A Prayer: Salt and Light

Many years ago while taking a writing workshop for my Master’s Degree, one of the students read a poem citing all the sins he felt God had committed against him, and the biggest was an unanswered prayer for help. As I sat listening to his raw yet carefully measured words, it occurred to me this man’s rejection was based on what he had been taught about God not what he had learned for himself. This young man, so deft and eloquent in his abandonment of who he thought was God, had never found relationship with Jesus because he kept following the rules of the Church and never read for himself Who God truly is. My heart was broken, but as a new Christian, I didn’t know how to reach out to him.

As I drove home from class that night, I wept in my car for this young man and wailed to God to help this young man find Him. “Let someone cross his path that could show him Who You really are!” were the last words of that heartbroken prayer.

Before I went to sleep that night, the Spirit gave me this:


God Forbid

The more I understand
You, Lord,
The more I understand
I know very little.

God forbid
I stop knowing
Your power
and try to walk
this life
on my own;
I ever stop believing
all things work
together for good
for those who
know You,
and for everything
there is a season
and purpose
under heaven;
a mustard seed
of faith ever stops
being enough.

God forbid
You become
a religion to me,
something talked about
only to certain people,
and worshipped
only on Sunday;
I ever think of You
as a genie in a bottle
or put You in a box,
only to bring You
out when it is
convenient or desirable;
that I speak of You
as only a subject
of children’s stories
and songs,
equal in importance to
the Easter Bunny or Santa.

God forbid
I stop being
salt and light,
becoming hearer
and not doer;
I become hard pressed,
or struck down and
stop believing
my strength,
and future
are in You.

God forbid
I forget
who You are:
my King,
of everything.

God forbid
Jesus starts caring
how many times
I make a mistake,
slam the door,
or walk away.

God forbid.

God forbid.


I took this poem to writing workshop the next week. I have no idea how the young man received it. He wasn’t there. The class did have some good discussion about being the salt and light. Many of the students had never heard of such a thing and wondered where it was found in the Bible (Matthew 5:13-16).

If you are ready to give up on God, or maybe you already have, I implore you to give Jesus one more try. He is still there, waiting, no judgment, and with no list of corrections to be made before He will accept you. He loves you just as you are, and He wants you just the way you are.

Sometimes God isn’t Who we think He should be, Who we have been taught He is. To really know and understand Who God is, we must read the Bible, apply what it says, and pray. It really is as simple as that.


1 Corinthians 15_49


Bear the Image of The Man of Heaven


Finding God’s Specific Will for You

It is cliché to say that from the moment we accept Christ, God doesn’t instantaneously show us His specific will for our individual lives. He leads us to that revelation little by little.

In Acts, Luke explains how the misguided, murdering Saul accepts Jesus’s testimony and sacrifice, and then transforms into the Apostle Paul. Ananias explains to Saul that faith and clarity of will is not instantaneous when he says, “The God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will” (Acts 22:14).

Just like Saul, we too have come to know God’s over-arching will for humanity (“not willing that any should parish but that all should come to repentance” 2 Pet 3:9) over time. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s grace to us over time. None of us accepted Christ the first time we heard. It took time and some convincing.

God’s specific will for Saul/Paul to become the Apostle to the Gentiles wasn’t revealed until after he has had been educated in the Christian faith. Likewise, we come to know God’s personal will for us progressively, over time. As a child doesn’t grow into adulthood in a day, so our spiritual growth has to be progressive. We come to know His will more clearly and more accurately as we follow and trust Him.

How is “following and trusting” done? Well, we need to do what Saul/Paul did – learn.

This may also sound cliché and pedantic; however, there just isn’t any other way to follow and trust God but to read our Bibles and spend time in prayer. There just isn’t any other way. There isn’t a short cut.

God speaks to us individually as we read His word. What jumps off the page at me is going to be different than what jumps out at you. Why? Because my life is different than yours. What I need from God (breaking bad habits that cause huge life problems) may be different than what you need from God (comfort and reassurance).

Each time we read Scripture and choose to believe it and act on it, we become more and more persuaded that what God says is true. This process of becoming persuaded is also known as building faith. As God progressively builds our faith in Him, the more we want God to persuade us that we can trust Him. It is a never ending cycle of persuasion and belief (a.k.a following and trusting); however, it can’t happen if we do not sit down and read the Bible and pray.

I can only know what God specifically wants from me and for me if I spend time with Him. The only way to spend time with God is through reading, praying, and fasting. You cannot know what a person wants for you or from you unless you talk to him or her. The same is true with God.

