Jesus Loves YOU

Faith, Hope & Love – the Greatest of These is Love

1 Samuel 23:1-25:44

“And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.” 1 Samuel 23:14

Every day Satan seeks to steal, kill and destroy us, but God doesn’t give us into his hand! Faith in His love gives us hope.

“These three remain faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

One tiny mustard seed of Faith can make mountains move (Matthew 17:20), uproot trees, casting them into the sea (Luke 17:6) and then solidify that sea allowing one to walk upon it (Matthew 14).

One door, opened through Grace, to the true dwelling place of a living hope in things unseen can hold you captive and revive your spirit with abounding heavenly joy, peace, rest and the full assurance of a security that upholds you according to the promises of the Eternal One who is not able to lie. (Hebrews 11:1, 6:18, Acts 2:26, Romans 5:4-5, Zechariah 9:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Romans 15:13, Proverbs 10:20 & 13:12 Job 11:18)

But 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that Love is the greatest of all of these. Love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Love dies on a cross in its lovers place (2 Corinthians 5:21). Love rises from the dead and proclaims justification and righteousness for the Beloved (Luke 24:1-7, Mark 16:1-6, John 20:1-10, Matthew 28:1-10, Romans 3:23-26, 5:19, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 12:23, Deuteronomy 33:12, Song of Solomon 2:16). Love holds out nail-pierced hands and pulls you to His wounded side and shows you the scars of your birthplace. And says, “Look, touch, know that you are loved THIS much. Feel the place of your origin, the place where water and blood spurt forth and you were born and washed clean, made new and fresh as a babe, Beloved child of God; come. See the place where flesh and bone combine to create Bride.”




Faith is strong.

Hope is soft.

But Love is the union of the softest hope and the strongest faith. Where faith and hope fall short, Love conquers all. When faith just can’t quite cut it and Hope isn’t quite long enough to reach us, NOTHING can separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus. Neither height, nor depth, length nor breadth, angels nor demons, nothing in all of creation is able to separate us from what love has done for us.

Not even what you’ve done.

Jesus loved you first. Therein lies the POWER of the Spirit of Love we’ve been given. There is power in our love for Him, but it can’t hold a candle to the power of His love for us. And fully receiving the softness of His love for you is the strength that saves. Praise be to God!

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Jesus Notices You

1 Samuel 15:1-16:23

“I have noted” 1 Samuel 15:2

There are few things that mean more to us than when someone notices something we’ve done. Today while checking someone out at the register at Dollar General she looked at me and said, “Are you the one….” and I paused, half-hoping that she was going to say what I hoped she was going to say, half-fearing she was going to say something else. “who writes…” I got a little half-grin on my face, she was saying it! “that article for the Hamilton County paper?” SHE SAID IT! But then she went on and made it even better, “I LOVE your article! The other week when you talked about God saying, ‘Light be’…” (Inside I did a little happy dance. You know what I mean.)

It feels so good to be noticed for something that you’re doing. It feels so good to have someone tell you that they appreciate what you’re doing for them (for free and at a great cost to yourself). It’s good to be noticed.

And yet as mothers we do NOT get noticed. How many of you have had your kids say, “Hey Mom, thanks for cleaning the toilets for us today, I hate using a dirty one.” Or “Gee Mom, thank you for picking up that trash I left on the floor, that was really nice of you!” or even, “Wow Mom, dinner was GREAT thanks for making it even after you worked all day and your feet hurt and you can barely pick the fork up because you’re so tired. You’re the best!”

Yeah, they don’t do that do they?

But you know who does notice? Jesus. He notices when we pick up that piece of trash floating through the empty parking lot. He notices when we use a toothbrush or a cotton swab to clean something. He notices when we keep going even though every muscle in your body is screaming for you to stop. He notices when we push through the hard day in order to help someone else have a good one. He notices the sacrifices we make for our families and those around us. He notices because they’re really for Him.

In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the final judgment day and how He will say, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed Me. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit You? And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”

When we do something for someone else, Jesus notices because in reality we’re doing it for Him. AND, what’s more, when someone does something to us, they’re doing it to Jesus – good or bad. He notices.

