God Can Use ANYTHING!: God’s Discipline

God can and will use ANYTHING to speak to our hearts.  Join me this week as I share one of His creepy crawley visual aids!


God’s Discipline

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

FRIDAY5-897x1024As I watched my hero take control of the situation and finesse the snake out from under the steps, the immediate life lesson the Holy Spirit brought to my attention was the fact that just as I was so proud of my clean garage, we often get too proud of our clean lives.  Truth be told, they aren’t really as clean as we think they are, but we do look better than Joe Schmo down the street or Larry Loveless at the DMV!  After we’ve walked with the Lord for a while, it’s easy to forget that our lives are clean ONLY because of Jesus.  All of our righteousness is as filthy rags and there is no one who seeks to do good apart from God … no one!

About twenty-five years ago Darin and I went through an intense discipleship program, and we had to memorize a number of presentations and a ton of Scripture.  After six months of this, my heart got a bit puffed up.  My excitement over what I was learning turned to spiritual pride and as any good father would do, my Heavenly Father disciplined that right out of me.  Here’s how He did it:

I saw them as they were making their way down the street … black pants, starched white shirts, ties … you’ve seen them — Jehovah’s Witnesses.  “Come on, Baby, I can take you!  I’ve got the ‘Disciple’s Cross’ memorized ,and I’ll slap a few Scriptures on you … I’m ready for this!”  Let me just say that within thirty seconds, I had bolted into the house and was facedown on the carpet wailing in repentance.  I was so ashamed and promised the Lord that if He would send a teacher, I would study to show myself approved unto Him, no one else, HIM!  Within a few months, God had me in a Precept Bible study and He was teaching me His truth, His way.

It sure seems like once we have everything in order, the enemy comes slithering along and attempts to destroy God’s good work in our lives.  While we definitely need to be on the alert, we can also rejoice that we have a Heavenly Father who loves, protects and disciplines His children.

From my heart to yours,


God Can Use ANYTHING!: Tale of Two Serpents

God can and will use ANYTHING to speak to our hearts.  Join me this week as I share one of His creepy crawley visual aids!


Tale of Two Serpents

“If you stop listing to instruction, My child, you will turn your back on knowledge.”
Proverbs 19:27, NLT

woman-screaming-2You can only procrastinate for so long … the garage HAD to be cleaned.  Our two-week old puppies would soon need to be relocated, so the big push was on.  It took several days to get everything off the shelves and systematically piled in the driveway.  Barren shelves made it easy to see that a coat of paint was definitely in order. If you’ve ever painted anything, you understand that one stroke of the paintbrush leads to everything in sight getting painted!

Fifteen extra-large garbage bags and one over-sized trip to the Salvation Army later and my garage was spotless!  I was so elated that I even posted pictures on Facebook!  Driving into the garage was pure satisfaction, and I think my chest even puffed out a little as I strolled from my car to the back door.  Ahhhh …. I had done well!

Oh, I suppose I should mention that my son Jordan was the one who gave me the extra push at the very end when I was ready to call it quits.  The crowning blow was our neighbor showing up with a slithery five-foot black snake dangling on the end of his shovel.  Jordan and Ronnie wrestled that thing to the back of our acre lot all the while I was screaming, “Don’t let that thing get in my Day Lilies!”  What?  It always intrigues me to hear what absurd thing comes out of my mouth in a crisis.

Clean Garage. Check. Survived snake sighting.  Check.  My illogical logic reasoned that since this was the first snake larger than 12” I had seen in fourteen years, there surely wouldn’t be another one any time soon.

Tuesday was a great day.  After all, I had a clean, freshly painted and well-organized garage, I had survived a snake sighting, and did I mention that I had a clean, freshly painted and well-organized garage?  Well, Tuesday was a great day until I opened the back door to step out into my clean, freshly painted and well-organized garage to get the dog food, and I noticed about two feet of a black tail slithering under the steps.

I’m not quite sure how I got there, but I found myself in the driveway guarding the steps from a distance until my husband got home from work.

To make a long story short, Darin wrangled all six feet of that serpent out from under the steps and finally managed to kill the beast.  It was quite an ordeal … all the while, the Lord was speaking to my heart about some very important matters.  I’ll share those with you as we move through the week … one Dose of Encouragement at a time!

From my heart to yours,


It’s a Mindset

It’s a Mindset

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. 
Romans 8:6

IMG_7181tamiPeace.  Ahhh.  Peace on earth. Even better.  Peace in my home.  NOT!  Oh Lord, let there be peace on earth … and let it begin IN MY HOUSE!

I promise I’ve not been eavesdropping on your conversations with the Lord!  I’ve had my own!

In this day and age Christmas is packaged with everything but peace.  Some have lots of joy and happiness; others battle through depression and sadness, but few have peace at Christmas. Let me share with you something the Lord showed me.

“Holiday for Her” is our church’s largest women’s ministry event. The first year Debra Spaugh (another ZooKeeper team member) and I were responsible for pulling this monstrosity together, it was an administrative nightmare.  We had prayed, planned, prayed and then prayed some more!  Everything was coming along better than we’d anticipated, but I woke up on the day of the event in sheer panic. A Scripture came to mind, and though I couldn’t give you the address at the time, I prayed what I remembered: set my mind on life and peace. Almost immediately, the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, “It’s your job to set your mind. It’s My job to give you life and peace.” It made perfect sense!

So often we ask God to do things for us that He’s called us to do first. We can’t put our lives on auto-pilot and expect to be filled with life and peace. Setting our minds is a discipline. When I’d rather think about everything that could go wrong, I must choose to think about who God is and what He will enable me to do. When I’d rather think about the annoyances that come along with any project, I must choose to think about the blessings and lives that can be changed for all eternity. When I’d rather come up with that perfect sarcastic remark to make my point, I must choose to think good, true, pure and lovely thoughts. When I’d rather think that Christmas is just too much trouble, I must choose to think of ways I can use this season as a springboard for conversations about Jesus.  See how this works?

Oh Sister, I completely understand the frustrations this season can bring, but let’s determine to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. Then His job is to give us the life and peace we so greatly desire.

Running the race,