Monday, February 08, 2010

The Benefits of a Deep Root System

Planted by the Water

The Hebrew word for planted is shathal. This verb means:

1) (Qal) to plant, transplant
When we were born again, we received a transplant of the heart from God.
Our Strength provided us with new roots that began to deepen in the living water of Christ.

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." ~ John 7:38 (NIV)

The Greek word for living is zaō. This verb means:

1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
2) to enjoy real lifea) to have true life and worthy of the nameb) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and actinga) of mortals or character
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
5) metaph. to be in full vigour
a) to be fresh, strong, efficient,
b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious

I love this description of water. It describes the type water I want my heart to have it's roots in. Because this water is active, blessed, and endless in the kingdom of God, I know my roots will be well-nourished. It inspires me to be fresh, strong and efficient and gives me hope that I can continue to be so, even when times are tough.

Roots That Run Deep

Our roots were sent out toward the waters of grace and mercy given by God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word for sent is the verb shalach, which means, in part:

1) to send, send away, let go, stretch out
a) (Qal)
1) to send
2) to stretch out, extend, direct

The Hebrew word for roots, mentioned in the verse above, is sheresh. It means:

1) roota) root (literal)
b) root (of people involving firmness or permanence) (fig)
c) root, bottom (as lowest stratum) (fig)

Just as the tree's roots do, our roots reach deep into the true Living Water. They are strong and firm and have permanence.

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." ~ John 10:28 (NIV)


Because the tree (our hearts) are planted by the living water, we have no need of fear when the heard times come. During times of drought, we should have enough of the living water stored up within us to see us through. Our leaves should always be green, bearing fruit for Christ. We should have confidence, not fear, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.
The Hebrew word for The Hebrew word for not fear is actually the word for see. Ra'ah means:

1) to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider
a) (Qal)
1) to see
2) to see, perceive
3) to see, have vision
4) to look at, see, regard, look after, see after, learn about, observe, watch, look upon, look out, find out
5) to see, observe, consider, look at, give attention to, discern, distinguish
6) to look at, gaze at
b) (Niphal)
1) to appear, present oneself
2) to be seen
3) to be visible
c) (Pual) to be seen
d) (Hiphil)1) to cause to see, show
2) to cause to look intently at, behold, cause to gaze at
e) (Hophal)
1) to be caused to see, be shown
2) to be exhibited to
f) (Hithpael) to look at each other, face

I went through an eight year period of infertility. During this time, I was able to pray because my roots were planted deep. The waters seemed to dry up around me and I felt at odds, but I was sustained. I read God's Word every morning and prayed diligently for myself and for others further into my journey. Then the pregnancy and miscarriage came. Had I not stored up during that 8 year period, I would have been in deep trouble, my friends. I cannot tell you the internal pain I went through at the loss of Sydney Michel. I could try to explain it but it was so intense and personal that I could not do it justice. When I was unable to even think clearly, God sustained me. I felt His peace and comfort and was able to make it through the hard times. I was able to survive on the water my roots had soaked up and subsist on the promises of God's Word. One year and eight months later, I had a hysterectomy. Finality. I would never bear fruit from my womb, but I clung to the promises of God.

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD." ~ Psalm 113:9 (NIV)

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The Hebrew word for no worry is da'ag. This verb means:

1) to fear, be anxious, be concerned, be afraid, be careful
a) (Qal)
1) to be anxious, be concerned
2) to fear, dread

No matter what our circumstances are, like the tree whose roots are planted by the water, we have no cause to be fearful, anxious or concerned.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:9 (NIV)

We can count on God to meet our needs during springtime and drought. Our hearts should never fail to bear His fruit when we trust in His Word and store it up inside us like the roots of the tree do the water.

His Word Never Fails

The Hebrew word for never fails is muwsh. This verb means:

1) to depart, remove
a) (Qal)
1) to depart
2) to remove
3) to be removed (of inanimate objects)
b) (Hiphil) to remove, depart

We can trust God never to depart from us and we can trust Him not to remove the promises of His Word from us.

