Conntecting the Dots

A Truth to Claim When Facing Our Giants


I’ve spent the past two months developing and teaching Bible study curriculum about the names of God. My oh my, what a fascinating and faith-building journey.


I’m wrapping up the study with Jehovah Sabaoth. Simply put, this name tells us that God is the Lord of hosts—the Commander-in-Chief over millions of angels, armies of men, and the heavenly host (sun, moon, and stars).


David used it when he confronted Goliath. “David replied to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’” (1 Samuel 17:45 NLT)


Understanding God’s power and authority as revealed in “Jehovah Sabaoth” gave the shepherd boy combat confidence that the Israelite soldiers lacked.

David refused to wear the king’s armor and carry his sword for self-defense. Instead, he armed himself with a shepherd’s staff, a sling, and five smooth stones. Talk about defying human logic!

As the sneer-faced giant strode toward him yelling curses, David shouted, “Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:46-48 NLT)


Goliath loomed large, but David refused to retreat. Instead, he ran toward the giant, hurled the infamous stone, and toppled him.


We’ve all faced giants in the past year.

Uncertainty, fear, financial struggles, and relationship issues loom large and cast a shadow over our lives. We can either let them intimidate us, or we can choose to believe and live from the truth that the Lord of heaven’s armies rescues His people. Often He uses strategies that defy logic, and faith calls us to trust His wisdom and timing.


When we say our battles belong to the Lord, this doesn’t mean we sit idly by and wait for Him to do it all. It means we take appropriate action and trust His power and sovereignty for the outcome. David killed the Philistine, but God conquered him. (1 Samuel 17:46, 1 Samuel 17:50).


So be encouraged, my friend.

You may be facing a giant today, but know that the Lord of heaven’s armies is on your side. Take action to topple it, and God will conquer it.



Good Father

Let us then approach God’s 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 (NIV)


The story’s told of a king who called a meeting with his advisors. In the middle of their discussion, he noticed his daughter peering through the ajar door. Without a moment’s hesitation, he opened his arms and she came running. Such is the welcome our heavenly Father extends to us.

We might hesitate to approach him if we believe he doesn’t really care about our concerns or that they’re too trivial for him to take notice. Our pain might seem paltry to someone who deals with global pandemics, wars, and famine, right? Wrong. Nothing’s further from the truth.

God cares deeply about what concerns me and you, and he invites us to come to his throne room anytime day or night. We needn’t fear interrupting him. No matter what our need is, he promises to extend mercy and favor to help us through it.

Go ahead—run to him today. He can hardly wait to hold you.



Do you feel free to approach God at any time? If not, why?



Father, help me picture you with arms open waiting for me to run into them.


“That’s the way it is with our Father in Heaven. When you became a son or a daughter, when you were adopted into His family, He opened up for you through His Son’s death on the cross a way of fellowship and relationship that makes it possible for you to bypass the temple and its animal sacrifices. You don’t have to talk to God through a priest. You can go right into the presence of God Almighty and He will hear you.”

–David Jeremiah, Prayer, the Great Adventure



Excerpt from Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos. ©2021 Grace Fox

Published by Aspire Press.



#prayer  #TalkingWithGod  #faith  #Christianfaith  #GodLovesYou  #ChildofGod  #RosePublishing  #FaithJourney  #GrowinginFaith  #GodCares

Do You Have a Hidden Strength?

Several years ago, a ruptured Achilles tendon landed me in a knee-high non-weightbearing cast. A few days later, my opposite leg suffered a knee injury. Those injuries combined ruled out crutches and put me in a wheelchair for three months. But that wasn’t all. Insomnia hit me, too.


Several months prior, I’d accepted a speaking invitation for a women’s conference about 12 hours’ drive from home. As the weekend for that event approached, I chose to do my utmost to honor my commitment. I sat at my desk the day before departure and prayed, “God, I haven’t got a clue how I’m going to do this. I need Your help.”


My gaze fell on a piece of scrap paper on my desk. It contained words scrawled in my handwriting:  Go in the strength you have. I will be with you. Gideon. Judges 6:14-16.

