Returning Home

I remember with great anticipation returning to my hometown after being away at college for a few months. The excitement to be with family and friends, wondering if they would see any change or growth in me. I had become more independent while away and been exposed to new ways of thinking, would anyone notice? I felt both apprehension and anticipation on the trek home.

In Luke 4:16-30, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth. I am sure he experienced some of those same emotions. While he had been away he had been baptized by John and received the Holy spirit. He had also spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. I’m sure he was excited to go back to his home and see his family and friends. He had been ministering in Galilee and everything was going well for him. In Luke 4:15 we read that “He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” I am sure everyone was eager to see him and hear him preach when he returned home.

On the Sabbath day in his home town of Nazareth, Jesus went to the synagogue to pray. He was handed the scroll of Isaiah, he unrolled it and began to read…

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Luke 4:18-19

Jesus was quoting this from Isaiah 61:1-2. After reading the scroll, he rolled it back up and handed it back to the attendant. Then he said,
“The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day.”
Luke 4:21

The crowd listening to Jesus was amazed. They knew him as Joseph’s son and had worked as a carpenter. How could he be saying these things? They questioned what they heard and who he claimed to be. How could this ordinary boy claim those things? The people were skeptical. Instead of easing their doubts, Jesus challenges them. The peoples skepticism and confusion soon turns to anger.

The Nazareth people were offended when Jesus told them that God loves Israel, but He also loves the rest of the world. The people were deeply enraged that God would have mercy on people who they did not like or agree with. It made them furious.

When they heard this, the people in the synagogue where furious. Jumping up, the mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.
Luke 4:28-30

The people were not willing to hear that God wanted to love and save all people. Jesus was there to speak the truth, not just to gain a following. Miraculously, Jesus passes through the crowd and goes on his way.

Jesus did not get the hometown welcome that he initially might have desired. But, more importantly he did not care about the popularity and thoughts that the people had about him. He cared what God thought about him.

Jesus experienced rejection. He knows the feeling. He goes on in His life to experience rejection to the point of death. But He did this so that we may have life. We get to ask for His forgiveness for when we have rejected Him and He forgives us.


By Faith

Todays readings: Numbers 1-2, Psalm 64 and Hebrews 11

How do you handle hard situations? Maybe you receive a bad report from your Dr? Perhaps you are struggling in your marriage or having conflict with a child? How do you deal with situations that are out of your control? When the world is a mess around us, how do you react? What do we do? How can we respond?

Hebrews 11 has the answer for us today…


Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:1-3

By faith Abel… by faith Enoch… by faith Noah… by faith Abraham… and by faith even Sarah…
Hebrews 11 is full of ordinary people who believed that God would do what he promised. That is why they are known as heroes of our faith.

I look at these stories about the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah and feel like my life does not compare to theirs. I was not asked to do what they were asked. I feel less than them. But, how can we (you and I) become heroes of the faith?


By Faith means believing that God loves us and wants the best for us. We have to hold an active confidence in God and know that He is the one who provides for us our daily bread. He is the only one who can satisfy our wants, needs and desires. By faith we believe that God is omniscient and omnipresent. He knows everything and He sees everything. He knows everything about us and He already knows what we are going to face in the future. He is greater than anything in this world.

By faith we can talk to God. We can pray and ask Him for wisdom, guidance, peace and direction in our lives. We can look to Him for strength to keep going. By faith we know that He will provide all we need in His time.

When we have doubts and questions, we need to read and meditate on Hebrews 11. We need the constant reminder of what God did for His people. They had faith that God would see them through and God did. By faith they carried on, even when it was hard and they could not see the outcome. Is that you today? I have a few things in my life right now that I cannot see the results and that can get me worried and frustrated. But I am told in this passage that BY FAITH, God will provide. My job is to keep believing and looking to Him.



Exodus 38-40 and Hebrews 1

This past weekend at Church a friend asked if I knew of someone. He described what the person looked like and did for a living and then he added that this person was “glorious.” I loved his description of him. I have never referred to a person as glorious. That word has stuck with me for the past few days and then in reading my passage today, the word “glory” jumped out at me again!

According to, “when something is fabulous and wonderful it can be described as glorious, like the glorious sight of the first flowers in your yard after a long, cold winter.” We all know that when we see that first tulip pop through the ground, that is a glorious sight. I did not get to meet this “glorious” person on Sunday as he already left, but I sure look forward to meeting him myself.

