I have been asked recently, “Teach me to study like you do.”  My first response would be, “Pray!”  Always begin by inviting the inspiring Author to show you, tell you, giving you ears to hear and eyes to see. He is faithful. Then, when reading, look for the important details.   In the story of Jesus calming the storm, there are two (of many) important details that help paint the picture. Mark chapter 4, (See also Matthew 8) Jesus has taught all day, as the crowd closes in, He steps into a boat and teaches from there.  We pick up later in the evening. With the disciples, He tells them “Let us go to the other side.  Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was in the boat. There were also other boats with Him.” (vss 35-36, emphasis mine)  They were not alone out there.  WAIT… WHAT!  I thought there was only one boat.  Nope.  The picture takes on new detail, doesn’t it?   Out on the water, without warning a furious storm came up.  With an exhausting day of teaching, Jesus was asleep, the disciples cry out to Him, “HELP! Lord save us, we’re going to drown.” Jesus responds, “You of little faith, why are you afraid!” He got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and they obeyed.

Even with their ‘little faith’, they CRIED OUT for Jesus.  Be assured that even our littlest cry for help – it DOES affect others. Invoking divine intervention, the narrative says the wind died down and was completely calm. The water was calm for the ‘other boats with Him’ as well as their own boatload.  Also, when the Lord instructed they get a move on, He said, “Let us go to the other side.” If they were going to drown in the midst of the storm, He would have offered eulogies along with encouraging words of seeing them later in Paradise right there near the shore, (also assuming Peter would have had something to say about it).  They were going to the other side!  Side note:  JUST after this victorious moment with Jesus, with all the high-fives, huge smiles, as they reach the other side, what do they encounter?  A demonic attack – see Chapter 5.  Principle?  Enjoy the victory, but be ready for the next action-packed adventure with Jesus.

May we see and hear what Jesus says, and notice what is going on around Him.  Details.

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

*Picture above, artist unknown, but I love it.



We might say we need to remember that Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska for the seven across answer on a crossword puzzle, or that in ‘1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue’ – facts, mere facts.   However, remembering in the Bible is different; Jewish culture treats remembering as a behavioral response, just as hearing and obeying are synonymous. Some 235+ times remember is mentioned.  In the Hebrew, it literally means ‘to properly mark, so as to recognize.’ The first mention is found in the story of Noah.  God puts Noah, his family and the animals in a big boat, while outside the rains are in a downpour, the waters rise and the boat stays afloat for many days. “But God remembered Noah and all… and He sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded.” (Genesis 8:1) God remembered, did He temporarily forget?  No. The Omniscient God (All-knowing) does not forget.  His plan was implemented and in process.  He remembers, He rescues and He acts. God marked Noah.  Genesis 9, the ark now sits on dry ground, Noah and family are out, the animals disperse, God promises not do THAT again, promise to not destroy everything with water.  Sealing the deal, He gives a rainbow as a reminder.  We all know the story; God put the rainbow in the sky to remind us.  Or did He?  No, not so much for us.

“I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  (Genesis 9:13-16 NIV, emphasis mine)

The sign of the rainbow was a reminder to GOD, even though mankind seems to always keep mucking it up, continuing in disobedience – yet when the bow appears, He remembers, His response will be consistent with His covenant.  Remember.  Isaiah speaks on behalf of God, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, see also Hebrews 10)  God’s response is consistent with His character, He Himself declares before Moses, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…”  (Exodus 34:6)

God often directs His people in the Old Testament to remember their past and all that He had said and done for them: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you… Remember the Sabbath… Remember the law...”  Why?  So their behavioral response would reflect relationship, they are His. Remember.

When I was young my dad would often say, “Remember, you’re a DeBus.”  It was not said in anticipation that we would forget our last name, he was expecting our behavior reflect the family standard, the standard of ‘minding your manners’ and always leave the campground cleaner than we found it.

