Category Archives: Encouragement

When we get what’s coming to us … still grace <3

Last week Russ and I were running some errands around our town. 

At one congested intersection, where multiple businesses line both sides of the road, we were behind several cars in the right turn lane with a red light holding us back.  

Perfectly within the legal rights to turn if all was clear, one car turned into the closest lane while the car behind him shot out wide into the farthest lane. 

The oncoming traffic had obviously had a green left turn arrow and a large vehicle was also making the turn into the same lane. It was a narrow miss, and the offended SUV honked vigorously but then turned on the red flashing lights that accompany his authority as a sheriff.

We watched as this person who had been in a big hurry got pulled over to face the music. 

It was somewhat satisfying, I have to confess.

For all the cars that have swerved in and out around traffic and run red lights and left the driver’s behind in a wake of frustration that a careless driver just got off free and easy while violating various traffic laws, it was a kind of sweet moment of judgment. 

Until I thought about how many times I have done something similar. 

Then I want grace. 

I don’t want to meet my judge and jury after I have glanced down at my phone and almost hit the car in front of me that made a quick decision to turn in to a street to the right or left. 

I don’t want a fair system when I am in a hurry and drive just at 9 over the speed limit so I can hopefully escape radar detection. 

I don’t want justice when I decide to gun it when the light turns yellow and I am still a ways off. 

I want grace and mercy when it is me. 

But it goes deeper. 

Because the longer I live, the more I learn that the justice and fairness of God and the judgment and the facing of consequences for my transgression IS grace and mercy. 

It is a gift of grace that the Lord disciplines me. 

It is a gift of grace that, while I don’t get what I deserve, I do get to learn from my mistakes and continue to be transformed into His image. I do have the gift of grace that gives me second, third and thousandth chances while still holding to live with some repercussions.

It’s okay to get caught breaking the law. 

That’s a good thing. 

It’s okay to suffer the consequences for disobedience and to fully understand the weight of sin and to receive with joy and complete cleansing, His forgiveness. 

Having to face the pain of my transgressions to a certain degree without ultimately paying with eternal separation from God makes me more compassionate and forgiving of others.


As we have celebrated the season of soul-searching and cleansing of Lent, remembered and marked His suffering and death, and then celebrated with great joy the Resurrection of Jesus, let’s keep our hearts and souls open to examination each day. 

Let’s bring our whole selves completely before Him on a regular basis and offer up what we are to who He is as a holy habit.

And let’s remember that discipline, too, is a grace gift and one extended by a merciful and kind Father.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

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A little catch-up on my annual read through and thankful to be out of the season of Judges…sigh <3

I am thankfully moving into 1 Samuel now in my yearly read through.

Since I have used The Message on a previous year (2013), I am visually aware of just how far behind I have gotten. The passages of the opening of this book are dated May of that year.

But I am not discouraged or quitting. I am taking in what I can each day and not racing to keep up with a date. My hope is to have longer periods to read but I am accepting that the annual read through this year may be more like a year and a half…we shall see. 

Reading Judges was particularly painful for me this year because the insanity of this period in Israel’s history that used to make me wonder how on earth a nation could get so far off track and in such a mess now seems much more easy to believe. 

If you have never read the book of Judges in its entirety, it is one shocking foray into disobedience after another. 

We like to cherry pick characters such as Gideon and Sampson for our kids, but on closer inspection, these guys are far from the stellar heroes portrayed on a few glossy pages of a toddler’s Bible Stories board book. 

Sampson would make better fodder for a reality show or a steamy mini-series and Gideon is exemplary until he decides to collect one earring from each conquering warrior and then fashions an ephod that pulls him and his whole household into idolatry. 

But it is the closing pages of this book that just leave a person undone with the depravity of Israel. This is not something you would want to read as a bedtime story for your child nor yourself. 

