One evening a Scotsman was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the road eating grass. Disturbed, he yelled at his driver to stop and got out to investigate. He asked one man, “Why are you eating the grass?” “Well, we don’t have any money for food” the poor man replied. “So we have to eat grass.” “Well then, come with me to my house and I’ll feed you the Scotsman said, “But sir, I also have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree.” “Ok, bring them along too” the Scotsman replied. Turning to the other poor man he stated, “You come with us, also.” The second man in a pitiful voice then said, “But sir, I also have a wife and SEVEN children with me!” Very well then, bring them all” the Scotsman answered. They all piled into the limousine, which was no easy task. Once under way one of the poor fellows turned to the Scotsman and said, “Sir you are truly too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you. The Scotsman replied, “No problem, glad to do it. “You’ll really love my place “the Grass is almost a foot high.” (Joke from

Thankfully, God is not like the Scotsman in this story. He does not bless us for His benefit but for our welfare or sake. He hears us, sees us and genuinely cares about our being. That is a sharp contrast from the world and its’ ways. God blesses without selfish intent or manipulation.

“The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your ancestors that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh King of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. “ Deut. 7

Wow. So God isn’t a fan of just large, big or mega. He sets His affection on us just because He loves us and promised redemption. THAT is HUGE! Little ol you, little ol me. That is regardless of how many “likes” we have on Facebook or how many hits we have on our blogs. God does not play favorites and is not swayed by popularity or bigness. I love Hillsong United – but God loves a little boy humming a tune to Him just as much. I love movements like Women of Faith but God hears a single woman at work asking Him to help her just as much. I love when huge amounts of people stand in solidarity for a cause but God sees and helps little warriors like David bringing sandwiches to his brothers in the field, just as much. It’s our views that our limited. God hears, sees and cares about those whose hearts are postured towards Him. A verse in Psalm 145:16 says, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” That’s benevolence.

Love is a broad topic but benevolence is a narrow definition of that type of love God has for us. He is concerned not only that we know and worship Him but He cares about our welfare – what is troubling us, what we need, what we desire and care about. He does not use us or manipulate our need to His own advantage to get “air time”. Some days I feel like just a living thing. Lol. If you saw my hairstyle today you would know that accurately describes me. Yet God loves me in spite of that.
This week the Lord showed Himself strong. I know He cares about theology and church stuff but our heater/AC went out. We feared it would be a big deal but it turned into a blessing. Then I went to buy my handsome hubby some new shirts for his birthday and they were on sale. Several times when things looked chaotic it turned around to be something that worked out for our good. That is not because we are educated, brush our teeth, go to church or have superpowers in the area of home management. God is just good or more precisely God is benevolent.

Do you want to experience Him as such? You can sit and hum asking to encounter God and He may oblige you. I know many that spend vast hours in worship and meditation and are still seeking God for that experience that will give them goosebumps and that is fine. If you really want to encounter God, though… I’ll let you in on a secret – act like Him. Find someone who is praying for an answer, blessing or miracle and then become that in that person’s life. Your goosebumps will get orange size.
I remember a couple of years ago there was a lady who needed some shoes at a thrift store. I found a dress pair and some snow boots because both seemed necessary. Then I got carried away and put together an ensemble. For those men (or women) who do not know what an ensemble is –it is a matching hat, scarf and mittens. She looked at me and said, “I could never know which to choose.” I said, no silly, it’s an ensemble -you wear it all together. I want to get it for you. After she was done crying we put it all on. I stood back and exclaimed, “You look like a fancy model from Paris.” Oh we had fun. Then that woman decided maybe she was worth something and we began a conversation that ended with her escaping from an abusive domestic situation. God’s benevolence towards us expresses value. He see and stoops low to help us because we are valuable to HIM. Awesome.

My memory verse this week was about conforming to Christ – looking similar, being fashioned like Him and mirroring who He is. It fit in nicely with this topic because those who have been chosen and redeemed by the benevolent loving God will most look like Him when we are acting like Him and benevolence is a good place to start. Who do we pay it forward to? Who deserves a smile, a hug, a full gas tank or paid rent receipt? IF we are following after Christ and His ways, it should look like something He would do, not just what we would want.

We can pray for God’s to grant us benevolence – and I like being the recipient of that. We can worship Him 24/7 and tell Him how benevolent He is and I’m sure He would enjoy that. Or, we can pray as we go to be benevolent to others and then worship with them that God answered their prayers for provision and our prayers for an encounter with a living God. I like the celebration and co-laboring aspect of that.

Acts 14:17 states, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” God continues to pour out His blessings in our lives. When we don’t see the big stuff we can be reminded of the constant things like rain, food, air, sight, health and joy. He is an on time God, never early, never late.

I pray for you this week that you will see His hand in your life as you turn to Him for provision, care and heart needs. I pray you find many opportunities to be His hand outstretched to others in a benevolent way. I pray this new found sense of purpose and joy will impact your family, church and neighborhood. Lord, thank you for seeing and hearing our needs and desires. Show us the needs and desires in those around us and which ones you would like us to meet. Use us for Your glory. Amen.





 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John.

That’s pretty radical because google says that love is eros or sexual. Google says that love can be for food, friends or even television shows. Hmm? Love sure has gotten complicated over the years. I remember my friends boyfriends in college saying they need to go further romantically because of “love”. I have heard alcoholics tell family members that they needed to put up with their manipulation if they truly “loved” the addict. I get blind-sided when I hear people bully, cajole and harass people and then say that they are supposed to love because these people are related or in the same group or the same church.  Hmm? When did love get so many new avenues of crazy? Perhaps we have substituted our love for God’s and blamed Him for all our inconsistencies? Defining true love should be left in God’s hands as much as possible!

Our family was discussing love tonight. One of the boys said he feels loved when he goes to church because the people help him and they worship together. The other one said he feels loved most when our family plays games together. My husband said that love is a very deep subject and that God’s love is so inexhaustible that we could study it every day for a lifetime and never fully comprehend it. While I agree with that definition I’m  aware that this little blog will not cover the vastness of that subject. As a newlywed I enjoyed reading 1 Corinthians 13. Now after thirteen years of marriage it is more meaningful but still so unobtainable – without the Lord’s help.