In today’s Word of the Day, God tells Saul “I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” 1 Samuel 15:2-3 Now, this is years after the Exodus and the crossing of the Jordan, and even after all these years God never forgot how the Amalekalites mistreated His people. Deuteronomy 32:34-36 says, “Is not this laid up in store with Me, for the time when their foot shall slip, for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly. For the LORD will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining bond or free.”

We don’t have to remember what everyone has done to us over the years. We don’t have to recall all those grudges, because God’s got it all under control. Every action in this world has an opposite and equal reaction. You reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. Call it whatever you like, it’s all the same thing. Our actions have consequences to them. If I plant a seed of corn, a corn stalk is going to grow. If I plant a watermelon seed, a watermelon vine will come up. I can’t plant an apple seed and expect to harvest peaches from the tree. So if I’m constantly going around sowing seeds of discord, can I possibly expect harmony to grow? (Or vice versa.)

God has noted. He knows what you’re going through. He knows where you have been and He knows what you’ve done. And there WILL come a day when all the hard work, and time and tears and turmoil that you’ve been through will have grown and will be ready for a bountiful harvest. And you’ll be right there with a basket ready to bring it all in! He will make sure of it! 😀

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A New Creation

1 Samuel 8:1-11:15

“Then the Spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” 1 Samuel 10:6

“[Jesus] holds the priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:24-25

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Spirit of the LORD changes people. Sometimes people say they don’t feel any different after being saved, but many times they do. I’ve heard testimonies of people who were deeply addicted to substances until they received the Spirit and suddenly had NO urge to go back to those substances ever again!

I certainly have had experiences where the Spirit of God has rushed upon me and turned me into a new creation. When I got baptized in the Spirit. (I’ve talked about that experience on here before in Made to Fly.) And I can tell you, I was definitely different after that experience! I could literally FEEL the Spirit of God inside me, leading me in the direction I should go. It felt like I had a handle in my gut that He would grab onto and pull me in the direction I needed to move. I’ll never forget the first time He pulled hard. We were shopping in Walmart and I suddenly had a STRONG urge to go down an aisle I had no logical reason to go down. I told my husband, “I really feel like we need to go this way for some reason.” When we did, we ended up running into people from church and having a delightful conversation right there in the middle of the store!

That was just the beginning! God has used the rudder of His Spirit in me EVERY day since then. He’s led me down many paths I thought I had no reason to go down only to find out I did have a reason to go down them after all. I just didn’t know it when I started down them to begin with. And each and every one of them has led me to a delightful conversation with Jesus at some or many points during the journey.

Over the years I’ve learned to follow the Spirit by following my “gut”. If my insides are spinning and churning in agitation over something, then I know its wrong – even if it seems right to my “thinker”. I’ve learned that things aren’t always as they seem. What our eyes perceive can deceive us. It says in Genesis chapter two that the forbidden fruit looked good to eat and was pleasing to the eye; yet look at the tremendous harm it brought all of humanity! Just because something looks good for us doesn’t mean that it is, or isn’t. And that’s where we’ve got to have the Holy Spirit to guide us in the way that we should go.

Jesus told us (in John 16:13) that the Holy Spirit would come and lead us into all Truth. And I pray for Him to come and do that for you today. God gave me a breath prayer that I’d like to share with you. It only takes one breath to speak this powerful prayer that can literally change who you are on the inside because it’s asking the Spirit of God to come and live inside you and guide your gut along paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3)

Now be prepared, because you will not be given a spirit of Fear. This is a spirit of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND. (2 Timothy 1:7) And it will change you into a NEW creation. And while you may notice the effects immediately, you may not because just like a branch grafted into a new tree, while the change has been immediate, its effects are also LONG lasting. You will be immediately changed, and will continue changing for the rest of your life – it’s called growth.

Here it comes, are you ready to be made new?

“Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire, I want to be more like you.”

That’s it! Simple right?

There are times when I’m just stuck and I don’t know what to do and I’ll pray that over and over and over like a broken record until my heart feels like it’s going to burst because it’s ON FIRE. And then an idea will pop into my head and it’ll be the PERFECT solution to my problem. That’s my God! 😀 Always there to lend a helping hand.