At the time, I understood those words to mean I was to go in the physical strength I had no matter how limited, and God’s presence would be my sufficiency. I went, and it was.


Yesterday I spent several hours writing Bible study curriculum focused on Gideon’s life. I returned to Judges 6:14-16, and this time I saw these verses through a different lens.


God spoke these words to Gideon when He tasked him with rescuing the Israelites from the Midianites. Gideon argued that his clan was the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh and he was the least in his entire family. How could he possibly rescue the Israelites?


It appears that, like me, Gideon also assumed God was referring to his physical strength. But maybe that’s not what God meant. Could it be that He had other strengths in mind? If so, what might they be? Humility, perhaps. The willingness to do whatever God said even if it meant doing it afraid? A repentant heart? (Judges 6:22-24)


Sometimes God sees strengths in us that we fail to recognize. He gives us an assignment, and what do we do? Focus on our inadequacies, on those qualities we consider weaknesses.


Maybe we need to reframe the way we see ourselves. Perhaps we need to ask the Lord to help us view ourselves as He does. What strengths does He see in us that we fail to recognize? Here are a couple of examples.


God tasks believers with making disciples of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20) We respond, “Who am I to do that? I ‘m not a preacher or Bible study leader.” But God sees in us an extraordinary ability to listen well—an important skill in building relationships that could eventually lead to conversations over coffee about Jesus and faith journeys.


God might ask us to show His love to a difficult neighbor or family member. We say, “I can’t do that. I don’t have patience for prickly people.” But He sees in us the ability to discern when someone has a practical need and the willingness to meet that need. Perhaps performing an act of service is the key to unlocking that person’s heart.


God saw something in Gideon that Gideon didn’t see in himself. I’m certain the same is true for us.


Think for a few minutes about how this applies to your life. Ask God to show you a strength He sees in you—one you’ve either never noticed or have seen but not considered a strength. Then post that strength in the comment section. Share with us what He shows you, okay?


#PersonalStrengths #FaithJourney  #faith #ChristianWalk #GrowingInFaith  #GideonsFaith  #Devotions  #Christiandevotions  #OvercomingFear

God is Always on Time

Last evening, the women in my Zoom Bible study talked briefly about the timing of God’s provision for our needs. Based on personal experience and Biblical accounts, we all came to the same conclusion: He always provides for us. And that provision always comes at just the right time—not a moment too late, and never too soon. He rescues us at the midnight hour.


Perhaps you’re waiting for God to provide for a particular need today. Maybe you’re waiting for Him to answer a prayer. If so, then I pray that today’s post will encourage and inspire you. It’s an excerpt from Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos.


Always on Time

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire… Psalm 40:1-2 (NLT)



I was kindergarten-age when I tried crossing a muddy road. My feet became stuck in the muck, and I yelled for help. I yelled louder upon seeing a concrete truck rumble toward me. A neighbor rushed to my rescue, and, in my opinion, not a moment too soon.

Sometimes I feel like my child-self mired in tough circumstances about to get worse. I cry to God for help, and I cry again—louder—if rescue doesn’t come immediately. Patience and panic don’t dwell in the same heart.

I suspect that the psalmist exercised patience because he understood God’s nature. Having a good grasp on his wisdom, sovereignty, and love enabled him to trust his timing. He knew God would respond not a moment too soon or too late.

Such is our Rescuer God. Wise. Sovereign. Loving. He hears our cries, and he comes at just the right time.



Identify one blessing you’ve received while waiting for God to answer your cries for help.



Lord, I know you will rescue me. Help me wait patiently.


