Category Archives: Encouragement

In these current times…<3

I keep thinking I am not going to comment on the current times, but I sure hope to speak INTO them and offer you some encouragement. 

First of all, as I look around me I see all kinds of reactions/responses/attitudes that include:

* people who are completely compliant with all that is being asked of them and believe everything they are being told

* people who are completely compliant with all that is being asked of them but don’t believe everything they are being told

* people who are completely compliant with all that is being asked of them but believe nothing of what they are being told

* people who are complying on the things they believe but not things they don’t believe

* people who are not complying at all

* people who are oblivious 

* people who are protesting

* people who are making rules but not following them

* people who are using these times for really good things

* people who are using these times to perpetuate evil

Did I cover it all? 

Probably not. 

Who cares? You get the point because you see it, too. 

And out there in the middle of all these conflicting view points, we can sometimes feel like a turtle trying to safely cross the Autobahn in peak traffic. 

So for all you sweet little creatures who are tempted to hide in your shells and hope to not get smashed, let me tell you what I found in Ezra this week. 

At the beginning of the book, King Cyrus of Persia gets this urge to let the Jews go back to their homeland and rebuild their city and the Temple. Please note, he is a pagan king…and God had sent word through the prophets that a king named Cyrus would do this…because He is, after all, God. 

So the Jews start going back and they find the walls all broken down and a big mess of rubble, but they start building it back up. 

And the people who have settled in their absence are not liking this new project, so they communicate eventually when a new King rises to power in Persia. They send notice to him that he needs to stop these Jews from rebuilding their city because they are nothing but trouble. (Yes, this is the Laura Reimer version of the book of Ezra…and it may not pass in the hallowed halls of a seminary…but you should read it for yourself anyway…) 

This King looks into the royal records and sure enough discovers that they are known to take stands and win and not come under the authority of foreign governments.(and this is not an analogy of current politics so please do not go there…put your flag down and listen to what God is showing us about HIMSELF)

So the new King puts the kibosh on the rebuild, but one of the Jews named Zerubbabel rises up and continues the renovation anyway. 

The foreign governor of a nearby region, along with his fellow Persians, came and asked what the heck was going on when they had been told to cease and desist and the Jews told him about King Cyrus. 

He and his buddies write another letter to the King of Persia and the records are sought again and, lo and behold…the Jews were right. So the decree went out to leave them alone and let them do what God had set up for them to do – rebuild the city, the walls and temple. 

And you know what I get out of this?

The Jews had spent 70 years in Babylon as a result of their turning away from God. But when the time of discipline was over, God worked through a bunch of pagan kings to accomplish His plan. 

Also, He did not remove the discouragement and roadblocks of the enemy. The people had to work through them with grit and determination to be obedient to God. 

The Jews worked as told by God and they worked together. 

Whatever opposition they faced, they relied on God and His power to defend them – not their own strength. 

They trusted that God can work through whatever the system or circumstances around them looked like. 

There is a whole lot of examples of how this faith community triumphed over the trickery and schemes of those who wanted to thwart the kingdom plan of God. There are great words of encouragement to a community of believers who are trying to do with right thing when they face great opposition. 

So, little turtles, maybe we could all pull our heads out of our shells, open our Bibles to Ezra and Nehemiah and read about who God is and grow in our trust of Him so we don’t get caught up worrying and fretting over those who only appear to have control of things. 

Spoiler alert: they don’t. 

God rules. 

God wins. 


Please do not waste these precious days shouting and arguing. Put on the armor of God, use this time to ask Him for boldness to share the good news of His Kingdom. Do good to others, pray without ceasing, be shining lights. The world is looking at us now for answers to how to live in times of trial and inconvenience and hardship. 

Have a blessed weekend. 

You are loved <3

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Monday Funday….not really, but I am working on my attitude….<3

Hey all!

So it’s Monday and some of our life is going back a little closer to normal and some is remaining in the new normal and some is just plain abnormal…as in the mask I have to put on when I go into a building that is not our home.

And let me just say that I want to give a huge thank you to all the medical people in my life who have cared for me whilst wearing one of these things because they are horrid…seriously the most awkward things ever.

So thank you surgeons and anesthetists and nurses and dentists who have donned them without complaining and taken care of us for years.

We had no idea.

