Thursday, May 6, 2021

What is Bible Engagement?

What is Bible Engagement? What makes Bible Engagement so important? When I was a young girl in my 20’s in college, I would treat the Bible as if it was a Russian roulette game. I would take my Bible and flip it open and randomly read whatever popped up on the page. In my mind I had this idea that somehow that was what God wanted me to hear. I don’t know what made me think that this was a good way to engage the Bible. It wasn’t very helpful. We must remember the Bible is more descriptive than it is prescriptive, since over 70% of the Bible is in narrative. What does the Bible say about Bible Engagement? Psalm 78:1-4 describes for us why Bible Engagement is so important. “Oh, My People, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a Parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past-stories we have heard, and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation of the glorious deeds of our LORD about His power and His mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:1-4 Bible Engagement includes: 1. LISTENING to GOD and HIS INSTRUCTIONS 2. RESPONDING to WHAT GOD SAYS 3. RECEIVING FROM GOD HIDDEN LESSONS FROM THE PAST 4. SHARING THE STORIES to the NEXT GENERATION 5. PRAISING GOD for HIS POWER and WONDER Bible Engagement is intentional, it is personal, it is generational, it is educational and worshipful. Why do we want to engage the Bible? “And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18 Bible Engagement shows us how to rescue… a. Opens our eyes and allows us to see darkness. b. Shows us how to move toward the light. c. Opens our eyes and allows us to see the power of Satan. d. Show us how to move into the righteousness of God. e. Opens our eyes to see our sin. f. Shows us the forgiveness of sin is available. g. Shows us that we have a place among the people of God. We cannot know that we are set apart by faith if we have not heard! When we engage the Bible, it enables us to put on our new self because the knowledge we are gaining about Him changes us. Be in the Word. Be with Jesus. Be transformed! Shalom y’all! 😉 I am starting a new series on Bible Engagement! I would love your feedback. What would you like to see in the series? What aspects of Bible engagement was most helpful to you and why? What aspects of Bible Engagement was frustrating for you and caused you to struggle? What would be helpful in your pursuit of getting into the Word of God and why? Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback! ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

You Lack Nothing

You do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for Christ Jesus! Sit on that for a moment. You do not lack! You have spiritual gifts in Jesus. You do not lack any spiritual gift! Do you ever feel inadequate?  Do you ever think, I do not have the ability? I know in my life God has a habit of putting me in situations where I think, "Uhm, no clue! I do not know what to do!" But I have gotten in the habit of praying in the moment, "Help!" 

My step-dad has always said, "You have a hot line to Jesus!" He is correct in that I cry out for help alot! But, the reality is that it is no hotter than the next person who cries out. We all have a holy hotline to Jesus. If we ask Him for the words, knowledge, or spiritual gift for that moment, He will answer! We just need to ask. When I do this, I am often amazed and sometimes flat out confounded because He is so generous to listen and help me. Please do not get me wrong in thinking this is like genie magic because that is not what I am saying. This is about seeking to live, speak, and serve with words that build up and give honor to restore, refresh, reconcile, and redeem. It is not about getting what I want when I want it. It is a blessing when I get it right and it is a blessing when another does so in return. 

When was the last time you enjoyed this kind of conversational beauty? Would you consider today praying in the moment, "Father, please help me to speak and serve in Your Spiritual gifting and not in my own?" Then walk in obedience as the Spirit leads you in all truth for that moment. 

"I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed" (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).

Beloved, you do not lack!

Friday, April 30, 2021

What makes a continuous open door to family?

I have not been able to stop asking GOD to make me a generous person because I have seen that God is so generous. I looked up the original Hebrew pictographs to see what it would have meant and again I love the beauty of a word. Generous would have meant that my life will be the continous entrance or door to family or in to the house of family. WOW! Ponder the beauty of that! When I open myself up to give freely of all I am or all I have it is like opening up myself to someone to come inside my family home not just inside, but be "in". No wonder generosity was so crucial in hospitality. No wonder why it is so crucial today.

Sometimes, I just don't want to be generous of attitude. Have you ever been there? Sometimes, I don't want to be giving. But, what I have found is that when I give all. You know know that spirit of welcome that just brings joy deep down so that even your toes want to bounce. I know the blessing of my home being full because generosity builds family. Not just the bloodline kind, but the I am safe and secure with you and know I am loved simply because I am me, kind.

What we have to recognize is that this isn't the entrance into just any family, but the family of God. God is generous toward us so that we can be generous toward others. He models the open door policy so that we too will have an open door.

So, I am praying. No, I am begging. Father, please make me, my Greg, my kids, my ministry partners, and my friends generous. Let us continously be the entrance to being in Your family, O God! In Jesus name amen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

ALL NATIONS BY ALL MEANS. NARION 2021

NARION ONLINE CONNECTIOThe first time I signed up for an ION event I was struggling with how to be a better communicator with the Bible. My seminary training was amazing! I love it, but I found that I was communicating in a way that was not speaking to the heart language of my people. I was teaching the Bible to women in Omaha, in a homeless shelter, at speaking engagements, and at church. I discovered through struggle that when I used Bible stories my people caught what I taught on levels I never anticipated or thought to share. I had women come up to me and say, "For the first time, I actually understand what is being shared about the Bible. It is like you were able to read my heart!" We all know that I was not reading their heart. I am not clairvoyant! LOL! But, I accidentally tapped into the reality that STORY speaks to the person where they are at. The room can be filled with different ages, stages, educational levels, backgrounds, and cultures when a story is told and every person in the room can learn and hear from GOD directly. IT IS SO POWERFUL AND SO BEAUTIFUL! 

I knew immediately that I had found my tribe! So, I went on to get my doctorate in Biblical storytelling. My dissertation was on how to use Bible stories to disciple the homeless. I did my research practice right here in Omaha at the Open Door Mission. During my research, I had one man that used to draw profanity on his paper. His first paper had this statement, "I will never listen to this madman, Jesus!" Through the process of six weeks of telling the group Bible stories and using simple questions to allow them to discover the truth on their own, the man stopped drawing inappropriate art and started processing what he was discovering. I had no way of knowing who each sheet belonged to because there were no names in my research documents for security purposes. But because he drew on his paper I knew which one was his. I have to admit that I wondered how I was going to present those documents to my panel during my dissertation phase! Oh my!

Two weeks after I finished my research, the young man came up to me weeping and asked if he could talk to me. I was astounded as he shared his story of pain and suffering. He shared about his anger and how he wanted to lash out because of his pain. BUT... when he started hearing how Jesus loved him and desired to have a relationship with him as he processed through the Bible stories. He realized that he needed Jesus. This young man shared with me that he decided to follow Jesus and that he wanted me to know that he was getting baptized the following Sunday. 

I never once told this young man what to believe. I never told him what to do. I never told him to get baptized. All I did was share the Bible stories faithfully and asked questions so that he could listen and hear from God directly. God met him and ministered to his pain. I share this in hopes that you might consider attending this conference to learn how to communicate the Bible in a way that will speak to the heart language of the people you serve. 

Our team has gathered leaders from all over the world that are deep in the process of learning and serving just like you and me! COME JOIN US FOR THIS ONLINE CONNECTION! 

WE DO HAVE EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION! 

Mark your calendar for NARION 2021!
Join us as we seek, through God's power, to reach ALL NATIONS by ALL MEANS!

