El Roi

“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘Thou art a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’”
Genesis 16:13, NASB

El Roi pictureAfter being used and mistreated, she ran away. I can’t blame her.

Hagar must have felt so helpless when Sarai gave her to Abram as his wife. No one asked for her opinion. No one considered her feelings. They just did what they wanted for their own benefit. Sarai conceived the idea, and Abram agreed to it. He slept with Hagar, who conceived a child.

Things went from bad to worse, and hard feelings erupted:

Hagar treated Sarai with contempt.

Sarai complained to Abram.

Abram told Sarai to do what she wanted.

Sarai mistreated Hagar.

So Hagar ran away.

Sometimes life feels unbearable, and we head the other direction as fast as possible. We don’t know where we’re going, but anywhere besides “here” looks attractive. In Hagar’s case, her feet carried her to the wilderness.

She thought she rested alone by the water, but “the angel of the LORD found her” (Gen. 16:7). God spoke and revealed Himself. He instructed Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. What??? Return to the woman who had treated her so terribly? Yes, God told her to go back. The LORD also promised to multiply Hagar’s descendants through the son in her womb, whom He named Ishmael. After hearing God speak, wonder overflowed as she responded, “Thou art a God who sees” (Gen. 16:13).

Hagar never was alone. Neither are we. Almighty God sees us.

My friend, I find incredible comfort in this truth. God sees, He knows, and He cares. Throughout every life experience we call our own, God steadfastly looks on.

So why doesn’t the LORD stop all evil? Hagar certainly suffered, and others are trapped in more deplorable circumstances than she faced. Maybe even you.

I won’t try to answer the complexity of why God allows evil to persist, except to insert that sin’s entrance into the world—through Eve and Adam’s choices—unleashed a magnitude of horrific results. Because every person is born with a sin nature, evil continues to infect every generation like a festering wound.

Yet since God sees, knows, and cares, He sent JESUS.

Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the invasive curse of sin. Just as He saw and spoke to Hagar while she languished in the wilderness, He sees and “has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:2), the Word who “became flesh” (Jn. 1:14).

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Dear one, what circumstance leaves you feeling helpless, ill-treated, or alone? I pray you’ll be comforted by El-Roi, the God who sees. Let’s look to Him as He looks on us with loving eyes, trusting Him to lead us “in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3).

Much love to each of you in Christ,



Just a Vapor

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
James 4:14, NASB

large_6345105963Death has been lurking around every corner these past couple of weeks. My beloved sister-in-law, a friend’s mother, a stranger who passed us on the highway, those shot down in the Malaysian airplane … all of them recently came face to face with death. While this topic can depress and frighten us, we live with the reality that death remains a natural part of life. None of us are exempt. Which leads me to contemplate…

If I’m just a vapor wisping through the atmosphere—here one moment, gone the next—what am I doing that really matters?

Yet JUST NOW realization dawns upon me: It’s not the doing, but the being that’s so critical.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Phil. 3:8

Years ago a Bible study friend presented the thought of being vs. doing, and I’ve never forgotten her wise words. In order to do anything of value in this life, I must first BE enamored with Christ. Who He is, what He’s done, what He’s doing and will do should fill my horizon. Truths about God Almighty should both create hunger and produce satisfaction within me. Gazing on His immense beauty, knowing Him—BEING with Him—will absolutely change me. From that state of being, God will reveal what activities I should undertake for His glory.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world…” (Jn. 8:12) 

And we are just a vapor—unseen, yet made visible in the light of Christ. 

Life only contains purpose with Christ.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Jn. 17:3

Dear friend, do you know Him?


Note: I’d like to give special thanks to my friends and fellow bloggers, Heather Halbert, Jeanne Doyon, and Andy Lee, whose recent posts have presented truths that God partially used to inspire today’s devotion. I love how He highlights specific lessons in a variety of ways, including my reading this morning of Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.

Much love to each of you in Christ,



photo credit: glasseyes view via photopin cc


A New You

“And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

Col. 3:10, NASB

medium_11345289194-2, A New YouNew shoes. New clothes. A new hairstyle. What is it about something brand-new that makes us smile? I don’t know anyone who dislikes receiving an unused item–especially among my female friends :).

Material novelties aside, how do you feel about becoming a new you? I mean on the inside … who you are … your character? If you’ve placed your faith in Christ, God is diligently renewing you. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall or short, blonde or brunette, soft-spoken or outspoken. God meticulously is working on you day-by-day and minute-by-minute. 

This truth encourages me immensely because let’s be real: sometimes life’s responsibilities become hum-drum. Doing dishes, washing laundry, cooking, and cleaning occasionally drive me crazy–I grow weary now and then of their constancy. Even more, repeatedly dealing with the same old sins can be discouraging. Why do I fail so often?

Friends, God isn’t taking who we were and fixing it up. At the moment of salvation, He ends our state of corruption and initiates a new beginning. This is HIS work, which I find extremely comforting.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6

Though I struggle with sins like selfishness and speaking thoughtlessly, God is making me new. Despite my frequent missteps, God is making me new. And He won’t stop until Jesus comes back.

What about you? What responsibilities or failures weigh you down? Pause. Look up. Be encouraged. Almighty God holds you in His hands and carefully shapes you through the very situations that just crossed your mind. In every aspect of life, God renews us with a true knowledge–an experiential knowledge–of Christ, while forming Christ in us at the same time.

Rejoice! God is making you new.

Much love to each of you in Christ,



photo credit: vanessafalle via photopin cc