I went to a ladies meeting last week after work. I had walked for over 10 hours  that day and my feet were sore. I was tired and hot and cranky. I drove over 2 hours to get to the meeting and do you know what i encountered when I got there? Lovely, smiling ladies talking about their families and encouraging one another. Two of the leaders shepherded each person who came. They cooked amazing short ribs and a heavenly cheesy potato casserole.  There were two options for dessert and both were mouth-watering delicious. Then someone shared their testimony which was vulnerable and displayed God’s faithfulness and strength. They prayed for each one and someone offered up a song. If that weren’t enough the hostess put leftovers in ziploc bags and my family munched on them for days. I thought it was one serving but it lasted for several meals, reminding me of their love and God’s. I felt nestled into their hearts and God’s as well. The “glow” of that evening still lingers in my heart and mind. No, religion isn’t about going to church but if we are to ever know Jesus and His love we need to understand Him in the company and fellowship of the saints. It reminds me of that passage in Acts that says, 

  • Acts 2:46 (CSB)And every day they devoted themselves [to meeting] together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart…   I know the Holy Spirit was at work but after this week I’m wondering if there was some heavenly, potato, cheesy casserole in the mix somewhere!  Tongues, gifts – sure but warm bread and vittles certainly didn’t hurt and seems to be part of this whole Pentecost thing! People got saved daily and added to the church. Yes, spiritual things were taking place but I’m pretty sure some warm natural things were taking place as well as they gathered and ate warm bread.


Saturated in God’s love and others love is like fuel for the gasoline in your car – you get much further if your love tank is on full vs. empty. How marvelous to feel God’s love in the hearts of His people!

We’ve all read 1 Corinthians 13 but what about God’s type love? I don’t want to just know how He loves but His process of love. God is Trinitarian – all parts of the Godhead work together in different roles. That means God is collaborative. He doesn’t try to do the others part or the whole thing by Himself. God enjoys team effort. Smile.  God so loved the world that He gave His only Son – that means that God’s love is giving and unselfish. God’s love is wholly unique and different from humans and His special love comes from a relationship with Him which means God’s love is exclusive. Love is squishy in American culture. Abductors, abusers and Hollywood stars can all use it for their specific motive but when God says He is love, it is to invest Himself in us for  GOOD purposes and unselfish ends. No wonder they call it amazing!

We were listening to the song, God’s not dead tonight. I was kind of bored and  wanted to hear some of the new songs but it is a favorite so I endured the monotony. Sometimes we hear things so many times that we forget how powerful the lyrics really are.  Hear the words: Let love explode and bring the dead to life… Wow! How did I miss that? That creates a whole new category of love and what results from it. Love God style is the kind that seeks the best for others, their worth, their value, their success. That is very different than cultural love. Because God lives, mountains move and strongholds crumble. Because He loves, our hearts beat, resonate, sing. That is not average or tepid love.

In the next few weeks we are going to discover four distinct aspects of God’s love but for this week it is the overview. Love from God is not like love from any other person. It is strong, jealous, bold and enduring. Another song stated this week, “If you can hold the stars in place, you can hold my heart the same” (Skillet). Love from God can impact the universe but it can also keep our emotions and love steady and stable. Love is not fickle and many have misunderstood God’s love which can result in strange new religions and strange new ways to serve God. I’m reminded of the line in Princess Bride when Intigo Montoya says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Love is like that. We need a Biblical view of love if we are to understand a Biblical view of how God loves us. We also need to understand it so we can love in like manner.

Let’s explore this deep, deep love of God together, not for a chemistry lesson or spiritual gymnastic move but so that we can embrace God’s love for us, share it with our families and bring it to the nations. Thousands of songs have been written about it, but let’s let God sing new songs through our hearts back to Him as we embrace and share this marvelous, wonderful love.

Blessings and Fervent, great love to you!  RenaeRoche 2018






God Is Faithful defines Faithfulness as: “true, devoted, staunch, constant, loyal, speaks to stability, dependability, and devotion. Faithful implies long-continued and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by a pledge, duty, or obligation: a faithful friend.”

In a world that values success, the church often picks up what the culture believes. Some pastors have long seasons of remarkable ministry. Others put in their effort and blaze or burn out after a couple of years. What is the measuring rod of success? Some are given congregations ready-made – just add water. I think of the fathers who pass on their legacy to their sons and thousands of congregants enjoy the family line of a good preacher. While others envy them something is to be said about continuity. Others struggle to make ends meet and once in a while you see a persevering pastor reach a whole nation though his/her congregation is small. Sometimes women against all odds get in the mix and dig in their heels and thrive and the “norm” changes. Because God works with individuals it is hard to pinpoint or replicate success in the church.

Consider for a minute a young man named Thomas. He preached in Kentucky – but only for a year. Just one single, solitary year. One, only one. He was kind of a failure. He had no following, but he could write poetry. Townsfolk probably thought he needed to get back in the seminary for some “good learning”, after all he was kind of shy in public and his sermons were kind of half baked. When Thomas was away from his congregation he would pour out his heart in poems. His congregation may have thought he was kind of a soft fellow as he had a way with words but no dynamic showmanship behind the pulpit. When he finally quit the ministry he decided to become an insurance salesman. He wasn’t especially good at that either. But one thing Thomas did, he kept expressing his heart through his poetry. The saying,

“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground,”

would apply to him.  He became the editor of the Pentecostal Herald for a brief time and then spent the rest of his years in Ocean Grove New Jersey in a retirement center. Illness interrupted his ministry. His mama named him Thomas Obadiah so there must have been some hope there for a career in ministry.  His prophetic middle name only lasted in pulpit ministry for one year. Just one year, 365 days then exit stage left.  This precious man, un-celebrated in his life, penned the words to the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness which was one day made well known by George Beverly Shea, another preacher who was not designed for the pulpit but made it in the music world. Both of these men changed careers, stepped past others opinions and expressed their faithfulness to God in their area of gifting. They were faithful to God, not to a set prescription of “ministry”.

We see God’s faithfulness every day but it often goes unnoticed. I heard this joke last week and it stuck in my heart: God is talking to one of his angels and says, “Do you know what I have just done? I have just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth. Isn’t that good?” The angel says, “Yes, but what will you do now?”

God says, “I think I’ll call it a day.”

