10 in ’15 Challenge

Yesterday & Today’s:


Oh my dearest friends it is with the GREATEST JOY that I announce to you that I will be writing daily again!!!!! You have no idea how much I have missed you!!! Well, really it was Him that I missed the most of all, but I missed talking to you too. 😉

This week is a transition week for me as I phase out of one place of employment and phase into another. Tomorrow I’ll be taking my security photo and filling out paperwork at the school and then doing a little bit of touring to get my feet wet a bit. I also plan on getting some pre-planning done for the blog and writing. I’ve been doing a Facebook poll to see what book people recommend for me to read this year. I’ve had some really great suggestions too. If you’d like to put your bid in for your favorite book, or a book that you’d like to read with me you can comment below and add your own suggestions. I’d love to see them!

I’ll be posting the 10 in ’15 Book List and reading plan for 2015 by the end of the week this week. (I’m shooting for Wednesday, but don’t hold me to it.) I’m planning on starting it February 1st. It’s my goal to read 10 books in 2015, and while that doesn’t sound like that much, I assure you that for this busy mom (with a NEW JOB!), it is.

It’ll be fun! We’ll have our own little book club sort of thing. When I post the book list later this week I’ll have you comment below to let me know that you’re on board. Then every time I post a book report I’ll have you comment at the bottom of those posts as well and EVERYONE who completes all 10 books with me will receive any one of my books FREE!!! 😀 I will mail you a signed copy and everything!

We can read them together and all share in the joy of learning and growing together! There will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction (which may include a secular book or two as well, I haven’t completely decided yet). That way we’ll have a nice round selection. I’m sure I’ll have to throw in at LEAST one Karen Kingsbury book since she is my FAVORITE non-fiction author. Her book Forever was a huge inspiration for me when writing True Intimacy! And for that I will be forever grateful. (God used the writing of True Intimacy to save my marriage!)

So, how does that sound? Is anybody out there up for my 10 in ’15 challenge?

I can hardly wait to get started! But I’ll wait a little longer because I would love to see what books you all will suggest!!! Comment below and let me know what books you’d like to read with me!!! If you receive this post via email, all you have to do is reply your comment to it and it will automatically publish to this post! How handy is that!?!

Categories: 365 Life, Mark, Matthew, Season 3 | 1 Comment

Thank You Sir May I Have Another?

This week’s :


If this last week is any indication of how 2015 is going to be, SIGN ME UP!!! I mean, no offense 2014, but you stunk! That was one of the hardest years I’ve had in a very long time! I feel like I’ve been through the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and lived to tell about it. When 2014 passed away on December 31st, I didn’t have a whole lot of hope for things changing much but BOY WAS I WRONG! Thank God!

So far this year I have started attending Alpha class at church with my husband, I attended a very inspirational writer’s meeting at church that ended with a divine meeting, I’ve spoken at a MOPs meeting where there were about 35-40 women in attendance (and they apparently loved me and are begging their leader for more), just yesterday I got the word that I officially have a new job teaching as a special ed aide in the middle school here in Sheridan (and I can’t even begin to tell you how absolutely ecstatic I am about it for more reasons than I can even begin to explain), and today both my son AND my husband were baptized!!!!! To say it’s been an awesome twenty-five days would be putting it lightly. I mean, these are only the things I’m telling YOU. I’m not even mentioning the things that I’m holding tight to my chest and not even breathing a word about because they’re too glorious to even speak of yet (and quite possibly the most wonderful blessings of all).

My friends, this morning in church as I was standing in awe of the RELIEF that I feel right now I was singing my praises and the Holy Spirit gave me a revelation of what this past year has been – refining fire. Yes, just like our dear ole friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we too have been going through a fire. If you look in the book of Daniel you’ll find our friends’ story. They were placed in a VERY uncomfortable position. First they were brought to Babylon and offered the kings food, which probably smelled AMAZING, but didn’t quite abide by Jewish Law. They were presented with a choice, obey God or not. They chose to obey God and requested only vegetables to eat. And they were handsomely rewarded for their obedience.

Later in the book they were presented with this same situation, obey God by refusing to bow down to an idol or not. The stakes were high… really high on this one. If they obeyed God and refused to bow down to the idol, the king would throw them into a fire-filled furnace. They stuck up for their beliefs and refused to bow resulting in them being tied up and thrown into the furnace that killed the guards who threw them in because it was so hot…yet our friends didn’t die. The cords that bound their hands and feet were burned off, a man that shone like the son of the gods appeared with them IN the fire, and they were removed from the fire with all their clothes not only in tact but they didn’t even smell like smoke!!!!! They obeyed God at all costs and came out MINUS the ties that bound them and smelling like roses. The fire did more benefit for them than harm.

