Boundary Line

Recently in my quiet time, I was again drawn to Mark chapter 4. I love the Parable of the Sower.  There are so many principles and applications on so many levels. The farmer scatters the seed on the path, the rocky place, among weeds and then—good soil (vv1-20, please read those beautiful words in red).  Praying as I read through these verses over and over (in different translations) I felt Holy Spirit point. 

He was pointing at the rocky place.

If the good soil is the place that contains a healthy environment to grow the best and abundant yielded harvest, then “good soil” is the goal. Good soil, the soil of my heart for Jesus.

So, what about the rocky place?

In my research I found some amazing things.  The rocks found in fields are known as fieldstones (I know, “Duh” but that’s their technical name) and lie at or near the surface of the ground. They are regarded as a huge nuisance to the farmer. Great labor is taken to remove it. Interestingly, in the early days (prior to modern fencing) those annoying stones were then picked up and stacked not only as fencing—but boundary lines. What once littered the field, hindering the farmer to full harvest, now stands as a clearly marked boundary line.

As I pondered this I had to smile, and quietly whisper “Those stupid rocks.” Just when I think my field is good to go, I trip over yet another rock and face plant right there in the middle of the field. Instead of getting up and just kicking it aside, I know now, if I truly—genuinely desire a good healthy field (besides a good tilling and weed pulling) I need to pick up those growth hindering rocks. 

I appreciate God’s practicality. He didn’t just say, “Move’m.” He told me what to do with them. It’s not only hard work, but heart-work!  Not to mention (but I will) may we not be super meticulous about how we stack those rocks (I know a few will stress over that) just get them out of the field and on the heap. Those stones representing anything that hinders my receiving God’s word, His instruction, HIS standard for my life.  Some of those stones will post as a declaration of what once tripped me up, now stands as boundary line of awareness, “THAT is no longer allowed in my field.” Rock built, boundary line.

Boundary lines are not to contain us, they are to protect and prevent what comes in.  The psalmist wrote, “I walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts” (Ps 119:45). There is freedom in knowing God and His word. And knowing and preventing what hinders us.

God is worthy of our clean-up project. Will you join me in cleaning up our field, picking up and stacking rocks!  We will be amazed what God can do with those empty, prior stone filled places. Good soil.

Boundary lines.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” Hebrews 10:24).

Post Easter – Now What?

Earless chocolate bunnies and leftover hardboiled eggs in the frig (or still somewhere out hidden in the yard). Post-Easter. Now what? Do we rummage through the calendar for yet another holiday? Or plan an event to look forward to? What excites us about the future.  What about—daily? May I be so bold in asking, what causes our inside to burn with excitement? What consumes our mind and emotions? What drives our behavior?


Jesus’ resurrection is AMAZING!  WONDERFUL!  DIVINE! REDEEMING! However, let’s not stop there. There is MORE!  Let’s unpack this in brief summary.  Stay with me, this is good! Luke 24, it speaks of the women going to the tomb, once there they find two angels who notify them that Jesus was no longer there. He’s risen from the dead! The gals go back to tell the others. Peter, as energetic as he was, runs to go see and confirms.

Just following that, (v13) it says “Now that same day…”

The story continues to unfold, two were walking to Emmaus, who unknown to them at first, encounters Jesus. They are flabbergasted that this Stranger didn’t seem to know what had just transpired in Jerusalem.  Sharing their disappointment, “We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Going on they explained how Jesus’ body was not found. Verse 27, “Then He (Jesus) started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to Him.”   WOW!  I’d love a one-on-one instant Bible study from the lips of the Master!

It wasn’t until Jesus was in their home, seated at their table, they accept the bread He offered, that their eyes were opened. It was here they had a revelation of Who He was. Could it be that as Jesus reached forward, giving the bread, the sleeve of His garment slid up and they could see His nail scarred hand? Could it be? The next exact moment, Jesus disappeared. I LOVE their response, “They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”  (v32)

Their hearts burning within them. I want spiritual heartburn! I want my soul, my mind, and thoughts—my passions, desires, and appetites to burn with Him and His Word! The word Luke chooses to use for “burning” is very colorful. It doesn’t mean to simply strike a match and light the kindling and watch it slowly give off heat. No, it RAVISHES through the wood and consumes it! 

Burn Lord!

Notice Jesus didn’t lay hands on them or put mud on their eyes for the revelation. He didn’t drift from the shore in a boat to speak to them. He didn’t even send them to the Priest for verification! He simply—walked with them. Walking and talking.  Sharing and eating. The narrative says they got up at once and went back to Jerusalem testifying that Jesus has indeed RISEN.

For us? The next time we find our seat at church or open the Bible for devotion time, let’s not daydream off to another place. Let’s do some focused walking and talking, a time of focused sharing.  Jesus told us, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things” (John 14:26). We just need to show up for the lesson. Pay attention, take notes, and ask questions—engage in conversation. This (THIS) is the event. The daily event we will look forward to. Time with our God.