Exodus 38-40 gives lots of instructions. Instructions on how to construct the tabernacle and how to make priestly garments. Over and over in these chapters you read the words, “As the Lord had commanded Moses.” The Lord gave Moses all of the details to be included in the tabernacle and Moses passed the instructions to the people. The people obeyed and the tabernacle was finished. What was the result of the tabernacle being finished just as Moses had commanded? Glory.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
Exodus 40:34-35

The cloud was a symbol of God’s presence. When the cloud came down upon the tabernacle it was a visible way of saying that God had come down upon the tabernacle to dwell with His people. We also see this referred to as Shekinah Glory.

The word Shekinah is a Hebrew word which means dwelling or settling. It represents or means the presence of God dwelling or settling over you. It describes the experience you have in the presence of God. The Israelites experienced God’s presence through the cloud by day or the fire by night. The cloud covered the tabernacle.

So how do we experience God’s glory in our life today? By the grace of God we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. The glory of God went from dwelling in tents to dwelling the hearts of men. Our bodies are now the temples of the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
1 Corinthians 6:19

If we know Jesus and have asked Him to dwell within us we have the Shekinah Glory living in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us. God’s presence will never lift or leave because He is with us wherever we go. We experience more glory in our lives when we take the time to lean into the Holy Spirit. Spending time reading the Word of God, communicating in prayer to God, and worshipping God is when we experience the Glory of God in our life.

God’s glory will illuminate from us when we spend time in His presence. We will have a glorious presence about us and others will wonder what it is. We will reflect who He is in our actions and our reactions to others. I can’t wait to meet this person that was described to me as “glorious.” When someone describes me, I would love to be portrayed as glorious. Because of Jesus we are given the freedom to choose how we live. Today I will choose to see the glorious beauty around me and pray that others see God’s glory in and through me.

Give Thanks

Today’s reading is Exodus 7-9, Psalms 105, and Ephesians 1

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; proclaim his deeds among the people.
Psalms 105:1

Some people are just naturally able to give thanks to God for everything. But, for most of us, we need to practice giving thanks. We need to learn to be more thankful. It is easy to be thankful for the good things, but we need to learn to give thanks even when we are in a hard spot (or when it is 0 degrees outside).

Psalm 105 recounts the works of God. There are 4 main accounts that David recalls “the wonderous works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced” (verse 5).  We are to give thanks to God because of the deeds he has done and His wonderous works.

*The first account is found in verses 8-15. David recalls the story of Abraham and how God made a promise to his people to give them the land of Canaan. This reminds us that God kept his covenant promise with Abraham. We shall praise Him because God keeps His promises.

*The second account is found in verses 16-25. These verses focus on the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and then the rescuing of God’s people. These verses remind us that God is a rescuing God. Thank You God that you still rescue us today.

*The third account is found in verses 26-42. Part of this account is taken from our reading today in Exodus 7-9. Moses and Aaron plead with Pharaoh to Let the People Go. Because Pharaoh does not listen to what Moses has to say, different plagues affect the land and the people. Eventually, this is the story of Moses and how he rescued God’s people from Egypt. We can praise God and give thanks because he leads us. In verse 42 we see God’s people entering into the promised land. God is to be praised because He remembered his holy promise to Abraham. We praise God because He remembers His promises to us.

*Finally, we see the fourth account in the final verses of Psalm 105.

He brought his people out with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy. He gave them the lands of the nations, and they inherited what other peoples had worked for.
Psalms 105:43-44

This is what God did for His people. He has done wondrous things. There is ample reason to give thanks for what He has done.

Psalms 105 reminds us of what God has done. When we have trouble praising God in our days, we can praise him for what he has already done. We can remember that He keeps His promises, He rescues us, He leads us, and He remembers His promises to us. Ultimately, we can praise Him for allowing His son to die on the cross for us. We have a life in eternity promised to us when we put our faith in Him.

Praise Jesus, give thanks to Him.

Hopeful Waiting

Today’s reading:  Genesis 32-34, Psalm 145, and Mark 13

Do you wear a watch? Maybe an Apple watch? It is amazing what the device you wear on your wrist can tell you. You can find out exactly how you slept (or didn’t sleep) last night. You can learn about your heart and how it beats during different activities or while you are at rest. You can keep track of how many steps you take during the day. And, of course you can always keep track of exactly what time it is. It is pretty convenient to have all of this information right at your fingertips.

