Conntecting the Dots

What the World Needs Now

Years ago, a lilting tune said that the world needed love, sweet love. The writer said love was the only thing of which there was too little. A simple tune, it was, but its simplicity carried a powerful message.


Truth be told, I’ve been so busy writing the new book that I was going to take a shortcut this morning and rework an old blog to ease my workload. But considering the state of the world, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. We’re in desperate days. I feel a sense of urgency to address what’s happening. I can’t remain silent.


A few weeks ago, the mantra heard was, “We’re all in this together.” We locked down, canceled flights, and weddings and school. We grieved loved ones alone, lost our jobs, and lost the privilege of meeting to worship. We shut stores and gyms and playgrounds. Bringing life to a grinding halt became our strategy to fight a common enemy – COVID-19.


Fighting the common enemy awoke something in us. Our frenetic daily pace gone, we began to see others through new eyes. We began practicing kindness—fetching groceries for those more vulnerable, reaching out via Zoom to others in isolation, calling others just to touch base. We realized that there’s more to life than what we see with our eyes. We recognized afresh the importance of human connection.


But the fight also revealed something else in humanity. It’s been there all along, but it’s particularly obvious now. What is it? The evil hidden in the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” It seems it’s becoming obvious to all.


A couple of nights ago on the local news, I watched footage of a young woman crossing a public patio. A senior Asian woman using a walker approached nearby. The young woman suddenly changed direction, came behind the senior and knocked her in the back of her knees. The older woman lost her balance and tumbled to the concrete. The assailant turned and walked away as though nothing had happened. Why it took weeks for this footage to be shown on the news is anyone’s guess.


We see footage of what’s happening in the United States. George Floyd’s death has given further revelation to the evil hidden in the human heart. This tragedy is only one piece of a bigger picture, though. It seems our society has gone mad in its pursuit of self-love.


We loot and burn and destroy other people’s livelihoods under the guise of social justice. Further from today’s news but still indicative of the evil in the human heart, we abuse our power and positions to take advantage of others. We buy and sell human beings like commodities. We make laws that say it’s okay to kill on demand and then remove funding from facilities that refuse to comply. We take the lives of unborn children and call this an essential service. This is craziness!


Calling in the military to dominate the dissenters will not make things right. Providing funding to help alleviate our society and our personal lives from those whose presence might inconvenience our pursuit of happiness will not make society better. We’re a mess. And there’s only one way to fix this.


We need to understand that people are not the enemy. Their skin might not be the same color as ours, and they might not share the same values, but they’re not the enemy. We’re at war alright, but it’s with a common foe who’s bent on destroying our souls—“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). The devil is real, and he wants to take out every man, woman, and child on the planet. And right now, it feels like he’s pulling out all the stops by stirring anger and violence and a whole lot of self-love.


What the world needs now is love. Not self-love. We’ve tried that since the dawn of time and it hasn’t worked so well. We need to get over ourselves and learn to love others despite the differences. We need to learn to love even when it costs us something.


Trouble is, the human heart being inherently evil isn’t capable of such love on its own. We can only begin to truly love others when we begin to understand how much God loves us. And wow—did it ever cost Him!


“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


God loved the world—every man, woman, and child—enough to send His son to pay the death penalty we deserve for our sin. And heaven only knows the extent of it—greed, lust, unforgiveness, murder, abuse, ingratitude, gossip, lies, cheating, adultery, racism, and the list goes on. None of us can say we’ve never sinned. We’re a mess, beyond hope without His help.


The enemy of our souls wants to destroy us, but God offers a better future.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life,” He says (John 10:10). It begins with the forgiveness of our sin and continues as He recreates our hearts, making us into new people with a fresh start.


If you are dissatisfied and done with the mess, then choose the better way. Talk to God like you would talk to a friend and invite Him to lead you in His way. You can pray something like this:


“God, thank You for loving me and for having a purpose for my life. I believe You sent Jesus to pay my death penalty for sin and that He rose from the dead to purchase a place I heaven for me. Please forgive me. Cleanse my heart from everything that grieves You. Help me live life the way You intended from this day forward. Amen.”


