Devotional: How Does God Pray for You?

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; — John 17:13-17, 20

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Devotional: You Are Mean, Obstinate and Argumentative

“For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10

Why do I consistently place the opinions of others in higher esteem than God’s truth? When confronted with gossip, accusations and whispered remarks, my strength should be rooted in the word of God, rather than my own fleeting feelings of self-worth and self-righteousness. I’m quick to leap to my own defense, instead of resting in the promise that God will fight for me, that I need only be still. (Exodus 14:14) Continue reading

Resurrection Rolls

Yes. That preview photo is a marshmallow being dipped in melted butter. It’s the beginning of another way we reinforce the meaning of Easter. With Resurrection Rolls. They require just a few simple ingredients, and kids can easily assemble them. You’ll need marshmallows, a tube of biscuit dough, melted butter and some cinnamon/sugar.

Resurrection Rolls
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Resurrection Eggs

It’s come to my attention that not everyone has traditions upon traditions to draw from during holidays. Since Easter is just a week away, I thought I’d spend the next few days sharing a few of our Easter traditions. Starting with Resurrection Eggs. Resurrection Eggs are a way for even the youngest children to learn the story of Easter. We’ve been using these puppies since my oldest was only three. Twelve eggs have a symbol inside that help remind kids (and adults too) of the events leading up to the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

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Devotional – Stop Talking

Mark 9:5-6 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Ah Peter. How I associate with you. I’ve often said I have no brain to mouth filter. Mostly I just say what’s in my head. It comes tumbling out of my mouth almost before I’ve realized I’m speaking. Frequently this gets me into trouble, or at least causes me to be the point of laughter. Which I don’t really mind – but wish I could figure out how to dam up my words, even for a split second so I can think things through. Continue reading

Devotional – (sigh)

Mark 8:11-12 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”

Wait. Jesus sighed? Like I do when I’m frustrated? When I’m sick of being asked the same thing over and over? He felt that way too? As I read this passage today, I was struck with the humanity of Jesus in the simple act of sighing. I looked up the Greek word for “sighed deeply” here and guess what. It’s the only place in the entire Bible the word (anastenazō – to draw sighs up from the bottom of the breast, to sigh deeply) is used. The only place! Apparently I express frustration through sighing a whole lot more than people in the Bible. If stories are ever written about my life, the phrase “She sighed deeply and said…” will be used constantly. Continue reading

Devotional – Why Not Me?

Hebrews 12:3 (NASB) For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Just a quick reminder this evening. Who am I to think I don’t deserve the treatment I sometimes receive? I get so caught up in my own “worthiness” that I forget how Jesus was treated. I mean, He was perfect. Flawless. God. And He was scorned, abused, mistreated and shamed by those around him. He bore it all. For me. For you. He didn’t deserve one iota of it. He should have been worshiped. Should have been hanging in Heaven being ministered to by angels – and instead He came to earth to be beaten on, lied about and ultimately killed. He endured it all so that I would have hope. Wow. Continue reading

Devotional – What Do I Do?

Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Nutshell. There it is. My constant struggle. Why do I do what I do not want to do? I’ll admit, it kind of feels good to know that I’m not the only one. That people have been working thru this same issue for the past 2000 years. Supposedly “good” people. Spiritual people. People God used mightily, have struggled with the back and forth tug of war between the good they desire to do and the evil they keep doing – in spite of all their good intentions. Continue reading

Devotional – Rinse and Repeat

Acts 15:10-11 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Ever notice the instructions on your shampoo bottle? Yeah, me neither really. We’re so familiar with how to wash our hair, we never need to look at the directions. I just checked three different brands of shampoo (I’m a couponer…I have a stockpile) – all of them say some version of the following: Apply to wet hair and work into a lather. Rinse. Repeat if necessary. This was a particularly funny set of directions I found:

I think God is in the “repeat if necessary” portion of directing my life. He keeps slamming home the point that it is thru Jesus that I’m anything at all. That there’s nothing so great and wonderful about me to set me apart from anyone else. That all I’ve got is His grace and love. And that is more than enough.

Today’s reading included this passage from Acts where Peter is once again defending those who’ve come to a belief in Jesus who are not Jews. The churchy people of the day were insisting that new Christians follow the old laws of Moses – including (yipes!) circumcision. I think it’s pretty obvious why the men folk weren’t too excited about signing up for THAT. Peter gets up and makes a little speech where he basically says “Back up churchy people! God knows what’s in their hearts. He has already chosen them. They’re all cool with the big dude – and they don’t have to go under the knife or prove themselves by following a bunch of rules. I mean really guys, WE haven’t been able to obey all these rules either…that’s why we needed Jesus. You do realize all of US needed Him too, right?” Yeah. Welcome to the New Tonya Translation of the Bible. Totally paraphrased. Read the chapter yourself in a “real” version if you think I took too many liberties here.

The point I’m taking away from all this is the same one (rinse and repeat if necessary) God has been showing me for a couple of weeks now. It’s not about rules. It’s about the heart.  It’s not about me being better or worse than anyone else. It is about all of us needing the same savior. Nothing we have done or will do can make us any more or less loved by God. I don’t have to prove anything. I don’t have to tow the line or make sure all my t’s are crossed and my i’s are dotted. It is simply accepting that I’m dirty, just like everyone else. There is no amount of life scrubbing I can do to make myself worthy of what God offers me freely. He stands with the shampoo bottle in hand, ready to lather my mess again until I finally get the point. Just like I cannot keep my hair perfectly clean, free from oil, dirt, dead skin etc – I cannot live a clean enough life to not need Jesus. Thankfully, God has a big bottle of shampoo, as long as I continue to recognize my need for Him (aka, realize my hair still isn’t clean), He’s there to give me another rinse and repeat.