Our We Missing the Point Entirely?

I turn 24 on Saturday. I have learned to reflect on my life so that I can truly learn from decisions and choices I have made over my lifetime so far. Birthdays are some of the best reminders of where I have come from and where I am headed. Part of my reflection process includes reflecting on my relationship with God. Where have I come in the past year? Where have I grown in my walk?

My small group started a Galatians study this past week and we started the study by writing out our story. It started with where we were without God, and then moved on to the moment where we experienced God for the first time, and finally ending your story with how that encounter is shaping your future. As I wrote my story, I took some time to really reflect on my life with God. It’s been just under 24 years since I was born and even though I accepted Christ at an early age, I didn’t have a relationship with him until I was in my early twenties, which means I’m still a toddler in my faith walk. Today’s reading is about having that relationship with God so let’s dive into that.

John 10 talks about Jesus explaining how to truly have a relationship with him.

He says,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers”

They didn’t understand so he explained it again.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is ha hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

The reason I explained my story above was that I was like the Jews in this story. I was missing the moral of the story. Jesus is the only way to the father. No matter how many good things we do, how much we give to the church, or how many times we got up early to go to church on Sunday mornings. If we don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then all of that means nothing. The passage says that Jesus knows his own and his own know him. If we don’t have a relationship with God, how can we truly know him? He wants us to know him, so today do some reflection. Reflect on your life and your walk with Christ. Does your walk truly reflect a relationship with God or is it just filled with good works? Think on that. I hope this passage starts a work in you today.

Fully Known

     Fully known.  How do those words make you feel?  Peaceful?  Anxious? Calm?  Ashamed?  All of the above, maybe?  Does it depend on the situation, or maybe the person?  In John 8, our reading for today, Jesus makes it very clear that He knows the people around Him.  And not only does He know them, He FULLY KNOWS them,  He knows their thoughts, even when they don’t speak them aloud.  He knows their actions, even before they take them.  He knows them better than they know themselves.  He knows their hearts.

     Sometimes, Jesus reveals His knowledge of the people around Him in subtle ways.  For example, when He speaks to the crowd who accuses the woman of adultery, He says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)  Jesus knew that each of the accusers was a sinner.  Yet He didn’t need to call each person out on his individual, specific sin to make His point clear.  When the crowd heard His words, “they went away one by one.”  (John 8:9)  Likewise, in his conversation with the woman accused of adultery, Jesus did not need to name her sin to make His point.  He simply says to her, “…go, and from now on sin no more.”  (John 8: 11)  Simple, and subtle.

    Later in John 8, however, Jesus reveals to the Pharisees that He knows them as well, and this time, He is less subtle.  In fact, He does not hesitate to name their sins.  Here are several examples:

– He knew that the Pharisees judged according to the flesh  (John 8:15)

– He knew that the Pharisees sought to kill Him, and He knew why –                            because His word had found no place in them (John 8:37) and because                      they couldn’t bear to hear His word  (John 8:43)

– He knew that the Pharisees did not believe Him  (John 8:45)

– He knew that the Pharisees did not know God  (John 8:55)

Not only does Jesus know the adulterous woman’s heart and the hearts of the Pharisees.  He also knows our hearts, yours and mine.  David confirms this in Psalm 139:1-4:   “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”    I think that David’s tone here is not one of embarrassment but one of relief.  He sounds thankful to be fully known by his Creator – and in this, David serves as a good example for us.

We, too, can give thanks that our God fully knows us and wants to have a relationship with us.  Any relationship deepens as we allow ourselves to be fully known by the other person, and our relationship with Jesus is no different.  Furthermore, relationships strengthen when we ourselves seek to more deeply know the other person as well.  Jesus, too, wants us to seek to know Him better.  I pray that the fact that we are fully known by our Creator gives us not anxiety and shame, but peace and comfort.  And I pray that we would seek to know Him better as we rest in the security that we are fully known, and fully loved.


Simple Truth

I grew up in a Christian home and have been going to the same church ever since I was in preschool. I feel that I have always known about Jesus and that I have always had faith in Him, even if that faith was literally “childlike” faith in my earliest years.

