Wednesday, March 31, 2010



When I was about fifteen, I had my first official date. The boy is unimportant, but what went down with my parents has stayed with me to this day. Definitely not one to let on how nervous I was, I stayed in my room until his arrival. I had no idea what was taking him so long. Does punctuality mean nothing anymore!

After what felt like forever, he finally arrived at my house. Right when I saw the car pull into my driveway, I bolted down the stairs. I stuck my head into the living room and gave, what I thought would be, my goodbyes. Right as I turned to leave, my ears hear the following: “Don’t move a muscle.” Great.

My parents had made the decision that I was a lady, and would be treated as such. I was not setting one foot out of that house until my date arrived to greet me at the front door. There would be no running out to his car. There would be no casual departure. This boy would come inside, meet my family, and only then would he leave with me. All I could think was: UNFAIR.

John 18:38-39
“I find no basis for a charge against [this man]. But…” – NIV

Is life fair? Of course not, but is fairness what we really want?

Consider the trial of Jesus Christ before the high priest as well as Pilate. As we can see, there were a number of unfair events that led to the crucifixion of our Lamb.

1. Not a single witness ever came against Jesus or produced any evidence to condemn Him.
2. The high priest questioning was illegal in the first place because there were no other witnesses present.
3. Jesus was struck in the face by an official for answering a question directed to Him.
4. In the end, the verdict was based on political gain as opposed to evidence.

During this time in the life of Christ, Jesus all but encourages those who come for his arrest to proceed. Nothing about this “trial” was fair, or even procedurally accurate. However, this injustice was all part of God’s plan. If anything had been completed in a fair manner, our King of Kings would not have perished. We would not know eternal life. We would not deserve grace. We would all be lost, or worse yet, getting exactly what we deserve.

How blessed we are that life is unfair.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



I have to say, sometimes, God’s timing is so perfect that it is almost funny. Here I was, driving to my writing spot, and completely racking my brain for topics. For the last couple of weeks, the ideas have been flowing more like molasses than water. Just when I was starting to hit panic mode, I noticed something: My concentration was not on the road. I realize that this sounds a bit hazardous, but I only mean that I was able to have a relaxing ride into town as opposed to the war zone that I typically undergo.

For the past 75 days, the road to Alpharetta has been insanely rough…literally. There are potholes everywhere on Haynes Bridge Road exit ramp and it is a full on battle to evade succumbing to an oversized ditch! I really have to be on alert in order to duck, dodge and swerve around these sedan minefields.

But, today, the holes are filled in. There was no struggle to get here; in fact, it was hardly any effort at all. After months and months of struggling, the path just got simple…literally, overnight.

Ephesians 6:18
“…With this in mind, Be alert…” - NIV

Sometimes life is taxing, but I often wonder, will it always be so? As God changes our hearts, do things become easier? Is walking uprightly always going to require such… effort?

Even in life, the essence of potholes is that we do not see them until it is almost too late. Most of the time, we are cruising so fast that any change in destination is going to require some effort. The only way to avoid inevitable destruction is to live defensively. We must prepare ourselves for hidden dangers. We must keep our eyes vigilant and always guard our hearts. We must have faith that God will fill the holes one at a time.

Perhaps, if we are lucky, we will wake up one day and find our road a little smoother.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Challenge


Every now and then, my husband and I will run up to the restaurant by our house and engage ourselves in a little game of ping-pong. With competitive spirit in both of us, we each think that we are skilled around a ping-pong table. I am confident that if an outsider were to watch us, the consensus would be that we could each play at a semi-high level. This all being said, the long-standing record within our personal competition is as follows: Brian 36, Tara 1.

It’s ridiculous! There is just something about his ninja-paddle-style that I cannot seem to conquer. Every game, I start out well. I am confident. I am consistent. I am steady. Eventually, point-by-point, by focus weakens and I begin to make mistakes. An over hit here, a missed angle there, and by the end, my ability feels like it has left me forever and I just surrender to my defeat.

There was, however, that one magical night when I emerged from that restaurant victorious. It may have been the only time I was met with triumph, but that feeling is enough to keep me trying again and again.

James 5:11
“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.” – NIV

The struggles and challenges of life will always be hard for us. This is not our home. This is not where we belong. We are going to make mistakes. So many mistakes in fact, that, at times, it will seem easier to just succumb to our environment and give up gracefully. Why must we fight everyday? Why must we always try to be better?

The reason: It is our purpose. God wants something different for us, He wants something better. God wants us to persevere through this world and receive our glory in the next. He has given every tool that we would ever need to emerge from this world victorious. And, better yet, He promises, that the joy of that one victory is well worth the fight for the rest.

Maybe, when we are ready to accept defeat, we should remind ourselves Who we are fighting for.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Royal Welcome


Before getting married, one of the best highlights of my life was attending my first Nsync concert. From 2000-2004, Nsync was one of the most popular boy bands in the world. Trust me when I say that their sheer presence was a highly coveted event. At the height of their popularity, the band announced that they would be going separate ways at the conclusion of a final world tour. Age aside, I fought thru all the little teenage monsters and obtained two tickets to their final concert at the Georgia Dome.

Soon the day arrived; it was show time! I couldn’t contain my excitement. I got all decked out in Nsync apparel, rolled up my handcrafted poster and headed for the Dome. It didn’t take long to notice the vast crowd of youngsters virtually polluting the downtown arena. It seemed like everyone was hoping against hope to simply get a glimpse of the boy band and shower them with affection. Never before had I witnessed such a sight of worship, praise and pure excitement…let alone, been a part of one.