It starts with a concubine who is handed over to an entire city of sick men. She dies as a result. Her “husband” divides up her body and sends the pieces out as a clarion call to the twelve tribes to rise up and fight against the perpetrators of a crime that he allowed. 

The atrocity happened in the land of Benjamin so they ask their brothers to hand over the guilty parties, but Benjamin will not do it. 

They attack and kill and get their revenge and kill everyone except 600 Benjamite men who escape. 

Then lo and behold, they feel bad because now Benjamin won’t be a tribe anymore because they have killed all the women…so they concoct another plan in which they abduct women to be wives for them from other places. 

It’s bizarre. 

As I read I can only imagine the outrage of our culture on so many levels in all of this and my mind reels with the fact that God is even involving Himself still with a people like this. 

And then I look at us. 

I look at the insanity of what is considered good and right and true in this world as we try to appease and please everyone except God and yet God continues to bail us out. Time and again. 

I look at the disgusting spiraling into sin and idolatry and rebellion in the stories of the Judges and how God continued to work and I think how a mocker would say what kind of God lets this stuff happen…

And my answer is…the kind of God who had planned all along to put on skin like the rest of us and walk this earth with some rag-tag disciples and teach them what the Kingdom of Heaven is really like. 

The kind of God who remains holy and yet is willing to work amongst us when we are at our worst.

A God who sent His Spirit to live in us who believe and who would walk through many more culture shifts and world changes and proclaim that He is the way and the truth and the life. The same yesterday, today and forever. 

The One who conquered death by taking our sin and the sin of all the world upon Himself and dying and rising and ascending. 

The One who will return and will pass the final judgement on all the living and all the dead. 

The One who will make all things right again. 

I take comfort that no matter how far off the track we get, He is still the same and His promises and covenants hold fast. 

When we are unfaithful, He remains faithful.

I praise Him this morning for He alone is worthy.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could even think to ask or imagine…to Him be glory forever <3 

Loose translation of Ephesians 3:20
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The danger in saying, “I’ll be the judge of that….”

I feel like I say this every Monday, but we have a crazy jam-packed week ahead. And this one is for sure out of the norm. 

We are returning the crib our family loaned us to host little ones when they came to visit, but now they have their own sweet grand to settle into for naps and overnights and we are so happy for them. 

This involves a road trip that we will cram into 48 hours and Russ figured …. Go big or go home….so we are taking two of the fab four with us. 

They are bringing a joke book that is the size of an unabridged dictionary and are packed and ready to go as of 7 a.m. this morning according to their mom. 

We are leaving tomorrow night…I haven’t even thought about what I need to pack.

All that to say, I may or may not get a post down…but most likely will have some stories from the journey and if you follow me on Instagram…a picture or ten along the route. 

For a devotional thought today, I am slugging my way through Judges in The Message. 

People who grow faint of heart usually do so in Leviticus, but for me Judges is the one where I just grit my teeth. 

What. A. Mess.

I think of how God sent the flood to wipe out all the evil that had festered and botched up His creation back in Genesis, and I can’t even imagine His patience as Israel just ran completely amok in the time of the Judges. 

And yet, it gives me hope.

While the margins of this particular book are filled with my ink drawn sad faces and question marks, God somehow continues to work. 

Some of the ways He intervenes for His people are mind boggling because these people were just plain awful. 

And yet, when they repented and turned to Him and humbled themselves, He worked victories. 

I think of the judgment that runs rampant in our culture; and how little mercy and grace are extended towards any and all “offenders.”

And I know the world likes to point out the judgey ways of Christians but the culture, politicians, celebrities and media are pretty good at passing judgement themselves and condemning and condoning and making up the moral structure we should all live by so…there is that. 

Basically we are in a world much like the one I am reading about in Judges…

One where there is no “king”…no established governing authority and so the people all did what was right in their sight and the results were catastrophic. 

It could wear me out if I didn’t keep focusing on how God never gave up on His people and He won’t give up on us. 

This is praiseworthy. 

So praise Him <3

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