Adam and Eve and that apple, Korah and his upstart followers, David and Bathsheba, Ananias and Sapphira and the lie about their gift. The world reads those stories and their take-away is that a ‘loving’ God would never be so harsh and full of wrath. God must be a narcissistic megalomaniac to demand such strict adherence to his Word, especially knowing full well that humans are natural sinners. Perhaps you’ve had that thought yourself? I know I’ve wrestled with it.

Here are a few points to ponder as you wrestle with the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin:

First of all, God is God and we are not.  in Isaiah 55:9 God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Proverbs 30:3-4 reiterates this from the human perspective:

I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

It is unimaginably presumptuous for any human to think that we could even begin to understand God or His ways with the 3 pounds of gray matter in our skulls. God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal. He somehow created everything out of nothing. He is waaaay too big and all-everything to even be conceptualized by us. In many ways it’s like trying to teach algebra to your dog. Algebra exists and its principles describe aspects of your dog’s life, but it will never be understood by your dog. However, out of His love for us and desire for relationship, He has revealed some things to us. He has placed eternity in our hearts. He has given us a conscience which understands the concept of right and wrong although we are free to override it. And He has spoken to some of us and in that way given us the Holy Scriptures containing everything we need to live our best lives. Who but the Inventor could really know that anyway? Yet from the beginning of time until now we have been trying to ‘backwards engineer’ humanity and work God right out of the equation. It’s as foolish as removing the batteries and expecting the gadget to operate properly.

Secondly, God is immutable - unchanging and unchangeable, and that quality is also true for His Holiness. Holiness is the perfection, or wholeness of God. It is a state of being. Instead of viewing holiness as God’s Law - as a set of arbitrary ‘rules’ which could be adjusted by the Author, I suggest that it is better to view holiness the way we view Scientific Law – a set of rules that describe reality in a true, universal and absolute way which are discovered rather than invented.  Isn’t it odd that we readily accept Scientific Law but so often challenge God’s Law? In Sunday School I use the analogy of space to demonstrate this concept. ‘No man may come to the Father except through Me’ has been scorned as highly intolerant for centuries. Yet, consider this statement, ‘No man may get to the moon except with a spacesuit.’ Who would challenge that? That is not an intolerant statement barring those without spacesuits from access to the moon. It is also not a statement that overlooks or rules out other valid ways of getting to the moon. Rather it is a mere statement of fact based on unchangeable Laws of Science that describe reality in a true, universal and absolute way. Heaven cannot contain even the tiniest amount of sin. The only method for sinners to enter Heaven, therefore, is to be covered by the sinless blood of Jesus. Why? I don’t know. It just is. Why is the universe expanding faster and faster rather than slowing or contracting? I don’t know. It just is.

Finally, sin is death. Sin isn’t ‘like’ death, sin IS death. It is the thing that ended immortality in the Garden and gave us a life-expectancy. As sin increased, so did disease, war, hatred and everything that is not Good. Sin is highly corrosive and highly contagious. The more it eats away at us and spreads amongst us all over our world, the more evil there is, because evil is the absence of Good. Sin opposes, corrupts, condemns and seeks to destroy Good. God is Good. And sin opposes and seeks to destroy God. It’s difficult to see how a lie here or there, a little bit of cheating or stealing, some pre-marital fun or exploring other religions could make us enemies of God. But those are evidence of our sin condition, a condition that eats away at our soul, turning us away from God and Good, making us slaves to our own pride and pleasure. The only way to regain ‘Goodness’ was to buy us back - redeem us from slavery to sin. And that is what Christ has done. Sin held us hostage, but He ransomed us with His sinless blood. He paid off our ransom and debt and nailed it to the cross, marked ‘paid in full’ for all in Heaven and earth to see. We’ve been bought at a price – a very high price. Why was that the only way? I don’t know. I don’t claim to understand it, but I believe it.


Father, forgive us, for truly, we know not what we’ve done. Amen.

Stay Blessed,

Jen Jahromi

Proclaim Liberty

For you have been called to live i Let Freedom Ringn freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

-- Galatians 5:13

Freedom. From the earliest age we’ve been taught to desire it, to cherish it, but do we really understand what it means, especially from God’s perspective?

One way to grasp it is to think of its opposites: bondage, slavery, obligation. And now we start to see the problem. From our worldly perspective, freedom is the absence of obligations, the absence of bosses, masters or anyone else telling us what to do. But this is not God’s viewpoint.

