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Shandrivs’kyi Falls Photo by Vovavovk1

Good morning, friend,

Today begins a new week. A fresh week, a fresh start. What are you thankful for this day? How do you begin this day today?

I am so very thankful today to have caught a Matt Redman concert on KLOVE last night as I drove to pick up my son from youth group.

I am thankful for Upwards basketball, HRK basketball and the impact both are having in my children’s lives this year. What a gift.

I am thankful for our church, to see our pews filling, see our children worshipping, my eldest up with me playing his guitar…we, as a church, voted to financially support TWR missionaries Mike and Wendy Lambert yesterday. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work that Mike will be doing in Guam for TWR, please check out his website. The need for Mike is critical. Right now, they have only one engineer working on the equipment that serves a huge audience of nearly two billion people and to work effectively the station should have three technicians. Please be praying.

What I am chewing on today…

a song that I heard for the first time last night by Matt Redman…Mercy. You know I have to share it with you.馃檪

May I never lose the wonder of Your mercy…

Do I ever just pause and wonder at the amazing depth and beauty of His mercy?

11聽As high as the 路sky聽[heaven]聽is above the earth,
so great is his 路love聽[loyalty]聽for those who 路respect聽[fear]聽him聽[Prov. 1:7].
12聽He has taken our 路sins聽[transgressions]聽away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13聽The聽Lord聽has 路mercy聽[compassion]聽on those who 路respect聽[fear]聽him聽[Prov. 1:7],
as a father has 路mercy聽[compassion]聽on his children. Psalm 103 EXB

What sparks my interest, what motivates me, what keeps me studying are phrases such as we find in these verses in Psalms.

As high as the sky is above the earth (picture that with me) so great is His love…now, I think, we like to stop there. We like to stop with His love. So great is His love. And it is great. It is magnificent. And there are A LOT of verses about His love. Last night, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the reality of hell. Can I just be honest with you and tell you how badly, in the quiet of my house, I wanted to turn off the preacher and turn on worship music? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking about it. However, if we are going to think about His great love, we also have to think about sharing that great love with those that need to hear it most desperately?

So great is His love for those who respect and fear Him…

7聽The reverent聽and聽worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning聽and聽the principal聽and聽choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful聽and聽godly Wisdom, instruction,聽and聽discipline.聽Proverbs 1:7 AMP

So, reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord, starting with an awe of Him, going back to the song that started this whole journey of mercy for me.

I will kneel in the dust, at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me.http://www.songlyrics.com/matt-redman/mercy-lyrics/

That’s the start, that’s the beginning, the best part of this knowledge of the Lord that He loves. And the blessings just flow, my friends, we give Him this reverent fear. That’s where we need to be, covered in His dust. Covered in His mercy.

As you begin this day, His compassion, His mercy covers you. Now, who can you show compassion to this day? Who can see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus this day?

Pray on..pray on.



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I start my morning with a slurper, well, two actually. One is already on his way to work. The other is memorizing the Foxtrot comic book resting on his lap. I begin to have a cognizant thought and slurp!聽And then, I am reminded of the many pages I follow on Facebook. The Mamas chronicling the one year anniversaries of losing their babies to cancer, fighting to keep their children from the grip of cancer or discovering their fight is just beginning. Slurp away, kid.

Sunset in Belo Horizonte Photo by Higor Douglas

Life is like that, isn’t it? We were meant to live this life in the present. To enjoy this gift, to peer out of the windows, see the sun shining through the trees and rather than just smile and close the blinds, run out with the dog and kids and join the chorus. Of course, it would require that my other children arise and join the rest of the open-eyed population. 聽I’ve been spending way too much time in my head lately, in regret, in the past, what I should have said. How I should have been. 聽And guess what I’ve done? I’ve smiled at the joy set before me (my family), closed the curtain and listened rather than run out and joined the chorus.

