Category Archives: Hope

Burning Hearts

Yesterday in church I was blessed to have the Holy Spirit use me to give a short encouraging word to the congregation. It followed the normal pattern for me, from when the Spirit is moving and wants to speak…..until the end. As I neared what turned out to be the end of the message my heart began a slow burn within me. When I paused to await the remainder of the message, the burning increased to such an intensity I thought I would burst into flame – a PHYSICAL BURNING as if it were on fire. And when I say ‘heart’ I mean the center of my body at the bottom of and directly beneath the breastbone. As pastor began to speak and move the service onward with more worship, I wasn’t sure the Spirit was finished. Nevertheless, I let it go, and as the program of service continued the burning ceased. In hindsight I believe it was supposed to be a time of laying-on of hands, but I will never know in this life.

I didn’t really think much more about it yesterday except when my grandson – who had been standing beside me — asked me about the experience on our drive home – he often experiences things spiritually yet doesn’t discuss it. Yet this morning, it is picking at me, and tugging at me, as a seamstress tugs and picks on a seam trying to open it. And knowing after all these years how the Holy Spirit nudges and tugs and pulls and woos me into walking with Him instead of around Him, I delved into different commentaries on the story of the Emmaus Road. Here’s what I found, centering my study around Luke 24:32.

According to Ellicott, the tense used implied a continuous burning and not a momentary state or act.

MacLaren couldn’t contain himself to looking at the one verse and expounds on the entire story, with a mini-sermon that completely ignores the ‘burning hearts’.

Benson counts the burning as a ‘glow within us, with love to God and our Divine Instructor’.

Henry says that ‘Scriptures which speak of Christ will warm the hearts of his true disciples’.

Barnes also believes that the hearts burning expression denotes ‘the deep interest and pleasure which they felt in his discourse’.

Poole counts the travelers as disciples who had not yet had the fire [of evangelism] kindled in their hearts, but once Christ departed they were alight and had to go spread the word.

Gill concludes that the words that Christ shared with them ‘caused their hearts to be warmed and glow as they became fervent in spirit and their affections were raised and fired; they found the word to be as burning fire within them, and they now knew somewhat what it was to be baptized with fire.’

Meyer transcribes the verse to read ‘Was not our heart in an extraordinarily fervent commotion?’

Bengel acknowledges that it was an ‘actual continuance of the burning sensation’.

So….which was it?

Well, having been the one having the actual experience it was, as Bengel acknowledges, an actual burning sensation. Was it a continuous burning? YES. Was my heart warmed as in an emotional experience? NO. Was I quoting Scriptures? NO – at least I don’t think so. Was I meditating on my love for God and my Divine Instructor? NO. Was it my interest and pleasure in the discourse? Given that I don’t remember what was said, a resounding NO. Do I now feel different as if I have been changed with a light to run and spread the word; a light greater than I already had? NO. Was my heart in an extraordinarily fervent commotion? NO. And, finally, was I baptized with fire? I DON’T KNOW.

Here’s what I do know: I want to be all that God has called me to be. When He uses me, I am blessed. When He uses me like He did yesterday, with a new experience, I want to know what it means, and if there is something more I need to do for Him or with Him. And, in the case of a new experience, I want to find other believers who have had similar experiences so we can compare notes and, iron sharpening iron, keep one another headed in the right direction – toward the finish line.

Here’s what I think: It was the truth of God which lit my heart on fire. What do you think?

If you’ve had a similar experience, I’d love to hear from you.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20.

God Hates Abuse

I had opportunity to minister this week to another scarred and battle-weary survivor of domestic abuse. Before I go any further, let me share the definition of ‘domestic abuse’

Domestic abuse comprises of broad categories of behaviour including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse and psychological, emotional, or other abuse. It can be prosecuted under a range of offences and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and it is the cumulative and interlinked types of abuse that have a particularly damaging effect on the victim. The ‘domestic’ nature of the offending behaviour is an aggravating factor because of the abuse of trust involved.” [Extracted from The Crown Prosecution Service]

So that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Physical, psychological, emotional, controlling, threatening, violent, economic …. all methods of forcing one individual into submission and terrorizing that same individual, often times to the breaking point, and sometimes, to death.