In other news, I have found someone through the wonderful Declare community who is helping me with my website woes…and she is working her magic behind the scenes as we speak.

So if you subscribe to my email list, that is getting an overhaul…and if you don’t mind checking your email spam in a week or so if you aren’t hearing from me, that would be awesome.

She is also adding cool things like social media links at the bottom and helping me come up with better ways to meet and greet you and I am kind of nervous and excited…like to the point that when I was talking to her today I spaced out on my email password and had a total freak out breakdown trying to remember it.

But I’m ok now and back to just being excited.

So bear with me and be patient if anything unusually goofy happens to the site…and that doesn’t include me and what I might post because you can’t work all the kinks out of me.

Believe me…my family has tried.

Be blessed today…I promise tomorrow will be interesting so come back.

And the nice part is, you and I can get as close to our computers as we want and it’s a no-mask-zone…so win. win.

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Who do you really want to be like?

Russ and I have been watching the documentary on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, on Sunday evenings. 

When he first mentioned the series, I had trouble imagining how they were going to fill that many hours with information from his career, but it seems the NBA was rather busy behind the scenes back in the day. 

I must have been oblivious. 

All I knew was our kids loved him and he literally could fly.

All these years later as we watch him soar through the air and remain suspended for several seconds, I struggle to think of any players who have ever made the sport look more fun or more graceful.

As the filming moves from interviews with current Michael and others from that era to clips of games and the team and news reports, it is a sharp contrast to see young Michael and the man he is today.

This past week, the program centered on the whole “I want to be like Mike” advertising campaign.

I can’t say I would have remembered, but it all came back to me as I watched flocks of young people gather around him. From commercials to public streets to pre and post game, he is surrounded by adoring fans. 

I remember our kiddos and their friends all sporting #23 and he certainly inspired a generation of hoopsters in our neck of the woods. To go to a Bull’s game was about on par with Disney.

It was a world wide love affair, yet at some point this stopped selling air time, I guess. Or someone was tired of him and so an author went after him to try and discern his real character. 

This led to others using a microscope to examine all of his activities and thoughts and words and actions.

Michael fell short of the image that had been created by a public that is always hungry for a hero, and rather than defend himself, it would seem he just wanted to be left alone. 

Flash forward to current Mike, sitting in an artistically created living room with a drink at his elbow and a bit of a hard edge and he wistfully expresses how he would have liked to have never been held up as a role model. 

It created a place where he had to perform to meet all expectations and since that is not humanly possible, he ended up having his character and personhood examined and exposed as not meeting expectations. 

We could perhaps sarcastically say, poor Mike…bet he cried all the way to the bank…but we would miss such an important lesson. 

Human nature is always looking for some kind of god we can understand and manage. 

We do it in our culture all the time, creating heroes and then when we tire of them, gleefully tearing them down and moving on. 

One of the things I have noticed as I am reading through the collection of accounts of the Kings of Israel and Judah found in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles is that we are a mixed bag and God is not undone by us. 

There were evil kings and good kings and yet sometimes the evil ones repented and God extended mercy. Often the good kings didn’t fully do all that they should have done and yet God was with them. 

It would seem that we humans tend to pass sentence in black and white far more quickly than the God who created us. 

With our limited thinking and our limited understanding we deem someone as worthy or unworthy based on our assessment and values. 

I realize I cannot stop our culture from building elaborate pedestals for their hero of the day and then, in some bizarre shift, gathering to knock them down…but I can guard my own heart from trying to find my salvation and deliverance and joy in another person. 

It is too much to ask of a human to be perfect so that I can have someone to look up to. 

It is too much to ask of myself to allow anyone to convince me that I am going to fill that role for them. 

Often in the testimonies of the Kings of Judah and Israel who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord was that they still failed to remove the high places…the places of worship that had once been dedicated to idols. 

Maybe the people were now worshiping God there, but it was not where they were supposed to be.

As followers of Christ, it is imperative that we are very careful about where we offer praise and worship. 

It is a fine line between love and appreciation of others, and lifting them up to an exalted place from which they, like us, will surely one day fall off. 

It is a mistake to take something that is almost good and right and true and lift it to the position that only God can hold.

Only God deserves our adoration and praise. He is the only hero of our story. The rest of us are just works in progress. Imperfect and a mixed bag of holy and messy…but always loved perfectly by our God <3 

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