Do you desire to reach all nations by all means with the gospel?
Are you looking for a network with which to collaborate?
Do you long for community that seeks to educate through simple, organic, and reproducible methods?
Are you seeking to reach the oral majority in your community?

​If so, the NARION 2021 is the online connection for you!

Online Connection Dates: October 15 - 16, 2021*

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Exposed

Mom and I are sitting in the quiet morning hour reading and talking and I had to share this verse with her because it is so powerful. "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated becomes light" (Ephesians 5:13). In verse 9-10, it says that the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. We are challenged to have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Why? Because we want to be illuminated so that we become light. To shine light on something means that it is exposed. Nothing is hidden. It is revealed. 

Recently, a dear friend was at our house as we were preparing for a dinner for a few friends. She could hear in my tone something was wrong so she asked, "Are you mad?" She illuminated to me in that moment that my tone was communicating something I did not intend. Honestly, I was in alot of pain. I deal with chronic pain from an injury and sometimes when I push too hard as I keep moving through the pain to get things done rather than just listen to my body and rest. Her kind question illuminated or exposed my tone which caused me to stop, pay attention to my voice, and body. This helped me to move back into the goodness of light. I apologized to her and my dear Greg and said, "I am so sorry. I am in pain. Please forgive me for my tone. I am not mad. You are hearing me pushing when I should stop. Let's get some tea and rest." Of course both of them were gracious and then concerned. We made tea and sat for a bit. This allowed my body to catch up with me. And helped them to know my heart.

I realize to some illumination is scary because they are hiding untruth and ungodliness. This verse promises a movement to become light. The light is truth and truth always sets us free. This is why we worked so hard as parents to not let our children lie to us. I would tell Mikayla and Grant, "Tell me the truth and it will go well, but lie and you will regret it." They always feared it meant discipline, but the truth is I knew they would regret not being in an honest relationship with me and their dad. The only way true healing can take place is if we get into the light and let things be exposed. The release brings freedom and removes all separation built up from darkness. 

Here is the process.
1. Darkness is exposed.
2. Illumination reveals.
3. Light living brings freedom.

Our former darkness becomes the very way God uses us to bring light to others. 

I know it hurts to have light shone on us in a dark area of the heart and mind. But, remember, just as physical light hurts our eyes initially when we are in darkness, but it only takes a few seconds to adjust. It is also true in exposing our darkness to the light. It might feel intense the first few seconds, but then it brings great illumination that makes you want stand and bask in the light.

Would you please consider asking God to expose the darkness so that you might be illuminated and become light? I know do! I want to only walk in the light in every area of my life. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Two Types of Partnerships are revealed at the Tomb of the Risen LORD

A few thoughts occur to me as I reflect on Easter Day. Why are we so willing to participate in lies or believe a lie instead of truth? Why are we so willing to be deceived by our governing authorities rather than live in freedom? Why are we willing to be a partner in spreading those lies? I recently discovered that to partner with someone based on the Greek definition means to have fellowship in communication, distribution, and communion. Wozer! This really makes you think about the who you partner with and the what of what you do and say. As you listen to the Easter story consider those that chose to partner in the lies. When the Roman soldiers told the religious leaders what happened, the religious leaders told them we will give you money to go tell a lie. And as if that wasn't bad enough the religious leaders said to not be afraid because if the governor doesn't believe, we will pay him off, too. Oh my! They were willing to place themselves at the table of those who deceive. I always wondered how they trusted anyone since they so willingly went around supporting a lie. What a horrible way to live.

Now for the beautiful and positive side of partnership. While Jesus was dead in the tomb the two Mary's demonstrated the beauty of their fellowship with Jesus. They planned to go care for His body as soon as Sabbath ended. Because of their partnership with Jesus, they were allowed the privilege of being surprised by God! Have you ever been surprised by God? I can testify it is amazing. I find He does this for me daily as I seek fellowship that falls in the communion level. This means we are willing to sit and eat together. This is where life gives way to life. I love that these two women were allowed to see the angel casually perched on a rock. Oh how I wonder what his expression was like or the delight he felt waiting for this auspicious moment when he had the privilege to say, "I know you have come to see Jesus, but He is not here!  He is risen!" I don't know which is better, to be the one being surprised or to be the giver of the surprise! Both are amazing! Both are born in the gift of partnership. Both are willing to say, "Yes! I will sit and dine with You and listen to what You have to say so that I might be Your instrument to communicate and distribute Your truth." Beloved, in Greek that is KOINONIA! Koinonia is partnership. It relates. The two women did not disappoint! They ran immediately to go tell the others! They now get to be the wondrous giver of the truth! He is risen! 

So on this Easter Sunday two thousand years later I wonder, who do you partner with in your heart and life? What do you partner your mind and does it give life or take life? Does it build up or tear down?

As for me and my house we invite you to come and see, "He is risen!" He is risen, indeed! Join us in celebrating our risen Savior! 

Shalom y'all!

Click on the link to discover the two types of partnerships that took place surrounding Jesus' death:

Easter Sunday: The day Jesus rises from the grave

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Put them to Shame

Inside a possible Tomb of Jesus

Here's the deal. You cannot stop God! His plans will not be thwarted. You can lie. You can steal. You can kill. You can do cover up! But HIS WILL, WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! GOD'S silence does not mean He is not at work. GOD'S silence means you better get ready because something is about to happen. Are you ready?

Saturday was a very sad day indeed. Yet, if the disciples took the time to remember, Jesus told them over and over I will rise from the grave on the third day. Sometimes, we hear something; we acknowledge it; we might even nod our heads, but we do not get it until it happens. And then we have a major "aha" moment. The irony of this day is that the enemies of Jesus believed it enough to try to cover it up. They were willing to lie and spread rumors to cause confusion. This is where the difference of true belief is revealed. The religious leaders belief did not lead to obedience to do God's will. Their belief lead them to do the will of Satan. Remember, Satan is the one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). While they plotted, the disciples grieved and prayed, but there were a few that prepared to go to the Tomb. Soon their grief will turn to dancing. 

In Revelations 1:18 we are told that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades (hell). And in Colossians 2:15 we are told that Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame by triumphing over them. There is alot of discussion through church tradition on what did Jesus do when He was dead. Some speculate that He went to Hades and took the keys of hell. Honestly, Scripture does not say specifically. We do know He holds the keys and He is triumphant. We do not know the how and when it took place. However, since God is the Most High God we can know for certain that He was the one in control. He has planned from the moment of creation to be in an everlasting relationship with us. We should be humbled at the lengths He would go to show us. 

Which one are you? Will you put them to shame by believing that Jesus triumphed over death? 

Listen to the story on this link:

Easter Week Saturday: Remember the time Jesus was in the tomb



Friday, April 2, 2021

Why Good Friday is Good

(Pictures taken from https://www.4lpi.com/blog/we-find-him-cross/)
Click on the link to watch the Easter story:
Why Good Friday is called Good

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Temptation proves Sonship



What if we looked at temptation as the proof of who we are rather than of who we are not? This week in Walking in Discipleship we will discover that Jesus' temptations were just as much proof of His Sonship as His baptism. Hard to imagine when the baptism was so glorious and in community while His temptations happened in the desolate wilderness in isolation. Go listen to the story and see what it reveals to you about temptation.


Jesus' Temptations (Matthew 4:1-11)

"After all I am the Basic Person!"