The other day I sat pondering ‘praying about everything.’ I realized I had not really prayed over our upcoming vacation. I was thinking here about flight delays, weather, etc. But then a different thought popped in my head: I had not asked for ‘permission’ from God to go on vacation. I instantly rejected this thought. I’m a grown woman…I don’t have to ask anyone for permission about anything anymore! The thought persisted. ‘You are a bondservant, aren’t you? You’ve willingly taken a Master.’

Well, huh, got me there.

In Biblical times, most slaves had to be freed every seven years. But if a slave loved their master and decided to stay, they could become a ‘bondservant’ which would make them a slave forever. When we make the decision to take Jesus as the Master of our lives, we make a similar choice. We pledge what Jesus pledged in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father…I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36 That doesn’t sound like very much freedom.

In fact, the Bible says that in this life we will always be slaves to something.  Paul explains in Romans 6:16-18:

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

There is a lot of talk these days about ‘agency’ and ‘setting intentions.’ But how much ‘freedom’ do we truly have? Our COVID experience showed us that our freedom to practice our religion could be restricted, our freedom to gather constrained and our freedom to not wear a mask overridden. Freedom to travel and work took a hit. Even our freedom to refuse medical interventions such as vaccinations was challenged. And although we cling to our freedom of speech, ‘cancel culture’ and ‘fact checking’ made it clear that some speech was freer than others.

Besides that, our freedom is restricted by laws, statutes, ethics, contracts and commitments, and vows we have made to ourselves and others. If you have children and a job and a mortgage, can you really just hop on a plane to Hawaii today with a one-way ticket? Well, theoretically, of course you can. We are always free to be disobedient, to break the law, and to break our promises. And we are free to reap the consequences of those actions, including a major restriction of our freedom: incarceration.

Freedom is an illusion. There will always be those with more power or money who will make the rules which curtail our ‘agency.’ There will always be obligations we must fulfill. There will always be a moral code that we feel compelled to obey. We can ‘set an intension’ to be happy, but our happiness will always be in competition with others’ happiness, and thus require compromise.

My hubby has often said that the best form of government would be a ‘benevolent king,’ who would truly seek the welfare of his people. He would give them laws that protected his subjects while still allowing them much control over their lives. That does sound pretty good…. But then, as Christians, isn’t that exactly what we have? In this life we will always be a slave to something, but Jesus tells us,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Through Christ we are free from the punishment for sin, free from death. We are set free by the Truth to see injustice, oppression, corruption and abuse the way God sees it. And we are free by the Holy Spirit within us to work against those evils. We are free to willingly accept the yoke of a bondservant pledged to serve Jesus for life by serving others. His way leads to life, abundance and righteousness. Our labor will build the Kingdom of God where one day we will dwell in a mansion as an adopted son or daughter!

So, as we observe Independence Day, celebrate your independence from sin, selfishness and worldly pleasures that last only for this lifetime and are a snare for your soul. Celebrate your dependence on God, His Mercy, His Grace, His Forgiveness and His Salvation. Humble yourselves, and ‘continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling!’ Philippians 2:12.

DEAR LORD, help us to submit our strong wills and desire for freedom to You. Teach us Your ways and help us be fruitful and pleasing to You. Grant us courage to pursue justice and righteousness for Your namesake. God bless us and bless America and our world. AMEN.

Blessings of Liberty,


Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Bright Hope for TomorrowThe Lord says,

“I love justice and I hate oppression and crime.
I will faithfully reward my people
And make an eternal covenant with them.
They will be famous among the nations;
Everyone who sees them will know
That they are a people whom I have blessed.”

Isaiah 61:8-9

We had hoped…

…that COVID would be over and done with by now;

…that our political disagreements would have become more civil;

…that the violence in our cities would have subsided;

…that supply chain issues would have resolved;

…that people would go back to working in all sectors;

…that the economy would have bounced back;

…that travel – local, national and international – would have returned to ‘normal;’

…that the world would “go back to normal.”

I’ve been looking at “the prophets” lately. It’s generally the part of the Old Testament after Psalms and Proverbs. It’s a shame that we don’t study these books too often because in them, generally speaking, God is specifically speaking to His people. He’s accusing them, He’s warning them, He’s admonishing them to repent, and perhaps most exciting of all, He gives them HOPE! He promises restoration, a Savior who will bring healing, and a time when God’s Kingdom will once again return to earth, and God and mankind will be reunited as they were in the Garden of Eden. Now change the ‘them’ to ‘us.’

