This morning, while reading my daily Bible, in Nehemiah Chapter 3, where Nehemiah is faced with a seemingly impossible task-to rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem, my attention was GRABBED by the repetition of the 3 words: “next to them”, repeated 20 times in 32 verses!!!  This repetition forced me to take note and look deeper into it’s meaning. And I wrote in the margin of my Bible:  we need each other-as we walk together, working or rebuilding or desiring growth in the Lord; as we walk together, these things are accomplished.

My attention was particularly grabbed because 2 nights ago, I met with 2 sisters-in-the-Lord, and we sat "next to" each other, sharing our hearts, seeking prayer for some difficult issues, encouraging each other to persevere in the Lord.

I looked up the word combo, “next to”, in Hebrew.  It’s the word Yad- do you remember, "The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" (I didn’t see the movie, but the title immediately came to mind when I looked up “Next to” and found “Yad”!)
“Yad” means:  hand and assistance: it’s used figuratively to symbolize power and strength.

In other words, when we work together, “next to” each other, we have a helping hand, power and strength and assistance that we would not have working alone.  A Yada Yada sisterhood!  Who doesn’t need that!

This really struck me, because often, when I am troubled or have an issue, I think I need to go it alone, be more mature about the situation, grit my teeth and trust God... and I don’t reach out.  Nehemiah instructs me to do just the opposite, because, as the Jewish remnant worked together, “Yad-ed”, if you will, they were given power and strength-their mission was accomplished, the wall was rebuilt, and, the opposition defeated. And who doesn’t need more of that: a mission accomplished and the opposition defeated?!

Also to note, the words, “made repairs”, in the Hebrew, is the word, Hazaq-meaning to be strong, courageous, make firm.  When we make repairs on our lives together, as sisters in Christ, we are given strength and courage!  Two nights ago, my sisters definitely infused strength and courage into me.

This so encouraged my heart and soul and mind this morning.  As God instructs us to work next to one another to make repairs in our lives, HE is at work to quell the opposition and make us shine for HIM.

Today, won’t you gather a Yada sisterhood of 2 or 3, and work next to each other to shine for Jesus!


HIS Name is Redeemer

Recently, this daily devotion, by Scotty Smith, was brought to my attention.
I so want to share it with you, as the words and scripture have sustained me in difficult and painful times.  My prayer is that it will encourage you to know that:


o   you are not alone in walking through life with an addict

o   you are not crazy and do need so much “emotional money and reserves”

o   There will be days when we “expect to die”, or hope that either the addict will die, or we will

o   God gives strength when needed, because “His Name is Redeemer, His power is limitless and His grace is sufficient”


Heavenward by Scotty Smith

When Caring for Addicts in Our Lives Becomes Overwhelming:
Praying through 2 Cor. 1:8-9 (NLT)


8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die.

Dear heavenly Father, my heart is burdened today for those of us who have the unrelenting and painful reality of “addiction” woven into our family stories. The cost of loving an addict well requires all kinds of currencies, perhaps none more so than emotional money and reserves, a lot of it. Paul’s images of being crushed, overwhelmed, and “done” certainly apply, when we engage in caring for an addict to your glory.

Father, grant us thick skin and big hearts—first of foremost for loving the addict, but for also dealing with all the comments and whisperings, “arm chair quarterbacking” and spiritualized spin that comes from outsiders. Until we really enter the world of addiction, most of us are pretty naïve about the complex interplay of substance abuse, sin, and illness.

But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

     But especially, Father, I pray that, along with taking advantage of resources available for addict care in our communities (for which I praise and bless you)—I pray we will know what it means to abandon ourselves to you—the God who still raises the dead. Grant us supernatural mercy and grace, wisdom and strength. May parents, siblings, and children of an addict be driven to you in fresh and powerful ways. May the gospel become more precious and real than ever.

May our churches become far more informed, equipped, and engaged with caring for families marked by addiction. And forgive me for ever thinking my workaholism was more acceptable and less destructive than other forms of miss-placed worship. Father, I am so thankful that your name is Redeemer, your grace is sufficient, and your power is limitless. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus tender and triumphant name.



Relationships are tricky!  They are hard. Wonderful. Agonizing.  Edifying. Annoying. Hurtful. Anger producing. Heart wrenching. Relationships bring out the best and the worst in each of us.  Including me!
Relationships can be lifelong or short term.  Some relationships bring joy and comfort while others bring heart-ache and worry.  If I am honest, all relationships bring some of both. 