This particular woman was a victim of psychological and emotional abuse coupled with controlling and threatening behaviors and economic barriers. Added to that, she experienced the betrayal of the church leadership who sided with her husband, claiming that she was to blame for what she was suffering because of her ‘rebellious’ behavior. In effect, church leaders did not hold her husband accountable for any of his un-Christian behavior

I am not going to go into counseling mode nor am I going to try to explain and defend all of the reasons why her forms of abuse are wrong. The issue I want to deal with is the betrayal by her church leaders — those who can quote the ‘words’ of the Bible but seriously miss the Spirit. The letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6) I believe God hates abuse. (Psalms 11:5, James 1:26, Ephesians 4:29, Psalms 103:6, Colossians 3:8, Romans 6:15, Galatians 5:13, Colossians 3:19, Exodus 21:15, Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 4:31)

Marriage is SUPPOSED to be a partnership, not a master-slave relationship. Marriage is SUPPOSED to fulfill both parties, not glorify one and denigrate the other. Marriage is SUPPOSED to be a reflection of Jesus Christ and His Bride, the church, NOT a reflection of the Pharisees and the Jews.

Yet, so many Christian leaders ignore the abuse occurring in the marriages and families in their churches and wash their hands of the abuse victim, not fully understanding the heart of God or His standards for marriage, families, and church leaders. Is it possible that these leaders have spent so much time studying the Word and working for God that they have neglected their relationship with the Lord and dulled their hearts to the heart of God? A heart which clearly points us ALL to submit and ALL to serve?

Here is an exerpt from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, citing 1 Corinthians 11:10 which highlights the dual roles of each spouse within the marriage — For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head.—……. What is meant, first, by the woman having “power on her head?” There have been many—some of them most fanciful—suggestions that the word for power (exousia) may have crept in instead of some other word by the mistake of some copyist; or that the word used by St. Paul may have been exiousa—“When she goes out in public;” or two words (ex ousias)—“in accordance with her nature.” All explanations, however, which require an alteration in the Greek text of the passage must be set aside, for (1) there is no MS. evidence whatever to support any other read.……. refer the “power” here to some symbol of a power which belongs to the woman herself.

If we bear in mind the Apostle’s constant use of words with a double significance, or rather with both an obvious and a subtly implied meaning, and if we also recall the reference made to a woman’s abundance of hair in 1Corinthians 11:5-6, and the further reference to a woman’s long hair in 1Corinthians 11:14-15, where the hair of the woman, given her by nature, and the wearing of a veil are used as almost identical thoughts, we may, I think, conclude that the “power” here spoken of is that long hair which is called in 1Corinthians 11:15 her “glory.” It is remarkable that Callistratus twice uses this word exousia in connection with hair to express its abundance. To the Jews the recollection of Samson’s history would have given the word “power,” when applied to hair, a remarkable significance. To thus turn aside abruptly in the middle of a long passage in which woman’s subordination is enforced, and speak suddenly and vividly of her “power,” would be eminently Pauline. In the Apostle’s writings the thought of inferiority and superiority, of ruler and server, are frequently and almost paradoxically regarded and enforced as identical. To serve because you rule; to be weak because you are in another sense strong, are thoughts strikingly combined again and again in the Epistles of St. Paul. [Emphasis mine] Thus I would imagine him here to suddenly turn aside and say, I have been speaking of your bondage and subordination, you are, because of this, to have a covering (a veil or long hair) on your head as a sign, and yet that very thing which is the symbol of your subjection to man is the sign of your beauty and “power” as a woman.”

It is clear to me that Paul understood the relationship of servant/leader just as taught by Christ when he washed the feet of the disciples. In order to lead we must serve, and by serving become leaders. At no time, on no occasion, did Jesus, Paul, or any other apostle FORCE their followers into any situation, behavior or belief. And at NO TIME should any marriage partner force or coerce the other into any situation, behavior or belief. To do so is contrary to the heart of God we see expressed in Christ Jesus.

Certainly other commentators disagree with Ellicott, and I have read them with interest but remain unconvinced because their arguments, while scholarly, lack the expressive love of Christ. I believe they have forgotten what I have just stated: Christ came to destroy the works of the enemy, not to enforce it with tyranny and oppression. (1 John 3:8)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

The Healing Love of Children

I don’t remember any longing in my life stronger than a longing for a child, and I tried very hard for the first one.