Interestingly, Jesus also speaks of remembering.  The Last Supper, Jesus instructs the disciples to take the bread and the cup, representing His body and blood and “Do this in remembrance of Me.”(Luke 22, 1 Corinthians 11) His intent was not assuming we’d forget Him throughout the week, and as we walk into church, seeing the elements up front, and think, “Oh, that’s right, I forgot about Jesus.” No, when we come to the table, and partake of the bread and wine, we remember, we remember ALL that He is, all that He did, we remember His covenant, His character, and yes, He expects a response.   “The memory of the greatness of the sacrifice should cause the believer to abstain from sin.”*  We properly mark and recognize God, a response of worship, of lifestyle. Anytime we encounter a God moment, we should walk away different from when we arrived.

Do we reflect the Family standard?  We know God does.


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

*The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament.


Just Keep Turning the Pages

Remember when the Israelites were fearful to enter the Promised Land, “But the people there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Numbers 13) Just keep turning the pages folks. Joshua chapter 2, (105 pages later) it turns out the people on the other side were more fearful, “I (Rahab) know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” (v9)  The Israelites do crossover, and one of those very large cities, well, the walls just fell down!  (Kinda) May we walk courageously against who & what fears us more.   Our life is like a book, just keep turning the pages, because God says “I will be with you!”  Go God!
In Him, a page turner, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

It is FINISHED, Red Letter Easter!

Have you ever sat and read through the New Testament and read ONLY the words in red? Jesus’ words.  For a completely new perspective, I challenge us to do just that. I know context is everything, but let’s step out of the exegesis box (interpreting the scriptures) for a brief moment, to get an amazing snapshot of Jesus, His strength, authority, His love, and compassion.

Without all the narrative, those stand-alone red words pack a powerful punch, knowing they are Jesus. There are dramatic statements, strong commands, and tender words. “Let it be so…” (Matthew 3:15) “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4) “Get up…” (Matthew 9:6) “Take courage it is I…” (Matthew 14:27) “Quiet, be still…” (Mark 4:39) “Come forth …” (John 11:43) “Don’t be afraid just believe…” (Mark 5:36)  What do you want Me to do for you…” (Mark 10:51) “Who do you say I am…” (Luke 9:20) “Then neither do I condemn you...” (John 8:11) I am He…” (John 18:6).

These are just a few, but there is one more that stands out among the rest. Here I do want to set the context. 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 given to Jesus, He said “It is FINISHED…” (John 19:30 emphasis mine) He then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

It is finished.  (Hang with me, this is GOOD God stuff!)  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, Luke 22:42, Matthew 26:39) It is accomplishing something not merely to end it, but bring it to perfection for its designed goal.”* (Please read that again) It signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. Grammatically in the Greek, it is a crucial word; 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.”  One might say, “The gift that keeps on giving.”  This is different from ‘past tense’ which points to an event, declaring ‘This happened.’ Nothing more.  The end.

NOT our Jesus, He is our NOW God!

As Jesus said this, His blood flowing down His forehead, from His hands and His feet, He declares sharply, His sacrifice, now eliminating the debt owed by mankind … you and me. May we take careful notice, Jesus didn’t say. “I am finished.” That would imply He a mere man and die defeated. Instead, He declares, “It is finished. When He died and with His resurrection power, He left no unfinished business behind, He successfully completed the work He came to do.

As the pages turn from Genesis to this very moment, God’s story is fulfilled. Does it end here?  No! But the bridge back to the Father is perfected. Jesus rises from the dead triumphantly (Happy Easter) engages and commissions the disciples, returns to heaven to reign forever. Now we the church, with the authority given by Jesus Himself, as inspired by Holy Spirit carry on with the red letter commands, statements, and tender words.

Move over Easter Bunny, here comes the risen King! It is finished!”  Relationship offered, relationship restored. May we live each day as a red letter day!