How often do we close the curtains in our own lives? How often have we briefly seen whatever the joy was the Lord set before us (the beauty of the day, the family, the friendships, life, whatever) and chosen to keep our focus solely on the stress? Has your neighbor’s dog bark finally crossed that line? Do your church’s music choices set your teeth on edge? Are there people at your church that you wish would worship elsewhere so you could finally have the church you want? Are your children not doing everything according to your gospel? Shall I continue? Did I mention yours? Fill in the blank ________. You tell the Lord. But I’m going to tell you, here’s what He says in Philippians 4:

4-5聽Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean,聽revel聽in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you are on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

All those questions, those curtains they close the door on celebration. Celebration is open the doors wide. 聽Open your heart wide. As I type that, it’s hard. Down and dirty hard to do this with people…especially when people are not like you. When people don’t understand you and you don’t understand them, we forget. We forget that we aren’t here to be perfect, we are here to work together, harmoniously. Our love for one another doesn’t have to be constant time and attention but it can be a touch on the shoulder, a smile that reaches your eyes, knowing that love comes from the Father in heaven. You can’t love the difficult people on your own. You love them from Him. He is your love and His love pours through.

Romans 12:聽11-13聽Don鈥檛 burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don鈥檛 quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

How do we burn out? How do we keep fueled and aflame? Most certainly not by working on our own strength or love. It all starts with Him. All of it. It stops when we… back to Philippians 4:

6-7聽Don鈥檛 fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God鈥檚 wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It鈥檚 wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

We have got to get to this point where we trigger an automatic response to worry. Right away. The worries begin and bam! we begin to pray. I’m not kidding. I keep thinking of that Whac-A-Mole game, right? You know the game? Sometimes, I feel like that’s my worries in my life. One crops up, bam! Another, bam! A child has no problem whacking a mole with all their might, why do I allow my “moles” to just hang out above the surface, grabbing some rays, checking out the hot moles in the other holes…You get my point.

What if today, I turn my back on the whole stupid game? And I let petitions and praises shape these moles into prayers and I just give ’em over to my God? Then as I do this, I will begin to feel and know I am complete in Him, I will and am remembering that all comes together for good!

It’s wonderful, isn’t it, when Christ displaces worry in the center of our life?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me, I have a slurper and dog to take on a walk.

Pray on. Pray on.


I’m thankful for the gorgeous sunrise.

I’m thankful for my Kimberlee who checks on me every morning to make sure I’m having my QT. I love you, girl.

I’m thankful for a new alarm clock that didn’t work today and we slept in.

Marshmallow shooters

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Creeping thistle. Photo by Ivar Leidus

Good morning, friend,

Ever sit to watch the coffee drip into the pot, waiting for enough to fill even half a cup? Recalling this past night, wishing for more sleep…knowing that the day spreads before me, knowing this truth: when I begin my day with the Lord, no matter the amount of sleep, I still have staked a claim. This day shall be for the Lord. As the garbage truck passes by the house, one of the boy children is awake and the day begins. It must begin with the Lord. I must..

I continue to ponder the first chapter of Joshua. God keeps it simple.

8聽Yes, keep this book of the聽Torah聽on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed.聽9聽Haven’t I ordered you, 鈥楤e strong, be bold鈥? So don鈥檛 be afraid or downhearted, because聽Adonai聽your God is with you wherever you go.鈥 Joshua 1 CJB

For me, this day, this means to keep my mind securely on the Word. To meditate on the Word…

hagah– to speak with oneself, and in a low voice, as is often done by those musing.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

1聽How blessed are those
who reject the advice of the wicked,
don鈥檛 stand on the way of sinners
or sit where scoffers sit!
2聽Their delight
is in聽Adonai鈥檚聽Torah;
on his聽Torah聽they meditate
day and night.
3聽They are like trees planted by streams 鈥
they bear their fruit in season,
their leaves never wither,
everything they do succeeds. Psalm 1 CJB

Where is my delight? What does my mind meditate upon? Do I ponder more upon the fears? Do I remain fixed upon the truth of His Word?

15聽(14)聽May the words of my mouth
and the thoughts of my heart
be acceptable in your presence,
Adonai, my Rock and Redeemer.聽Psalm 19 CJB

As I type, my son, my early riser, is attempting to configure his marshmallow shooter. Some of the marshmallows are stuck in the barrel of his gun. (Even though his Grandmother told him to use cornstarch with the marshmallows). So, he has tried a straw to push them out, he has tried water to wash them out, and now he is using聽a hairdryer to dry them out. However, had he listened to his Grandmother (you can pay me later, Mom), he would be gleefully shooting the dog, the other members of his family even at this moment.

He didn’t.