I love that!  Every day God is pouring out His love but if we consider the works of His hands and how constant they are we can understand His faithfulness. Have you ever gone a day when there was no oxygen in your house? Ever had a day when the trees in your yard yawned, laid down and said I think I’ll rest today? Have you ever seen the moon decide to go somewhere else for a vacation? God’s faithfulness is all around us. Did you know that men have a monthly cycle? They have an internal clock like women do with highs and lows. Just because it’s not joked about on late night shows doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing. Seasons have cycles and the animal world have systems and calendar times that we often overlook in our busy society but that does not mean that they don’t exist because no one is looking. I’m continually fascinated by a beetle that only comes to the surface every 14 years. Talk about making every moment count! God continues His faithfulness; perhaps hoping someone will pull over on the side of the road once in a while and notice.

 Know therefore  (understand, ponder and realize) that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep HIS commandments. 

Faithful here means one who establishes. It was used to describe a nurse carrying a patient. Blue letter Bible describes it as “trusty”. God is trustworthy and carries us through all of our seasons and circumstances. He is described as a “covenant keeper” with those who love Him and keep His commandments. That is powerful.

We have been investing time and money in education, kid’s  and a special project. There always seems to be more month than money. My sweet hubby was supposed to go to a meeting this weekend but our washer and dryer both broke down.  God provided an inexpensive washer by a guy who refurbishes them and then insight on how to fix the dryer. While I was at work, both broke and both were fixed. I didn’t even have time to worry about it so I felt kind of shortchanged. Lol. Before I could even pray, it was taken care of and done. God was faithful to us but my husband was also faithful to take care of a situation rather than doing something he really wanted to do. Sometimes our faithfulness displays God’s faithfulness to others. Imagine a work week with no laundry and what that would do to your schedule. God is never too busy to take care of our needs or provide for us – even when we are unaware that He is doing it.  We anticipate that our household appliances will keep working but often take them for granted. God is faithful and works for our good daily but how many take Him for granted and resist praising Him or thanking Him, one day a week? Ouch.

How has God been faithful in your life? Maybe tell someone today,  not only  to encourage their faith but to boast about the God you serve and increase your faith. What if reminders of God’s faithfulness encouraged someone elses faith in their time of despair? what if someone is only staring at their one year instead of God’s faithfulness and need a vision adjustment? Help steady and establish them in God’s faithfulness and grace.

Lord, help us to know you as the Covenant keeping God who is faithful. Help us BE covenant keeping people who act faithfully. We choose the faithful road over the easy road; we choose to be like YOU rather than the norms around us. Please give us Your power to stand, to work and rest for Your glory. Amen.

RenaeRoche 2018




For those who are old enough to remember the show Dragnet you might remember Joe Friday. Do you remember him saying, “just the facts ma’am?” Many do, however he actually never said those words in any episode. There was a satire of him by Stan Freberg where he attributed that to him and it stuck. Year’s later people are still quoting Joe Friday as the author. It was close to the story, it looked and it smelled like the story but it was inaccurate, not the truth.

This week’s blog is about God’s truthfulness, specifically in the area of veracity. Veracity defined is a conformity to facts; accuracy. Close to the truth may work at Dairy Queen where you just yearn and hope that they measure MORE when filling your ice cream cone but in science or finance accuracy is much more important. The opposite of veracity is inaccurate, dishonest and false. Isn’t it strange how we wrongly believe that we hold truth while others do not. That type of thinking creates all kinds of barriers in church, business, families and more.

Rodney Dangerfield once said, “I don’t understand women. They spend 3 hours on makeup, they buy things to make them look smaller, they buy things to make them look bigger then they meet a man and tell him they want the truth.” That’s funny but true of both genders, right? Sometimes men do the same thing when they ask for feedback but only hear the positive. Both genders get sucked up in that because we are human, not divine. We all want to be told the truth but maybe not with the same passion that we want to speak the truth.

In several different disciplines I have heard the story of the blind men and the elephant. It goes something like this: Several blind men discovered an elephant, the one who touched his leg thought he was like a tree, the one that touched his trunk felt he was like a snake, the one that touched his tail thought he was like a rope, etc. This story has been used for a long time for various “points”. For the purposes of the blog I just want to mention that without discovery, curiosity and time investment no one can see clearly. Getting different perspectives, understanding different views and being humble enough to seek out someone else’s opinion affords the viewer clearer sight.  Only God can see the whole puzzle at any given time. Whether its education, collaboration, discovery or time, all  those things can add to human “truth”. But God, He does not need our input, opinions or skill, He is just truth all day every day.

Jesus, when He walked the earth said, “I AM the truth”. (John 14). No wonder they crucified Him. Even in our culture today that would not go over well. He was either highly arrogant or God. His claims still make people angry today because His statement says that He not only embodied truth but that He is truth. There is no falsehood, corruption, blemish, deceit or cunning in Him. He challenged the status quo and how they measured truth.

It was a practice during biblical times for people to carry two sets of weights in their bags. One was for their friends, relatives and chums and the other set was for anyone they were not favored to fancy. They weighed things one way for their kin and another way for “foreigners” and unsavory individuals. The Old and New Testament speaks against this. I used to think this was pretty stupid and heavy to carry around. Now that I’m older, I wonder if we don’t mentally do that today – just without the rocks. This person gets my smile, this person gets my evaluation. Maybe we categorize truth like these folks but just use different measures. I’m going to put you in this category, me too. It is kind of a we thing – in our culture, churches, nation. We can be individually, corporately and nationally guilty. We need to be able to see our own sins and hypocrisy and be very cautious when we weigh or judge others. It will always be skewed. Perhaps that is why God reserves the role of ultimate judge and motive discerner.

Maybe, just maybe that is why Jesus died. To pay the payment we exact from others we don’t fancy. Maybe He shed His blood to even the score, once for all. Maybe when grace was poured out for me or you, it was also poured out for that other guy and all his failures, faults and shortcomings.

So, what does this have to do with God’s veracity? We can’t speak truth if we don’t know Truth. We can’t declare something that is broken, cloudy or blind. It seems like everything in the human realm might be a little tainted from sin and sinfulness whether its pride, ambition, selfishness, etc. We choose to believe what we believe; we choose to see things how we want to see them, leaving a whole lot of information out of the equation.