And that, my friends, is where we stand today. I know that many of you have been facing fires of your own; un-pleasantries of all different kinds. Yet we faced them all the same simply because we knew in our heart of hearts that it’s what God wanted of us. Beloved, you have been removed from that fire! Your cords have been burned off and you’ve emerged smelling like roses instead of smoke. And honestly, if you’re anything like me, your obedience has been reward in and of itself, buuuut I have the distinct feeling that there will be even more reward than that in store for us this year.

This is the year we’ve been waiting for my friends. It’s the year where clarity will be the norm. The year where the things that have been shadowed by uncertainty or misunderstanding begin to reveal themselves plainly. For me, it’s been about direction. I knew God was taking me somewhere I just didn’t understand how in the WORLD I was going to get there or where exactly “there” was. But from where I stand today things are SO MUCH CLEARER than they were last year. With the blessing of this new job that will pay MUCH more than what I was making before while still affording me the luxury of being a writer AND a mom, it has also brought into focus a picture of my future and the plans that He has had for me all along. I feel like I’ve been traveling along with Him in complete and total blind trust through this winding path where I could only see a few feet in front of me before the path curved again taking me somewhere completely unexpected and away from where I thought we were going. On Saturday when I got that call it was like we rounded a curve and everything that lay before me was straight as an arrow pointing to exactly where I thought we were going but just didn’t understand yet.


For the first time all the jumbled pieces in this puzzle are fitting together just like I knew they were supposed to but couldn’t for the life of me get them to go. It’s like my vision was blurry before, I could see colors and shapes, light and dark, but nothing had real definition. Then I blinked and suddenly everything is clear.

I pray for that for YOU today my friend. Maybe you’ve been walking around bleary-eyed looking for the straight-a-way in your racetrack. Maybe you’ve been looking for your purpose and direction in life that you KNOW God has for you, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it yet. I pray for that for you TODAY! I pray that God’s Spirit will reach out and touch you in this very moment with more clarity and understanding than you’ve ever had in your entire life. I pray that He will lay His plan out before you in plain English (or whatever language you’re more fluent in). I pray that today you find yourself in precisely the right place at precisely the right time so that the door that He is flinging open before you will swing so close to your nose that you’ll feel the wind (but not the sting) so that you absolutely, positively can not miss this opportunity. And then I pray that He will PUSH you through that door so that there is no way you can doubt for even a second that it’s THE door for YOU. And I pray all that in Jesus’ name for you my friend!

Now go out there and follow that dream that God put in your heart! He MADE you for this, so you’d better go do it! Because no one can do it the way YOU can!


Categories: Luke, Malachi, Mark, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Day 12: Proof

Mark 15:1-16:20

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you, on the day that you were created they were prepared. Ezekiel 28:13

One morning God gave me the following vision of a jewelry store. As I walked into the store the first thing I saw out on display was some costume jewelry. Out. Where anyone could look at it, touch it, or take it if, and whenever they wanted. This jewelry was not special, it was not expensive and it was definitely not something you would hand down to your children. This jewelry was not valuable. It would be pretty at first, nice to look at, but it would tarnish quickly, and could easily be replaced or thrown away.

As I continued into the store I came to some nicer jewelry. This kind of jewelry took up the majority of the store. It was still on display where anyone could see it, however, it was locked in a glass case where you had to ask permission from the jeweler to open the case and take the jewelry out before you could touch it. This jewelry was nicer and more expensive than the costume jewelry, however, pretty much anyone who walked into the store could ask to touch it and be granted permission. ANYONE could come and look. And stealing it would take a minimal amount of effort.

Finally I came to the priceless jewels; 4+ carat diamonds, huge and rare rubies and sapphires, and heirloom collector’s items. THESE were NOT on display. These priceless jewels were hidden, locked up in a safe with a combination that only the “high up” jewelers knew and only the special customers, that had enough money and intent, could see them let alone touch or buy them. These items were SO special that they were NEVER advertised, they were never on display, they were a secret, because they were so precious.

Ladies, WE are that jewelry; our bodies. The way that we see ourselves and treat ourselves are the different levels of jewelry and display. How do you view yourself? Do you see yourself as the costume jewelry, cheap and disposable? Nice to look at but after a little while the niceness rubs off. Or, do you see yourself as the nicer jewelry? More expensive, the men have to ask permission to touch, but anyone can still look, because hey, you’re nice to look at? Or are you the priceless jewelry? Locked, hidden in a safe for the one and ONLY person who’s shown enough interest to have you and the ability to take good care of you. *Sniff* As I was just typing that, God said to me “I see them as the priceless jewelry, even if that’s not how they see themselves.” *Sniff* You. Are. So. Beautiful to Him! You are priceless, covered in priceless jewels set with gold! YOU! He is talking to YOU! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Start believing it for goodness sake!