God tells us to meditate on His word…we start our day worrying about ________________________ (your worry here).

God tells us to speak His truth…instead frustration pours from our mouths because our day is not looking how WE think it should look.

God tells us to meditate on it day and night…instead we are distracted by Facebook, email, Twitter..

We are clogging up our marshmallow shooters, people.

Now, my boy has gone back and listened to the advice of our wise Matriarch. His marshmallows are covered in cornstarch. Then, he decides to coat his brother and sister’s bags of white fluff to help them so they do not run into the same issues as he.

So I hope by my words I may point you to our Lord, His Word and His teachings. Don’t start your day with worry. Get your coffee, grab His Word and begin your day by meditating on His Word. It’s all about Jesus (Haven Today). I end with this quote of Paul’s today.

14聽Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly;聽15聽and let the聽shalom聽which comes from the Messiah be your heart鈥檚 decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.

And be thankful 鈥斅16聽let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts.聽17聽That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3 CJB

Pray on. Pray on.




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Island Archway on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Good morning, beloved,

I think my favorite worship/praise/hymns have to be anthems. The songs begin slow, quietly and continue to build and with great feeling and emotion, crescendo. One hymn we taught our children early on, Battle Hymn of the Republic, rings in my ears.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally聽鈥et us聽die聽to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on. Cyber Hymnal

Anthem: a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. Hmmm, I need to be roused. To be lifted up by the truth, to remember this life, this time is so brief. All of it is a breath…I breathe in and realize I have stopped folding Sparky uniforms. I only have TNT jerseys (and up) to fold and give to children. This day, this family, this is my ministry. This is my day.

And you were聽dead in the trespasses and sins聽2聽in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following聽the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in聽the sons of disobedience鈥斅3聽among whom we all once lived in聽the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a]聽and the mind, and聽were by nature聽children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.聽4聽But[b]聽God, being聽rich in mercy,聽because of the great love with which he loved us,聽5聽even聽when we were dead in our trespasses,聽made us alive together with Christ鈥攂y grace you have been saved鈥斅6聽and raised us up with him and聽seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,聽7聽so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable聽riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.聽8聽For聽by grace you have been saved聽through faith. And this is聽not your own doing;聽it is the gift of God,聽9聽not a result of works,聽so that no one may boast.聽10聽For聽we are his workmanship,聽created in Christ Jesus聽for good works,聽which God prepared beforehand,聽that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2 ESVUK

Rise up, friends. What is before you? Where is your allegiance? His mercy reaches out. His great love calls to you, to me. You were dead. I was dead. Grace reached out. As I type I’m listening to Passion belt out a song. I am inspired, encouraged and moved to trust more, hope more..

Our minds are truly a battlefield. I sing to bring the truth to my mind. I sing to fight feelings. To fight fear, to remember, to state CLEARLY that the Lord Our God is faithful. Never failing. How can I doubt this? How can I wonder at what He is doing? Why do I forget to give thanks?

By grace we have been saved…

Grace…it’s all about Him. It’s not anything we have done. It’s all about what HE has done, is doing, and will continue to do. Save us.

So this day, as you walk through your day, as I walk through my day, let’s remember, it’s grace.

Once and for all times. We believe our God is Jesus. We believe He is Lord. We believe HE has saved us.

The power in His name..



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La Plana Novella (Olivella) Photo by DagafeSQVT

Good morning, beloved,

15聽For this reason,聽because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love聽toward all the saints,聽16聽I聽do not cease to give thanks for you,聽remembering you in my prayers,聽17聽that聽the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,聽may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,聽18聽having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is聽the hope to which he has called you, what are聽the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,聽19聽and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of聽his great might聽20聽that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and聽seated him at his right hand聽in the heavenly places,聽21聽far above聽all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above聽every name that is named, not only in聽this age but also in the one to come.聽22聽And聽he put all things under his feet and gave him as聽head over all things to the church,聽23聽which is his body,聽the fullness of him聽who fills聽all in all.聽Ephesians 1 ESV

I think the first thing I want to do with this passage highlight every instance of you or your and see where that takes me.

Paul is praying for the Ephesians. He has reports of:

  • their faith in the Lord Jesus
  • their love toward all the saints

What is it to you to hear someone is praying for you? For me, it is encouragement. 聽Paul does not cease to give thanks for them or stop his prayers for them. Then he begins to pray for them. They believe in the Lord Jesus. He prays for revelation. 聽Next, let’s take what we learn by highlighting all instances of God.