Recently, while reading 1 Samuel 23 and 24 in my Two-Year Daily Bible, King Saul’s relationship with David hit a nerve.  Ever since my book, Every Reason to Leave, came out last year, my husband and I have experienced extreme warfare from our enemy, the devil, Satan, the serpent. Throughout this year, we have often reminded each other-you are not the enemy, Satan is.  This is exactly how God spoke to me through the reading of His Word this week.

As I observed the plot, here’s what God showed me:

  • Saul, king of Israel, was pursuing David to kill him (1Sam. 23:14,21-23) because he was jealous of David, and thought David was his enemy.  But, because David’s relationship with God was his #1 relationship, and because David trusted God deeply, David chose not to kill Saul when, providentially, he was given the opportunity.  David knew Saul was God’s anointed, that God had placed Saul on the throne and that God would remove Saul from the throne in His own timing.         
  • David chose to trust God for protection and for God’s timing concerning his own kingship, by leaving Saul’s destiny in God’s hands.


Here’s what struck me:

·      Saul was chasing the wrong enemy, expending all his energy, time and focus on the wrong thing!  David was not his enemy.  His own pride was his enemy.

I do the same when I think of my husband, or a friend, as my enemy, and spend all my time battling that person. While that battle may not be with swords and an army, it is equally as fierce and debilitating and prideful when it takes over my thoughts and actions.


·      David put the whole situation in God’s hands.  This is a decision he made. He said:

“May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but by my hand I will not touch you.” 1 Sam. 24:12

And in verse 13, David said, my paraphrase, I will not meet evil with evil, rather I will offer good for evil.

And then, David humbled himself, calling himself a dead dog, a flea.

These are choices I can make every day, in every situation, in every relationship:

·      To leave the situation in God’s hands, praying and trusting God will right every wrong, if not today, someday.

·      To bless my offender, rather than return evil, and pray for strength to do this, because God says in Proverbs 15:1, “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” And, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”    Ro.12:19 NKJV

·      To humble myself, realizing that, in view of who God is, I am but dust (Gen.3:19), a vapor.  James 4:14 says: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away”. (NKJV)


Why would I want to make these choices?  Because, 1Sam. 24:19 says: “May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.”

God will reward me when I make these choices, these obedient choices that reflect the nature of God, His grace and kindness, His forgiveness. Instead of the judgment I deserve, HE will reward me with joy that comes from obedience, because I have left the battle in God’s hands. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus14:14 

Relationships are tricky, indeed.
Perhaps it’s the relationship with myself that needs the most tending:
  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…Mtt.6:33
 Take my thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ …2Cor.10:5
  Repent when the pride of my heart is deceiving me…Jer.17:9, 1Jn.1:9
  Trust God for the situation…Pr.3:5-6
  Choose joy daily…Neh.8:10

And finally, O, Lord, may I watch and pray so that I will not fall into temptation. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. (Mtt.26:41)



The New Year

The New Year!
January 2015


Embarking on a new Bible to read for 2015, I chose The Two-Year Prayer Bible.  It’s allowing me to go at a slower pace and read less each day.  (For the last 15 years, I have read through a One Year Bible each year).  This is enabling me to remember more of what I have read and meditate on it throughout the day.  Each day, the Lord has given me something to ponder that has encouraged me.

Today’s reading, however, rocked my world- the much read Matthew chapter 5-the Beatitudes-Blessed are…

Knowing this passage would be important to me for the New Year, I looked in depth at the key words using my Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible:  and discovered, “blessed” does not mean, “how prosperous I am and how many vacations I take”.  Rather, it comes from the word, makarious , which means, I am blessed because the hand of God is at work directing all my affairs for a divine purpose. Which is why, even in suffering, I am blessed, knowing that God’s purpose behind my suffering is for my good (Ro. 8:28) and for the glory of God’s Name.  I’ve been a believer for 27 years, and really didn’t know this is what “blessed” means.

Then I looked up the word, “poor”. Ptochos.  To crouch, like a beggar. So poor, one can only obtain his living by begging- has nothing at all.
And then, “spirit”. Pneuma-the spirit as the seat of affections and emotions.

I then read this prayer in, The Valley of Vision: “Strengthen me to pray with the conviction that whatever I receive is thy gift, (italics added) so that I may pray until prayer is granted…”

This past year, I have faced some overwhelming hardships.  Through it all, God was asking me to view the hardships as a blessing from Him-both the wonderful times and the really painful circumstances. He’s asking me to trust HIM and His divine purposes.

WOW!  I am blessed, not by what I have, or the extent of my lack of suffering, but WHO I have.  That it’s all about the WHO.  And that WHO, God Himself, is at work directing this beggar’s life and all my affairs.  That makes me the richest, most blessed person I know. And a very important truth to remember throughout the year.

What about you?