Song at the Beautiful Gate

I heard a song today. It was playing in another room as I was working in the kitchen, and it stopped me in my tracks.

I wandered down the hallway to discover my 13-year-old son sitting on his brother’s bed with the acoustic guitar. I knew it was the most beautiful melody I have ever heard in my life.

There were no words as I stood quietly in the doorway and listened. Just a tear that rolled onto my cheek.

It told of a deep pain; a sorrow; a loss.

It sang of so many dreams, and beauty in the brokenness;

of true Love, and unanswered prayers.

A flame of hope in a dark place

It spoke of peace in an uncertain time.

A stillness;

a knowing which can never be described…

As he looked up and saw me there, I walked over and gave my son a warm hug

and I looked him in the eyes.

I didn’t have to say anything.

He knew.

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Reflecting and Searching

I realized that on many days like today, I spend much of the time in front of the mirror. I wonder, am I trying to find the woman I was before I met him? I pause to go back in hopes that the next time I look, I may see her, even just a glimpse. Except each time, she is still glaringly vacant.

There is a hollowness present that unsettles me. I am sure the people in my life can see it too.

This week, I forgave him. The morning after I did, it was the first time I truly felt free from the anger. I realize that he isn’t sorry. I realize he lied about me to cloak his deceit and his abuse. I realize I must finally entrust it to my Father in heaven.

I realize the next mountain is to forgive myself.

…For allowing any of it. I don’t want to feel fragmented anymore. I don’t want the pain anymore. And I don’t want to feel numb. I want to live again.

He drove by my house again yesterday afternoon, as I collected his family court petition from my mailbox. He saw me see him. Just as I was beginning to breathe a little deeper. It had been about two weeks since he made an appearance; a brief moment to spit on the restraining order but never long enough to get caught.

I guess it’s time to go forgive again. I will believe God at His word and be still. Exodus 14:14.

textured old paper background with flock of pigeons
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Forsaking Facebook

Just over a day ago, I quit.

It took some amount of planning.

It was scary, actually, but today I am surprisingly blessed with this sense of freedom in my daily routine. Is it due to the extra time I have found in my morning? Or the powerful feeling that comes with saying “no” to that sneaky impulse of wanting to see my approval in numbers, and allow my dopamine receptors to fool me into believing they have anything to do with being accepted by other people?

Is Facebook really that much of a trap?

Yes. But this is just my opinion. And contrary to what the world looks like under a blue toolbar, opinion is not king.

As for what the world is like above and beyond that blue toolbar, I feel much freer. I’m somewhat at a loss on how to otherwise describe this.

I am freer to seek God alone in my quiet time and gain wisdom as opposed to untold volumes of filler-knowledge, societal evils, and cheesecake recipes.

I am freer from the pressure to conform to an image others project for me. I am freer from the weight of snap judgments in black and white.

I am free to do more. Free to take action on issues. Free to stop talking so much.

I am freer from the mental noise spewing from a really messed up world.

I am free to be myself. Free to help encourage my neighbor face-to-face, not face-to-screen.

I am free to call a friend or a family member and hear his or her voice on the other end.

I am free from the tendency to cry out for help to an algorithm of readers who quite frankly don’t give a damn or may even be laughing at my misfortune (OK some; not most)

I am free to send letters and photos the old fashioned way, and maybe even get some mail, as well.

I am free from fake friends.

I am free from being offended at opposing viewpoints. I am freer from offending others by my opposing viewpoints.

I am freer from snoops and spies.

I am freer to play board games with my kids in the evenings. Free to enjoy their beautiful faces, listen to them tell me stories, and answer their questions. I am free to be a more conscious parent. Free to set a better example to them of how technology is to be used as a tool, not a substitution for the exchange in human relationships. Not a substitution for prayer, or time reading God’s Word. Not an idol.

I am liking this life beyond Facebook. Is it for everyone? Who am I to say? For me and my family, personally, one of the best choices I have made in quite some time.

I wonder how many hours of my life I will gain in animal videos and comment wars…

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Time is short today.