I had my first miscarriage at 19, when I was in transit from one Army assignment to another.  That miscarriage was followed by two more.  

Maybe I should back up and explain why I wanted a child so desperately.  You understand, I come from a very large family — I have 5 brothers and sisters; my mother had 7 siblings, and my father had 6.  That’s a lot of kids and cousins, and all of them in need of caring, nurturing attention and love.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well.  My eldest sister seemed to adopt me as her “baby-doll” and I guess my mother thought that was sufficient attention.  And, being an introvert — a keen and interested observer in all that is around me — I didn’t have the personality to demand attention from an already over-worked and under-appreciated mother.  Add that to the constant moving and uprooting from friends and family, and you have a picture of a very lonely and unloved little girl.

That little girl grew into a lonely and unloved teenager who married the first guy that asked.  Turns out, a big mistake.  He didn’t love me and he didn’t want me to love him — he loved my income that allowed him to be just as lazy as he desired.  He pretended to love me and only ‘let’ me get pregnant when I pleaded with him for someone to love.  That someone turned out to be my little girl.

After years of trying and failing, my OB/GYN put me on progesterone shots the next time I had a positive pregnancy test.  And, voila!  It worked!  I was so happy when I was pregnant, truly the most joyous time of my life was when I was carrying a child.

Of course, I deceived myself into believing that NOW he would love me.  That also proved untrue.  As I lay in a hospital bed hooked up to oxygen, he sat in a chair in the room smoking and flirting with the nurse.  I called her attention to the fact that I WAS, in fact, hooked up to oxygen and perhaps he should put out his cigarette?????  She came to her senses at that point and left the room after telling him he couldn’t smoke in my room, so he left with her.  He, it turns out, was also a bigamist — or should I say polygamist — with a string of wives around the country that he didn’t bother to divorce as he moved on to the next opportunity.  (Sigh — my daughter has many half-siblings.)

After 23 hours and 50 minutes of labor — and a warning from the doctor that at 24 hours they would perform a caesarean, my stubborn, self-willed little darling arrived, peeing all over the doctor, clearly announcing her disdain for the entire process.  She’s sort of gone through her entire life with that same attitude!  🙂  

I love my kids.  I love my grandkids.  If I hadn’t had so many miscarriages, I would have 6 kids by now!  No, make that 7 — we mustn’t forget Richard — the child I was terrorized into aborting.

I dote on my kids, probably because they are the only source of love I experienced before I found Jesus — correction, He found me!  And, I’m probably not the best example of motherhood, spoiling them and trying to make life as easy as possible for them.  But the truth is, my life has been incredibly difficult, and if it wasn’t for them I would have given up long ago.  So, I spoil them.  And love them.  And cherish them.  And weep over their difficulties.  And the joy I experienced at the birth of my first child is still with me today, every time I see my children, or even think of them.  The lights of my life still light up my every day!

My Dove

I’ve had some truly amazing experiences, but the one that leaps to the forefront of my memory involves and beautiful white dove.

There was a period of about 6 years when my grandkids were small that I would spend Friday nights up at the church, providing worship music non-stop so that others could connect with the Lord, and just worshipping and enjoying the Lord’s presence.  One Friday evening I was driving on the highway headed to church and traffic was extremely heavy.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a beautiful white dove came alongside my front right quarter panel.  I was traveling between 55-60 miles an hour, keeping up with traffic, and that white dove traveled right along beside me, staying on my quarter panel.  When I finally reached the turn-off to head to the church, the dove turned off with me!  And then, as there was little to no traffic on this little side road, it flew away.  

That beautiful dove has an average sustained flying speed of 45 mph.  Yet, this one stayed with me at 60 mph for almost five miles.

I know I can over-spiritualize things sometimes, and I will again as I am certain the Holy Spirit was watching over me and accompanying me safely to my destination.  And, it was an incredible night of worship!

I think when you look for God to show up in your daily life, you begin to see just how often He tries to make Himself known to you, and you begin to rest in a peace that passes all understanding as you realize He is right with you all of the time. I’ve had instances where the Holy Spirit gripped the steering wheel and literally got me out of danger, and times when people would fall back when I approached them. These things are all the work of the Holy Spirit of God and I am just a vessel — a living stone in His temple. What a mighty God we serve!

Psalm 25:14
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.