When I was a little girl , my brother and sister went to my dad to tattle on me because I wouldn't let them win at our pretend game. My dad called me to come and talk with him. He asked, "Tara, why do you think you should always be the winner?" I apparently put my hands on my hips and said quite confidently, "After all, I am the basic person!" This story brings out a laugh every time it is told in family gatherings. Greg and I joke about it when I get self-centered. Sometimes, that little me still erupts and I want to be the one served and for everyone to die to me. Ugh! Just when I think I have respectfully put away this childish behavior she shows up when I least expect it. Serving others only comes from an intentional practice of choosing them over me. Truly, selfishness is a basic person attitude! We all suffer from it. Just some of us are more readily to admit it.

The basic person mentality is universal and a long standing attitude that has historically risen its ugly head even in the most devout. I must be a great descendant of the early disciples. Thursday of Easter week is known as the Day of Preparation. Jesus had modeled over and over the importance of dying to self as He discipled His followers, yet as Jesus sat at the table eating what He knew would be His last meal with them the disciples argued over who would be the greatest. Jesus graciously reminds them once again that a true follower of Jesus is called to serve not be served.  I tell myself, "Let that sink in the next time the basic me attitude wants to rear her little head."

Listen to the story in this link:
Easter week Thursday: The Day of Preparation

Jesus knew the Last Supper was where He needed to give His final words of encouragement and preparation for what was coming. And the importance of being a servant was a part of His discourse. I hate that I can forget this in the moment. I grieve that we disrespect it as a culture. I watched a teen disrespect an eighty year old man yesterday and not offer him the proper service because she thought her rule was greater than the value of the man. My heart grieved at her basic person attitude. It made me realize how ugly it can make one appear. Oh God forgive us! Do you find yourself in shock at the disciples for wanting to be the greatest? I know I am, but when I examine my own heart I find the basic person in me trying to fight for her best instead others. So, I pray and moment by moment ask God to help me serve well. I mess up. I get up and start over. So, I am asking myself this Easter, how can I serve others and not make it all about me. Father, please help me to learn this lesson! Shalom y'all!  

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Silence reveals crazy


How do you handle silence? When I first became a stay at home mom, I used to cry because I missed people. I am a people person. I need people, but over time I learned the value of my quiet time. I would define quiet time as I am alone, but I am at quiet rest before God. I am in communication with Him. I discovered that my quiet time makes me healthy and ready8th to love others well. So now, I actually crave quiet time, but silence is different. Silence holds no input. No communication. True silence is devastating. 

Have you ever dealt with someone giving you the silence treatment? It hurts because healthy input or communication has ceased. We all need healthy input. Did you know there is a silence lab called Orfield Laboratory and it is said that the longest a person has stayed in the room and come out sane is only 45 minutes? I always wonder, who would be willing to test their sanity? Who wants to do that? It is said that silence doesn't make us crazy, it only reveals our crazy. It actually allows us time to process our stuff because we no longer have other input to process. The absence of input or communication causes madness to be revealed. Maybe, this is why I talk to myself all the time! 

I have pondered the isolation of COVID and the devastating affects it has had on people. For many, it is a disease that threw them into silence. This led to devastation. They had to confront their stuff and discovered they had not built into their lives healthy quiet time to strengthen them for their times of silence. 
As I ponder Wednesday of Easter week some 2,000 years ago and that it is known as the day of silence, I wonder if God allowed this holy heavenly pause because it would reveal the crazy within a select few. No stories are recorded on this day from Jesus' journey to the cross. Historically, it has been chosen to be the day we remember Judas' betrayal. I find it ironic that we choose to remember this sad story on the day of silence. It is so somber because Judas was a faithful follower of Jesus, but his actions revealed that he was not a follower of Jesus spiritually. Judas agreed to betray Jesus for just thirty shekels. It is estimated to be about $600 today. Talk about crazy. An innocent man's life was sold for $600 by a follower to a religious leader. This made me wonder if Judas allowed silence to be in his relationship instead of building quiet connection. Remember, silence has no input while quiet allows for the give and take of communication. I realize if not Judas then it would have been someone else in order to fulfill God's will for the cross, but I still wonder. This then causes me to wonder at all the ways that I can bring quiet instead of silence in my relationships. I know this is not the crux of this story, but this is one way it causes me to want to be transformed and that ultimately is the crux of why Jesus died on the cross. It was so we can be in relationship with Him and thereby live transformed lives. As I get my relationship right with Him in my quiet times, I am better at relationship with others. Wholeness can be revealed in me in the moments of silence instead of crazy. 

As you listen to today's Easter story, consider whether you have a quiet time with the LORD or do you allow silence to separate you? Start a simple conversation like, "Hey, LORD, can you help me with this? I don't want there to be silence between us. I would like to communicate. I don't know how, but I am open." God will begin communicating with you. Tell Him about your crazy and ask Him to help you. He promises if we seek Him, we will find Him. Shalom y'all! 

It is a sad, somber story. Click on the link below.
Easter Wednesday: The Day of Silence

Father, I lift up all the people who feel alone, isolated, and in a place of silence. Please, Oh God, meet them in a quiet place that reveals the glorious healing and rest you give. In Jesus name amen! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Common Enemy Bonding

(Picture taken from https://charletonmills.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/jewish-religious-leaders-and-roman-political-leaders/amp/)

What is it about a common enemy that can make two groups who are normally hateful to each other and intolerant of even their presence come together in unity? I was curious so I Googled "Common Enemy Theory." I just wrote out what I thought a psychologist would call it. Did you know that it is a real thing and that research has been done examining the bond that occurs between people bonding over a mutual dislike. Maybe this is why people like to gather and gossip rather than sit and talk about the good in others? According to Psychology Today (Dec. 17, 2018) people will bond more over a common dislike than a common like. This type of group think makes us feel better about ourselves. It gives us a mental boost about our own poor motives in the moment. Oh boy. Think on that the next time you bond over a common enemy. Is that the type of unity I want to build a relationship upon? 

This type of behavior has been around for a long time. Some 2,000 years ago, the religious leaders who normally would not get along worked together to entrap Jesus. They allowed their mutual bond of viewing Jesus as a threat to their religious order to cause them to plot to kill an innocent man. They made their common enemy the One that was known as the Messiah. The one their very own prophets taught about. Blinded by their personal wants and desires, they behaved contrary to their calling and plotted against the One that came to save them. They settled for the glory of human power, authority, and institution rather than GOD'S glory, power, and authority. Their enemy bond caused them to miss out on the immeasurably more of Jesus.


Easter is a time when we gather together to remember the sacrifice that was given so that we might have eternal life. As our world becomes more and more polarized, how can we find ways to build common bonds that are healthy and not destructive of each other? I know I struggle to fight enemy bonding. The one thing that seems to put reason back into my sensibilities is to remember that each person is created in the image of God. They may not act like it, but I can try to honor that they are an image bearer. I confess, I fail often in my lack of remembrance, but when I get it right I know I am better for it and so is the one I am remembering. And if I am in a conversation with another, they are better for it, too. What might you do this week to guard against enemy bonding? How can you seek to bond over healthier things? 

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Shift of One Day

(Taken from https://yesterdaysprophecy.com/religious-leaders-plot-kill-jesus/) 

One day can cause so many shifts in people and circumstances. Have you noticed that? On Sunday, the people were shouting, “Hosanna!” but come Monday the religious leaders questioned Jesus' authority and Jesus prophesied the coming judgment. They recognized Jesus' power and how He was impacting the people. Lives were being transformed and they didn’t like it because people were not turning to them for their power and authority. I can’t help but wonder if Jesus thought as He rode on that donkey into Jerusalem, Come tomorrow the religious leaders will be plotting to kill me. You cry “Hosanna” which means “save us!” That is what I am doing! I am here for you! Will you listen? Will you see? Will you believe? 