For the longest time, as far back as I can remember anyway, I saw myself as the jewelry on display, not the costume jewelry, but not the priceless jewelry either. I’ve always been petite and for the most part relatively skinny and not too bad to look at if I say so myself. When my breasts started developing I, of course, wanted to show them off to the boys. I wore revealing clothing, not too revealing my parents wouldn’t let me, but once I was out of the house… well that was a different story. I was trying to attract the boys’ attention with my body, because honestly, I didn’t know any better way. I enjoyed their looks, they made me feel good and worth looking at. When I got married my necklines somehow dropped even lower than they were before! And even if the necklines weren’t low, they were loose so if I bent over to care for one of my children I was showing the goods off to anyone with eyes! Oh how God has opened my eyes to the folly of my ways. My body belongs to my husband and my husband alone! My breasts are for HIS eyes only. Before, when they were on “display” for everyone to see – not all of them mind you, but the cleavage and fleshy parts- they weren’t specifically for Christian’s eyes only. However, since God has led me to change my dressing habits and to cover things up more, my breasts are for my husband alone. Making them more special and “entertaining” for him. Think about it, when you know that your husband ONLY has eyes for you, how does that make you feel – pretty special and important right? Now put the shoe on the other foot, when your husband knows that your body is ONLY for his eyes and enjoyment, how do you think that would make him feel?

Do you know what the verse BEFORE our opening verse says? …You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Ezekiel 28:12b) WOW! In the Garden of Eden, they were naked. And this verse is telling us that while in the garden and still naked they were PERFECT in beauty. The next verse tells us that not only were they perfect in beauty; every precious stone covered their bodies. In our natural state, naked, our bodies are perfect. Period.

God created you just the way that you are. I think Dawn McConnell said it best in “God’s Plan for Married Sex” when she said,

“He chose your legs, your thighs, your dress size, eye color, hair type. You didn’t make you, God did.” We should be comfortable in what we look like and who we are as God created us, women. Have you noticed that subdivisions these days don’t have straight roads anymore? Do you know why that is? Curves are more pleasing to the eye than straight lines. One of the main characteristics of the woman’s body – is curves!

OK, I have a challenge for you today. It is something that you will probably read this and say “No way am I doing that!” But, that’s why I’m challenging you. I’m double dog daring you to do this! Write down on a note card: Psalm 139:14 Take it into your bathroom and stand in front of your mirror, full length if you’ve got one. Then start at the top of your head with your hair, and work your way down to your toes. Study your body and as you study it say to God “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know that full well.” Then, I triple dog dare you to do the exact same thing naked! The effect is amazing, believe me! Through God’s amazing love and this exercise, (which I learned from Lorraine Pintus and her amazing book Intimate Issues) I am in love with my body just the way that it is. I love the silver in my hair, because it’s proof of how I’m getting to grow older with my husband, who is already blissfully bald. I love the lines on my face, because they’re proof of years full of laughter and smiles. I love the way that my breasts sag, because it’s proof of all the time that I spent holding and nursing my infants, watching them grow and bonding with them. And I love the fact that my husband still loves my breasts and is still obsessed with them, I’m sure you can relate! I love the “pooch” of my belly and the gigantic scar under it, because they’re my Mommy badge of honor! I was blessed beyond measure to carry not one, but TWO babies in that belly, and some women never get to do that. My hands, oh my hands! The things that they’ve done! Both good and bad, but either way, it’s been my hands that have done it all from comforting my children to writing this book, to pleasing my husband. I love my legs and feet, and the fact that they have taken me everywhere I have ever gone. My body is amazing and full of “proofs” of a life filled with happiness, hard times and mistakes that I’ve survived and God has turned into “glittering rainbows”.

John Burroughs said: “How beautifully the leaves grow old. How full of light and color their last days.” Just like the leaves that God paints in the fall of their lives, we grow old beautifully (no matter what those pesky commercials tell us). Our lives can be full of light and color, but we have to allow “THE light” to shine through us like the opals, the jewels, that we really are.

Christian’s comments:

Yup, God only made so many perfect heads, the rest he covered with hair. I was in college when I first started losing my hair. I would wear a hat all the time and try to hide it. When my forehead started getting further back, I started cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Then, on my thirtieth birthday, I shaved it with a razor for the first time. Tamar really liked it, and I never went back. I have embraced my baldness (my flaw) and it is now a part of me.

How many of you husbands were like me? In jr. high and high school, how many of you chased after the costume jewelry? Go ahead, raise your hands. No one is looking. When my hormones were raging, I went after a LOT of girls that fit into the costume jewelry category. Most of them would have “the goods” on display for anyone to see. I would chase after them because I was only after one thing and they seemed to be the easiest way to get it.


Luckily, God had other plans for me. Most of the girls wouldn’t even go out with me. I wasn’t enough of a “sure thing”. Whenever one would go out with me, we could never seem to hook up, no matter how hard I tried.
As I grew older, I started dating girls that fit in the nice jewelry category. And, surprise surprise, the relationships lasted longer and were more enjoyable. There was less pressure. I didn’t have to worry about the girls dumping me for more of a “sure thing”.

