Sheridan Reporter

These posts have been published in the Sheridan Reporter

Stone Soup


1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:8

Are you familiar with the story “Stone Soup”? It’s an absolute classic and it’s a lesson I taught every single year with my preschoolers. The story goes that there was this town on the brink of starvation when in walks these soldiers asking for food and shelter for the night. No one is willing to share with them because they feel they have nothing that they can give to the soldiers and still survive themselves. So, being very wise, one of the soldiers decides to make stone soup, so he asks one of the peasants if he can borrow a BIG pot to make his soup. Thinking he’s crazy the peasant offers the pot willingly to the soldier and watches him fill it with water in the well, put it over a raging fire in the middle of the town square and then go looking for a stone to make stone soup. This calls much attention from the rest of the villagers and they all come out to see what on earth this crazy soldier is doing making soup with a stone. As the soldiers stands there stirring his stone soup and smelling the air he starts talking about how good the soup will taste and it starts making the villiagers feel even hungier than they were before. But this time they’re hungry for stone soup. Until finally one of the villiagers decideds that his carrots would make the soup even better and he offers them up. One by one each of the villiagers begins pitching things into the soup until suddenly they’ve all contributed something, green beans, tomatoes, bread to go with the soup, butter for the bread, until these starving villiagers have an actual feast on their hands!
My friends, for the last eight years that we’ve lived here I’ve wanted to host a neighborhood block party. Really just something to get everyone together to meet one another. We have the perfect space, we live in a circle and the middle of the circle is all back yards! This year, it’s going to happen, I can feel it! It all started when one of our neighbors started complaining about the state of another neighbor’s yard. That particular neighbor’s yard has occupants who have BOTH been in and out of the hospital since we’ve lived here. He has had at least two toes amputated due to his diabetes and she, I hear, almost died this Mother’s Day weekend! I was frustrated (to say the least) with the first neighbor and their caulousness to the second neighbor’s obvious plight. Our group broke up and went back to our houses. I walked in the door and immediately started ranting to God. “Lord, what on earth has happened to them to make them so harsh toward their neighbors? They’re so bitter and cold and all they care about is appearances. ………… (lots of ranting that doesn’t need repeated)……. Lord, how can I help? The first thought that came to mind was that I could go over and talk to them about how I was feeling, I rejected that idea pretty quickly, mostly because I was too chicken to do it that way. But then the lightning bolt hit!
A few weeks ago I had been on Facebook on a private Sheridan garage sale site and noticed a post where someone was asking if anyone knew where to get gravel for a good price for their driveway. Curious, I clicked on it, thinking of the conversation I had had with Sean just the other day about needing gravel for our driveways. There were a LOT of people commenting on the status because they had the same question, one of them was my neighbor who is in the hospital more than they’re home. I immediately decided that whenever we got gravel I would contact them and see if they wanted to go in with us on it. Fast forward two or three weeks later and here we are talking about the fact that we have neighbors (who are AMAZING people by the way) who are both in different hospitals at the same time and could really use a good show of Christian love in their lives. BOOM! The thunder rolled as a realization raced across my brain.
One of our other neighbors is a traveling salesman for a landscaping company!
One cattycorner neighbor LOVES landscaping and is really good with flowers!
We have several neighbors that are sick, elderly, sick and elderly, why don’t we all go together and pitch in to help these neighbors by giving them a beautiful yard! Then the picky one will stop complaining and everyone we help will be blessed becuase we showed them we care and we will be blessed because we got to help them!!! Plus, then at the end of the day we can all have a pitch in feast to celebrate all our hard work! IT WILL BE FUN!!!
I have to tell you friends, I am incredibly excited about this! I pitched the idea to the traveling salesman’s wife, who pitched it to the traveling salesman who said, “I was thinking the exact same thing!”
It’s meant to be I tell ya!
What better way to show your neighbors in need that you love them than taking care of the things that they simply can’t take care of anymore? My grandparents all live pretty far away from us so it’s hard to take care of them the way I would like to. But they do live in a community that loves them to bits and pieces and has taken care of them when we couldn’t. I want to do that for my neighbors. I want to help them meet each other and help them to learn each other’s names and faces. I mean really, what an amazing concept, getting to know your neighbor enough that when you wave across the street you can really mean the “Good morning” you shout!
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and in this busy day and time that can be hard. I don’t mean to say all this to lift myself up, this wasn’t MY idea, it’s God’s. I say all this to challenge you into action! Open your eyes to the needs around you in your own neighborhood. Is the house next to yours a little run down and unkempt? Perhaps it’s because the person in it could use a little help. Maybe they’re so busy spending time in the hospital almost dying that they don’t have time to bring the things in off their porch according to your liking. Maybe the house with the washing machine in the front yard doesn’t have someone living in it with the ability to take it to the scrap yard because they’re so busy just trying to stay alive and make the most of the few years they have left together. Maybe the house with the unmown yard has someone in it that could really use a hug right now from someone who does more than just say they care.
Friends, consider this your call to action! Be a good neighbor this weekend, or next weekend, or all summer long. You don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary and win souls for the Lord. Maybe the farthest you need to go is across the street with a plate full of cookies, a warm smile and a listening ear. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to. I challenge you to be that person today and just listen. Don’t sit there trying to think of what you’re going to say next, just listen. Let the moment of silence hang in the air until they start up and share their heart with you. Let God use you as His ears for a change, and maybe a hand and back with a load full of gravel too.  
In all those years of teaching about Stone Soup I didn’t think I’d acutally be making some like this! And all because we needed gravel ourselves!

