For Freedom

My kids found this little bird the other day. He had a broken wing and was hobbling around, poor little thing. He looked so sad.


When brokenness keeps us from walking our days with contentment and joy, what can we do?

I haven’t flown in this bird’s path. I have no idea what happened to the sweet thing. But, God knows and He cares. He cares about why you are broken too.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).

Do we really believe Him when He says He cares? Do we still trust Him even after going through heartbreaking trials? We can still trust Him! He never lies.

“…it is impossible for God to lie…” (Hebrews 6:17).

We don’t need to continue to walk on the same broken path, frantic and breathless, and consumed with worry. We don’t need to stay in the brokeness of our past, or in our loneliness, or whatever hardship we have had to face. We don’t need to fear for our future. He will sustain us.

Maybe you want to get passed something that is holding you back, you just can’t. You’re stuck. Can’t get over the thing that’s keeping you from healing, contentment, and joy.

Jesus came to set us free. If we aren’t free, perhaps we are not dealing with the root of why we aren’t. Maybe we need to take off whatever we keep trying to bandage it up with, and air it out. Is there someone you need to talk to about your past? If it is keeping you from freedom, God wants you to deal with it. 

Often times we let our past brokeness plan our future.

“But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light…” (Ephesians 5:13).

Believe God’s Word. Your worth is found in Him. No matter what comes your way, the hurts will not be for nothing, but for your good. You know the promises. Believe them.

Believe Him when He says do not fear. Believe Him when He says He cares for you. Believe Him when He says He works it all out for your good. 

Deal with whatever you need to, then let go, and believe with your whole heart that in Christ because of the Gospel, your future is bright. He can make the little bird’s wing as good as new, and He can make you brand new too.

Dear Philippians

I just love how when reading God’s Word, we can place ourselves in the shoes of those who lived during Bible times, and relate their stories to our situations today. 

There have been times in my life when I could relate to the story of God parting the Red Sea, and times when I could relate to the story of Jehoshaphat as I had to stand still and watch God rescue me from trials. When I moved from Maine to Utah, I thought about Abram and Sarai leaving their homeland and going to a land they didn’t know.

This week I read about Paul writing to the Philippians. He remembers those brothers and sisters in Christ who were dear to his heart and he encourages them in their walk with Jesus.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all…” (Philippians 1:3-4).

Snail mail is a wonderful thing. Being 2,600 miles away from my family and friends, when I receive letters from back home, I treasure reading them. Each letter comes with a personal voice, unique to the writer. I can hear Alivia in her encouragement mixed with silly humor, my Nana in her perfect cursive writing, Chaity in her poetic stories of love, and Jenn in her wisdom and hugs. It fills my heart to hear how God is moving in everyone’s specific lives as I read.

For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me” (Philippians 1:7).

Like Paul remembering his brothers and sisters in Christ, I remember those back home whom I love dearly. The connections we have because of Christ living in us are so special. Letters from home, bring me a gift of joyful remembrance of my loved ones, because at times it is hard to be away.

I can relate to Paul’s deep love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. And I am comforted to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ here in Utah too, and all over the world.

Because everywhere God places us, there will always be His children and because of that, Light, Love and Comfort.

Peaches

My backyard in Utah has a few fruit trees. When we first moved in, they were all dried out from super sunny days and lack of water. Hidden in the brown withered leaves, I couldn’t tell which type of fruit they would yield or even if they would ever produce anything good. But, not too long after some steady watering, one peach tree is now growing some delicious looking peaches.

I have learned that a peach is ripe when its soft to the touch.. And that the red spots they have are from direct sun exposure. When peach trees, which are actually related to the rose family, are ready for harvesting, on a warm sunny day, you should be able to smell the sweet fragrance just by standing near it. It begs to be eaten!

We can learn a lot about living for Jesus from a peach tree.

Like the peach ready for harvesting, we need to be soft so that Jesus can mold us to look like Him and to be ready to do His work. 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

We need direct exposure to the Son of God! The more we are in the sweet presence of Jesus, and being watered with His Word, the more we will carry the sweet fruits of the Spirit. If we are not watered by His Word, those in our life won’t know what we are!

Spending time with Jesus, is huge in allowing us to be attractive to those who do not know Him. There are people in my life I can tell are in the Word a lot, they have a gentleness about them and a deep love for people. They know where to point me when I need encouragement. They are like peaches in my life.

Dear Lord, help us to be changed, to put aside our old self. Make us soft, sweet, yielding Your fruit, and attractive to the lost. Give us new life in the areas where we can’t tell Who we belong to. Let everyone around us know that we are Yours. When people stand near us, help them to smell the sweet fragrance of You. 