I love to do things that surprise and bless others and I have, many times, given rides to strangers or bought them lunch and even, a thousand miles from home, paid for someone else’s meal in the drive-through lane.

Yet, I was blown away and collapsed in tears when one morning I stopped for a cup of coffee (a rare occurrence) and when I got to the register was told that someone had already paid for me.  I was dumbfounded, overwhelmed and completely undone.  Kindness in any form, even on the television, always makes me tear up.  Life has been very hard on me and I have had to harden myself in order to cope.  So things that are horrible have less of an emotional impact upon me than kindness does, because my life has been bereft of kindness.  Abuse I understand.  Terror I understand.  Manipulation I understand.  Neglect I understand.  Emotional absence I understand.  But kindness?  Love?  Gentleness?  

Those tears that fell that day were cleansing and uplifting.  At a very alone moment in my life, Jesus showed up in the form of a stranger in the checkout lane.  His kindness drove me to my knees and I wept and thanked Him.

There is a Scripture verse:  Psalm 18:35  “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.”

Gentleness moves mountains.  Gentleness melts hearts.  Gentleness turns anger into meekness.  Gentleness brings healing.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”  I have seen this in action, when angry and frustrated people are met with gentleness and kindness, their entire demeanor changes and they are instantly calm.

Be gentle.  Be kind.  Be sweet.  And watch God move mountains for you!


Good morning, beloved of the Lord!  I spent some time with a dear sister in the Lord this week and listened as she bemoaned her spiritual circumstances.  Her complaint echoed that of so many Christians:  why aren’t I growing? What’s wrong in my church that I don’t feel connected?  I’m not serving nearly as much as others but the others are becoming resentful and burned out in the service.  As she talked, I could sense the Lord’s compassion and passionate love for her.

Beloved, I believe the message the Lord has in His Holy Scriptures is not just for her, but for every believer who is struggling to find a place where they belong in the Body – a place of service that satisfies and doesn’t destroy.  It is so easy to become burned out when we are serving in our own strength.  I pray that you have not fallen for the “works” doctrine. 

The “works” doctrine insists that we must do something good for God.  Good works = faith, so we are told.  I think, however, that we mustn’t fall into that trap, because a “works” doctrine steals our joy and saps our strength.  You see, the ‘work’ that God has for our hands and feet are unique to us individually, just as much as we are unique from every other believer.  If we fall into the trap of the “works” doctrine, we become so busy being duty-bound to volunteer for everything that comes along that we are unavailable when the Holy Spirit actually taps us on the shoulder and asks us to do something for HIM.  I am reminded of a story that a woman once told me about her experience after a long day of going out with a street ministry to evangelize (NOT where her heart was), she was standing in line at a take-out counter when the Holy Spirit nudged her about a man in front of her.  Unfortunately, she was exhausted after what, to her, was a fruitless day of evangelizing and so she ignored the nudge.  She had spent all day doing what others told her she needed to be doing without any fruit, and missed the ONE THING the Holy Spirit wanted her to do.

Faith without works is indeed dead (James 2:26) – but works born out of duty instead of passionate love for the Savior are going to burn up (2 Peter 3:10).  Jesus Christ didn’t suffer and die so that we would live a life in the bondage of duty – He died to set us FREE.  Free to love Him, to serve Him when He asks, and to bear spiritual fruit for His harvesting.  The spiritual fruit comes from the hand of the Father, not from our works.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  And the works that we should be doing will suffer loss if we are so busy doing something else instead.  Each person in the Body of Christ has a unique position.  There are as many persons in the Body of Christ as there are cells in the human body, and each cell performs a perfect work – the one designed for it to do.  We don’t expect our brain cells to filter blood, so why would we expect someone God has gifted with administration to be out cleaning the parking lot?  Each part of the Body is designed for a specific task, and if we are doing someone else’s task, who is doing ours?

Think about it in the natural – a tree does not go searching for nutrients or water or sunshine in order to produce a harvest of fruit.  God provides what the tree needs and the tree then does, quite naturally, what it was designed to do.  If we would just drink in what God provides and watch the Holy Spirit develop the fruit in us, I think we would find life taking on a whole new realm of joy and passion.  We’d begin to see the fruit that is developing in us being used to feed others – either spiritually or naturally.  And it wouldn’t be a chore – it would be a delight and a joy because we would be right where God wanted us, when He wanted us, and doing what He wanted instead of what others demand we must do.