By the time of the Prophets, God has decided to pass judgment on His people by allowing them to be taken into captivity by Assyria and then Babylon.  Those days were like the ‘End Times,’ full of injustice, crime, and corruption and worst of all, the kings and religious leaders who should have been rescuing and protecting their people were the ones exploiting them. Sound familiar at all?

Falling away from God to follow other idols of money, power, security, politics, entertainment, addictions, etc. always leads to judgment and consequences. Most of us are familiar with this famous promise from God, given after the dedication of Solomon’s Temple:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

But perhaps less familiar is the other half of the promise:

“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” 2 Chronicles 7:19-22

And He did.

Of course, we have Jesus now as our New Covenant. But rather than absolving us of our responsibility as a nation, Jesus’ calling is even higher. It is a calling to make other people’s problems our own. It is a calling to take on injustice and corruption and bring healing and reconciliation whenever possible. It is a calling to bring God’s Kingdom to earth by making disciples, with each one of us as a Temple of the Holy Spirit where God dwells.

And this is the GREAT HOPE that the Prophets foretold. It won’t be complete until Jesus returns, but until He comes, we better get busy. There is plenty of injustice, violence and corruption for us to fight against. There are plenty of people suffering from the effects of sin. But there is bright hope for tomorrow! We bring that message of hope, and one great and glorious day, Jesus will return, and we will dwell in the garden once more, fully restored and in perfect communion with God!

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing. 35 And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there.”

 Ezekiel 47:1,12,35

Hopeful Blessings,


Abba, Father

Abba Father screen best (1)Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. -2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

My Dad was not a perfect dad, but he was the perfect dad for me. He was kind and affectionate, an encyclopedia of information, and always ready to build some contraption or have some adventure to bring me and the neighborhood kids delight.

He was always agreeable except in the face of lying, cheating or other willful misdeeds. The rareness of his wrath made it that much scarier and effective. But when I had a boo-boo or other childhood disappointment, he’s the one I’d run to. He rarely fixed my problem, or even gave me sage advice, but he was my defender and comforter.

I think God Almighty must have a similar temperament. He loves to delight us by giving us the desires of our hearts. And he brings people, adventures and challenges into our lives to enrich us. He has vast, boundless knowledge of the universe and His spiritual kingdom, and I know He enjoys watching us figure things out and catch fleeting understanding of things beyond our comprehension.

He gets so much joy out of us telling Him how much we love and adore Him. He loves for us to sit at His feet and just listen to anything and everything He has to say to us. He longs for us to request all the good things He has planned for us. And nothing makes Him happier than when we obey Him and follow where He leads.

He is always ready to comfort us when the hard times come. He also rarely fixes our problems. He knows it is ultimately better for us to learn to solve our own dilemmas, but He has plenty of advice for nearly every situation. He wants us to tell Him all about our day, the good, the bad and the mundane. He knows that as we talk to Him, things will just start to make more sense.

Of course, it’s hard to confess the willful misdeeds. We know there will be consequences and some wrath, but He’s quick to forgive and forget. He sees us as our best selves. He knows just what our potential is, and He wants us to reach it. He gently reminds us and nudges us when we are about to go the wrong way or do the wrong thing. Sometimes His disapproval and disappointment are worse than the wrath.

His love is warm, secure, all-encompassing and unconditional. We are precious and special to Him, and He so much wants us to grasp that. He has given us the world and He wants us to enjoy it and enjoy each other which is what brings Him joy.

I miss my Dad. And although Our Father in Heaven won’t be popping corn on the stove and wrapping me up in a comforter, He IS intimately involved in my life, encouraging, teaching, defending, scolding and comforting me in very familiar ways. He is my Abba, Father, and I am happy to sit with him and be filled with wonder and amazement at all that HE IS.

PRAYER: Dear Father, bless all the fathers who follow after You, raising up the next generations to follow. Bless the fathers who can’t be with their children, bless the children growing up without fathers, and those who grieve their loss. Bless all the men who positively impact the lives of children – the coaches, counselors, scout leaders, teachers, pastors, carers, uncles, grandpas, cousins and friends. Raise up godly men to share their faith and lead the way! Amen.

Father’s Day Blessings,



Key to My Heart with textBecause of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. …What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.