Categories: 1 Thessalonians, 365 Life, Season 3, Sheridan Reporter, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , | Leave a comment

At What Point?


1 Samuel 8:1-11:15
We were riding in the car the other day and I was looking at my double chin in the side mirror and hating it. It hasn’t always been doubled, but I haven’t always been a mother either. I sat there in the passenger’s seat thinking about the figure that isn’t as small as it used to be. Once I went to visit my boyfriend at college and we ran across one of his friends. He said, “Hey so-and-so! This is my girlfriend.” Then he put his hands around my waist with his thumbs touching his middle fingers and said to so-and-so, “See! I told you!” How have I remembered that all these years later? It terrified me. I knew this waist that he was so proud of would never last. When it was gone…would he be gone too?
If I were completely honest with myself, it’s still a fear I have.
So there I sat in the car lamenting figures gone bye, when God said,
“When will it be enough? If I make your waist smaller then you’ll be unhappy with your hair. If I fix your hair you’ll just be displeased with your skin, or your eyes, or your feet. At what point will it be enough for you? Isn’t it obvious? It’s not your body you’re unhappy with. It’s you. At what point will you allow yourself to be enough? I’ve told you over and over and over again that I love you the way you are, why do you doubt Me? You fear that because you are less than perfect My Love will leave you. It won’t. It can’t. Remember, My Love never fails. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:7). Relax My Beloved, you are enough for Me. Make this the point where you are enough for you!”

Categories: 1 Samuel, 365 Life, Season 3, Sheridan Reporter, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SB 101 Demystified


Psalms 80:1-87:7

My friends, the internet has virtually exploded this week in controversy. You guessed it. I’m talking about Indiana Senate Bill 101, aka the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). According to my seven hours of researching reputable resources, it’s NOT about discrimination, like some “sources” would have you believe. The RFRA is about limiting the government from forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs. And unless I’m mistaken that is precisely the premise our good nation was founded on, was it not?!

There are 30 other states that have this, or similar laws, in place. And according to University of Virginia’s law professor, Douglas Laycock, in those other states “There were cases about Amish buggies, hunting moose for native Alaskan funeral rituals, an attempt to take a church building by eminent domain, landmark laws that prohibited churches from modifying their buildings – all sorts of diverse conflicts between religious practice and pervasive regulation.” (31 states have heightened religious freedom protections. Juliet Eilperin. The Washington Post)


Thank you to the Washington Post for this photo.

According to the Indiana Senate Republicans blog, “In the decades that federal and state courts have been interpreting RFRA laws, opponents cannot point to a single case in which a court has ruled that the RFRA allows discrimination based on sexual orientation.” In other words, not ONE of the thirty states that also have this law (or similar ones) have ever had a case where this law has given license to discrimination in the state. Not one.