What the world needs now is love. God is love, and we need Him desperately to show us how to love others so we can make this world a better place.


If you prayed that prayer above, please let me know. I’d be happy to provide you with a resource to show you how to grow in your relationship with God.



#bgbg2 #devotions #Love  #LoveIsTheAnswer












How You View Yourself Matters


“I’m just a stay-at-home mom.”     


“I’m only a devotional writer.”


“I’m just learning how to ___________.”


How many times have you heard people describe themselves in apologetic terms such as these? I’ve done it myself. In fact, those three examples are my own quotes.


Why do we do this? Because we’ve listened to negative voices around us rather than believing the truth about who we are in Christ Jesus.


The Israelites did the same thing. Day after day—for forty days—Goliath taunted them: “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul” (1 Samuel 17:8). His words influenced the Israelites’ self-perception and eroded their courage. Their lowly view of themselves led to defeat. “When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken…As soon as the Israelite army saw him [Goliath], they began to run away in fright” (1 Samuel 17:24).


But then David showed up and brought a fresh perspective to the scene: “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”


David turned things around. He viewed them as soldiers fighting in the army of the living God. And he regarded the giant as only a pagan foreigner, not as a mighty intimidator capable of mass destruction. His perception of Goliath removed the fear factor of facing him in battle.


How did David view himself? His older brother accused him of being proud and deceitful, and Saul said he was “only a boy” incapable of fighting Goliath, but David refused to let others’ opinions determine his self-perception. Instead, he recalled the victories he experienced through God’s help in the past, and he saw himself as a conqueror on the verge of yet another conquest. His view of himself influenced his behavior, and he accomplished a historical victory that day.


I remember how empowered I felt when I stopped apologizing for being a stay-at-home mom by eliminating the word “just” from my vocabulary in that context.  My self-perception changed. I no longer saw myself as inferior to women my age who were successfully pursuing their careers. Instead, I counted myself blessed to pursue my heart’s desire to stay home with my children.


In the past, I’ve wrestled with being branded as a devotional writer. It didn’t help much when a friend in the publishing industry asked, “When are you going to start writing real books?” I’ve had to seek God’s perspective on the writing He’s called me to do, and now I view devotionals as sips of cold water prayerfully crafted to quench the parched. Now, when people ask what I write, I say, “I’m a devotional writer.” No apologies for not writing chapter books or novels.


Rather than just learning how to do something new (which subtly carries the connotation of feeble attempts), I am learning how to do something new (which carries the connotation of being gutsy enough to tackle a new endeavor). Again, I feel empowered to press on, to learn, to grow, and to develop my skills.


Here are a few personal growth questions to ponder:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • What factors have influenced that self-perception?
  • And how might that perception be influencing your behavior?


Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


#bgbg2 #devotions #SelfPerceptionMatters






10 Gifts Our Shepherd Gives Us


Psalm 23:1 holds a special place in my heart. It says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.”


On my fiftieth birthday, I sat in my backyard with Bible and journal in hand. “God, please give me a theme verse for my next 50 years,” I prayed. Psalm 23:1 instantly came to mind.


I’m embarrassed to admit that my first response was, “No thanks. It’s too simple. Give me something a bit more profound.” Thankfully the Holy Spirit stood His ground.


Psalm 23:1 – simple yet profound. The Lord wants us, His sheep, to flourish so He does whatever it takes to make that happen. Here are 10 gifts He provides to ensure our well-being.

  1. Wisdom—“If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” (James 1:5)
  2. Constant companionship—“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8)
  3. Our physical needs—“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
  4. Peace—“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.” (John 14:27)
  5. Comfort—”He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
  6. Strength—”I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
  7. Forgiveness—”But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:9)
  8. Joy—“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11)
  9. Direction—“You will see the teacher with your own eyes, and you will hear a voice say, ‘This is the way; turn around and walk here.’” (Isaiah 30:21)
  10. Everything we need for godly living—“As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3)


No doubt this list is only the beginning. What do you need today, friend? If you’re following the Good Shepherd, then everything you need is at your disposal. Just ask.