And burn Lord, BURN within us! 


In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

It is Finished.

Those beautiful words in red. Jesus is agonizingly set between two thieves. His feet and hands are nailed to a wooden cross. There at the foot of the cross, many mocked, some cried, and I am confident there were those—in complete silence. After the vinegar water was offered to Jesus He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

It is finished.”  The word in Greek is amazing! Stand back and take in the whole Technicolor filled screen. I don’t think even Steven Spielberg with all his creative genius could convey the scene that was unfolding upon humanity. “It is finished” (Tetelestai) “to bring to an end—to fulfill. What is done corresponds to what has been said, ordered or commanded.”  “Not My will, but Your will be done” (Jesus, Lk 22:42). Grammatically, it is in the “perfect tense.”  Meaning, the action was completed in the past with results continuing in the present. Basically, “This happened, and it is still in effect TODAY.”  The gift that keeps on giving! 

As Jesus said this, His blood flowing down His forehead, from His hands and His feet. His sacrifice now eliminates the debt owed by mankind (you and me). May we take careful notice, Jesus didn’t say “I am finished.”  That would imply He is a mere man and dies defeated. What was finished was not Jesus’ life—it was everything keeping us from God.  Imagine with me, you can almost hear the divine whisper as God sends Man & Woman out of the Garden, “It’s okay, I’ve got a plan.” 

Those red words.  “It is finished.”

Jesus is ultimately laid in the tomb. Where God spares NO detail. Looking back, instructions for building the Tabernacle and the divine furniture, “Make the atonement cover (Also known as the MERCY SEAT) of pure gold… Make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second at the other end” (Ex. 25:17-19). HERE the blood sacrifice was placed by the Priest (Lev 16:14). Fast forward, John 20:12, Mary “saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.” Because of blood—Jesus’ blood, God’s requirement of sinful man is now satisfied. HE is the Lamb of God. HE is our High Priest

When Jesus rose from the dead and the stone was found rolled away it was NOT so He, the Son of God, Who walked on water, could get out, it was so mankind could get in!  Get in and see “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying” (Matt 28:6). 

Jesus rises from the dead triumphantly (Happy Easter) the bridge back to the Father is perfected. He engages and commissions the disciples. Returns to heaven to reign forever. Does it end here?  No. Now we the church with the authority given by Jesus Himself, as inspired and powered by Holy Spirit, carry on with the red-letter commands, statements, and tender words.

Move over Easter Bunny, here comes the risen King! Let’s all stand to our feet! With loud shouts of praise, and enthusiastic applause! “It is FinishedRelationship offered; relationship restored.

When Jesus died and with His resurrection power, He left no unfinished business behind, He successfully completed the work He came to do.  The plan, the process of God. Now may we live each day as a red-letter day!  Celebrating with a fresh revelation of our God!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds“- Hebrews 10:24).


Peace. What a commodity. We value it.  We want it.  We long for it.  Peace as mentioned in the New Testament literally means, to set at one again.” The picture is something that was once set in place has either been removed or toppled over (think of the game Jenga, remove foundational pieces and over it goes). Chaos, strife, irritation, even war are the results.  Once it is set back in place—PEACE.

Remember God and man (and Eve) in the Garden? Their relationship was good and whole (peace-filled). Then there was a sin outbreak, and the fellowship was broken—toppled over.

For generations (begetting) generations there was a missing element, what was—is no longer.  Later Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Prince of Peace and the government resting on His shoulders (9:6).  Fast forward to Luke chapter 2, the angels announce, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace…” (v14).  Peace was on earth.  Jesus is the missing piece (peace). He came bridging the gap between man and his God. He set it all back in place. Fellowship restored.  Peace has been re-set.

When there is a lack of peace amongst us (chaos, strife or irritation) we have a choice.  We can either be a peacekeeper or a peacemaker.

Many years ago, I sensed Holy Spirit had me take a deeper look at the difference between the two. I found it to be rather eye-opening. Whenever God puts something in front of us, it may not be for “now.”  He may be preparing us for someday.

A peacekeeper’s motivation is hoping to NOT rock the boat. Running from one person to the other, trying to keep everyone happy.  Calm and happiness over here (rock).  Please be happy and calm over there (rock). But as they bounce from one to another—they add to the rocking.  Not to mention (but I will) the waves they make.

A peacemaker doesn’t run. (Phew!) How exhausting.  A peacemaker stands.  They stand right in the middle. Remember what biblical peace is?  Setting at one again. It is speaking and raising truth IN the chaos. It isn’t raising a white flag as to surrender.  It is the flag of occupation. Peace making is resetting.  Bringing truth into the moment.