Matthew 21:8-9
“Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, "Hosanna to David's son!" "Blessed is he who comes in God's name!" "Hosanna in highest!"

Holy Week begins with the sixth Sunday in Lent. The triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the end for our precious Savior. Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus Christ was proclaimed as the messianic king by the people. He had their support. He had their praise. He had their attention. Sadly, there is irony in his acceptance as the new Davidic King by the crowds who would, only five days later, cry for his execution.

Fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, Jesus rode into the city on a barebacked donkey. As long as He acted the part of royalty, the people were content with His role as king. The moment that Christ began to act in humbleness, the people were calling for His sacrifice. I can’t help but wonder: Is a King only a King if he acts like one?

How often do we crucify the King for acting like the servant?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stop Signs


So, here it is, the weekend, and I am not doing anything that I thought I would be doing. All week I had been anticipating this time of discernment and decision-making. I thought that these two days would be my time of reflection, contemplation and choice. I thought this because I was told to think this.

Let me explain. For the past six weeks, I have been in an interview process for a new position at my company. With the final interview completed, I was guaranteed a pronouncement by Friday. My intention was, if offered the position, to take this weekend and choose between acceptance and refusal.

But alas, here I am, Saturday afternoon and still unaware of the company’s decision. Not only was nothing declared, no mention was made of the issue whatsoever. Once again, I was promised action, but left with waiting.

I am so sick of the entire waiting process! Why can life never go as planned? So much of my adulthood has been spent waiting for something else to happen or some decision to be made and, frankly, I demand results! I want to run ahead of everyone and get things done. I want to act now and hope that God will bless my actions later. If God has a problem with a decision that I make, He will stop me, right? So why not press on…make decisions, take steps forward, do…something.

Psalm 106:13-14
“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test.” - NIV

The Bible is full of examples from people who did not wait on the Lord. Incidentally, not one of those examples ends positively. It is so hard to control our urge to run forward. At times, a negative result seems more appealing than no result at all.

During times like this, when action is tempting, part of me wonders: Is the duty of Jesus to lead us or stop us?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Star Sightings


Lately, when you glance at any form of a media outlet, you are inevitably going to spot the face of Tiger Woods. It is just a fact that the man is everywhere, or should I say, his sin is everywhere. I am so confident in the widespread knowledge of his discretion's that I do not even feel the need to explain further. What I do wish to observe, however, is the interview Tiger presented only a few days ago.

Pre-drama Tiger had always presented himself as a practicing Buddhist and overall spiritual man. When the craziness broke out about his personal life, he often sighted a loss of faith as the initial root of his decisions. In the latest interview, Tiger was questioned about the new bracelet he was wearing on his arm. His response indicated that the bracelet was there to remind him of his faith and that he is not to stray from it again; in other words, his Buddhism was back.

James 1:6
“For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” – KJV

As easy at it seems for us to recognize the publicity tactics behind Tiger’s “lost faith defense,” part of me understands it. I can recall numerous times in my own life when it was easier to blame my misplaced faith instead of my direct defiance. Even now, when I am reminded of the darker stages of my life, I say “I wasn’t walking with God then” and walk away feeling justified.

We all do it. We all play the game. We trick ourselves into the notion that God was not in our bad decisions, in fact, He was nowhere around. We block the image of Him watching in disappointment. We block His spirit inside of us begging to heal our wounds. When we are finally able to see ourselves, our sin becomes our worst feature and we urgently try to cover it up. I suppose it is funny what a little desperation can do.

I expect, if we look a little deeper, there could be a little Tiger in all of us.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Under the Radar


A few years ago, my company launched the Be-A-Star program. In short, the overall objective was to get the employees involved with the community as well as one another. Our department chose to celebrate Arbor Day and, as a program incentive, the leadership committee handed out seed packets with no additional details. The idea was to go home, plant your seeds and await a unique discovery.

I gotta tell ya, I wasn’t a huge fan of this enterprise. I went home, planted my seeds, watered them and patiently waited to see what all the fuss was about. The waiting process seemed like forever! Eventually, I forgot about those little seedlings and moved onto bigger things. I was so unfocused on the Arbor Day plant that I had no idea what was going on with it for months. To be honest, I never noticed a single thing about it until a stalk sprouted up and grew fragrant leaves.

Matthew 13 speaks of how the Kingdom of God is like a seed planted in the ground:
31-32 “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

The first time that Jesus came into the world, it was kind of under the radar. He walked with men who did not know Him. He spoke with women who did not recognize Him. For the majority of the population, most people had no idea what was going on until years and years later. The first time, He came so that we would believe evidence He placed before us.

The next time will be much different. Jesus will not come back to gain believers or prove His holiness, no, that question has already been handled. He will not come in poorness so that people could mistake His authority for insignificance. When Christ returns it will be monumental, powerful and obvious to all. There will be no question about His holiness.

As Chris Tiegreen says: His return will not be a process, it will be an instant.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Man of His Word


Not long ago, I applied for a job at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. I had recently gotten engaged and really wanted some extra money to help look the part :) At first, Lifeway seemed like the perfect place of employment. I was hired fairly quickly and dove into training right away. I learned what was expected of me, how I was to manage my time and how to treat my employment like a ministry.