What hope is there then? Possibly by looking at God’s measures, that Jesus is the standard and only true standard of truth. By understanding that Jesus is the epitome of real, pure truth that might give us a couple seconds or two of humility and self- perspective that would help in our judgements. If we speak of His life, His truth, His Lordship it might at least bend us in the right direction.

When we soak in prayer, Bible study, etc. we will align with God’s heart for our lives. When I was considering this topic of veracity I realized these basic spiritual disciplines are so essential and foundational to everything we say and do. It will also align us with God’s truth rather than living out our own truths. We can’t live lives of truth if we don’t know God’s truth. That also puts a high premium on education and fellowship. Hanging out with those who keep this as their passion might also help nestle us in the midst of God’s will. We were in a wonderful worship service Sunday morning. It did not go as the people planned but I rejoiced in hearing the words of the song and then again as they stayed in my heart the next day: If God moves to the left, I move to the left, if He moves to the right, I move to the right. Then another song was God will break down walls and fears for me (reckless love). Those powerful affirmations of truth burrowed in my shaky heart. It did exactly what worship should do – exalt God and remind those serving Him that He is God and we are not. It was so sweet and refreshing.

Why does this matter? Well, in a nation that is very polarized we can step aside and acknowledge that we may not have the full picture. We err when we believe we have or know all truth. It also defies Gods position as true Judge. A wise man pointed out this week (actually it was 2) that we don’t have to pick one side or another but can stay steady and choose the Lord’s side. Maybe that is why 2 Chronicles 7:14 -15 says, “ If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place…”

Lord, we surrender our “truth”, measures, weights and opinions to Your Lordship. Forgive us for jamming our beliefs through rather than surrendering to Your opinions and will. Thread Your truth thru our lives so we can be true to You and true in speaking with others. Help us to see through Your eyes and Word. Help us to know You as the Truth we know and live by. Help us to speak only after we have sought clarity and sought YOU. Forgive us kind father for presuming to know others hearts or Your will for their lives. Work Your truth in and through us we pray. Amen. (Read Colossians 1)


God is Genuine

While researching truth and what it means to be genuine I discovered several tests to test if gold is fake or genuine. It was fascinating. You can bite it, scratch it and weigh it to test it. You cannot dent real gold. Man, that would preach!  I read an article from Fox news about an anonymous man in New England who found a fake coin. No one believed him. There were “flaws” and anomalies in the coin surely making it not real. But it was those very flaws that made the coin recognized to be the real deal. After taking it to an expert he found out that it was worth over a million dollars. It was only fake to the untrained, uneducated eye. The ones certified in authenticating it recognized it immediately as real, mainly due to a raised number on the coin. It reminds me that God knows what He has placed in us and if we are resonating with Him in our lives and hearts. Being true to God and ourselves is what determines if we are fake or the real deal. Only those who take time to search out a matter or a heart can make those determinations.  In a culture where the only real thing is Coca-Cola, maybe our standards of testing need to change.

Nearby this article that I read was one that appealed to me more – a scientific breakthrough on body fat. I have to admit they reeled me in and I watched this ad for over 20 minutes. That was 20 minutes I did not have and will never get back. However it did lead me to a different article that talked about Taurine, an amino acid that helps grow brain cells. That was huge. The fake news lead me to a real article about a possible breakthrough for Parkinson’s. The possibility that we can not only renew our minds but increase the cells in our brains would be monumental. In a world swirling with sound bytes and information it is often hard to discern what is true and what is false. It requires discernment and wisdom and both those things don’t come in a microwave format.

Concerning God, we know that He is true because He tells the truth; He represents the truth and is the same yesterday, today and forever. Truly that is remarkable. Real means it is not plastic or pretend. Preacher Steve Furtick recently said that if something is taken away it is said to be diluted, if something is added it is polluted. Sometimes people’s faith gets that way. Faith in its purest form is just about Jesus. Religion tries to weaken faith but calling Him “buddy” instead of Lord sounds good but may diminish the fullness of who He is. When we dilute, we soon get deluded. Jesus is full strength power. Others add stuff like standards or measures no one can meet, they add worship, communion, study (all awesome things) but if we use them as rods of perfection instead of practices of grace then we pollute the stream of blood that freely flowed for all and we polarize the saints. Martin Luther worked towards freedom and reformed some of our thinking but when he  came up with, or we come up with a new system built on anything but the cross, it may look very similar to the  previous system – just with new robes.  Religion often confuses  the saints from the basic pure message of Jesus and the release of His priesthood (forgiven, not perfect men and women). It is  a tough time as churches navigate these areas.

Genuine truth faith relied on the cross, just that or Sola as Martin would wisely say. But we added catechism, confirmation, new songs and instead of steps of penance we went with steps of a new church Charleston perhaps. Genuine faith demands the cross, only the cross. All other gyrations and adulterations will leave our hearts weary.

In my heart I am singing “Just give me Jesus”. My heart is rather tender today. A precious couple we know recently shared some pain in their lives. It was vulnerable and raw. I do not know why they ventured out so as it seems scary for leaders to be so real. I think it is because they are not building their own kingdom but God’s. They are so busy fighting the gates of hell that they do not have time for plastic faces – the fire would melt them off. Real pain can only be healed by a real balm. It is in those crucible moments that we discover who we really are and who are true friends really are. Maybe that is why God allows the storms to come?  I am so impressed by people who live for Jesus and are not swayed by others opinions. We live in a sea of “critics” and American idol judge wannabes. Those wanting the Masters nod live by a different standard and that is not always understood by those waiting for human applause.

My husband regularly tells the boys “opinions are like bellybuttons – everybody has one”. That does not mean we are to listen to everyone that has an opinion. If we live our lives for the accolades of people or their assessment of what is real or fake, we will not have time to live for God’s call and voice.  It is tempting to live “proving” to others that we are just like them or just like they want us to be but we are only called to live for the truth in God. 1 Thessalonians tells us, “for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

Jesus tells us that HE is the way, the truth and the life. He is the epitome of vulnerable, fresh and real.  I want all my truth to be in God. I want to live His truth through this vessel in His way, in His time, for His glory. I’m praying that God would strip the veneer in me away so people could only see Him shining through. I’m asking that He will bring up the dross and scoop it away so only the gold granted by Him would shine. After all this study, it is still up to God when He does those things. We can’t even be “real” without His divine time and help! So “be real” is not something that comes from our will, our hand but by submitting ourselves to the master potter and letting Him work His hands through the clay we yield to Him until all that is left is His design.