However, I went through an odd time in junior high when, for some reason, I became inexplicably afraid that something could take my salvation away from me. I don’t know how to explain this time in my life in any other way besides this; I was completely scared that someday, down the road in my life, I’d do something to mess up enough that God would give up on me. I can still remember my parents speaking truth over my life during that season of unexplained fear, reminding me that I could be sure that my salvation was secure and showing me Scriptures to help me remember that. After a time, that fear faded, but today’s reading in John 3 reassures my heart still, and I hope it speaks to your heart today, too. John 3:16-21 says,

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

When we read John 3, I think we often focus so much on the ever so popular verse of John 3:16. As incredible as that verse is, please don’t miss verse 18 today. Whether one has been a Christian for one year or for 50 years, it is always so good (and often, so needed) to be reminded that nothing could ever take away tGod’s love for us or the salvation He has freely given to us. That’s why I love verse 18… it puts those old fears and little thoughts to rest, and it reminds me in such plain language that whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned. It’s such a simple statement, but it is filled with the truth that our lives are to be centered around as Christians: We believe in Jesus, so we are not condemned. Incredible.

The simplicity of this precious truth also reminds me also how simple telling someone else about Jesus can be. I often overcomplicate doing this in my mind, and I psych myself out of sharing about Jesus when I feel a nudge to. Today’s reminder of how simple the Gospel truly is takes some of that burden off, for sure.

Today, rest in the fact that no matter who you are or where you are, no matter what you have done recently and no matter what you did decades ago, if you are in Christ, you are not condemned. And let that truth stir your heart to share this unbelievable fact with others in your life in the same way Jesus shared it here in John 3: Simply.

Non Sibi

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. – John 2:23-25

v24 has been referenced as sighting God’s omniscience, but within the context of 23-25 it brings forth, what I think to be, a very important distinction between people who pursue God for His stuff and those that love God because He first loved us.

God knows us and often better than we know ourselves. God knows and can separate those who are just after His “stuff” from those who love Him. The beginning of v24 says He did not entrust Himself to them. Some believe this to mean He did not reveal the saving grace of the Gospel to them. If so, could this be because even after witnessing the miracles, they did not love Him but their love for themselves remained? That when they witnessed the power of God they only saw a great opportunity for themselves? I can not say but the warning here is clear, God knows the heart of man and trusts Himself to those He chooses accordingly.

God, would you help us let go our life and follow you? trusting in you completely? Letting go our plans and never considering You in how You can help us achieve what we want, but instead, how we can serve You? Would you do this LORD? Would you be gentle with us please LORD? but do what you will. We trust you with our lives. Amen.

Non Sibi


Image: The Marriage Feast at Cana by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

The Coming Times

I always like to start my writings with a story. I think that we, as humans, love stories and can relate to them. I found that today’s reading was more challenging than most to find a story to help even grasp the teachings in Luke 21.


The only way I could think to relate this story to your life and mine is the story of Christmas. Each year parents tell their kids all about Santa and make sure to do everything in their power to make sure they believe that Santa was the one who put presents under the tree and not them. That isn’t the point, though. Before Christmas day comes there are signs that Christmas is coming. Lights start to go up on all the houses in the neighborhoods, the salvation army Santa Clauses’ come out, and of course, Starbucks has bright red cups to remind us of the season. As a kid, there were signs also, but they were different than adulthood. I remember when we got to decorate and put up the tree, snow started to fall and I got to put on my snowsuit, and my favorite part about the season was that everyone was happy. It was hard to explain, but everyone knew Christmas was coming soon because it was almost like it was “in the air.” The signs were there and because of those signs, we knew what was coming. We prepared ourselves because we knew these signs created an expectation in us. This is the same as the reading in Luke 21.


Luke 21 talks about the coming of the Son of Man. This chapter also talks about the signs of the coming season and scripture tells us to be watchful. We don’t know the day, the time, or the hour that Jesus will come back because it will be like a thief in the night but there will be signs for us to know when the day is nearing.


Jesus states these as the signs to be watchful of:

  • Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

  • There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences

  • But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.