In his article in the Indy Star, David O. Conkle, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law explains that according to this law, “a unanimous US Supreme Court recently ruled that a Muslim prisoner was free to practice his faith by wearing a half-inch beard that posed no risk to prison security. Likewise, in a 2012 decision, a court ruled that the Pennsylvania RFRA protected the outreach ministry of a group of Philadelphia churches, ruling that the city could not bar them from feeding homeless individuals in the city parks.” 

This law has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with our rights as Americans to practice our chosen religion freely without the government stepping in and telling us we can’t. In 1990, in the case Employment Division v. Smith, the Supreme Court “downgraded” religious freedoms within America. “National leaders of all political stripes responded by passing the federal RFRA to restore the strict scrutiny test, because they recognized that religious liberty is a fundamental right that deserves strong legal protection. … The bipartisan respect for religious freedom has also carried over to the votes for most state-level RFRA’s. For example, when President Obama was an Illinois State Senator in 1998, he voted for Illinois’ RFRA.” (From the Indiana Senate Republican blog)

My friends, it bears repeating, there is NO history of this law resulting in any discrimination of any kind that would constitute the amount of outrage over it’s passage in Indiana. In fact, if anything we should all be rejoicing that our great state of Indiana just passed a law that will protect us from the great state of Indiana! This law was passed in an effort to let Hoosiers know that their government cares about their RELIGIOUS FREEDOM just like the other thirty states that have passed the law (or similar ones) before us. And I ask you, if this law is truly such a hideous thing that gives license to discriminate against gay-marriage, where was all the hype when the first thirty states passed the law? Including, but not limited to when Obama passed it in Illinois. This is not a law to fear, but to embrace no matter what your belief system is!

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, Sheridan Reporter, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments


Nahum 1:1-3:19

“Look, your troops are women among you;” Nahum 3:13

Did any of the rest of you see the Always commercial during the Super Bowl?

While watching it I cried because it made me realize I had lost the faith in myself that those little girls have. GOD made me a woman. He didn’t make woman to be less than man, that was part of the curse.

In Genesis chapter 2 God makes woman from man’s side. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh! She is made from HIM – they are carbon copies of one another with a few… convenient differences. She has been made to be his helper and his mate; yes different, but equal.

Then that stupid snake came along and convinces both the Man and the Woman to turn everything over to him and he turns everything upside down. God comes along and doles out the consequences of their actions. To the woman He says, “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you.” (verse 16) It’s at this very moment where woman becomes unequal to man.

Years and years and years go by and woman is still viewed as inferior to man. Then Jesus came along and gave the most important news of all time to A WOMAN!!!

The entire Christian faith rests on one moment in time, the moment Jesus rose from the dead. Without that moment all of our religion would be null and void because Jesus wouldn’t be who He had claimed to be – the Son of God. And in that moment of victory over the grave He appeared first to a woman, not a man. And what was it He first called her? He called her “woman”. He wanted to make sure that everyone knew that this one who had searched for Him with her whole heart and had found Him was a woman. I feel like this was God’s way of confirming the redemption of the daughters of the first woman from the curse of woman. Mary had been tormented with seven demons, the number of completion. She had been completely tormented by Satan, the serpent from the Garden, and Jesus saved her completely. And it is to this once cursed and tormented woman that Jesus appears first and commands, “go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father – to My God and your God.” (John 20:17)

If Jesus, the Son of God, the Risen Lord didn’t want women in evangelic positions in His Kingdom, why on Earth would He have told her to evangelize His brothers? According to Galatians 3:28, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all ONE in Christ Jesus. There is no distinction between male or female we are equal once more!

Categories: 365 Life, Nahum, Sheridan Reporter | Leave a comment

Beloved Bride

Deuteronomy 10:12-14:21

“You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and He has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be His own special treasure.” Deut 14:2

This past Sunday at church we had the honor of hearing Randy Frazee, the co-author of The Story, speak on marriage. During his sermon he listed the top five things that women want from their men and the top five things that men want from their women. Number one on the list for the men was to be admired by their wives. For the women it was to be touched and seen as beautiful in the eyes of her husband.