  • God of our Lord Jesus Christ-Paul is stating without a doubt that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus was not a false prophet or liar. He was of God. He is God.
  • Father of glory (doxa) “…in聽Eph 1:17, “the Father of glory” describes Him as the source from whom all Divine splendor and perfection proceed in their manifestation, and to whom they belong..” (Greek Lexicon, blb.org)
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom
  • God gives us revelation, knowledge of Him
  • Our God calls us to hope

Hope. Hope is a very crucial word for me. I find myself again and again and again putting my hope in my circumstances, or my bank account numbers, or my relationships. If one area of my life (that I can see), is not puttering along as I would expect, I begin to get teary, worried. Yuck. My eyes have been taken from the God of glory, the source of Divine splendor, perfection and I’ve climbed into the mud pit and centered my gaze on the mud. Blech.

He calls us to HOPE!

We have riches, friends! We have His glory in us. A glorious. GLORIOUS inheritance. Back to what we learn about God.馃檪

  • immeasurable greatness of [God’s] power toward us who believe.. oh God, help me in unbelief! Are there ever days when you spend more time as doubting Thomas? Immeasurable…I can’t measure His power. I can’t grasp it. So what am I doing doubting?

  • according to the working of聽[God’s] great might-“In聽Eph 1:19聽and聽Eph 6:10, it is said of the strength of God bestowed upon believers, the phrase “the power of His might” indicating strength afforded by power. ” (Greek Lexicon)
  • [God’s] great might that He聽worked in Christ when He聽raised him from the dead..so much to ponder here.
  • seated him at聽his聽right hand聽in the heavenly places
  • far above聽all rule and authority and power and dominion

This …far above all rule, authority, power, dominion…just ponder that for a moment. What we see in front of us is a chain of command, right? Think of authority in your life. Whose has authority in your life? Maybe your parents (if you are young), the police (you see those flashing lights and you pull over), the judge presiding over your case, the senate, the house of reps, the President. Kings, queens, rulers, principalities have nothing on the God of glory. The God of immeasurable power makes it so that I never, ever need to be afraid. He’s above it all. Nothing escapes His rule and dominion.

It’s more than that. He holds this world together. I don’t want to oversimplify God. I don’t want to put Him in my box. Mold Him how I want Him to look. I woke up this morning thinking about my day. Thinking about what went right and why. It isn’t a formula. If I do this and that, then bam, it’s amazing, folks, blessing! However, understanding the incredible depth of blessing of keeping His word close, In repeating it over and over. In the music, proclaiming His power, His dominion over the world! In pausing before I speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide.

It’s His name..above聽every name that is named, not only in聽this age but also in the one to come. ooooh! This is so cool! Let me give you some cross refs:

Matthew 28:聽19聽[e]Go therefore and聽make disciples of聽all the nations,聽baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,聽20聽teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo,聽I am with you聽[f]always, even to聽the end of the age.鈥

Acts 4: 11聽[j]He is the聽stone which was聽rejected聽by you,聽the builders,聽but聽which became the chief corner聽stone.聽12聽And there is salvation in聽no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.鈥 (BTW, catch there is salvation IN NO ONE ELSE. Just Jesus. All you need is Jesus to be saved)

Revelation 19:12聽His聽eyes聽are聽a flame of fire, and on His head聽are聽many diadems; and He has a聽name written聽on Him聽which no one knows except Himself.聽13聽He is聽clothed with a聽robe dipped in blood, and His name is called聽The Word of God.

He is above every name. He is. What more needs to be said? Think the next time you are about to speak His Name. Pause. Reflect. His Name. Remember this day, you are the child of the one true King. Keep His word close to you today. Keep the music playing. Worship Him as you breath.

Pray on. Pray on.


Casting aside

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Panorama of Lake Bled Photo by Mihael Grmek

Good morning, beloved,

I walked out this morning and saw the stars. I saw the moon. It was beautiful. The earth is filled with His glory. His majesty. It is good to begin a day with praise. It is good to give thanks. To start my day soaked in the Word, to remember that there are no chains on me. No chains on YOU. Why?