Five years ago, I was officiating my grandmother’s funeral. After the service while walking through the potluck line, some family members began to get into it.  As it got rather HEATED, I stepped forward and (lovingly) but very boldly told them “Not here. NOT now.” We are here today to honor Grandma. Holding my ground, they calmed down and dished themselves more taco salad casserole.

You see just a few months prior, one of our family members committed suicide.  As you can imagine it tore the family apart.  So. Much. Pain. In the pain there were opinions and voiced perspectives.  These ripped a few family members out.

As I stood holding my plate, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “There it is—peacemaker.”  I didn’t run from side to side.  I stood and spoke truth.  In the center of it all. “Not here. Not now.”   

Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9). What a reward to be called a son or daughter of God, as we reflect His character in promoting well-being through Jesus Christ.  As we take a stand.  A stand of light, of salt, authority—of speaking truth—bringing GOD to a situation, we are instruments of peace in the world, to the world.

Peace stands.

This last spring my niece got married, it was an extremely wet and rainy day.  But under that big white tent was a most beautiful thing.  My other niece, whom we hadn’t seen in five years—she came to the wedding.  She showed up.

Sometimes peace is a process.

Peacekeeping runs. Peacemaking stands!  Standing in the middle and speaking—truth in the situation. Setting truth back in the center—Peace.


Above is an excerpt (more to come) from my teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit at a recent women’s retreat.  It was my honor to be with the great group of women from Riverside Community Church, in Rainier, Oregon.  If you’re in their area, stop in and see them.  You’ll be blessed.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrew 10:24).

A Holy Roar

Phil Wickham’s beautiful song “Hymn of Heaven” has been on repeat for me over the course of the last few months. Each time I listen and sing along, there is one phrase that literally causes me to want to grab someone by the shirt and demand they sing along…

“And on that day, we join the resurrection

And stand beside the heroes of the faith

With one voice, a thousand generations

Sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain”

“Forever He shall reign”

So let it be today we shout the hymn of Heaven

With angels and the saintsWE RAISE A MIGHTY ROAR

Glory to our God who gave us life beyond the grave

Holy, holy is the Lord.”

Why that part?  Why get so excited over “We raise a mighty roar?” 

I got my answer. I sensed God whispering to me, “Don’t Wait.” Why delay such a holy roar!  Yes, it will be loud and magnificent with all the declaring voices, the roar of thousands upon thousands standing—worshipping before the throne of God.

“Don’t Wait!”

The context of the song is when we get to heaven (OH, come quickly Lord Jesus!)  Those who know me, know I’m all about CONTEXT. But who am I to argue with God over context. God wants to speak to our NOW!

Don’t Wait!”

God is saying don’t wait until we are in heaven to join the mighty—the holy roar of worship.  Worship isn’t just a church gathering (although that’s part of it) or singing shoulder to shoulder (so intimate). Worship is honoring God enough to live our love for HIM out loud.  It’s not only holding a hymnal, belting out heartfelt words, or on your knees in surrender. It is a lifestyle of God honoring. In song. In speech.  In behavior.

I love the Latin two-word phrase, “Coram Deo.”  Coram means in the presence of, and Deo—God.  Living coram Deo is being aware that I live in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.*

Can we imagine what it would be like?  Really like!  If every morning, we would completely position ourselves to face God. Like Daniel did daily, he purposed to face Jerusalem when he prayed (Daniel 6). That we face God with both our feet and our face. How often have we been walking in one direction but we’re off looking (distracted) in another. Feet and face.

The world is dying, literally dying to see, hear and experience God. If we, the redeemed and lovers of God were to learn to truly walk in the Spirit—as He leads our speech, choices, and behavior. THEN. He is seen. He is heard. He is experienced. We become the mighty-holy roar.  Bring on the flash mob!

Imagine with me: You’re standing next to God in heaven, leaning and watching.  It’s dark below. It’s as if you see porch lights coming on.  A light here, there—over there. Some in clusters, some individually. All over the city, all over the world. Those lights are beautiful. They stand out so brightly against the darkness.  Those lights are roaring. There is love and a ton of joy, peace, patience, sweet acts of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, surprising gentleness and some much needed self-control peppered across the landscape. “Against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23).

There is enough bad in the world, so much sinful nature running amuck, BUT (the above) the fruit—the evidence of God’s Spirit!  He is seen.  He is heard. He is experienced. May we ROAR in our worship to God, honoring Him, by yielding to Him, living our love for HIM—out loud.

“We raise a mighty roar!”

Above is an excerpt (more to come) from my teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit at a recent women’s retreat.  It was my honor to be with the great group of women from Riverside Community Church, in Rainier, Oregon.  If you’re in their area, stop in and worship with them.  You’ll be blessed.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

*More on Coram Deo

Worship along:

A Day I Can Forgo

It’s here, THAT season. It’s already in stores. Halloween.  Stores have freshly stocked shelves with 30% off ticket items by the rows. There are black cats, witch hats, spiders, eerie tombstones and yes, the ever-dreaded skulls.   