If only our watch could predict the future and tell us exactly the time Jesus will return to earth. In Mark 13 we read of all that will happen before Jesus returns to this earth. Reading through the verses we see that, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (vs. 25). When this happens I am sure people will be scared and questioning what is going on. We of course do not know all the details, but Mark 13 gives us pretty good idea of the calamities that will take place. These events will be painful and challenging. It feels like there is no hope, until we get to verse 28.

“Learn this lesson from the fig tree; As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that he is near—at the door.
Mark 13:28-29

When the fig tree blooms, it signals that summer is near. After living through the dead of winter, it is always a blessing when summer comes upon us. The same will be true when  the horrendous things happen around us, we need to remember that Jesus is near.

We do not have a watch to tell us when Jesus will return or when all these events will take place, but we are called to “be alert.”

Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise, when he comes suddenly he might find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!
Mark 13:35-36

Because Jesus is coming back we have hope. We do not have to worry or fear for the end of things and all that will take place. We are to “be alert,” to continue to seek Him daily and be ready, for nobody knows the time He may return.



That night, in a field near Bethlehem, shepherds were watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the sheperds were terrified!  But the angel reassured them saying, “Don’t be afraid, for I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard!  And it is for everyone everywhere!  For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah.

Luke 2:8-11


What are you waiting for today?

As I write this post this morning, I am waiting on my daughter to arrive at the airport. Earlier, I waited on her text that told me she made it to the airport at 5am (relief!!). There are other things I am waiting on in my life that are not answered so quickly and easily. Prayers I have prayed for years. Prayers for family members to come to know Jesus. Prayers of healing for myself and others. Prayers for my children to walk with the Lord. There are times I get tired of praying these prayers, but the Bible has shown me over and over that God hears our prayers.

Today in Luke 1:1-25 we see that God hears the prayers of Elizabeth and Zechariah.

Luke, the author of the entire book of Luke, begins in chapter 1 verse 5 introducing us to Zechariah and Elizabeth, a couple old enough to have quit expecting children.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive and they were both very old.
Luke 1:5-7

They probably wondered why God had not blessed them with children, why their faithfulness to God was unnoticed and unrewarded. In their culture, childlessness was regarded as a curse for sin of some kind. In verse 25, Elizabeth calls it her “disgrace.”

As devout Jews, Zechariah and Elizabeth had long prayed and hoped for a child and certainly it seemed that God would never answer their prayers. And then, one day God began to speak to Zechariah while he was on duty in the temple.  The angel spoke the unexpected and much waited words to him.   After such a long period of waiting, Elizabeth was pregnant. Their hopes, longings and prayers were finally coming to fruition.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
Luke 1:11-13

What do we do while waiting for our prayers to be answered? Do we become impatient and try to fulfill our longings on our own? Do we give up and quit praying? Or do we, as Zechariah and Elizabeth did, wait on God to respond to our prayers and longing? How do we live while we wait?

Zechariah and Elizabeth teach us a very valuable lesson. Even though they were frustrated with God’s delay in their desire to have a child, they did not give up on God or stop living out their lives in service and in faith. Zechariah was an Israelite priest and was on duty in the temple when he learned that Elizabeth was pregnant.

God did not act immediately as they wanted and God did not grant their life’s expectations and hopes on their timetable. But, they had not given up on God. They remained active in their work as God’s followers.

Even though Zechariah and Elizabeth might have thought that God had given up on them and forgotten about their pleas, prayers and hopes. God was faithful to them just as God would be faithful to the Israelites and their prayer for a Messiah in the coming of Jesus. It was a beautiful reminder to them and to us that we can be assured that even when we have to wait for our hopes, dreams and prayers to come true, we can be sure that this does not mean that God is not active and at work in our lives.

Do we remain active and faithful to God in the midst of our waiting? Waiting for God to answer our heartfelt prayers? I love how the Bible is so good at reminding us through these stories that God is faithful and steadfast in caring for us, even if it is not on our timetable. Including today, we have 4 days to wait till Christmas, the day we celebrate the promise of and fulfillment of the Messiah. May we spend time reading the promises of god and reflecting on His Word.

