“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,
and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18
What do those verses have to do with Orange Juice? Let’s take a step back. If you were to take a whole, unpeeled orange and squeeze it with all your strength, what would the result be? Right… the result would be orange juice; it wouldn’t be tomato juice or apple juice. Because an orange, or any fruit for that matter, can only give up what it has on the inside. Oranges make orange juice.
And so it with us humans; we do everything we can to keep our wrapper (the orange peel) tight around us, unblemished and intact, holding in all that there is about us; all that we are made of. Yet, let an unexpected life event come at us, applying a bit of pressure and it’s highly possible we might glimpse just a small tear in our wrapper. But for the most part, our insides are still intact; we’re still holding strong on the outside.
Apply a bit more pressure and you’ll likely see more of us spill out; a bit of juice and perhaps a tiny bit of pulp. But that stops as soon as the pressure stops and while our wrapper is wounded; it’s just a “flesh wound”.
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“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
I was cleaning my bookshelves a while back and came across a book that I hadn’t given much thought to in many years; it is the Prayer Book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Let me tell you how this little 80-page book blessed my life.
It was just after Thanksgiving time in 1995 while I was working as a pastoral assistant to a Catholic Pastor in Massachusetts. He was a great priest and a great friend. However, he was also great at volunteering me for projects! (I will admit that I really didn’t mind at all)
We traveled to Boston one afternoon to visit with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; what an amazing ministry they have. While taking a tour of their lovely chapel, we noticed that their prayer books were a torn and tattered mess that consisted of a folder of mismatched cards and papers. Continue reading →
In this age of free and easy access to answers to our most inane questions and our deepest philosophical quandary’s, the internet, for all its faults and failings is on the forefront providing the answers. For thousands of years, lay people relied on the learned few to share their knowledge and provide us with the answers to our deepest questions. Then one day a few decades ago, the information that we relied on others to provide became readily available to all of us. Sacred texts were now available, holy texts, literary classics, rare – if ever seen manuscripts and scrolls were now ready to be accessed by anyone anywhere that wanted to see them.
It seemed as though all the answers to every question in the universe could now be found. Every question we could ever think to ask could now be answered. Today I can search and find the answer to anything I want to know. Whether I trust the “answer-er” or not, is a topic for another time.
There are several major internet search engines; Google and Bing are the two largest and most accessed. In 2018, there were 5.6 billion searches per day on Google alone. That’s a bunch of people asking a bunch of questions! So it begs the question, what are they looking for. When it comes to faith, what are the big questions that are in need of an answer? I took a look at the results from my own little blog search results to see some of what folks were asking; the results are clear. This is just a brief list of the taken from this year’s statistics.
- I didn’t want to give up my sin
- Bitter truths about rapture
- Jesus and the Cross
- What is cherished sin?
- I believe God hates me
- The truth about rapture
- God are you real?
- Am I saved because of Jesus death
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“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
I was widowed in early 2006. Some months had passed and circumstances had gone from bad to worse in the business and financial area of my life. The business that I had started with my late husband had all but dried up… the money that I was earning from another job had also disappeared when that job ended. I was a thousand miles from any family, alone and down to the last of my dollars.
It was Sunday morning while I was driving to Church that I felt such a burden on my heart because I was not able to give anything in the Church offering that morning. My checkbook had just $12.83 remaining after paying my other bills that month. Yet my car insurance bill had showed up in the mail and they wanted somewhere around $30.00. I had no idea where that money was going to come from. Things didn’t look good. I was without resources, business prospects or family to rely on… I was sad, alone and desperate. Continue reading →
Can God do this? Can God fix this? Can God move mountains? Can God do the seemingly impossible when all around you say that it is impossible?
The answer is YES!
Recently someone I know reached out to friends and family asking for “divine intervention and good intentions” in a very private matter. I messaged that I would keep them and the family in my prayers. The reply from my friend was “no divine intervention will help”. This hurt my heart as I know that somewhere deep inside, this person knows the truth. Yet somehow over the years a conscious choice to deny the truth of God’s realness, goodness and grace was made.