Tomorrow morning, God willing, the doctor has scheduled to induce my labor and deliver baby Abigail Joy.

There is still so much to do.

Today is when people celebrate Halloween. I don’t recognize it as any holiday. Or dress up my younger kids. The roots of its festivities are very evil practices. Holiday means “holy day”. So there is a contradiction that for the last four years, I can’t reconcile.

*This is not a sermon for anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ- I do not judge those outside the faith (1 Cor. 5:12)

The Word Of God always has the answer:


“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:16-17‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Quench not the Spirit.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:5, 19, 21-23‬ ‭KJV

Please be in prayer. Be sober minded. Be aware that Satan is constantly looking for an opening in the fence to sneak through and destroy people and families, and take souls.

(And believe it, or not, the kingdom of darkness is very active on this occasion. )

Prayer is this: taking special time to get alone and seek God; “Lord, what is Your heart on this situation (or person, or goal, or dilemma, etc.)” “God, what are you saying in this?” “What is Your purpose?” “Show me how or if this is a part of Your plan.” “Help me to hear Your voice” “Lead me in a clear direction- what would You have me do?”

We lay our burdens down and release them to Him, we tell Him our fears, confess our wrongs and shortcomings to Him, and we listen. We are still. We wait. We trust. We search His Word, and finally, we believe it. Then He answers: this part is truly faith-building. So keep striving for revelation from His throne because He promises it to all who seek His face with a sincere heart. All things are in His control. But He gives every person the freedom to choose.

May God bless you today as you reach for His Truth, in Jesus name.

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The Elijah Anointing

I love a sermon preached with power.

Pure and from the Word of God, it stirs conviction and inspires me to examine my walk.

(This wasn’t always the case).

David Wilkerson is one example. I’ve sometimes wondered, what does it take to produce a boldness like that? Why has it seemed to become so rare in our age? The type of message which I imagine shakes the gates of Hell and causes its demons to quiver in rightful shame. Where is that uncompromising true building up of the saints spoken in revelation of the Holy Spirit?

This morning I was thinking about these things and I remembered the words, “anointing of Elijah”.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:”

Malachi 4:5 KJV

Wine comes by crushing grapes

Oil comes by pressing olives

Gold is made pure through fire

Diamonds: once coal, under pressure

God knows that:

Through affliction, a man is made bold, loses all desire to compromise with sin,

learns complete reliance upon His power alone,

Through trials one can be used as a powerful vessel in God’s Kingdom. Without it, preparation would be incomplete for enduring the persecution that goes with that calling.

Elijah was hunted and ran for his life but he stood against hundreds of false prophets and revealed the power of the One True God.

Jeremiah was thrown in a well of mud but he spoke the very heart of God for his people to repent.

John the Baptist has his head cut off but he called many to righteousness.

Jesus was crucified and redeemed every believer to everlasting life by taking away the sins of the world.

Steven was stoned by church rulers and saw heaven opened before his very eyes.

All these were brought to total willingness to forsake this world with its desires in exchange for the life to come, for heaven itself. Were they concerned with comfort? Where was the message of prosperity for them? Only coming from the false prophets of Baal.

They on the other hand, had another success which couldn’t be taken away.

Even this day in 2018, the whole world is truly lying in wickedness (1 John 5:19) just like scripture tells us, and we see all of creation groaning as in birth pains awaiting the coming of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:22-23) All the earth is truly under severe tribulation, including and especially children of God. Yet it is through brokenness and pain that we are set apart and set ablaze to do the very will of God!

So don’t give up! You may feel ready to fall and overwhelmed, by God is faithful and will not waste these trials. Don’t you dare listen to the lies. They are not for nothing! You are the very work of the Potter’s hands and the craftsmanship of Jesus Christ. No one could be more diligent in His work and faithful to His children.

We each have different callings and purposes as Christians. It is God who completes that work in us. It is the result of true faith to rely on one another for God’s purposes.