Jesus loves you. He wants to be a part of your life. He’s GOD. He knows everything there is to possibly know about everything. Isn’t that someone YOU want to have guiding your steps to success through the rat race of life?

I DO!!!

Categories: 1 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment


1 Samuel 4:1-7:17

“Till now the LORD has helped us.”

Several years ago Beth Moore introduced me to this passage of scripture where Samuel places a rock as a memorial and names it “Ebenezer” which means – stone of help. Since then I started collecting rocks, mostly small ones. It seemed like they just started presenting themselves. To me they were mile markers, lines drawn in the sand, growth marks on the door frame of my heart, God has helped me this far. They’ve created a visual way for me to see and remember the goodness of the LORD here in the land of the living. He HAS been faithful.

The LORD is my rock and my Redeemer. He is the cornerstone on which my life is built. He is my firm foundation that keeps me grounded when the storms of life come. Ad Oh, how they come! Yet I never face them alone. In each and every day, every mile of my walk through life is written in His book. He knows the number of my steps He knows the direction they will take and He knows the tilt of my heart. And what’s really awesome is that He doesn’t know my heart from the outside in, like everyone else. No, He knows my heart from the inside-out because that’s where He lives!

For a little over a year now I’ve written an article in the local newspaper. If you flip open the Hamilton County Reporter you’ll find my picture under the banner, “Not the Perfect Mom”. I want people to know that I’m not perfect and that God’s OK with that. I want people to know that they’re not perfect and God’s OK with them. And while I had suspected that my struggle with my lack of perfection stemmed from a certain level of insecurity, today I confirmed it.

While praying I was led to flip open the copy of Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity that just *happened* to be in the bag next to my chair. And right there on page 17 (and 23), primed and ready to convict me, was the fruit of the root of insecurity:

*a profound sense of self-doubt

*a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world

*chronic self-consciousness

*chronic lack of confidence in ourselves

*anxiety about our relationships

*living in constant fear of rejection

*a deep uncertainty about whether our feelings and desires are legitimate

*harbors unrealistic expectations about love and relationships

-“These expectations, for themselves and for others, are often unconscious. The insecure person creates a situation in which being disappointed and hurt in relationships is almost inevitable. Ironically, although insecure people are easily and frequently hurt, they are usually unaware of how they are unwitting accomplices in creating their own misery.”

But as if that wasn’t enough, Beth described how she fit into that little insecure profile and wouldn’t you know it she ended up describing me! So, I’ve decided that the time is NOW to read this book. And while part of me wants to dive right in and “get ‘er done”, there’s another part of me that wants to really dig in deep and do it well. I want to make sure that I don’t just pull off the fruit and call the tree dead, I want to dig it up by the roots and cast it into the sea! I don’t want to just say, “So long Insecurity”, I want to SHOUT it because I will KNOW that it is GONE!

So I’m making a reading plan and I’m posting it on here. 1) So that you all will hold me accountable. 2) So that, perhaps, if you saw something familiar in that fruit listed above, you might want to join me. Like an online book club! 😀


I was going to include the reading plan with this post, but my time is running out and I want this plan to be a good one so that I can get all the way through it. So I’ll try and post it on Saturday if at all possible!!! Thanks for understanding.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the reading plan for Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us

Categories: 1 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

Jesus Loves Your Heart

1 Samuel 1:1-3:21

“And Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” 1 Samuel 3:19

Last night I sat and watched my son open a piece of candy and throw the wrapper on the Living room floor! Obviously I immediately scolded him and made him pick it up, but it makes my point today perfectly. Did he throw the candy on the floor or the wrapper? He kept the thing that was precious and threw away that which was unimportant to him.

In the verse of the day today we find something precious. As Samuel grew the LORD was with him and didn’t let any of his words fall to the ground. God valued the words of Samuel, they were precious in His sight. This shows us something meaningful about, not only Samuel’s relationship to God, but also our own. God values words. Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:34 that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Our words are our heart pouring out through speech. That means something to God. Our words are precious to Him because they are the contents of our heart. And there is little in this world that means more to God than your heart my friend.