One thing that gets better with age is the ability to look back and see trends. The “real” trend earlier in the 80s looked like people letting all their baggage hang out and be so real that they no longer needed all the trappings of religion. It translated to carnal people who only cared about their world. Judgement for others reigned high and the “freedom” was short lived as people gazed more at their lives than the cross. Other times when it was defined as being vulnerable or transparent it produced life but it was only popular to share weakness and sin and not praises. It can easily become lopsided or therapy driven. Clinging to the cross and being real according to the life of Christ means we can suffer or rejoice. Being truthful about ourselves in relation with Christ and others can produce tremendous fruit but will be short lived if it does not extend beyond our neighborhoods. Lord, lead us to walk in Your truth, to feel Your grace and to lead others in Your way.

God designs us. God authenticates our worth and value. God can keep us pure and focused on Jesus. We will have to yield to all of these processes. If Jesus is truth, true, genuine and pure, and I believe He is, then following after Him will look like those characteristics and will slowly be formed in us. If we try to “put them on” so others feel, think or find us to be real, then that plastic formation will be a barrier to us and the Christ. Real Jesus, Real Jesus People – unadulterated, pure and ever so genuine. Just give me Jesus.




We’ve been looking here at Millard Ericksons’ descriptions of God and His attributes. This week is God’s justice. Erickson points out that God acts righteous towards others in His individual capacity but as a corporate judge He not only acts morally but with justice. He not only demands that we do right by others but that we adhere to His laws. I think this is where the breakdown in society occurs – we talk about God’s characteristics of love and grace but often omit righteousness or justice because it requires something of us. Romans 6:23 points out that the wages of sin is death and throughout scripture we see passages that tell us there are consequences when we do our own thing or forsake God’s laws or precepts. This topic is less popular but probably the most necessary to discuss.

Through the years many have questioned God’s justice. The Psalmist David in Psalm 73 says he could not figure out why the wicked prospered – until he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. His perspective changed when he looked on God instead of his circumstances or others sin. We’ve seen much chaos in our nation over the last year as people ask where God is and why  He has allowed some people to prosper in their folly. Our court system is jammed up with people seeking justice for perceived and actual wrongs committed against them.

Our city is no exception. There have been multiple unsolved crimes and murders in the Metro area. A disproportionate number of African American men have lost their lives. One of the stories that has troubled me has not yet leaked into the news but is common on the street. The drugs infiltrating our city are supposedly being  “tested” on poor people in the inner city. If they live then the supply can be passed on to rich white collar customers. Those overdosing or being poisoned by the bad supply are seen as the users but the people in suits and dresses in the corporate world rarely make it in the news. Their demand creates the chain of supply but often they go unnoticed and unpunished.  Truth and reality get twisted as the story is spun to punish the guinea pigs being used to promote and test the product. Often this ends up being about race and the injustice continues on in new avenues such as discrimination, brutality and wealth segregation. Common misconceptions go unchallenged and the cycle continues. Jesus looked on all men’s heart without bias or favoritism. Amos decried unjust treatment by judges. Other prophets have addressed areas of moral corruption in the government and church systems. American can’t be great again until the moral fiber of our society is considered and the cry for justice on all levels is heard. What we ignore today we will serve tomorrow.

Maybe injustice in your house is not so serious. Maybe your husband gets the remote every night or your kids get the last Twinkie every day. (We have Oreo’s wars at our house so we are not guiltless). Maybe your spouse does all the dishes or you do all the cleaning and it just isn’t fair. Maybe sister Sally gets to sing solos every Sunday or brother Harry has football game parties every time you want to clean the church or do evangelism. Life just isn’t fair and it is not fair in varying degrees. Whether it is perceived injustices or major infractions like someone cutting you off in traffic, we all get the short end of the stick at some time.

We are easily deceived when we believe that God does not see or care. That is why we need the Lord and one another to remind ourselves that God hears, sees, cares and ANSWERS.

Culture, experience and time have jaded us into believing that that is just how things work. Maybe that is why we need to study God’s word deeper – to remind others and especially ourselves that in God’s economy it doesn’t work that way and NEVER will. The following text is about prayer and its importance but as we hear Jesus teach we can also learn about the justice of His father:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”  And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 

And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Some of you reading this blog have cried out for justice for a long time. Some have given up waiting for it. Others believe it might be true but no longer want to risk hoping for something that seems to never come to pass. We can remind ourselves today – God is JUST and He promises to “bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night.”

Two gun shops were robbed here recently. The news downplayed it but it is concerning that  “bad guys” are now armed. We pray daily that justice will be served and for God’s protection. We can feel helpless or battle in prayer. Before the battle MUST be the belief that there is a just judge who will hear. God is JUST. God acts in JUSTICE. There is a REAL Judgement day.

As I was returning home from work last week I saw a bunch of moms with picket signs on the street corner. They were mad about the crime in our city. I guess I had gotten fed up too. Their sign said to “honk if you agree things needed to change”. I’m not much of an activist but I just put my car in park, laid on my horn and refused to let up. The women started cheering, cars started slowing down to see what the commotion was about. Others started honking and for one brief moment in time it felt like God and the city was hearing the cries of these precious women. It is not much, but it was a start and drew attention to their cause, God’s cause.

We can’t see what God sees if we don’t know His heart. We can’t defend what God defends if we don’t understand His justice or mercy. The news and culture are surely not going to lead us in the right direction. Whether you are a drug user testing out the wares or a man in a suit lavishly snorting up the quality stuff without a care where it came from – there will come a day when God says

 “ENOUGH” !!!

He won’t change His judgments based on favoritism, skill, talent or pride. His ways are pure and perfect. He is all knowing and loving but He remains the Just Judge, full of grace but also full of jealousy and wrath.

Rev.6:10 says, “They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Judgement day will come whether CNN reports on it or Hillary Clinton agrees. It will come for Trump supporters and those in high places of leadership and those in the street. God is Just.

I want to know God for who He really is – not just what the churches or movies promote. I want my heart to break with the things that break His. I want my life to reflect the values and attributes of the Creator, not just what Hollywood says is real. I want to stand for the things that matter to the Just Judge who hears our prayers. I also want to walk in just ways in my family, church and work life and that is not always easy in a dog eat dog world.