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


* Resources: Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words, Strong’s Greek Dictionary, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, NASB Hebrew-Greek Dictionary, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. Greek Interlinear Bible words it: “He said, “It has been accomplished.” (Yes, I am a God loving, His daughter, geek)


Stand in Awe (Part 1)

This last weekend I had the honor of being one of four speakers at our 2018 Women’s Conference.  The theme was ‘Stand in Awe.’  Each of us was given the task to seek God in what He would say through us.  AMAZING!  Amazing how God orchestrates, weaves His thoughts.  Four women of God, all had different topics, but oh (OH!) they connected!

Three months ago, God began to massage a word in me that I can honestly say, I am now happy to have released.  It began to build and BUILD until, once I was up speaking, I stepped away from my notes and just let it out!  Stand in awe of HIS plan and timing. (Below is an excerpt – more to come)

Genesis chapter one, God created well … just about everything.  Genesis two; The narrative slows down and zeros in,  we see God creating Adam, putting him in the Garden, giving him instructions; Tend the Garden and don’t eat from that tree over there, the one next to the Tree of Life, do NOT eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, if you do, you will die.  It goes on to tell of God creating Eve.  Genesis three:  Eve chats it up with the serpent (he does not deserve a capital ‘s’) he twists his words and questions in such a way, doubt spreads across Eve and she eats and shares.  Instantly everything changes. Everything.

In their disobedience sin rushes in, God and man(kind) are now in a broken relationship.  We all know the rest of the story, we’ve heard it in Sunday School, we skim over it in our yearly ‘Read Thru the Bible.’  God comes and finds the man and woman, He’s ticked off, curses man and snake and kicks man and woman out of the garden. God slaps His hands together and with a heavy sigh, ‘Good riddance and good luck out there.’ – Um, no.

You see the key is in verse 22, (chapter 3).  They hadn’t eaten from the Tree of Life (yet) They HAD to leave.  HAD to!  Adam and Eve were in a fallen state, broken relationship with their God, if they had stayed, they would have eaten from the Tree they DID have permission to eat, they would then live FOREVER – in that fallen state.  Yes, God was angry, what father isn’t when his children disobey, but God was grieved over the current relationship, He sending them away was merciful.  I can hear the Holy whisper as He points, telling them to go… “It’s Alright, I Have a Plan…”  (Please read that out loud in whispered tone… “It’s Alright, I have a Plan!”) If you’re sitting in Starbucks right now, lean over to the person at the next table and tell them, “It’s alright, GOD HAS A PLAN!”  The rest of the written Word is the description and history of that plan.

God’s plan.  Stepping back to Genesis chapter two.  I am in awe of His plan and design of man, His timing, right up front!  God created man from the dust of the earth, the dirt (v.7) the earth is now literally part of man’s body, man is biological.  To sustain and nurture the body, God provides animal, plant, and mineral and water for him. Again in verse 7, “God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living being.”  In the Hebrew, “He became a living soul.” What design, BRILLIANT!  Our bodies need the earth, but our soul, our inner – spirit man needs GOD to be sustained and nurtured.  It’s HIS breath in us! Think on that!  How often we go to the frig to satisfy our bodily hunger, BUT how often too we go seeking to satisfy the craving of our soul.  (Been there, done that – came back starved and completely malnourished!)  Throughout scripture, we see again and again of the hunger and thirst, the Psalmist cries, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God...” (Psalm 42:1-2)  Jesus speaks of this in John 6, He says, “I am the Bread of Life...” He wasn’t talking about feeding our body!  Paul too, “All scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Timothy 3:16)  God breathed on those writing and breathes also on those reading – sustaining and nurturing.  If we are to be healthy and whole on the outside and inside – God created man to NEED Him!  BRILLIANT!

It’s alright I have a plan…

More next time…

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

Stand in Awe image above was created by Chase at East River Fellowship

Proverbs By a Woman

When reading the Bible it is a great tool to know who the author is, their style and purpose for writing AND to know the audience to whom they pen their words.  Example:  Often times we read Proverbs 31, before we finish the last verse we are rolling our eyes (us women) and with exhausted breath we exclaim, “MEN!”  Thinking Solomon writes this as a jab towards women while painting the framework for the domestic super-heroine. With a cape of noble character flowing, as she stands at the city gate, arms strong, at O dark hundred, holding in one hand a spindle and in the other the deed to the field she just bought, whilst onlookers swoon in envy.  Yes, the Proverbs 31 woman is a champion among women!