Later in my life I saw the promises of Psalm 113:9 fulfilled in my life. I praised God for the privelege of raising my bonus daughter in our home with her father from the time we married until Kristyn married. I received immense joy in seeing her grow from age 6 to 20. She matured and grew into a sweet young woman. Now she has gifted us with two precious grandsons, Nolan and Liam. Further still, I am an aunt to Blake, Reese, Kaci, Austin, Tyler, Ashley, and Ethan. I remembered the order of their birth! Blake, Reese, Tyler and Ashley are Steve's brother's children. Kaci and Austin are Steve's sister's children. More recently, I was blessed with my first biological nephew. My sister's son Ethan was born August 19, 2008. He is a doll. Further still, I am surrounded by children when I go to my grandmother's. Jimmy & Susan have James and John. Lee & Paige have Jackson and Gracie and Baby Noah is due to make his appearance any day now. While I am not a biological mother to these children, God has surely settled me in my home and I am happy! I pray that my influence, larger on those closer to me and smaller on those farther away, will move them closer to Christ.

Bearing Fruit

The tree mentioned in the verse above always bears fruit no matter what. We have seen that in all seasons of life we grow through, we can bear fruit if our roots are deeply planted by the water. I love the definitions for bear. We can only bear by God's strength, and it is up to us to drink deep from the Source.

The Hebrew word for bear is `asah. This verb means:

1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make
a) (Qal)
1) to do, work, make, producea) to do
b) to work
c) to deal (with)
d) to act, act with effect, effect
2) to make
a) to make
b) to produce
c) to prepare
d) to make (an offering)
e) to attend to, put in order
f) to observe, celebrate
g) to acquire (property)
h) to appoint, ordain, institute
i) to bring about
j) to use
k) to spend, pass
b) (Niphal)
1) to be done
2) to be made
3) to be produced
4) to be offered
5) to be observed
6) to be used
c) (Pual) to be made
2) (Piel) to press, squeeze

The Hebrew word for fruit is pĕriy. It means:

1) fruit
a) fruit, produce (of the ground)
b) fruit, offspring, children, progeny (of the womb)
c) fruit (of actions) (fig.)

What an incredible promise from God! Despite our condition, we can truly honor God by yielding fruit.

Wrap Up

Questions for Reflection: Are your roots deeply planted? Do you find it difficult to bear fruit even in the "off" seasons of life? If you aren't sure about the first question, why not email me at and we'll talk more about it.

Verse for the Day: "He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." ~ Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the Word that You have given us. I rejoice in the promises held in it and learn so much life application from it. Keep me thristy for You and keep my roots growing deep. Help me to bear fruit even in the off seasons and to always draw from Your Living Water. Thank You so much for Jesus. In His Name I pray, Amen.

P - Purpose in your heart to stay near God. "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." ~ Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

L - Lean on God's promises. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

A - Ask God for the things you need to help you bear fruit. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." ~ Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

N - Nourish your roots with the Word of God. "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees." ~ Psalm 119:10-12 (NIV)

T - Take heart in the coverage of the Vine. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5 (NIV)

E - Encourage one another in the Word. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~ 1 Thessaloniains 5:11 (NIV)

D - Deal with the weeds in life so they don't choke out the root system. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Note: This post originally ran 04.15.09


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Daughter of the King

He Reigns

"But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth." ~ Psalm 74:12 (NIV)

"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." ~ Revelation 19:16 (NIV)

The Lord reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no other God but Him. I rejoice at His power and sovreignty and might. I am humbled by His holiness and brought low by the grace He gives.

The Greek word for King is basileus. It means:

1) leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king

My Father, the King

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." ~ Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)

The Greek word for Abba is, suprisingly to me, abba. The outline of Biblical usage is:

Abba = "father"

1) father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee "ABBA" through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.

Abba is of Aramaic origin. 'Ab is a noun which means: father.

Now Father, or patēr, in Greek, means:

1) generator or male ancestor
a) either the nearest ancestor: father of the corporeal nature, natural fathers, both parents
b) a more remote ancestor, the founder of a family or tribe, progenitor of a people, forefather: so Abraham is called, Jacob and David
1) fathers i.e. ancestors, forefathers, founders of a nation
c) one advanced in years, a senior
2) metaph.
a) the originator and transmitter of anything
1) the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself
2) one who has infused his own spirit into others, who actuates and governs their minds
b) one who stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way
c) a title of honour
1) teachers, as those to whom pupils trace back the knowledge and training they have received
2) the members of the Sanhedrin, whose prerogative it was by virtue of the wisdom and experience in which they excelled, to take charge of the interests of others
3) God is called the Father
a) of the stars, the heavenly luminaries, because he is their creator, upholder, ruler
b) of all rational and intelligent beings, whether angels or men, because he is their creator, preserver, guardian and protector
1) of spiritual beings and of all men
c) of Christians, as those who through Christ have been exalted to a specially close and intimate relationship with God, and who no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere him as their reconciled and loving Father
d) the Father of Jesus Christ, as one whom God has united to himself in the closest bond of love and intimacy, made acquainted with his purposes, appointed to explain and carry out among men the plan of salvation, and made to share also in his own divine nature
1) by Jesus Christ himself
2) by the apostles

