Christian Living · faith

Cast the Net

John 21:6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

The story that came to mind while in prayer is John 21 and the disciples fishing. It’s interesting because I’ve been praying for my own family regarding favor and success. We’ve been going through intense warfare. God told me two things: some demons I’m up against will require fasting to defeat and we need to cast our net where He says to.

Stop doing things in your own strength.

This is the message I received in my spirit. In frustration the other day I asked God why there seemed to be a stalling in my family. The answer: we are being taught warfare. And that some battles must be won with greater effort as some “giants” are very large. It requires, as I said above, fasting and an ability to clearly hear God’s voice. Simply put, the net needs to be cast where He says to.

Jeremiah 12:5 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?

If I can’t hear Him clearly now and be disciplined I won’t make it later. God showed me that. Some of you reading this are being prepared for promotion and something greater. But, you won’t last long if you’re easily defeated now. You must know His voice and be obedient.

The bigger the level, the bigger the devil.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Today, I want to encourage you to remember that it’s God’s strength and not your own. Zechariah 4:6b Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

You may have been casting your net all night and caught nothing. Whatever it is, it simply needs a touch from Yeshua’s hand. A word of knowledge. His wisdom. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing.

John 21:1-6 ESV After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?”

They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

Christian Living · faith

Law and Love

Proverbs 28:9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

My husband and I attended a debate between my former pastor (Daniel Joseph) and another gentleman. It was regarding whether Christians should keep the law. There were people there we once were closer to. Much time has passed. It was a lot to process. It’s not often I am able to take time and really look at different positions on scripture. And I did so looking intently at something afresh.

I was uncertain on how I wanted to approach this blog. What should I say? How should I say it? What am I feeling about it?

Let me start by saying salvation is through the cross. Jesus.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

My overall takeaway is a bit tricky to communicate. Basically, I believe the law is still relevant. Scripture says so.

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

2 Timothy 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

However, the Christian life isn’t best described by listing rules and regulations. Faith without works is dead (see James 2:26) but yet works do not save. Where I struggled with the debate overall is this: the law is relevant but presenting it in a way where someone doesn’t seem legalistic and rigid isn’t easy. I found myself (as did my husband) liking the “other side” more. I found it more palatable.

In brutal honesty, I don’t know a single person who is a more loving, kind, forgiving, or gentle person since following the law. Sadly, observing the feasts and Sabbath seems to make many less “Christ like” while in pursuit of living as Christ did. And this terribly hurts my heart.

How do we live in obedience and respect to the law, feasts, Sabbath, clean eating etc while keeping our first love? I don’t see this done enough to have a solid answer for you. I see many arguing over calendars, tzit tzits, food, sacred naming etc but not focusing on the weightier matters.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

In the end, I found myself just looking at Yeshua/Jesus. I walked away thanking God for the cross. I had a fresh desire to learn more of the Great Shepherd. Walk as He did. Talk as He did.

I truly get why many reject the law. It feels like love is lost. But it isn’t. It isn’t. It’s actually where love is found.

Yeshua is the Torah. He showed us how to live it. And while I love the feasts and Sabbath, if we can’t do this we can’t do anything right…

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

I never want to forget what matters most. It isn’t status, money, looks, talent, knowing about YHVH or how well the Torah is memorized. It’s love.

God cares about our “do”, but not as much as our “who.” When others spend time in our presence they should see Christ in us. If not, the rest is meaningless.

Christ in me, the hope of glory. Always.

1 John 3:15-18 ESV Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Christian Living · faith

Don’t Be That

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

I saw this meme and decided to write about it. After all, we all know a Debbie Downer, Negative Nancy, or Sour Sally. You know, those people that make you slightly cringe when they call or text. We love them, but sometimes we just don’t like them. They bring drama, negativity, depression, bitterness, and pessimism. Maybe they even cuss and add some gossip too. Conversations with them are draining.

Don’t be that.

I admit there were times in my life when I was going through such tough trials that I was all three of them. Let me tell you, I wasn’t a ball of sunshine. I heard a wise saying years ago…

There are those that are a friend to us and those we are a friend to. Then there’s real, true friends where it’s mutual.

All of us have low moments in life. We do need each other. But some just need need need. They don’t give, either because they can’t or they don’t realize they should. One sided relationships like that are really difficult. I’ve been on both ends and neither is healthy long term. (this isn’t to shame those who truly have deep needs but rather to encourage healthy relationships with mutual effort of some kind.)