The Ultimate Reversal


I am not a huge football fan, but I do love to watch an unexpected play. In the video above you see dynamic play review of a “reverse play” or “reversal”. According to Google, a reversal in football is a relatively common trick play in American football that involves one or more abrupt changes in the lateral flow of a rushing play. I sat and watched the entire video above because it was exciting, unexpected, and led to a great ending.

This is exactly what we see in our reading of Esther 9 and 10 today. God took a helpless and hopeless situation and turned it around.

We read in this chapter that the day the Jewish people had dreaded was finally here. Haman, the second in command, had a plan to kill Mordecai and wipe out all Jewish people. However, Queen Esther was able to appeal to King Ahasuerus. King Ahasuerus allowed Mordecai to issue an opposing decree allowing the Jews to defend their lives with lethal force.

On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.
Esther 9:1

Instead of death, the Jews walked in victory. A true reversal had happened. It is not what they expected to happen. God had worked behind the scenes to bring this victory to His people.

God is in control. Even when He is silent, we can trust that He is at work. Just as the Jewish people thought they would face their demise, God brought about the reversal they needed to experience victory.

We can expect the same reversals in our life. Instead of death, we can choose Jesus and receive life. Instead of condemnation, we can receive forgiveness. Instead of hell, we can receive the gift of life and eternity in Heaven.

Jesus dying on the cross for you and I was the true reversal. The ULTIMATE reversal. Because of Him, we can walk in victory.

Praise The Lord

Stop reading this post right now and look around you, what can you praise God for right at this moment? Maybe it is the roof you have over your head? Maybe the comfy chair you are sitting in and the cozy blanket that is covering you? Maybe it is the good news you just received this am? As I look out my window I see 3 deer running through the trees. I can only see them now that the leaves have fallen. I seem them leap and chase after one another. Thank You God for the creation of deer and the joy that I see in watching them play.

Just watching the deer frolic and play brought a smile to my face. Thanking God for that simple joy of watching them changed my thinking. That is what praising God does for us. It changes our thoughts and our minds. Praising God should not be reserved for Sunday mornings.

Psalms 150 instructs us to praise the Lord in ALL THINGS! When we praise the Lord we cause bondages to break loose, strongholds to come down and chains to fall. The devil does not like when we praise the name of Jesus and he has to flee. We are drawn closer to Jesus when we praise His name and our connection to Him is greater.

The last verse of the 150th Psalm talks about breath. Take a deep breath and feel the air fill in your lungs. Breathing deeply calms us and quiets the mind. God gave us that breath the minute that we were born and we will continue to take breaths until our very last one. The ability to breathe is the gift of life. If we are sitting here breathing, we have a gift. We can be grateful for our ability to breathe and the fact that we are living. As long as we are breathing we have the ability to hope, pray, and rely on God to grow and change us as He sees fit.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:6

Praise The Lord!

Thank You

Today is a busy day. Tomorrow we will be attending or hosting a Thanksgiving meal. We either have to prepare a dish (maybe all the dishes) or run by the store to purchase something to contribute to the meal. I have found myself feeling anxious about numerous things for tomorrow…will I forget a needed ingredient? will the food turn out ok? will everyone feel welcome and at home? will my house be clean enough? will my kids truly enjoy being home? The list could go on and on. But, once again, God’s Word rings true and I am brought back to what truly brings me peace.

Today we read Psalms 146.
David gives us 13 reasons to trust in God.

1-He is our help
2-He made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them
3-He remains faithful forever
4-He executes justice for the oppressed
5-He gives food to the hungry
6-He sets the prisoners free
7-He opens the eyes of the blind
8-He lifts up those who are bowed down
9-He loves the righteous
10- He watches over the sojourners
11-He upholds the widow and the fatherless
12-He brings the wicked to ruin
13-He will reign forever

We are not to rely on our human abilities, but we have a God who truly cares for us and loves us more than we can ever imagine. When something goes wrong tomorrow, and it probably will, turn to God. God is our help. God is our hope. God is our provider. He is the only one that can provide peace in a time of need.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalms 146:3-5

When we face a struggle or are stressed it is easy to turn to someone else to complain or ask for help. But, if we reach out to God first, He will bring us true peace and answers faster than any human can.

Thanksgiving is a perfect day to remember all the reasons  to thank God. Thank You God that we can come to You first. No problem we face is too small or too big for You. Thank You that in this 146th Psalm You have listed so many ways we have to be thankful. We praise You for the gift that we have in You.

We Thank You!