Go listen to what happened on Monday of the first Easter week. Easter Monday Video

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Why do we have to have Easter stories?

(Taken from learningreligions.com. What is Palm Sunday?)

My friend said to me, "I really like the Christmas story of God loving us and sending His Son, but why do we have to go through that awful story of Easter?" My heart clenched because I get it. The Easter story if you take time to know it, it is excruciatingly painful. An innocent man willingly gives His life to die on a cross. But, here is the deal. Jesus was still the Son of God sent by the Father as He allowed the days to unfold. He chose to do the Father's will that we might live. He gave us the greatest gift we will ever know. He gave His life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. So, as painful as it is to listen to or watch the Easter story unfold. It is our hope.  It is where new life begins. This is why people use little Easter eggs and put things in them. They symbolize Jesus dying, being buried and then rising again. Last year to give hope I recorded the Easter week stories and posted them. Please take time to listen and receive the gift so freely given.

Listen to the first story of Easter week here.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Confessions of Anger

Have you ever had one of those moments when as soon as it was rolling out of you, you knew you had walked out of love? Now, I am not talking about being loving. I am talking about the kind of moment when you know you are losing a grip on what you know to be good, holy, right, true, and quite simply kind! Suddenly, without warning you find yourself knee deep in offense and whether you say anything or not your heart is no longer walking in love. And if you do say something you realize that if there was a video of you as a human it would depict a not so loving human. I had one of those ugly moments recently. I just snapped. Call it hormones, menopause, frustration, impatience or whatever you want, but it came out of me like a coke bottle that was about to explode. Just typing this embarrasses me. UGH! But, I would be a liar if I didn’t say I acted like this on occasion. I am so glad it doesn’t happen very often, but it happens. It is real in me. I am human. UGH! No, double ugh! I hate evil and I hate it most when it is in me. I found myself leaking tears for several days as I tried to process what in the mess was going on inside me. 

I have been praying for the LORD to give me much fruit in this season of my life. I do not want to waste time and I long to be fruitful. This moment of ugh did not match my prayer life. But, as I prayed and pondered my momentary madness, I realized I had stuffed A LOT! A LOT! And I needed to let some things go. Have you ever done that? I realized that in the attempt to act godly and not be offensive myself, I had allowed some occasions to be pushed down instead of grieving the pain that was caused me. I would tell myself, “Oh, I must forgive!” “Let it go!” “Move on and forget it!” But, the reality is my heart had been wounded and no attempt to reconcile had been made on my part or if it had it was handled in a cavalier, dismissal, or unkind way. It actually took someone being kind in the middle of a confusing moment for me to realize how much my heart had been wounded. How do I as a loving woman of God release it? How do I find healing when one of those that caused the pain died last year and one refuses to even dialogue and honestly if this person did the patterns have revealed that it best that we not engage. I know that I cannot change anyone. But, I have learned that the good LORD can change me. I soon realized that part of my prayer for bearing much fruit just happens to be that He wants to prune some pain in my heart. So, what is a girl to do? I knew I needed a day with GOD alone. I wanted to take the time to just list it all out and then just burn it. 

I love how GOD pours truth into us or even at us when we are in need of it. Our staff at ASM are working through the book, “Celebrations of Discipline” by Richard Foster as a team building activity for our staff meetings. I chose months ago to do submission and confession because I knew they were the ones I would like to grow in. LOL! Well, I discovered as I studied submission that if I am truly submitting then I am helping myself and those around me to be surrendered to the will of God. Well, guess what! In confession, Foster challenges the reader to take the time to write it all out on paper and take it to someone and confess it. I love it when God affirms something through another that you have planned to do. Foster reminds the reader that the gift of confession releases a dear friend because we become a reminder of God’s forgiveness. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). My girlfriend, Sabrina, used to call this being Jesus with skin on. There truly is something amazing that happens when we confess something and get it off our chest. Suddenly, we are not alone in our darkness. And when you add in someone that is holy and a good listener that wraps you in the cords of compassion and reminds you of the Father’s forgiveness, well, it is quite beautiful! 

 I told Greg, “I am going to list out all the things that are stuffed inside me as anger and then burn it.” I am blessed because Greg listens even when he was the very one I dumped on! He did two things for me that were so good. Neither of us can handle us being in a fight for long. We will make up because we are a mess otherwise. After we both sat and stewed for quite I bit I said, “I am so sorry I just let you have it.” I will be honest I was sitting there thinking, “I don’t want to apologize! I still want to be mad because I am mad!” But, I also know that will not bring healing and movement so out of obedience to what I know is right and good I said it. Then Greg said, “I forgive you!” There it was so simple. He forgave me. I felt it, too, the minute he said it. I confess I sat there for a moment and thought I don’t want to say, “I forgive you!” But, I made myself do it! “I forgive you!” He nodded and we still sat in silence. Sometimes, you just gotta sit in your mess and wait for the emotions to catch up with your obedience. And it did. 
I hate being ugly! I hate unkindness! I hate evil! And I will say this a thousand times over, I hate them most in me! So, I set a date on the calendar and I set the day aside to be holy. It was to be my day to sit and process it all with God. I had to release it more to Him than to a human. I needed a holy work done in me and I most definitely was not the person to make that happen. I just needed to fall flat on my face before GOD and just unleash. I had A LOT OF ANGER in me! You need to know it was not at one person, one event, or one thing. It was A LOT of people, places, and circumstances. I put on quiet jazz got out my spiral notebook. I did not want this in my beautiful journal. This was ugly and it was going to be BURNED! Did you know that in Hebrew the first person that the word repent was used to first describe as an action was GOD? Go look it up (Genesis 6:6). I once learned that the repent in this verse means leave the house, burn it up, and to never return. That is a little terrifying when you consider it was God who first repented! God regretted creating humans when He saw their wickedness. If that does not do something to your heart, then we need to have a serious conversation! I looked up on Youtube the Hebrew word for “repent” and a video came up titled “Five words you should pray in Hebrew.” So, I paused to watch the video. Here are the five words the video provided: 

Hallelujah means “Praise the LORD!” It honors His beauty, power, faithfulness. 

Teshuvah means “repent and return to God.” It surrenders to His forgiveness.  

Tsedek means upright behavior and wise actions. It reveals His righteousness.

Chesed means “loving kindness or mercy.” It reveals His beauty, grace, kindness, and generosity. 
 
Shalom means “peace.” It is meant to be a prayer and blessing. In our heart, life, and world. 

I immediately knew this was of God and that I must use these five words as the prayer pattern for my prayer time. So, I began to praise God for His beauty, power, and faithfulness. I kept this portion short. I wanted to honor Him, but for today I knew my longer portion was going to be in the Teshuvah. I began to write. I can write pretty tiny, and I kept writing and kept writing. I knew many of the things I was putting down I had already walked the path of repentance and forgiveness, but in case there was any lingering anger I wanted to give it over to God. I wrote until I could not write any more. Immediately, I felt my heart feel the tension unleash. I then began to write over and over all of it the five words. Then it was on my heart to write “You are forgiven. You are free!” This was a reminder that it is just as true for each person as it is for me. Then I wrote Jesus over and over. Honestly, there is nothing spiritual about what I was doing in writing the repetitive words. It was more for me to rewrite on my heart the truths that each one embodies, and it felt good to me. It isn’t something that should be considered a model, but more as a confession of what God walked me through on this precious journey of confessing anger. 

