The Perfect Plan

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Nellie Bly, a gutsy 19th century journalist, became famous by exposing the neglect and brutality at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Her assignment required that she be admitted undercover feigning insanity. This assignment involved trust—trust that someone from the outside would arrange for her release.

I know that this is a very, very, very weak comparison, but I was thinking about Jesus. About how He left His position in glory, at the right hand of the Father, to come into the world and in all humility to assume His human role as the Son of Man. His mission wasn’t to expose, but to defeat the enemy and eternal death, and replace it with an opportunity for us to have fellowship with the Father and eternal life.

When Jesus came to earth as a man, His physical suffering and agony was real, and He also knew first-hand what being one with the Father was like. But the part that Jesus dreaded even more than the physical torture was that once He shouldered our sin, the Father, who can’t be in the presence of sin, had to turn away from Him. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ’Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

But Jesus’s release from the bowels of the earth was pre-arranged. Sin and death were defeated. Our part, to individually trust and believe in His death, burial and resurrection, seems so insignificant in comparison to the torture, agony and then the ultimate resurrection power necessary to conquer death.

Yet it was the perfect plan. And we can share in the victorious results.


Do You Love Me?

Do you love Me? ….Feed My sheep (John 21:16).

When our oldest son was little, he stood on a chair looking out the back door window, shouting in his best two-year-old televangelist voice to our dog, “Shane on the hill, do you know Jesus?”

My first thought was, “Where did that come from?” Our church didn’t preach like that, and we rarely watched TV.

Jesus asked this same question to Peter—three times. The third time really grieved Peter because, even though he screwed up a number of times with his hot temper and his multiple denials of even knowing Jesus, he felt that deep in his heart he did love Jesus. And Jesus “knowest all things.”

In English, we use the same word to describe everything from our pleasure with a great taco to the intense stirring in our heart for our newborn. As I read this passage, I feel the Lord is asking us to examine the depths of our heart.

Like Peter, I mess up… hourly. My choices are often the comfortable ones, rather than the risky ones that leave me vulnerable and require trust. In actions, I often choose the sheep I want to feed, and those I judge and dismiss. And my thoughts aren’t always overflowing with love either.

But the Lord does know all things. And He may have to remind us with this question over and over and over again of what we should be doing, and thinking, and being, so that we can honestly answer, “You know that I love You.”

Second Chances

In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered (2 Chronicles 31:21).

These blog entries contain many of my thoughts, but not usually personal narratives; however, this one may be worth sharing and hopefully be encouraging.

A few years ago, I felt led to host a bible study in our home for ladies in our area. I had some people in mind, and the book and the time frame chosen. All systems go! Then all the reasons why I shouldn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t started moving to the forefront. I even made excuses for people without even asking them, not to mention the excuses that I made for myself.

When the time had passed, I knew that I blew it! I experienced a sadness and heaviness that’s hard to explain. I felt that I let so many people down—my neighbors, myself, and especially God. It felt like I was on the dock watching my ship sailing away in the distance, too far to come back for me.

But God is so merciful. He doesn’t write us off when we drop the ball. When I first got the idea of writing a journal into a blog, I had a ton of legitimate excuses. I had never followed one myself, didn’t know anything about formats, or where, or how, or what, or who. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to say, “Don’t send me” again.

It has been challenging, but not concerning content; sometimes I can’t wait to get my thoughts down on paper. The challenges come in my attitude, and it’s funny because they are two opposites—lack of confidence and pride. But that’s a story for another day.

I just pray for the needs of each person who is reading, and pray that they will see the message that God wants them to derive, whether I wrote about it or not (He can do that!) I also pray that when I know that He is nudging me to do something that I will not use my own reasoning, but just say, “Send me.”

One of my friends used to always encourage by saying, “When you stick your neck out, your body just kinda follows.” Or more biblically, if you take the first step, God will show you the next.


One Way

Jesus answered, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:16).

God is not racist. That may not be a surprise since He is the creator of all. But although He is patient and kind, and the very definition of love, He is not tolerant.

How can He be? Sinfulness cannot reside in an environment of pure goodness. That’s why, in His boundless love, He sent His beloved Son, His perfect sinless Son to take our punishment.

Jesus, God in the form of man, was the only one who could do that. His spotlessly pure, perfect righteousness was the only thing that could cover our unrighteousness. That’s why Jesus said that no one could come to the Father except through Him.

In a world where we are encouraged to accept any and everything as being acceptable, God’s word says, “Not so.”

Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Matt 7:14). And although He desires for all to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth, only a few will find it.

Taste and See

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Ps 34:8)

The word “taste” appears a few times in connection with the goodness of God in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s choice of words is never random, but each is meaningful and carefully chosen.

As I thought about this, I concluded that our sense of taste is the most complicated. It works in connection with other senses including smell– aroma and also touch–texture. Though we may try, a taste is most difficult to explain in words. It can only be described by comparing it to another taste–like chicken (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). So it is with the goodness of God. There is no comparison; it must be discovered, experienced, and acknowledged.

God’s goodness is complete—totally satisfying, sufficient to meet our every need.

The challenge isn’t going back for a second helping, but to park there and bask in the Lord’s provision as this verse concludes, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

The Father’s Love

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). 

A short time ago, the message at our church impacted me so much that even though I may not do it justice in these few words, I would be remiss for not sharing and will prayerfully try.

Although God’s word never goes out and returns void, I chose a verse that even non-believers can quote. John 3:16 is so commonly used, the depths of its meaning has been lost.

How many of us as loving parents would choose to suffer pain, emotional hurt, or even death rather than see our child experience it? The anguish suffered by that parent is often more excruciating than the physical pain.

Our loving Father gave us His most precious, precious gift. His only be-loved Son was sent from a heavenly paradise to live on earth for the sole purpose of assuming our sins on His perfect humanity in order to pay the penalty for what we did. As a parent, the depths of His pain would have to be immeasurably greater than if the Father could do it Himself.

And then, because God cannot be in the presence of sin, the already grieving Father had to turn away from the Son. Many parents cannot even leave a child’s hospital bed to eat or sleep, but the Father, who is the very definition of love, had to for a time abandon the Son. He could not complete His purpose if “the cup passed” from Him.

Can there be any greater love than to give His Son–His dearly loved child?

The depths of this love story can only be matched by the joyous ending. Sin and eternal death are defeated. We are redeemed by the most costly price imaginable—the Father’s love.


Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Ps 37:7a).

For a while food trends in the U.S. were all about speed—microwaved fast food from freezer to table in five minutes or less. Recently we have realized the value of waiting, starting from the real deal and patiently waiting until it reaches the richness of its intended, wholesome end. I’m not sure if it’s me, women in general, or our culture that finds patience at a minimum.

 I am beginning to realize that God doesn’t always work on my schedule, nor does He always answer my anxious prayers the way that I think will remedy situations. When I think back on some of my prayers, it’s obvious that God loves me, and has always worked things in His way, in His time, for my best interest. Like Garth says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

I have found, too, in hindsight, that when God isn’t as fast as I think He should be, that He is preparing me. There is usually something lacking, often in my character, which needs to be dealt with first.

Our Father really does know best and I hope someday to learn not to question Him.