Healing For the Sin-Sick Soul

It is no secret that the Western Medical Model has failed us. Built primarily on the treatment of symptoms and disease, this model has trained us to focus on our problems more than prevention. We have become a society seeking relief rather than patiently waiting for healing.

We demand answers from physicians while simultaneously questioning their wealth of knowledge and expertise. To the ones who took the Hippocratic Oath, we are the hypocrites who say we want healing but make contrary choices.

All the while, Jesus is the Great Physician. He reminds us of this in Luke‬ ‭5:31-32‬ ‭(ESV‬‬), “Those who are well have no need of aphysician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

‭‭Yet, Jesus did not come to treat the symptoms. He came to heal the sickness. And the root of our sickness is sin.

Like a weed pulled from a garden, if you do not remove it at the depth of the root, it will return. When we turn to Jesus in confession and repentance, He removes the root of sin from the rich soil of our souls. A soil yearning to bear fruit unhindered by the weeds of wickedness.

What are some of the personal symptoms you commonly ask Jesus to treat?

What are the familial symptoms you have prayed about for years?

What are the societal symptoms we are trying to address as a nation?

Maybe the answers are hidden beneath the surface symptoms. Perhaps we need to dig deeper to the root of our emotions, our conflicts, and our social constructs.

Just as physical symptoms are mere manifestations of a physical sickness, relational and societal symptoms are signals of a deeper issue, an underlying source.

Sin is the underlying source, the raging undercurrent that tries to sweep us downstream into false realities and distance us from God’s truth.

If we want to sing “it is well with my soul”, if we want familial reconciliation, and healing for our nation, we cannot continue to ask Jesus to treat the symptoms. The Great Physician came to heal our sin-sick souls for eternity.

National, community, and family healing starts with my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Personal accountability married with a personal relationship with Jesus are the keys to unlocking the truth of God’s Word.

The truth, and only the truth, will set us free, personally, relationally, and as a society. Truth uproots the wicked weeds of sin. Without absolute truth, we are like a compass that cannot find True North.

Let Jesus be your Great Physician, the Model who fails not, the Gardener who tends to your soul, the Lifeline who saves you from the raging undercurrent of sin, the Truth-Bearer who always points you to True North.

Choose healing over relief. Choose Jesus, personally, for your family, and for our nation.

Set Yourself Free

There was a time in my life when my daily planner influenced me more than my daily devotional. In fact, I often refer to my old-school, pen-and-paper planner as my “other bible” because I would be lost without it! Every aspect of my life from kids, to work, to household management, to ministry, to taxes are tightly fastened in that binder.

It was a time when my “To Do” list lorded over me in such a way that I became unavailable to the nudges of the Holy Spirt. I was only as free as my daily checklist dictated.

Then I finally realized from those same Spirit nudges, you are only as free as that which masters over you.

Whatever masters over you also controls you, sways you, influences your decisions, limits your availability, and challenges your emotions.

My master was my planner and it’s freedom was defined by expectations. Expectations of myself and others. 

What masters or lords over you, causing you to think, act, speak, work, post, and feel a certain way?

Are you controlled by negative thoughts?

Your past?

Your pain?

Your fears?

Your planner?

Your cravings?

Your longings?

Your relationships?

Your religious rituals?

Your political ideology?

Your “shoulds” and “ought to”?

Your freedom is both defined by and the direct result of the decisions you make about whom or what you serve. 

And freedom always comes with the cost of sacrifice and service. Ask any Veteran.

You are only as free as the boundaries set forth by that which or that whom masters over you.

King David fully understood from whom his freedom came when he cried out in Psalms 16:2, “I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.””

King David knew the protection and provision granted within the boundaries of service to His Lord and Master. He knew, by the sparing of his own life, that every good thing comes from above. He knew the freedom that comes with surrender to the God who saves.

Jesus, from the line of David, became our Lord and Master in the flesh. He came to purchase our freedom from sin. He came as the Living Word of God so that the truth would set us free. He came to break the chains of our negative thoughts, our past, our pain, our fears, and other’s expectations and to set the prisoner within us free.

Master is not a dirty word when you can trust the One you serve.

Lord is not a title to fear when we love because He loved us first.

Freedom only sets you free when it’s founded in truth and motivated by love.