So, dearly beloved of Christ, let us take a few moments today and take stock of where we are and what we are doing.  We should be breaking up the ground around our hearts (Hosea 10:12) to allow the nutrients that God is pouring out to reach our hearts and produce the fruit He desires.  Let’s not make this harder than it has to be.  Loving God should be as effortless as breathing and just as life-giving.

Micah 6:8   “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

God’s Gift

I wonder if you really know what true love looks like or if you have ever experienced it.  How many of us substitute what the entertainment industry peddles as ‘love’ for the true love that is available to us each and every day?  Well today I have a message for you from the lover of your soul – the one who loves you unconditionally and laid down his life for you.  HearHis love:

“Listen to my song of love.  A sin forgiven is a sin forgotten.  A sin washed is a sin removed.  You are washed.  You are forgiven.  You are free.  Go and sin no more.

My love is deep.  Deeper than any well.  Higher than any mountain.  Stronger than any force you can imagine.  My love is endless and unchanging.  If you have a temper tantrum, my love doesn’t change.  If you deny me, my love doesn’t change.  If you wander, my love doesn’t change.

I am forever the Bridegroom, enamored of his bride.  I am forever madly, deeply, passionately in love with you.  Every time you turn your thoughts toward me, you light a fire of passion within me – a passion to be with you forever – to see you protected, defended, provided for, pampered, cherished and adored.  That is how I want you treated – that is what I created you for!  TO BE LOVED!!

Even now you doubt because your experience of love has been corrupted.  Doubt not, my beloved.  You are cherished and I will protect you, defend you, provide for you and hover over you with passion.  My desire is for you.  I desire the best for you – the absolute best.

I did not lay down my life so that you would settle for mediocre.  I did not suffer so that you would suffer the empty life of mediocrity.  I suffered to set you free to love, to laugh, to joy in others.  To serve in love is the absolute best life.  To serve in duty is bondage.  I set you free to love, laugh and serve in joy.  That is the greatest gift you can give to me – live a life of love.”

This message of love, you will notice, is completely devoid of lust.  It is hard for human beings to comprehend a love and passion devoid of lust.  Yet that is the passionate love with which our Saviour loves us.  Think of an artist who lives to create – whether buildings or sculptures or paintings.  That passion, that fire is completely devoid of lust.  Our passion for the Creator should be just the same – a passionate fire completely devoid of lust, and completely consuming.  We should live to love the Master.  If we would just surrender and make Him our focus, our lives would shine with His glory and bring us more joy and satisfaction than we even think is possible.

Jeremiah 31:3  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Why Should Wives Submit?

Colossians 3:18   Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands.

So much has been written on this subject, and so much has been misinterpreted.  This is one of the ‘hard’ sayings of the Bible.  If you will bear with me for just a few minutes, I think this might help.  If you are still reading at this point, it’s because Holy Spirit wants to talk with you.  The ride may be bumpy but when the Spirit is leading it is always beneficial.

The first step to understanding this verse is to examine the subject audience.  In this case, it is WIVES.  Not husbands, not children, not pastors or teachers.  The Scripture is talking directly to wives.

The next step is to examine the verb:  submit.  Submit means to yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.  So to submit is a voluntary action.  The inclusion of the word ‘yourselves’ after the verb is reinforcement of the idea that the action is voluntary.  No one is being bullied into this position of submission.  It is voluntary on the part of wives.  Confusion in the body of Christ often stems from the word ‘submit’ and the lack of knowledge and understanding of the original language and the translated word.  Just to keep the record straight, ‘submit’ is a voluntary action, as opposed to ‘subject’ which is the act of subduing another.  Look at it another way:  using the same word in the same sentence, changes the acting party.  “One who submits …” is one who is under authority, as opposed to “One who subjects…” is one who is in authority.

The last phrase to examine is the object of the submission.  In this case, it is husbands.  Wives are to voluntarily surrender to the authority of their husbands.  It doesn’t say ‘husbands beat your wives into submission’ or ‘husbands lord it over your wives’. It says for the wife to voluntarily decide to follow the lead of her husband. Not someone else’s husband.  Not their friends, neighbors, family members, church members or anyone else who may be a part of their marriage circle – to their husbands.

