Sure Things in 2018

While we cannot know all the details of what we will face in 2018, we can know for certain, and prepare for, some.

Here are some sure things that will happen in 2018:

We will have God-given work to do

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

It is a sure thing that God will give us opportunities to serve Him.

Lord, help me be alert, and fulfill, with Your help, the work You have for me.

We will have trouble (John 16:33)

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Trouble is inevitable in 2018, and may come from any direction.

Trouble is a sure thing.

Lord, help me look to You not only in trouble, but in calm times. Thank You that You will guide me.

We will have choices

We will have choices to believe…or not.

We will have choices to worship and trust…or not.

We will have choices to practice the truth (John 3:21), or go astray.

We can let our heart be troubled—or not (John 14:1, 27)

We can keep His commandments—or not (John 14:15)

It is a sure thing that we will have choices.

Lord, in all my choices, help me choose to follow You.

God will be with us

Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Lord, help me be conscious of You throughout my days.


Happy New Year!


Hallow His Name


Today is New Year’s Eve 2017.

While January 1st is really “just” tomorrow, I like the symbolism of turning a fresh page to an unwritten year, full of possibilities.

Usually by now I have a long list of goals, with a gazillion steps to achieve those goals. And then, later in the year (ok, later in January!), I forget what they are. The years my goals have affected my behavior are the years my goals are very simple.

Life Vision

My life vision is still the same:

Love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, and strength;

Love my neighbor as myself;

Love believers as Christ loves me.

My dream for my tombstone is still the same:

She loved God and her neighbor.

The tests of accomplishment at my death are still the same:

Hear Jesus say: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Have people say: “Her memory is a blessing.” (Proverbs 10:7)

2018 Goal: Hallow His Name. Regard His name as holy in everything I think, say, and do.

This year I have one core goal:

Hallow His Name. Regard His name as holy in everything I think, say, and do.

As believers in Christ, we are set apart for God and His service. We are to seek Him first. We are to put Him first in our lives. We are to treat Him as holy.

The Lord spoke, saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.” (Leviticus 10:3)

As I walk through 2018, my dream, my goal, is to have everything I think, say, and do, honor our holy God.

While this is impossible, of course, I know what to do when I fail (1 John 1:9).

And I know how to test everything:

Does this thought hallow His name?

Will these words hallow His name?

Will this action hallow His name?

And I know something about how to plan the day:

How can I hallow You today?

Will you join me?




Open Your Gifts!

When Do You Open Your Gifts?

You probably have gift-wrapped presents under your Christmas tree.

When do you open them?

With little kiddos, you might be awakened in the middle of the night (at least it seems that way!) by children eager to open their presents.

You might be the parent (like my mom), who waits until everyone else has opened all their gifts before starting on their own…slowly. Very slowly.

How about God’s gifts?

What do you do with the gifts from God?

All—ALL—His gifts must be opened in order to receive what He has for us. He gives, but we are responsible.

The Gift of Salvation

The gift of His Son, Jesus Christ—must be received in order to be saved.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (John 12:48)

We must receive Him as Savior and Lord.

God’s Life and Godliness Gifts

We must learn how to use His gifts.

Some presents can be used immediately, without study: a new candle, clothing. Some presents must be learned to be used: a board game, new software.

God has given His children everything pertaining to life and godliness. EVERYTHING.

His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3)

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly. (Romans 12:6)

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Open, Learn, and Use God’s Gifts

But I do not use all His gifts in my everyday life. And you don’t either!

As we grow as Christians, we are more and more able to walk in His way. We are being saved from the power of sin; we are being sanctified.

Open all His gifts and prayerfully learn how to use them for His glory.


Merry Christmas!


Praise the Upholder



God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, upholds His children, His servants, His brethren. We need to strive to walk in His way, but at the same time we can relax, knowing He is with us, holding us up, sustaining, and supporting us throughout our lives.

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great. (Psalm 18:35)

Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Uphold me that I may be safe, that I may have regard for Your statutes continually. (Psalm 119:116–117)

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. (Psalm 54:4)

And underneath are [God’s] everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

Upholder, Helper, Supporter, Sustainer

God is my helper? God? Yes, that is what He says.

God supports me? Sustains me? Upholds me? Supports me? Yes, that is what He says.

God, Help me believe Your Word.

Praise the Upholder

Father God, Lord Christ, Holy Spirit, please help me absorb this truth. You are the Upholder. I am safe in Your arms. You never let me down. Your awesome character is more than I can fathom. Please help me seek You first, set my heart and hands to walk in Your way, and to relax in Your arms, knowing I am safe.

Content in the Mess



Content in the Mess

This is the fifth post lately about contentment. You can guess what I have been thinking about!

I have been so very, very upset about what is going on in the US. The good part of that is I have been driven into the Word and prayer. One of the results is these five posts.

Today I thought I’d tell you about my work to apply what I’ve learned about contentment to the current mess.

Please remember that true Christians vary in their positions and politics. Conservatives, you have liberal brothers and sisters in the Lord. Liberals, you have conservative brothers and sisters in the Lord. Please, as you walk through these troubled times, keep God first. Don’t discard Christians whose politics are different than yours. (And, yes, sometimes their positions may not be consistent with the Word of God. But Christians, even you, even I, can be wrong.)