Jesus is both, Lord and Master, and he comes in the name of love, mercy, and grace to impart true freedom.

His boundaries are set forth for protection, His commandments are set forth for relationship, and His sacrifice is set forth for us to choose whom we will serve. God or man? Spirit or self-imposed expectations? Truth or relativism?

My friends, choose this day whom you will serve. Read Galatians 5. Ask Jesus to lead you through the gateway of truth that is the cross into a freedom founded in love and trust.

Trust the freedom that was bought with a price on the cross of Christ.

Spiritual Warfare; Offense or Defense?

Are you familiar with the term spiritual warfare? Some of us are all too familiar with this war in the spiritual realm, while others may not have heard much about it from the pulpit. Thankfully, God’s Word describes spiritual warfare for us.

“Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.”

Ephesians‬ ‭6:11-12‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Simply stated, spiritual warfare is any scheme, strategy, or deceit the devil may use to discourage us. Yet, more importantly, it is also everything we have been given by God to both defend and offend the devil’s ways.

Spiritual warfare works both ways. Let me explain another way.

Sports teams decide between who is on offense and who is on defense by a coin toss, a jump ball, or a winning streak. In football, the coin toss not only determines who kicks off and who receives the ball, it also allows the opposing team to decide which side of the field they want to play from. In basketball, a jump ball scenario determines who gains possession of the ball first, while some other sports often give preference to the team with the winning record.

What if this were true about the game of life? What if a coin toss determined your day, your demeanor, or your destiny? What if your physical ability to react quickly, to jump high, and maintain control determined your success? What if only those with “winning records” excelled in life?

Praise God that our state and our standing in this life are not dependent on our ability to control the outcome. Our state (sinners saved by grace) and our standing (forgiven, purified, sanctified, redeemed, restored) are established and determined solely by the atoning work of Christ on the cross.

This is the Good News!

However, because we live in a fallen world where good and evil collide on a daily basis within every institution, family, and human being, we continue to experience spiritual warfare. Not unlike the world of sports, in any atmosphere of war there is often one entity on the offense and one on the defense.

When it comes to spiritual warfare, I do not claim to be an expert. However, I know from experience that spiritual warfare works both ways. Growing up in church and bible study, I remember most of the spiritual warfare talk being more along the lines of the devil as the aggressor. The one who kills, steals, and destroys.

On the contrary, Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians that believers can and must become the aggressors against the spiritual attacks on our thinking. Joyce Meyers calls this the battlefield of the mind. My pastor calls this stinking thinking.

The war which Satan wages in our minds to first try to discourage us, then try to disable us as disciples of Christ is real. While only Jesus can and will ultimately bring Satan to his demise, we must take as captives any threat he deploys on our thought life.

“For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,”

2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Paul is the same apostle who reminds us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God! We are at war with Christ in the spiritual realm to stave off the devil and his schemes until Christ returns. We are more than human beings, we are spiritual beings equipped with warrior spirits and the promise of eternal victory.

Spiritual warfare then becomes a playing field of both offense and defense depending on the state of our mental preparedness when the attacks ensue.

Are you prepared?

Are you fully equipped to receive the “ball” of this fallen world and run the offensive attack against the devil’s dealings? Are you ready to jump higher and reach farther than you ever thought you could through the power of the Holy Spirit in order to maintain possession of your soul for Christ? Are you securing your “winning record” by getting up every time life knocks you down with the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation? Which side of the field are you playing from, the side of fear or the side of faith?

Spiritual warfare is real and it works both ways.

We don’t have to live perpetually on the defense of the devil. We have a God who goes before us, stands beside us, and resides within us. He is the One who will one day appear on a white horse, clad in eternal glory and victory for my soul and yours.

His name is above every name in heaven and on earth. Jesus. The leader of the armies of heaven gives us the heart of a warrior when we fully trust in Him.

Offense or defense? When it comes to spiritual warfare the answer is dependent on your mental preparedness.

We won’t always be ready for what the devil uses to discourage us. Sometimes spiritual warfare must come in the form of prayers by our family and friends. Intercessory prayer is like bringing the whole army, not just a lone warrior, against evil. 

Nevertheless, despite our spiritual wins and losses, in the end at the very last battle, Jesus wins our souls for His glory. Spiritual warfare will cease and the grace of His glory will reign eternal. Amen.