There are a number of issues that misinterpreting this Scripture has caused, not only to the Body of Christ but also to the testimony of Jesus Christ and that of professing believers.  Take, for example, those who believe that this passage gives husbands the right to beat their wives into submission.  How does that make Christianity different from Islam?  Or what about those who use this verse to control (SUBJECT) their wives or the women in their congregations?  Aren’t they simply being bullies?  I would ask them this question:  when was the last time God bullied you into doing anything?

NO, you cannot use Jonah as an example.  Jonah was a prophet.  In those days, a prophet who did not publish the prophecy God had given them was killed and Jonah knew that.  He also knew that if he went to Nineveh and gave the prophecy, the people would repent.  His problem was that he also knew Israel to be a stubborn and stiff-necked people who struggled when it came to repentance, and if Nineveh repented where Israel had not, it would make Israel (the people of GOD) look bad.  So instead of bringing reproach on Israel and the name of God, Jonah refused to give the prophecy and tried to run away even though he knew God would kill him.  It must be noted that God did try to kill Jonah but then relented and saved Jonah because God knew Jonah’s heart. 

It is possible to find other verses in the Scripture to provide stand-alone support for the false doctrine of subjection of wives.  However doing so refutes the Scripture as a whole and the entire character of God, who loves and is love – perfect love.  Jeremiah 31:3  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Remember Abigail?  She was a woman who voluntarily submitted herself to her husband who was, according to Scripture, a man with a bad disposition whose very name means ‘fool’.  Yet Abigail also used wisdom and her act of obedience brought her great reward because she was following and honoring the King.

Ladies, God loves you and does not want you to be in subjection to cruel and abusive men.  He has established a hierarchical structure with the husband as the head of the house but if the ‘head’ of the house is violent or abusive God is not demanding that you stay in that place.  Instead God has made provision for wives to escape abusive situations.  Protect yourselves. Protect your children.    1 Corinthians 7:10-11  10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

 Husbands have a great responsibility and will answer to God for the way they treat their family.  Women hold a special place in the heart of God and He dotes on His daughters.  Think about the way a husband or father dotes upon their little girl.  God’s devotion to His daughters so exceeds that, it is immeasurable.  He wants us protected, nurtured, provisioned and loved, and He has provided a framework and directions to fulfill His purpose.

God expects the men in our lives to protect us.  1 Thessalonians 4 talks about how men are to act – not with lust, but with self-control.  Men are not to defraud another person through sexual acts.  If ever a man hurts a woman with sexuality, they are rejecting God.  Another instance of God wanting women protected occurs in the Matthew 26:7-13 where the woman with the alabaster box of perfume anointed Jesus.  Remember how the other men present became angry at her, but Jesus spoke up and defended her, protecting her from their anger.  In a time and place where men considered a woman to be chattel, it was unheard of for a man to protect a woman.  Yet, here was Jesus, doing just that.  God’s command to husbands is to love their wives as Christ loves the church.  A tall order, don’t you think?

Need some other examples of God thinking we’re special?  John 20:1, a woman was first at the tomb.  Matthew 28:8, a woman was the first to proclaim the resurrection.  Luke 2:37, a woman was first to preach to the Jews.  Acts 16:13, a woman was first to greet Christian missionaries in Europe.  Acts 16:14, a woman was the first European convert.  I could go on, but you get the drift.

God cherishes His daughters.  God delights in our presence.  God loathes disciplining His daughters – it breaks His heart to have to do it – so he places men between us to bear the brunt of our discipline and punishment.  God has given us the role of wife, mother, daughter.  Yet instead of taking advantage of the buffer zone, women abandon God-given roles.  Men don’t have a buffer zone – we’re special.   We’re loved, cherished, adored, pampered, coddled, and protected.  So many of us have stepped out from under that covering – making demands and vows without our fathers’ or husbands’ guidance, or sometimes in direct opposition to their desires.  We’ll be held accountable for those!  I don’t know about you, but I like it better the other way.  As long as my covering is making Godly decisions, I’m following him!  Remember Abigail.

