Tag Archives: deeper life

Living As I Should

Psalm 119

May this psalm be my prayer. And may these verses describe my life:

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.

You have charged us to keep your commandments faithfully. Oh that my actions would consistently reflect your decree! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.

As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me. (Verses 1-8, emphasis mine)


I love to read the Bible. When I do I am often reminded of a Truth that cements my belief in the Author. Or I might read something as though for the first time. When that happens I am often challenged, or convicted, or blessed. When I ask God to teach me, He does. When I ask Him to reveal Himself, He does.

Paul tells us:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible was not given to us with the intent it sit on our shelves, waiting for that day when we take it down, open it to some random page, and expect God to give us a sign of some sort. The Bible was given by God to be our map, our owners manual, our text book, our iPhone, our love letter written by the One who loves us more than anybody else can.

When I started this blog in January of 2013, I wasn’t sure where it would go. But as time has passed I realize my burning desire is to encourage you to read and re-read the Bible, to study this precious Book every day, to think about it and talk about it, to pray that God will give you understanding.

Why? Because in its pages are the instructions for all of us to be the people God deserves, people who are holy, who love God and each other, and who are equipped to share the Gospel with a lost world.

Dearest Author, thank you for inspiring men to write down the things you wanted us – me – to know. Thank you that this Bible that I have in front of me is true, it’s understandable, it’s vital and relevant. Thank you that you loved us so much you wanted to put it in writing. May we cherish the pages, may we be faithful to read it every day, to commit it to memory, to think on it, and use it to be people eager to accomplish every good work, the work of sharing the Gospel. You deserve no less.


This is the day the Lord has made. (I) will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

Even when the circumstances of life weigh heavy. Even when Satan is at the door and my resolve is weak. Even when, because of unconfessed sin, God seems far away. I am reminded that He has given me another day.

It’s a day in which He wants to walk with me, to bless me, to use me. It’s a day He wants to reveal Himself through the singing of birds, the colorful leaves, the vast ocean or an ant hill, the warmth of the sun or a clap of thunder. He wants me to see Him in the innocence of a child or the shaky smile of an elderly saint.

He wants me to lay the circumstances of life aside and experience the joy of sins forgiven, the privilege of fellowshipping with the God of Creation, the intimacy of loving His Son.

The Lord has made this day for He and I to experience together. I’m glad about that.

Choose Me, He says.

And I do.

What to Wear?

As I read in Colossians today, Paul reminded me that as a Christian, everything I do I do as a representative of God. If I’m shopping, if I’m shoveling snow, if I attend the office Christmas party, speak to my neighbor, get my hair done, drive my car I represent my Savior.

The Apostle challenges me to take care as I get ready for the day. I may stand at my closet and pick out which shirt to wear, but I also need to clothe myself with, “tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, …and above all love.” (3:12-15) I need to make allowances for other’s faults and forgive as God forgave me (as guilty and underserving as I was). Paul also tells me to live in peace and be thankful.

Getting ready in the morning is an act of will. I shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, and carefully choose clothes that match, and that hide those extra pounds I’m carrying. Reading Colossians today I am challenged to be as intentional about what else I put on, knowing I want to make a good impression.

After all, I represent my precious Jesus.

I am going to memorize Paul’s list of “What to Wear” and make it a matter of prayer each morning. I want to choose to be the woman God will be proud to have represent him as I allow him to clothe me, as I allow him to be seen in me.

Dear God, I ask that you will clothe me today with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. May I make allowances for other’s faults and forgive as God forgave me, because we both know you have forgiven me a boatload of sin. I want to live in peace and show you how thankful I am for your many blessings. As I represent you today, may I do it wearing all these things. And may Jesus be seen in me.

Stormy Seas

I’ve never been in a storm at sea. I don’t even want to imagine the fear of being that exposed to danger out there surrounded by water miles deep. I’ve never been in a tropical storm or lived through a tornado. In fact, there have been only a few times I’ve even come close.

But as I read about the terror the passengers and crew experienced in the ship carrying Paul to Rome, I can relate. (Acts 27) Not because I’ve been there, but because I know to an extent, what it’s like to face storms of life.

Getting laid off from my job, Mom’s cancer, financial struggles, my sister’s cancer, my nephew Geoff’s death, Dad’s death. I can’t hold my storms up next to anyone else’s and say mine were harder or that mine were less significant. I only know there have been times that I felt hopeless and lost, when I found it hard to breathe, when fear of the future (or present) caused me sleepless nights.