Galatians 6:14-15

 In every great story, from Epics to Hallmark movies, a satisfying ending needs to include some kind of transformation: he started out small and afraid and ended up a hero, she started out lonely and unfulfilled and realized she could become an entrepreneur and find love, etc. Without some transformation, we might get to the end and say, ‘Yeah…but so what?” However, in our own stories – our lives – we often do not travel down a path of transformation. Sure, we went to college and had our horizons expanded, or went on that awesome trip that made us more aware of the world, or we dropped a few pounds and learned some self-discipline, but are we daily working on transforming ourselves?

The Christian faith is all about transformation – every bit of it. The first transformation is when we ask ourselves ‘is this all there is to life?’ We transform from people concerned with the cares of this world to people seeking a deeper, spiritual life. When we encounter Jesus, He says, ‘Repent and follow me.’ When we decide to turn away from the world and accept His work on the cross, we are transformed from wretched sinners far from God into beloved sons and daughters, forgiven and accepted with a promise of eternal life! And that is really only the beginning of the story, or perhaps the end of Part One.

Part Two opens with us embarking on the journey of our lifetime of transformation. Our mission is summed up in three profound verses:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. -Romans 12:2

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. -Ephesians 4:23-24

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. -2 Corinthians 3:18

If we had a ‘Jesus moment’ years ago but have never left behind the ‘baggage’ of this world and set out on the quest for holiness (sanctification), then we’ve missed the whole point! Jesus came to bring God’s Kingdom NEAR!

Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. -John 10:9-10

There are no thieves in Heaven, so this rich and satisfying life is not the next life, but THIS LIFE. Jesus came to earth and began His ministry with healing – healing diseases, healing deformities, healing from demon possession, healing from bad life choices, healing from death! If He were only concerned about the next life, why bother?  Jesus wants to draw near, touch us and transform us in such a profound way that we will be moved to change our lives and go bring others for Jesus to transform.

We must become clay in the Potter’s hands (see Jeremiah 18:1-7) and allow the Holy Spirit to shape us and transform us into the person God created us to be. We all start off with character flaws, undeveloped talents, physical or mental challenges to overcome and, of course, our ‘idiosyn-crazies’. We should not kid ourselves into believing that God’s unconditional love means we never have to change. Yes, God loves you forever no matter what - but He loves you too much to leave you an unfinished masterpiece. Transformation and change can be hard and painful, but like pruning a tree, we have to trim away the dead branches to get new growth and fruitfulness. God knows what He’s created us to be, and He wants us to experience the joy of becoming that!

Marie Kondo’s book on de-cluttering has many of us regularly asking if the things in our life ‘spark joy.’ The concept is, if a particular item is useful, but it doesn’t ‘spark joy’, then out it goes. Many of us need to spark some joy in our spiritual lives. If our encounters with God are not filling us with ‘indescribable joy,’ then perhaps we have some transformative work to do. The closer we are to the person God created us to be, the image of Christ, the more joy and peace we will experience. Caterpillars, it’s time to cocoon ourselves in God’s Word, in praise and worship and meditation and get ready to transform into beautiful butterflies!

Metamorphic blessings,


The Source of All Knowledge

Dragon Mystery of GodMy goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

-Colossians 2:2-3

Humans are curious creatures. We have an innate desire to know how things work, to understand. My favorite part of parenting was watching my babies interact with their world, and that special moment when the ‘lightbulb’ went on in their head as they figured something out. Sometimes you could almost see the gears turning in their minds. As tiny, diapered scientists, they formed a theory, tested it out and analyzed the results – followed by much repetition if the results were enjoyable (like watching Mommy clean pureed squash off the walls). Later, the endless ‘why’ questions dominated our conversations.

I have always been intrigued by anything called hidden, secret or a mystery. I spent a long time looking for the answer to the biggest mystery: the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I looked to psychology, philosophy, history, law, international studies, literature and art for answers to ‘why are we here?’ ‘what is our purpose?’ and ‘how do we live together in peace and harmony?’ Along the way, I did unearth a few mysteries, or at least things to make me say ‘hmmm’ 🤔.

In the early 1900s, psychiatrist Carl Jung came up with the idea of a ‘collective unconscious’ in each of us populated by archetypes: ancient primal symbols such as The Great Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Shadow, the Tower, Water, and the Tree of Life. He believed that the concept of the collective unconscious helps to explain why similar themes occur in mythologies around the world. He argued that the collective unconscious had a profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences.