Everyone has struggles. Yes, some do suffer more than others. But life isn’t a cake walk, period. It’s so easy to get critical of others and see ourselves having the worst life ever. Pity parties are thrown too often. Our culture is so narcissistic that we don’t empathize as we should. The Golden Rule is missed.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

These are some basic points I periodically pray about and consider with those I communicate with:

  1. When was the last time I asked how they were doing (sincerely?)
  2. Have I been praying for them?
  3. Do I ever offer to help them or encourage them in some way?
  4. Looking at my last 5 texts to them, were they positive or negative?

This above is something I personally do. I am ashamed to admit I’ve been self absorbed in the past at times. There are friends that I leaned on too heavily and when they needed me I wasn’t there. This is something I’ve repented of.

Today, I want to encourage you to a) not be those people that are constantly negative and bitter and b) show grace to those that struggle but use boundaries when needed.

I know how tough life can be. I’ve hurt so badly before that I thought it would kill me. But, what I’ve learned is I needed to seek Abba, read His word, and invite others to support me in doing that vs hold my hand through life. I needed to get out of myself and see the needs around me.

When we allow someone to depend on us in an unhealthy way we are enabling them. Part of loving others as we love ourselves is receiving God’s love and giving it. It is selfless, kind, gracious, and sacrificial. But, it is also wise and discerning. Remember, anything we lean on more than God is really an idol.

Make a decision to encourage others and meet the needs around you. The more you get out of “stinking thinking” the better your life will eventually be.

James 3:5-12 ESV So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Christian Living · faith


Proverbs 28:7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Gluttony: habitual greed or excess in eating.

OK, this blog is going to be embarrassingly transparent. I’d much prefer writing on something else but this is where God is leading me. This is one of those instances when I’m so glad you can’t see me typing this. I’m cringing.

So, here’s the scoop. I’m a glutton. I need to lose weight. Here’s how I got here…

I was a skinny kid. I stayed thin naturally until I hit my twenties. Then I was playing with anorexia in college. After hearing many joke about those who put on the “freshman 15” I was determined not to be that. I didn’t eat much and counted everything I ate. I remained a size 2 until my later twenties. Then I really ballooned after having kids. My second son tipped the scales in record breaking fashion.

When I got to a size 14 then I decided I had enough. I purchased some Jillian Michael’s DVDs (I especially like 30 Day Shred and Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.) I changed my eating habits. I lost 52 lbs. You read that right. I got down to a size 4.

Then I got pregnant again…

I gained about 35 lbs in the pregnancy and lost 15 of it quickly after delivery. But with my oldest son’s autism needs and a baby (now a toddler) that still doesn’t sleep through the night, I was exhausted. Still am many days. I turned to food to comfort me. A lot.

I am not as heavy as I was but I’ve got definite weight to lose. I’m a size 10 on a short, petite frame. But what’s worse is I eat to get peace and comfort. I eat when I’m down. When I’m up in the middle of the night. I just eat. It’s too much. I never realized I was actually sinning until God convicted me. Food has become an idol. And I’m lacking self control.

I knew I hit rock bottom when I bought cupcakes for my son’s birthday last year and ate them before his birthday. I then bought another package without my husband knowing (he does now.)

Proverbs 23:20-21 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

I have a goal to lose 30 lbs. I’ll check in and let you know where I’m at. Accountability is everything.

Today, I want to gently ask you if there’s anything you turn to for comfort more than God? Do you run to the phone more than the throne? Social media? Drinking? Video games? Overworking? These are idols. They must be repented of. Ouch. I know, believe me I do. But there’s no candy coated way to say it. For those of you battling with gluttony, I’ll leave you with what I have faced and considered.

I have three children. I want to be in their lives as healthy as possible for many years. If I can avoid diabetes, blood pressure issues, fatigue etc by taking better care of myself then I will. It also helps in feeling better to look better. Our bodies are a temple of the Ruach (Spirit) too (see 1 Corinthians 6:19.) We are bought with a price. We should honor Him.

*My intention isn’t to shame anyone but rather to share what God showed me and convicted me of. This is an opportunity to mature and grow in the fruit of self control.

1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Christian Living · faith


Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Suddenly: quickly and unexpectedly

Suddenly is an intriguing word for me, especially from a spiritual perspective. When we pray we receive an answer. But, we don’t always see the manifestation of it for a while. In some cases, not until the next life. It’s amazing and wearisome at times to knock and knock on Heaven’s door, month after month-year after year-only to one day see the prayer’s fulfillment. What was going on in the unseen spiritual realm?