YOU are precious to Him. Jesus loves YOU!

Categories: 1 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment


Ruth 1:1-4:22

“and both Mahlon & Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:3

So, I finished reading the Word of the Day and asked the LORD, “LORD, what’s the meaning of this story?” and He said one word. But that one word, in the context of the story of Ruth means everything! He said, “Hopeless”.

While the title of the book is “Ruth”, much of the story as well as the moral, centers around Naomi. Naomi starts out with her little family in Bethlehem during a famine, and in order to move to a better situation they leave Bethlehem and travel to Moab where the king was so fat that when a sword was stuck into his belly it went in past the hilt, his fat covered it up and no one knew it was even there for days!!! So, yeah, Moab was quite a bit better off financially than Bethlehem was. Which is sad because Bethlehem means “house of bread”! Anyway, while in Moab Naomi’s husband dies, her sons marry Moabite women, and then her sons die, leaving behind these three women to fend for themselves. At this point Naomi has gone from bad to worse to worst! I imagine it would be safe to say that she is “hopeless”. She’s an old widow woman with no prospects of being able to marry anyone since her childbearing days are most likely finished. She has no income, no family, no hope. So, Naomi decides that she should go back to Bethlehem and suggests that her daughters-in-law stay in Moab with their families, but Ruth refuses and travels back to Bethlehem with Naomi.

When they get to Bethlehem they caused quite the stir around town, everyone was talking about Naomi’s return and the Moabitess that she brought with her. But Naomi was firm with her friends saying, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:20-21) Sometimes, the thing the looks like the smartest choice, really isn’t a good choice at all. Just imagine how different this story had been if they had only trusted God to provide bread for their house in Bethlehem instead of going to Moab! But this isn’t the end of Naomi’s story about hope, it’s still only chapter one!

In chapter two Ruth just happens to meet Boaz, the handsome, rich landowner that just happens to be one of the few men who could get these girls out of this mess! When she gets home and tells Naomi about her day Naomi can hardly contain her glee. God has shown them favor!

Huh. Imagine that! The moment they get back into town, perhaps where they should have stayed to begin with, God’s favor shines on them like a beacon and for the first time in Naomi’s story things look like they *could* be turning around in her favor.

And wouldn’t you know it, when given the opportunity to help out Ruth and Naomi, Boaz jumps at the chance! In fact, he’s actually blown away by the fact that Ruth has asked him rather than someone younger. That very day he settles the matter with the other man who is in line to redeem them first and by nightfall everything is settled and Ruth and Naomi are set for the rest of their lives! Ruth and Boaz have a baby boy that they name Obed. Who ends up being King David’s grandfather! Now how’s that for a happy ending to a great story?

Just when it seems like there’s no hope left, they run into their Redeemer.

Psalm 147:11 says that the LORD’s “delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” You see, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and the conviction of things that we can’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1) While we can’t always SEE God’s love for us, faith is being sure that He does because “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (Hebrews 6:18-19) And in Isaiah God tells us, “I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. … For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’. … I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. … When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them, I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys, I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water, … that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” 41:9-10, 13, 14b, 17-18 & 20

No matter what your situation is today my friend, you are FAR from hopeless!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Ruth | Leave a comment

Why Worry?

Romans 13:1-16:27

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor [or itself]; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10

Just like many people this weekend we spent the whole weekend in family celebrations of Christ’s resurrection. And it was SO MUCH FUN!!! But it was exhausting too. During this school year we’ve learned that our daughter NEEDS her sleep! She always has, but this year we’re coming to realize that she absolutely is not able to sleep in on mornings when she’s allowed to. She’s also very good at keeping herself awake during a weekend afternoon “quiet time”. All the rest of us sleep, she lays in her bed and talks to her stuffed friends. All this leaves us with one option, a STRICT bedtime. And for this particular Knochel household, the word “strict” is hardly in our vocabulary. This year it’s been introduced though!

If she’s not in bed by 8:30, we can hardly get her out of bed in the morning. And when we do, she’s a sobbing mess until she can wake up fully. But the chaos doesn’t end there. I’ve noticed that on weekends, if we do let her stay up later, her grades are decidedly lower that week, her attention span is less and her temper is higher. This girl NEEDS HER SLEEP!