#JesusOurShepherd  #bgbg2  #devotions  #Psalm23



How our Thoughts Determine our Destiny


Our thoughts determine our destiny. Seriously. Here’s how it works: The thoughts we habitually think shape our beliefs. Our beliefs influence our behaviors. And our behaviors determine our outcome or destiny.


I reflect on my life experiences and see how it’s proven true both negatively and positively. Take, for example, the summer of 2017 when Gene and I sensed God tell us to purge our belongings and move aboard a sailboat.


Our thoughts: Moving aboard a sailboat is a huge life transition and not to be made on a whim. It sounds a bit crazy, but If God is indeed nudging us, then we’ll move forward because He will help us.


Our beliefs: Because God will help us, we can move forward with confidence. He will protect us in this. He is bigger than any obstacle we might face. He is the way-maker.


Our behavior: We searched for the right boat and looked for a place to moor it. Spoke with our kids to see what their thoughts were about this idea. Crunched numbers to determine financial feasibility. Bathed every step in prayer and thanksgiving.


Our outcome: Found the ideal boat, bought it for a ridiculously low price, and watched as God provided moorage despite there being a seven-year waiting list for liveaboard space in the Vancouver area. Our joy cup overflows.



Let’s flip this and see how it might have looked based on different thoughts.


Our thoughts: Move onto a sailboat? Who does that? Give up our stuff? This is ridiculous, God.


Our beliefs: God is asking us to do something completely unrealistic. He’s harsh. He doesn’t really care about our wants and needs.


Our behavior: Ignore God’s whispers. Go about life as usual. Never take the first step toward obedience.


Our outcome: We’d still be living in our former house, likely feeling dissatisfied and wondering what life might have been like on a sailboat. We might be struggling with a dry spiritual journey.


Here’s a biblical example of the same principle, found in Psalm 106:24-27. It says, “The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord. Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants  among the nations, exiling them to distant lands.”


Their thoughts: Move into the Promised Land? Are you kidding? The people there will kill us. Besides, God brought us out here to die. We should have stayed in Egypt where we had lots of good food.


Their beliefs: God doesn’t have our best interest in mind. He can’ be trusted. He doesn’t really care about our wants and needs.


Their behavior: They grumbled in their tents and refused to obey God.


Their outcome: They died without seeing the Promised Land.


How easy it is to fall into negative thinking about our circumstances. When we dwell on those thoughts, we develop inaccurate beliefs. Those beliefs lead us to behaviors that are not-so-good, and bam—we end up in a not-so-good outcome. Thankfully it works in the positive sense, too.


Perhaps you feel frustrated or afraid over this pandemic and its fallout. Maybe you’re anxious about what your new normal might look like. There’s nothing wrong with those emotions, but you want to be aware that the enemy is out there looking for someone to devour. Know that he’ll go for your thoughts first in his attempt to bring you down. He will plant seeds of doubt about God’s intent toward you just as he did with Eve in the garden.


The moment you realize your thoughts are going to an unhealthy place, ask the Holy Spirit to replace them with truth. Fix them on what’s right and good and honorable using Philippians 4:8 as your guide. Make a list of things for which you can be thankful, and praise God for who He is—sovereign, wise, loving, and faithful.


Take control over your thoughts rather than letting them control you.  Fix them on the truth, and then walk out that truth for an outcome that will bring blessing rather than regret.


#Overcoming fear  #bgbg2  #devotions  #ControlYourThoughts


How to Spread Contagious Joy


We’ve heard the word “contagious” more times than we can count in the past few weeks. We all know that COVID-19 is easily spread from one person to another, so we wear masks to prevent droplets from escaping our mouths. We wash our hands multiple times a day. We wear gloves at the gas pumps. And we maintain appropriate social distancing rules even if our regions are beginning to open up. We do all these things because the disease is easily passed from one person to another.