There’s several things I’ve been praying about for a long time. I admit I get weary. I can feel like I’m talking to myself or my words just hit the ceiling. I don’t feel goose bumps. No loud booming voice responds. Most instances, I tell God my heart’s desire and then go about my day. And I’ve been doing this over and over. It’s easy to fall into a trap of hopelessness. Complacency. It feels comfortable and…safe. It’s familiar. The seeking and wanting and struggle.


There’s something that fascinates me about the battle between angels and demons. The spiritual war that we’re in. I think of Daniel.

Daniel 10:13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia

How often is God’s provision to our prayers caught up in a battle? Probably more than we realize. If we only understood the weapon prayer is and what it releases…

Prayers prayed according to His will are answered. It just comes down to time. And then, suddenly. That unsaved relative surrenders to Jesus. That healing happens. The promotion comes. The phone call is received.

Today, I want to encourage you to expect your “suddenly.” I know some reading this have prayed for years about something. That circumstance doesn’t seem to budge. You’ve seen no change. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes in the spiritual realm.

Expected the unexpected. We pray to and serve a living, all powerful, all knowing God. Thank Him now for answering your prayers.

1 John 5:14-15 ESV And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Christian Living · faith


Luke 12:7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I was in prayer, crying out to God to move in my family’s life. He gave me a simple picture: a hairbrush. For a minute there I thought I must have made it up. That’s too odd. But then Luke 12:7 came to mind.

I have to clean my hairbrush out often. I have a lot of hair, and it’s quite thick. My hair sheds. When I picture a hairbrush I think of my red one with the clumps of blonde hair in it. How often do I shed hair and not notice or think twice about it? Often. And yet Abba knows the number of hairs on my head. He notices even unto the tiniest detail.

The hairbrush is a simple yet powerful symbol of God’s care and love for us. He sees every hair lost. Every tangle. The bad hair days. That awful case of hat head. We are of great value to Him.

God knows what’s happening in your life right now. He understands the stress you’re under. He sees the tears. The struggle to pay rent. Worries about grocery money. The car that needs repair. The broken relationship. And the broken heart. And He says to you…

Matthew 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Today, I want to encourage you to rest in God’s heart and loving care for you. I know life can get very tough. Trials come. Suffering happens. Life isn’t fair. But God is just. I’m learning this lesson myself right now in my walk. God sees. He knows. And He understands.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

I will never look at my hairbrush the same again. I use it (and clean it out) daily. And those hairs I just toss in the trash God knows about. He notices me that much.

You and I are ridiculously, radically, and totally loved by the Creator. Never forget that.

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Christian Living · faith

The Layers and the Mountain

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

This is a hard message I’m being led to type out. It hits right at home. I pray it’s received by every person that needs to hear it.

I had a tough conversation with my husband recently. It started off with him saying…

I lost my closest friend because of you.

I paused. Said a quick prayer. I’m walking on a minefield. I knew I had to choose words carefully. You see, my husband lost a friend of almost 20 years. To reconcile the loss and the pain, it was directed right at me. And something happened a short time ago to add to the injury.

Yes, you did lose him.

That was my response. I didn’t want to tackle the blame. Assigning blame never turns out well. I then said I was sorry for anything I said or did that didn’t meet his expectations. Or anyone else’s. I’m trying.

The first layer.

I soon discovered there were more layers. The discussion evolved into feeling like he has been outgrown. His friend is now in a position of leadership. They haven’t been in their teens in a long time. The dynamic has changed drastically.

We’ve had stints of promotion in life, but we are currently in humbling circumstances. And we’ve been like this for a while. I suspect there is no longer a desire nor is there energy to interact. How do you tell someone to let go? Not easy.

The next layer.

This one involves both my husband and I. He talked about his dreams and desires. What he thought God wanted of him in life. Then so did I. Neither of us expected to be where we’re at. Someone affectionately said it seems I have the “trainwreck anointing” on my life. Rejection is all too familiar to us.

Laurel, how did it go from that to this?

My husband inquired. I couldn’t really answer. Both of us had fuller lives in ministry when we were younger. But now we feel forgotten. Shelved. As I’ve heard Joyce Meyer label it, the silent years. The time in between your call and when you’re separated to it and released. That specific work or position God created you to do from conception. We both feel we have many gifts going unused. It’s a hard feeling.

Final layer.

This is where something in my spirit won out.