The account of Paul’s storm at sea reminds me that, no matter how bad the circumstances, no matter how hopeless the future appears, when I am tossed about and can’t find the sun, God is standing next to me.

My only hope is to stay in the boat, holding on to my Savior, riding out the storm together. In this account in the book of Acts, God didn’t calm the storm. But the people on board made it safely to shore. This tells me that my circumstances might not change. The cancer diagnosis might not be a mistake. A broken relationship might not heal. Whatever the cause of my anxiety, depression, fear, might not magically disappear.

But God can see me safely to the other side. I can trust him. And I will.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your Presence. You are stronger than any storm I have to face. And I find comfort in knowing that… knowing You. I pray for those reading this today who are being bounced around in a frightening storm. I pray your strength, your comfort, your direction will be evident in the midst. I pray they will hold on, that they will trust you to see them through. Thank you in advance for what you are going to do in the lives of those of us who are facing stormy seas.

Bright Lights and Sweet Aromas

Paul tells us to look at his life, he has nothing to hide. (2 Corinthians 2&3) He calls his life a Christ-like fragrant perfume rising up to God. He compares his life to Moses who, after receiving the Law, shown so brightly he had to put a veil over his face because the light blinded the people. Paul suggests his life is like that.

Paul also says that this sweet aroma offends those who don’t know Christ, the light is hated by those who reject Jesus. But Paul doesn’t let that stop him from living to please God.

I am convicted. Sometimes I wonder if what people see in me offends them at all. Or do I just blend in? Is there a veil over my face to hide the fact I spend time with God each day? Do I splash enough of the world on me to disguise the scent God loves?

I can be such a hypocrite.

I want to impact my world the same way Paul did his. Oh, I don’t feel called to be an itinerate preacher. Paul lived an honest, open life that pointed everyone who met him to the Savior. He ruffled feathers, but pleased God. That’s the life I want to live.

May others see Jesus in me, know it’s real, and want him in their lives, too. May God love my scent, and be the light in me.

Figure What Out?

It seems some people think God gave us the law just to trip us up, to prevent us from having fun, to condemn us, or to test us. I was reading Romans 2-4 this morning and heard Paul tell us God gave us the law because he loves us.

My sister is a science teacher. God has gifted her with the ability to help the students in this small Christian school experience God’s creation, not just learn about it. She has been a successful teacher for over 20 years and has touched the lives of thousands of people.

Recently, her principal gave her a new assignment: Teach church history. There is no curriculum for you to use, and I don’t want you to teach it the way you normally teach. I want you to teach it the way I would teach it, but that’s all the help you are getting from me. I know you studied science, not Bible. I know you never had a class on church history. Figure it out. Oh, and by the way, I am basing my evaluation of you as a teacher on how well I think you handle this assignment.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This assignment is neither fair, nor loving.

Thankfully, God hasn’t done that to us. He gave us an assignment: Be holy as I am holy. Then he spelled it out in words we can understand, and prompted Moses to write it down. He gave us the curriculum, so to speak, so we can refer to it at any time.

Next he showed us examples of obedience and disobedience in the lives of the Jewish people. He blessed and punished, and prompted men to write it down, again so we can refer to it any time.

Then he sent Jesus to live with us. Jesus demonstrated holiness, he spoke about sin, the law, obedience, forgiveness. Then he went to the cross and showed us with his own blood what the penalty of disobedience looks like. And God prompted men to record the life of Jesus on paper so we can read it for ourselves two thousand years later.

He also inspired the likes of Paul, and Peter, and John, and others to teach us through their letters how to be the people God would have us be.

And he has been demonstrating this every day since creation.

Why the law? God didn’t make up some random rules after he got Adam and Eve in the Garden. God is Truth, and he is Holy, so those things have been around as long as he has. What he did by giving us the law, was to put it all out there. He is as honest with us as he wants us to be with him. These are my rules, he says. Let me help you obey them so we can have fellowship now and in eternity.

My sister’s job depends on how she handles her assignment. Friend, our lives depend on how well we handle the assignment God has placed before us. Holiness? Me?

Read God’s curriculum and see that he offers his own holiness to us. He is willing to place his righteousness on our shoulders. And he’s able to do that because he’s already paid the price our sins require. I’m not going to give you chapter and verse because I want to challenge you to read it all. Spend time in God’s word. Let him tell you how much he loves you, what he expects of you, and what he has already done on your behalf.

You don’t have to figure it out on your own. It’s right here in black and white.

Why Evil?

Last Sunday, the pastor posed a question in Sunday School: Why is there evil and has it always existed?