COVID-19 isn’t the only negative thing that’s contagious. Fear spreads easily, too. During this time of media saturation, we read or hear the news that scares us, and we tell others about it. Trouble is, the news might not be accurate, or we hear only part of it and assume the rest. Nonetheless, we pass it on to others believing it’s fact, and fear grows.


So I’ve been thinking…


If COVID-19 and all things negative surrounding it can spread easily, then why not reframe the word “contagious” and spread something positive instead? How about spreading contagious joy? Doing so means we must be infected with it first.


At a time like this, joy is a choice we make. James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”


COVID-19 has brought troubles of every kind to our world. The weight of this hit me full force on the weekend when I learned that my hometown is now the virus hotspot for its province. My elderly mother still lives there. So do my brother and his entire family. His youngest daughter, the mother of three young children, is a nurse.


Troubles we’d never anticipated have hit our entire world. We can let those troubles terrorize us, keep us awake at night, drive us to drink (liquor stores are doing a booming business now) or push us into a pit of despair. Or—we can do what Scripture says and look at those troubles with different eyes.


We can choose to view this very strange time with joy. Great joy. This doesn’t happen naturally when we don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills, or when we can’t be with a loved one who’s deathly ill, or when homeschooling the kids is pushing us to the brink. It happens only when we allow God to transform our thinking (Romans 12:2). Instead of focusing on the what-ifs, we focus on Truth.


The truth is—yes, there’s a worldwide pandemic going on but…

  • God is with us.
  • God is in control.
  • God is our provider.
  • God loves us.
  • God will be faithful. Always.


Keeping our focus on the truth about God helps us rise above fear. And keeping our focus on the truth of James 1:2-4 helps us understand that our pain has a purpose. Hardship and suffering build endurance into our character. We grow stronger, deeper, more mature in our faith. We move from the darkness of despair into the light of hope.


Choosing joy amidst the most difficult circumstances benefits us and blesses others. Our attitudes, words, and actions no longer breed fear. Now they speak encouragement and spark hope. With a smile, an encouraging email, a handwritten note, or a listening ear, we spread joy to those who feel lonely or at a loss.


Imagine how different our world might look if everyone spread contagious joy during this time. What’s one action you can take to start a “Contagious Joy” movement in your home, neighborhood, and beyond?


#ContagiousJoy  #bgbg2  #Joy


Listening for God’s Voice During Difficult Times


Who could have imagined you and I would experience a worldwide pandemic? It’s truly a unique season. Besides the many challenges it presents, it also brings us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That is—a chance to stop, look, and listen.


We’ve stopped our breakneck pace. Being confined at home has given us time to catch our breath. We’ve had a chance to complete tasks long overdue, play table games, do puzzles, write letters, pick up hobbies we once enjoyed, or take online courses.


Hitting pause has given us time to look at our lives. What’s going well? Where have we placed too much emphasis? What priorities might we need to rearrange?


Slowing down has also provided time to listen. Most ministry leaders say God is trying to tell us something in these days. I believe that’s true both for us as individuals and for believers corporately.


What might God be saying?


Personally, as I’ve listened for God’s voice, I’ve heard Him say to use this time wisely and to focus on building His kingdom. Specifically:

  • Write a couple of book proposals that have been percolating in me.
  • Start doing daily devotional videos called “Devotions From the Dock.”
  • Grow in my technology skills to reach a wider audience with the Word.
  • Be available to help my marina neighbors with practical needs.


I’ve also heard Him say over and over, “Trust Me and do not be afraid.” Peace has settled in my heart and mind as I’ve listened to His reassurance.


Perhaps some of you have heard God’s voice during the past several weeks, too. Or perhaps you may be wondering how to hear God’s voice. I’ve found that He communicates in a variety of ways: He speaks to us through Scripture. He whispers to us through His Holy Spirit who lives in us.  He speaks to us through song lyrics, through the beauty of His creation, and through others who love Him. No matter what He says or by which method, it will always align with His truth.