As I nodded emphatically tears seeped from my eyes. I, like many other white Christian women in America today, often feel like I don’t measure up beauty-wise. Not that we should be measuring ourselves next to the impossible standard that the media sets with its airbrushed photos and endless commercials for expensive beauty products that don’t really work. And yet we do still measure ourselves next to them, because honestly, who else do we have to compare with? They’re the ones that have been held up as the standard of measurement! And yet they themselves, in reality, can’t measure up either – hence the airbrushing! Honestly I feel bad for them, even the perfect ones aren’t perfect enough I can only imagine what the inside of their minds looks like at night when they can’t sleep because they gained five ounces today. L I wonder if I should start a foundation for the starving models in Hollywood… hmmmm…

In Randy’s sermon when he was talking about the woman’s deep desire to be seen as beautiful in her husband’s eyes, he made a fabulous point. “Out of all the women in the world that your husband could have chosen, he chose YOU. Obviously there is something in your appearance that he finds more attractive than all those other women out there.” At this point I am weeping openly, there’s no way to hide the fact that his words are sinking in and touching something deep inside the core of my insecurity. I want my husband to see me as beautiful and desirable and attractive and worthy of his time and affection. I want him to gently touch me as he passes me on his way through the room, not because he feels like he’s supposed to, but because he wants to. I want him to look at me with those eyes that tell me I’m the most beautiful woman in the room – even when I’m the only woman in the room. I want to feel like I’m special to him.

As I sit out here on the new deck my husband made for me, reading my Bible and soaking in the breeze in the tree tops and the morning chatter of the birds I’m taken away as I read Deuteronomy 14:2, “You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and He has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be His own special treasure.” Out of all the people in all the earth God chose YOU to be His precious bride, His own special treasure.

Isaiah 61:10 says,

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.”

Three times in Revelation alone, and multiple times in the other New Testament books the Church is referred to as “the bride”. And my friend, YOU are the Church are you not? Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and your acceptance of that gift of salvation, has draped you in a robe of righteousness. You are officially wrapped in a wedding gown fit for a queen and adorned with such jewels as this world has never seen.

According to Isaiah 62:3-4, the LORD holds you in His hand for all to see – a splendid crown in the hand of God. He says that “Never again will you be called ‘The Forsaken City’ or ‘The Desolate Land.’ Your new name will be ‘My Delight is in Her’ and ‘Married to God,'” My beloved friend, the LORD delights in you. He has chosen YOU for His beloved bride, His companion and partner through thick and through thin. He picked YOU, out of all the other possibilities, He chose YOU.

His delight is in YOU, His special treasure, His bride, His friend. When you walk across the room, His eye never leaves you. When you lie down and when you get up, His gaze is upon you. When a single hair drops from your head, He notices. He knows you intimately, better than you even know yourself, and He cares so deeply for you that He would rather die than to live one more day without YOU by His side for all of eternity.

Jesus died and rose again to pay the bride price for your soul. He sees you as all glorious within and without. He has seen your bare naked soul, your deepest thoughts and He DELIGHTS in them! He has seen your weaknesses and wants to support you with His hand on the small of your back as He guides you through the Valley of the Shadow of Death so that you will fear no evil.

His darling bride, you are loved!

You are cherished beyond compare.

You are the crown on His head, His treasured trophy wife!

Categories: 365 Life, Deuteronomy, Season 3, Sheridan Reporter | Leave a comment

Please Pray for PEACE in Our Time of Chaos

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22

“the LORD your God will fight for you” Deuteronomy 3:22

Ahhhhh… for this weary girl’s soul, nothing sounds better than for my God to fight for me while I rest! We have five days until the first derby and six days until a certain young man’s birthday party and this house is in utter turmoil. Well, sort of. Actually it’s been in utter turmoil for the last several months but it’s getting back into order now and it’s causing some chaos of its own. You know how, even when things are a mess, you at least know where they are. Well, now that things are getting put back into order, we don’t seem to know where ANYTHING is because we keep putting it away! Just in the last three days we’ve completely lost a set of keys, several 4H books and papers, and even my phone! And I’m not talking like, “Oh, I’ve lost my keys” and then look for several minutes to find them. I’m talking like, Gabe spending DAYS in his room looking for a book that HAD to be found and completed by 6pm tonight! Sean’s keys? Yeah, they are his keys to the shed where ALL of his tools are locked up so he hasn’t been able to work on anything with the car since the 3rd of July! Not good news when you’re first derby this season is coming up in less than a week! Then my phone, it was lost the least amount of time of all the things today, only 6-7 hours. And the only reason I found it was because I wasn’t looking for it. I was just cleaning off the kitchen table and went to put a chip clip away in the drawer when I saw my little message light flashing from the “old phones” basket. Don’t ask me why in the world I put it in there!