I’m here to tell you, your heart can be free. Today, as I face my own flesh, I do not face that battle alone. I can remember that:In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly 路world聽[realms; places]. (Ephesians 1:3).聽We bless the Father by blessing His son, Jesus. We cry out to Him knowing everything we need can be found in Him. Do you know that this verse (v.3) repeats some form of blessing three times? We bless Him. He has blessed us. We receive every spiritual blessing.

聽…of the place where Christ “sitteth at the right hand of God” (i.e., in a position of Divine authority),聽Eph 1:20; and of the present position of believers in relationship to Christ,聽Eph 2:6; where they possess “every spiritual blessing,”聽Eph 1:3; Greek Lexicon

Christ now sits in the position of Divine Authority. Where do we stand with Jesus? What are some of the spiritual blessings?

  • Chosen, holy people without blame
  • His kids
  • grace
  • set free, forgiven, redeemed
  • there is a plan (in this hectic, crazy world that FEELS as though it is spinning out of control, we can bank on the truth that..there is a plan

I remember as a child, waiting to be picked for a team by the captain. Standing there with the rest of the kids, hoping, I would be next. My breath would be shallow. I would be close to kneeling on the ground begging, not to be last. 聽Then when I was picked, a quick smile, a deep breath and then to watch the rest of the suffering souls.. Let me just say, that will never happen with Jesus. God the Father has chosen you. No need for worry. No need for shallow breathing. You and I are His kids!

I have written about grace. There is so much more to learn about grace. We have been given so much grace! If we have been given so much grace, how is it that we cannot extend it to others?

We have been wronged by a friend. Or leader. Or spouse. Or child. The pain we feel is extreme and we feel the wrong deeply. Perhaps even now, the person’s face is looming in your mind. It keeps you awake at night. You rehearse how you will behave and talk in the future conversation.

5 But he was wounded for 路the wrong we did聽[T鈥痮ur transgressions];
he was crushed for 路the evil we did聽[T鈥痮ur iniquities].
The punishment, which 路made us well聽[brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
and we are healed because of his 路wounds聽[lacerations;T鈥痵tripes;聽1 Pet. 2:24].
6聽We all have 路wandered away聽[T鈥痝one astray]聽like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way聽[1 Pet. 2:25]. Isaiah 53 EXB

How strange. Isaiah doesn’t mention our neighbor’s sins. He declares our sin. Jesus was crushed. He was punished. Only through His wounds can we be healed, we have all wandered away. Not just our “sinful” neighbor, us. I bet you could make a list of all the sins and wrongs your neighbor has done. I bet you could rehash every last one. Me too.

7b He was like a lamb being led to be 路killed聽[slaughtered].
He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet 路while its wool is being cut[L鈥痓efore its shearers;聽Acts 8:32;聽Matt. 26:63;聽Mark 14:61;聽John 19:9;聽1 Pet. 2:23];
he never opened his mouth. Isaiah 53 EXB

Are we quiet when we are sinned against? Maybe we don’t say anything to anyone, maybe we do, but our thoughts betray us. 聽Jesus’ thoughts NEVER betrayed Him.

14聽[L鈥疶herefore]聽Since we have a great high priest聽[2:17鈥18], Jesus the Son of God, who has 路gone into聽[ascended to;聽or聽passed through]路heaven聽[or聽the heavens], let us hold 路on聽[firmly]聽to 路the faith we have[L鈥痶he confession/profession;聽C鈥痮f our faith].聽15聽路For our high priest is able[L鈥疐or we do not have a high priest who is unable]聽to 路understand[sympathize with]聽our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin.聽16聽Let us, then, 路feel very sure that we can come before聽[L鈥痗onfidently approach]聽God鈥檚 throne 路where there is grace[L鈥痮f grace;聽C鈥痑s opposed to a throne of judgment and condemnation]. There we can receive mercy and 路grace聽[L鈥痜ind grace]聽to help us 路when we need it聽[L鈥痑t the right time]. Hebrews 4 EXB