HOWEVER, the opening verse begins with: “The sayings of King Lemuel, an oracle his MOTHER taught him.” (Emphasis mine) The very next verse causes us to reach for a Kleenex, “O my son, son of my womb, O son of my vows…”  Some say that the Proverb was written by two different authors, but scholars find no evidence to support the switch of authorship, so I say, the portion of scripture that you either love and embrace or avoid and look away from, were the words of a woman, to the audience of a man.  That man felt these words strong enough for himself and strong enough for others.

Interestingly so, among the Jewish culture it is not the young women who are taught to memorize this, verse by verse, but the young men.  Now as you re-read the 31 verses of the 31st Proverb, can you see it slightly or even dramatically different?  Now can you hear the cheering of a faint voice in the background, the voice of a woman who lovingly desired her son to succeed, succeed as king, succeed as one who speaks up and judges fairly and one who helps his wife succeed (see verse 28, he praises her, he commends her to shine) and thus succeeds as husband. (Go MOM!)

Knowing the author, knowing the audience.

Proverbs by a woman.

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

His Word

I have been asked, “What does the Word of God do for you, you personally?”  As a Bible teacher, it is a sturdy textbook in my hand, I cannot shake the desire to grab a principle, dissect a word, or research the historical background. But my first gut response is Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:16  “All scripture is God-breathed and good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  And this is why?  (v17)  ”… so that the man (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (Emphasis mine)

When I read the amazing stories, the Word CONFIRMS.  Confirms that I too am human, just as the characters in the bible, I read about Peter and sure enough, I can relate to his ambitious outbursts, not that I would actually crawl out of a boat and attempt walking on water – but I’d do something like swinging that sword and getting the ear or with all good intentions ask Jesus if we can build forts for the visitors (See Mark 9).  Yep… confirms.

God’s Word also gives me COURAGE.  I read David’s story, I see the longing of his heart.  His running at full speed towards his God at times – he loved and lived.  I see also the stupid mistakes (I so appreciate God does not cover up the faults of His heroes) REGARDLESS, he is forever etched in history as ‘the man after Gods own heart.’ THIS gives me courage.  In the same breath, it encourages me, taking another’s experience, hearing, observing and learning from it, folding it into my own, and giving me the courage to walk in the same direction.

God’s Word CONFRONTS. I have literally had His word stand in front of me… BOLDLY.  I know that sounds weird, but I know that resonates with some of us.  If I am behaving in such a way that is not …um… honorable, His word stands against that behavior like a blockade in the road.  God’s Word CORRECTS. Since His word is living and active and we are Spirit indwelled, we are to interact with the Word of God.  And by golly, if we truly listen at times, it DOES cut to the very marrow (Hebrews 4:12)  The Bible is our manual, our guide, God inspired those who penned it, so it’s God’s personal letter to us. He will tell us through His word, where we don’t align, give us detailed instruction AND how we are LOVED.

For me, His Word CALLS.  It beckons, like when God called out Samuel’s name over and over. It wasn’t man calling – it was God. I’m not speaking about some creepy native drumming sound coming from the corner that we run from,  but He calls because His Word COMFORTS.   When reading words like “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him, do not fret…” (David, Psalm 37:7) life can be stressful, overwhelming, but His Word waits for us to reach for it and when we do, His Spirit uses it to calm us.

God’s Word confirms, gives courage, it confronts, corrects, comforts and calls.  But when all is said and done, it CAPTIVATES me.  I am fascinated with the stories, the triumphs, war cries, the bush a flame, mud in the eyes, violent storms, and the unrestrained, uninhibited and abandoned “My Lord and my God!” declaration.  HIS Word!

Now, I present the question to YOU.  What does God’s Word do for YOU?  If your response is a shrug of the shoulder, ask God to grow your passion, He will!

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