I LOVE the fall; it is my favorite season. Apples, pears, and all varieties of squash, along with beautiful towering sunflowers. The colors are so rich and vibrant. I decorate my home seasonally with warm orange, burgundy and brown tones. But Halloween does not roll this gal’s socks. Nope.

I am often asked why I have chosen not to celebrate Halloween. Why I don’t find it “all in fun.”  What is fun about it?  Regardless of how we attempt to cutesy it or slap a smile on it, if you take a step back and look at the basic themes, it is of fear, death, and darkness.

Before I get all kinds of comments, emails, texts, and smoke signals, please let me explain why (for me) I choose not to.   My family used to do the Halloween thing when I was little. Sure, I wore the thin fabric climb in costumes with the sweaty plastic masks.  But after I came to understand and was adopted as a daughter of the Most High God and learning of His Majesty and His glorious light—I do not participate in the day of darkness.

I have seen and experienced too much from the dark side (you can’t un-see or un-know) to play with it like a child’s toy or pretend in dress up.  While the parties take place, and the candy bowls filled and children running from door to door—unbeknownst to us in the background, far in the dark corners, there are cultic activities taking place.  Those deeply into the occult take this scheduled day very seriously and yes, the dark forces they are dealing with are very real!  (*See the history of Halloween below).

We must remember, “our great enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  It won’t stand up in the crowd vigorously waving, “Over here, I’m here.”  It will stealthily peek in with the ugly and the demonic. It will come again and again for any crack or sliver of compromise on our part. Darkness always has an agenda.  ALWAYS. Seeking ANY and all opportunities to oppose the gracious love, beauty, and majesty of our God.

Yes, an emphasized day I can forgo.

Alrighty. Gently climbing down off my soapbox (as not to hurt myself) and dragging it back to the corner.  No condemnation, just offering insight. You are loved.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

*History of Halloween: “Halloween’s customs are thought to have been influenced and dated back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) the celebration of their New Year on November 1. They believed the night before the new year (Oct 31) the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities, this done in attempts to appease them. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.” ( In addition, according to Wiccans, Halloween is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is considered to be the thinnest. They celebrate and take advantage of such status. I used to work with an openly devout Wiccan (we sat next to each other). I was so distracted by her unholy demeanor—I could feel the darkness on her. As I began to pray for her and over her—within a week, she was gone, and her desk was cleaned out.

Mis-Give What Belongs to God

The Nazirite vow.  The Nazirite lifestyle. Generally done by individual choice (See Numbers 6) and according to the Mishnah, the oral tradition states the vow lasted for at least 30 days [Nazir 1:3].

However, two Old Testament guys, Samuel (1 Sam 1:11) and Samson (Judges 13:1-5) were presented to God by their parents with evidence of Nazirite elements—tying them to a lifetime of service to God.   In the New Testament—John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17).

We are most familiar with the Nazirite, Samson.  He was conceived within Nazirite conditions and raised a Nazirite, set apart from birth.  He was to abstain from anything grapes. Have no contact with a corpse and not to cut his hair (Numbers 6:3-5). At the end of the vow, he was to offer his long hair at the temple as a sacrifice to God (v18). All this was to be a lifestyle for him (not just the mindset of a weekend fast) “the boy shall be a Nazirite to God” (Judges 13:7).

He knew.  Samson knew better than his behavior.  He ate honey from a carcass (and gave some to his folks). THEN hung around Delilah from the Valley of Sorek (which means, the Valley of the Vine). RICH vines, producing purple grapes—wine. Samson, a Nazirite—WHAT is he doing in the Valley of Vines!  


We do see God bless him with strength. Mighty strength. However. Samson offered his hair to Delilah (rather than God) by telling her the secret to his strengthShe had it cut off. His oath was fully broken.  He sacrificed improperly—which led to his lack of strength and ultimately his death. (You can read his whole story in Judges 13-16).

Just like the Nazirite vow, we too, as Christ followers, are called to a set apart lifestyle—a holy people consecrated to God, calling us to a holy life (1 Pet 1:15; 2:9).  Being set apart does not (NOT) mean play with the line drawn in the sand (or play in the vineyard) and see how close we can get without crossing it, touching or sampling it.  Or play with our calling like a toy and toss it around. God is holy and sovereign, He is “other.”  The lifestyle of being “set apart” is just that, set apart fromto God. Set apart to—other.