I guess to truly understand all the details of the answer to that question, you would have to have the mind of God. Our understanding is limited to what he inspired men to write in Scripture.

Like I Corinthians 15:56. Paul tells us the law gives sin its power. We wouldn’t know what sin was if God hadn’t spelled it out in the law.

We wouldn’t know what light was if it wasn’t for the darkness.

And we wouldn’t know what good was except for evil.

If there was no law, sin would have no power because sin, by definition, is the breaking of the law. But if there was no law, no sin, we wouldn’t know forgiveness, would we? There would be no choice. We would be puppets, robots.

It was important to God that his creation choose him.


I don’t know, except to say the love someone chooses to demonstrate toward me is precious, personal, more meaningful than if that someone feels obligated or forced. Being made in God’s image, I can only imagine he feels the same.

Dearest Heavenly Father, you are good. You are holy. And I thank you that you have made it possible to choose you. It’s hard to thank you for sin. It’s hard to thank you for sickness, wars, evil. But if it weren’t for those things, I wouldn’t understand what it is that you offer through your Son, Jesus. I wouldn’t appreciate grace. So, Father, I want you to know that I choose you today. I love you because I can. I resist temptation because I can. I deny Satan because I can. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you!

My Ichthus Phobia

Reading Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, I am reminded to live my life aware that people are watching.

Years ago, my dad bought me an ichthus, a magnetic fish for my car. I told him I was afraid to put one on my car because I didn’t want people to judge Christians if I pulled out in front of someone, drove too fast, or didn’t use my blinker. Dad said, “Maybe you should change how you drive.”

The truth of the matter is people are watching me and judging me whether or not I have a fish on my car, a cross around my neck, or a Bible in my purse. And they are often not only judging me, but they’re judging you, too, by the way I live.

It’s not just, “Connie is a bad driver.” It’s “Christians are bad drivers.” You’ve heard them. “Christians are haters.” “Christians are judgmental.” “Christians are hypocrites.”

How do they come up with this stuff?

By watching you and me. By hearing the language we use at the ballgame, by seeing inconsistencies at work, by how we treat our neighbors.

Satan loves to stop us from actively sharing Jesus by convincing us we are unworthy, too sinful, too much of a hypocrite to speak up for Christ. If that’s what you are thinking, I guess I’d like to throw a little of my dad’s advice your way:

Maybe you should change how you live.

Pilate and Me

We celebrated the Lord’s Supper yesterday at church. In my devotional time during the past several days I have been reading about Jesus’ last moments in a human body, and it made me appreciate the bread and wine even more. Jesus is not just some character in a book, or some guy who lived a good life thousands of years ago. He’s as real as he was the day Judas betrayed him. And our response to him is as important as Pilate’s response to him was.

Read Mark 15, Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19. See how Pilate, a powerful ruler of the people, washed his hands of the whole thing when he chose not to defy popular opinion. He knew Jesus wasn’t guilty of anything. But the crowd shouting for Jesus’ death was loud and strong. Pilate figured there was nothing he could do, so he just sat back and allowed Jesus to be mocked, beaten, and eventually killed.

Hold on before you get too critical of old Pilate. Is Jesus any less mocked, beaten up, obliterated from our society than he was in Pilate’s day? Isn’t popular opinion today just as loud and strong against God’s Truth as the people shouting, “Crucify Him” were back then?

Is Jesus the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the only way to the Father or not? Does sin, as spelled out clearly in Scripture, anger and disgust him? Are the wages of sin death? What is our response when popular opinion says we should be tolerant of all beliefs, that there are multiple ways to God, that evolution is a science, that homosexuality is not a choice and should be honored, that drunkenness is a party, that abortion is not murder, that Christians who speak against sin are haters?

I could go on. And so could you. God is asking me what my response will be. Will I, like Pilate, wash my hands and say, “Oh well, there’s nothing I can do”?

If I do – if we do – I believe Jesus will be obliterated from our society and we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. I was reminded at church yesterday, and again this morning as I spent time in God’s Word, that Jesus endured a lonely and painful death because he loves me. What is my response to so great a love, so great a salvation?

Pilate let popular opinion prevent him from taking a stand. Will I?

Father, I pray for your people. May we each spend time in your Word and in prayer, asking you what you would have us do in response to popular opinion that dishonors you. May Christians stand in love and in Truth against Satan’s lies. And may those who are holding this popular opinion be drawn to the Savior because your people didn’t wash our hands of the whole thing. God, you are powerful. May your power be seen in your obedient servants.