It did not take long for the part time schedule to interfere with my pre-marital calendar. Almost immediately, I had scheduling conflicts, horrible shift assignments and an all around attitude of inconvenience. I felt horrible. Never before had I been so irresponsible with a job. They had hired me, trained me and, mistakenly, trusted me. A month did not go by before I quit the position with zero notice. I abandoned my commitment to work and ran off to something more fun.

James 5: 12
“Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no, or you will be condemned.” – NIV

Commitments: We all have them. I suppose it is self-explanatory that I cannot say that we all keep them. What stands in our way of keeping the commitments we have made? Something bigger? Something better? Even if our excuses are justifiable, do those weigh more than our words?

It amazes me how many build their faith exclusively on the words of God. Some would consider this blind trust a risky undertaking. In fact, entire belief structures have been known to crumble with a single accusation of falsehood. And yet, Christianity stands. The words of our God have stood the test of time and His commitments continue. We listen to Him. We know Him. We trust Him.

As we utter the sinner’s prayer and commit our lives to His glory, I have to wonder, can He take us at our words?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Invitation


When I was planning our wedding, there were so many details to figure out. One of the most important ones, in my mind, was the invitation. This small element was going to be the first glimpse of our wedding; it had to be awesome. Fortunately, my parents and I agreed on the importance of this statement, so, we spared no expense.

A couple months before the ceremony, the invitations were sent. They were embossed, tasteful, enticing and beautiful; everything that I had hoped for. And yet, some people who were invited, did not attend. A tiny part of me wanted to stand up and say, “why the heck not? Did you see our invitation?! Does it not seduce you into attending our wedding?!”

Matthew 22:2-3
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” - NIV

God is preparing a banquet that is invitation only, and somehow, we have made the list! What God has prepared will be more extravagant than any could imagine, and yet, many invited consciously choose not to attend. I can’t help but wonder: Why not? Then I think, could it be the invitation?

The invitation to God’s banquet is not presented with fancy lettering, embossed graphics or excessive detail. God’s invitation is quite plain in comparison; it comes from a poor Galilean with dust in His shoes. Perhaps the people were not attracted to such an event. Perhaps the people had something better to do. Perhaps, due to other commitments, there simply was no time.

Are we guilty of the same? Do we fill our lives with so many commitments; there is no time to prepare for God’s Heavenly banquet?

God is preparing a banquet for us; are we preparing to attend?

Monday, March 22, 2010



This morning at 8:30am, I will be in an interview. I will sit before a panel of five senior managers and allow them to question me. They will question my capability and talent until; ultimately, they decide my professional future.

To get to this level in the interview process, I was forced to take a couple of assessments that could demonstrate my specific skill set. One of the required programs for my desired position is the Microsoft Access database. Now, I have absolutely no idea how to produce anything remotely reliable in the Access program, a fact to which I had sheepishly admitted. However, even after hearing my confession of ignorance, the assessment was still made mandatory. I just did not understand it. Why test me when failure was inevitable?

Psalm 35:11
“Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.” – NIV

Tests…what are they trying to prove? Is the only intention behind this pretense to expose the unqualified, or, is there a deeper functionality? Is it the results that prove beneficial or the progressions?

When Jesus spoke to the people in parables, was there not a lesson in the end? When the people in the Bible fail, is He not there to correct them? God knows our abilities; he does not need an exam to prove Him correct. He knows before we move if we will stand or fall, and yet, he moves us regardless. We do not know it all, nor will we ever. I can’t help but trust that, in these tests and trials of life, it is not the outcome that matters.

So much of life is a lesson followed by a test. What if the Christian life is tests, then lessons?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Counting Costs


About two years ago, I became a leader for the YoungLife ministry. In what seemed to be a perfect pairing, I was matched with the freshmen girls group of a particular high school in Roswell, Ga. I couldn’t have been more excited. I was ready to be involved. I was ready to make a difference. I was ready to serve.

Eventually, and much to my surprise, my passion began to wither as I started to feel the burden of my service. Because my girls were freshmen, and transportation was always an issue, I became the go-to chauffeur. The girls started to crave rides more than direction and I could not help but feel…used.

This service was not what I imagined. The kids were not putting in the effort that I expected and I fear that, out of disappointment, my leadership followed suit. Why should I be the only one caring? Do they feel no ownership in this ministry? The situation had made itself clear: My impact was minimal at best and my gas budget suffered each semester.

I spent much time in reflection, what was wrong with me? Then it hit me: What I wanted was not service, it was significance.

Philippians 2:3-4
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – NIV

Sometimes, the words of Paul can cut like a knife. In a simple, two-verse statement, he managed to convict me of my entire leadership mentality.

How many of us miss the entire point of our service? Paul is so adamant in his instruction that he goes as far as to say, if we cannot forfeit our own desires…we should do nothing! Don’t get involved if it is only going to be about us.

How I wish that I understood earlier, sometimes, the service that counts is the service that costs.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Enter the Silence


I’ve been sitting here for a while now. Thinking, pondering, praying. Basically, just trying to come up with something to write about. Today is no different from others. Every morning I sit down and, without thinking, expect God to show up. I expect Him to meet me where I am and produce a meaningful (yet engaging) message.

But today…nothing. I suppose that I knew this time would come eventually, but I did not expect it to be so soon. I guess that today is the day, that I have nothing to say.

Of course, in my mind, I can’t help but wonder what this silence from God means. Why isn’t He here? Have I already lost the passion for this project? Is God trying to tell me something by not showing up? Why is He not giving me the words to say? Is this a reprimand of some kind? Or, is there something to this silence that I am missing?

