Speaking Face to Face

Read Through the Bible in 2 years: 2 John and 3 John

"Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete." - 2 John 1:12 ESV
"I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face." - 3 John 1:13-14 ESV

At the end of both of these letters, John says that he has so much to say, but he doesn’t want to use a pen, he wants to see them and speak face to face.

It struck me as funny, reading this and thinking about all the people who have read things that I’ve written but have never met me and will never meet me face to face. How different it is to communicate when you can’t see your audience face to face, yet how thankful I am that John went ahead and picked up his pan and wrote down his thoughts, that we can still read them almost 2,000 years later.

I know that my words are in no way like John’s words. My words are not inspired by the Holy Spirit like John’s were. Yet, I hope my words will impact this generation as well as generations to come. I pray that children not yet born might be impacted directly by my words but also indirectly through their mothers and grandmothers being encouraged and equipped through the thoughts that flow from my pen.

How can your written words make an impact today and for generations to come? Do you keep a journal or blog? Do you need to write someone a letter today?

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the blessing it is to be able to write words down. Thank you for preserving Your written Word for hundreds of years that people today can read the very words of Moses and Jesus and John. Thank you for the blessing of being able to preserve our own thoughts for generations to come and to send letters to people who live far away.

Thank You for each man and woman who has impacted my life through writing books and blogs.

You are always good and Your love endures forever.

In the eternal name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Side B Stories – Podcast

I was honored to be interviewed for the Side B Stories podcast. I have personally enjoyed this podcast because of the refreshing dialogue that the host, Jana Harmon, cultivates. Each episode features a former atheist sharing their own story peppered with thoughtful questions and comments by Jana. I hope you will enjoy my episode and add Side B Stories to the podcasts that you follow.

He’s Risen – He’s Alive – The Tomb is Empty

My heart has been heavy this week. I feel surrounded by death and sorrow.

But my hope is not in anything that this world has to offer. My hope is not in a better government or in better healthcare.

My hope is in Jesus Christ – His love, His justice, His power to triumph over sin and death. Where is Your hope?

Please join me in prayer to the One who holds our future, the source of our living hope.

Dear Lord Jesus, Darkness, sorrow, and death surround us. They press in on every side. The world feels hopeless – but our HOPE is in YOU. You are still on Your throne. You have risen and You are coming again. We look forward to Your return with hope. May we be found waiting and watching and hastening that day. I pray that we would live holy and godly lives, sharing the good news of Your resurrection and return with those who have no hope. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness, without which we would be lost and hopeless. We love You and can’t wait to see You face to face. Amen

Can you see the birds?

Can you see the birds? Neither can I – but I know they’re there because I can hear them.

I could plug my ears and pretend the birds aren’t singing. I could make excuses for the sounds I hear – maybe someone is playing a birdsong CD inside that bush. But I’d only be lying to myself. The clear and logical answer is that birds are singing inside that bush.

We can’t see God, but we know that He exists because we can see what He has made. We can pretend the world evolved over millions of years – but we would be lying to ourselves.

Thank You, Father, for the beauty and majesty of your creation. Thank You for giving us a conscience that we know deep in our hearts that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Lord, I pray that as we see spring bursting into life around us, that we would fall on our faces and confess Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God, our Father. Amen

From Creation to Christ – An Advent Devotional – Day 20

My family has loved doing advent devotionals for years, so I decided to write my own. I pray it blesses your family as much as it’s blessed mine.

You can purchase the whole book in print or in an ebook format on Amazon. You can download a printable set of ornaments here or draw or make your own!

Day 20: The Exile

Picture / Ornament: Fiery Furnace

Scripture: 2 Kings 17:6-12; 2 Kings 25:8-11; Daniel 3:1-4:3

Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Another Song: Through It All

Another Song: Though You Slay Me

God sent many prophets to the people of Israel, not only to tell them about the coming Savior, but also to warn them. God warned them to follow Him rather than chasing after false gods.

Do your parents ever warn you? Don’t touch the hot stove. Don’t eat too many cookies. Don’t stay up too late at night. Your parents warn you because they love you and want for your good. Likewise, God warns us because He loves us and wants for our good.

Despite all of God’s warnings, the people continued to worship idols and they refused to follow God’s commands. What if you don’t obey your parents’ warnings? You might get burned, or you might get a stomachache, or you might fall asleep in the middle of math class. Or your parents might have to discipline you, so you will obey them next time.

Because God’s people did not obey Him, they were invaded by other nations and taken off as captives to foreign lands. Three Israelite young men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken from Israel to a land called Babylon where King Nebuchadnezzar ruled. Even though these three young men were taken to a foreign land and given foreign names – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego – they continued to trust and follow the one true God.

When King Nebuchadnezzar made an enormous gold statue and demanded everyone worship it, these three young men refused. Even when King Nebuchadnezzar told them they would be cast into a burning fire, they still refused to worship this idol. They told the king, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 ESV)

God was with these men in the fire. God protected them, and they were unharmed by the fire’s flames. Even King Nebuchadnezzar saw God’s great power and decreed that no one could speak evil against the Most High God. King Nebuchadnezzar himself said, “How great are His signs, how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3 ESV)

Once again God was using for good even those things which evil men mean for harm. We can always trust God. Even if Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had perished that day, God would still have been with them, protecting their hearts and bringing them faithfully into His eternal kingdom.