He will not tell me, nor will I learn, His will all at once. I must be patient and trust Him where I am right now. There are things that He wants to teach me before He shows me how He wants me to minister specifically.

Throw your whole being into building a relationship with God. Invite Him into your everyday, or begin to see how He is already in your everyday. Begin to talk to Him all day long about everything, and you will begin to notice that He talks back. When He begins to talk back, do what He says. From there it will become easier to see what is His personal will for you.

Like I tell my daughter, “Run after Jesus with everything you have, and one day He’ll say, ‘Hey, look over there. I want you to do something for me.’ And then do what he tells you to do.”

Learning the specific, individualized will of God centers around the cycle of persuading and believing, so sit back, take some time, and get to know Him.

Devotion, Hymns

A New Song

I love to sing; however, I’m not a singer.

My childhood was cupped in music. At any given moment, someone in my house was singing, humming, chirping or crooning out some tune, made up or memorized. If we weren’t making music, we were listening to it, especially when Dad was home. He had speakers wired throughout the house (quite a feat for the 1980s), so the entire house buzzed with whatever new album he brought home.

Swiped from

Swiped from

In a house like ours, a song was not hard to find.

I have always carried music with me wherever I went. It has been my constant companion as well as emphasizing the important moments in my life. There has been a soundtrack for days that were filled with laughter and fun, vacations in the Georgian mountains, and getting ready for a date. There has been a soundtrack to everything I’ve done: taken history tests, getting a drink at the water fountain, doing dishes, and mowing the lawn. Songs take me back to life-altering moments: bitter breakups, birth of children, and the death of loved ones.

It’s an understood maxim that songs punctuate life.

When I became a Christian in my late 20s, it became obvious that, although they were useful at points in my life, the songs rolling around in my head were not meeting the needs of my new life.  My previous post, “He Placed Me on My Feet,” details how I gained self confidence when Jesus placed me on solid ground.

Now I needed a song to go with that new found confidence.

Jesus never fails. In Psalm 40:3 (NLT) “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Not only did He pick me up and set my feet solidly on good ground, but He also gave me a song.  Jesus didn’t wait for me to ask Him for something to sing, hum, or warble. He gave it to me to me like a friend giving my a tissue when I sniffle, or pen when I need to write something down, or a penny when I’m short in the checkout. He just gave it to me.

I don’t mean to diminish the song Christ gives as something insignificant, just the opposite. It seems like a small thing, but to the receiver, it is very important. It can be an encouragement, a day changer, a life saver.

He knew I needed it before I knew I needed it. To say I was between a rock and hard place when I cried out to Jesus is an understatement. I was at my rock bottom with no where to go except under the rock. Something deep within me told me that if I crawled under that rock, I would be hard pressed to come out (no pun intended, although it works well). The soundtrack playing in the back of my head wasn’t encouraging in the least. As I mentioned in “He Placed Me on My Feet”, Jesus let me see that there was hope, that hope gave me confidence in the future, and my new found confidence allowed me to stand on faith. In retrospect, it was all so small. I was looking just a few weeks, maybe months, ahead. That’s as far as my faith would let me go – a couple months. That is all I needed.

Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today. I set my sights on getting through the week by getting through each day. I knew if Jesus’ grace could cover me for just one day at a time, then He’d get me through the week.  That was my song: Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today, and that gives me hope, which gives confidence, and builds my faith. 

The tiny bit of Christian music I had was completely insufficient to help me, so I sang what I had. I crooned out a little ditty in the shower, in the car, at the sink, by the stove, and anywhere I felt I needed a boost. Jesus knew I needed a song before I did, and He gave it to me when He gave me hope.

My song was brand new and it came out of my circumstances. I had never sung a song like the one that Jesus gave me. I remember sing praise choruses and hymns in church and at church camp, but they never overflowed into my everyday life. Jesus gave me a new song, a song of praise and thanksgiving for hearing me, for rescuing me, for giving me hope.  All of this I have said before, but it was brand new to me. It can be brand new for you, too!

I will always have something to praise God for, because He saved me from myself. He saved me from a life that was controlled by me.  He saved me from being tied down to my simplistic, unfounded thinking. My new song is a praise to Jesus Christ! My praises are different than yours because my life is different than yours. Yes, the pit is miry old bugger that each one of us finds ourselves in, but at the same time, it is also a unique pit to each of us. We each find ourselves in the pit, but the details of that pit differ. When I sing “He took me out of the miry clay,” my miry clay has different ingredients than your miry clay, but it’s still miry and it still bogs us down. So although we all sing praises to Christ for lifting us out of that pit, our praises are new and unique because of the dirty details.