Lamentations 3:27-28
“It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.” – The Message

Why is it that I experience one morning of stillness and automatically consider myself forsaken? Is my faith so small? Do I always expect Him to be moving, and in big ways? I fear that I have expected from God what I should have hoped for.

Could it be that the silence we rarely encounter is there for a reason? Could there be a lesson in His absence? Perhaps, if we stop speaking, we will finally begin to listen…and in my experience, sometimes the silence has the loudest voice.

Friday, March 19, 2010



A few summers ago, my friends and I were relaxing at my parent’s lake house. It had been a casual day of sun bathing and swimming with no regard for the impending storm on the horizon. Eventually, the sun became clouds and we decided it was time to retire. As we followed my dogs up the dock ramp, there it was: A huge snake!

The snake was in the water in striking position! Out of sheer terror, we scooped up the dog closest to us and ran to the boat. In all the panic, my tiny Chihuahua had managed to sneak away and go investigate the situation. He pranced right up to the shoreline and the snake was only a few feet away. His entire life flashed before my eyes. Finally, he seemed to lose interest in his pursuit and returned to me on the boat.

Matthew 10:16
“Be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

The world is full of snakes, do not be misled. The master serpent is leading them and guiding them in ways of deceit and destruction. While the presence of these creatures is nothing new, their schemes and trickery are always developing. Do you know of any snakes in your life?

The interesting thing about God’s command is that, upon an encounter with a devious snake, we are not called to react with vengeance. We are not called to supersede their deception and make them appear as fools, no, we are told to act innocently. We are to teach ourselves, make our minds aware of their deceptions and strategies so that we may not fall victim. In other words, investigate the situation. Our awareness must measure up to one who is against us, but our character and behavior must measure up to the One who made us.

Chris Tiegreen says that our attitudes are at war with a conniving enemy; our behavior must refuse to engage him. Is this not where we struggle?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wolf Pack


Slowly I have come to the realization that I, most likely, will not be teaching next year. In all probability, I will remain at my current company analyzing data and hanging Twilight posters in my cube. This is a wiggly pill for me to swallow. I graduated from seminary! I am, finally, certified to teach the Bible! I want to work in a spiritually rich setting!

Life would be so much easier if my peers and I shared the same values and beliefs, but this is hardly the case. Everyone says to be an example and embrace the challenge. “Be a light in the darkness,” they say. What if I don’t want the responsibility set before me! Corporate America has the power to devour me like a wolf in the night, and frankly, I would rather avoid that ugliness.

As I reread the above paragraphs, I am convicted of my absurdity. When did I turn into such a complainer? I don’t even want to delete it and hide my grumbling personality, no, I want to attack it.

Luke 10:3
“Go! I am sending you out like lambs among the wolves.” – TNIV

I read this verse and automatically question the Lord. What shepherd would dare send his sheep into a pack of wolves? Then it hit me…our Good Shepherd does exactly that. In fact, he does not merely suggest this action, he insistently orders us to “Go!”

God is well aware of the environment in which He placed me, how dare I demand something less challenging. Even worse, what excuse do I have for even wanting to avoid the “wolves” in my life… laziness?

God knows the danger that lay before His flock. He, whose own humanity did not survive the wolf pack, understands the command He is making. All I can believe in, all any of us can believe in, is that the plentiful harvest He has promised is worth the sacrifice of lambs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Technical Difficulties


When we first got married, my husband and I did not have cable. I know, I know. It sounds ridiculous, but it actually worked well for us during that time. I am not going to lie; we did have a secret weapon with the DVD seasons of Brother’s and Sisters. We both were hooked on the ABC show then and still watch it to this day. Recently, however, we are forced to watch it online because of our levelheaded bedtimes 

So, last night was the night. We sat down together in our chair, pulled up and settled in for an hour of great television. As luck would have it, we got about 30 minutes into the episode and then my computer started going haywire. The video was stalling, the voices were stuttering and, after two restarts, it became clear that technical difficulties were at an all time high.

After a while of struggling with it, I gave up. I was tired. I was frustrated. I decided that I would rather quit watching it all together than have to sit there and be annoyed. If it wasn’t going to go my way then I didn’t want anything to do with it. Period.

Hebrews 12:7
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” - NIV

I have to wonder how much of my life is wasted with this mentality of my way or no way. I wish that I could say my frustration with life ended at internet television, but I cannot. With my spiritual walk alone, I have started, become frustrated, and quit a number of times. If God was not presenting me with all that I expected and making life easy, why was I bothering? Surely, it wasn’t worth the effort.

How do we respond when we do not get what we want? Do we remain faithful? Do we trust that He will deliver? Do we complain? Do we quit all together?

Sometimes, in my experience, God’s first response to prayer is not always His final answer. Perhaps, He is testing our faith, testing our trust. The nature of our response may determine the results we visibly witness.

It may not be the answer we want, but when we seek Him in faith, He does answer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lost Voices


Last year, I had the privilege of working with the YoungLife Ministry. Before school on Wednesdays, we would meet at the local Atlanta Bread Company and discuss their lives, their spiritual walks and prayer concerns. As you can imagine, two of those topical areas were abundant in conversation, while the latter was met with silence. When it came time to voice prayer concerns and pray, those little chatterboxes sealed up like clams.