Do you see what I mean though? I could really use someone fighting for me because it’s crazy around here right now! We had family over for the 4th, so there’s that clean up. But then on top of that we’ve had the dryer to deal with. You see, Sean’s sister gave us her old washer and dryer to scrap. Except when we went to go pick them up they were WAY nicer than we were expecting so we decided to keep them. And because we have no garage to keep them in, they made their way into my living room. We asked on Facebook for a local appliance repair man, called him and booked an appointment for him to come out to look at the dryer to see if it was worth fixing up. The day he was supposed to come, he was 30 minutes late. He knocked on the door and barely even said, “Hi” to Gabe when he opened the door to let him in. Sean had pulled around the extension cord that he uses for the welder so that we could plug the dryer into it in the living room for the repair man to look at it. The repair man took one look at the plug, said, “I can’t do anything with that”, picked up his tools, walked out the door, got into his truck and drove away. I didn’t know if he was going back to his shop to grab another extension cord, or if he was literally driving away screaming from our house. I had no clue because he didn’t tell me anything! It was by far one of the strangest things I’ve ever had happen to me – well, as far as service technicians go anyway.

So, since my original washer and dryer were still working just fine, and because we were BUSY we just let the “new” washer and dryer stay where they were; in my living room. Then on the second of July I was having a rough night. I had had an issue at work earlier in the afternoon that I just couldn’t get out of my head. I was doing the laundry, so I started the dryer and pulled the lint screen out from the top of the machine like I always do. I heard something fall down into the lint trap and start rhythmically thudding around inside the machine. I sighed and opened the door back up to see if it had fallen into the drum. I searched around in the clothes; nothing. So I gently rotated the drum and heard the thing fall even further down into the back of the machine. Thinking, “Oh! That may have done it!” I closed the door and restarted the machine, only to be greeted with a sound that I can only describe as a machine gun type sound. I scrambled for the dryer door and yanked it open to turn off the machine. Then I grabbed the back door and with frenzy brimming in my voice yelled, “Sean! Can you come here for a second please!!!” He, of course, dropped what he was doing and came right in. I told him the whole story, thingy falling in, rhythmic thudding noise, opened the door, turned the drum, fell in farther… then I turned it on for him. He shouted frantically, “TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!!!” Until I yanked the door open again.

That night he tore the whole thing to pieces to find a big metal thingy (I’m sure it has a name but I don’t know what. It was something of his) lodged in the exhaust fan of the dryer. But it didn’t explain why the dryer was so blasted HOT. He got the whole thing put back together and hooked up and when he turned it on everything sounded ok, except for this slight buzzing noise. When we opened the door to the dryer and looked in we could see the panel in front of the heating element glowing orange!!!!! Sean just kept shaking his head trying to figure out how the thingy and the heating element short could be related. When I looked at him and suggested that perhaps they weren’t related at all. Maybe God allowed the thingy to fall in and make a racket in order for us to notice that there was a short in the heating element so that we didn’t catch the house on fire! Praise God! Thank You Jesus!