At first I wanted to hide my dirty details, but that’s not what Christ is about. Should we be sorry for the dirt? Yes, absolutely. Should we flaunt how dirty we were? No, absolutely not. Can we admit that we were dirty and, in the right context, talk about our dirt in reference to Christ’s saving grace and God’s loving mercy? YES and AMEN! Sometimes that is the only way others will get to see Jesus. It is through us, those that He has saved and transformed, that others will see that Jesus is real and put their trust in Him. I talk about my dirt, but I also give praise to Christ for what He, and only He, has done for, in, and through me. It’s a good thing to show how Jesus chipped your paint, and how He has repainted you.!

Swiped from a Facebook friend.

Swiped from a Facebook friend.


Sing your new song loud and proud, my friend. It chips off more paint than you know.

If you need a new song, cry out to Jesus. He will give you one.

Let your song spread. Psalm 40:3

Let your song spread.
Psalm 40:3

Devotion, Hymns

He Placed Me On My Feet

I try to read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Before I am able to focus my eyes, I thank Jesus for trusting me with another day, I give control of the day back to Him, and ask that I can honor Him and make Him proud. Once my eyes focus, I read scripture from my Nook.

As I was praying this morning, the old hymn “He brought me out of the miry clay. He set my feet on the rock to stay. He puts a song in my heart today, a song of praise. Hallelujah!” came to mind. I did a quick keyword search (feet on rock), and Psalm 40:2 popped up.

Psalm 40: 2-3 (NLT) “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

He set my feet on solid ground. That phrase stuck in my head.

I thought about the day I cried out to Jesus, the day Jesus chipped the first bit of paint from me:

He picked me up. Only broken things need to be picked up. Broken people cannot stand on their own. Broken lives cannot function on their own. In the broken mess that was sucking me under, Jesus reached down and picked me up. I didn’t have to crawl out. I couldn’t. I didn’t have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I couldn’t. Jesus, because He loves and cares for me, picked me up.

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He placed me on my feet. Jesus made a point of placing me on my feet. He didn’t lay me on the ground or plop me in a chair. He stood me to my feet. In that act of placing me on my feet, Jesus gave me confidence. He gave me the little bit of faith I needed to see that there was still hope. Placing me on my feet, Jesus assured me that I could walk the road ahead of me. If the God of the Universe thought I could do it, who am I to second guess Him? Who am I to say “I can’t” when the King of kings, the Savior of the world, said that I can?

He placed my feet on a rock – solid ground. No longer did I have to wonder about my life. As long as I had my feet on the ground in which Jesus placed me (His love and wisdom), I could move about confidently. I no long had to grope around to find solid ground because Jesus placed me smack dab in the middle of solid ground. I could now move, and breathe, and be a confident me!  Finding that freedom wasn’t instantaneous, but with my feet firmly planted on solid ground, I now had the courage to be resolute. Jesus loved me so much that he wasn’t going to leave me to wander around looking for solid ground. He knew I couldn’t find it on my own, so He put me there and said, “Just follow Me and you will never fall into the sand again.” How did I know my feet were always on the solid ground? I didn’t, yet in small ways I did. If I had to talk myself into things, I wasn’t on solid ground, and I was more than likely headed toward the sand that would suck me back into the mire. If I was relying on my own understanding of things, I was headed for sand.  But, if I was reading, studying, meditating, and attempting to applying His Word, then I was most assuredly on solid ground.

This is where I want to stop for this post. I will talk about the new song He has placed in my heart at another time. Right now I want the enormity of this insightful little nugget to reach deep into my mind, heart, and soul and do its miraculous work.

The beauty of this Psalm is that it is not just for David, the writer, or only for me. This Psalm is for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are.

Jesus is waiting for you to cry out to Him. He wants to do for you what He’s done for me.

My prayer is that even with all your doubts and fears, you will yell to Jesus for rescue.





Made to be dangerous


I Will Lift Up My Eyes – Psalm 121:1-2

Scripture: Psalm 121:1-2 (AMP) “I will lift up my eyes to the hills [around Jerusalem, to sacred Mount Zion and Mount Moriah]. From whence shall my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and Earth.”

Observation:  As the writer lifts up his head, his eyes lite on the hills around Jerusalem, Mt. Zion and Mt. Moriah.  These hills are very important to God’s people.   Setting his eyes on the hills brings forth memories of what God has done for him and his people in the past (Mt. Moriah) and of God’s promises for him and his people for the future (Mt. Zion). The writer already knows his help is not in the hills. The hills are just reminders of his Helper. His Helper/Rescuer is the Lord. The writer finishes the thought with a reminder of just what type of Helper the Lord is: He made Heaven and Earth. There is nothing He can’t do!