When I was all done, I sat and looked at my scribbled mess, and I wanted to create! I wanted to be able to paint a masterpiece for each of those five words. They are mine now. They are deeply embedded in my heart, mind, soul, and spirit as part of my prayer journey with the LORD. I feel as if they are His grand gift to me because I sought Him. He allowed me to find Him in words that brought me healing, power, and yes authority to release and unleash my pain and move more towards joy. I love that He immediately gave me visions for creativity. How like God to provide a creative vision after a time of holy confession. 

When Greg came home for lunch on the morning that I wrote my confessions of anger, I showed him my scribbled mess. He looked at me and said, “Why do you still have it? Go burn it! Do you feel better?” I have a good friend in my Greg. I am blessed. I told him I wanted him to see it and honestly, as I look at it, it is beautiful to me! If I did not confess it then I could not find release from it. It represented the gift of God’s beauty, power, forgiveness, grace, mercy, generosity, faithfulness, and peace to me. 

Have you ever been so burdened? It sure hurts. I am so sorry if you have your own pain, anger, or even sorrow that you bear. I wrote about my journey hoping that you might go to God in prayer and confess it and release it to Him. I pray you find joy and the gift of creative vision so that you may go and bear much fruit. I know I am much better for having done it and I know you will be, too! Shalom y’all! Tara 3/23/21😉

Sunday, March 21, 2021

What is discipleship?

What is discipleship?

My very first memory of someone trying to disciple me happened in my stepsister’s bedroom when I was about five years old. Dorcas, my cousin, was five years older than me and I thought she was the most amazing person in the whole wide world. She could tell stories in such a way that I just wanted to stop and listen. And on this day as I sat on the floor leaning against the yellow flower print bedspread, Dorcas told me that I was a sinner and that I needed to ask Jesus to be my Savior. I was five at the time. I honestly had no clue what she was talking about, but if Dorcas said that I needed God’s forgiveness because I was a sinner then I was going to kneel and pray because she said so. I got on my knees and leaned with my elbows against the bed and prayed what Dorcas told me to pray. I was clueless that this was Dorcas’ attempt to disciple me or to show me how to become a follower of Jesus. I honestly do not even know if she understood that was what she was doing. But this is obviously what she had been told she should do and so she did. 

What does it mean to be a disciple? I feel like my life has little glimpses that later became profound moments that shaped me over time. Each of these little moments added up so that I could understand discipleship. My memory of Dorcas reminds me of the day that John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to his disciples and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). And immediately the disciples of John just got up and started following Jesus. One moment, they were the disciples of John and the next they were the followers of Jesus. Did you catch that? A disciple follows the one they want to learn from. This disciple transition happened in part because as Jesus' ministry began, it was time for John's ministry to end. John clearly explained to his disciples he was sent to prepare the way for the Christ, the one to take away the sins of the world. As John's testimony pointed to Jesus, as the true Lamb of God, Jesus started inviting men to be His disciples by asking them to come and follow Him. So, John's disciples stopped following him and started following Jesus.  

The Greek word for disciple is mathetes and it means to be a pupil, learner, or student. Please read John 1:35-51, in this passage, we have the example of what it looked like those first days that the disciples started to follow Jesus. Who were the people that followed Jesus? We know that two of John's disciples followed Jesus, Andrew plus one more. Then Andrew took Simon Peter to follow Jesus while Jesus invited Phillip personally to follow Him. Phillip in turn invited Nathanael. I love that there is no set way that any one of them started following Jesus. Each one was invited or told in a different way. Did you notice that each one gave a different title that revealed something about Jesus' character? John pointed to the Lamb of God. John’s former disciples called Jesus, teacher, or Rabbi. Andrew called Jesus, the Messiah and the One Called the Christ and Philip called Jesus the One Moses and the Prophets talked about, Jesus of Nazareth, and Son of Joseph. Nathanael called Jesus the Son of God and the King of Israel. Even Jesus got in the name identifying and called Himself, the Son of Man.

What does this tell you about our invitation to follow Jesus or what might happen as we become a disciple of Jesus? One thing is for certain, our invitation to become a disciple of Jesus will come in many different ways and by different people. For some, it will be by a specific invite from Jesus Himself. Sometimes, people will point to Jesus and emphasize different truths about Him that will cause us to want to go and see for ourselves. I love how our invitation is so personal and so relational. I wish I could talk to each disciple and ask them why it was important for them to know that character trait of Jesus. It makes sense to me that John would tell his disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Jesus is the final sacrifice that all of history had been waiting for. As I pondered this, I happened to notice something that became quite profound for me. As I looked at each name given for Jesus, I noticed that each one represented something unique about Jesus’ historical identity that His future disciples would need to know. This is what I saw:

  • Rabbi… HIS MISSION. He is our heavenly teacher. 

  • The Messiah... HIS GIFT. It is through Jesus we receive the gift of eternal life. 

  • The One Called the Christ... HIS TITLE. No one else holds this title. 

  • The One Moses and the Prophets talked about ... HIS HISTORY (HIS story). God planned for Jesus all along. 

  • Jesus of Nazareth... HIS EARTHLY HOME. This allows us to see Jesus’ earthly dwelling.

  • Son of Joseph... HIS EARTHLY DAD. This allows us to see Jesus’ humanity.

  • Son of God... HIS HEAVENLY FATHER. This allows us to see Jesus’ divinity.

  • King of Israel... HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM. This allows us to see His kingdom.

  • Son of Man... HIS HUMILITY. This allows us to see His servant leadership. 

In knowing Jesus’ story through His character and different titles that He was given helps us to know His identity and as we know Him, we are better able to know ourselves. We will identify with a character trait that will help us grow in our relationship with Him which will in turn help us grow in our relationship with others.  

Did you also notice the disciples moved to action immediately? John pointed his disciples to Jesus. Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus and Philip brought Nathanael. Have you ever had a teacher that taught you something and it stayed in your head for days? And every time you spoke to someone you shared what you heard or learned? When we are a disciple of a teacher, we follow this person because we want to know what they know so that we can be like them. And when we have a teacher that catches our attention, we always want to bring someone along. Just this morning, I met with a young leader friend, Katie, that calls me periodically to meet, and she asked me, “What is God teaching you today?” I was more than happy to share with her that I read a truth in the John C. Maxwell, Leadership Bible that really blessed me. Christian discipleship is about multiplying Jesus in us so that we can multiply Jesus in others. We will do what we can to share what we have seen and heard. 

What if Jesus said to you, “What do you want?” Would you be willing to say, “I want to know where you are staying?” Are you open to respond to Jesus saying, “Come and you will see!” Would you be willing to follow Him? Are you willing to be like John the Baptist, Andrew, and Phillip and invite those around you to know Jesus and share with them what you discover about His name, character, or identity? Can you say you are a disciple of Jesus? WHO should you invite to follow Jesus? 