Some may think that life altering crises happen only to people that have made the conscious choice to ignore or reject God. Oh if that were only true. Time and time again, we see historical evidence recorded throughout the Word of God of the days, weeks, months, years even generations of chaos, calamity and turmoil that erupted in and around the lives of God’s children – divorce, death, adultery, sickness, prison, torture, disgrace, scandal, ridicule, demons, treachery and betrayal – to name a few. In each of these instances, God shows us that there are times the road to the miraculous travels through the ugly, wicked and evil – and it does so because of FAITH – faith that is sure and certain and confident.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV
It is easy to go through life’s disappointments, failures, fears and uncertainties and lose whatever faith in God you might have. Once you begin to question His reason for the pain and turmoil in your life, you can very easily come to the conclusion that God’s really doesn’t care about you or your crises. And if He doesn’t care about you, then He is not a loving God and if He isn’t a loving God, then why would you spend your time believing in some fairy tale. Sound about right? Continue reading →
This is a re-post of this article first written in 2015. How sad is it that all we need do is to change the name of the Church or Synagogue and it is as relevant today as it was three years ago.
My heart hurts today. The news on every channel is filled with images from South Carolina and the senseless killing of nine precious saints in the AME Church in Charleston. My heart weeps for the destruction.
satan has stepped up his unholy boldness; he is no longer lurking in the shadows. Oh no, he is taking his evil right to Main Street America.
his pervasive evil now invades our homes to steal our children right from their beds only to rape, maim and murder the innocents – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now walks upright in the full light of day directly through the front door of our schools and opens fire on the innocents – killing all in its path; leaving a trail of destruction and tears that can never be repaired, never be forgotten – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now boards our airplanes – unafraid and undaunted. It takes control and three thousand innocents are murdered – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
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AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“We’ve all had “aha!” moments in our lives, times when a sudden revelation surprises us with insight. According to pastor and bestselling author Kyle Idleman, we can experience this same kind of “aha!” in our spiritual lives. With everyday examples and trademark testimonies, Idleman draws on Scripture to reveal how three key elements can draw us closer to God and change our lives for good.
Awakening to the reality of our true spiritual condition, we see ourselves and our need for a Savior with renewed honesty. This realization leads to action, obeying God’s commands and following the example set by Christ. As we see in the transformation of the prodigal son, the result is a life-changing, destiny-altering collision—an AHA moment that leads us home to our loving Father.”
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“There is a lot in life we cannot control–a cancer diagnosis, the choices our children make, a spouse who leaves, disappointments in our career, a broken heart. But in those tragedies, big and small, we still have a choice: Lie down and give in or stand up and fight.
In this inspiring call to arms against victim hood, Holly Wagner challenges women to enlist as Warrior Chicks. She shows women that they are beautiful just the way they are, they are destined to be overcomers in this life, and that the battle is already won for us.”
As the back of the books says, there are a lot of things that come our way that we cannot control. It’s not about what comes at us, it’s about how we meet those challenges – victor or victim. Continue reading →
The Jesus Training Manual by Richard Mull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“What happens when you look into the box where you think God is contained and you find He isn’t there? What happens next may surprise you! You will learn how to hear God’s voice, that God still does miracles, that demons are real and how to deal with them, and truths about the Kingdom of God, healing, your spiritual authority, spiritual battles, and your armor.”
The Jesus Training Manual – Operating in Miracles, Signs and Wonders by Richard Mull is an intriguing read filled with personal stories of what happens when a former Baptist Minister stepped outside the box that neatly contained all that he had ever been taught about Jesus and allowed God to do with his life what God wants to do in all of our lives. Continue reading →
When Mountains Won’t Move: How to Survive a Struggling Faith by Jacob Hawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Standing in the midst of majesty and might, Jesus said that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can look at the mountains in the distance, tell them to move, and they will (Matthew 17:20). But what happens when our faith is smaller than the smallest of all seeds? What happens when the mountains won’t move? The purpose of this book is to equip and exhort Christians to survive the most difficult days of life, so that the mountains which won’t move will move before them.”
When Mountains Won’t Move; How to Survive a Struggling Faith by Jacob Hawk is not a big book both in size and number of pages, but it certainly is big on wisdom. Death of a child, loss of a job, foreclosure of the house, your spouse is walking out, the bills can’t be paid, a serious illness is diagnosed… those are the mountains that show up in the lives of believers and non-believers alike with more regularity than we want. They are mountains that seem impossible for us to move under our own strength. Continue reading →