How intimate, yet holy, our Father is. As Creator God, He holds the stars in the Heavens and the stars in my eyes. I am captivated by His holiness yet how personable He is. He is our Father God.

What a privelege to be called children of God.

Many people have a hard time identifying with God as a loving Father, especially if their earthly father was less than loving in word or deed. I have mentioned before that my earthly Daddy was an alcoholic (recovered now)and was emotionally and verbally abusive. Despite my rebellion in my teen years, one thing I knew clearly when I was younger and know even more now is that I was and am loved. There was no lack of love in our home.

One of my earliest memories is of me being sick one hot summer day and Daddy coming in from the garden after picking butterbeans. He sat down for a minute before he hit the shower and I hopped up on his lap and nestled my chin into the folds of his neck. He may have been sweaty and grimy and a little stinky after working so hard all day, but he was all I wanted. I needed comfort and love and just to be held. Tears are pooling in my eyes as I type this because I remember that just a few months ago, when I had that awful bronchitis and sinus infection and ear infections and respiratory virus and ached from head to toe, my Dad came up and I told him I was sick. Instead of backing away like I had the plague he let me get my hug. I was held then and I was held now. If I was smaller I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could have nestled up to him without him fearing catching what I was had. Why? Because that's what Daddy's do.

Our God is the same, yet even much better. We can run to Him and nestle up to Him and just be so comforted and loved. We can be held by the King of the Universe. How AWESOME is that?! He loves us *that* much!
Who We Are in Christ

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." ~ Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)

Oh, how thankful I am to be the Daughter of the King. Christ Jesus gave us the justification through our faith in Him. We have actually gained access to His grace by our faith and because He loves us! What an honor!

The Greek word for access is prosagōgē. It means:

1) the act of bringing to, a moving to
2) access, approach
a) to God, i.e. that relationship with God whereby we are acceptable to him and have assurance that he is favourably disposed towards us

Can you imagine that He died just for you?! Death on a Cross! Death could not hold Him and He rose again. Now we rejoice in the hope of eternal life with Him.

Questions for Reflection: Do you make the most of your access to your Heavenly Father? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If not, email me at and let's chat.

Verse for the Day: "But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth." ~ Psalm 74:12 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, what a privelege to call You Father. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die for us. I praise You that we have access to You through Him. I cannot express enough my gratitude at the comfort, love and peace You give. I just don't have the words. My heart is full to bursting, Lord, and I praise You for giving me the privelege of being the daughter of a King. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

A - Approach God with confidence. "Let us then approach the 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)

C - Connect with God in prayer daily. "Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" ~ Psalm 66:20 (NIV)

C - Choose to learn more about God's love for you and His ways through reading His Word. "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." ~ Psalm 119:15-16 (NIV)

E - Expect to spend eternity with the Father who loves you so much. "Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." ~ Jude 1:21 (NIV)

S - Seek to honor God as your only King and Father. "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." ~ 1 Timothy 1:17 (NIV)

S - Share His love with others, encouraging them to know the Lord. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

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Note: this post originally ran on 4.16.09


Friday, January 29, 2010

And Still We Praise Him

Each time I say it, it becomes more real. My husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer on January 22, 2010. He is in Stage 2 and will have surgery on February 17, 2010. Wow. It became even more real. Dr. Daily is hoping to remove only the tumor and part of his kidney but told us that having to remove the whole kidney is a possibility, a strong one. The good news is that you can live with just one kidney. The great news is there will be no chemotherapy or radiation as the tumor is contained. The awesome news is that the survival rate is in the high 90%'s.

Of course we are concerned about the surgery, the possibility of removing the whole kidney, the recovery, etc.