May we be ever so careful and learn from Samson to not mis-live and mis-give what belongs to—God.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

In the Storm—He Stood Up

Did you know there are 12 (TWELVE) documented types of storms? Each carry similar qualities yet hold unique elements. The list consists of ice, blizzard, snow, fire, dust, gale, wind, squall, (breathe) thunder, cyclone, hail and tornado. One thing is certain regarding a storm—we are not in control. All we can do is seek shelter and hang on!

Storms. The storms of life, metaphorically speaking, they can either make us or break us. I asked the Lord to show me the storm, then thought, “WAIT! Let me put some towels down first” (I have an amazing imagination).

The disciples experienced a dandy of a storm. Mark chapter 4. In this story Jesus gathers the disciples and tells them “Let us go over to the other side” (v 35). Simple statement. So, in the boat they go on the Sea of Galilee. Seemingly a normal journey across, but a furious squall arose. The violence of the storm shook the water in the lake creating waves that splashed over and began to fill the boat. A shaking. The disciples on board, of these Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fishermen, seasoned men of the sea. These men knew how to handle a boat. Nevertheless. They were afraid. No matter how well educated, wealthy, experienced, even prepared—there WILL be moments the elements arise.

Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat. He wasn’t concerned of the danger out on the water—He could simply walk to shore (smile). The disciples cry out to Him. He stood up. “Quiet! Be still!” He said. I find it interesting that the wind and waves knew He was talking to them and not the disciples. Perhaps in reality, both.

He stood. He spoke. The storm calmed.

He got up.” I love this. I want, I NEED Jesus to arise in my boat. Be standing in the midst of MY storm. Standing in all majesty and speaking with all authority. How about YOU? Do you have some shaking going on? Is your life being swamped over by the elements swirling around you? Do you fear you will sink? When life is chaotic, messy and quite a stormy challenge, our first responsibility is to access the situation, respond appropriately—cry out to Jesus.

We are never meant to be in the storm alone. Jesus, in the boat, in the storm WITH the disciples —with us to the other side.

He got up.

Disclaimer note: Immediately following the sea session, they come ashore and what do they encounter now? A demoniac man! Keep your eyes open folks!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).


Happy “International Left-handers Day.” Yes, it’s an annual celebrated day, established in 1976.  Studies suggest that approximately 10% of the world’s population is left-handed. 


• Use the right side of the brain the most.

• Twice as likely to be a man.

• Better at multitasking.

• Of the eight most recent U.S. Presidents, four have been left-handed.

• Less able to roll their tongue than a righty (fun facts to share with your friends).

What does the Bible say about being left-handed?  In the Hebrew “left-handed” is itter and only mentioned two times in scripture (Judges 3 & 20) and literally means “not of the right hand”—thus, left-handed.

Judges 20:  In short: There was a very icky situation and due to it, war broke out between the tribe of Benjamin and all the rest of the tribes of Israel.  “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed…” (v16).  These lefties were in addition to 26,000 gathered men of the tribe of Benjamin. “Chosen” is a keyword. The Benjamites went looking for left-handed men.


Back up to Judges 3. Israel had again went about doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord” (Boooo!) God allowed the bad king Eglon of Moab to help teach the Israelites a lesson. A lesson through warfare.  Israel cried out to God, and He sent Ehud (of the tribe of Benjamin) who just happened to be left-handed. Left-handed Ehud goes on to defeat the bad king. (YAY!) Moab became subject to Israel and there was peace in the kingdom for 80 years. (Ahh!) All of Israel knew the story of the left-handed Benjamite—Ehud! 

THAT is why the Benjamites went looking for lefties—in hope of having a military advantage.  They were known for being able to “sling a stone at a hair and not miss” (Judges 20:16). But the Benjamites, however, did lose the battle. Guess the lefties missed. (Oops!)

Although interesting left-handed facts, what a lesson for us, a true principle to help guide us. We can’t always reach from our past in hope that what worked before will work now.  God used the left-handed man to show the Israelites that when they are in fellowship with Him, He takes the least (one man) and makes the MOST.  His lessons take on a new angle with each battle. Left-handed or right-handed, new battle, new battle plan. God’s plan.

Side note: Throwing in Jewish custom/culture: Right opposed to left: When offering a blessing, the right hand is extended (I.e. Genesis 48, Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons, he crossed his arms). Also, the “right” parts of the body play an important role in sacrifices (see Leviticus) such as the right thigh, right ear, right thumb. The “right” generally expressed strength such as the “right hand of God” (Ex. 15:6, 12; Isa. 62:8; Ps. 17:7) and which was worthy of the Psalmists’ praises (Ps. 98:1; 118:15, 16).

If the left is considered weak (as opposed to the right/strength) it is quite ironic that after the Israelites turned back to God, He chose the weak handed man Ehud to deliver them.

*Empathetic Disclaimer: Please know, being left or right-handed does not determine value!  Left-handed vs right is more symbolic than anything.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).