I have been applying Ten Steps to Contentment to my view of this country’s current issues. I want to be content in the mess.

The Ten Steps are divided into work relating to our head (our knowledge about God), our heart (our inner core, including trust), and our hands (what we think, say, and do). All three categories must work together to reach contentment.


God is sovereign over everything. He is allowing ungodly people to be elected, ungodly actions to be enacted and condoned. He is allowing evil to run its course. But for His holy purpose.

I’ve read the Bible. I know times get worse. I know bad times will happen. I know God is in control. I know He will judge righteously.

He changes time and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:21)

In the last days difficult times will come… (2 Timothy3:1)


Almighty God is my loving Savior. I can trust Him. I must trust Him. This is where He wants me to be. He promises to bring good out of this for His children.

I don’t have to understand what He is doing to trust Him. My trust is based on His character, not the news.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Calm and quiet your soul. (Psalm 131)


Lord, I am Your child, I am Your servant. I surrender myself to You in this situation. Help me praise You. Help me love You and my neighbor through this. Help me serve You.

Not my will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

Posts on Contentment

Current Event Bingo

Be Discontent

Ten Steps to Contentment

When to be Content

Content in the Mess



When to be Content

Christians’ goal should be, like Paul, to be content in any situation.

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (Philippians 4:11)

Often, though, we should NOT be satisfied with where we are. Paul was discontented:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

And, sometimes, you should be working to change your situation, even while you trust God for having you in that situation.

When should you be discontent? When should you be content?

Are you in a situation you can change and should change?

Are you in a situation you can change but shouldn’t change?

Are you in a situation you cannot change?

Can and Should

We are often in situations we can change and should change. Certainly, spiritual growth is in this category. Paul admonished us to run our races with endurance. He talked about striving, buffeting his body,

Frequently we are discontent because we want, for our own satisfaction, something else. Prayerfully consider this, seeking God’s wisdom, confessing as appropriate, and walking in His way.

Other times we need to work, in God’s will, to change our situation.

Suppose your finances are problematic. You may need to reduce your expenditures or find a way to increase your income. It’s possible, like Paul, you need to be content in scarcity, but, often, you can and you should improve your situation.

Suppose you must raise your grades to be eligible for a scholarship. You can and should work on this. You might have to drop out of activities you enjoy in order to devote more time to study. You might need a tutor. You might…

Think through your situation. What should you be working to improve?

Can But Shouldn’t

Sometimes we are unhappy with our lot, and can change it, but shouldn’t.

A classic example is Abraham and Sarah wanting a child. God promised them a child, but they got tired of waiting and got a child outside of God’s will. They were able to do so, but shouldn’t have. They should have waited.

Is that your situation?


But sometimes, we cannot change the situation.

Joseph in Potiphar’s house and in prison are in this category. Joseph didn’t run away, he was a model slave and a model prisoner. The extent of his attempt to get out of prison was to ask the cupbearer to remember him.

I had a serious problem with my vision and had to cope with the possibility of becoming blind. While I prayed and sought medical care, I still had to surrender my eyesight to my loving God. (See When Storms Come: Will YouBe Ready?)


We must ask God for wisdom about our situation, and what He wants us to do. Which category are you in?

If you need to change something, prayerfully work on it.

If you are in a situation you cannot or should not change, work at contentment. (See Ten Steps to Contentment)

Press on!

Ten Steps to Contentment


Christians are commanded to be content.

Paul said contentment was something he learned.

Therefore, we are commanded to learn contentment.

How to be Content

Learning to be content involves head, heart, and hands (what we think, say, and do).


1.God is sovereign. Everything (good and bad) is under His control. (See Chapters 2 -5, When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?)


2. God knows everything and is everywhere. Everything. Everywhere. (See Chapter 1, especially pages 21-22, When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?)


3. God loves His children with an infinite, everlasting love. (See Chapters 7-9, When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?)

God is in control of everybody and everything all the time. He allows evil for the moment, but He controls its limits and its consequences. His incomprehensible, enormous love for His children means He is with us, sustaining us through our hard times, and that He uses our circumstances for good.

To make that knowledge yours, you must study the Bible for yourself. Determine to spend thoughtful, prayerful, and frequent time in God’s Word.


The next step is to absorb that truth into your heart, to make God’s character a core part of your being.

4. Memorize His Word.


5. Meditate on His Word.


6. Determine to believe Him. (Believe what He says, not “just” believe in Him.)


7. Determine to trust Him. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. (Proverbs 3:5)

Trust is the key for contentment. Trust is based on head knowledge, and trust works itself out through what we think, say, and do.

Hands (what we think, say, and do)

8. Surrender to God and delight in His will. He knows what is best. Determine to accept His will in your situation, and don’t seek to get your own way.


9. In everything gives thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)


10. Ask Him how He wants you to love Him and love your neighbor through this time. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. (Philippians 4:5)

This situation is God’s will for you (but, please note that God may want you to work to improve your circumstances. You can be content as you work!).