As the weeks turned into months, I couldn’t help but notice, their struggles were beginning to repeat themselves. Each girl, each week, would speak of family disturbances, peer pressure, school pressure and the like. However, at prayer request time, suddenly the struggles were not enough to voice again. Regrettably, this behavior of complain first, be silent later was something to which they all became accustomed. These young high schoolers, however immature in their spiritual journeys, were unknowingly touching on a very mature issue with Christians: Admitting needs.

John 5:6
“Do you want to get well” – NIV

In the book of John, Jesus and his disciples were traveling to Jerusalem. At the gate, Jesus came across a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. Can you imagine how this man must have looked, sitting at the gate day in and day out with other blind, lame and paralyzed peers? Still, Jesus says, “Do you want to get well?” I mean, isn’t it obvious!

God knows our hearts. He knows every need that we encounter and every want that we do not speak. He knows when we doubt Him and He knows when we feel Him. The message is not if God can hear us, it is about if anything is there for Him to hear at all. In His greatness, He will save us. In His mercy, He will heal us. All He asks in return is for the need to be acknowledged.

Let us voice our needs; we never know who may be listening.

Monday, March 15, 2010



Shortly after we got married, my husband and I purchased a house. It is not a large house as some would have, but it is more than enough to meet our needs. Weeks before our move in date, I couldn’t help myself…I was consumed with nesting. Designing, decorating and planning for our future was my single objective. My husband gave me a decorating budget and I went to work. My central goal: To make this empty house our home. I spent time on it. I spent money on it. I spent effort on it.

In the end, our house became everything we hoped for. Every time we walk through the door, we are overcome with feelings of appreciation for what we are able to have. Nevertheless, in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of the short amount of time we will actually live here. As our family grows over time, our needs will grow accordingly. There is a distinct possibility that this house, the one that I worked so hard to adorn, will one day be a memory.

John 12:25
“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” – NIV

Man, do we want it all! Humanity cannot decide which home they are after: This world, or, the next. If any are like me, then they understand the amount of time wasted in adorning this world. I prepare for it. I spend energy on it. I spend money in it.

God commands us to hate this life, this world, this existence. We are to be holding out hope and praise for the eternal world prepared for us. How simple it is to attempt to hang on to the visible life and the eternal life at the same time, and derive our joy from both. God says that we must choose. The decision is upon us: Will we choose to treasure our lives on earth or in heaven? We cannot have both, one must be forsaken.

A man’s greatest care should be for that place where he dwelleth longest; eternity should be his scope. – Thomas Manton

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Follow the Leader


Years ago, I heard the story of a young woman who wanted to go to college. Her heart sank as she read the question on the application that said, “Are you a leader?” Being honest, she answered “No” and sent in the application. Weeks and weeks went by with no responses to her submission and, slowly, she began to expect the worst. Finally, after much worry, she received the following letter from the university:

Dear Applicant,
A study of application forms reveals that this year our freshman class will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel as though they should have at least one follower.

Luke 9:23
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You are not in the driver's seat—I am. Do not run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I will show you how.” – The Message

From childhood, we are trained to be leaders. “Do not conform to the masses”, they say. “Stand your ground!” “Do not be a follower!” “Do not fall to peer pressure!” If only our culture taught us that, our greatest position in life, is not one of leadership, but submission.

Our God commands a following. He is the leader. He is the only leader. How often we try to guide our own lives and lead ourselves. How often we cry out for power when we realize that we have none. If you really think about it, are there any who follow nothing? The greatest leaders in our world, the very ones who exemplify guidance, even they follow something. It could be a deity, it could be an idea, and it…could be…a faith. The path will never be greater than the one that comes after Him.

I suppose that, sometimes, it is hard to remember that we must first become a follower before God can lead.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Leading Man


Yesterday, my friend Natalie and I did something that I rarely do: We went to the movies. With the theater prices the way that they are these days, I am what you call a repeat renter. This being said, there is one celebrity actor that can swindle the $10.50 from my pocket and get me to the movies: Rob Pattinson.

To be perfectly honest, I had hardly any idea what this movie was about because the previews had been less than informative. All I knew was that this actor captured my attention. I had faith that he would deliver and make my efforts to see him worthwhile. After all, is that not why actors are paid so extravagantly…their ability to capture an audience and deliver on that attention? Therefore, long story short, we went to the movies…on blind faith alone.

Mark 5: 27-28
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” - NIV

Blind faith. The woman in this story knew nothing of Jesus Christ apart from reputation. She had been much to ill to travel and become a follower. She had not witnessed His previous miracles or heard His spiritual lessons. The sheer presence of this amazing man gave her hope and faith about her condition. With no regard for the potential consequences of her action, she reached out.

Could we all be so faithful? There is something to be said about a man that produces followers. When the woman touched Him, Jesus responded. He asked, “Who touched me?” Do not think for a second that the Almighty was not aware of the hand that reached for Him. He knew. He knows.

We must own our actions and the faith behind them. Most of all, we must be fully aware of who exactly we are reaching for.

Friday, March 12, 2010



After what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, yesterday, it happened: Summit Entertainment released the much-anticipated trailer to the third movie in the Twilight franchise, Eclipse. Man, was it great! While it was only one minute and thirty-three seconds in length, it was enough of a taste to last another three months until the movie premiers. Everyone was talking about it. Entertainment shows, facebook, friends and it was all over the internet. Just the idea of what’s to come is making us anticipate it even more.