Barnabee

We should be Barnabees. That is my made up, female name for Barnabas. You see, Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement”. We should be daughters of encouragement.

“Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles, (which translated means Son of Encouragement),” (Acts 4:36).

His name was Joseph, but his buddies called him Barnabas. In this text, that word means consolation and exhortation. With God’s grace on his lips, Barnabas encouraged the people in his life to do the right thing. 

Exhorting and consoling go hand in hand. If you have one without the other, you can leave others either very discouraged or led to believe what they are doing is right, when it is clearly not.

“Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord” (Acts 11:23).

With purpose of heart, Barnabas encouraged people in his life to remain true to the Lord. He was on a mission to love other people enough to purposefully be on the lookout for how he could console and exhort them. He did not turn his head away from heart broken souls who needed encouragement.

At times, it is hard to be us. Being married, being a mother, dealing with life, losses, disappointments… I am sure we all have had times when we wanted a one way ticket far, far away.

Do you have friends you can go to who encourage you to be true to the Lord? If you are doing the wrong thing, will anyone in your life tell you with consolation and exhortation, you are wrong? Do you have a teachable spirit and invite that from those who love you?


When you see the devil sneaking in on a friend who is discouraged, or veering away from the Lord, do what you can to not let them slip away. Pursue them. Pray for them and with them. Meet up with them. Send them notes and Bible verses.

“For he (Barnabas) was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit, and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

We should be Barnabees. Purposely, gently, tenderly, with grace, and love spur eachother on to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls us into His own kingdom and glory.

“But we (the disciples) proved to be gentle among you as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

Keep your eyes peeled for a friend who needs you. Listen. See what it is like to walk in their shoes. And remember, consolation and exhortation go hand in hand.

What is Required of Us?

This past July 4th, we were at the base of a mountain. We could look out over Utah Valley and see hundreds of fireworks shows, way too many to count. It was pretty unreal how they continously popped up in the air before our eyes, a feast of sizzling pretty colors. And then they were gone.

Some day, just like those fireworks, our time on earth will be gone. We might wonder how much effort, time, worry, and ambition we have spent on meaningless things.

When you and I are at the end of our days on earth, will we have peace about the life we lived? 

What truly matters here on earth?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Act justly.

Love mercy.

And walk humbly with God. 

It is not too late to start walking with God, and making a difference for eternity. Our great God is our Redeemer. His power is bigger than our past and walking with Him is what this life is all about.

If we want to make a difference for eternity, where we can store treasures that truly matter, we need to do these three things. 

Don’t let your life here on earth just sizzle out.

Resist the Birds

Sitting out on my deck reading this morning, the early sun twinkled on my head, as my thoughts were immersed in chapter 15 of John.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

As I was reading and praying, enjoying the quiet stillness in my backyard in Utah, out of nowhere a big bird flew out of this pine tree near my deck. It was loud and it made me jump!

Here I was, praying and reading, and this bird interrupted me. It got me thinking, the same thing happens to us in life, taking us away from abiding in Jesus.

The cares of this life, the burdens and worries, the busyness and the desire to put other people, money, and our time before our walk with God, steals our top priority spot. Then, just like that bird flapped into my quiet time, our abiding is interrupted.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:7-8).

There is something very special about abiding in Jesus. Some people I know, their prayers get answered so obviously. The times in my life when I have seen God’s hand so obviously was when I was truly abiding in Him.  I was walking closely, looking for Him in my days, and seeking Him first. If we want to see prayers answered, we need to be very aware of putting our walk with God before everything else!

So, dear sisters, identify your birds and resist them. Don’t let your worries interrupt your walk with God. Don’t let money, time, people, laziness, discouragement, self pity, or even fun events steal the position of number one. Don’t let these things interrupt you being consistently in God’s presence. Abide. Walk as closely as you can.

Favor

It is just so good to know that if we belong to God, His favor is on us. Sometimes, in the midst of hard times, we forget.  

Moving across the country, it has worked out that for some time we will not have our belongings with us. It is kind of an odd feeling to have your photos, your kid’s toys, and most of the things you own, 2,600 miles away. 


Not that these things should be held on to tightly, because they will not last forever anyhow, and it is good to learn how to be content in all circumstances (boy isn’t that tough). But, it has sort of left me wondering how I will cook our meals, what we will use for linens, where we will sleep, etc. But, God always comes through!

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:11-12).

God has provided our shelter and He has provided yours. He continues to give us all of the things we need. And His favor continues to be on us, because we are His.

“For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:35).

“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).

I just want you to know, that if you are His, no matter where you are at in life, and no matter what you are going through, the Lord longs to be gracious to you. He waits on high to have compassion on you.

He favors you.