At last, halfway through my senior year, I found my priceless jewelry. My Tamar. Husbands don’t become distracted by the costume jewelry that you see day to day. Don’t even give it a second glance. Instead, concentrate on the priceless jewelry you already have.

On a side note: Husbands and wives please pay attention to what your daughters are wearing out in public. Seems like everywhere I go I see young girls wearing skimpy tank tops and short shorts. They are barely wearing more than bathing suits. And don’t get me started on those! Please teach them some modesty. They don’t seem to understand the attention they are getting from wearing the skimpy clothes is not the attention they want. They aren’t just attracting the attention of the boys their age, but from dangerous people that really want to do them harm. Please help your daughters to not become pieces of costume jewelry. Please teach them to respect themselves. Help them to see that they are priceless jewels.

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

Day 11: United

Mark 12:35-14:72

For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

So, what are you made of? It’s an interesting comment to be sure. But really, have you ever thought about it? The nursery rhymes tell us: “Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.” But what does the bible have to say about it? Psalm 139:13-14 says that God wove us together in our mother’s womb, creating us with His very own hands, it’s just mind blowing. God’s hands created each and every one of us. HE made us. Just like Adam and Eve God’s hands formed us. And just like creation He stands back, watches us grow and says “it is good”.

In the Garden of Eden: “The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:20-24)

As Adam was naming all of the animals he realized that they all had mates and he didn’t. He noticed that each of them had someone to call their own, and yet he didn’t. Poor Adam was lonely, he wanted someone just like him; a partner, a mate. So God lovingly created Eve for him. But Eve unlike everything else in creation wasn’t spoken into existence or even made from the dust of the Earth like Adam, she was made from Adam’s flesh and bone. When you think about how we as women were first created, it explains A LOT doesn’t it! We’re tough and soft all at the same time; we’re made from bone and flesh. God created us from man’s rib, not his head to be above him, or his feet to be below him, but his rib to be beside him. And under his arm to be protected by him, close to his heart, to be loved by him.
God made everything to serve a purpose, but I believe He had a very special purpose in mind when He created women. We were made in such a different fashion than everything else on the earth, how can we not then BE different from everything else on earth? While nothing in all of creation could fill the position of Adam’s “helper”, woman could. Creation wasn’t complete until Eve came along. It’s like God kept saying “Hmmmm, something’s missing… AHA! That’s it! Woman!” Hee hee! We’re the icing on the creation cake!

In a conversation on this topic, my good friend Kelly commented, “… I’m made of ivory!” I looked at her questioningly “Ivory?” I said. “Yup, I’m made from Adam’s bone, polished-white-beautiful-ivory.” I think Kelly’s got it right! We are made of ivory. We may have a few dirty spots on us, some dents and nicks, but under it all, we’re made of polished white beautiful ivory. And it’s nothing for God to wipe those spots off for us and fill in those dents; all we have to do is ask Him to. He’s got the best cleaning solution known to man; it fixes everything – Christ’s blood.

Now that we know what we’re made of, let’s look and see why it’s important. In Mark 10:2-12 Jesus is asked about divorce by: Some Pharisees [who] came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them. “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. “But from the beginning of creation. God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

In this New Testament section, where Jesus himself is reminding us all that when God started creation He created them MALE and FEMALE, they were different and yet together made one whole. I took a closer look at the words translated “and the two shall become one flesh”. In the original Greek this word is “proskollao” which according to Thayer means “to be glued to, to cleave, to stick to”. When God created Adam and Eve He never intended them to separate or divorce one another. Notice how it states the same thing twice, adding emphasis to the fact that what used to be two separate entities, once married and united with sex, become one entity.

In Genesis 2:21 while God is forming Eve: the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. There is another place in Genesis where God causes someone else to fall into a “deep sleep”, and I KNOW that it’s not a coincidence. In Genesis 15:9-18 God himself cut a blood covenant with Abram. The procedure, to us is very peculiar, however as covenants go this one is filled with significance. God instructed Abram to gather an assortment of animals for sacrifice. Abram took the larger sacrificial animals and cut them each into half, and arranged the halves on the ground with space between them so that they could walk between them – just as the LORD had instructed. Some birds of prey came and Abram chased them off, then the sun began to set and a deep sleep fell on Abram. This is where God spoke to him and told him about the covenant He was making with him and his descendants. When the sun had set God came down in the form of fire and passed between the pieces of the sacrifice; officially cutting a blood covenant with Abram and his heirs.