Developing A Sweet Tooth For God

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!”
Psalm‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What if the cover of your bible read like a food label? The Bread of Life; made with love, mercy, and grace, organic, no artificial ingredients, only God-breathed, preservative free, yet preserves life, recommend a daily dose, sweeter than honey, taste and see the goodness!

Ever wonder what exactly the psalmist meant by “taste and see” that the Lord is good? Are we to somehow consume Him or meet the One “who dwells in unapproachable light” face to face in this life? The answer is a mysterious combination of both yes and no.

God gave us His Word so that we may know Him, His character, His intent for mankind, and His incomparable goodness. His Word, His Son, and His Spirit are all gifts He gave us to better understand His nature. 

We are encouraged to consume His Word, chew on its meaning, savor its promises, swallow its truth, and live by the heartbeat of its nourishment and sustaining grace. Just as tasting your meal is better than merely reading the menu, God’s Word is meant to be ingested (not merely read) so that the Holy Spirit can help digest its power into our being.

Taste and see.

Are you developing a sweet tooth for God?

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Psalm‬ ‭119:103‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When we read scripture, tasting comes first. Just as we taste our first bite of food to see if it’s too hot, too cold, too bland, or too dry. Just as we sample wine before we pour the whole glass. The more we sample God’s Word, the more we want to consume. Then we develop a “taste” for His teaching and His words become sweeter with each bite. We begin craving Him like a sweet tooth craves sugar.

Taste and see.

Do you desire a sweet tooth for God?

“Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.”
Ecclesiastes‬ ‭11:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

First we taste, then we see. Seeing comes as the Spirit illuminates the nourishment The Word offers thus providing us glimpses and visions of God at work. The transition from tasting to seeing is often subtle.

We start by seeing creation a little more clearly. Colors pop louder, nature resonates a melody, sun rays offer a divine warm blanket embrace. Then, we begin to identify His presence in others. Our spirits elevate with hope when we dig beneath the surface and lower our empty buckets into the well of faith of another believer. Lastly, we begin to notice subtle changes in our own nature. We see, we feel, we hear, and we think differently.

Finally, we cease to consider ourselves at all. We begin to naturally and somewhat reflexively consider God in all areas of life. This is what it means to have the mind of Christ. We were made to crave more. More of Him. More of His Word.

Taste and see.

Do you have a sweet tooth for God?

“More to be desired are they (God’s Word) than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”
Psalm‬ ‭19:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once you taste and see that the Lord is good, you realize He is the only One who will ever satisfy your deepest longings. Christ becomes central. God alone sustains your soul for eternity.

The Son was called by the Father to offer himself for your sake on the cross. Yet before His journey to the cross, Jesus offered His body and His blood, in the form of bread and wine, so that we could forever taste and see the goodness of communion with the Trinity.

Taste and see the sweet life of communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let your sweet tooth have its way with His Word.

Be encouraged by the exhortation contained in this prayer written by Anglican theologian Thomas Cranmer:

“Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Pentecost Parallels

In honor of Pentecost, I want to share just a few of the great parallels of Scripture. I was reminded this morning, as I read in John 20, of how the Spirit gives life.

Follow along with me as we discover the Old in the New!

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

‭‭John‬ ‭20:20-22‬ ‭(ESV‬‬)

John 20 tells of when Jesus first appears to His disciples after His resurrection. He shows evidence of His identity, speaks peace into their purpose, and breathes life onto them. All He required was that they receive. They believed after seeing Him with their own eyes, now they needed to receive.

These verses in John reminded me of another time when God breathed life into man.

In ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭(ESV‬‬), “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

In the beginning, God shows evidence of His identity through creation, He establishes peace and harmony in the circle of life in the garden, and He breathes life into Adam and Eve. All He required was that they receive His provision, and not partake of what wasn’t meant for them to know (evil).

God Himself breathed life into man, just as Jesus breathed life into His disciples, and subsequently all believers, in the Person of His Holy Spirit. We are made in the image of God and empowered to live by His Spirit who dwells in our innermost being. Just as the presence of God once dwelt in the innermost chamber of the temple, the Holy of Holies, your body is now His temple (1Cor. 6:19) and your soul is now His Holy of Holies.