When I truly think about it, it is somewhat nutty. No one has seen this film. No one has reviewed this film. In fact, aside from this new preview, no one has even mentioned this movie whatsoever. I have to wonder: Why the anticipation over something that we really know very little about? Is it the mystery? Is it the possibility that it could be even better than we imagine? Is it just the need inside of us to experience it?

Revelation 22:5
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of the lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” – NIV

Is our anticipation for Heaven much the same as our anticipation for anything unseen? The book of Revelation provides us with mere glimpses of the after life. Pictures of Christ and His holy light. Glimpses of the angelic multitude and the New Jerusalem. These small pictures of eternity beg the question: Could there possibly be more?

1 Corinthians 2 tells us that no eye has seen and no ear has heard the wonders that God has prepared for us. The book of Revelation is simply a preview, or taste, of that amazement. Oh, how our human nature anticipates it. How much we need to experience it.

For this expectancy and no other, we should live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today and is coming back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

All Eyes on Me


At work last month, the unthinkable happened: cameras were installed. While they were not installed with the intention of spying on employees, they may as well have been. People reacted with panic! It made no difference that their intention was to actually help associates in the case of theft, oh no, the fact was: Someone was watching.

I say “people” were upset, but I was definitely in on that panic party. To top of the already iffy situation, I was the only employee on my side of the building that had a camera on them at all times. No matter what I do, it’s there. No matter what I’m working on, it’s there. No matter how much it bothers me, it’s there.

Now, some are probably thinking: “Just don’t do anything wrong and you have nothing to worry about.” While that is an understandable perspective, being caught slacking off is not my concern. For me, personally, I just do not like being watched. I do not want all eyes on me…ever.

Titus 2:7
“In all things show yourself to be an example…” – NASB

Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder, am I called to be an example? I feel like I am always falling short in areas of spiritual disciplines and trusting that God has my life under control. I feel like, if anyone was really watching me, they would witness times of doubt and worry. I feel like my life is lived in a blanket of grace.

Then, I think, perhaps this is the kind of life worth witnessing. God knows His children. He knows where we fall. And yet, being a godly example is not simply an option, it is commanded in scripture. Perhaps the real example is one of grace, mercy and love.

Perfection is an unattainable goal. Maybe, just maybe, a life of falling down is one worthy of watching.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Judge Judy


Last night, I had the pleasure of joining my brother for a play at the Fox Theater. While the play itself was directly off Broadway and saturated with raving reviews, the exaggerated liberal content had me a little hesitant to say the least.

As my brother sat at will-call, I decided to partake in some good old fashion people watching. Big mistake. I only had to glance up for a second to take notice of some of those in attendance. I say it only took a second because some of the patrons were dressed in styles that simply screamed, “Pay attention to me!”

In five short minutes, I managed to judge every single person that walked before me. It no longer mattered what my expectations of the play were originally, with these types of people, who knew what I was getting myself into. Just by those in attendance, my entire outlook of the play was altered.

1 Corinthians 5:12
”What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” – NIV

Judgment: How common. Sometimes, can we even help ourselves? Sadly, even the walls of the Church are painted with this insistent emotion. It is a scary thought to consider the number of lost souls forsaking the church simply because of those inside it. Even in my spiritual maturity, I avoid some church homes due to those in attendance.

Is it simply ironic that the tolerant message of Christ is lost in hypocritical membership? Is it simply ironic that those most in need of grace are those at the source of ridicule? Is it simply ironic that we naturally consider people who are different more in need of grace? Is it simply ironic…or something larger at play? I have to wonder: If you were the only Christian a person knew, would they avoid the rest?

It is one thing to feel that you are on the right path of life, but something very different to think that yours is the only way.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Open Window


If there is one thing that I have learned so far this year, it is that timing is everything. Particularly, when regarding interstate 400, I have learned that there are certain “ideal” commute times. Each day, there is a small fifteen-minute window when a commuter can travel with minimal traffic resistance. In the morning, if you leave after 6:15, big trouble. In the afternoon, if you leave after 4, bigger trouble.

I used to have this schedule under control, never reaching a traffic barrier in my daily commutes. Recently, however, I have discovered the joy that comes from an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. I’m here to tell you, at 5:45am, it doesn’t really matter what impending doom you are facing…fifteen more minutes is worth the regret later.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, 3
“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night…and they will not escape.” – NIV

How many of us know of the Lord and His greatness, but refuse to walk with Him. How many make the conscious decision to wait and be a Christian when I they are older…more settled down. Maybe next year. Maybe when I have kids. Maybe later.

I urge you, friends, the time is now. We do not know the day of our Lord’s coming and we will never know. In His mercy, He has given each of us time to choose Him. Each day of our lives is a window of open opportunity and open invitation. Yet, there are some who consciously choose to offend Him by turning down his invitation in lieu of something “more fun”. I plead with those in hesitation: Make sure you understand what is leading you to a life of regret.

When the window closes, eternity is a long time to think of what you should have done.

Monday, March 8, 2010

False Advertising


This past weekend my mother, a friend and I ventured to Birmingham, AL. The reason for our road trip was to take part in the annual Arts, Crafts and Gifts Festival. The event was held in the convention center in the heart of the city…aka…a BIG event. We were so excited. Lovers of crafts and antiques, this seemed right up our alley and totally worth the five-hour round trip commute.

All I can say now is FALSE! We arrived at the event only to be greeted with rows and rows of children’s clothes. The frickin’ thing was polluted with strollers, pregnant women and children’s Easter outfits. Now, there is nothing wrong with an event designed for new mothers and children, however, it should be advertised as such. For those of us who have no children, no children on the way or no grandchildren…this entire event was pointless.