Tara Rye/3/19/21

Ruined and Useless

(Praying Lion by Tara Rye 2016)

What is your talent?  How do you create or serve others through your talent or gifting? In middle school, I just knew I wanted to grow up to become a famous artist. I took art and quickly became dear friends with my art teacher. I drew all the time. I would practice drawing for hours every chance I could. But, one day I heard that you have to die to be famous or really make an income. This sobered me up and caused me to believe that my art gift that gave me so much joy was just a hobby and I should spend my time developing my other talents. Once I started college I left my art behind. I no longer had time to spend hours drawing or creating even for the fun of it or atleast that is what I thought. I thought I needed to spend hours growing other talents and gifting that seemed to rise up as more relevant. 

This reminds me of the moment when Jeremiah was asked to bury a linen belt in the crevice of rocks (Jeremiah 13:1-11).  He left it there for many days before the LORD told him to go get it. When Jeremiah returned to get it, the linen belt was ruined. It had been destroyed by abandonment, disuse, and no care. I realize that God used this as a lesson to Israel to illustrate the importance of their relationship with Him. Israel had walked away and abandoned God and His commands because of their own stubborn pride and pursuit of false gods. Their lack of care in their relationship with God rendered them useless to God. 

This made me think about my art talent. I finally picked it up twenty years later. My heart and mind was of a mature woman, but my artistic skill was of a high school artist. Literally, my skill, talent, gift was only as mature as what I had put into growing it. I had to invest time for it to mature with me and for it to grow into its gift. 

Isn't this true in all things? In my relationship with God. I need to spend time knowing Him and letting Him know me. This is where transformation can take place and spiritual maturity is born. This can only happen through the intentional habits of prayer and being in the Word of God. In my relationship with Greg, it is the same. If I ignore him and do not listen to him or talk to him then we struggle and that makes life hard. As a leader, I learn about leadership to help me to know what to do so I can mature in my leadership. Why study leadership if I am not going to apply it? In each of these, I realize it requires the gift of presence, investment, care, and use for growth to happen. I don't want to put my relationship with God or Greg in a situation where it is useless. I don't want to do this in my leadership either. I learned the lesson the hard way with my art. I am still trying to mature it, but I can feel the brunt of time and lack of use everytime I sit down and try to create. I am not as malleable as I used to be. I learned that the quicker I apply the lesson the steadier I am in growth. The more I delay then the maturing phase takes longer.

Is there a gift or talent you have put away that you might need to pull out and put to use? Is there a truth or leadership skill you know, but have not put into practice? Have you pushed a person aside you need to draw near to? What about God or His Word? What are you doing to mature in your walk with Him? Do not let these go into ruins because of lack of use or being cast aside. Pull them out and start using them again. You might find like I did with my art. I had forgotten the joy I received in doing it.



Thursday, March 18, 2021

Walking in Discipleship: Jesus Calls His Disciples (John 1:35-51)

This particular story has always been a profound blessing to me. I love it because I see that when it comes to discipleship that it is meant to be unique for each person. Sometimes, we might call out a character trait of Jesus, and sometimes He might call out a character trait in us. We are uniquely and divinely called and in our calling, we are uniquely and divinely inspired! Check out what happened when several of the disciples started to follow Jesus.

Generosity is a noble character

Sometimes I do not want to be generous! I think the place it is most hard to be generous is when my emotions don't agree with a person or circumstance. I can get so caught up in my emotion that I forget the gift of generosity. I think we often view generosity as what we give financially. But, honestly there is so much more to a generous spirit. A generous spirit takes time to consider the other person and how to bless them in the moment. This can be in presence, words, deeds, or gifts. I love that this verse in Isaiah challenges us to be intentional in being generous. Recently, I was really mad at my husband and emotionally I felt disconnected and frustrated. He approached me in a playful mood and I did not want to be generous in mood or sport, yet God reminded me of a noble woman being intentionally generous. It was my choice to be generous with my heart and person. God would not make me, but I have learned that when I choose well and give generously blessings come back on me. So, I chose to be generous of spirit and to my surprise once again for the thousandth time, my mood changed and we enjoyed a blessed evening. Have you ever been challenged to be intentionally generous? Where might you need to choose to be generous today? 
 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Do you struggle with whose voice to listen to? I find myself wanting to say, "You are not my Shepherd!"

Do you ever wonder which voice you should listen to? I know I do. It seems that there are so many voices out there that say, "Follow me!" This past week, I have been meditating on John 10:1-21. It is the story of the Good Shepherd. I noticed that the voice I follow is pretty important. Three things I observed about the  Good Shepherd's voice is that it leads, gives life, and speaks truth. It doesn't steal, kill, or destroy. 

Listen to today's Bible story and let me know what you learn about the Good Shepherd or His voice. 

The Good Shepherd

I have posted pictures of the process I went through in trying to recall this story. It was very hard for me to recall. Honestly, I felt like every time I tried to tell it, I would get confused. I used about seven different strategies to help me recall this story. Graphing it helped me grasp the organizational flow. And finally the push through of telling it and recording it a few times to listen to and double check myself, finally enabled me to get through to recall. It sure took patience to help me get to the place of understanding so I could tell it. This made me think of how Jesus used different analogies to help the Jews that were listening that day to understand. Jesus used truth, the illustration of the sheep and listening, the gate and freedom to come and go and enjoy life in the full, the shepherd and the hired man's response to the wolf. Why?  Could it be because He really wanted the Jews to understand that He was going to invite the Gentiles to join His flock alongside them?  Or could it be that He wanted the disciples to see how He would invite both Jew and Gentile into the same pen? One flock in unity! Jesus showed patience in explaining to the Jews when they did not understand. He wanted them to listen to His voice as He sought to give life to the full to those that listen. 

I also noticed there were several references about the Good Shepherd giving life. And that there is a knowing of the Good Shepherd both for the sheep and Father. I noticed that knowing meant the sheep would hear His voice, follow Him, and know the Father. The implication is that His voice gives life to the one who knows His voice. 



What might you have discovered about the Good Shepherd and hearing His voice?  I would love to hear! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

I struggle with insecurity and pride


Do you battle with insecurity or pride?

"Insecure leaders inevitably destroy people; secure leaders develop people... God reduces prideful leaders but resources humble leaders" (John C. Maxwell leadership Bible). 

On any given day I can be caught in the spin of insecurity and the pit of pride. It truly is the crazy cycle. No wonder God calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How do we guard ourselves from living in this crazy cycle? Look at the words develop and resource. If I take the time to ask in my insecurity how I can help the people or process develop this will give me a focus that is not about me, but about building others up which in turn gives me confidence because it casts off fear.


If in my pride I ask, how can I resource someone else? This gets me off my high horse and puts me where they are at which makes things less about me and more about them. Essentially, in both of these it is about dying to self and thinking of the other first. Hard to do when I am thinking about me. It gets easier the more I think about others. If I honor you, I find honor comes back to me. It is quite beautiful.


Today, what if we stop and ask ourselves, How can I develop you or give you resources? Remember, a resource can be as simple as a smile, a handshake, or a hug. Or if we asked, How can I help you move closer to your goals?  How can I help you move closer to God? May our good LORD find cause to resource and develop us today! 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

I love submission

I recently discovered that Hebrew letters were first depicted with symbols and that each symbol represented a meaning. I found this utterly intriguing. I honestly do not know why someone did not show this to me sooner! I feel like I have years of learning that would have been filled with countless “ah-ha” moments if I had only known sooner. I love the fact that the Hebrew language started with the oral and pictorial language. I feel this supports why we prefer stories and pictures to help us engage in learning! So, I have set about on a journey taking a specific word that I would like to know more about the original meaning and action that was expected in that time for a Hebrew. I have had so much fun spending time picking a word and looking it up! I KNOW! I AM A TOTAL GEEK! This makes me want to belt out singing, “That’s okay, my God loves me anyway!” But, I digress.