“Have you entrusted everything concerning your case to Jesus? If you have, then the entire matter is sealed and delivered—in His resurrection. The message is this: As surely as Jesus rose on time, your triumph will be on schedule also. Lazarus’s schedule probably seemed a day late to him, too.” –Jack Hayford, Moments with Majesty


#bgbg2 #GodsTiming  #GodsTimingIsPerfect  #GodIsNeverLate  #ChristianDevotions #Faith  #TrustInGod #GodNeverFails  #ChristianLife  #WaitingOnGod


Honestly, I sometimes feel like managing my self-talk is a fulltime job. Unless I keep constant vigil, I catch myself speaking untruths that lead to wasted time worrying or building a wall of self-defense. Why go there? My attitudes, perspectives, and even my relationships are so much healthier when I catch the lies and replace them with truth.


Does this sound familiar?

If so, then I pray that today’s post will encourage and inspire you. It’s an excerpt from Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos available at Barnes and Noble and anywhere Christian books are sold.


Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.

Psalm 119:29 (NLT)



Have you ever listened to the self-talk that runs through your mind? Losing my mobility for several months while living in a three-storey townhouse meant having to hoist myself backwards up fifteen stairs to my bedroom every night. One night I caught myself saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” That became a defining moment for me.


I’d spoken a lie over myself. If I believed those words, I would lose hope. I’d quit trying to regain my health, and I’d suffer the consequences physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. From that moment forward, I chose to be more intentional about my self-talk, choosing words that reflected God’s heart for me.


I encourage you to do the same. Become attentive to the words you speak to yourself in your thoughts. Measure them against God’s truth. If you catch yourself saying, “I can’t do this anymore,” readily acknowledge this as a lie. Then speak the truth: “I can do this in God’s strength.”



Describe your usual self-talk. Do you unintentionally speak lies, or do you speak truth?



Father, make me aware of the words I speak in my thoughts and align them with your truth.


“Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Moment by moment, every day, you are changing the structure of your brain through your thinking. When we hope, it is an activity of the mind that changes the structure of our brain in a positive and normal direction.”

 –Dr. Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health  


#bgbg2 #selftalk #negativeselftalk #ourthoughtsmatter #findinghopeincrisis #hope #findinghope

5 Promises God Keeps and Why

In the past four days, God has reminded me several times that He always keeps His promises. The first reminder came last weekend as I researched Hebrews 6:13-20 for a First 5 assignment.


Hebrews 6:13-15 refers to Abraham believing God’s promise to make him the father of countless descendants. Humanly speaking, this was an impossibility. He and his wife were old, and she was also barren. But impossibilities are possibilities for God, and He fulfilled His promise despite all odds.


Then the passage turns its attention to all believers. It encourages us to trust God to fulfill His promises to us, too. Here’s why.


First, God cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18) If He says He will do something, He will do it. He can do nothing contrary to truth because He is truth by nature. But there’s another layer to why we can trust Him to keep  His word.


God made an oath to keep His promises, and He did so by swearing on His own name. If we were to swear by someone’s name, we’d choose a person with higher authority and more influence than ourselves, and we’d be inviting him to hold us to our word.


God swears by His name because there is no other name higher than His. He is the ultimate authority on earth and in heaven. He stands on His word and will see to it that it comes to pass.

Understanding that God layers His promises with an oath encourages me to trust Him. It encourages me to pray in faith and to kick doubt to the curb.


So, what are some promises that God will bring to pass for those who trust Him?


  • He will deliver us from fear. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
  • He will never leave us. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
  • He will guide us. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • He will forgive us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
  • He will give us everything we need to live godly lives. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (1 Peter 1:3)


These are only a sampling of God’s promises to His children. Sometimes we read or recite them without giving serious thought to the serious commitment He puts behind them. We do well to remember that He cannot lie, and that He swears by His own name to stand by His word. We have no reason to doubt and every reason to be live in confident expectation, right?


Which of the five promises above resonates most with you today?


#Godspromises #GodKeepsHisWord #GodCannotLie  #Hope #Hopeful #BiblePromises #ChristianDevotions #devotions  



Prayer: What Works, What Doesn’t


God’s Word tells us to pray. Thankfully, it also gives us insights about what works and what doesn’t.


What Doesn’t Work?

Jesus has just finished telling the disciples about His immediate future: the Romans will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill Him. But three days later He will rise again.