Hearing God’s voice is not complicated. Nor is it reserved for only a select few of His followers. John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” The first half of the verse implies two things: God speaks to us, and we can hear Him. It’s something we should anticipate not consider a spiritual mystery. The second half teaches that, when He speaks to us in the way in which we best hear Him, we will respond appropriately. We won’t stick our fingers in our ears to drown out His voice. We’ll listen and obey.


Let’s make the most of this unexpected pause. Let’s use our time to look at our lives, celebrate the good, and commit to changing or improving the not-so-good. Let’s invite the Lord to speak to us and then expect Him to do so. He might say something like this:

  • Reach out to your neighbor with a word of encouragement.
  • Repent of something that’s hindering your relationship with Me.
  • Forgive someone who hurt you.
  • Embrace this opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby.
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Praise Me even in the midst of this pandemic.
  • Do not worry about your future because I’ve got your back.

God knows exactly what you need to hear and when, so commit to keeping your ears wide open for His voice. Use this season to spend a few minutes each day in His presence with no agenda other than to listen. Ask Him, “What do You want to say to me today?” and then wait in quiet expectation.


If you’ve heard God speak to you during this pandemic, consider posting what He said. This will be an encouragement to all who read it, I’m sure. It will be a good reminder for all of us that He is actively involved in His followers’ lives.


By the way, I’ve started posting brief devotional videos on my YouTube channel. Pop over there and subscribe if you wish.


#ListenforGod  #bgbg2  #Godspeaks

5 Truths to Remember in the Face of Uncertainty


A new guy moved into the marina this week. Laid off after working fifteen years in the oil patch, he was. Like everyone else on the planet, he has no idea what his future holds, but it looks bleak.


The uncertainty drags on. We’re all wondering when things will settle down and return to normal. No—let me rephrase that.  Life will never return to normal as we knew it. So, what will our new normal look like? Your guess is as good as mine.


An acquaintance works for a ministry with dozens of volunteers who answer phone calls from people requesting prayer. She told me that they’re taking 1500 calls a day from men and women distraught due to the pandemic. Worry and fear have gripped them, and they’re searching for reassurance and hope. They just want to know that everything’s going to be okay.


Medical experts, government leaders, and media—none of these can guarantee the outcome or offer hope in concrete terms. They give us the latest findings, statistics, probable outcomes, and best guesses, but these change day by day.

Everything shifts and sifts through our fingers like sand. Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing, that is, but God’s promises. Here’s a gem for you today.


You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
    This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised;
    yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:8-11 (NLT)


This Psalm instills hope when we recognize several important truths it contains:

  • God is very aware of what’s happening and how it’s affecting us. Furthermore, He cares. Our heartache is His.
  • God’s presence makes our enemies retreat.
  • God is on our side. By His strength, we shall overcome the fear of uncertainty.
  • God’s promises are praiseworthy.
  • God is trustworthy. That’s His nature, and He never changes.


When the stress of uncertainty starts to get to you, go back to these five truths. Write them on a recipe card and post them where you’ll see them often. Hide them in your heart and speak them aloud. Ask God to give you deeper insights into each one.


I’ll explore them in a deeper way in a Zoom call with members of my private FB group on Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM Pacific Time. To participate in the discussion, join “Growing with Grace”

You’ll find the Zoom link there. I hope to see you!


#Psalm56  #Hope  #COVID19  #OvercomingFear

From Disappointment to Delight When Change Happens

To say COVID-19 has changed peoples’ plans would be the understatement of the century.


A friend’s daughter is getting married this weekend. The happy couple had planned to invite 200 guests. Now only the immediate family will gather in a back yard to celebrate the wedding. No doubt thousands of other couples are changing wedding plans for the changing times.


Parents have changed plans to accommodate their children’s educational needs now that schools are closed. Proms and graduations have been canceled.