And still we praise Him.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (NIV)

While we don't rejoice because of our sufferings, we can rejoice in the midst of them. How? Through faith. We know that faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Why? Our faith is in God! God is the ultimate Victor!
We are reminding ourselves to never forget to praise Him in the storms of life.
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." ~ Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
We also are reminding ourselves to come before Him constantly in prayer.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
The Greek word for devote is proskartereō. This verb means:
1) to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one
2) to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
3) to continue all the time in a place
4) to persevere and not to faint
5) to show one's self courageous for
6) to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly
This is where we are right now. We are perservering and continuing steadfastly to pray about this situation. Quite frankly, it's the only thing keeping me going. I'm nervous about it but I feel a peace when I pray that is like a healing balm. I know the Lord has not forgotten Steve and holds Him in the palm of His hand. We know that we must remain courageous as an example to other believers and to show our faith to the One who can heal.
The Greek word for watchful is grēgoreō. This verb means:
1) to watch
2) metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active
a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one
Oh, be sure we are watching for what the Lord will do through this trial. We are not going to waiver and fall asleep on the job, as far as recognizing His blessings and mercy.
The Greek word for thankful is eucharistia. This noun means:
1) thankfulness
2) the giving of thanks
We are already thankful for the good news that has followed. Things could definitely be worse, and we thank God daily that they aren't.
And still we praise Him.
Will you join me in prayer and praise for what we are dealing with? Cancer is a scary thing and we need our friends and family to join in prayer regarding the outcome of this, that it's as good as the news we've heard so far, that the surgery goes well, that the recovery is speedy and easy.
Thank you,


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Wisdom

Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage is hosting Thankful Thursday for the month of January.

I am so thankful for the wisdom God grants us. Truly the fear of the Lord is what leads to this wisdom.

The Hebrew word for fear is yir'ah. It means:

1) fear, terror, fearing
a) fear, terror
b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)
c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety
d) revered

I do fear and revere the Lord, not in a scary kind of way, but in what I call "holy fear". It's a healthy respect of honoring God for Who He is. Once we have this fear of the Lord, the wisdom that comes from Him begins in our lives.

The Hebrew word for wisdom is chokmah. This noun means:

1) wisdom
a) skill (in war)
b) wisdom (in administration)
c) shrewdness, wisdom
d) wisdom, prudence (in religious affairs)
e) wisdom (ethical and religious)

The Hebrew root word for the word for wisdom above is the verb chakam. It means:

1) to be wise
a) (Qal) to be or become wise, act wisely
b) (Piel) to make wise, teach wisdom, instruct
c) (Pual) to be made wise
d) (Hiphil) to make wise
e) (Hithpael) to show oneself wise, deceive, show one's wisdom.

This week I am thankful for the wisdom that He has given me in choosing the right doctor to go to, the wisdom to know my physical limitations during illness, and the wisdom to learn more about prudence and discretion in conversations. I'm also grateful for the wisdom that has come through reading His Word. He has given me a spirit of wisdom in seeking Him and thirsting for His Word that I have never found before.

Each time I think I am full, my cup just overflows with the blessings found in His Word. If I hadn't ever feared the Lord, I know I wouldn't recognize the signs of wisdom He has placed before me in seeking Him through His Word. I have really enjoyed reading through Genesis and Exodus as of late, as well as Acts and Psalms. I'm beginning Exodus 26 tomorrow and in the New Testament will be reading beginning with Acts 24.

There are many ways to exercise the God-given wisdom we have been given through fearing the Lord. I am so thankful for each opportunity to use wisdom and pray that I do use it often and in a way that brings God glory.

W - Wisely seek God's will for your life. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I - Intentionally spend time in the Word of God. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

S - Show your wisdom by being obedient to the commands of God. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." ~ John 14:21 (NIV)

D - Determine to remain humble in your wisdom. "The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor." ~ Proverbs 15:33 (NIV)

O - Offer good characteristics with wisdom. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." ~ James 3:17 (NIV)

M - Maintain a healthy fear of the Lord. "The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous." ~ Psalm 19:19 (NIV)

Thank you, Lynn, for hosting this month, and for choosing such a great topic! Be sure to visit other Thankful Thursday posts by clicking on the button below and link up, leaving a Thankful Thursday post of your own.