Well today, I’ve realized that I’m just like my daughter. THIS GIRL NEEDS HER SLEEP. Life takes it’s toll on all of us differently. God has told me for years, but has been training me for months, on the vast importance of my Sabbath rest. This isn’t news to any of you who’ve been reading this blog for any length of time. I can’t tell you all how many times I hear, “Gosh, I wish I could take a Sabbath like you do, I just don’t have the time right now!”

Guess what, NEITHER DO I!!! But God told me and keeps telling me it’s not only important for me, but for my family too. Keeping my Sabbath holy is HARD! I am constantly tested on a weekly basis. I am faced weekly with a decision between keeping my Sabbath or doing something that will almost definitely gain the praise of men (one of my biggest joys – I live for praise and recognition). And it seems like the longer I go the harder these temptations have been to resist! I’m tellin’ ya folks, following God’s command of a Sabbath isn’t easy!


I’ve done my time disobeying it too. I’ve burned my candle at both ends and my family has paid dearly for it. The majority of my Sabbaths are spent SLEEPING! I’ll get my family off to school and work and then I go back to bed and often I’ll sleep until noon! I sleep until I can’t sleep anymore than I’ll usually get up, go to the couch (or the kitchen first and then the couch), and I’ll sit and watch TV until the kids get home; all the while choosing to IGNORE the million things around me screaming for my time, attention and energy. It’s NOT easy!

The main goal of my Sabbath is to let my body, brain and spirit rest. Christ is my constant companion in my resting and I talk to Him in every waking oment. There are some days He will give me something so good I just have to write it down and then there are others when He gives me that good thing but tells me to keep it to myself. As much as I love sharing, I like when it’s just for me. 😀 Either way my Sabbath (and obedience to it by avoiding the temptation to do the things I “have to do”) is a tremendous gift! It’s a gift, from God to me, but even more than that, it’s a gift from me to me! It’s me loving myself enough to tell the others in my life, “You can wait” for one day. And for the longest time I thought that would hurt them. It doesn’t. Me not being fresh and patient – that hurts them. Me being so tired I can’t think straight, but pushing myself on anyway – that hurts them. Me losing my temper and raising my voice because I can’t take one more person asking one more thing of me – that hurts them. As a mom and as a Christian we’re called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And I’m finding more and more as I age, that I simply can’t love others well if I haven’t first loved on myself.

Today is not my Sabbath, it’s Monday. But when I got up this morning, or rather I should say, when I was forced to get up this morning, it was all I could do to get the family out the door. Mondays are my “recover the house from the weekend” day, but all I could do was stand in the middle of the room and stare at the three, count them THREE, baskets of clean laundry to put away, the Easter baskets still full of candy abandoned to go to Grandmas and get more. The empty pizza boxes on the dining room table from FRIDAY night, the kitchen table full of clutter from the week before and I won’t even tell you about the kitchen counters or the office still in construction chaos! I was so overwhelmed and overtired I didn’t know where or even how to start. So I did the only thing I could think of, text Sean.

“I’m having a rough day today. I’m freaking out about how much I have to do and how little time I have to do it in.”

And my husband, the smart and wise man that he is said, “Why worry? Just do what you can and forget the rest, the kids and I will help out.” (Seriously, I LOVE THIS MAN!!!!!)

Wise words don’t you think? “Why worry?” By worrying can we add an hour to our lifespan or an inch to our height? (Matthew 6:25-24) Does worry change ANYTHING? NO!

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

Sometimes, not ALL the time, but there are times when you HAVE to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. It’s not possible to pour water from an empty vessel. Whether it’s mental, physical or spiritual exhaustion, you can’t love others if you haven’t loved yourself first.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another [or yourself]? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another [or ourselves] any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. – Romans 14:13

Do not destroy the one for whom Christ died [that’s YOU]. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. – Romans 14:15-16

You’re precious in His eyes, don’t talk or think or act badly toward yourself. He died for you; obviously He thinks you’re worth it! Let’s work together to encourage each other to treat ourselves as though Christ died for us, because He DID!


Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Romans, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment


Romans 9:1-12:21

“So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

Go with me to the garden for a moment. Its first thing Sunday morning. The sun has just broken over the eastern horizon, the dew is still on the roses, the birds are singing their morning praise songs and we are crunching along the cold stone path to Jesus grave to anoint His body properly. It was a holiday weekend, the biggest there is, but it certainly didnt feel like a holiday weekend! None of the food tasted any good; it was filled with tears of mourning. Everything we had ever hoped for dreamed of, talked about, loved died on Friday afternoon. We HAVE nothing to celebrate right now. But, as much as we dislike it, life goes on, and there are things to be done; dishes to wash, laundry to fold. But there is one small bright spot to our day this Monday. We get to go visit Jesus body one last time. Touch His hands and His feet – anoint Him. So here we are on the path in the garden on what is by far the most beautiful morning weve seen in ages. Everything seems alive and vibrant and fresh today, I wonder why. I turn to you in concern, Oh no! How are we going to roll that huge stone away from the tomb? Theres no way well be strong enough to do it! Those are next to impossible to move! But you reply, God will make a way for us. Have faith.
Just like Mary, I think to myself, always faithful. God bless her, shes right, God will bless us in our efforts, He will make a way for us to honor His son and anoint Him. But then we see it! His tomb, its already open! Wow! God REALLY made a way! But as we approach we start to sense something amiss, wheres Jesus body!?! As we become a flurry of confusion and grief and anger and voices, two men with clothes like lightning appear standing next to us, startling us to silence and immediate prostrate positions of humility with our faces to the ground. (It was either that or faint I think!) The angels questioned us, Why do you look for the living among the dead? Hes not here! He is risen!…” As an unexplainable joy floods our souls and brings us back to the living, the angels remind us of Jesus words “…crucified and on the third day be raised again. Oh how could we have forgotten? We run the entire way back to the house where the disciples are, the birds songs cheering us on, urging our feet to move faster. When we arrive our excitement streams through our lips as fast as we all can speak, causing dazed, shocked, confused, angry and hopeful looks on everyones faces. None of them know what to think, could it really be true? Can our hopes still be alive? What is happening? Was it thievery or a miracle? Can it really be true? Peter, not wanting to be left out of the action Im sure, returned to the tomb to investigate, running the entire way. Breathing heavily he entered the tomb to find all the wrappings of death discarded carelessly, and the napkin from His head folded carefully, signifying that He was not finished and that he would return. Not quite knowing how to deal with all this extraordinary information Simon Peter went away to think and pray, but you, Mary, you stayed. You couldnt bear to leave could you? Your grief and confusion is so complete so consuming that you simply couldnt leave the last known residence of your Lord and love Jesus of Nazareth. He saved you from a horrible life of torment didnt He? Those demons had plagued you night and day, filled your head with criticisms and self-doubt, fears and pain unimaginable. But then Jesus came along didnt He? He freed you from all of it! The pain, the shame, the torment, the fear, all gone the instant He touched you. It must have been amazing! Obviously it was because you havent left His side since, even in death, youre still here at His grave – waiting. Crying because you dont know whats happening. But more than that, because you dont know where He is. All you know is that Hes not with you and the pain that that is causing you is worse than anything the demons ever did. Your love for Jesus is so pure that nothing can stop you from wanting Him; His presence in your life, His love in your life, His grace in your life. You miss Him like nothing youve ever known. And as youre standing there wailing beside the tomb, you just have to look upon His last resting place one more time. But this time there are two angels sitting there. But right now you are too grieved to care that there are two supernatural beings speaking to you. Woman, why are you crying? they ask. You sob, They have taken my Lord away, and I dont know where they have put Him!