My son-in-law is completing his second year of medical school. His third year was to begin in mid-May in a northern B.C. community hospital. The pandemic changed those plans, however, and now he can’t begin until July. Meanwhile, he and my daughter were renting a house from a family that had moved to Africa to teach until the end of June. But Canada sent a plane to bring Canadians home last week, and understandably, they’ll need their house back. That means my daughter and her family have to move to that northern community earlier than expected.


Most everyone on the planet is experiencing change at this time.


It happened to me last weekend. Gene and I had originally planned to visit our son and his family for Easter, but we mutually decided this wasn’t a good idea. Having our Saturday open meant we could take our boat-home down the Fraser River to fill up with diesel. This should have been an eight-hour trip, but it turned into 48 hours after the engine’s starter died. We had to tie up at a public dock and pay for two nights’ moorage. Gene spent Easter Sunday at a fix-it shop having the starter rebuilt, and I spent those hours alone on the boat.


We finally returned to our marina on Monday. We thought we’d be home before lunch, but then the engine suffered an exhaust leak. Gene patched it, but it blew when he restarted the engine. His second attempt held fast, but we had to navigate the river at half our usual speed to prevent the possibility of blowing the patch again. We arrived at our slip several hours later than we’d anticipated.


If you’re like me, you feel comfortable when you’re in control of your circumstances. Things can get a little hairy when it feels like life is whirling out of control. That’s when fear steps in. Or disappointment. Or feeling ticked-off.


This weekend, when all my plans went kaput, I chose to not stress. Instead, I looked for something good in the unforeseen circumstances. The list surprised me:


  • Gene and I rose early Sunday and read the Easter story while watching the sun rise over Mt. Baker. A precious time together.
  • I enjoyed watching Asian men and women relax by fishing from the dock from dawn until dusk.
  • I enjoyed seeing the variety of boats that went past—pleasure boats, commercial fishing vessels, sailboats, rowboats, kayaks.
  • Gene spent his entire Sunday building friendship with one of our marina neighbors who read about our plight on my Facebook timeline page and immediately came to our rescue. He knew of a fix-it shop that was open albeit Easter Sunday, and a skilled mechanic there rebuilt the starter.
  • We ended Sunday with a lovely walk along the shoreline. We watched the sun set behind the mountains on Vancouver Island. Total serenity.

Looking for the silver lining helped me roll with the changes to our plans. But recalling two specific Scripture verses also helped me handle the unforeseen with peace.

  • Proverbs 16:9—“We can make our plans but the LORD determines our steps.”
  • Psalm 37:23—“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”


Holding our plans in a clenched hand guarantees pain if we’re forced to let them go. But holding them in an open hand and giving our yes to God should He choose to replace them with other plans makes letting go much easier.


My weekend didn’t go at all as I expected, but that’s okay. Knowing that God oversees the details turned disappointment into delight.


Join me on Tuesday at 6:30 PM (Pacific Time) for a brief Facebook Live teaching about this blog and a time of discussion. To do so, ask to join my private FB group “Growing with Grace.” That’s where the FB Live will happen.



#FromDisappointmentToDelight  #WhenPlansChange #DevotionsFromTheDock #bgbg2


Getting Out of the Pit of Despair

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. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (Psalm 40:1-2 NLT)


I was kindergarten age when my family moved to a new housing development. The roads weren’t paved yet, so melting snow turned them into a mucky mess.

One afternoon I pulled my rubber boots on and headed across the street to play at a friend’s house. Halfway across the road, my feet became stuck in that muck. And then it happened—a construction vehicle came rumbling down the road toward me. I panicked at the thought of it running me down.

“Help me!” I hollered. “Someone—help!” I screamed for what felt like forever.

Our next-door neighbor heard my cries and rushed to my rescue. “You’re okay,” he said. “I’ve got you.” He plucked me from the mud, carried me across the street, and set me on the sidewalk. Safe.