Note: this post originally ran 03.04.09


Tuesday, January 05, 2010


‘Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not
with God. For all things are possible with God.”’ ~ Mark 10:27 (ESV)

Have you ever looked at a situation or circumstance you've faced and thought, "This is impossible! I'll never be able to..." I've done that several times. What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Do you find some of them difficult, if not impossible?

The Greek word for impossible is adynatos, which means:

1) without strength, impotent, powerless, weakly, disabled
2) unable to be done, impossible

I wonder how many of our dreams we render powerless and disable by this thinking. When we despair over the things we see as unable to be done we need to turn them over to God in prayer. We can be sure that if our dreams are His will, they will certainly be possible and will most definitely come to pass. As we saw in the verse above, Jesus Himself declared, "For all things are possible with God."

The Greek word for possible is dynatos, which means:

1) able, powerful, mighty, strong
a) mighty in wealth and influence
b) strong in soul
1) to bear calamities and trials with fortitude and patience
2) strong in Christian virtue
2) to be able (to do something)
a) mighty, excelling in something
b) having power for something

Possible is a word infused with faith and hope, assurance and trust. In times of crisis, we can trust that God will step in where we are weak and be our strength. He loves us so much and wants to do the possible for us.

I've seen time and again in my life how He has shown Himself able, powerful, mighty and strong, how He has born calimities and trials in my life with such astounding patience, and how His power and strength have worked in me to cause me to believe in His ability and strength when all else was bleak.

This week I am thankful that God has shown that He is able to do the impossible. I rejoice that He is not a weak or powerless God but that He has shown Himself to be more than able and ready to do the possible things He desires in my life.

I look back at how far I've come through so many seemingly impossible things (infertility, miscarriage, divorce, illnesses not only for myself but also for family and friends) and praise Him that I have grown stronger in my faith and in my walk with Him. Each time He has strengthened me in faith by revealing Himself to me as a God of the possible. When He reveals Himself to us in this way, we should always be quick to give thanks. I've been able to leave alot of the old behind, and what I haven't, I have certainly gained new perspective on. He truly is a God who makes all things possible!

Are you struggling with something seemingly impossible right now? Many times we try to make things possible ourselves, but we must remember the promise from Jesus in the verse above. Take heart that with God all things are possible!

P - Pray about your desires. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

O - Openly praise Him for His blessings. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." ~ Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)

S - Simply delight in God. "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." ~ Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

S - Strengthen yourself in your walk with God. "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." ~ Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

I - Imitate the faith of those who have gone before you. "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." ~ Hebrews 13:7 (NIV)

B - Believe that you can do all things through Christ and not of yourself. "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

L - Leave worry behind. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" ~ Matthew 6:26-28 (NIV)

E - Exalt God and remain humble. "Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." ~ Isaiah 29:19 (NIV)

Note: This post originally ran 01/15/09.


Monday, December 21, 2009


We know the story. The order was given for a census, and Joseph took Mary, not yet his wife, though she was pledged to become so, to Bethlehem to register. The 60 mile trip from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David, must have been tiresome for them. I'm sure there were many stops along the way, and that Joseph had a lot of explaining to do. "Yes, she's pregnant, but I'm still going to marry her. Why? Because I love her and I know she's carrying the Messiah." I've never carried a pregnancy to term, but I have seen those who have. Whether they are walking or riding, or just sitting still, they are so uncomfortable. "Oh, yes. I'm fine. Don't worry about me, please." I wonder how many times Mary, great with child, reassured her traveling companions.

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." ~ Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

They arrived, finally, only to find there was no room in an inn for them to stay.

The Greek word for room is topos, which means:

1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space
a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district
b) a place (passage) in a book
2) metaph.
a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly
b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

There were no reservations at The Ritz. Did they stay with family? Did an innkeeper offer them lodging in a barn? Perhaps there was no opportunity or power, occasion to act for anyone, innkeeper or otherwise, to offer them space. Perhaps they simply lodged where they could. Wherever they stayed, we know it wasn't a fancy hotel or even a quaint Bed and Breakfast.


After they arrived, the Savior was born, wrapped in cloths His mother had probably packed for the anticipated birth of the Son.

The Greek word for wrapped in cloths is sparganoō, which means:

1) to wrap in swaddling clothes
a) of an infant just born

How carefully it's planned what outfit they will wear home from the hospital these days. I wonder during her visit with Elizabeth if they began lovingly sewing clothes for their babies, still in the womb, or how many late nights Mary stayed up, lovingly stitching sized 0-3 months tiny outfits and blankets, to swaddle her Son, her Savior, as any proud mother would do. There would be no spare rags for this Baby Boy.

