Pondering suffering

…God teaches men through suffering and uses distress to open their eyes. Job 36:15 TEV

No matter what you’re going through today… no matter the hoops you’re being asked to jump through…

The pitfalls.

The hurdles.

The raggedy edge of emotional cliffs.

God is still working. He’s still loving you, more than you can imagine. He’s still ruler and still in charge.

Believe it!

Trust Him!

He’s good, and even though I would prefer to learn through gentle nudging and tender mercies, I know that being tender with me when what I need is a stern presence, yeah, it’s not so helpful.


Sometimes I have to learn my lessons, as we say, “the hard way.” And although I hate to admit it, those hard lessons are the ones that have stuck with me over time. The Scriptures are right when they teach us that God uses suffering for good.

I have learned through suffering and distress!

I have also used what I’ve gleaned in the tough times to course correct for the future, for my good. But not for my good alone. Others have benefitted from those course corrections, too. They’ve been helped by the things I’ve learned, too.

God has used distress to open my eyes!

Today, it may be that God is using distress in your life, to open your eyes and shake things up in your life, or to point you to a conclusion you never would have seen had it not been for the pressure bearing down. Know this: It’s for your good that the pressure is being applied. It’s getting you where you need to go, and it’s fortifying you for the future. Every weight lifter, distance runner, or athlete of any kind will tell you it’s when the pressure is on that they’ve been stretched, strengthened, and able to build muscle.

What I’ve found most helpful in the suffering times is praise.

Praise turns things around.

Praise changes my perspective.

Praise gets my mind and heart in the position to receive from God.

Praise enlarges my territory and helps me see that for now suffering may be painful, but tomorrow I’ll be glad of it.

Today I’ve made a decision to be grateful through the hard. To be thankful for God with me, Immanuel. To be used by God to gift another with perspective. To realize that everything God does, he does for my good. He loves me, more than I love myself. I might not allow me to be touched by suffering or grief, had I my druther. God will allow it, because of how it changes me. How it molds me. How it shapes me. How it helps me be closer to Him and more holy.

Is it worth the trade-off in my life: suffering for glory? It is. Is it for you? You have to decide. Truth is, you won’t be able to keep suffering from you for all your life, so why not learn from it and be made like Jesus?

What are you thankful for today? How has gratitude and thankfulness brought you closer to God and made the tough times seem worthwhile?




I came broken

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Peace Prayer, St. Francis

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35 NIV

How did you come to Jesus?

Many of us came feeling like we’d been given a raw deal in life. Our parents didn’t give us the attention we needed as children, or our siblings treated us cruelly. Our marriages were in turmoil, or our friends had betrayed or abandoned us in our time of need.

Our bodies broke down too early, and our lives were a mess.

We sought peace with God in our desperate times, and he led us to church.

Within the church walls, we began to grow in the company of others, who like us, had been mistreated by the world. During worship, we noticed a new serenity in God’s presence and although our circumstances didn’t change a lot at first, our attitudes did. Accepting hardship as His pathway to peace, we made the choice to surrender ourselves fully to God, even though we didn’t know what that might mean. We trusted in His goodness above all things, and in doing so, we found love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

If you came into the church broken, know that you are in good company. Once there, you have a decision to make that is bigger than ever before:

Will you give love and understanding as you have received it?

Will you surrender your plans to God’s purpose for others?

Will you serve, help, love, give, and care for them in the same way you have been cared for, understanding that they are injured and in need of patient care?

Blessed missions always begin with prayer. Let’s pray for new mission fields today.

What did you find when you came to Jesus? Was there more you discovered once you began worshiping with other believers in an environment that revealed a loving and nurturing Savior?

Holy Spirit Fire

Last Sunday, those in the lil corner room read from Acts 2 and discussed together Holy Spirit fire.

It was of great interest to me that the Holy Spirit, as it manifested itself to the faithful at Pentecost, appeared first as a single unit and then broke off into smaller tongues-mini fires of grace that came to rest on individuals.

What an amazing sight it must have been to see it happen–see the Spirit of Prophecy and Grace come to dwell with men in this way.

Undeserving men.

Previously: unholy, salty, selfish guys, and wanton women.