Recently I heard a most profound statement. While out blueberry picking, the farmer handed me a bucket and waved me off down the trail, pointing out beyond where I stood. He told me where the best picking was. He closed with “And don’t get distracted on the way.” Meaning, you’ll see berries, but if you want the BEST, and lots of them–keep going. Stay focused!

It was true.  As I walked the dusty isles between the mounded rows of bushes, yes, there were beautiful blueberries scattered here and there. But as I took a closer look, they had been picked over.  I could tell other folks stopped here, at the very beginning of the field and picked.  So did the next picker and the next.  They didn’t journey out, they stopped at the first sight of berries.  I would venture to say, some may have grown frustrated, thinking, the berries weren’t ripe yet (since primarily only green berries were left where they stood) and not going forth caused their perspective of the field to be lacking.

As I picked handfuls of plump berries (at the other end of the field) I thought about how true his statement was.  How often in our daily lives are we venturing along and “Oh, looky there.”  Full stop.


Before we know it, we have dropped our (metaphorical) road map and we are all over the place. Distractions give way to swerving.  Swerving gives way to detours. Yielding to distraction burns up time, energy and not to mention (but I will)—loyalty. How many of us can look back and grieve wasted time, breach of loyalty to our God?  Distractions keep us and delay us from the best!

King Solomon, the wisest biblical guy wrote: “Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path” (Proverbs 4:25-26, NLT). What wonderful imagery. The idea isn’t a quick glance but conveying someone who studies what is ahead. Once understanding what is ahead, the plan is weighed out and the best route is calculated.  Solomon goes on to say, “Don’t get sidetracked.”  


The Pastor of the book of Hebrews wrote: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (12:1b-2, NLT).  THIS is our specifically designed, God set before us “mark out a straight path” —plan. 

What is it that distracts us most?  What distracts us the quickest?  What time waster consumes us? How, where are we spending our energy? Do we too stop and attempt to fill our bucket, all the while there is abundance further out in the field?

Point to ponder.

Life is like a berry patch. Look straight ahead. Fix your eyes. Mark out the straight path.  Jesus.

Don’t get distracted.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).


When we think of the book of Jonah, what first comes to mind?  Jonah and a big puking whale?  As miraculous as that was, (not the puking part mind you, but the “in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” survival part – 1:17, 2:10).  There is something much more spectacular if we were to take one step back and see the story framed from a distance.

To sum it up in one word, “Sovereign.” Supreme or ultimate in authority and power.

God is Sovereign. 

He does what He wants.  When He wants. How He wants and with whom He wants. And yes, where He wants.  God has it all covered!


Jonah was a reluctant missionary prophet, (a contemporary of the book of 2 Kings). He was initially unwilling to go and do as God said. He didn’t like the Ninevites. God was sending him to the capital of the pagan, Gentile, powerful, Assyrian empire—his enemies. After the thrown overboard and fish excursions, when he finally got to Nineveh (big bad, icky, mean, and evil place) he simply declares his 5-word sermon (FINE!  I’ll go.  I’ll speak.  But I’m keeping it short!)  “40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (3:4).

The Ninevites repent and God honored their repentance, and they find His mercy.

In this story, these four short chapters (48 verses) declare how God commissions.  How He patiently waits. Shows His divine steering. His lavishing 2nd chance. Not to mention (but I will) how He provides visual aids to get Jonah’s attention (disastrous storm, throwing sailors, fish, plant, worm, and a scorching east wind). All flowing out from His character of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Ex 34:6b). And yes, His justice to a person—and ultimately, a people group.*

God moved.

How many times have we been reluctant for any reason to obey God?  Oh, we have our excuses.  We draw out the lengthy diagramed blueprint of “WHY” we can’t or why (without saying it out loud)—we won’t.  May we (like Jonah) know, God means what He says, “You can do it My way or My way.” It is His way.

Yet may we notice too, God writes ‘turn around’ narratives (even if He must interject Himself boldly into the story) and He graciously offers second chances within re-commissioning (3:1-2).

God’s commissioning. Patience. Divine steering. His most gracious 2nd chances. His beautiful (non-coincidence) visual aids.

Does this resonate?  It does for me.

God is Sovereign.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds – Hebrews 10:24).

*The Ninevites chose to go back into their sinful lifestyles, despite the very generous reaching of Yahweh. He patiently waited for them to return—for a bit.  He waited 150(ish) years. Then He sent another prophet, Nahum.  Jonah was initially unwilling, going to a willing people.  Nahum who was willing, went to (a grown to be) unwilling people.  Nineveh was ultimately destroyed.  God is Sovereign.

Maturing Process

Anyone besides me, feel like their timeline has been messed with?  It’s like playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” as we struggle trying to find when something happened, “Was it before, or maybe during Covid… I don’t remember.” This and the economic and political climate. The moral downward spiral of our country. And personal happenings in our families. We’ve had a few rough years!  Years that if we were honest, we could say—it changed us. 

