Walking through the crisp winter sunshine, I am overwhelmed! This must be a dream. How could I be so lucky? It's 8:05am and I've already engaged in two great conversations with brilliant young ladies, drank two cups of Caribou coffee made by the engineer, baked breakfast for my family, enjoyed a hot shower, have bed-sheets in the washing machine, stirred up bus-stop chatter with neighborhood kids, received a greeting and wave from a new neighbor and am shoveling the drive-way. I am so blessed! My thoughts immediately went to the engineer who holds down the other end of the teeter-totter: working long-days at a stressful, high-paced job. What did I do to deserve the better end of that (well, today anyway as there were no "trouble on the high-seas" among the golden heads before school)?
Then I saw the connection.
--but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 8:5
I was depraved, hopeless, pitiful and ugly and He chose me. I see myself on the lighter end of the teeter-totter.
…(God) chose me in (to be in) Christ before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:4
I was an enemy of God and He couldn't even look at me because I was sinful, yet God made a way for me to be at peace with Him because Jesus said yes to death on the cross. I did nothing to deserve saving from eternal condemnation and death. My penalty for being sinful should have been death forever in hell, but God gave me a gift: a get out of jail free card in Jesus. He wanted to have a relationship with me.
For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that (when we are) in Christ we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
If you are in Christ, when was the last time you fully realize how blessed you really are? Take time right now to praise Him for choosing you!


The first nights well-below freezing and snow sits on a thin layer of ice. "After school, I'm getting my ice-skates and going right to the pond." Better hold onto those skates for a while boisterous one.
Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5
Chapter 13 is the writer's finally rally for the Hebrews. Continue in love, practice hospitality to all, remember those in prison and those mistreated, stay pure in marriage, don't love money more than God...
Could this have a deeper application than just love of money? The NASB begins this way, "Make sure that your character…" Character is the mental and moral qualities that make up my life. Character makes me step back and think about my entirety: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical. Make sure all of me is free from aphilarguros. The same greek word is used here three times in a row! This is a string of exclamation points behind a word that literally means to be without an insatiable desire for more of what you don't have.
More what? Not just money but anything other than God: false peace, power, marital bliss, children, perfection, control, popularity, happiness, acceptance, justice, idols, job…
Replace wanting more with a choice: "..and be content." The word content is also translated sufficient or enough. Philip says to Jesus in John 14:8, "Show us the Father (God)and that will be enough." And in 2 Corinithians 12:9, God speaks to Paul, " 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' " I must determine that what I have is enough and sufficient and be content "with what I have." This word literally means what's near by. And what's nearby? Christ. I have Christ. When you believe in Jesus as your Savior, He comes to live within you. He is sufficient. He is enough. I should never desire more than that. So while I'm frustrated and on eggshells, I can't let my desire for peace and fixing trump my desire for Christ who is so sufficient in the interim.
The things for which we are greedy are temporary, Christ in me is forever. He empowers me and because He lives within me, I do not face these battles alone. He says, "I am with you in the struggle!"
On the eggshells, I choose to be content, to trust His sufficiency. And just like the boisterous one holding onto her ice skates, I hold onto Jesus.
In what area do you need to choose to be content? Verbally claim, trust and know with full confidence that Jesus in you is enough and He is with you in this struggle.


Lying in bed. It's four o'clock in the morning. I can't fall back to sleep. My mind begins. If I wake up now, I'd have plenty of time to study the Bible, finish that chapter, write in my blog, enjoy coffee, get a good workout… Golly I hope I don't fall back to sleep, that sounds like fun.
We are simply compelled to do some things. (Things that seems crazy to others.) 
 For preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t do it. (1 Corinthians 9:16, NLT)
Paul is compelled to preach the gospel. It’s the passion God gave him and it keeps him up at night. It is not his own will, but God's design for his life. To not preach for Paul would have been to live his life in vain or emptiness because he’s not accomplishing God’s intended purpose for his life

Suddenly, at 6:04 in the morning, I understood that word. I am compelled to wake up early. I jokingly call it "my own time." But maybe it's a God-given compulsion. It equips me and seriously, "woe to me" if I don't take it. (And woe to my family as well.)
God-given compulsions will always align with God's Word and will likely be an act of love, service or relationship.
There are other things we're compelled to do. Friends who felt compelled to sell everything they own, pack up their families and fly across the globe to share Jesus by building relationships with those in other countries. Sometimes we're compelled for the long-term missions. Sometimes we're compelled for the short-term missions: a ten-day mission trip, filling shoe-boxes for Operation Christmas Child, bless someone financially, or encourage someone with a phone call or note... When your compulsion is God given, it doesn't just go away after a good-night's sleep. It'll wake you in the middle of the night, keep you up at night or wake you before long before the sunrise. Better to act on your compulsion: your God-given mission. To step out in faith and trust for God's provision and act! This is what God's designed you for.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
What are you compelled to do? What steps of faithfulness will you take today to answer God's work designed for your life? The reward will be exhilarating: when God says to you, "Well, done my good and faithful servant."

Chicken and broccoli

CLANK, CLINK, CLANK-CLANK. Looking up to the noise overhead, I spy the aphid heaving its little shell body into the light fixtures above. Pausing a moment, I realize, that's what I've been like the last 10 weeks. Clanking, banging around like (as my mother used to say) a chicken with my head cut off.
"Love more and more, and aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." 1 Thessalonians 5:10b-12
And while we haven't ceased to have food to eat and the house isn't in shambles, it's likely a pace that's not beneficial to all in my family and thinking about Paul's decision in 1 Corinthians 8:13, the lady bug gives me a new understanding or application.
"Therefore, if my busyness causes my family's relationship with Jesus to falter, I will never run around crazy, if it makes my family fall away from Jesus." (my application of 1 Corinthians 8:13)
Reading on in Corinthians,
"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them." 1 Corinthians 9:19 
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians 10:31,33b
I feel called to lay aside some of my own preferences so that I might serve for God's glory. Loving a plan of action, I make my list of tangible ways to love and serve those within the walls of my home. This is the creative part that comes easily for me…but the day to day rubber meets the road application is definitely tougher! However, if I don't apply God's Word to my life, it would have been better to not even had read God's Word or listened to His conviction.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:22-25
Not applying God's Word and personal convictions in my life is like looking in the mirror, seeing I have a chunk of broccoli stuck in my teeth and walking away without doing anything about it. And who wants to be that person? No, I will remove the broccoli; I will take the steps to love and serve my family.
When God convicts your heart about something, do you respond? Will you take the principle and put it into action? Or will you walk around with broccoli stuck in your teeth?