God Can Use ANYTHING!: Be Alert and Ready

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!


Be Alert and Ready

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” 

Matthew 25:13 (NLT)

clouds-5Ever since our uninvited guest graced our clean, freshly painted and well-organized garage, I find myself scanning the steps and surrounding area looking for snakes.  I think I’m obsessed!  It literally took more than a few days to open the door and not feel like my chest was going to explode from a racing heart!  I realize that some of you, dear Readers, probably think I’m the biggest baby on the planet and that’s OK. But it would probably be an accurate assumption to say that there is something that causes your blood pressure to rise and your heart to pound!  I tell you these crazy snake stories so you will know that we’re all in this boat together … these Doses of Encouragement are meant to encourage me as much as they are meant to encourage you!

Not long ago a group of us completed an in-depth study of the Gospel of Matthew, and it was interesting to see how Jesus progressively revealed truth to His followers, specifically to His disciples.  His initial message echoed that of John the Baptist and the other Old Testament prophets: ‘Repent!’ but as time moved closer to the cross, Jesus shared more of what was going to happen to Him and what HAD to happen in order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled.  On the heels of sharing details concerning the end of the age and His return, Jesus had a new message: Stay alert and be ready! 

Watching for snakes is certainly not as important as staying alert spiritually and being ready for Jesus’ return, but I’ve asked myself what my life would look like if I were as diligent about being ready for Christ’s return as I have been about watching for slithery critters.

Would I care more?  Would I give more?  Would I share more?  Would I keep less?  Would I witness more?  Would I judge less?  Would I obey more?  Would I love more?  Would my life be a picture of constant and consistent worship?

What about you, Friend?

From my heart to yours,


God Can Use ANYTHING!: A Defeated Foe

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!


A Defeated Foe

And the God of peace will soon crush Satan; He will crush him underneath your feet!

Romans 16:20

shoes-5Watching Darin finesse a snake out from under our steps was quite a show.  He started with a broom handle and then added the hoe for leverage.  It was mesmerizing … I couldn’t stand to watch but I couldn’t look away either!  He didn’t even have to ask what I wanted him to do with it … kill it!

The hoe struck precisely behind its head and as soon as I heard the plink of metal meeting concrete, I felt certain that the battle was over.  But was it?  I couldn’t believe my eyes … That reptile continued to coil, constrict and even strike!  My fear and anxiety didn’t lessen one iota even though I witnessed its head being severed from its body except for one thin piece of skin.  For all practical purposes, this snake was dead, but my mind had yet to notify my emotions of its new status!

It occurred to me that it’s much like this in the spiritual realm.  Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary; He gave the deathblow to the head, but he’s still writhing around causing trouble until the day when he is literally cast into the lake of fire.  Right now, he’s like a roaring lion, seeking to devour and destroy those who love Jesus.  He roars fiercely but he’s toothless!  He can cause us problems in the here and now, but his there and then is as good as done!  My question is this: do we live like we have a DEFEATED foe?

When Darin asked for the axe so he could finish the job, I was still squirming and shrieking, but I had to intentionally say to myself, “He is dead.  He cannot hurt me.  My husband is holding both ends of this dead reptile and he can do nothing to me.”  That may not sound like much, but it was hard mental and emotional work to bring my fears and anxiety into submission to the truth.

Oh, dear Sister, we do still live behind enemy lines, but we must live in light of truth and we find that truth in the Word of God.  We will endure difficulties; we must choose to endure hardship; and we cannot shrink back when disappointment, fear or persecution comes.  We must fix our eyes on Jesus and remember that the day is coming when God will crush Satan underneath our feet, and the roaring lion will be no more.

From my heart to yours,


God Can Use ANYTHING!: Control

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!



For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 (NASB)

white-flag-3Snake Numero Uno wasn’t too big a deal.  It was in plain sight, and I had been warned.  I was even asked if I wanted it killed or relocated.  I chose the latter.  Looking back, it seems like the ball was in my court, so to speak, and I was reasonably comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.

Snake Numero Dos WAS a big deal!  It caught me off guard, invaded my space and I felt helpless.  I was extremely uncomfortable in an uncomfortable situation!  Other than about twelve inches, the culprit was the same: a big black snake.  What was the difference?

Control.  Don’t we believe that life is better when we’re in the driver’s seat?  The enemy knows that, and he stealthily invades our space with the deception that we somehow have it all figured out. We like for things to be what we want, when we want and how we want.  We really think we know best!

I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Ephesians 2:1-10.  O how I pray that God will cement these truths in our hearts so when that “Serpent of Old” comes slithering under our steps – whether we’re blindsided or prepared – we’ll see him for who he is — Satan, the deceiver and murderer from the beginning.

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.     –The Message

From my heart to yours,