Mary, when everyone else left Him, you stayed. When everyone else pondered, you grieved. Maybe you didnt understand what was really happening, or maybe you understood better than anyone else. Either way, I cant imagine what it felt like to be there that morning. In that new day air, with your eyes brimming with tears saw a man standing near Jesus grave. Maybe he knows where Jesus is. Perhaps thats what you thought when you asked Him, Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him and I will get Him. Perhaps, at that moment in the garden, Jesus looked so much like His father that thats why you mistook Him for the gardener. Oh, but no tears or choking sobs of grief could disguise His voice from you could it? No. Just as the sheep know their shepherds voice, all it took was for Him to say one precious word, your name. Mary. And reality came crashing through your tears. He is HERE! He is ALIVE! He is speaking YOUR name! He knows your grief, He knows your pain and He came to you first to end that anguish in your soul and replace it with joy and hope and fire. All with a single word, your name. Because He knows your name, its written on the palm of His hand.

Oh how desperately you wanted to cling to Him, to talk to Him, to hang on His every word and bask in His luminous personality. But alas, just as you could not hang onto your grief this morning because you had word to do, that same is true now. You can not hang onto your joy because there is work to do. OH! But the work that there is to do! It too is joyful. You Mary, Jesus explains, have to tell the others. You must spread the good news! You must tell everyone that I am alive, you have seen me, and that I am returning to My Father and your Father, to my God and your God. No Mary, you may not stay longer here with Me, I know you want to, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, people need to know what has happened and what will happen. I will come again, and we will be together, so be patient. Until that time, tell everyone the good things I have done for you for My glory. O blessed one.

*Reposted from April 7th, 2012 – it’s too good not to share it every year don’t you think?

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Romans | Leave a comment

Good Friday

Romans 4:13-8:39

“and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

Yesterday I ended up watching the last hour of the Passion of the Christ. As they were putting the crown of thorns on His head and the Roman soldiers were laughing at Him and beating Him it felt like their laughter was going straight through me. They punched Him in His bloody face and I winced and looked away. The moment I closed my eyes the Holy Spirit said to me, “I took your shame. Those who look upon Jesus are radiant, and their faces shall never be covered in shame. Yes, people may laugh at you here, but there will come a day when they will no longer laugh because they will know. They will know why your face was radiant. They will know you were telling the truth. They will know, and they will no longer laugh. Your face will never be covered in shame in My presence any longer because I took your shame. They laughed at Me, so that they can never laugh at you.”


And He did it ALL for YOU!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Romans | Leave a comment

Powerful Love

Romans 1:1-4:12

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

The more I’ve focused on this verse, the more I find! The first time I read it, the phrase “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” caught my eye. Most likely because I spent the last six months in Greek class! But I realized what huge significance there is in the original languages of the Bible!

The Old Testament is written in Hebrew, the native language of the Jews, because it is for the Jews as their heritage and legacy. But the New Testament, which contains the gospel of Christ, it’s written in Greek. If the New Testament writings had been only for the Jewish people the writers – who knew Hebrew – would have written it in Hebrew. But they chose not to because the gospel isn’t for one race or nation (or denomination) alone! It’s for EVERYONE!


Than as I read the verse again the word “power” hit my heart with such an amazing force I felt like God’s fist came up through the page punching that word into my very soul. The gospel of Jesus IS the power of God. Period.

This morning I woke up, picked up my phone and like every other time I pick up my phone I cleared out my notifications. One of them was a notification from my Pinterest app letting me know someone had re-pinned one of my pins.


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.” 2 Timothy 1:7

This verse has played such a huge roll in my battle against the spirit of fear. It has ruled my life with such a heavy hand for such a very long time. And this verse is a powerful sword against the spirit of fear. Fear is not from God. Fear is the absence of love, just like darkness is the absence of light. God is love and light. That’s why in Revelation it talks about heaven and how there will be no darkness or the need for the sun or moon for light because God is light and love.

When we can’t fully see the next step because it is still shrouded in darkness, we fear taking that step into the unknown. Why? We have not been filled, or perfected, in God’s love for us.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected (or filled up to the brim) in (God’s) love (for us).” 1 John 4:18

We have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER and LOVE and of a SOUND MIND! We have living, breathing, dwelling inside us the spirit of LOVE.