In the 1950s, Professor of Literature, Joseph Campbell, came up with the idea of a monomyth that re-occurs in myth and folklore throughout the world's cultures. In the monomyth, or Hero’s Journey, a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered, and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

In 1689, Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote about the basic human laws of nature, or fundamental natural rights. It is his philosophy which Thomas Jefferson borrowed in writing the Declaration of Independence which states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

People want to find a Unified Theory of Physics. But they really resist a Unified Theory of Humanity. However, it was in pondering these ideas of universality – a collective unconscious of shared symbology and archetypal characters, a monomyth of a hero’s journey that is retold across varying cultures, and Natural Rights of mankind that are ‘self-evident,’ which set me on the path to God. If these ideas exist, does it mean there is One Universal Truth that applies to all of humanity? If there is one set of Natural Laws, then who established it? Is there a story that is so primal that it lingers in the subconscious of all humans?

Finally, in Christ, it all comes together. The great story of God’s unalienable love for humankind, filled with trees of life, living water, supernatural beings, redemption, transformation and eternal life. An ancient story that was breathed into the spirit of every living person.  There is a reason that for thousands of years humans have been telling the story of Good v. evil. There is a reason even unbelievers feel their consciences recoil from evil. There is a reason that the Gospel story, plainly told, can still break the hardest of hearts.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:1-5

All of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. The starting point of all fields of study is God. Understand this because the unbelieving world needs to know. People who think they are ‘too smart’ for religion can respond to this. People who attune themselves to the ‘spiritual’ rather than the religious can come to see this. People who deny the existence of God can grasp this. Trace all of human knowledge back to the beginning and you’ll see – HE WAS and HE IS.

Still pondering,


The Author

Peace Love and Joy cropLooking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set at the right hand of the throne of God.

-Hebrews 12:2

I love books. As a child, I eagerly awaited our trips to the library. Every book was like a ticket to some wonder-filled, entertaining land. I lingered over every one, savoring the word usage and swimming through the illustrations. From the time I was old enough to hold a crayon, I was writing stories and decorating them with pictures. Many people in my life were sure that I would be an author someday.

And I do have a book inside me that is struggling to come out. It’s an epic adventure of a boy and some friends who end up in a strange land of wonders and miracles and go on a quest to fight evil, restore a kingdom and experience personal transformation along the way. With naïve enthusiasm, I want to fill it with humor, daring, and wits, along with amazing supernatural encounters and some moral lessons as well. I’ve had the skeleton of an outline for years now. I thought if I threw enough stuff into my mind’s ‘stew pot’ something amazing would just pop out. But it hasn’t been like that. I’ve had some flashes of inspiration and there are a couple of notebooks filled with them, but it’s just raw material.

On cable, I discovered ‘The Great Courses: Writing Literature’ lectures. As I watch them and try to digest them, feeling memories from college days reawaken, it is becoming clear to me that there is sooo much more involved in coming up with a story than just some ideas. The plot is a carefully chosen selection of scenes and events and dialogue that move the story along, always with some point to them: showing characters’ desires, motives, traits, presenting challenges, facing challenges, transforming or not. There are all kinds of plot and character arcs. There are flat characters who just serve one particular purpose and round characters that interact with and shape the story. My ‘stew pot’ is getting larger and larger and it’s beginning to feel overwhelming.

The professor imparted some wisdom that had been imparted to him by his high school English teacher: Literature is bringing order out of chaos.

Okay, stay with me here for a moment. Our lives, in fact life in general, can be regarded as just a series of events: some causal, some not, some planned, some not, most of which do not have an overarching theme or redemption arc or really any point. What I mean is, If you listed out your day, or your week, or your life event by event: grocery shopping, trip to the dentist, signing up with a gym, etc., it would look to most people like what Pastor Bill describes as ‘spending’ your life - doing the stuff we all do day to day, year to year - the chaos of existence. And, you know, maybe it IS. Or, maybe there’s more!

Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as the Author and finisher of our faith. The author’s job is to carefully pick and choose particular scenes, events and moments out of a life-full of material, and craft it together with a theme, to reveal a plot over time – to make it into a cohesive story and to give meaning to otherwise ordinary events.  Jesus does this with each of his followers, and if we take the time to look over our lives with his eyes, we will start to really see it. Foreshadowing? Oh, it’s probably there. A neighbor or teacher or parent that saw something in you that you didn’t see in yourself. Conflict? No doubt. Then success or failure and the transformation they brought about. Flat characters that came into your life for just a brief time to help or challenge you in one particular way – I’ll bet they’re there. Surely round characters that came into your story and made it richer and deeper, forcing you to grow in new ways. And if you are a Jesus-follower, I guarantee there’s a redemption arc – from sinner to saint, but perhaps from short-tempered to patient, from gruff to tender-hearted, from lone-wolf to people-person? I wouldn’t be surprised if there were also some answered prayers, some healed relationships, some inexplicable blessings, and some tragedies that eventually became triumphs in some way. Looking back, we see the hand of the Lord working throughout our lives to craft a story that brings Him glory and makes us more like Him.

And your story isn’t over. It’s still being lovingly written.

If Literature is bringing order out of chaos, if it is finding powerful meaning in a life full of ordinary experiences, if it is finding a theme that weaves everything into a cohesive whole, and if that can be done for every soul on the planet, then Jesus is truly the greatest Author that the world has ever or will ever know. I don’t think it would be too much to say that every story is HIStory.

PRAYER: O Lord, Author of life, help us to see the beauty of our own story, and give us the courage to share it with others to point them to You. Remind us of Jesus’ story which has the supernatural power to convict souls, break hearts and transform lives. Make us always ready to tell the old, old stories. Amen.



Godly Women's Mother's Day

Godly Woman's PrayerTitus 2:4-5

GOD’S WORD Translation

In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children, to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands’ authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.

We often refer to the Bible as God’s instruction manual. In fact, KJ calls it Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. And it truly is! As I was saying in last week’s devotional, I didn’t have any models of Christian marriage in my life when I became a Christian. Nor any models of Christian parenting.  So, as the over-achieving student I am, I dug right in to the ‘instruction manual’ to see what God had to say about marriage and parenting.  Suffice to say that although there are similarities to the worldly versions, the focus is all different, and that difference changes everything.

Marriage is a partnership. We embrace that in our culture – a joining of two equals. In fact, many couples omit that part about promising ‘to love, honor and obey.’ But the Bible is pretty clear about marriage being a hierarchy. In fact, God is obviously VERY big on hierarchies because He establishes them again and again throughout the Bible. If you feel yourself resisting authority, as I did, BEWARE, because authority and obedience are major themes and powerful lessons in the Bible.

Yes, women are called to be obedient to their husbands. In other verses the term is ‘submission.’ Hoowee, if you want to see ladies get riled up right quick, try to discuss THAT in Bible Study! But in verse after verse all throughout the Bible, that is God’s plan. And it’s a beautiful plan. It’s a plan that is another archetype of our relationship with Jesus. Our relationships on earth prepare us for our relationship with God. And for any men who snickered at ‘submission,’ God calls every last one of us to submit to Him and His authority.

God knows us and loves us. Good parents know that sometimes what gets through to one child may not work at all on another. You tailor discipline and teaching to the nature and temperament of each child. And so it was with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were partners, but in the Garden of Eden on that fateful day, Eve acted individually in chatting up that snake and tasting the forbidden fruit. Then she convinced Adam to try it too. Eve took authority, decided it would be awesome to be like God, and her punishment was to be ‘ruled by her husband.’ For being irresponsible and not taking authority, God punished Adam with hard work. Personally, I see some humor in this. I know it is my nature to want to ‘take charge,’ when reasoning together or submitting would be much more sound, and in KJ’s nature to let me go ahead and make those tough decisions so he doesn’t have to. Luckily, we haven’t tried any bad apples – yet.

AUTHORITY and SUBMISSION are such harsh words, and looking through a worldly lens, one can see that all kinds of negative power dynamics are possible in a system built on them. But that’s the uniqueness of the often-misunderstood Christian perspective. God IS love. Everything He gives us is based on love. Love is the fuel that makes His Kingdom go, on earth as it is in Heaven. Loving AUTHORITY is taking responsibility for the family’s best interests. It is taking the burden of leading the family in following God and discerning His will in every circumstance. And it is dispensing loving correction when needed. Loving SUBMISSION is just what the above verse in Titus 2 is all about. It is loving your husband by focusing on His needs, it is caring for the children and looking after their needs. (Of course, in the hierarchy, children should be honoring and obeying their parents.) It is being a good partner and making suggestions and recommendations, but understanding that in the end, the husband is the final authority. It takes a lot of good judgement and self-control not to overstep the authority God puts in our lives. But He gives us authority to help us stay on track and in His will and to teach us how to submit to Him which is the process of becoming holy and pure.

