Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

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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That mystery of how a stain can remove a stain still gets me every time <3

Greetings to you on this beautiful Good Friday. 

As I was pondering and praying what to share, I kept thinking of something that happened a few years ago on a Sunday morning as we sat in worship at Zach and Rachel’s church. 

Graham got to sit with us . Since he has been baptized, he takes communion. 

As he pulled the foil top off his cup, it tipped a bit and some of the grape juice spilled on his nice crisp khaki pants. 

We took our communion with the pastor’s leading us through and then I watched as our little guy tried to rub away the small purple stain on his pants. 

Of course his efforts were to no avail and if you think me a cruel grandma for not jumping in to help, please don’t. 

I knew he was embarrassed by his spill and he didn’t think anyone had seen. I didn’t want to make it worse by giving attention to it. 

After a few more swipes at it, he pulled his shirt tail a little longer and covered it over. I noticed when we got up to leave, he checked again to make sure it wasn’t noticeable. 

At that time and many times since, I have cried tender tears for that little man. 

And really…for all of us. 

We are prone to staining ourselves, you know. 

When we do, we want to make it go away or get it washed up or at least hide it so no one can see it. 

Alas, there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to make the sin and shame of our human nature disappear. 

And how blood, which makes a pretty hefty stain in its own right, can be the only thing that cleans up the mess is a mystery I don’t have the answer to.

But this I know with all my heart. 

The Blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin and shame. 

I am so very grateful. 

Easter blessings to you and yours as we celebrate what He did for us <3

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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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