Head, Heart, and Hands reinforce each other. As you increasingly know God, you increasingly want to serve Him. As your knowledge of Him becomes deeper and permeates your heart and your life, you trust Him more. And all that brings joy and contentment to you, moment by moment.

Reality Check

Watch yourself for discontent. When you notice an emotion signaling discontent, for example, irritation or sadness, confess it and confront it.

Intentionally take yourself through the steps in head, heart, and hands.

Determine to trust your almighty, loving God.


Be content!






Thanksgiving Day 2017

Thanksgiving Day USA

Public days of thanksgiving have been common in the United States since the 1600s. In 1621 the pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the “New World” with what is now commonly called the first “Thanksgiving.”

In 1789 the first United States president, George Washington, recommended a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” He noted how prone we are to forget the source of the bounties we constantly enjoy.

Thanksgiving to God

Public thanksgiving started much earlier, of course.

Where were you…when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:7

Leviticus notes the sacrifice of thanksgiving. (Leviticus 7:12)

And we see that God hates grumbling. (1 Corinthians 10:10)

Thanksgiving Day 2017

This Thanksgiving, determine to give God thanks, and determine not to grumble.

One tool is to meditate on His blessings to you, both spiritual and temporal. You might designate a period of time, say 10 minutes, and list all the blessings you can in that period of time. Some families ask everyone at the dinner table to mention something for which they are grateful.

You might recite Psalm 100, individually, or as a group:

A Psalm for Thanksgiving

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for Your many blessings. Make us mindful of the needs of others. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Thank You Lord!


The graphic is from the Midland First United Methodist Church, Midland, MI.

Praise the Truth

Star Factory

Star Factory. nasa. gov

Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

And Pilate asked this while he was looking at the One who is Truth.

Who is Truth

God is the God of truth.

He who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth. (Isaiah 65:16)

Jesus Christ is the Truth.

Jesus said “I am … the truth…” (John 14:6)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)

What is Truth

Truth is God’s expression of all He is. Everything God is and does is permeated by Truth. It isn’t just that He speaks the truth, He—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the truth.

Nothing untrue comes from Him. He cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)

The Bible is the word of truth. (John 17:17)

The works of His hands are truth and justice. (Psalm 111:7–8)

And—there are many, many more illustrations.

Discern and Apply the Truth

We, the children of God, have believed the truth, and are to walk in truth. Our lives are to reflect the God of truth.

To walk in truth, we must discern truth from lie. The devil, by nature and practice, is a liar. (John 8:44)

We must apply the truth to all we think, say, and do, capturing every thought (2 Corinthians 10:5), and walking in His way. (Psalm 86:11)

Learning to walk in truth, is a life-long endeavor. As children of God, we are guided to all truth by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and we are prayed for by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. What a privilege!

Praise the Truth

God, the Truth—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I praise You for being entirely Truth and for expressing Yourself entirely in truth. God, I am so grateful You are who You are, and that in You there is no compromise, no shifting, no deception. Everything You say and do is permeated by truth, since You cannot do anything less. I praise You for Your Word of truth, for Your indwelling truth, for guiding me to all truth. Help me walk in Your truth, serving You in newness of life.






Acting on Fear

Fear is a common human feeling, both for Christians and for unbelievers.

Acting on Fear

Do you fear hurting someone’s feeling? Do you then stay quiet when the Lord tells you to speak up?

Do you fear lack of money? Do you then foolishly invest in wild schemes or take ungodly jobs?

Do you fear being rejected? Do you then not talk about Jesus?

Do you fear being alone? Do you then enter into alliances with unbelievers?

Do you ….

Christian Response to Fear

Our Lord told us to not fear and why we need not fear. He also told us who to fear.

I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! (Luke 12:5)

For the examples above, here are some responses in line with Jesus’ admonition to fear God.

If you fear hurting someone’s feelings by speaking up, ask the Lord for wisdom in what to say and how to say it. Then speak God’s way.

If you fear poverty, remind yourself that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), and knows what You need (Luke 12:30). Pray for direction on acquiring sufficient income and eliminating unnecessary expenses. Seek Him first. (Luke 12:31)

If you fear being rejected, remind yourself of Christ’s rejection and His commission to all of us:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.  (Matthew 28:19)

If you fear being alone, remind yourself of God’s promise that He will be with you always (Matthew 28:20). Remind yourself of God’s command not to be bound with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Disobedience disrupts your fellowship with the Lord.

These are examples, since each of us has our own vulnerable areas. If we can identify our weak areas in advance, it’ll be easier to react in a godly way.


There is a cost in obeying God’s word. You don’t get what you want, in your “wisdom,” in your desire. You sacrifice your own plan.

But there is far, far greater cost in disobeying God’s work. There are “passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), but sin always, always, separates us from fellowship with God until we confess and are cleansed (1 John 1:9). And there are almost always natural and unpleasant consequences of our sin.

Choose the cost of obedience rather than the cost of disobedience.


  1. Deliberately study and absorb God’s Word. Remember what He says.


  1. Intentionally chose to believe what God says and that following what He says is in your own best self-interest.


  1. Determine to act in accordance with His direction.


Press on!