  • You will be hated by all for my name’s sake


I sometimes wonder if we are seeing warnings now in our day-to-day lives. Wars are happening all around us. Earthquakes are killing people here and in other countries and famine is something that we can see all around us and it definitely can be found in poor countries around the world. Persecution is not happening in the world around us as much, and I think that some of us may even feel that we are persecuted here in the US, but nowhere near the same level as other places in the world.


What I am trying to say is that these things are happening in our world and Jesus warns us to be ready because when these signs appear he will be coming soon. I am not writing this to scare you; I am writing this to make you aware that we may not have a lot of time. The question is; what are you going to do the remaining time you have been given?


    Today’s reading is from Luke 19.  As I read through this chapter, one phrase jumped out at me.  In the last verse of Luke 19, we are told that “all the people were hanging on his words” (Luke 19:48).  In the past few days, I have come across this idea of “hanging on” to the Word of God on several occasions.  Sometimes the words used were “hold fast”, and other times the word “tether” was used to describe how we are to attach ourselves to Jesus and His teachings.  When the same word or idea pops up several times within a short span of days, I pay attention!

In Jesus’ time, people were only beginning to understand who He was and how His death, burial and resurrection would impact their lives eternally.  Yet they still knew, somehow, that they needed to pay close attention to the words He spoke.  When I imagine people hanging onto Jesus’ every word, I picture a crowd pressed close together, leaning forward and straining to hear the words directly from Jesus’ mouth.  In those times, people had to work hard to hear Jesus’ words.  Hearing Him meant finding out where He would be, making their way on foot to that place, and then positioning themselves close enough to Him so that they could hear His voice.  In many ways, we have it so much easier today, don’t we?  We have relatively easy access to Bibles both in written form and on our electronic devices.  But we also have an incredible number of distractions that can draw us away from pursuing God and His word.

     In a world that is constantly changing, it is critical that we hold fast to God’s unchanging word.  His word is as valuable and relevant today as it was on the day it was written.  It is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) and God promises “it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).  

So, what does it look like on a daily basis to tether ourselves tightly to God’s word?  Here are a few suggestions.

– Spend time reading the Bible daily.  This doesn’t need to happen at a specific time each day.  The reading itself is what is important; when you do it is not.

– If you find yourself thinking you do not have time to read the Bible because you have so much else to do, consider this thought that my wise husband shared with our small group this week.  He suggested approaching spending time with God during the week with the same mindset we approach taking a Sabbath rest.  God asks us to rest once a week, and He asks us to trust that our work will get done throughout the remainder of the week.  Likewise, we can set apart time to spend reading His word daily while trusting that He will enable us to accomplish what He has called us to do that day.

 – Consider using a daily reading plan found in a Bible or online.  There are hundreds to choose from, and the accountability of a daily plan can be helpful.

 – Memorize Scripture verses that have personal meaning to you.  When your Bible or your device isn’t near, the verses you have memorized are easily recalled when you need them.

The time we spend reading our Bible matters because the words we read on the page or on the screen are alive.  His word accomplishes God’s purpose for us and for the world He created.  I encourage you to try one or more of the ideas above as you seek to hang onto every word of Jesus!

Follow Me

Today’s reading is Luke 9. A few years ago our small group studied a series called Follow by Andy Stanley. He talks about how Jesus said, “Follow Me,” approximately 23 times in the Gospel. A mentor of mine would always say that “repetition is the mother of learning.” So, if Jesus says those words that many times, we should probably take note. Ever since we covered Andy Stanley’s study, it always jumps off the page when I read Jesus say it like He does in Luke 9:23-25 and Luke 9:57-62, and I underline it in my Bible.

I believe many keep their distance from Christianity because they believe it is just a bunch of rules to abide by. We live in a society today that tells everyone to just do whatever they feel like, so if they believe all Christ does is make you follow rules then they will not be drawn to Him.