Praying with you today to be who God wants us to be and do what God would want us to do. As always you are welcome to comment on this blog or email me your viewpoint.

Thankful for His justice, in need of His grace,



One of the favorite things we like to do is watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on television. Guy Fieri is the coolest chef and watching his show leaves you with hunger for some good cooking. We’ve been to some of the restaurants he has featured and eaten some mouthwatering, good grub. When it comes to ribs however, he describes every spice, brown sugar and flavor so you are crazy with anticipation for that next meal. His one word description for his special ribs – they are “righteous”. Odd choice of words. Righteous ribs.

I think that is what Adam had – that is until the fall, then everything got kind of messed up. The early couple were called many things but “full” probably wasn’t one of them as they traded out their hunger for temporary fulfilment. Chili’s restaurant jingle comes to mind, “I want my baby back babyback babyback ribs”.

God takes his time slow cooking up salvation because those things that are sweetest and best take preparation and time.

Holiness is the attribute most know about God. God can make people holy but righteousness; well that’s a whole new twist. Holiness means we are pure before God, righteousness means we act purely towards others. Righteousness is “holiness” in relation to others. We act towards people in a certain way but if it is fair, just and equitable we can say righteousness is having her perfect work in someone. The only hope we have of being righteous with others is by looking at God’s example – He is righteous towards everyone, though our modern culture would accuse Him otherwise.

Last month I raced to write the blog and wrote about the topic at hand (holiness). Some asked if I was referring to something specific (I wasn’t, just addressing the topic). Soon after I got emails about a mega church falling into moral decline. Because I wrote about things in advance someone asked if I knew the “inside” scoop. No, just writing what I felt led to write.  I was shocked to hear some of the stories. While I allude to leadership issues or mention me-too out of a desire to address the “contemporary issues”, I was not directing any comments to those events. Some want things swept under the rug and some want the removal of leaders when there are issues. When the storm hits people like to cook up their own theology which makes things messier. This week our topic is being “righteous” and that we must act towards one another as God acts towards us – in a morally righteous and pure way. Some like to pile on shame, blame and punishment which are contrary to God’s character and inadvertently pull themselves into the unholy mess. Evil also likes to spread out and multiply.

Vertical relationship with God is essential and only possible through the work of the cross. Horizontal relationships – meaning with other people, are only possible when done through the work of the cross. If we have died to our “rights” and ego’s that means we do everything possible to make amends. That does not mean one person wins and the other loses, it means Christ wins and all come before Him to work it out with humility and vulnerability. This is not easy and as I write this I realize my “want to” is a lot stronger than my muscles to accomplish such things. Maybe that is why grace and patience are required to walk things out. Above all, the power of the Holy Spirit is needed – but must be invited into the equation. Romans 3:10 tells us, “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Serious words. Notice that the only thing they do together is – become worthless!

So what do we do then? Romans 3:22 tells us, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” We need the example and life of Jesus to be righteous. Many religions point to ways to be a good human being. Christianity points out that there is only one and it is not me (or you) but the Christ. While religion points to abstaining from drinking, wearing makeup, some even follow rituals or habits but the Hebrew understanding of righteousness (tzdiq) is that of nomadic people following a pathway. The idea is not to “appear” holy but to follow in the path of the Holy One. Image is less important then in God’s way. The Ancient Hebrew Research Center states that “A righteous person is not one who lives a religiously pious life, the common interpretation of this word, he is one who follows the correct path, the path (way) of God.” It looks less like sister Margaret wearing a dress on a Sunday and more like sister Mary going to church in spite of dealing with a drunk husband all night. It looks less like brother Carl doing avoiding drugs and more like brother Mike praying at the altar for direction when his kids have gone to jail.


Following the narrow way can be painful. Choosing the narrow way and carefully following where Jesus leads takes guts, faith and patience. Not wearing teal colored eyeshadow – not so much. Seeking Christ when your world has dropped out means you single heartedly look up. It means you press in to find and follow God’s will- regardless of what the crowd says. Wearing white after labor day or abstaining from hoop earrings is just really not the point – but religion has made it that way. We have traded out vibrant, passionate lives following after the will of God for a new dress code. Righteousness must mean more.



Mt.5:6 – Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, will be filled. That’s quite the promise. When we fast is it to make God do our will or is it asking Him to place His will and ways in our lives? I want His ways but often my flesh wants what is easy. Perhaps that is why fasting is a necessary spiritual discipline – to redirect what we hunger and thirst for?


Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him (and her) from them all;    Psalm 34:14-19


My prayer for us this week is two-fold, one that we would understand and believe that God is righteous towards us – always. We can trust His character and heart. Secondly, that we can never be righteous on our own but a need a Savior and empowering Holy Spirit to help us. Wrap that in grace, mercy and patience and there is potential for wonderful relationships. In a culture and nation that is set on dishonoring, distorting and tearing down people, it would be a breath of fresh air.


Help us Jesus to look to you for our actions and relationship cues. Lead and guide us in Your Truth and in the Way we should go. Thank you for being a compassionate, righteous guide. We hunger and thirst for YOU and Your ways. Amen.





“I stayed up all night trying to follow the sun… Then it dawned on me” Lord help us to follow YOU in all our relationships and dealings this week.


Florida, the perfect vacation spot once known for alligators, the Keys and snorkeling is now being featured in news spots as the state with “red tide”, an algae infested water that kills manatees, fish and even dolphins. You would not want to put your family in waters where fish are popping out slimy and dead. Purity is important for cleanliness.

South America is sending batches of cocaine to the states laced with cow de-wormer and people are overdosing in record numbers. That is different than the cocaine from other countries filled with fentanyl. In our country they are seeing rising numbers of people die from Heroine mixed with a powder. Powder that is actually pancake mix when tested. By the time the unsuspecting victim figures it out their veins are swelling with ingredients that belong in breakfast, not your blood stream. Purity is necessary for life.

A secondary risk to the drug trade is when young, vibrant singers overdose and their once crystal clear voices now drag with guilt and insecurity. Purity is imperative for living with purpose. Managers, actors, leaders once entrusted with young impressionable students go astray and give the me too movement fodder for tabloids and the industry known to be affecting the culture increases in its corruption. Purity is foundational for trust.