You’d think their beloved Teacher’s words would stop the disciples dead in their sandals, but not so for James and John. Can you see these guys in your minds’ eye? “Pssst—Jesus!” they whisper. “We want You to do us a favor.”


“What is your request?” Jesus asks.


Then comes the bombshell. “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”


Jesus responds with these words: “You don’t know what you are asking!…I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left.” (Mark 10:34-40 NLT) He not only refused to grant their request, but He pointed out their flawed thinking about leadership.


The moral of the story? Asking with selfish motives doesn’t work well.


What Works?

A blind beggar calls out to Jesus as He and the disciples pass through Jericho. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he yells over and over.


Jesus stops and asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?”


“My Rabbi,” the blind man says, “I want to see!”


Jesus responds with favor. “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” (Mark 10:46-52)


The moral of this story? Asking with humility, recognizing our needs and Christ’s ability to meet them, works. Jesus may or may not answer with an immediate yes as He did for Bartimaeus, but He recognizes humble faith when He sees it, and He honors it in the way He deems best.


I can recall times when I’ve prayed with wrong motives.


“God, I need You to do me a favor,” I’d say—but not aloud, of course. “I need You to help me win that contest, or land that new book contract, or gain a little more recognition.” Guess what happened? Nothing. Literally. And rightfully so. Jesus doesn’t owe me favors to satisfy my selfish heart. He’s already given me everything I need and topped it with a host of promises He intends to keep.


I can also recall times when I’ve cried to Jesus from a desperate state. Hurt and hopelessness had blinded me. I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. “Jesus—help me see the way,” I cried. “Give me eyes to see this situation as You do!”


Praying in faith made me well. God recognized humility and blessed me for it. (1 Peter 5:6-7)


Asking God for favors from a selfish heart never works. Asking Him for help from a humble heart always works. Lesson learned.


How have you found this to be true in your own life?


#bgbg2 #prayer  #prayingeffectively  #Christiandevotions #howtopraysoGodanswers




Why Our Thoughts About God Matter


The older I get and the more life experience I gather, the more I’m fascinated by the power of the thoughts we habitually entertain. In short, they influence our behaviors, and those behaviors determine our destiny or outcome. Let me give you a personal example of what this looks like.


When Sailor-Man and I first sensed God nudge us to move aboard a sailboat, I thought, Seriously? That’s a massive life transition. Then my thoughts split in two directions like a fork in the road. One said, That’s nuts. You’ll regret it. The other said, If this is truly God nudging, then He’s got our backs. The only response is yes. Trust Him to guide and provide. In my heart, I knew to focus my thoughts on the latter.


As Sailor-Man and I began to move forward, I focused my thoughts on truth about who God is. He’s faithful and good to His children. He doesn’t jerk us around or play with our emotions. He promises to give wisdom and to lead us along the right path. He promises to surround us with His unfailing love and to see to it that our needs are met.


The more I filled my mind with truth and meditated on it, the more assured I became that God would not let us make the wrong decision. A sense of confident anticipation overrode fear.


The outcome?


We said yes and watched in awe as God put every detail in place. That was three years ago. His sovereignty over our lives has been so obvious that we’ve never looked back. We’ve never had regrets. We know we’re here by His design, and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Imagine the outcome if I’d focused my thoughts on That’s nuts. You’ll regret it. Without a doubt, I would never have had the courage to make this transition. I would have missed a ton of blessings and a heap of joy that comes from obedience.


My heart breaks for the people who lived in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.


When Jesus showed up and began teaching in their synagogue, many were amazed at His wisdom and His power to perform miracles. But then they let their thoughts wander into doubt. They tried to explain the inexplicable, and that didn’t go well. “Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.’” (Mark 6:2-3)


The people’s thoughts influenced their behavior: “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.” (Mark 6:3) Their behavior determined their outcome: “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6)


Sadly, the people in Nazareth missed a ton of blessings and a heap of joy. It all started when they let their thoughts dwell on doubts rather than the truth about who Jesus was.


You and I are living in difficult times.