Was it before or after they registered together as a family that our precious Savior was born? How long was Mary's recovery period? Was her birth difficult or easy? What prompted her labor? The long ride or walk there or did the time just simply come?

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." ~ Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

Can you imagine the rush to see Him? The long awaited Savior was born into the world. The baby was lying in a manger. I have seen people stampede toward the nursery to get that first glimpse of the precious little one just born. They want to see who he looks like, want to count fingers and toes. They want to see her hair, or lack thereof. This I know. I have led those stampedes when grandchildren and nephews were born!

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." ~ Luke 2:15 (NIV)

The shepherds had waited more than a short nine months to see this baby. They lived merely minutes from the location of where they could see the Savior anticipated for centuries!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

What would the Son charged with the government on His shoulders look like? Who were His parents? Would He have a glow about Him?

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." ~ Luke 2:16-18 (NIV)

The Greek word for hurry is speudō, which means:

1) to haste, make haste
2) to desire earnestly

When my grandsons were born, I snapped pictures through the nursery window the moment I had the opportunity and sent their pictures and weights, heights, birth time, every detail, out into cell phone land. I was excited. Imagine the excitement of the shepherds!

The Savior at long last had arrived. (Oh, to be there! To be a shepherd the night the angels appeared!) And as quickly as they arrived, they knew. They saw the Word in the flesh! Their only method of announcing the birth of the Holy Child was to spread the word.

The Greek word for the phrase spread the word is diagnōrizō, which means:

1) to publish abroad, make known thoroughly
2) to discriminate

They shared with everyone they could every detail they knew, what they had heard and seen for themselves!

Things Pondered

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." ~ Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Mary had other things on her mind. She must have memorized every detail of her Son, the Savior, the Messiah. Many arrived to see the long-awaited Messiah, but Mary probably sat back in a chair or leaned against a bale of hay, pondering the wonder of it all. The Greek word for treasured is syntēreō, which means:

1) to preserve (a thing from perishing or being lost)
2) to keep within one's self, keep in mind (a thing, lest it be forgotten)

There were no digital cameras or video cameras back then. The mother who had been blessed to carry the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, had to have been given long pause to take it all in, perhaps remembering what seemed like a dream when the angel of the Lord told her she would carry the Son of the Most High God, reassuring her nothing was impossible with Him.

I'm sure she treasured the sweet sweet smell of the Savior Child as she held Him to her breast, and then the arrival of all who came and went after seeing the Babe lying in a manger, as well as the gentle care she must have received from those attending her birth - all thoughts we won't know unless she chooses to share them with us in Heaven.


"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Have you ever had the privilege to be at the bedside of someone who is slipping away into death? My husband's best friend died in 2003 and Steve and I held his hand as he died. Stripped of the things which sustained his life, a tough choice to be made by his family and Steve (whom they considered family), Todd was about as humble when he died as I ever knew anyone to be. It was a privilege to be there with him when he left his body and went home to be with the Lord. Death is about the most humbling thing there is to me.

And our precious Savior, placed in a lowly manger, whose birth was announced to shepherds guarding their flocks one night, humbled Himself to die for all mankind.

The Greek word for humble is tapeinoō, which means:

1) to make low, bring low
a) to level, reduce to a plain
b) metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances
1) to assign a lower rank or place to
2) to abase
3) to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded
4) to humble or abase myself by humble living
c) to lower, depress
1) of one's soul bring down one's pride
2) to have a modest opinion of one's self
3) to behave in an unassuming manner
4) devoid of all haughtiness

As Mary watched the humble Word made flesh die, she couldn't hold His hand and have one of her other sons sit at the foot of the Cross, singing Amazing Grace as she told Him of the treasured memories of His humble birth, a short thirty-three years before.


"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~ John 11:25-26 (NIV)

When Todd died, we left the room while the heart/lung transplant team removed the equipment we had seen for more than six months. We returned to the room and Todd was still there in body, but not spirit. We knew without a doubt he was with Jesus.

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

When Jesus talked to Martha about her own brother's death, He encouraged her with the hope of His own resurrection.