So here I was with two dryers and neither of them worked properly. One didn’t heat and one heated a little too well. With family already in town for the Fourth we decided to simply turn that circuit breaker off, and unplug the dryer, and deal with this later. So it sat there until the 5th when Sean pulled both the washer and dryer out, I spent the entire night painting the laundry room. (The LAST room in our house to be painted; it only took us seven years to get them all done! Hallelujah!) The next day, yesterday, we spent several hours moving the washer and dryer into position and getting them all hooked up. Then I spent another couple of hours putting everything that was in my kitchen from the laundry room back into the laundry room this afternoon. Just as I was hanging up the second load of still-damp laundry for the day, our super-sitter’s mom knocks at the front door to pick up the fish tank that has been sitting in front of my desk in our entryway/library for the last two months since we re-did the living room floor and rearranged the furniture. She and I and her two muscled-men spent the next hour fishing the last few fish out of the tank and draining what was left of the water so that they could carry it out to the truck. We loaded them up with boxes filled with our old goodies and topped their load off with our old still-working washer for our super-sitter to sell in her yard sale to raise funds for her mission trip to Chile.

During that time Sean got home and was keeping Gabe on track working in the Aerospace 4H book I had managed to miraculously find only a short hour or two before. You know, because it was due tonight at six after all. After the fish tank left Gabe was just finishing up his books and we were getting him all packed up and ready to get them checked in when he couldn’t find his Shooting Sports papers to take! That entire project includes only two posters and those two papers that prove he attended the workshops – and we couldn’t find them. Now, the poor kid had just spent the last THREE days in his room looking for his Aerospace book and now all the sudden he can’t find his Shooting Sports papers, all on the night that Sean has set aside to work on his car, finally, because he’s been working on the dryer situation, but can’t work on the car because all of his tools are still locked in the shed because we can’t find the key! Aaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!!

So after looking for those papers for an HOUR, we decided to call it quits and pray that the 4H leaders would have Grace on us and allow him to show anyway. I volunteered to take Gabe so that Sean could get to work on the car. So with only fifteen minutes left in the check-in time frame, the kids and I jumped into car and headed out to the leader’s house where they had done the book signing last year. Except when we got there no one was home! So I called Sean and asked if he had any idea where else they might be doing the check-in. He suggested their other site a few miles away. Nope, no one there either, not a soul. I headed back into town trying to think of where in the world they *might* be meeting to sign books. We went to the elementary school, no one. The high school, nothing. The library, nada. From the parking lot of the library I called Sean and he said that he would call the other guy he had talked to the other day about check-in and see if he knew where they might be; when suddenly he said, “OH NO! Move kitty move! OH NO!” I cringed, he was in the truck, “Did you hit it?” “Oh yeah. It was a kitten.” Sigh…

The kids and I headed home and met Sean there in the driveway. I started dinner and Sean got a call from one of the 4H leaders giving him directions to the check-in location (which was nowhere near any of the places I had gone to earlier). So as I sit here now, Sean’s shed has been broken into and his tools have been liberated, Gabe’s books have been signed, and I have a working washer and a sort of working dryer. It just takes a really really really long time. And Anna, well, she’s just being Anna.

Yes my friends, it has been a very long week. A mostly good week with lots of changes and upgrades – if you will – but it’s been stressful and chaotic and at times downright frustrating. We have five days until the first derby. That means LATE nights for Sean who has early mornings for work. We have six days until 4H projects are due and Gabe’s twelfth birthday party. Which means days filled with lots of scrambling to get things recovered from the chaos of remodeling all while trying to help Gabe with his projects without doing them for him. AND trying to keep Anna from feeling too left out in all the excitement, because none of this is all about her. I guess I say all that to say this, we could REALLY use your prayers right now. The first derby of the season is always the most stressful – especially for Sean. We’re all tired and grumpy and frustrated by this point in the season and honestly, we’re just ready to get out there! Prayers for PEACE would be so very much appreciated!!!

Thank you so much for everything you do! You guys are always there for me and I can’t thank you enough for that. Just telling you about how things have been going has made me feel better. I hope it was at least entertaining for you to read. 😀 I love you all!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Deuteronomy, Sheridan Reporter, The Crazy Mom Blog | 1 Comment

It’s Not About Me

Haggai 1:1-2:23
& Hebrews 1:1-2:8

What I am about to share with you is one of the most liberating statements of truth I know. Are you ready?

“It’s not about me.”

I know, something so simple and so obvious yet so often overlooked. But as a recovering Pharisee I struggle with legalism a lot. I’ve always been adamant about following the rules… even if it meant hurting someone else or disobeying God.