Jesus prayed for us in John 17, before He traveled to the cross, that just as He and the Father are one, that “they also may be in us”. As Lysa TerKuerst so beautifully expressed, we are living in between two gardens. Yet, the Holy Spirit gives the hope and begins the restoration of Eden in our souls.

So many fascinating parallels!

Jesus breathes life into us so that we will choose to live and breathe and have our being in Him. Believe and receive the Spirit of life. Trying to live by the law in your own strength leads to spiritual death, but the power of the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life!

Please feel free to share some of your favorite parallels in Scripture!

The Love-Sick Bride

Jesus loves me.

This I know.

For the Bible tells me so. . .

These familiar lines first appeared in a novel by Susan Warner in 1860. Originally penned as a poem, they were spoken to comfort a dying child.

Most of us know these phrases as a childhood hymn, which they later became thanks to Susan’s younger sister Anna. A sweet melody reminding us of both the reality and the truth of Christ’s love for us.

Yes, Jesus loves me and you. His love is real and true and pure. The Bible reminds us over and over again.

While Jesus patiently awaits His Bride, the Church, we are the ones left love-sick for Him. We are the ones living with the sacred tug between the “already” and the “not yet”. We are the recovering saints from the sickness of sin. We are ever seeking for a way to satisfy our love-sick souls only to find again and again that the Bridegroom is The Way.

We are His love-sick Bride.

Yet His church also includes the sin-sick. We are the ones living with the tug of war between the spiritual forces of good and evil. We are the not yet recovering addicts from the sickness of coveting and idolatry. We are ever seeking for a way to satisfy our sin-sick souls only to find again and again an inadequate source.

We are His sin-sick children.

The question for you today is are you sin-sick or are you love-sick for Jesus?

It’s a fair question that beckons an honest answer. You are either one or the other. The good news is Jesus loves us both. His love heals us both. Both types of “sickness” require a Savior.

The difference between a love-sick soul and a sin-sick soul is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

I recently read a devotion by Christine Wyrtzen in which she wrote, “Nothing defeats evil faster than a love-sick bride.” If you are love-sick for Jesus today, consider it a blessing. You have a presence and a power within you that hungers and thirsts as it conquers and overcomes.

If you are sin-sick for Jesus today, consider it a blessing. Remember the poem “Jesus Loves Me” was written to comfort a dying child. Let today be the day of your salvation and the promise of everlasting life. Trade in your sin-sick soul for a love-sick soul who, by faith, lives in hopeful anticipation of Love Himself.

The story of Susan and her younger sister, is a wonderful example of the church. God used sisters in life and in Christ to pen the words that began with a fictional character in a novel and later echoed exponentially into the homes and hearts of His children for generations.

Jesus loves me, this I know because once I was sin-sick, but now I am love-sick for Him. Once I was lost, but now I’m found.

Without Jesus, we are dying children in need of a Savior. With Jesus, we are given spiritual life in mortal bodies who move and breath and have our being to the pulse of His unfailing love.

As Paul so eloquently states in Romans 8, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because “nothing defeats evil faster than a love-sick bride.”

Sweeter Obedience

If you are a dog owner, then you know the highlight of your dog’s day is when they hear the sneakers go on and see the leash come out; aka, it’s time to go for a walk!

My boxer, Bailey, loves a walk. She has this uncanny ability to hear the moment I pull my Nike’s off the closet shelf and, subsequently, appears at my bedroom door with ears perked and head cocked to the side. If she had a conversation bubble above her head, it would read, “Walk?!”

On one of our recent walks, she was lagging behind “smelling the roses”, when her collar came sliding over her head and retracted back to the leash handle. In that moment we both froze, locked eyes, and I uttered a commanding, “Stay!”

In that moment my furry friend of eight years, my faithful greeter when I arrive home, my family’s beloved pet made a pivotal choice.

She chose obedience.

As I calmly and lovingly approached her and embraced her soft, droopy jaws, praising her for her willingness to stay, I noticed a sweet submission in her eyes and a sense of relief in her frame. She even leaned into the repositioning of her collar and our daily walk resumed with the assurance that all was well.

As I thought about this brief exchange with my canine child, I couldn’t help but imagine how our obedience warms the heart of God. As His children, our obedience becomes the sweet aroma of sacrificial living. An offering of obedience becomes your living sacrifice on the altar of Sovereign Grace (Romans 12:1). God’s chosen nation learned this lesson the hard way.