Now: sanctified, set aside, focused, devoted, prepared, waiting…

I found a You Tube video of a fire tornado yesterday and it made me think of our discussion.  Granted, the fire in this clip is generated and controlled my men, and it is beautiful, but imagine what it might look like if it were God’s fire.

God’s flame.

God’s Spirit in their midst.

The Bible says the Holy Spirit is like fire, but also like the wind.


Blowing wherever it wishes.

Not to be controlled by men.

Where will it blow next? Who will be blown over by it?  When has the Holy Spirit of God touched your life and left you singed by His glory?  

Holy Week

We are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.

We have done so much for so long with so little,

we are now qualified to do anything with nothing!

I came across this quote in my devotional reading last week.

Have you been there?

The biggest hurdle I face when working with the ungrateful is trying not to become embittered.

Jane Seymour says that if I will keep my heart open, love will find a way in.

I’m trying, Jane. I’m trying!

Today, it seems like I’m working to do the impossible for the ungrateful, but is that really what is happening, or am I simply uncomfortable with life on life’s terms?

Is this thing I’m feeling just a feeling, or is it reality?

Am I a slave to the ungrateful these days, or am I free?  And if I’m free, what do I need to do to feel free?

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, a time for reflection.  A time when we are reminded of what an ungrateful people did to their servant God and how He refused to retaliate, but instead redeemed them all.

Amazing Love, how can it be that you, my God, should die for me?

Some things are plain broken.  Some people are bent.  Some are bruised to the point of hopelessness.  Some have blinders on, or are so hurt within themselves that they cannot conceive of how true love works.  You can’t fix them, Lori.  You can try to put a band-aid on a gaping wound, but you cannot stitch up a shredded heart or repair a broken mind or spirit. That kind of recovery is in God’s purview alone.

Enter Holy week.

A last supper.


An ear cut off, then restored.

Thirty pieces in a linen bag.

Corrupt leaders.

Whips, thorns, cross bars, blood.

Insane crowds.

Evil at the ready.

Open flesh. Open mocking.

Spikes, hammers, rope, searing sun.

Dark clouds.

A Face turned away.

Sorrow, spices, sadness, darkness.



It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!!!

The stone.

The hole.

The garden.

The woman and the angel; the message.

The Risen Lord.


Wait for it…


Do you ever feel like you’re pouring yourself out for the ungrateful?  What is your favorite part of the redemption story?

Predicated on bad behavior

If you’ve ever had to make the choice to walk away from a friendship or work relationship that’s gone sour, you might find comfort in the following verse:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.   Psalm 1: 13 NIV

Of course, in order to feel good about the decision you’ve made, your choice would have to have been predicated on the very bad behavior of that one you left behind.  

Some people will say I’m mean-spirited for making this assertion–that there is a time when walking away is the most appropriate thing to do.  We all know people who stick it out, stay connected and generally do whatever they can to make a bad situation better, no matter what.  They are to be applauded for their work, when it is God’s will and not a devise of their own guilt or misdirected conscience.  Still, there are some who worship at the altar of a god named Peace-At-Any-Price, or PAAP.  To my way of thinking, these unfortunates see abuse as the dues that must be paid to perform their duty as “good” Christians.  I think they misunderstand scripture and have fallen into the ranks of those who think God is love, all the time.  Rubbish! 

God is love and He is loving, but he’s not that PAAP deity we hear about in the world; a god who looks the other way and takes no account of bad behavior.  Rather, He is a vigilant father who knows where his children are and what they are doing at all times.  Is he merciful?  My, YES!  Is he forgiving?  You bet!  Does he cast our sins as far from us as the east is from the west (once we admit to the bad we have done and spend enough time with him to confess it from a humble heart)?  Yes, he does.  What he doesn’t do is turn a blind eye, or make my bad behavior somebody else’s problem.  The buck stops at His door, and He has all the power He needs to deal with me and my misdeeds, swiftly, firmly and finally.

What I think the first recorded Psalm is talking about in its thirteenth verse is MY responsibility to make good decisions with regards to relationships I pursue and friendships I keep.  