I said to my husband, (and felt it in personal prayer times), it’s time.

Deuteronomy 1:6 “The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.

I got a bit fired up. I exclaimed, “We need to let go!”

Let go of every disappointment. Every rejection. Every discouragement. All of it. It’s time to stand in faith.

It’s time to believe and confess God loves us, He remembers us, and He has something WONDERFUL for us. Just because we’re abased right now doesn’t mean we will stay this way. This is only a season. Let’s get off of this mountain.

I’m sharing this personal insight because I know someone needs to read this. You are not alone. You have been shelved. Ignored. Humbled. Maybe you feel like Joseph in prison. I’ve felt that way. You got a dream. A word or promise from God. And now your life looks like you got hit with the “trainwreck anointing.” Perhaps some have even made jabs.

Where is your God? Why does your life look like that?

It doesn’t matter what they think. They aren’t living your life and they aren’t YHVH. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.

Right now, it’s time for someone to say, “I’m letting go. I’ve been on this mountain long enough.”

God will bring beautiful, wonderful, and better people. New opportunities. Fresh hope.

The new year is coming, biblically speaking. So is the season. Jesus (Yeshua) rose from the grave. We serve a living Savior!

Isaiah 42:9 ESV Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Christian Living · faith

The Gift of Pain

Luke 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.

I was in prayer the other day, feeling very exhausted. Worn. I asked God out loud, with a sharp tone, “Why have I been through so much in life?” As if there aren’t many others suffering much greater than me. What audacity. But there was something in me desperately wanting to understand. What I got in my spirit was difficult to receive.

It’s a gift.

At first I assumed I’m hearing wrong. That must be a mistake. I’m inquiring about trials, not something positive. I thought, “If this is your idea of gifts Lord…then I’ll pass.” When I think of gifts I think of a wrapped present. Or perhaps something affirming and abstract like time or love. Not this.

God made me, so I can’t surprise my Creator. He must have laughed at me when I responded by saying, “This is an abusive relationship between us. You’re supposed to want good things for me!”

But then I wondered…

What is a gift? What are good things? What makes something good? I realized this was about to get much deeper than I anticipated. I expected to say my prayers and move on. But God extended this prayer time. There is something that needs to be grasped. And God used an interaction I had with someone to do it.

To respect the person, I’m going to speak rather broadly. There’s a chance they might read it. But there’s a person that I’ve been communicating with for a long time now on Facebook. They message me prayer requests and concerns. This person has many challenges and has experienced a lot of rejection. One day they sent me a message that was…very emotional. I responded as best as I could. But their reply is what gave me understanding of the gift God gave me.

Most ignore me. Thanks for responding.

Everything I’ve been through has given me the ability to look at the hurting and broken and truly understand. Empathize. Many sorta get it. But I get it. I realized in that moment I have the gift to see the “invisible” and love the “unlovely.” This person is neither invisible or unlovely. But that’s the label thrown on them. Even professing believers shun or look with disdain.

I can relate to feeling so depressed I wish I was dead. I’ve had anxiety to the point of panic attacks. Painfully shy and nervously talkative. I’ve battled with emotional triggers from past trauma. I’ve been abused in every way at some point. Rejected. Slandered. Stolen from. Fertility and other health issues. Then trying to make it through each day with a severely autistic child. Losing many people I love. Etc

I’ve. Been. There.

Some have misjudged and misunderstood. A few have walked out on me. Going through these things has been excruciating. I once wept on my living room floor holding the container of my mother’s cremated ashes.

I have went through many of the darkest and most painful times alone.

For a long time I wondered why I was allowed to walk this road. Now I realize it’s because of my calling and giftings.

There’s a song by Sara Groves called Obsolete. The lyrics are nice, but the story behind the song is especially moving. A friend of hers saw a homeless person and started talking to them. I’m tearing up typing this. The person responded by saying, “You can see me?! No one has talked to me in so long I thought I was invisible.” God sees them. And He takes it personally how we treat them.

Matthew 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Today, I have a simple challenge. See the invisible. Love the unlovely. Touch the uncomfortable. This is emulating Messiah. May we never get caught up in a position or status. It means nothing. For remember…

Mark 10:31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

There will be pastors and CEOs sweeping the streets in the kingdom while the janitor and homeless person will be seated with honor. What matters is the heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty. Truly.