Today is a perfect day to thank God for His everlasting Kingdom and His everlasting King, Jesus.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

From Creation to Christ – An Advent Devotional – Day 6

My family has loved doing advent devotionals for years, so I decided to write my own. I pray it blesses your family as much as it’s blessed mine.

You can purchase the whole book in print or in an ebook format on Amazon. You can download a printable set of ornaments here or draw or make your own!

Day 6: Jacob’s Ladder

Picture / Ornament: A Ladder

Scripture: Genesis 25:19-26; Genesis 28:10-22; John 1:51

Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Isaac grew up and got married. His wife, Rebekah, had twin sons. They named their sons Esau and Jacob. Before Esau and Jacob were born, God had told Rebekah that her sons would be rivals and that the older son would serve the younger son.

One day when Jacob was on his way to stay with his uncle Laban, he stopped to camp for the night. As he slept, Jacob dreamed of a ladder that reached from earth all the way to heaven. Jacob saw angels of God going up and down that ladder. The Lord, standing at the top of the ladder, repeated to Jacob many of the same promises that He had given to Abraham.

Look at Genesis 28:13-15 and list these promises. God promised to give Jacob and his descendants this land, that Jacob would have countless descendants (as many as the dust of the earth – can you count all the flecks of dust on earth???) and that these descendants would spread to all places on earth. God promised that all the families of the earth would be blessed through Jacob and his descendants. God promised to be with Jacob, to protect him wherever he went and to bring him back to this very land one day. God promised to never leave him and to be faithful to keep all of his promises.

WOW! Our God is always faithful. He is faithful to keep all His promises. We can trust Him.

God appeared to Jacob from the top of a ladder. God is so holy and perfect that we cannot reach Him by our own human efforts.

Ladders connect us with things that are beyond our human reach. I often need to use a ladder to change a light bulb or to reach a dish kept up in a high cabinet.

Jesus is our spiritual ladder, our way to reach the holy, perfect God. In the beginning of Jesus’s ministry on earth, Jesus told Nathanael, “You will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:51 NLT) Our sin has separated us from God, but Jesus, the son of God and the son of Man, came to pay the price for our sin, so we can be reunited with God.

Today is the perfect day to trust in Jesus, the only way to the Father.

Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.

40 Day Social Media Fast – Day 1

Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear. – A.W. Tozer

Today is my first day of forty days focused on realigning my heart to seek first the kingdom of Heaven and what God wants that to look like for me.

I’m also sure it’s no coincidence that today is also the 22nd anniversary of our baby boy’s birth. Losing our son, Tommy, at only 16 weeks gestation began a new trajectory for my life as I began seeking the Lord in earnest as never before.

Pray for my heart to recognize that Jesus is the highest good, that He is way more important than how many shares our likes I get.

I think I’ll still be sharing my heart on my blog and scheduling things to be posted onto my FB group at “Teach What Is Good,” but won’t be checking likes or comments. But we will see how they goes.

If you’d like to chat, send me a direct message or text or give me a call on the phone.


Life lessons from the sun

There is only one sun.

The sun is still shining even when it’s dark in your part of the world.

The sun was given to shine upon every nation and corner of the globe.

Clouds may temper the brightness of the sun, but when you’re flying above the clouds, you see it’s still as bright as ever.

The sun brings to light things hidden in the darkness, things you’re unable to see in the dark.

What are you selling?

When I was an outgoing, confident young girl, I loved to sell stuff to strangers. I loved working at my grandma’s antique shop. I loved going to craft fairs with my aunt and uncle to sell their handmade pottery. I loved selling the “newspaper” that I wrote, typed and illustrated in my second floor guest-room office.

Most people don’t like to be sold stuff (Ask me sometime about my experiences with telemarketers and time share salespeople) … AND most people don’t like selling stuff that they’re not personally sold on themselves.

As a 23-year-old who knew next to nothing about home ownership, I tried selling real estate … then I tried selling Usborne books at home parties, but I didn’t feel right trying to convince people that they should buy books at full-price when I preferred checking them out at the library or buying them second-hand.

But as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to tell EVERYONE about the best, greatest, most fantastic way to living a life of meaning and purpose.

The love of Christ compels me – both the love that I have received FROM Christ and the love that I feel FOR Christ. I am compelled to share because I believe so deeply in what I have to offer others.

Jesus is so much more than the most magnificent house or the latest and greatest vacuum cleaner or the most life-changing kitchen gadget.

The good news is more important than anything Fox News or CNN could ever broadcast.

The gospel is worth more than any earthly possession that the Home Shopping Network could ever carry.

So, sisters and brothers, we have to stop seeing ourselves as peddlers of useless wares and optional gadgets … and instead see ourselves as Heralds of the King of kings and Messengers of God Most High.

Don’t know how? Do you need some help? Comment below or leave me a message, or check out my YouTube channel for some helpful videos about sharing the gospel:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 ESV)

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35 ESV)

“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:12 ESV)

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20 ESV)

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)