That childhood memory is forever etched in my mind. It brings me reassurance as a grown woman who needs the occasional rescue. This is especially true when my imagination tells me the worst possible scenario is true and fear tries to hold me captive.

When I call for help, I envision the Lord coming to me, scooping me in His arms, and carrying me to safety. But I need to remember that He might not rush to my rescue as fast as I think He should. “I waited and waited and waited for GOD. At last he looked; finally he listened,” says Psalm 40:1 in The Message.

My tendency is to grow impatient in the wait, but doing so only multiplies my stress. I can learn much from the psalmist. He knew the key to contentment even in the midst of difficult circumstances. His understanding of God’s faithfulness, wisdom, power, and love enabled him to trust divine timing. He knew God would respond sooner or later but never a second too late.

God is the same today. He’s faithful, wise, powerful, and loving. He hears our cries and will lift us from the mud and mire of fear and despair. He will set our feet on the firm foundation of His presence and promises.

Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. Your Rescuer will come. He will. Just wait!

May I pray for you? “Lord, thank You that our cries for help don’t fall on deaf ears. You hear us and promise to rescue us. You’re never a moment too soon or a moment too late. Calm my anxious heart as I wait, please. Thank You in advance for setting my feet on solid ground and steadying me as I walk this uncertain journey. I trust You because You love me so much. Amen.”


***  I’ve expanded these devotional thoughts in a teaching video. Watch it here. ***

#NoFear  #GodIsBiggerThanTheVirus  #StrengthInGod

3 Lessons Learned from an Isolated Woman


Here we sit, in self-isolation. Saying that some people find this challenging is an understatement. Other folks, however, consider this a respite of sorts. I fall into that category. I’m grateful for the opportunity to catch up and catch my breath. Into which category do you fall?


I’ve been thinking about a young Egyptian gal in the Bible who experienced a bout of isolation. Her name was Hagar, and she was Sarai’s servant. An abused servant, she was. Considered more a piece of property than a person of worth (Genesis 16).


Finally, the day came when Hagar decided she’d had enough and headed for home. Only a desperate woman would have attempted the journey alone through the sandy desert. At some point, exhausted, she plopped down beside a spring. There she sat—a solitary soul in the wilderness.


Hagar’s alone space became a place of discovery. Here are three lessons we can learn from her experience in that isolated classroom.


  • Hagar may have felt like she was on her own, but God’s presence was with her (Genesis 16:7). The same is true for us. We might feel isolated, but doors and walls can’t limit God’s Spirit. He is with us. He’s with the seniors we love but can’t visit. He’s with our families and friends. We are not alone.


  • Hagar engaged in conversation with the Lord (Genesis 16:7-12). How often does busyness hinder us from sitting still in His presence and hearing His voice? Too often, right? But we can do things differently during this season. Most of us have extra time now. Let’s cherish it. Let’s set aside a few minutes every day to sit in God’s presence and invite Him to speak to us, to ask the hard questions, and to show us where change is necessary in our lives.


  • Hagar experienced God in a new way. In her isolation, she came to a fresh understanding of His character. She named Him “El-roi,” which means “the God who sees me.” That knowledge gave her the courage to return to Sarai. Knowing that God saw her there and was mindful of her circumstances gave her the courage to stay put until Sarah threw her out more than a decade later (Genesis 21:8-14).


This season of isolating ourselves in our homes needn’t be seen through a negative lens. Rather, let’s ask God to reveal Himself to us in new ways. Let’s seek His face, asking Him what He wants to teach us during these days that resemble nothing we’ve ever experienced. And let’s expect Him to answer.


You’re Invited! Tonight at 6:30 (Pacific Time), 7:30 (Mountain Time, 8:30 (Central Time) and 9:30 (Eastern Time), I’m going to do a brief teaching on this blog on Facebook Live. This will happen on my private FB group called “Growing With Grace.” If you’d like to attend, please pop over there and ask to join the group. I look forward to growing that community through mutual encouragement. Blessings to you!


#bgbg2   #Hagar   #LessonsLearnedInSelfIsolation