Israel chose disobedience.

Ezekiel‬ ‭20:13a (NLT) says,‬‬ “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life.”

God’s chosen people did not know how to handle their new found freedom in the wilderness. Misunderstood freedom leads to misinterpreted obedience. Israel thought she knew what could save her. She failed to wait for Who would save her.

Living on the resurrection side of the cross, we have a freedom in Christ that comes with the knowledge of Christ. We know Who saves us. We know Who gives us life.

Obedience gives us life in Christ.

Understood freedom leads to undeniable obedience. When God asks us to “stay” or wait for His timing, His answer, or His way, we can experience relief and even peace in the freedom of serving a Sovereign Master.

By choosing obedience, we choose life.

The Holy Spirit used an embrace with my boxer to remind me of the gift of sweet submission and even sweeter obedience to a loving Father. Similar to my dog’s relationship with me, when we believe our Master loves us, protects us, walks with us through life, provides all that sustains us, and will be there to greet us when He calls us home, we will choose obedience every time, even when we become “unleashed”.

I encourage you, like Bailey, to lean into the Master as he places on you not a collar of demands, but a robe of righteousness. As believers, we are clothed in Christ in Whom we can “put on” compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Above all we can “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)

Clothe yourself in Christ.

Experience His embrace.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Psalms 34:8).

Sweet submission leads to sweeter obedience.

Then you can continue your daily walk with the Lord knowing and trusting that all is well with your soul.

Step Out of the Traffic

How do you feel about traffic? If you live in a big city, you probably just rolled your eyes. If you live in a small town, traffic probably means something entirely different to you. Nevertheless, we’ve all been caught in it, delayed by it, and frustrated with it at some point in our lives.

What about the personal “traffic” we endure in our busy lives? Have you ever thought about the word traffic in this way? Me either, until I stumbled upon this verse from Psalms in The Message Bible, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬)

We all have personal traffic we endure on a daily basis. Whether it’s racing thoughts that bottle neck the freeways of our minds, or broken down emotions that block the flow of ongoing spiritual progress and growth. Perhaps it’s unhealthy habits that are responsible for transforming our once Cadillac bodies into rusty old Fords with lots of junk in the trunk. Maybe it’s all of the above.

On a more practical note, perhaps your personal traffic sounds like the horns of deadlines approaching the intersection of success and failure, or the Suburban full of remote-learning overloaded, socially bored, hungry for something other than mom’s cooking children who are not shy about expressing their opinions. (Deep sigh) Could it be the Mack Truck of unknown answers to your questions barreling down the underground tunnel of your deepest fears?

Regardless of the make, model, year, color, and style of our personal busy roadways, we all need to step out of the traffic.

We all need to heed the yellow and red lights we’ve been given by a loving God to slow down, stop, look, and listen before we proceed into the intersection of “normal” life again, much less accelerate toward a future that God has already planned (Jer. 29:11).

Do you know what the verse above from Psalms says in a more common translation? “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”(Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Be still and know.

Step out of the traffic.

Same verse, different view.

Whether you have used this time of quarantine to be still and know, or if you are wishing you had spent more time heeding the traffic signals, it’s not too late to tap the brakes.

If you feel trapped by an essential job that puts you at risk, if you feel cut off because you’ve been labeled nonessential, if it seems like your plans have been barricaded and your future full of roadblocks, or if you are just frustrated with your personal traffic, I encourage you, as the scripture says, to take a long, loving look at your High God, above politics, above everything.

Step out of the traffic. It’s not too late to be still and know.

How Am I Supposed To Feel?

Isaiah 40 contains prophetic words later echoed in Luke 3 regarding the ministry of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a precursor to Jesus Christ and he preached a baptism of repentance. John’s ministry was a preparing of the way for eternal salvation to come through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

As most prophecies come to pass, these words first spoken through Isaiah held true to the woeful condition of the nation of Israel, as well as seven hundred years later for the people of the Messianic era. Now, over two thousand years later, God’s voice recorded through Isaiah echoes into our modern era of technology, intelligence, and self-sufficiency with soul piercing accuracy, warning, and hope.

“Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. [Luke 3:5, 6.]”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:4-5‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

God given prophecy, much like His sovereignty, has a way of covering all people for all time. I believe there is a message in Isaiah 40 that both holds true and holds an abundance of truth for us today.