Yet in light of my own trials and the witness of the men and women of great faith throughout scripture, one thing I am becoming convinced of is this truth:

an easy life and a useful life are absolute antonyms.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭48:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:71‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:75‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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Learning From Children 

Last week, I heard the most pitiful, heart melting cry from the other side of the cash register. 

Coming from just below height level of the counter, a plea for mercy from a four-year-old girl. “But. Mom. I…….I reeeeally wanted.that..mooovie..”
Just as straightforward as possible, her mother replied , ” I’m sorry. I want to get that for you but you didn’t listen.”
As they finished checking out, this sweet little girl just let it all out. Sobs and snivels to outright bawling. Clearly she had some attachment to this movie. Her world was shattered. 
There are parents who might have caved in. But this mom held her composure, even though it was obvious it hurt her just as much!
“I’m sorry” she said again. “I know you really wanted that. Maybe next time if you behave.”

More wailing as she ushered her daughter out the door.
Just like that they left. And just like that I was shown how the ultimate proof of love a parent has for their child can be to not give them what they want. 
In a similar way maybe, my Heavenly Father delights in giving me the desires of my heart. But more than that, there are prayers that lovingly and tenderly go unanswered, or things that he painstakingly takes away… so that he forms my heart, instead, to have the right desires.  

I’m trying to be mindful that it is there, in the unfailing plans of my Father, where I will experience real abundance.

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7: 9-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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Though The World Grow Dark, You Will SHINE As Promised

I can confidently say at this point that this nation is in spiritual turmoil: a tipping point of hostility toward all things Christ, and stark hatred against all principles of Biblical faith. If I had to illustrate what I see, America has traveled so steadily along the rapids of apostasy and is like a canoe hanging precariously off of the cliff, just seconds away from plummeting bullet-speed right down into absolute wicked destruction.

I would submit, that if you confess Christ in this age and at least a few people in your extended circle haven’t already come against you both in spirit and in words, there might be cause to worry about where you stand in the Lord–because Jesus told us ahead of time the type of division and animosity would be directed at his followers when we see these things begin to take place.

I think back to just a couple short years ago, when Pastor Saeed was thrown into prison and can see the increasing progression of trials regarding Christian Persecution on al levels. There has been headline after headline…and so many in the recent months ALONE.
But I have posted the passages below because an alarming number of brothers and sisters being attacked for their faith.  And to address this new status quo where the unpopularity for standing on the Word of God is unprecedented, I will say this:

You are not standing in the fire alone. You have the King of kings with you, you have eternal life, you have the whole true body of Christ rooting for you in prayer, and a mighty God listening and acting on your behalf.
Receive your blessing and your reward. Because “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own”. And boy do they ever love their own. but truly I tell you they already have their reward, and it is sad really :(. they are well-spoken of and have the praise of men. But you…YOU the lift up your eyes to the hills, far beyond that valley and see from Where your Help comes from: A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN, and you shall receive the praise of God. What a marvelous day that will be ❤ Shalom.

Luke 6: 22-28

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Rejoice ye in THAT day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

John 16:2-3

….yes, the time is coming
that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.