We all felt, basically, misled. We were seduced into an idea that was never even there. We gave up our only free day of the week, spent a third of our time in the car and, in the end, was more upset with the lack of honesty than the lack of crafts.

Job 5:27
"We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself."

In a culture of deception and deceit, how do you know when someone is speaking the truth? Is the only solution blind trust, or, is there something to test against?

The Bible speaks of those who spent their lives testing the Lord, do we not do the same? Repeatedly, God will prove himself faithful in all circumstances. Slowly, our questions about Him and His abilities start to fade. This new certainty, this deliberate confidence, is based on experience and endurance. This experience, then, becomes Truth.

I feel confident in saying that any other religion that claims the peace and love that I know only to be found in Christ Jesus, is simply…False Advertising. It may be a great idea, but nothing more. Test it and you will see what it is really made of: ideas or Truth.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Best of the Best


In college, when I first began to walk with Christ, it was a daunting time. Immediately after praying the Sinner’s prayer, my mind focused on all of the things that were going to have to change in my life in order for me to be a good Christian.

There was no way I could stay working as a Jack Daniel’s Girl, and be a Christian. There was no way I could continue to smoke cigarettes on an hourly basis, and be a Christian. There was no way I could continue to listen to R&B music, and be a Christian. There was no way I could keep wearing my 4-inch red stilettos downtown on Friday nights, and be a Christian. Then it hit me…there was no way…I could be a Christian.

I wasn’t ready. The life I was leading, while rebellious at times, was still my life. How could I change everything? If I became a Christian, I would have nothing left.

1 Corinthians 7:20
“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” – NIV

How many are lost from Christ due to incorrect assumptions? Sadly, it has become a common delusion that “changes” are in order if you are to present yourself in front of the King, so much so, that most would rather not even bother. How odd that this “alteration order” was never from our Lord.

God calls us as we are. He wants us in our weakness. He wants us in our brokenness. Most of all, He simply wants us.

Never change yourself to go to God. Go to God, and He will change you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010



These last few years, it seems like the amount of suffering among humanity has risen exponentially. The dangerous tsunamis, the tragedy in Haiti and the earthquake in Chili are just a few examples of the natural destruction fallen upon civilization. Closer to home, the people we love are succumbing to disease, leaving for combat, losing their jobs or simply losing their faith. Everywhere we look something is happening. A home is lost. A marriage is over. A spirit is broken.

Times such as this beg the question: Where is God? If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

As common as this question is, and as natural as it may seem to be, I have to wonder what kind of unawareness prompts it. Do those who question our suffering understand the place of humanity in God’s Kingdom?

Romans 3: 10,12
"There is no one righteous, not even one… All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

It is a scary thought, getting what we deserve. God says that not a single one of us meets His standards. We all fail. We all fall short. We all deserve the penalty.

However, He also says we are justified freely through His grace. He says that we are redeemed thru Jesus Christ. He says that we are His. We are blessed. We are forgiven. We are…saved.

How do we make our Savior feel when we doubt His goodness? When our lives become a struggle, or we hear of someone else’s life becoming a struggle, our first reaction is to blame God. We fail to see that the minute we begin to feel worthy of His goodness, we are in big trouble.

Instead of asking why God allows bad things to happen to good people, should we not ask why God allows good things to happen to bad people?

Friday, March 5, 2010



Last month, two our very dear friends were engaged. The groom-to-be is my husband’s best friend and I absolutely love his new fiancĂ©. As soon as I heard the news, I asked my husband how it happened. As would be the case with any man, I only received “the gist.” I did not yet have the bride-to-be’s phone number so I had to concoct a new plan of information gathering. As a last ditch effort, I turned to facebook in hopes of finding additional details written in wall posts and comments. My efforts were unrewarding and I found myself with only a small piece of a larger puzzle.

Finally, last night, I actually spoke with the blushing bride and was completely filled in on the entire proposal procedure. As I expected, my “male-enhanced” version lacked much and I never would have realized it if I had not received all possible perspectives.

Acts 6:7
”So the word of God spread.” – NIV

In the start of the Church, there was no Bible as we know it today. What they did have, however, was the Word of God spoken throughout generations from those who walked in stride with Jesus Christ. These men recorded their time with Jesus and it has become the Holy Bible.

There are many in our contemporary cultures who regard the Bible as wayward. For the Gospels, specifically, there appear to be inconsistencies in the recollection of detail and recording of events. While the explanation of this seemingly inconsistent state is simple, there are those who refuse to see.

Were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John not four separate men? Could it be possible that each individual did not think, write or experience in the identically same manner? Could it be likely, that in His infinite care and concern for His children, that God provided every available perspective into the accounts of His life?

In an effort to get more specific, consider the following: Matthew contains nearly all of Mark’s material and Luke contains about half, however, at no point does Matthew and Luke agree against Mark. 97% of Mark’s words have a parallel account in Matthew. To provide even further credibility, Luke openly states that he used written sources to aid in his gospel account in chapter 1 of his gospel.

It is up to you to decide: Do you want to waste your faith in skeptical doubt, or, do you want to spend your days thanking our Heavenly Father for blessing us with all possible perspectives?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Matters


This past summer I was a part of a video-led Bible study. I really enjoyed viewing the lessons and participating in the book accompaniment. Each day there were lessons that corresponded with the video message and unique challenges meant for personal growth. One day, the author of the study challenged us to participate in a period of fasting for one day.