In these times of unrest and uncertainty about our future and that of our families and our country, spiritual discernment, or the ability to “see” and understand how God is moving and working, seems foggy at best. Nevertheless, be assured that the God of the universe is at work! Let Isaiah 40 be a reminder of how God will reveal Himself in times that call for repentance and a return home.

Our valleys of sadness and mountain top experiences of joy are being leveled by unknowns and unanswered questions. Valleys and mountains that once induced undeniable feelings are now in the rear view mirror and we find ourselves gazing forward into a level plain with no recognizable cues on how to feel.

Does anyone really know how to feel right now?

At least in the valley we can still see the mountaintops and remember the heartfelt joy and celebration of God’s grace. On the mountaintops, we gain a perspective of the valleys below that helps us feel both grateful and humbled about how far the Lord has brought us. Yet in the level plains where the road ahead is made straight, unchanging, and too far off in the distance for our spiritual eyes to focus, we suddenly lose perspective. When the view ahead remains the same, the feelings inside that once drove our experiences go dormant.

Lord, tell me how I’m supposed to feel?

Maybe the answer is hidden in the question. Maybe we aren’t supposed to feel anything. According to Isaiah 40:5 we are going to SEE it together. Maybe all this is happening to us on a global level because God is revealing Himself and his glory on a level plain for ALL to see. Maybe this is living breathing prophesy.

While we learn to have faith and persevere in the hills and valleys, we also tend to become emotional junkies there. In the valleys we want to feel better. On the mountaintops we want to feel in control. We pray about how we want to feel, not about Who we need to trust.

When God wants to reveal Himself in a mighty way, He does it through undeniable spiritual vision. Perhaps He’s using a global pandemic as a voice, like John the Baptist, once again crying out from the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. As it is written in Luke 3: 5-6 (AMPC), “Every valley and ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be leveled; and the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough roads shall be made smooth; And all mankind shall see (behold and understand and at last acknowledge) the salvation of God (the deliverance from eternal death decreed by God). [Isa. 40:3-5.]”

When you wake up tomorrow and you still don’t know how to feel, don’t be afraid to behold what God has filled up, leveled, made straight, and smooth. Don’t be afraid to behold the ultimate deliverance from the unknown and the unanswered questions. Listen for the voice crying out from the wilderness. God is preparing the way.

Invitation to Come Home

They say home is where the heart is, however, in the wake of a global pandemic, it’s also where the majority of us have been told to stay put.


While it seems everything except for Monday has been canceled, we’ve been stripped down to the people, pets, and possibilities that reside in the walls of our homes. Let’s not miss what’s right in front of us.

Home is your domestic church.

When God wants to get your attention, He has a way of eliminating all distractions. Whether you realize it or not, you have been given an invitation to come home.

Home and family are your first church; the place where your most sacred moments unfold. 

Uncertain times call for a certain hope; the blessed assurance of a kingdom home. So while we’ve been gifted with an extra dose of time in our earthly dwellings, let’s hear the invitation that’s echoed throughout the pages of Scripture from the lips of Zechariah, Malachi, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Joel, Paul, and, most importantly, Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God’s holy voice echoes “return to me”. In the New Testament, Jesus calls out “come to me”. Today, the invitation to come home to the Father and Son still stands in His Holy Word.

Return to me. Come follow me. Come home.

Perhaps this pandemic and the ripple effect it’s had on every single aspect of our daily lives is a modern day parting of the Red Sea in which God is saying…take the first step toward the Promise Land.

Come home.

Yes, you may have to walk through the wilderness to find your way, but I promise God is with you. Take the first step. You have been gifted with time and perspective.

How are we to return?

Get to know your spouse all over again. Hang out with your kids. Call that family member and be the first to apologize. Turn off the television. Go outside and watch the trees worship their Creator. Enjoy eating with nowhere to be. Soak in the sounds of children playing. Practice His presence. Let your painful questions become powerful prayers.  Listen to the leading of the Spirit in the quietness of home and nature.

Come home.

Perhaps home will always be where the heart is. The domestic church where we offer our hearts to Jesus.

*This blog is dedicated to my friend and former mentor, Elaine, who went home to Jesus today after a three year struggle with ALS.