AUTHORITY and SUBMISSION are the two sides of the Divine nature. God leads, God commands, God guides, He gives us loving discipline. But He is a SERVANT LEADER. He cares for us, He provides for us, He comforts us, and all with kindness, humility and tender mercy. Jesus taught us humble submission. He washed feet, fed thousands, spent hours telling stories with a moral at the end, healed boo-boos, told the hard truth when necessary for others’ personal growth, taught how to pray and prayed a lot himself. That’s the picture of a godly Wife and Mother. It is a high calling indeed.

Happy Mothers’ Day,


Love Stands When All Else Has Fallen

Love Stands brite

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.

1 Corinthians 13: 7-8a (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

I had the absolute joy of watching my Godson get married this weekend. Seated with my best friends and their grown children, I could not help but think back to the time when we were in their shoes. It turned out that KJ and I had been married the longest of all the couples there. It’s hard to grasp how much time has gone by and all the ways we’ve grown and changed. Through all the vicissitudes of life, our commitment to each other remains.

Marriage is a good archetype of the kind of relationship that Jesus wants to have with us. In several places in the Bible we, the Church, are referred to as the Bride of Christ. And in Revelations, we see that we will be invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Like an earthly Bride and Groom, we will be dressed in special clothing, and bound together before God with great celebration. 🎊

As in marriage, when we accept Jesus, we make a life-long (and really, eternity-long) commitment to love, honor and obey Him. We promise to be faithful to Him only. We promise to put Him first in our lives and to consider Him before all else. We accept with joy that our former way of living as an individual, caring only for our self-interest has ended, and that a new way of life has begun. We are no longer our own. We live for someone else. We are a new creation with a new name.

And like earthly marriage, our relationship deepens with time. Challenges come, mistakes are made, and we learn how to grow and become better people. As we ‘do life together’ we learn to develop joy, patience, kindness, humility and many other of the fruits of the spirit. We come to understand that true love is sacrifice and as time passes, we get better at making sacrifices: our time, our money, our desire to have our own way, to have control over where life takes us and much, much more.

At Saturday’s wedding, as the longest married couple, they stuck a microphone in our faces and asked our advice on a happy marriage. “The wife is always right,” “be each other’s best friend,” “don’t go to bed angry,” were some of our responses. But I supposed we missed the chance to mention the most important ingredient of all: Jesus. KJ was recently talking about the Trinity, saying how just as there is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each person also is a trinity of body, mind and spirit. A marriage should also be a trinity – the couple and Jesus. We did the first few years of our marriage without Jesus in it, and it very nearly ended. There was little fruit of the spirit, little compromise, too much self-interest, and too many hurt feelings. Once we were born again through faith, we both realized that we actually did not know what real love was. I did a deep dive into 1 Corinthians 13 and was shocked to discover that I would have to give up my pride and vanity and throw away my list of wrongs and hurts! I was called to forgive even when I didn’t want to. Suddenly our marriage was going to look much different from those we grew up around and those that surrounded us then. I am now persuaded that it is impossible to truly, selflessly love another person without Jesus in your heart.

Married or not, the Holy Spirit can do amazing, profound, transformative work in you to sanctify you and make you the perfect Bride for Jesus. And this is who we were designed to be: people fully committed to Him, people fully dependent on Him, people sacrificing their will to His and receiving in return the unimaginable love, protection and care of One who can make all things possible and invites us into His eternal home to be part of the family forever!

PRAYER: Lord of New Beginnings, bless all the couples joining their lives together this wedding season, as well as all of those who are continuing in their commitment to one another. Send healing and comfort to those who wish to be married and are not. Stir the embers of love in hearts that have grown cold. Continue to transform us as we present our lives to You as an offering. Make us holy and worthy to be Your Bride.

Blissful Blessings,


My Work Here is Done

My Work Here is accept [our] lot and be happy in [our] work -- this is a gift of God.

-Ecclesiastes 5:19

After years of isolation and closures due to the pandemic, companies are trying to lure their employees back to work. Public facing companies and stores are increasing incentives to attract a workforce which seems less than motivated. Public service agencies and charities are struggling to find people to help everywhere from city streets to hospitals to war zones.

Everything about the job market, management and labor is coming under scrutiny. Young people graduating from college seem unwilling to put up with the hardships that people of my generation faced. But I counsel them that selling your labor is never an easy thing. We like to pretend we’re in control but having a boss to answer to breaks that illusion. Even Jesus himself suggests that life is hard work but reassures us that His path is easiest “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 Note that Jesus says you will still be wearing a yoke!