Jesus does not say to do X, Y, and Z and then you can, “Follow me.” He doesn’t say learn the Scriptures, change these habits, get your life in order, and then, “Follow me.” He just says, “Follow me.” Jesus only wants to see our faith and trust in Him. That is what amazes me so much about the disciples. They just left their lives upon Jesus invitation. Jesus did not pick guys that were scholars and had their lives together. He picked regular people like you and me. Earlier this week in Luke 5:27-28 He asks Matthew who was a tax collector to, “Follow me.” Tax collectors were Jewish outcast because they were Jewish, but collected taxes for the Roman government. Andy says they could only hang out with other tax collectors because even the worst sinners wouldn’t hang out with them. Yet, Jesus still called Matthew to follow Him and then he even hangs out with Matthew and his tax collector buddies after. While the occupations of all 12 disciples are not known, it is believed that most were fishermen or tradesmen of some kind. They were not set apart already because of their occupations or previous works before Jesus asked them to come along for the ride.

You may be thinking to yourself because of my earlier comments that the Bible and Christianity does have “do’s and don’ts” so to speak. Yes, it does because God knows what is best for us, and He knows that often what feels good at the time will eventually cause us pain later at some point. Jesus doesn’t lead with this though because He knows that by following Him our hearts will be changed, and we will stop sinful habits (Luke 12:34).

Jesus also knows we are not perfect, and we will still sin and lose faith at times. I know daily God answers prayers that could have altered the course of my entire life if they were not answered. Prayers for safe travels for family, favorable news from an uncertain doctor’s appointment, that a big meeting goes well, and the list goes on. Yet days, hours, or even minutes later I’ve forgotten already, and I’m anxious or nervous about something else! The disciples were no different though, and they even saw Jesus’ direct acts firsthand. Not only did they leave their regular lives to follow Him, but in Luke 9:1-6 He instructs them to leave and take nothing with them as they go to tell others about the Kingdom of God and heal others which they did. Then, in Luke 9:13 right after that, He instructs them to give five thousand people something to eat, and they say they don’t have enough food wondering what they should do. They didn’t even say, “Jesus can you come up with some food like you’ve done before…please perform another miracle.” They just doubted. Yet again, He delivers. Not only does Jesus always satisfy…He even leaves us with leftovers (Luke 9:17).

As we go into this week and think about our own lives and hopefully look to share the Gospel with others, let us not just share the love of Jesus with others we think are ready. In Matthew 19:16-22, a rich young man asks what good deed he must do to have eternal life. Most in our society I believe are wondering the same or think if they do more right then wrong they will earn the favor of God. But, Jesus tells the man there is only One who is good. Let’s make sure they know that they must only do one thing to go to Heaven…follow Him. He gave them, and all of us, that open invitation to do so not only with His words, but with his arms wide open on the cross.


We Belong to Him.

If you’re like me, sometimes you forget who you belong to.

If you’re like me, you also sometimes forget who you are.

Thank goodness, we belong to Jesus, and our identity can be found fully in Him.

In Luke 7, we see that a mother was having a challenging time remembering just who she and her son belonged to. Her son, whose age is not specified, had recently died. Read verses 11 through 17 of Luke 7 with me.

11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

I’m not a mother yet, but I cannot imagine the utter grief that would accompany a loss of this magnitude. We can imagine that this mother was most certainly heartbroken, likely confused, and perhaps, understandably frustrated at God for the way His plan for her son’s life had unfolded. In the face of grief, it is so common to feel all of these things… and we can see that this mother in Luke 7 had forgotten Who her son’s life belonged to.

As Jesus approached this mother, He saw her in her heartbreak, in her confusion, and in her frustration. That is the first thing that touches my heart as I read this passage. Today, be reminded that the Lord sees you and knows you. He knows your circumstances, and He knows the current state of your heart.

But Jesus didn’t just stop at seeing her heartbreak, confusion, and frustration. He entered into that heartbreak, confusion, and frustration with her, gently encouraging her to not cry anymore. While it might seem that such encouragement wouldn’t make sense to a grieving mother, Jesus knew what He was about to do. That’s the second thing I love about these verses: Jesus is present in whatever we are going through. Even if what He puts on our hearts in those seasons doesn’t make sense, He knows His plan and He knows the final outcome, no matter how big or how small the situation.

As we can see in the final verses of this passage, Jesus miraculously healed this mother’s son and brought him back to life. After He did this and after the son sat up and began to speak again, Jesus did something that stands out to me most of all in this part of Scripture: He gave the son back to his mother.