If you’ll read Psalm 1:13 again, you’ll see that it begins with blessings and ends with prosperity-two promises that come to the woman who discriminates in her choices and refines her relationships based upon the wisdom God gives from his own Word.  Between those promises lie instructions for each of us, particularly those who have allowed bad or abusive relationships to bloom and/or blossom in their lives.    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning divorce or suggesting you drop your wayward friend like a hot potato as soon as you read this verse.  What I am suggesting is that you take another look at that person you’re spending so much time with, asking yourself, “Is this someone God approves?”

“Bad company corrupts good character,”  says 1 Corinthians 15:33.  The Standard International Version puts it this way:   “Wicked friends lead to evil ends.”  Could any statement be more true?

Perhaps you’ve recently become a Christian and you’re wondering, “What does God want from me right now?”  Psalm 1:13 provides you with an answer.  God wants all of us, His beautiful women, to do the right thing, limit our exposure to miscreants and take a stand against anyone who would mock God or detract from his ministry of change in your life. 

Our God wants us to delight in his plan, meditate on his ways, be trees planted by streams, pulling up all the nutrients his river of joy gives out and sharing them with thirsty and dying souls.

Today, if you find yourself living in close proximity to a someone who is thumbing their nose at your God, stand up and move away.  It’s never too late to make a change!  Trust God to show you how.

On Being Green

“Its not easy being green.”  Kermit the Frog 

I’ve been thinking recently…what do you do when who you are offends others? 

Imagine with me for a moment that the metaphorical greenness mentioned in this quote by Kermit represents spiritual piety.  What if being holy was sometimes just as difficult for Christians, as being green can be for Kermit.  Would the world be more patient with us then? 

That’s the way life is for many Christians.  Everyday! 

Everyday they wake up ready to be Christian one more day.  And every night, they go to bed wanting to be Christian again tomorrow.  They know that identifying themselves as born again will mean trouble, and still they want to do it.  Holiness is the color of the Christian life. 

Personally speaking, being a Christian brings me some of the most satisfying moments in life.  It also creates some of the greatest difficulties, as I walk through the minefield that is my relationship to others.  My problem:  Non-Christians, new Christians, marginally faithful Christians and uneducated Christians who see me as harsh, judgmental and overbearing.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask yourself how you feel about that last sentence.  Anyone flirting with sin or rejecting salvation will read that last sentence and say, “Oh my word, who does she think she is?” 

That’s right…they think I ought to get off my “high horse” and shut up.

It doesn’t matter what topic we’re talking about or how others might address it, when I bring my faith to bear on the subject at hand, people recoil.  They roll their eyes (either literally or more often figuratively), and no matter how hard I try to be sympathetic, or how long I sit and listen to their view point, when I finally state my case, they feel bad.  Doesn’t matter that what I’m saying didn’t originate with me; they’re miffed! 

I know intellectually that those opposed to the truth roll their eyes because my faith (or the way I see the world because of my faith), has a convicting effect on them.  It slices through the emotionally charged air between us like a two-edged sword seeking flesh, sinew, and even bone, if that were possible.  With deadly force, it cuts to the quick, slicing away every worldly notion of safety and autonomy, purposefully dividing, bludgeoning, and severing as it goes.   We are God’s creation and he has placed a seal upon us.  Realizing that they were bought at a price, my critics cringe, painfully aware that the Master is watching and they’ve been caught being naughty children.

Jim Henson created Kermit the Frog.  Jim Henson made Kermit green. Kermit didn’t get to choose his color.  Jim Henson did that for him.  Jesus makes Christians holy.  The difference between Kermit and the earnest Christian is that You can refuse to be holy.  Kermit can’t refuse to be green.  Refusing to cooperate with your Maker comes at a price, though.  To refuse to be green, Kermit must give up being Kermit.  To refuse to be Holy, we must give us being Christians.  It’s that simple. 

The next time a Christian speaks to you words that are convicting, painful and true, you might want to think about what it cost him or her to share that truth with you.  It’s not easy being green.  Neither is it easy speaking truth to a wayward soul.  Thank God for the prophets in your life.  They are the ones on the wall shouting out warnings of impending doom.  Rejecting their message might mean rejecting the One who put the message in their mouths.  And that’s a whole lot worse than being green.  That’s being stupid!