But in this time, I am confident we all have learned something new about God or something re-affirming about His character. What about learning something about ourselves?  If we are truly honest, we’ve seen a strength, a challenge, a weakness or even maybe, a sinful life pattern.

Tough times are an opportunity to learn.  An opportunity to grow.

A proverb is a stated truth or offering of advice. “Without wise leadership, a nation falls” (Pro 11:14a – couldn’t resist).  There is one modern proverb familiar to us all, “When life gives you lemons—make lemonade.” When life comes at us fast. When the unknown stares us in the face.  When life is bitter. Make—lemonade.  Use it.  Make something good out of it.

We have a choice.  We can attempt to hide or run.  We can ignore it all or deny it’s happening. Or we can position ourselves for opportunity.  Joy-filled opportunity.

James talks about this, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4, NLT – emphasis mine).

Notice James emphasizes “let it grow.” Do-not-stop-the-process. Don’t stop it pre-maturely.  In our current society, endurance (perseverance or steadfastness) is not a strong point. When things get tough, we bail out.  We quit.  We just sit down.  Not to mention (but I will) how many of us have sabotaged the growth process because we knew it could be painful.  It could be a boatload of emotional, physical, and spiritual work.

Joseph of the OT is a great example of making something good out of bitter lemons.  His brothers (out of jealousy) threw him in a pit and later sold him as a slave (yup, bitter tasting).  It gets even more sour for him; he is falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. Rough times indeed. He himself didn’t grow bitter; he grew—better. What do I mean by that?  Joseph embraced the process.  Stayed obedient to his God.  He didn’t let the trials ruin him.  

Testimonies are birthed in trials.

God is a God of detail.  He sees it ALL.  Knows it all. I would offer, He says, “I can use this in your life, I can use itif you will let Me. Embrace and work the process. God used it all. All the ick.  All the trying times to mature Joseph. He ultimately used Joseph to save Egypt in the big famine. He used Joseph to graciously restore his family. Remember what he said to his brothers “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”  (Genesis 50:20. Read his whole story, chapters 37-50). What would have happened if Joseph gave up in the middle of it all? (Point to Ponder).

James didn’t stop when saying, let it grow, the maturing process God is working in and through you, he continues; (I’m paraphrasing) “but if you lack wisdom in the process, you need help in handling the trials? Ask God for wisdom.” Wisdom is God-given and God-centered discernment regarding the practical issues in life. I’ve heard it said that true wisdom is applying God to my situation.  The bible refers to Solomon as the wise guy, the guy who wrote all those wise proverbs. Why was he so wise?  He asked for it (1 Kings 3:5-12; 2 Chron 1:7-12).

I am challenged by this. May we see each season with joy as an opportunity to learn and grow from it. May we not be lazy in the maturing process. Don’t stop. Let it grow! Seek God’s wisdom. I am not belittling ANY pain, but what we learn from THIS tough season, what is grown in us, we take into the next one. Jesus is enlarging our capacity for Him, enabling us to see HIM more clearly. Live Him more clearly —all for His glory!

When life gives you lemons (count it all joy) and make some lemonade!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

*There is so much more to be said, this is an excerpt from the teaching I brought at our June Women’s Breakfast at church.  Each gal was given a “Joy Jar” to remember all that was shared, summarized, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

This Is Why

In my quiet time I have been reading through the book of Galatians. I am fascinated by Paul telling of his encounter with Jesus. Paul, zealous in the traditions of his forefathers, advancing ahead of his colleagues, and once a persecutor of the Christians. Then dramatically calls it like it is “But when God” (Galatians 1:15, NIV) —everything changed. Don’t you just love it! We all need a “but when God” in our life!  He goes on to say God called him by His grace and revealed His Son to him (v16).

The word Paul chooses to use for reveal is thought-provoking. There are two uses for this Greek word. One is used to describe something given to the spirit-man, (the inner man, associated with the mind, will and emotions). God reveals to the intellect of man (Matthew 16:17, when Jesus states His Father revealed to Peter, that He was “the Christ, the Son of the living God“).  However, here Paul primarily stresses the other usage. Within the context, this revealing is done to the senses (the outer-man) to sight, smell, hearing, speaking and touching.  Meaning, when Jesus presented Himself to Paul (remember the bright blinding light) He knocked Paul on his backside and was appealing first to his senses. He had to get Paul’s attention!  Paul was a highly educated man, a thinking man. Perhaps God was getting past his head so he could not attempt to rationalize the encounter, (thus three days of blindness).  The verse goes on to say, this revelation—all was done ultimately “so that” he might preach Him. (See Galatians 1:11-16 and Acts 9).