With the wisdom of some years, I consider what a blessing it is to have useful skills and to be able to put them to use to serve others, build something, or create and maintain the systems that make the world go. Work gives us purpose and purpose gives us dignity and fosters self-worth. To be sure, we are more than our occupation. But perhaps we are not more than what we do. Love is an action verb and so doing the work of caretaker for children or parents, the work of volunteering at church, the work of feeding the hungry, the work of visiting the homebound, the work of tutoring, the work of repairing roofs on a mission trip, etc. is the work of loving our neighbors.

Jesus was a busy guy. He was the original ‘man on a mission,’ and he never shied away from the hard, draining work of preaching, teaching, and healing. He wore himself out frequently but renewed his spirit by talking to His Father in Heaven.

Work can be hard, even a drudgery sometimes, but at those moments, it's important to remember Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” He is watching us, and our ultimate reward is from Him.  I know that's what my hubby was thinking as he and his fellow mission workers baked on a roof in Louisiana one day, only to watch fierce storms tear at their work the next.  Every bit of kingdom work we do here on earth stores up a treasure for us in Heaven. Laundry, cleaning the toilet, mowing the law -- if done out of love for others, and for His glory, will gain us the appreciation in Heaven that we often lack here on earth.  So, if you're overlooked for that raise, or someone else takes credit for your idea, remember that the only boss truly worth impressing is The Big Boss -- The Man Upstairs.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to find joy in my labor, and to seek approval from You and not the world. Let my work bring glory to You and Your Kingdom. And let me show Your love to others by being a servant like your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray, Amen.



The Nails, The Thorns and The Lamb

Lamb Crown of ThornsThis is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

-- 1 John 3:16

In the Ladies’ Bible Study we’re doing Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails for Lent. We’ve done this study before, but the revelations in it are so profound that it bears doing again. Plus, Max Lucado is a supreme storyteller.

I feet moved to share just a bit about the symbols of Easter that I had never considered before.


Nails are meant to bring things together. They are also used to repair broken things. As a carpenter, Jesus undoubtedly had plenty of experience with nails. They were definitely tools of his trade. He spent his young life creating, building and mending. And in a very real way, he finished His life by doing the same thing for the Kingdom of God and all of humanity. Those nails tore his flesh, but as he was suspended between Heaven and earth, the joined them together by making a way for us to get back to God. Those nails repaired our broken relationship with our Father Creator. Those nails built a stairway to Heaven made of His body and blood and faith in Him as our Savior.


Way back in Genesis when Adam and Eve thought it would be fun to be like God, God punished their sin by cursing the ground with thorns so it would be hard for them to get food (Genesis 3:17-19). So right there, thorns became a symbol of the punishment for sin. And remember Myrrh from the Christmas story? It was the spice used for anointing the dead which was harvested from a bush with long thorns. And there, after the terrible scourging, Roman soldiers made a crown of thorns and pressed it into Jesus’ tender flesh. The punishment for sin and symbol of death’s anointing turned into an ironic acknowledgment that Christ, the truest King of the Jews would take all the punishment for the entire world’s sin on His head until His death.


In the agrarian societies of the Biblical lands lamb and sheep were a major source of nourishment. But of course, you had to raise it and care for it before it could be dinner. Later, the lamb became a symbol of sacrifice: first, when Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son for God and the sheep appeared, then later at the very first Passover when God commanded His people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and use its blood to cover their doorways so that they would be saved from Death. Eventually, Jesus became the unblemished Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. How this works is a mystery, but there is a recurring pattern of God’s transforming work in our lives: that some form of death always precedes new life – and death never has the last word. Jesus, the unblemished, sinless lamb of God gave up His life in this world so that we could have life in the world to come. When we crucify our old, worldly ways to the cross daily, we die to sin so that we can live for and in Christ. We feed on the body of Christ at communion to be spiritually nourished and strengthened for the days ahead, just as the Jews feasted on their Passover lamb to be strengthened for their journey out of Egypt and out of slavery to sin and live fully as God’s special, holy nation.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

-- Revelation 22:3-4

I have no doubt that God used all of these symbols and more in all of these ways, and more, to show us and tell us the most important thing that we could ever know: That 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. -- John 3:16

Wishing you a Blessed Resurrection Day,