Matthew 5:3-12 ESV “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Christian Living · faith


Messy: untidy or dirty

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

I saw a blog challenge for the word messy. This word is staying in my spirit longer than I thought it would. At first when I saw it I visualized an untidy work desk or a room cluttered and dirty. Living with a low functioning autistic child like my son provides plenty of “messy” examples. However, this word seeped deeper inside.

I want so much to be tidy and kept. Ordered. Structured. And yet the ENFP that I am fights against it. I have four loads of laundry to do this moment, and a bathroom that needs cleaning. Despite my efforts, I am messy. My life is very much so. And I keep thinking…

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Except that phrase isn’t in scripture. Somehow I feel like if life can get ordered enough then everything will feel OK. Be OK. Psychologically it feels better to be in a tidy environment. And it’s healthier. I know that. I am really trying to keep my home neat and sanitized (I’ve got 3 boys!)

But no amount of scrubbing and organizing will fix the inner mess. Some days I feel like I’m a pretty good person. I’ve still got some sparkle left in me. Then life hits hard. I’m back on my knees before YHVH.

Good works are…good. They are the fruit of our salvation. But good works are good only because God is good. They are filthy apart from Him.

In the end, I must surrender to the God that wants to clean up my inner mess. Until I do, I can scrub and spray and de-clutter all I want to. It won’t make me clean. Or righteous.

“Oh it’s never gonna wash me clean, these muddy waters. Your river is the only thing, to make me new.” -Jill Phillips

Today, I want to leave you with something to chew on. Are you spending time doing things for God more than you are with Him? Just Him? Is your inner life a mess? How’s your house and car looking these days? If you’re like me and you feel your life is one big disaster, you can start now to change that.

Repent of any sin. Make a schedule. Then choose to faithfully keep it. This takes self control and a desire to live in excellence.

So…back to the top of this blog. Messy is a good word to describe my life. But that’s not God’s best for me. He wants more for me. And you. May we choose to keep our inner and outer lives clean and honoring God. Our best apart from Him is filthy rags.

Isaiah 1:18 ESV “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

John 15:1-5 ESV “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Christian Living · faith

The Verse I Never Noticed

Luke 23:12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Luke chapter 23 was in my daily Bible reading. I never noticed Luke 23:12 before. Not sure why. I suppose because the context is the focus.

Yeshua (Jesus) was arrested and brought before both Pilate and Herod. He was interrogated. Mocked. Asked for a sign. Eventually sentenced to death. But the sudden friendship between Herod and Pilate struck me. I could sense God was birthing something He wanted me to communicate. But I wasn’t sure what.

Better to be divided by truth than united in lies.

That above phrase came to mind. Interestingly, those men were united in truth (and lies too.) They both saw Yeshua’s innocence. Herod wanted Him to perform a miracle, almost as how a magician entertains. They did not know who Messiah was. Each thought they could wash their hands of the situation. But they couldn’t. Pilate and Herod passed Yeshua between each other. Somehow in that process a friendship developed.

Friendship develops when two people connect about something. Perhaps many somethings. But the relationship between Pilate and Herod had one heck of a bad foundation. They both mistreated Yeshua and were responsible, directly and indirectly, for putting Him on the cross. Yikes. And somehow Yeshua’s prayer for unity comes to mind…

John 17:20-21 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Obviously, Pilate and Herod were unbelievers. But this gets me thinking.

Is unity ever bad?

Scripture has an answer to that.

Genesis 11:5-6 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Yes, unity can be bad, if used for wicked purposes. It is powerful. We should be one in truth and love. This pairing of men is intriguing to me.

I admit I feel like I’m looking at this message in my spirit as one looks through fog. It’s there. I can sort of see it. But yet it’s still elusive. Distant. Mysterious. Something took the enmity between Herod and Pilate away. Yeshua. Not exactly in a healthy way, but even so His judgment and death brought them together. Unfortunately it was an ungodly alliance. They were unified in wickedness.

Today, I want to circle back to the beginning of this blog and leave you with this quote again…

Better to be divided by truth than united in lies.

We should do our best to live at peace with others (see Romans 12:18.) However, truth offends. Sometimes we must stand for righteousness and refuse company with wickedness. Even many believers live bound, not wanting to hear real truth. They want candy coated comfortable fluff. Being challenged isn’t fun. But if we’re serious about this faith walk and emulating Messiah, we must face truth. Think truth. Speak truth. Live truth.

Choose to be alone with Abba over ungodly alliances. Bad relationships=bad fruit. Be wise.

Matthew 10:34-39 ESV “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.