But it’s not some namby-pamby, cotton candy, fluffy bunny, rose petal kind of love. Oh no! It’s a POWERFUL kind of love! It’s the kind of love that flips over tables and gets out a whip to make fear flee from between your temples. It’s the kind of powerful love that strips down naked and wears a bloody crown of thorns so that you can be clothed in the finest garments – robes of righteousness, and wear a crown of gold – your helmet of eternal salvation. It’s the kind of powerful love that drives stakes through its hands and feet to a cross so that yours can be freed from it. It’s a powerful love that does all of the work of redemption for you, crying out to its last breath “it is FINISHED” just to make sure you know for certain that there’s nothing left for you to do but to boast not in your own works but in HIS. It’s the kind of powerful love that contains its power when the one’s He’s dying to save are beating and spitting on him.

It’s the kind of powerful love that offers itself up as a slave and washes feet instead of sitting upon the highest throne in all the universe. It’s the kind of powerful love that strokes your cheek instead of striking it when you fall. It’s the powerful kind of love that looks at you with patient eyes when you just can’t seem to get it right, because He recognizes your effort more than your end result. It’s the powerful kind of love that lets you try again. It’s the powerful kind of love that whispers “I love you” in every detail of every moment in your life.

No. We have NOT been given a spirit of fear. We have been given a spirit of POWERFUL LOVE and of a SOUND MIND to better understand the power of that love and to SHARE IT WITH OTHERS because we ALL need the power of the Gospel of God! It’s GOOD NEWS of GREAT joy is it not? God’s powerful love at work in us is a tremendous gift, one not to be taken lightly my friend.

When I wrote The Pink Polka Dot Kitty I experienced the marvelous light of God’s love so strongly for the first time. Since that moment it’s all I want to do. I want others to EXPERIENCE that kind of power in love because it covers over a multitude of sins!

Jesus was no mindless sacrificial animal that had no idea or control over what was happening to Him. Jesus had complete control over the situation and knew exactly what He was doing. An animal sacrifice covered you until your next sin. Jesus’ sacrifice covers you for infinity. Don’t believe me? Read your Bible every day for a year, praying “God show me your Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth so help me God.” And then come talk to me. 😉 His word changes you!

Before reading every day I couldn’t believe. I couldn’t believe that He could possibly forgive me of ALL my sins past, present AND future. But little by little He chipped away at the lies I’d believed and replaced them with the Truths I found in His Word. And day by day I grew in strength until I was finally strong enough to understand that the love of Christ and His sacrifice on that cross was a powerful enough kind of love to forgive me for sins I’d yet to commit. I just had to forgive myself for them.

At the time of the cross weren’t ALL my sins future sins anyway? And if, like it says in Romans 3:25 “God, in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins”, is He not also then much more able to, after the cross, pass over future sins as well?

There was a time that I didn’t think God could be that good. I was wrong. He is. There was a day I was wrestling with the issue on the way to church. I grappled with it back and forth, back and forth until the singing started and I decided to put it aside and grapple with it later. Forgiven for one current sin at a time, or all at once, either way I was forgiven and that was worthy of the praise I was there to give Him. I sang one verse of “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord“, when He OPENED the eyes of my heart! He isn’t just God; He is a just God who requires payment for sins. A payment that Jesus paid it ALL! ALL to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, but He washed it white as snow! Jesus didn’t just pay the majority of the tab and leave the rest for us, He paid is ALL. There is nothing left for us to ask forgiveness for because He took it all the moment we first asked for His gift of forgiveness. It’s a onetime gift that lasts an eternity. The only thing left for us to do is to REPENT and say, “THANK YOU JESUS!”

We’ve got to repent, change our thinking, turn from our unbelief in His Goodness and the power of His Mercy and Grace! God is love and what kind of love would drink most of the poison of the law of death but not all of it? What kind of love says the debt is paid, but then comes back and says, “Oh wait, there’s more”? The wages of sin are DEATH. And Jesus paid that debt on Good Friday, He died, for YOU.

But Oh! Wait! There’s more! He didn’t just die for you. Oh no! He resurrected for you too! Like a prisoner released from the jail cell where He had paid for His crimes, Jesus walked out of that tomb a FREE MAN having paid the price and the tip, He made you a free “man” too!

Jesus paid it ALL. Now THAT’S a powerful love don’t you think?


*Thank you so much Lizzy Lee for this GREAT picture!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Romans | Leave a comment

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