Now for the hard part: ladies, God wants us to submit – not for His sake, not for our husband’s or father’s sake, but for OUR OWN sake.  You see, God holds men accountable for their wives’ and daughters’ decisions and actions, and for their well-being, and that PROTECTS women.  Our husbands and fathers are our covering – a buffer of protection between us and the world AND God’s anger.  Note that I said a buffer between us and God’s ANGER, not us and GOD.  God wants intimate and loving relationship with us.  He doesn’t want to discipline us unless He absolutely has to.  How do I know that?   His Word tells me that.  Numbers 30:3 – A maid’s vow is her father’s responsibility.  If he lets it stand, then he is responsible for the outcome.  If he doesn’t, then it is of no effect.  Numbers 30:2 talks about a man’s vow standing.  A father or husband can nullify the vow, and the woman will be forgiven.  Numbers 30:13-15 – A husband may establish or void a woman’s vow.  If the husband holds his peace, then the vow is established.  If he later rescinds the vow, then HE bears the woman’s sin. 

Now, the woman’s liberation movement has twisted these scriptures to the point that they are unrecognizable.  They say it means we are less than men, that we don’t have the same rights and privileges, and that we should.  Hogwash!  This scripture means that the father or husband are responsible for the woman.  God will hold them accountable for their wives /daughters’ actions and their well-being.  Through this, God has offered us protection from His wrath by placing fathers / husbands as covering for us.  This same protection carries over into the New Testament.  In Ephesians 5: 21-29, 33 – This scripture talks about submission – one to another.  Once again, it has been perverted to make it seem like God esteems men over women, and we are less than they are.  In point of fact, that is NOT what this scripture is saying.  What it IS saying is that men are commanded to love, nurture, cherish and protect their wives as Christ loves and protects the church – how would you like to be held accountable for living up to that standard?  Wives are commanded to respect their husbands – and how could you not when you look at this scripture and see that God expects the impossible of your poor husband?  (A task he can only accomplish through God.)  The husband is the head of the wife – this is an awesome responsibility.  He’s responsible for her well-being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.  And if he isn’t doing his job, GOD will deal with him.  You don’t want to be in the way.  What a treasure to have – a GOD that loves you so much, he’s given you someone to take care of you.  And He will hold that someone accountable, even for YOUR decisions.  Stop and think about it, ladies.  When was the last time God was harsh with you over anything?  Have you deserved it?  Probably.  But he doesn’t do it. 

                And how are we supposed to treat our husbands and fathers?  Do we talk down to them?  Do we point out their faults and shortcomings to anyone who will listen?  When they make a mistake, or miss God’s direction, do we browbeat them?  I’d like to think we’ve grown beyond that, but I know that isn’t necessarily true.  Jeremiah 31:22 – “ . .  and a woman shall compass a man.  ..”  What does that mean?  It means a woman shall protect a man.  Need another example?  How about the story of Nabal and Abigail in 1 Samuel 25.  Here, clearly, is the example of a Godly woman, protecting her husband.  Nabal was about to pay for his foolishness with his life when his wife, Abigail, stepped in and protected him.  She brought the offerings to the King, and she asked that Nabal’s iniquity be upon herself.  She acknowledged the foolishness of her husband, and pleaded for forgiveness, not for Nabal, but for herself because she took the sin upon herself.  What was the outcome?  The King relented, and she and her household were saved.  . . . at least, they were all saved except Nabal, who was slain by God, but not by the King.  And what happened to Abigail?  She received an upgrade.  So ladies, the next time your husband / father does something really foolish, step up to the plate and become an Abigail – God will bless you for it.

Peace on Earth

Peace…our hearts cry out for peace.  Some people want peace so badly they are willing to give away lands, property, wealth and possessions just to live in peace.  It never works.  The enemy trying to steal peace is never satisfied.  Our enemy is like a black hole, devouring everything that comes near and continually demanding more.

Scripture, however, promises mankind peace.  Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  These words, proclaimed by the angels at the birth of Christ, are a promise from God Almighty.  And God is not a man – He doesn’t lie and He doesn’t go back on his promises.  So if God promised us peace at Christ’s birth, why don’t we have peace on earth?

The answer is pretty simple.  What God promised was peace between Himself and mankind.  It is impossible for God to give us total peace on earth as long as the enemy is on earth because God is not a bully. He is not going to force anyone to accept Him. Neither is He going to force anyone to be at peace with others. God asks us to be at peace with one another and He has also given each of us free-will to make our own choices. Those who are under the influence of hate, fear, anger and distrust find it impossible to live in peace.