from Matthew 10

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

~~~Yes, this happened to the first apostles, and it is again being fulfilled in our generation around the world and has already begun for us. ~~~

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

Revelation 2:10
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you might be tested; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give to you the crown of life.


Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me……

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10″At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11″Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.…

Luke 21:17 And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

John 15:18,19 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you…

John 17:14 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because …

1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.

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A Time To Clean, A Season for Every Purpose Under Heaven

fall cleaning

It’s time to do some intensive Fall cleaning.

I walked around our home this morning and took inventory: cluttered closets, cobwebs, dusty corners and neglected nooks, and I felt overwhelmed. I was amazed how quickly it all became disorganized and, well, not clean.

Yet if I had determined to spend even 15 minutes each day to attend to those overlooked areas, I am certain it would not seem this insurmountable a task in this season of the year when I have the least amount of time to face it.

And then I realized how accurately this example compares to every area of my life, such as raising children, and my relationship with God.

If you’re anything like me, taking an honest look into these areas can be a challenge. However, if I ask myself, have I been investing my time, my relationships, focus, my talents, and my gifts to the best of God’s purpose for me? The short answer is No.

I have been asleep at the wheel, so to speak, and at best I have been distracted and veered of course. Some where.

And I know in my heart and in my soul I need a spiritual awakening. Maybe this is true for you, too.  If so, let this be your prayer for the morning. ” Heavenly Father, thank you for a new day. I have fallen short of your best for me, and I need your forgiveness. I come to you and ask: teach me to walk in your Truth. Show me the places that need cleaning up- in my spiritual life. Be my strength as I work. Lord, remove any confusion in the way put there to slow me down. Show me clearly the path you have set before me. Cause me and my family to dwell safely in the fullness that you intend. Help us to honor you with how we live and the words we say, and work through us. In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.”

The Message Bible  Psalm 16: 2,5-6, 9-10, 11

I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.
    My choice is you, God, first and only.
    And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
    And then you made me your heir!

I’m happy from the inside out,
    and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
    that’s not my destination!

 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
    all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way

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Don’t Take it Personally (They don’t hate you. They hate Christ, in you)

The narrow gate is a road of suffering. It is also a faithful promise of great reward.

The fact that we are not wanted here, in this world, to us should be living evidence that we belong to a different Kingdom.

The fact that we are reproached for the name of Christ, alone bears witness that we are sealed with His name.

What does it mean to be sealed with His name? In the book of Revelation chapter 7 we read that there are angels who are actually commanded to “…[seal] the servants of our God IN their foreheads” (vs.3; emphasis mine). And in chapter 9, when the scorpion-like-locusts arise, they are forbidden to harm those men who have “…the seal of God in their foreheads” (vs.4). So I believe this is both a literal event, and a spiritual one.

Interestingly enough, a study published in 2012 using neuroimaging technology, discovered that there is a specific brain region linked to one’s level of desire to conform to societal “norms”. This region happens to be called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, located centrally above and behind the eyes, or, in the forehead. (

Although as humans we seem to be born with a need to belong and be accepted, I can say from experience that placing your confidence in the approval of the world is a sure path to destruction. But what should trouble any born-again believer, is if worldly groups who are attached to material idolatry and pride-lust mentalities, embrace and accept you as their own.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)

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Define Success.

I think success depends on who you are. Literally. What defines you? What is it that you or I believe gives us significance?

I mean, I could be a successful business woman, but if the business went under I would be a “failure”. Was that true success? …..This is not to say we should not desire to achieve things, or that I don’t desire that, but that I should not invest total stock value of my identity IN these types of accomplishments.

I didn’t do it. IT doesn’t define me, IT was a gift; but who gave it and… why? I think the definition of success is in the answer to this.

This is what the devil works so hard to stop you from knowing. This is one of the reasons that critical words from other people sometimes make us really doubt ourselves.

But the truth is, if I hold on so tight to temporary things, I have potential to become insecure about losing them. Even, live in fear that all of our security could one day vanish.

BUT……….once you know who GOD says you are; once you can see yourself the way GOD sees you, it changes you.. no-thing can ever take that away. Then, your circumstances can radically change because you have been radically changed.  Because then, you have purpose. You have a mission and know that you know what God has called you to do. In this place, you are able to forgive yourself and see the truth: that there is no one left to condemn you. In this place you are able to move forward in complete strength and gratitude.

 I pray today, whoever you are reading this, that you begin to understand: that this battle for significance…this struggle for success…God knows it and He knows what you’re up against. It has been going on before time began, but the Lord Himself had already placed your rank in His army before you were even conceived. Don’t fight against Him and chase all of the temporary things this world says will give you fulfillment. Chase forever things. Chase things that you could never possibly lose. Chase things that no one can take away from you.

He has nothing but the best of plans in store for you. And for me. This is true fulfillment. This is how I define success.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.…The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John chap.2 verses 15-17

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