Now, tell me, when you cut an animal in half do you think there might be a little blood involved in the process? Of course there was, hence the name “blood covenant”. This type of promise was sacred to the people making the covenant. By walking through the bloody animal halves they were promising that if they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain then they too could be cut in half! This was a serious promise girls! Are you ready for where this gets REALLY interesting? When we get married we are also committing to a blood covenant between God, ourselves and our husbands. When we cut this covenant God is joining the two souls of the bride and groom and making them one soul. Covenants are NOT meant to be broken, ever. They are meant to be protected, like when Abram protected the animal halves from the birds of prey. There will be birds of prey in your life coming to devour your covenant, which is why you need to be vigilant and protect it. And if these blood covenants are broken, there are deadly consequences involved. THIS is why marriage is meant to be FOREVER, not just “till someone better comes along or I’m tired of you”.


    The Father is leading me to share with you a very intimate prayer that I wrote on this day in our fast.


I am so messed up! Christian and I have inflicted so much damage on each other. Is there any way to repair it? Is there still hope for us? I know with You all things are possible, but I need reminding of it. We’ve made so many mistakes along the way and right now it feels so hopeless. Please touch our hearts. Give us tenderness towards each other that’s never been there before. Its day 11 of our sex fast and things are starting to get more difficult. Please use this fast for Your good. Please help us to grow our relationship deeper into You and Your promises. Help us to resist temptation; he smells and feels so good LORD! Oh my! I wasn’t expecting this, well, OK, maybe a little but not so soon. LORD please help us to leave the lust-based relationship behind & pick up the deep-sweet-loving relationship I keep dreaming of LORD. Please help me stop basing my self-worth on how he treats me and how he sees me and start placing it in YOUR hands. Help us to refresh our young love and remember what we like about each other. Help us TRULY start over, with You in the center of our relationship now. Please help our hearts re-join and beat as one functioning heart. I don’t know that they ever have LORD, but if not then I ask that You make it that way now. Help us to always seek YOU first and to always look for ways and things that we can do for each other to build each other up. Help us to see past our faults and move on together. Please help us to MAKE TIME FOR ONE ANOTHER.”


I never said this would be easy my friends, (notice how many times I asked God for HELP in that prayer) but I am telling you that it IS worth it. There were several times when I wanted to give up, not just on the fast but on my marriage as well! But you know what, I got through this and so can you. Just keep praying; and remind yourself:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) – YOU CAN DO THIS!

God can and WILL give you the strength to endure this, just keep asking Him to help you, and He will. He is blissfully faithful, even when we’re not.

Christian’s comments:

When Jesus speaks of marriage in Matthew 19:5, he says “…and the two shall become one flesh.” This is very fitting. God created Eve from Adam’s flesh; He created two from one flesh. He could have said, “The one flesh shall become two.” He may have even been thinking that when He took Adam’s rib. When we marry, we rejoin what was separated. We take the one flesh that became two, and God joins the two back into one.

    Wives, if you are struggling with this like Tamar was, be honest with your husband and ask him to pray with you, and for you. I had no idea that Tamar was having that much difficulty with it. If she had asked, I would have been more than happy to pray with her.

    The same goes for you, husbands. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It takes a strong man to ask for help. If you are struggling with this, ask your wife for prayers. Go to God too. Psalm 50:15a says: Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you.

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

Day 10: Finished

Mark 10:1-12:34

Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. … The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold. Psalm 45:10, 11 & 13

I think that it is just in womanly nature to want to be seen as beautiful. Don’t you think? Ahhhhh, but to be seen as “all glorious within“, now THAT’S beauty! A beauty that makes the KING desire us. You see, Jesus sees us, sinful and broken, and beautiful just the way that we are.

The other day my 3-year old daughter was quiet, a little too quiet if you know what I mean. When I found her, she was covered from head to toe in marker and was so proud of herself. As I was cleaning her off I told her “Honey, God made your skin beautiful just the way it is. It doesn’t need any decoration.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and put it all into perspective for me. When God sees me putting on my make-up and nail polish He sees His daughter coloring on herself with “markers”. I realized that a lot of times we see our bodies as a blank canvas. But God sees them as a finished masterpiece, a true work of art; worthy of protecting and cherishing, with no need of further ornamentation.

Pascal once said “Man is so made that if he is told often enough that he is a fool he believes it.” As women, when we are told a hundred times a day by our commercials, that we’re not young enough: “here THIS makeup will make those wrinkles disappear”. We’re not skinny enough: “buy this weight loss program and shed those holiday pounds”. We’re not pretty enough: “buy this hair color – you’re worth it”. All day long we hear the ways that we’re not enough this or enough that. After awhile we start to believe it! Then, when our husband comes home and tells us he’d like to have sex, we don’t feel good about ourselves and IF they’re lucky enough to get lucky, many times it’ll be with the lights off. We have got to GET OVER IT! We’ve got to stop listening to the advertisements and start listening to our husbands! Listen to GOD! Our real beauty lies in how HE sees us anyway.