To be clear, I do not have any previous experience in fasting but I have spent much time studying the discipline. When a book was the thing challenging me to participate, I found myself reacting with mixed emotions. First, I thought this could be my time. Here I am, an adult Christian, and I have never participated in a spiritual discipline such as fasting. Perhaps I should comply? Then, I felt myself almost offended that a faceless author would request such a behavior from me without even knowing my circumstances. All in all, I was torn. Torn between obligation and obedience.

Mark 2: 18
The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees made a practice of fasting. Some people confronted Jesus: "Why do the followers of John and the Pharisees take on the discipline of fasting, but your followers don't?" – The Message

Mark 2: 18-22 is specific teaching on fasting. Jesus was questioned about his disciples and their lack of the spiritual discipline. Twice a week fasting was a major expression of orthodox in the day of Christ. The Pharisees were simply showing their devotion to the ceremonial law. Jesus said there was no need to fast as long as He was with them. Fasting, typically, came in times of sorrow or great stress. Jesus brought with Him great joy, not sorrow. When the Son of God departed from the world by murderous hands, fasting found a place in spiritual obedience.

From my personal perspective, to observe such a sacrament of spiritual obedience for the wrong motives would make someone no different from the Pharisees: Simply partaking in obedience for the sake of human approval or attention. If I had read the challenge from my Bible study author and felt convicted to express my obedience to Jesus Christ by fasting, then my actions would have been blessed.

Just like all things in relations to Christ Jesus: it is the motives that matter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beautifully Cracked


When I was in high school, my favorite class was ceramics. I loved, loved, loved molding clay into something beautiful. One of our first assignments was to make some sort of pot that would hold water (i.e. had no holes). I worked for days on a green pot that I couldn’t help but be proud of. The time came for it to be painted and fired. I got to class just in time to see my teacher pull the finished product out of the firing kiln and what did I see…a big stinkin’ hole right in the middle.

2 Corinthians 4:6, 7
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. We have this treasure in jars of clay…”

In this passage, Paul talks of clay pots…a subject in which I felt well versed. I immediately imagine jars of clay that are old, scratched and beaten. These jars, while still in one piece, have holes and cracks that reveal their imperfections. If you turn these jars upside down and place them over a burning candle, what would happen: The light shines through the cracks. I can’t help but notice how quickly the light burns out when the cracks are not there.

The lives we lead are full of holes. We crack our jar every time that learn something. The way I see it, cracked jars can only be one of two things: empty or full of light.

The Lord embraces our holes. He looks at our brokenness and sees only light. When the brightness shines from something torn, it means that a mistake was made that led to something amazing.

Clay pots – is yours filled with light or just empty space?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prep 101


1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" — NIV

I woke up this morning to rain and snow. As any Georgian can expect with a prediction of snow on the horizon, people were in an almost-panic. Schools were closing. Businesses were closing. The radio stations had 15-minute weather update intervals. Last, but not least, the traffic: ridiculous. An outsider would have thought that a blizzard was imminent, complete with electricity and water loss. No, no. Just your run of the mill 1-3 inches.

As I putted down 400 southbound, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why the panic? It occurred to me that people in our geographic location simply do not understand how to deal with seemingly harsh weather forecasts. Our vehicles are not prepared for icy roads. Our daily attire is not equipped for freezing temperatures. Georgia’s motto should read: When in doubt, prepare for the worst.

Is that what we do, prepare for the worst? And, if so, does this only apply to weather conditions?

As Christians, what should we prepare for? Should we be like Southerners at the onset of possible weather issues: preparing for the worst? Or, should we be like a child of the King and prepare for things beyond our joyful conception?

All too often, we find ourselves in training for this world and this world alone. Our Heavenly Kingdom, even though we may know of its presence in the back of our mind, gets lost in the nearness of this world. This world is right now. This world is right here. This world is…temporary.

Even if we are not practicing our faith and walking with God, someone else is. When the time comes to account for our lives, which will be ready?

Monday, March 1, 2010



I went to a baby shower yesterday and, man, was this ever a baby shower. There were almost as many people at this event as where at my wedding. The supportive friends and family just kept rolling in…each with gift in hand. I do not exaggerate when I say that the mom-to-be opened gifts for over two straight hours.

As unusual as it was to witness this large of a shower, I must admit, a little part of me was envious of all her new baby belongings. The onsies. The burp clothes. The traveling car seats. The diaper genie. The playsets. The this or that.

When there is a new baby coming around, parents have a natural tendency to want to purchase every single tool at their disposal. They must have the best of the best. Oh how we trick ourselves if we think that this fascination with things ends at childhood. For after the child grows, our fascination with things moves to their education or athletic talents. We will provide them with all the possible tolls necessary to exceed, and even some just to make them look good trying. Once adolescence rears its ugly head, the needs fall second to the wants. Sadly, into adulthood, decorating our homes becomes the newest thing in a long line of other things. Does this pursuit of stuff ever end?

1 Timothy 6:7
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” - NIV

My husband has taught me much in the area of simplification. He only wants enough to meet his needs, and yet, God blesses him with so much more. He does not seek out material wealth and, somehow, he managed to instill the same values into my head as well. How much more content I find myself in the simple joy of life and faith as opposed to the Louie Vuitton life I craved before.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger; it takes a genius to move in the other direction.