Purity, prudes, pilgrims….  We hear purity and think of rule followers, followers of tradition and maybe someone who needs to not be so “straight-laced.” We want our hotel beds to be pristine clean with white sheets and squared off corners but our entertainment to be “edgy” and thought provoking meaning content will come with nudity, violence or language. We want our children to be pure, isolated from the evils of the world but our options to be adult, free and absent of any moral judgement.

The Bible talks about being moderate in drinking, chaste in relationships and to let no corrupt communication come out of our mouths. Is this all to get a job, secure a career, win and influence friends? God is good and He is moral. We know from all the billboards, picketers and signs that He is love but the flipside of that same coin is that God is also Holy – pure without additives or adulteration.

In the midst of his very wicked generation Isaiah sees the Lord and tells us Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. (Isaiah 61:4) So, if we and our generation are corrupt, what hope is there? This super Holy God would have no interest in the likes of you and me. Unless, He saw this in advance and planned for it.

One of the reasons God is beautiful and good is because He is also Holy. When we pause on the weekends to consider that we encounter Him as He is. He is wholly unlike us – He is Holy. We could try all day every day for the rest of our days and never be “clean” enough to come before this amazing pure, Holy God. Unless… there was a way to be clean before Him. That way is Jesus, the Christ. Unlike the red tide in Florida, the tide of washing that Jesus does purifies. When we come before Him and ask Him to cleanse us, He does through the payment of the cross. Wave after wave makes us white as snow and for the dirty, the filthy, the accused, the corrupt; we are justified by His work on the cross.

Encounter that holiness today – not in rooms of white or thoughts of Heaven but by receiving the only thing that could ever make you pure or whole. When we step aside from the junk and stench of our sin and our culture and bathe in the payment for our sin we become pure. I want to live in the light of His love and purity but often I trade out being accepted or contemporary which is a lesser joy.

Ask God to show you His holiness and what that means for your life, your family, our nation. The pathway to Hollywood, popularity and good intentions is not working. The Lord is holy and those who follow Him can encounter that holiness if they remember the way. Please remember the way – please celebrate God’s holiness and share it with others.




Greetings to all attending the national Church of God conference this week. May you be refreshed and inspired!




One day when I was at work I sensed beauty everywhere I went. Not just a little but a lot. I thought  it was because of others praying or maybe because of sharing the Lord with people (beautiful feet) but after pondering this for a while I now believe when the Holy Spirit goes with a believer there is a sense of beauty that signifies God’s presence. Out of curiosity I decided to research this further.  I learned that Esther, Vashti, David, Bathsheba, Abigail, Absalom and others were described as beautiful. (Pastor Garrett preached on Sunday about Rachel’s beauty in contrast to Leah’s. Leah’s disabilities and rejection scarred her but her relationship to/from the Lord healed her rejection when she praised. Her focus changed when she stopped looking at herself and realized God was seeing her. Talk about a timely word! It was so fitting with this topic and no one knew what I was studying except for the Lord.) I discovered that the Bible says that beauty is fleeting, vain, outward and that things can be beautiful such as flocks, rods, temples, gates, garments, crowns and even a city – Zion.  The Bible warns against fleeting beauty and lusting after it.

As we drove away from the church, I tapped Left Brain on the arm and said, you must feel really blessed since you get the best of both worlds. You even get to be buried by me. We were laughing and he said, “yes, but let’s wait on that for awhile.” I’m glad we will one day see the beauty of Heaven and the King and not have to look forever on our dry old dusty bones or six feet of mud on top of us. Truly our futures are beautiful. Glory to glory not ashes to dust.

There is also the opposite – Satan was beautiful, but only for a season.   Men can lust after beauty and women can use it to seduce. The Old Testament warns against going after outward beauty. The New Testament describes the Pharisees and scribes that were beautiful on the outside but had dead bones within!

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we are told that God has made everything beautiful in His time – so beauty does have a timeline. Oil of Olay has said that for years. Unlike Oil of Olay however, Gods work seems to make things MORE beautiful as time goes by.  He is the author of beauty and making things beautiful. Not some things or some ones but God has made EVERYTHING beautiful in His time. That sounds pretty fool proof doesn’t it?  God creates beauty on the inside, He forms and fashions it and develops it along the way.

We recently watched “I Feel Pretty” and boy did that movie bring back memories.  Self-esteem in women is often attached to our external appearance. It was during college when I was selling beauty products that I had my “most beautiful moment”.  One day I was walking through the St. Paul mall area in my new Estee Lauder uniform, high heels, long blond hair flowing in the wind and heads were turning everywhere. I felt like a million bucks. When I got to the cosmetic counter where I worked I put away my purse and one of the other girls who worked there (who looked like a Brazilian Princess)  smiled and flippantly said, “nice nylons” and walked off.  Her compliment seemed a bit odd. I heard giggles in the next bay and then much to my horror, as I looked in the mirror saw a pair of full length navy blue pantyhose velcroed to the back of my outfit. I had laid my outfit out on the bed that morning and they must have stuck to the starch or something.  There they dangled, like a silly cape. Then I realized I had not only walked- but glided through several stores as if on a runway with navy nylons flying behind me. No wonder heads were turning! Oh well, before the deflated ego had come, there were a few moments of incredible joy. For a few brief moments I had felt totally confident, ready and well put together. My security was increasing as I read Joyce Meyer books and studied women’s studies about self- worth. I guess that day I got a little carried away! I have felt beautiful since that time but now it is generally when I’ve felt God’s presence or enjoyed time in His word. Time, family and gravity have a way of changing a woman’s measurement of being “all that”.  I have friends, freckled from the sun with dark brown aging spots that say they look on their arms, wrinkles and journey and feel beautiful after having weathered much of life. They now see their spots as “trophies of grace” while loving their family and feel incredibly beautiful-now more than ever. I wonder if there are seasons of internal beauty for women that never get talked about while younger generations wrestle with shape, plastic surgeries and Botox? When the most talked about woman changed from mother Theresa to Kim Kardashian did we lose something of real beauty?