For example: One weekend, while camping in Brown County State Park in Indiana I had been continually amazed by the scenic vistas. All weekend long I desperately wanted to see a spectacular sunset that would color and tint the whole sky above an endless span of tree tops, rolling hills and valleys filled with trees while comfortably seated next to my wonderful husband. *Romantic sigh* It would’ve been amazing. But, alas, the whole weekend I did not get to see that sunset. However, as we were driving home on Sunday evening the sun began to set, and as it did the sky began to light with bright reds and blues and the clouds turned purple. It was magnificent! And although it wasn’t as impressive over the Indy skyline as it would have been over one of those vistas, I WAS sitting next to my wonderful husband watching the sunset after a great weekend together. And then the beauty of it all hit me. God still gave me my sunset! And then I heard His voice, the one I love so much. “I think YOU, beloved, are more beautiful than anything you’ve seen this weekend.” I, of course, started crying. MORE beautiful than the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen? Me? “Yes my beloved, you all are; My precious creations.” Tears welled up in my eyes and a sob choked in my throat as I stared over my husband’s shoulder into the beautiful purple and blue fading sunset. “Wow! More beautiful than that?” What better words can a very self-conscious woman hear than, “more beautiful than the most beautiful landscape or sunset you’ve ever seen!” And YOU ARE too! You are THE most beautiful piece in God’s creation collection.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 Paul writes about his struggles and imperfections, so to speak. Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me – to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul sums it up perfectly doesn’t he? It is through our weaknesses that God’s power is perfected! Our strengths are our strengths and we very easily get caught giving ourselves credit for them. But our weakness, now that’s a different story isn’t it! It is through our weaknesses that God’s power working through us is the MOST evident! Think about it, God chose a man with a stammer to be His spokesperson to all of Israel during the Exodus! He chose a regular old girl to be the mother of Jesus Himself! There was nothing impressive or special about her, she wasn’t even rich or anything! The only thing it really says about Mary is that she was “Highly favored” by God and willing to be used by Him. God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things with them, through their weaknesses!

God is not all tied up about how perfect we already are, what He cares about the most is our imperfections, and how He can redeem them. Take an opal for example. I’ve always enjoyed the way that the rainbow sparkles through them; and I was amazed at what I found when I researched them a bit. Opals are mainly made from silica, which is round in form. As an opal is created over hundreds of years the little silica balls line up next to each other. Since they’re round they can’t line up perfectly which creates gaps or “imperfections” between them. When the light shines through these imperfections it creates that “fire”, or rainbow sparkle, in the opals like a prism. The red color in an opal is created by the light reflecting through the largest imperfections in the silica formations. The funny thing is, the more red there is in an opal the more it is worth. So in other words, the way opals are valued is by their imperfections rather than their perfection. You see, to God, our value lies in our imperfections because it’s through our imperfection that His light shines through us and glitters like a rainbow! Those things in our lives that the devil meant for harm, God rejoices over us when we repent of them and then uses them for His good purposes! God works in you, and in doing so He makes you shine and glitter like the priceless jewel that you are; His most precious family jewel, His work of heart.

Christian’s comments:

Your wife is beautiful! I wouldn’t know personally, but if she wasn’t beautiful to you, I’m guessing you wouldn’t have married her.

Husbands, look at your wife. Go ahead, put the book down for a minute and look at her. I look at mine all the time. Look at her “imperfections”. They are what make her unique. Think back to Tamar’s example of the opal; the bigger the “imperfections”, the more valuable the stone. Another example is coins. If a coin is stamped incorrectly, its “imperfection” makes it more valuable.

You guys need to tell your wives that they are beautiful. Let them know that they are the beautiful jewels that they are. Tamar doesn’t wear makeup anymore. I think she is more beautiful without it and make it a point to tell her so every chance I get. You guys need to do the same (not my wife, but yours). Do it when she is at her most vulnerable, when she’s naked. It is when she’s naked, that all of her “imperfections” are on display. That’s when she needs to hear that you think she is “perfect”.

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Mark, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 1 Comment

Day 9: Holy

Mark 6:45-9:50

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-17

In the bible the books are divided into 2 sections: The Old Testament, (books written before Christ was born) and the New Testament (books written after Christ was born). In these 2 sections God’s priorities for His people’s lives shift inward. The Old Testament is filled with stories of miraculous events, most of which are very large scale and grand. Showing us how BIG God is and what He is capable of. Then Jesus comes along and the miracles of the New Testament are more personal, they are intimate. The majority of the miracles described in the New Testament are miracles of people set free from bondage of one form or another. Miracles of debilitating illnesses healed, evil spirits cast out, and sins forgiven. The life of the afflicted individual changed FOREVER. God’s involvement in His people’s lives gets much more intimate as you segue from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

This intimate involvement is proved very precisely by what happened to a curtain in the temple on the day Jesus died. Up until that moment God’s presence filled a room in the temple known as the Holy of Holies. As a shield to that room there was a curtain. No one was allowed behind that curtain. Only after many many ceremonies and ritual cleansings was the high priest even allowed behind it and that was only once a year! Since the presence of the LORD God filled that room behind the curtain, for anyone to enter His presence unprepared would have killed them.