He knows. His grace is enough for all. We need Jesus. We need Him, who sits in a position of authority, to intercede on our behalf, to understand our weaknesses. We need Him. We have sinned just as much as our neighbor, if not more. God’s grace and mercy is available to you, first. Let us run our race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of 路people whose lives tell us what faith means聽[L鈥痺itnesses], let us run the race that is before us 路and never give up聽[with endurance/perseverance]. 路We should聽[Let us]聽路remove from our lives聽[get rid of; cast aside]聽anything that 路would get in the way聽[impedes/hinders us]聽and the sin that so easily 路holds us back聽[entangles/clings to us].聽2聽Let us 路look only to聽[keep our eyes on]聽Jesus, the 路One who began聽[Pioneer/Founder of;聽or聽Leader/Prince of]聽our faith and who 路makes it perfect聽[completes it]. He 路suffered death on聽[L鈥痚ndured]聽the cross, 路accepting the shame as if it were nothing聽[L鈥痙isregarding/despising the shame]聽because of the joy that 路God put before聽[lay ahead for]聽him. And now he is sitting at the right 路side聽[L鈥痟and]聽of God鈥檚 throne聽[1:3;聽13;聽Ps. 110:1]. Hebrews 12 EXB

Cast aside anything that impedes or hinders, the sin that so easily entangles for there is grace. Keep our eyes on Jesus. He has a plan. It is a most excellent plan.

Pray on. Pray on.



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Dushan Tappe, one of the suburbs of Tehran, (1899) Author: Kamal-ol-Molk.

Good morning, beloved,

Today, it’s grace that astounds me. I throw words around this blog. I write out struggles I have in my life. Rather, I hint around the roller coasters that abound in my life. My stomach settles from one coaster and life pushes me on another one. What astounds me: every time I look up, look over, look behind Jesus is there. I’m wearing my seat harness, seat belt strapped in for the ride of my life, white knuckled, and Jesus is there. For the very top of the ride, to the very lowest point, nothing can ever separate us.

As we dive back into school (the metaphors are astounding as well, yes?) , I am holding desperately to His hands. Asking God to give me, please give me, the patience, the wisdom, the sight to teach my kids. To teach them about the Word, to remember that when I start our day with the teaching of His Word, our day (while never perfect) can feel the palpable presence of His Spirit. This year I want to dedicate to teaching them about the Kings and the Prophets.

So it’s good with all my plans and ideas to remember this: I. am. loved. Period.

聽Because of his love聽[C鈥痶his phrase may go with the previous sentence], God 路had already decided to make us his own children聽[L鈥痯redestined us for adoption]聽through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him,聽6聽and it brings praise to God because of his 路wonderful[glorious]聽grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in 路Christ, the One he loves聽[L鈥痶he Beloved].聽7聽In 路Christ聽[L鈥痟im]聽we 路are set free聽[have been redeemed/purchased]聽by 路the blood of his death聽[L鈥痟is blood;聽C鈥痓lood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. 路How rich is聽[or聽This redemption reveals the wealth of;聽L鈥ccording to the riches of]聽God鈥檚 grace,聽8聽which he has 路given to us so fully and freely聽[lavished on us]. Ephesians 1 EXB

Love. We are His kids. Grace. Free. Set free. Redeemed. Forgiven.

I take my job as teacher very seriously. I also want my house to look perfect. Ah, yes, there’s the rub. Teaching four kids at home, six people and a dog, busy schedules, the house takes a back seat. In my mind though, it brings me peace to have my house sparkling clean. So when I look around while working with the kids, I get antsy to clean up. I look around, see the piles and wonder who made that mess or that one. Frustration abounds.

I am loved.

I am set free.

So, my expectations the house being perfect, fretting about the little things does not teach my children the truths I am stating here. If I sing, Your Love Never Fails and yet, there is no hope in my speech. No laughter. No joy. What am I truly teaching? When one of my sweets goes about cleaning my Blendtec and hot soapy water shoots up like a geyser, when same child tries to make coffee and breaks the carafe, when the girl pierces her dolls ears, when their rooms look like hurricanes abound (I’m loving that word today), when laundry piles, when dishes, when books, when papers…

I am loved.

I am set free.

I can laugh. I can give grace which so freely is bestowed upon me. No chains on me. No chains on my beloveds.

You are loved.

You can be free.

Run after Him today!


288. For a book that reminds me to pause, lie down and look up at the stars.

289. For another year to teach and be with my kids.

290. For the youth ministry of Village Church of Gurnee.

Pray on. Pray on. Forgiven.