Mmmm… I heard that! Someone just said, “God doesn’t tell us to disobey rules!” Not so my friend. It was a rule to obey those put in charge over them, yet God called Daniel and his friends to disobey the king’s order to eat non-kosher food. (Daniel 1:8-16) It was a rule to wash your hands before meals, yet Jesus didn’t. (Matthew 15:1-20) It was a rule that you couldn’t pick grain on the Sabbath, yet Jesus and His Disciples did. (Mark 2:23-3:6)

Am I saying that God is telling us to burst into anarchy and break ALL the rules all the time, no, of course not. He is, however, telling us to TRUST JESUS.

Let’s say you just happen to be standing with the Governor of Indiana and the President of the United States. If the Governor tells you to do something and then the President jumps in and says not to do that thing, whose word trumps whose? Which one of them do you choose to trust and obey? The President! He is the highest authority in the land.

My point is this; throughout the Bible God repeats, over and over again, “do not fear” and “I am with you.” In fact many times they’re found together in the same sentence. Right now some of you may be facing a mountain of debt that just isn’t seeming to move, or a tumor(s) that just won’t seem to go away. You may be facing a situation at work where you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Don’t be afraid of what those things can do in your life, because the highest authority in ALL the land is right there facing that thing with you! He is on YOUR side. He’s not fighting against you, He’s fighting with you. He is the creator of those mountains we can’t seem to climb on our own. And He has given us the promise that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), which translates into, a part of Him, we can do EVERYTHING.


When we realize and remember that Jesus is always with us through His Holy Spirit, WE can move that mountain of debt, WE can dissolve that nasty cancer, WE can get out from between that rock and the hard place. Because Jesus is on our side we can suddenly do things we couldn’t before because we’re suddenly fighting with His strength, His talent, His power through the Holy Spirit.

My friends, today because of Christ we can say with confidence, “It’s not about me.” Because we know the Truth; it’s ALL about Jesus!

Categories: 365 Life, Haggai, Sheridan Reporter, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 2 Comments

Permission to Fail

Friday was an anniversary of sorts for me and my ministry. And looking back over it all I am so overwhelmed with how far we’ve come and how much things have changed. And looking forward at the calendar, things are still changing! It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking as I’m trying my best to simply keep up with everything that God is doing. But He is so faithful and He has held me through it all. I am so blessed by you all and the work that I have been called to do for you. It has changed me in ways I NEVER could have expected and yet I look at myself today and I am so very thankful for the work the Father has done in me. I love myself today. I love who I have become and who I am. I don’t know that I could have said that four years ago; at least not in a completely honest way. I didn’t love who I was because I wasn’t looking at myself from God’s point of view. I wasn’t seeing my situations, my past or my faults through His eyes of complete love. I was choosing to see them through Satan’s eyes of condemnation. When I think back on how I treated myself it makes me want to weep. I never gave myself permission to fail. And when I did fail, I would lay there and let Satan beat me brutally – because I thought I deserved it.

Last Thursday I visited a home for troubled girls. I didn’t really sit and talk with any of the girls, but I was able to hear a few of their stories and experience a small nibble of their day with them. I walked the same halls they walk, I ate the same lunch they eat, and I talked with their teacher. And through it all I realized how alike we all are. We all deal with the same demons, we all fight the same Enemy, we all allow him to beat us verbally until his face turns blue. And we do that because he has us convinced that we deserve it.

There was a time when we might have deserved it, if we had lived before Christ came. But we don’t. We have the luxury and privilege of living after Christ’s death. And what a privilege it is! Because of Jesus we can look at ourselves through Son-glasses. Glasses that were forged through the fires of hell as Jesus walked through them FOR US, because He knew that they were far too hot for us to stand.

In a strange way I almost envy those girls. Because at the ripe old age of 17 (give or take a few years) they will have walked through something so tremendous, with Jesus, that their faith will be far less shakable throughout the rest of their lives. Their foundation for their life will be so much firmer having gone through what they have been through. Not to mention the works that the Lord will have them do once they have finished the program! Yes. While I do not envy their sufferings, I do envy the relationship with Christ that will come from those sufferings. These girls will be leaders, strong leaders, you just wait and see! God has big plans for them!

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