According to Mark’s gospel, at the moment of Jesus’ death the curtain that separated God from the rest of the world was torn in two. God had made a way for EVERYONE to come to Him and NOT die instantly. Up to that point in history very few people knew what God’s voice actually sounded like. Only a handful of them had ever talked to Him in person. When Jesus died He made a way for us enter the Holy of Holies without fear of death. Because of Jesus and His willing sacrifice we can go to God on a PERSONAL level. He is no longer this BIG unapproachable God, He is intimate and loving and wonderful and caring. He always was before but He couldn’t fully show us Himself in such an intimate way. If someone needed to ask for forgiveness they had to go to the priests in the temple and offer an animal sacrifice. They performed the rituals required of them and they left. The priests would accept the sacrifices on behalf of the Lord. The individual that had sinned would never be able to enter into the Lord’s presence to ask for forgiveness personally.

When you choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice of love, the gift of salvation, you get to cut out the middle man! God goes from being an unapproachable God living in a box in a temple to taking up residence in your heart; YOU become the Holy of Holies, your body! Yes, really! He lives in you and through you every day. When you choose to accept Jesus for who He says that He is, you are choosing to live a life that will honor
Him. In essence you are choosing to no longer make the sinful choices that you made in the past and instead strive to make choices that Jesus Himself would make.

Be a good person. Build your knowledge of who Jesus is. Exhibit self control (especially right now since you’re supposed to be fasting from ALL sexual activity). Persevere, life is hard. But fear not for Jesus has conquered this life, and so can we, through Him. Be a godly person, not just a good person. Brotherly kindness, as a child of God every human alive is a brother or sister, treat them that way. Be kind to the people around you. Love. Love everyone like He loves us, yes it’s hard, but it’s worth it. We don’t deserve the love that He’s given us, so let’s pass some of that underserved love on to someone else today. Maybe even your husband.

Christian’s comments:

Your body is the new temple. So husbands, build a nice temple. I’m not talking about the outside. It doesn’t matter what kind of shape you’re in (like the old saying goes, “Round is a shape”), it matters what kind of shape the inside is in. However, you should take care of yourself so your wife can enjoy you longer.

It doesn’t matter how nice a church, temple, or tabernacle is they are just buildings. They could be an old house, an office building, a shed, or even just a tent. What makes them holy places is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, He isn’t always going to be a fog or a wind, but He is there.

I’ve been in churches where you can feel the Holy Spirit as a slight tickle on your body. I’ve been in churches where the Holy Spirit makes the hair on your body stand on end. I’ve been in churches where you could feel the Holy Spirit flowing out of the building when you open the door, as if the building can’t contain Him. Your temple (body) should be like my last example. The Holy Spirit should fill you so much that you can’t hold Him in and you just have to share Him with those around you.

Now, with that said, you need to lead by example. You can’t spread the Holy Spirit effectively if you don’t follow the steps Tamar listed above. You must live your life with as little sin as possible. Notice I didn’t say “with no sin.” It is impossible to live a completely sinless life. All we can do is make the choices needed to avoid as much sin as we can. That might mean avoiding web sites that might contain questionable photos. It might also mean not hanging around people that don’t lead a good example, tempting you to not lead by a good example. It might also mean changing your vocabulary if you “swear like a sailor”.

Will it be hard to change some of these things? Yes it will. But you know what, life’s hard, get a helmet.

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

Day 8: Sacrifice

Mark 4:1-6:44

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

When we love someone it requires personal sacrifice. Sometimes it’s with a simple compromise: I want Chinese for dinner and Christian wants Mexican so I sacrifice my desire for Chinese because I love him. At other times though, to prove our love to one another, it takes something a little more drastic.

After 5 ½ years of dating, I started having doubts about my future with Christian. Since he was the only man I’d ever been with, I was starting to feel like I had missed something. So one night I asked him to come over to talk, because I was planning on breaking up with him. After many hours of tears and talking, I was ready to leave him. I had given him my engagement ring back and everything. But he wasn’t going to let that happen. He asked if I was willing to take a walk with him and I said “sure”, despite the fact that you could see our breath as we walked. When we got to the fountain at the center of campus I asked Christian why he was so disappointed that the fountain was off and he replied, “I was going to run through it to prove my love to you.” Christian was willing to sacrifice his health and his comfort to prove to me how much he loved me; because love requires sacrifices, sometimes big ones. The ultimate and perfect love of God for us, required the ultimate and perfect sacrifice of Jesus, for us.