In Isaiah 8:2 it says that the Branch would be beautiful in that day.  Not just slap on some jewels or foundation or beautiful garments. Not just do this or that but the Branch would be beautiful. Not just on days He got rest or beauty sleep. Not just on days that everything went well but the Branch would be beautiful.  As a being. It reminded me of the verses in Exodus 35:

35 “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.” When God moved among His people, He filled them and the result of that filling was that they created space that was beautiful – something that reflected and glorified the God that filled the space within them.

Beauty that comes from God resides in His Son and the Spirit poured out in His people. It doesn’t stop there, it grows, creates, spins and pours out skills, designs, engravings and coverings that are beautiful. IF God so clothes the fields, if He so beautifully designs His temple then would He also not lavishly design, in a beautiful way, His people– together?

Art, dance, music, drama, silk and satin, flowers and fragrance are mere representations of a loving, creating God making all things beautiful. His beauty lasts, inward, extending and multiplying. It draws attention and glory to the Holy One, not the recipients of momentary splashes of color.

Psalm 96 says, ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”

That beauty comes from following solely, completely and blamelessly the King of Kings. It comes from seeking Him as our source, denying all others. If true beauty is connecting with God with a pure heart why do we seek beauty in a jar of cream? If beauty of holiness arises from single devotion to Yahweh, why do we look for it in the gym or perhaps in a bar? Maybe because we can’t direct it, we can only posture ourselves before the Master Artist and allow Him to paint over the canvas we have set before Him?

Beauty that lasts, beauty that increases over time, beauty that glorifies the Creator comes from one place only – Jesus. The kind of beauty that flows out like the ocean tide, washing away our vileness, happens only as the Lord washes over our souls. That’s beauty you can drink in, freely given. Golden girls – can’t touch that. Runway models can’t wear that. Photo-shopped playmates – can’t buy that. It doesn’t come from a serum or vendor but an ugly, twisted, blood stained cross where the ugliness of the entire world sat on the shoulders of the pierced one. Yes, beauty rests on Him, in Him and through Him.

That’s where all that was wrong became all that was right.

That reposition, restructure and redemption gained the title once and for all – beautiful One, the blessed and blessing One of the Lord and we became His beautiful Bride, with beautiful songs and beautiful feet.

Husband (Joe) adds in that there were biblical men that got a makeover – the disciples with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They weren’t radiant from anything they had done but looking on the One God delighted in – “listen to Him”. That encounter left them all glowing.

Self-esteem is kind of a popular buzz word. Jesus is an eternal Savior, confidence (temple) builder and beautifier. Focus on HIM. Learn from HIM. Drink in HIM… the One who makes all things beautiful… in His time. As we worship Him in the beauty of HIS holiness, we will reflect Him and day after day walk and talk and look like Him.


I hope you have a semi o.k. day tomorrow. What? No, I hope you have a really, really average day. That doesn’t sound much better does it? What if someone told you to have a GREAT day or on your birthday told you to have a GREAT year? Wouldn’t that feel better, more exceptional or affirming? What is the difference between an average, good or great day? I think it is the presence of God in our lives. The Psalmist thought so too:

“For THOU art great and doest wonderous things; thou art God alone.” Psalm 86:10

“Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5


So if God makes the difference why do so many ignore Him? If His touch, blessing or favor increases our joy and lives why do we put Him last on our list? What if He was First?

Reflecting on Billy Graham’s life, David’s life and Daniels life – they all sought God multiple times per day. Their lives were flourishing and refreshing others. We can’t get their results without their disciplines. Or was it their desire? Or possibly nothing to do with anything they did other than surrender to a great BIG God? We can’t pour out unless we have first let God pour in. Was it that they were great men or that they yielded to a great God? We heard a sermon this weekend (David Christian) that talked about how not to be (Gen.11) and how to be great for God (Genesis 12). It pointed us to allowing God to be great in our lives rather than building great monuments to ourselves. It was powerful.

After studying greatness  recently the sermon ministered to my heart because it talked about how to download that greatness and the purpose of doing so. (Greatest commandment, Great commission) I think of Joseph who said, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Gen.47:5). His life was a mere vessel, tool in God’s hands and His yielding to God allowed the entire nation to be blessed and become great. The great God was displayed in his life rather than a great name for merely him or his family. The cost was great but the benefit for his family and nation was HUGE. God plays big or goes home. He does not do things just so we can get chill bumps on our arms but so people, families and nations can be DELIVERED.

What or who are you contending for today? Do you see yourself, your family, your church 100 years down the road? Are you asking for God to be great in your and their lives or merely praying for a parking spot at Walmart? Are you saturating the nation in prayers with your tears or perhaps just hoping you can get a great tan before the next church meeting? I wonder if we really believed God was great, would that affect how we live, how we pray? If we really and truly believed that God was, is and will be great…. How does that play out in our daily lives? Would it calm our fears, impassion our praise?

I think part of God’s greatness is to affect those who worship Him. He redirects our gaze to higher things and quenches our lust for having our name in lights. If God puts eternity in our hearts and excellence in our work, can He make our families, churches and nations great again? It reminds me of the prophet Habakkuk in 3:2 where he tells God that he has heard of His fame and he stands in awe but then the prophet cries out DO IT AGAIN IN OUR DAY. God is still great so it is logical and possible for Him to repeat those great works. Does God stand and wait for our petition?

Our kids returned from camp Friday. They stated they had a good time but it wasn’t until I saw their sprawled out bodies on the front room floor that I realized they were physically spent from that great time. When the older kissed the younger on the head the next day, he yelled out, “dude, you smell like lake water.” He had not just heard about the experience but completely saturated himself in it. Camp was not just around them but on them, in them and they talked about it for days after. God’s greatness should be like that in our lives. Did you hear how life giving He is? Do you know how constant He is? Did you realize He was infinite? Did you soak yourself so much in Him that others around could smell it for days?

God’s greatness isn’t a theme posted in some art gallery – He has the heavens for that. His greatness isn’t for Broadway – He has given us the Old Testament so we could remember His acts. God’s greatness isn’t just a note suspended in time – it’s larger than Handels’ Messiah. When we embody, embrace and acknowledge His greatness, yielding to his plans, obeying His direction, we bring that greatness near, not for our glory, but His.

God, we stand in awe of You, remembering Your works of old, longing to see them in our day. Renew them we pray. You are great and you do great things. Move in us so the world will see Your greatness in all Your glory.

RenaeRoche 2018