So, I am to lead the section for our staff on submission based on Spiritual Disciplines by Richard Foster. I read the chapter a few weeks ago. The only thing I can pull up since is that a spiritual discipline is meant to give me freedom. But, when I think about submission and all I have been taught, told, and demanded to live by freedom is the last word I would choose to describe submission or submit. Now, do not get me wrong! I am not one of those females that is going around demanding my way. I get it! I am to die to myself as a follower of Christ (Matthew 16:24). I know this and as hard as it is at times, I seek to live by it. I know that in our marriage which I believe is a good one for the most part. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have tried to take authority and he has totally surrendered it at times. We both have messed up. But, what I do know is that when both of us are willfully and lovingly submitting to God, we get it right and it feels so good to submit because who doesn’t want to submit to someone that is walking in righteousness (Ephesians 5:21). It is beautiful, compelling, and well quite honestly, joyful.

This morning I decided that I should go and look up submit or submission in Hebrew in the original pictograph form to see what it meant and as is the case any time I seek to learn more our GOD has a way of surprising me and blessing me. If you do a basic Google search on submit you have to work pretty hard to get past “wives submit” to try to find someone that is actually teaching from the original context. So, I just jumped to the original Greek (5293) word “Hypotasso” because this is the word that everyone quotes from Ephesians 5:22. As I was scanning a whole host of dictionaries, etc. I wrote down the word SUBMISSION. I realized SUB… MISSION. Okay, wait! How cool is that! Look there is a “sub” “mission” in submission. Hold on! You will get it in a moment.  “Hypo” means to be under or to place and “tasso” means arrange. Stant Litore spelled it out so beautifully. Litore pointed out that submit is a military term and that we cannot forget the context of where this section is placed.[1] To submit to one another in Ephesians 5:21 follows the passages about waking up because the days are evil and our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (Ephesians 5:14-20). Litore then reminded the reader that it comes before we are told to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We cannot forget that this is a military term couched in a military position in the context that Paul wrote it. Okay, wait! That does not sound very weak to me! You need to know the lioness was rising in me with great interest. In fact, you might just hear me roar! Litore pointed out that in fact if we truly are submitting to one another then we will set ourselves up to support our spouse as we fight against the enemy. Hhhhmmm. But, wait! There is more!

I kept searching because I needed to know. How is that I have been taught so much for so long about submission and no one told me that I should be in a military stance as a protector of my spouse? Y’all! That is seriously messed up! If I can protect my Greg and my children from harm I am so there! Envision yourself standing firm against the enemy or anything that should rise up against your spouse. Envision coming alongside your spouse and fighting against anything that might seek to harm them. Wait… this sure sounds like the Holy Spirit to me! A long time ago, I learned a really long word and was so profoundly impacted by it that I memorized it, internalized it, and assimiliated it into my life and teaching. The word is sunantilambanomai. It is the Greek (4878) Word for help. It is used to describe the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit comes alongside us, together with us, and with whatever is against us to assist us. As a woman being called the “helper” I owned that and made it my definition. Today, I just found it supported in the Greek for submission. BUT WAIT! There is more!

 

 

My “Sub” “Mission” in Hebrew in the pictograph even supports this! WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN TAUGHT THIS! The Hebrew spelling for submission is “Shin”, “Lamed”, “Chet”. I posted a drawing of the letters and pictograph at the very beginning of this post. So, with each pictograph letter there is a definition that is used. Shin is defined as “teeth, press/destroy, or separate.”[2] Lamed is defined as “shepherd, staff/teach, or to/from.[3] And Chet is defined as “wall, fence, or separation.”[4] I have not taken Hebrew. I have always been afraid to study it because I have it in my head that I am not good with languages, but I am beginning to think that I could learn Hebrew by using the pictographs. If I may make a stumble at a definition based on the meanings intended from those images. Submission or to submit is to press in or destroy as a shepherd or teacher the wall, fence or separation that is at work. Now, think on that for a moment. What if as a spouse I took this as my mandate? As I love and serve my Greg, I am to press in or destroy as a shepherd or teacher anything that provides a wall or separation for him. But, then I asked, “What is the wall separating him from? Is it me? Is it God?” BUT WAIT! There is more!



As I was scrolling, I noticed that there were numerous references to the word “davar” as a part of the root of submission! Holy WHAT?!!!! WOW! Oh my goodness! What for it! “davar” is the Hebrew word for “WORD!” Essentially, the implication is that if I am “DAVAR” then I am submitted to God’s plan or under God’s plan. It means that I am willing to speak, write, illustrate, or experience the WORD of GOD and do likewise with those around me. So, if I am “davar” then I am seeking to live my life in obedience to the Word of God fighting against any principality that sets itself up against God’s plan. Drop the holy mic, y’all! Seriously, I can honestly say, “I love submission!” Do you understand that to live in obedience brings blessing? Thereby, if I take the time to arrange myself for the battle to stand up against anything that will hinder my Greg’s walk with the LORD then I will be blessed. So, does that change your view of submission? It sure does for me!

All-day I have been pondering my newfound old/new truth! I realize that so many times in our marriage, I have been been the one set up against Greg as the enemy. UGH! Seriously, that is not okay! And there have been times that Greg has been set up as the enemy against me. That is messed up as well. We are married to one another to be mutually serving each other so that we can stand against the enemy of God and then in turn GOD willing do so for others as well. We actually rob ourselves of the blessing when we do not submit to one another. I want to live in blessing. I love submission. Don’t you!



[1] Hudson, Carmen Rane, et al. “The Misleading Translation of ‘Wives, Submit," ... and a Tale of Battle-Ready Women.” STANT LITORE, 18 Apr. 2019, stantlitore.com/2018/06/25/misleading-translation-wives-submit/.

[2] “The Ancient Pictographic Hebrew Language · Mini Manna Moments.” Mini Manna Moments, 13 Nov. 2019, www.minimannamoments.com/ancient-pictographic-hebrew-language/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Do you have have a bad attitude?

Sometimes, my attitude just gets the best of me. It really frustrates me when this happens because I know it is my job to master my attitude. 
In Genesis 4, God tells Cain you must master the sin crouching at your door!
Click on the link to get the full story. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Well, here is my second round in teaching myself how to create Doodly's! This time I tried to write a short summary of the Big God Story. My goal was to stay under three minutes. Trying to think of images and creating them was fun, but kind of hard, too! 😉 I had to learn how to record my voice and upload it into Doodly! In case you did not know, Doodly is not very user friendly when it comes to audio. There is no auditing audio! UGH! It has to be a perfect recording so I used my phone's recording device. Well, that was after recording it professionally in Audacity on my huge Yeti mic and Doodly not accepting it as a download! O boy! So much to learn! I am still trying to master the doodle paths. I am not there yet. But, I did discover that if I use color then it will show up! THIS SO EXCITED ME! So, I am going to give a challenge. Can you create the Big God story in under three minutes and tell it in a creative way and share it for us to see? I would love to see some really great artists put me to shame and challenge me to grow. I imagine some poets out there could come up with great content, too!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

What are qualities of a resilient person?