So many have suffered loss and disappointment. Let’s be alert to the enemy’s tactics in these days, okay? Satan knows that the battle for our souls begins in our minds. That’s where he’ll plant seeds of doubt about God’s sovereignty, wisdom, goodness, and power. Just like he did with Eve, he’ll use these doubts to cause us to question God’s intent toward us.


We’re faced with a choice.


We can either camp our thoughts on lies or we can secure them on truth. Our choice will influence our behaviors and determine our destiny. We’ll either topple to fear and seek to alleviate it through a means that will only make matters worse, or we’ll turn to the Lord and find His strength to help us stand firm amidst the storm winds.


I don’t want to miss what God has in store, and I’m confident you feel the same way.

We’d do well to ask the Holy Spirit to show us whether we’re believing lies about who God is, and if so, to help us identify them. Then let’s invite Him to help us understand what the truth is and to walk it out.


Read the story about how God led us to live on a sailboat.


I’ll be teaching an eight-week women’s Bible study via Zoom beginning Tuesday, March 9 at 4 PM (Pacific Time). The topic: “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”. Click here for details and registration.



#WhoIsGod  #BelieveTheTruth  #DailyDevotions  #Faith #ChristianLiving #bgbg2




Learning to Say No

The devil will do anything to derail our devotion for the Lord. One of his tactics is busyness. If running from one thing to the next to the next eliminates quiet time spent in God’s Word and presence, then we become more vulnerable to temptation, discouragement, and self-deception. Satan knows this, so he wastes no energy trying to get us to buy into busyness as a way of life and proof of our importance. Some personalities are more prone to this than others. Can you see my raised hand? I’ve learned a few things the hard way after spending nearly 30 years in career ministry.


I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions before saying yes to others’ requests for my commitment to their cause:

  • Saying yes to this request means saying no to something else. To what am I saying no?
  • Am I tempted to say yes because I’m afraid of missing out on an opportunity that might not come again?
  • Am I tempted to say yes because I think I’m the only one capable of doing this assignment?
  • Am I tempted to say yes because I’m afraid to disappoint others by saying no?
  • Am I tempted to say yes because I want to impress others with my abilities?


Using this grid helps me evaluate my motives. But the most important question of all is this: Is God asking me to do this? If so, then the only appropriate answer is yes. If not, then the answer is no, and I’m learning to say it without feeling guilty.


Even Jesus said no at times.

The morning after He healed Simon’s mother-in-law and many sick and demon-possessed people in her town, He rose early to pray alone. The disciples found him and said, “Everyone is looking for You.”


A weaker personality might have responded, “Okay—let’s go and see what they need.” But not Jesus. “Jesus replied, ‘We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.’” (Mark 1:35-38 NLT)


Jesus didn’t say no to those who wanted to see Him for lack of love. He embodied compassion, after all. (Mark 1:41) He said no because He knew His God-given purpose. He understood God’s plan to redeem mankind and His place in that plan. Other than being One with God, what gave Him such certainty? Scroll back to Mark 1:35—” Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”


Jesus spent His days serving, teaching, and walking from region to region to serve and teach more. He was a busy man but He made time with His Father a priority. The depth of that relationship gave Him the wisdom He needed to know His purpose and to stay on task.


God has given us gifts of time and talents, and He wants us to steward them wisely.

Even more, He wants us to flourish in relationship with Him. To spend time in His presence. To  quiet ourselves so we can hear His voice. To make friendship with Him a greater priority than service for Him.


The practical outworking of such a relationship changes from person to person and season to season, but one truth remains constant: If we’re too busy to acknowledge God’s presence, then we’re too busy. Let’s be alert to the devil’s efforts to derail us using busyness as his weapon of choice. Let’s learn to say no when necessary so we can wisely steward the time and talents God has given us and stay focused on His purpose for our lives.


Question: Do you find it difficult to say no? If so, reread my grid questions. Which one resonates with you most?


#Learningtosayno  #EvenJesussaidno  #DailyDevotions  #priorities #spiritualpriorities  #bgbg2