I appreciate that the Word of God is so practical. The phrase “so that” (used 80x in the NKJV) not only gives us a connecting clause, but also is powerful and insightful—this is why.  Not that God needs a reason, but graciously and divinely, the writers included it and the Holy Spirit breathes understanding through it.  

“Walk in the ways of the LORD your God so that you may live and prosper” (Deut. 5:33)

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). 

Paul prays “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17). 

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). 

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).

May we spot the “so that’s” in scripture, aware there is a reason, and the reason is intended to be known. May we also see the “so that” in everyday life. Mindful of moments (i.e.) realizing perhaps a delay (in circumstance) was divinely designed “so that” we were able to see God move, or God move through US!

Noting toolike PaulGod may find the need to get our attention and knock us on our backside, (He has me a couple-three times) when He does, let’s look for the reason, “So that ______________________” (you and Holy Spirit fill in the blank).

The graciousness of God, “This is why.”

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).


I do puzzles on my iPad, it’s less messy and I can easily store the puzzle away.  The part I enjoy most is when I slide the pieces around, looking for just the right fit.  But then—they click into place.  With a little effort, one piece at a time, all the pieces creating a beautiful picture.

This is what I love about the Word of God. God so wonderfully orchestrating the fitting of pieces, “all the pieces creating a beautiful picture.”  Not long ago in my study time I saw the pieces click into place—amazing!  I was looking at Leviticus 9:7, Moses to Aaron “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people” (NIV). Looking at the word “atonement” I went directly to the law (or principle) of first mention. Meaning, I went to the first time that word (doctrine or concept) is mentioned. The first mention often sets the tone for further usage.

Here’s what I found.  Here’s what I love.

Atonement (“kapar” in Hebrew) is used 102x in the OT.  The 1st time it is used is in Genesis 6—the flood story.  “Wait. What?”  I know, right?  The flood. When God gave Noah the building instructions, He was very specific in the wood and to “pitch” it inside and out (v14).  Pitch is kapar. What beautiful imagery.  To pitch means to cover, to smear, even to caulk, waterproofing, sealing any gaps or seams.  To “pitch” is prevention against water and unwanted pests and erosion from entering or affecting the material.  Pitching changed the nature of the Ark; it was now waterproof inside & out. When God had Noah pitch the Ark, he was protecting and covering the remnant that He was making covenant with.

THAT literally is atonement. In Leviticus it speaks of Aaron the Priest who took a bull (killed it) then took the blood and atoned with it on the altar.  The blood covers.  It appeases. It pacifies the anger of a holy God against sinful man.

JESUS. He came to take care of it all. His blood covers and fills any gaps. His blood fully satisfies God—we are fully reconciled to God. And yes, our nature too is changed.  We are covered and protected in the covenant.  All this making us—fully pitched. Wouldn’t it make a great bumper sticker “Got Pitched.”

One piece at a time, all the pieces creating a beautiful picture.


In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).

*See: Gen 6:14; Lev 4, 17:11; Ro 3:25; Heb 9:12,22; 1 Jn 2:2, 4:10; Rev 1:5.

Giants to Slay

Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33, emphasis mine).

I LOVE the story of David and Goliath.  Big nasty dude yelling stupid things about God and God’s people. But one day a boy comes to camp.  Goliath continues yelling, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other” (v10). Goliath is not just asking for any opponent; he wants a man.  A grown, trained, mature, “give me a challenge” —man.  

There is but one response. David.  Scholars believe him to be about seventeen(ish) when he told King Saul “Send me.” Saul’s response basically says, “You are but a boy, an adolescent.  The situation is beyond you—beyond what you are.”  

Saul tries to get David to wear his suit of armor. “I cannot go in these” he says (v39). There was no hesitation on David’s part.  There was no “give me a minute while I figure this out.”  He takes his sling, stick and smooth stones and RUNS toward Goliath.  I must add, Goliath’s shield-bearer was out there too (v41). Not so tough now big guy! David swung his sling, the stone hit the target.  Down went the opposing giant of a man.  Goliath called for a man. King Saul declares a mere boy.  David did what God called him to do. Victory!

What is God calling us to? 

May there be no hesitation in us when we are called beyond what we seem to be.  Perhaps too young, untrained, too small. Or possibly too big, or too old.  And maybe, like myself, as I was the former student with the “reading disability.” Graduating High School with a 4th grade reading level. Even so, I surrendered to His call on my life to teach His Word—calling me to the Book. He has healed my mind, what once didn’t make sense, now makes sense—and then some.

Chances are we’ll run into a Saul now and then, but don’t let them pull out their measuring stick and attempt to size us up, it has nothing to do with what God can do through us!  Let us not begin a wardrobe change, trying to fit into someone else’s stuff.  But take up what we know. His word. His presence and RUN toward what God calls us to.  I’m sure if you wish to yell, “For Narnia!” God will understand.   

We all have giants to slay.  Now go.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).