The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis, which means:

1) a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)
2) a rising from the dead
a) that of Christ
b) that of all men at the end of this present age
c) the resurrection of certain ones history who were restored to life (Heb. 11:35)

The Gift

As Mary treasured the birth, the death and the resurrection of the Savior, may we treasure it, too.

The gift of Jesus was not simply given to Mary or to shepherds long ago. He was given to us for a purpose. Life with Him.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

L - Love - "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." ~ 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

I - Intervention - "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10 (NIV)

F - Forgiveness - "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." ~ Acts 13:38 (NIV)

E - Eternal Life - "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." ~ John 6:40 (NIV)

Note: this post originally ran on 12/23/08.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Encouraging Others

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians of the coming of the Lord in the verse mentioned above. During these last days here on earth, let's continue to encourage others and build each other up.

The Greek word for encourage is parakaleō. Let's look at some of the meanings below:

1) to call to one's side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
a) to admonish, exhort
b) to beg, entreat, beseech
1) to strive to appease by entreaty
c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
1) to receive consolation, be comforted
d) to encourage, strengthen
e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
f) to instruct, teach

In what ways do we summon others and teach them, comforting and exhorting them in these days (weeks, months, years) before Christ's return? We need to literally beg others to make Jesus the Lord of their lives if they are not in a saving relationship with Him. Wouldn't it be a shame not to encourage and strengthen others, teaching them about Christ and have them miss out on Heaven because we neglected to share Him with others?

I am very shy when it comes to face-to-face witnessing. I don't have a hard time talking to Christian friends at all about Christ and the matters of my faith; however, set me in front of someone who is in need of salvation and I stumble over my words. I can write to them all the day long about it, but a face-to-face conversation scares me. I have missed opportunities to share Christ with others boldly. I tend more to lead by example and strive to make my walk one that I hope would engage a person to talk with me about what I have that they don't (and that has happened.) I can comfortably share when they open the door to the conversation, but I just can't seem to initiate a conversation about it.

I finally figured out what the reason for this was. When I was a senior in high school we had a Crusade where I was a counselor. Sure enough when the altar call was given on my night, a girl in my class came down. She actually chose not to receive Christ that night! I was very discouraged over it and pursued the matter with her once at school. She told me bascially to shut up about it or I would push her farther away. My grandmother told me not to take it personally, that maybe I had planted a seed and all that. Still, rejecting my Savior hurt and I wonder if I could have done anything differently to change things.

Satan loves to plant seeds of doubt like that. He tells me that I cannot witness effectively and I believe him. I get tongue tied. He tells me that I shouldn't even try and I go years without sharing my faith with others, selfishly keeping Jesus to myself.

And then one day I read this verse. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) Christ tells me through the apostle Paul to encourage others and bring them closer to Him. He tells me that I am able to encourage. It is a verb, implying action!

We are also admonished to build each other up. The Greek word for this phrase is oikodomeō. It means:

1) to build a house, erect a building
a) to build (up from the foundation)
b) to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
2) metaph.
a) to found, establish
b) to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
c) to grow in wisdom and piety

I am now on a mission to promote growth in Christ among those who are saved and those who aren't. I want people to grow in wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness and blessedness. I want to plant seeds in their hearts that cause them to come to a saving knowledge of my precious Savior and Lord. No more keeping Him to myself!

Are you shy about witnessing to others? Find ways to encourage others and build them up before Christ returns. Pray about what may be hindering you from sharing His love, and take action to encourage and build others up in Christ!

Time is drawing short. I believe that we are living in the last days, and I believe God has a harvest out there ready to reap.

But how will they know if we don't encourage them and build them up?

E - Encourage others now; don't delay. "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." ~ Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

N - Never believe the lies of the enemy; believe the promise of Christ. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10 (NIV)

C - Commit your plan to encourage others to God. "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." ~ Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)

O - Open your heart receive the words God would have you say. "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, " ~ Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

U - Understand that we merely plant the seeds; God causes them to grow. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

R - Read the Word of God daily so you stay prepared to encourage others. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

A - Act wisely when you encourage others to come to know God. "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." ~ Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

G - Go to God in prayer in humility in order encourage others to come to know Him. "We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection." ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV)

E - Examine your heart and make sure you are walking your talk. "May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame." ~ Psalm 119:80 (NIV)
Note: This post originally ran on 01/28/09.