For all those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord, God has kept His promise.  We have peace in the midst of every storm, every upheaval, every grief, trial and problem.  The peace God gives us through Christ is an inner peace – a stillness in our spirits that isn’t tossed to-and-fro every time there is upheaval in our lives.  We might be walking through a valley and yet the peace of God reigns in our hearts.  In every situation we turn to Him and we find a peace that is tangible.

Until Christ returns, there will never be peace on earth between man and man, culture and culture – no matter how hard we try.  When Christ returns He will destroy the enemy and remove all wickedness.  Then there will be perfect peace.  But until then, it is incumbent upon every believer to be the light of peace in every situation.  No matter what is happening around us, we are called to shine the light of love, peace, grace and mercy into the world.  Believers must not react to circumstances but must instead act in the love of God.

Want peace?  Pursue Christ.  Want joy?  Embrace Christ?  Want love?  Accept Christ.

Philippians 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:8   Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Jeremiah 31:3   The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you


Ghosts.  We all have them.  Those things from the past that just won’t leave us alone.  Ghosts of what was.  Ghosts of what might have been.  Ghosts of what should have been.  Some people are more haunted by their ghosts than others.  Why is that?  There are those of us who can’t seem to let go of the past – who are constantly looking back and pulling those memories out like worry beads, dwelling on them and reliving them.  There was a woman in the Scriptures who was like that.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is told in the book of Genesis, Chapter 19, verses 1-27.  At verse 26 is told what happened to Lot’s wife when she disobeyed God’s command to NOT LOOK BACK.  Most Bible commentaries focus on her disobedience.  Some even call her as sinful as all of the others destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah.  Today, though, I want to focus on what happened to her when she looked back.

Looking back is rarely edifying.  Some of us have mastered the art of replaying good memories and discarding the bad.  There are those among us, however, who can only look at the regrets and the hurts of their past.  These dear ones, like Lot’s wife, have become pillars of salt.

Why salt?  Why not stone, or wood, or some other mineral, like iron?  Why did GOD turn Lot’s wife into a solid statue of salt?  This is an important point in the story. Remember that Jesus warned the people to “Remember Lot’s wife.” in Luke 17:32.  He didn’t say “remember Sodom and Gomorrah”, but “Remember Lot’s wife.”  In taking a closer look at the salt aspect we have to remember the purpose for which Jesus came – to be a sacrifice for all of our sin and provide a way for us to be saved.  He came to destroy the works of the enemy, not to destroy mankind.  So when Jesus warned them to remember Lot’s wife, was he warning them that they were doomed to destruction if they didn’t listen?

Salt is used to season food.  It provides savor and enhances the taste of food.  It is also used as a curative and a preservative.  So why did God use salt?  If we take this in conjunction with the words of Christ, we have to look at the spiritual aspect.  Christians are the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”)  A Christian in their daily life acts as seasoning in the lives of others.  Our words and actions are to produce and enhanced flavor in the lives of others.  When we speak, salt should pour out into the lives of those around us.  However, if we have become lukewarm in our relationship with God then our salt begins to lose its saltiness.  And as Christ said in Matthew 5:13, it becomes useless.  In ancient times, when salt became useless they threw it out into the roads to act as pavement!

The other thing you may have noticed about salt is that if it is left in the salt shaker unused, it becomes a hardened mass – like Lot’s wife.  Salt that is savory and useful is free-flowing and fresh. 

In our lives, our own salt can become hardened and flavorless if we, like Lot’s wife, look back on our past with regrets or pining or unforgiveness.  It is incumbent upon us to keep our salt free-flowing and flavorful, and in order to do that we need to deal with the ghosts of our past.  It’s time to move on.  It’s time to truly forgive – whether that forgiveness needs to be directed at someone who hurt or offended us; someone who hindered us; God; or even ourselves.  It is time to stop blaming and start living.

Dealing with our ghosts can be a painful process, but it won’t kill us.  Not dealing with them might!  Our hearts might not want to forgive, but that’s okay, because our hearts (feelings, emotions) will follow our heads.  We make a determination in our minds to forgive and then we take that to God and ask for His help in forgiving.  My favorite prayer goes something like this:  “Lord, I choose to forgive _____ for _____.  Please help me to forgive.”  I have found God to be faithful every time.

So today, let’s lay those ghosts to rest, refill our shakers, and get out into the world and spread some salt!

John 8:12  Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”