Jesus – though He had done nothing sinful or against the law in His entire life – was betrayed by one of His closest friends, arrested, and secretly whisked off to an immediate trial in the dead of night. The Sanhedrin found Him guilty and sentenced Him to be flogged, and die by Crucifixion. Once sentenced, He had one chance to “get out of it” so to speak. At that time, it was the festival of Passover and during the festival it was customary for one prisoner to be released. They were given their choice between the Savior of their souls and a murderer for a rebellion against Rome. The Jews chose to release Barabbas the murderer (which is how it had to be for God’s plan of redemption to work). Jesus heard His friends and neighbors chanting “Crucify him, Crucify him, Crucify him”.

The book of Matthew tells us that Pilate released Barabbas, had Jesus flogged and then handed Him over to be crucified. Usually when retelling the story of Jesus’ sacrifice we focus on the crucifixion, skipping the fact that He was flogged – or brutally tortured – first. Flogging is where they whip your torso and your back. But it’s not just a simple whip like a horse whip, its long leather straps with fish hooks and metal shards woven within them so as to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible without actually killing the person. Most times after being flogged the skin would be hanging open, the victim’s bones, muscle and internal organs completely exposed. It is one short sentence in the scriptures, but it was not a short sentence for Jesus. It was long and painful, and only the beginning. Next, He endured more pain and humiliation as the soldiers dressed him in a “royal” robe and placed a crown of thorns on his head. Beating it into His head with a reed while spitting on Him and mocking Him. Once the soldiers were satisfied with this utter humiliation they took His robe, put His clothes back on Him and led Him out to be crucified. By custom, crucifixion victims were forced to carry the 75-100 pound cross-member of their own cross for roughly 1/3 of a mile. In John it says that Jesus carried this Himself, but in the other gospels it says that Simon, a Cyrenian, carried it for Him. It is very likely that Jesus started out the journey carrying His own cross; however after being awake all night long, beaten, bruised flogged, beaten more and humiliated, He lost his strength quickly and couldn’t carry it any further, requiring the assistance of Simon. Once He reached Golgotha He was placed on top of His cross where they drove spikes between the bones of His wrists and the heels of His feet. Not the small wood nails we’re used to seeing in the hardware store but spikes, large metal spikes. He was lifted into place on the cross, hung at 9 in the morning according to Mark’s gospel. He was placed between two criminals, equating Him with criminals; something He was not. As people walked by Him on the road they mocked, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIEGHTS IN HIM; for He said, “I am the Son of God.” The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. (Matthew 27:42-44) But that’s just it. He COULD have saved Himself! Just one word and He could have sent 10,000 angels to free Him from this pain and absolute humiliation but He didn’t say a word. He endured every bit of it. Just for you and me. He hung on that cross, blood and life slowly draining from Him, excruciating pain and humiliation, His lungs filling with blood making it more and more difficult to breathe, slowly dying for SIX HOURS. Luke tells us that for the final 3 hours of His torture it was dark. Finally at 3 He cried out “It is finished” and died. That, my sister, is part of the punishment that you and I deserve for our sins, and yet we will never receive that punishment… because Jesus took it all for us. After watching the Passion of Christ I asked, “Why God, why would you do that for me? Me?” He replied, “Because my Beloved, that’s just how much I love you! I love you so much I would rather die than live without you!”


Christian was willing to be cold and wet and sick for me, which was very romantic. Christ was willing to be tortured and died for me. So who loves me more? There is NO possible way that Christian who is human can love me as much as Christ who was completely human and completely God. Christ had a choice; He didn’t HAVE to do it. He didn’t have to suffer the humiliation and the pain, yet He CHOSE to go through that so that we could live with Him forever! The ultimate love required the ultimate sacrifice to prove that love, and it DID prove it! When we ask Jesus how much He loves us, He says “This much” and spreads out His arms, reminding us of how He died for us. He. Chose. YOU. He loves you that much. He died and endured things that no one, human OR God should ever have to endure, and He did it to prove to you how much He loves you. Love. That’s what it’s all about, LOVE.

First, we are to love God with our entire self, more than everything else in our life. Then, we are to love our neighbors more than ourselves. This is especially important in marriage because it’s your love for God and your husband that is the greatest testimony to the people around you. Your husband is your very own personal gift from God himself, show your husband you really love him, even when it’s hard and you really don’t feel like it. If you claim that you love God, but complain constantly about your husband you are not showing him or the people around you the kind of love that God gives. No matter what we’re doing or what our attitudes are like, God still loves us deeply and continues to show us all the time. When we are being our most difficult, He still loves us; because He knows that that’s when we need His love the most.

Christian’s comments:

We have all had to sacrifice things before. But no one has ever sacrificed like Jesus did. He sacrificed His life; AND He did it VOLUNTARILY! Do you know why? Because He loves you that much. If you love your wife, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. You can’t just expect her to make them all.

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

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