The son, and his life, ultimately belonged to God. God had simply given him, entrusted him, to this mother for his time here on earth. Yet Jesus saw fit to give the son back into his mother’s care again.

How comforting that we, like this son, belong to Jesus. Our lives are truly in His hands alone. He has the power to give us other people in this life to love and to care for and to serve, but they don’t belong to us. They belong to Him.

You belong to Jesus. That is where your identity is to be found. Be encouraged in this truth today.

Luke 5

    Two weeks ago, when we were studying the gospel of Mark, I wrote about abundance.  The specific verses that I focused on revealed that Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross so that we could have a full and abundant life in Him.  When I first read Luke 5, our text for today, I noticed that the same theme of abundance is echoed in this chapter.  This isn’t surprising.  Abundance is a character trait of Christ’s, so we can expect this theme to pop up throughout the Bible.

    In this chapter, Jesus responds to three different people by meeting their needs with more than was asked for or expected.  In Luke 5:4, Jesus tells Simon (later known as Peter) to fish off the side of the boat.  Simon hadn’t been fishing that morning because he had fished all night the evening before and caught nothing.  Yet Christ, in his goodness, filled Simon’s net with more fish than he could ever have imagined.  In fact,  Luke tells us that the disciples and the onlookers were “astonished” (Luke 5:9) at the amount of fish that were caught.

    Later in this chapter, Jesus heals a man with leprosy.  In those days, people afflicted with leprosy were basically shunned because people were fearful of catching this untreatable disease.  This man, though, walked boldly up to Christ, saying “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Luke 5:12).  And again, Jesus did the unimaginable:  He healed this man from this disease for which there was no cure, and He did this by reaching out and touching the leper.  Some time later, a group of men brought their paralyzed friend to where Jesus was speaking, and Jesus told the man to stand up, walk, and go home (Luke 5:24).  The people in the crowds following Jesus were first-hand observers of His early miracles, and as the news about His healings spread, Luke tells us that many “glorified God and were filled with awe”, calling what they had seen “extraordinary” (Luke 5:26).

     Each of these examples – the overabundance of fish, the healing of the man with leprosy, and the healing of the paralyzed man – point to Jesus’ love for answering our prayers in overflowing ways.  I think this chapter and its theme resonated with me so much because it reminded me of my favorite verse in all of Scripture, Ephesians 3:20-21:  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Remember to ask,  because He is abundantly capable.  And let us respond with awe, reverence, and praise.


Introducing: The Gospel of Luke

Hi everyone! I hope your Thursday is going well. Today I am introducing the gospel of Luke. When I got the schedule and found out I would be introducing Luke, I laughed a little about that because that is who I was named after. For a little while, I even pursued a life in the medical field and everything to really follow in his footsteps… you know, since he was a physician and all.


Ha, I’m just joking with you. Of course, I wasn’t doing it because of being named after him, but that would have been a cool story, huh? Long story short, I am no longer in the medical field anymore. Today, I want to begin our journey into the book of Luke.


Luke is actually only named 3 times in the whole Bible, and he wasn’t with Jesus during his time here. Luke was a gentile, he was humble, and he was the only one to stay with Paul until his death. Most people know that Luke was a physician, and besides writing the book of Luke, he also wrote the book of Acts. The gospel of Luke was thought to have been written around the 60 A.D. time period. The book of Luke is unique in a couple of ways to the other gospels. Let’s check the differences out together.


  • The book of Luke is filled with lots of eyewitness accounts dating all the way back to John the Baptist and ending with Jesus’s death and resurrection. The book is also the only gospel that includes the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.


  • The second thing I find really interesting is that the book of Luke is the gospel that includes the most stories of healing that Jesus did in His time here. This really shows that Luke was passionate about being a physician and had a lot of compassion towards those who were sick and needed healing.


As we continue through the chapters of Luke one by one, start to think about this book from the perspective of a physician. Remember that Luke was just a human, like you and me, so we can humanize him and can start to see the emotion and compassion in his writing. As we move forward, remember these characteristics of Luke. We are excited to share God’s word through the book of Luke!