Application: The psalmist reminds me to not look to things, people, or ideas to help me through or rescue me from the hardness of life.

Ephesians 6:12 says ” We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Therefore, I need a spiritual Helper – a helper not of this physical world (but who understands it) but of the spiritual world. I NEED JESUS!

The battle really isn’t about the situation in which I find myself. It’s about my soul and my living victoriously through the battle Christ has fought and won for me. I need to stop looking at the physical world for answers (“If I just had” type of thinking) and look to the Lord.  I can and should put “the hills” around me as a reminder of what God has done for me and what He promises to do, but I cannot look at the hills as my help. They are only reminders.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that You have my back. I am so thankful that you and your angels are fighting the battles for me – battles I can’t possibly fight alone.  Holy Spirit, please remind me those battles that you have won for me, the times You have rescued me, and the times you have helped me. Thank you, Lord, for being faithful to this unfaithful human. I will keep Your mercies and loving kindnesses before me as a Mt. Moriah as I, at the same time, look to Mt. Zion to remind me of all the promises you have given me.  I love you, Jesus, and I give you my all.  Amen.

Something to consider:  Pinpoint a victory and a promise that Christ has given you, or select some from the Bible, and place it in your mind as a Mt. Moriah and Mt Zion.  When the challenges of life rear their heads, look to the hills not for your help, but as a reminder from where your help really does come.

What is your Mt. Moriah (past victory)?
What is your Mt. Zion (promised victory)?


Promise of New Life in Isaiah 60: 1, 18-22

Scripture: Isaiah 60:1 (AMP) “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; rise to a new life]! Shine – be radiant with the glory of the Lord; for your light is come, and the glory of the lord is risen upon you!”

Observation: In chapter 59, Isaiah explains that God sees Israel is lacking in righteousness. It grieves Him (59:1-15), but God promises to send the Messiah (v. 16-21) to rescue them from themselves. Chapter 60 is the dawn of a new day. The day everything changed.

There is a marked change in the reader’s life at the opening of chapter 60.  He or she went to sleep depressed, exhausted, and involuntarily submissive, but when he or she woke, everything had changed. The reader is to look and stand up to see how the Lord has changed his or her life.  The reader is told to shine and be radiant with light that has cut through his or her darkness.

Moving to verses 18-22, the Lord lists all the things that will be different for the reader:

      • No more violence in the land
      • No more devastation or destruction within the boarders
      • No more depending on the sun or moon for light the way
      • No more mourning

Instead, the reader is promised:

      • Salvation
      • Praise
      • the Lord will be the everlasting light
      • God will be his beauty and crown
      • that his people (descendents) will be uncompromisingly and consistently righteous
      • that God will secure them and prosper the reader’s descendents

Application: Thanks you, Jesus!

My house has been a war zone the past few years. I’ve been praying for peace and calmness for so long without seeing any results.

I started a Bible study about gentleness with my children, and they struggled with it.  Neither one of them took it seriously. My daughter thought it was silly, and my son was convinced nothing would change, but this scripture is a great promise to me!

God hears me and He will answer me. He is promising me that my family will not be hateful to one another and the mourning for a loving family will end. He will give me what I seek. I have to trust that as I continually teach my children to be gentle, loving and kind to each other that the Holy Spirit will change them. The Holy Spirit will change us.

God told Israel of His plans to totally alter their lives before He did it; therefore, they had a vision, a standard, a promise to look forward to. Likewise, I have a promise to look forward to and a standard for my family to live up to. I can now say with confidence that my family is righteous, and the standard for my children is right living.  I can now say with confidence that my children are God’s planting and will glorify Him, and I can hold that as a banner and standard for them.

What excites me the most is that if I allow the Holy Spirit to work, my children will go on and become thousands and a strong nation. I want my descendants to love Jesus with all their hearts and be “uncompromisingly and consistently” committed to Him.

Prayer: Thanks you, Jesus for showing me this promise. I know it wasn’t a coincident to read this portion of scripture while in the middle of this struggle. You are so good to me!  I will use this scripture as a reminder of what you not only want my family to be, but also what You have promised my family will be if I surrender all to You. Help me to stay focused on what You will make my family and not what it looks like right now. Help me, dear Jesus, to gently turn them away from the actions that cause chaos and destruction and toward the actions that bring peace, love and kindness to our home.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing what I need before I even know it. Everything I have been praying for, You have already provided. I only have to see it and live in it.   Amen.