Why is resilience important?  Recently, I was on a trip for work and I was reminded of resilience by the airline steward. As he stood and gave us the typical before flight instructions telling us that when the mask drops in the case of an emergency that we were to put on our masks first before helping others. This reminded me of the importance of resilience. We cannot give what we do not have! Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior, George Kohlrieser, states, “It is often forgotten that one must learn to lead oneself before being able to lead others successfully. Self-leadership provides the backbone for the effective leadership in groups.” When companies build in resilience training it opens doors for resilience to grow. When a company recognizes that our human economy plays an important role in our effectiveness at work and in relationships, we are more likely to be creative and productive. This builds in the natural response of retention because resilience when honored will grow the mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual well-being. This always makes for better employees and better work environments. Resilience training provides a framework for relationships to prosper and grow because doors are opened so that communication and conflict resolution skills are able to flourish because people are serving out of balance and stability rather than crisis. How can growing your resilience improve your work environment? Where do you think your team needs to seek out resilience training? 

So, we find ourselves asking, what are qualities of a resilient person? Who in your life have you observed resilience? A mentally resilient person tends to be able to adapt well to new circumstances because they gather information and then seek to be strategic in how they engage their resources to help them and others persevere! An emotionally resilient person will use positivity to help themselves self-regulate to find the internal strength to be calm or mindful in the moment to help them bounce back. Physically resilient people know how to use rest and recovery to their advantage so that they can endure physical challenges without further injury. This is what makes them stronger in the long run! While a spiritually resilient person knows that there is a source of strength outside of themselves that they can call upon. This gives them peace of mind and a sense of contentment despite their circumstances because they use their core values as their moral compass. Spiritually resilient people find ways to empathize with others and serve them on the journey.  This frees them from being so self-focused and reminds them that they must take care of themselves so they can take care of others. The Founder of the Resilient Institute, Dr. Sven Hansen points out that, “Our ability to function, deliver, and thrive depends on how we leverage our mental, emotional and social strength, so any program that wants to a develop more resilient workforce and culture needs to focus on all aspects of the emotions and mind to care and listen with empathy which is difficult in burn out.”  Essentially, we should build resilience in times of peace as much as we might grow in resilience in a time of crisis. Training ourselves to develop resilient awareness and strategies will make us stronger. Which qualities do you struggle with personally or in your work environment? What can you do to grow this area of your life? 

One way to grow resilience is to look for circumstances where resilience is observed. Look for the quality and then consider why that quality is important and how to grow that quality in you. For example, we can discover resiliency characteristics within the animal kingdom.  The animal kingdom seems to have numerous examples of resiliency. I have chosen four creatures to consider. For example, the fire ant. I know it is a creature most of us do not want to encounter because they bite and leave a painful sting when they do! When we were escaping the floods in Houston, we were dodging enormous fire ant colonies floating precariously around us in the flood waters. We were so afraid that if we were hit by one that they would jump on us and sting us all over. This is not a good thing! Curiosity caught my attention by the fact that they traveled in a massive colony through the floodsso I researched and discovered that fire ants can exist this way for months because they interconnect their legs as they move about.  Apparently, an ant can stay under water for as long as twenty-four hours so, the colony keeps moving. They never let go of each other and they always make sure that no ant stays under water too long. This way they all survive and make it through. They are always aware of their need for each other and the importance of protecting one another. The two characteristics that I decided to cultivate in my life from observing the fire ant was keeping a communal approach and to always be looking for the one that needs to be lifted up that might be drowning. What if we had the attitude of community awareness that no one was left below or behind too long?

Emperor penguins show resiliency by also being communal. When the mother penguin goes off to sea for two months for food the male penguin will sit with the baby egg on his feet. The male penguins will huddle together to fight the bitter cold and keep each other warm while protecting the eggs from predators inside their penguin huddle. The male penguins will not eat for the entire two months and in some cases losing as much as two thirds of his body weight. The male penguins use each other for warmth, a barrier to the 90-mile winds and the -40F temperatures, and predators.  What if we lived out sacrifice and shared responsibilities like the emperor penguins? How would our team or family change if we were willing to work together to fight off the elements? What kind of sacrifices can we make to help our team? 

Another animal that you might like being on the resilience list is the rat. These pesky rodents are built for resilience. Their persistence to chew through something is quite astounding. They do not give up. I realize that this is not okay when it is your house, but there is something to be said for persistence paying off. But, what really surprised me about this creature was based on some research some scientists did on rats. Honestly, I do not know that it is necessarily the best methods, but what they discovered is important. Scientists were testing to see how a wild rat versus a domestic rat by survive in adverse circumstances.  Would a wild rat swim longer than a domestic rat? They expected it would, but that is not what they discovered. They found that a domestic rat would out swim a wild rat and survive every time. The scientists came up with a hypothesis that the domestic rats lived with hope because they had someone that would help them survive. So, the scientists set about doing research on giving hope to a rat in bucket that was drowning and not giving hope to another rat. They discovered that rats that were rescued once would always swim longer. Scientists concluded that hope of rescue always made rats more resilient. They came to the conclusion that hope produces resilience. What if we developed hope in each other and lived out persistence? What if we found ways to rescue one another at work and at home? How can we help each other move through? How can we communicate that we are a team that will rescue one another and never let one of our own drown? What might building hope look like for you and your team?

The tardigrade is the said to be the most resilient creature.  It can survive under the most stressful of circumstances. Scientists call tardigrades survivors because they can withstand outer space, be frozen and thawed, dehydrated, and radiated and still bounce back to life. This little creature is adaptable! It will curl up in a small ball and wait it out. If necessary, it will release a special protein that protects its body and then wait until the circumstances change. Essentially, the tardigrade has good genes. There is a special genome that it passes on to the next generation. I realize that we do not have a say in our genes, but we do have a say on what we will intentionally pass on to the next generation. We can determine to pass on characteristics of resilience by learning them and sharing them. What if we made it a determination to make it a mark of our team or family to be known for resilience? What if we were determined to show that we know how to adapt, reduce when we need to, release when we must, and when we can reproduce ourselves in others? Imagine the possibilities!

How are you being challenged right now to be resilient? Which animal characteristic did you like most? Which one do you want to grow in? Which one do you feel your team or family might need to grow in? Imagine the possibilities and determine to be the one to build into the next generation of your team or family the resilience characteristics to bounce back! 😊 Shalom Y’all!


[1] Kohlrieser, George. “Resilient Leadership: Navigating the Pressures of Modern Working life.” REAL WORLD LEARNING. No. 42. 2014

[2] Hansen, Sven. PhD. How to Build a Culture of Resilience. Resilience Institute at https://www.youtube.com/user/DrSvenHansen/featured

[3] Incredible Floating Fire Ants Help Develop Waterproof Materials and New Robotics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://inhabitat.com/incredible-floating-fire-ants-help-develop-waterproof-materials-and-new-robotics/

[4] H., Y. (2020, October 07). How To Be Resilient like the Emperor Penguin? Retrieved from https://medium.com/in-fitness-and-in-health/how-to-be-resilient-like-the-emperor-penguin-8a95730ae62f#:~:text=Emperor penguins are known,resilient living creatures on earth.&text=They travel over 50 miles, catch and feed the young.

[5] The Remarkable Power of Hope. (2014, May 07). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/kidding-ourselves/201405/the-remarkable-power-hope

[6] Dvorsky, G. (2016, September 20). Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Tardigrades Are So Indestructible. Retrieved from https://gizmodo.com/genes-hold-the-key-to-the-water-bears-indestructibility-1786814698