Time at the Barre

Don’t you just love it when normal, everyday life-events preach to you? Sometimes, they have a greater impact then some of the best sermons ever spoken. Well, I had one of those moments just the other night when I was given the opportunity to sit and observe my daughter’s ballet class. Typically, I catch a few minutes of her class every once in a while if I arrive early to pick her up. And of course, I get to attend the performances that her school puts on. I have continually been impressed with the quality and skill level demonstrated, but, up until this past Monday, I truly didn’t understand why.

The benefit of parent observation week is that parents are invited to watch a normal class just as the students typically take it. I was completely blown away at what I saw. The class begins at the ballet barre, where dancers run through numerous exercises, and I mean numerous, that help the dancers build strength and learn correct body placement. These drills help a dancer with her footwork, jumps, flexibility, and balance.

I expected all of this, but did not understand that the dancers stayed at the barre for an hour and ten minutes – that’s right 70 minutes before they actually started to dance in the center of the studio. During this time at the barre, the dancers undergo grueling, repetitive drills one after the next. And if that isn’t difficult enough, this type of training happens five to six times a week.

Sitting there, watching this great discipline and drive, really spoke to my heart. Before a dancer is ready for the spotlight, she must train vigorously. It is not just about the moments on stage. In fact, that is just a small fraction of the dancing she does. She must be committed and make sacrifices to achieve a level of excellence.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12

I see such a parallel to our lives as Christians. Often, we are so eager to do great things for God that we forget about the work that must go into getting there. At times, reading the Bible and studying His word may seem monotonous. Prayer time may seem routine, but we, like those dancers, are building muscle memory. We are preparing ourselves for the moments in the future where God calls us into the spotlight. But, will we be ready?

In Mark chapter 9, we see the disciples trying to cast a demon out of little boy. They had seen Jesus do it numerous times. But, they were unable to. They weren’t ready. Their faith wasn’t ready.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. – Mark 9:28-29

Ladies, if you want do great things for God, you have to put the time in. Spending time with God by reading His word and through prayer will strengthen your faith. Nothing can replace this. It will renew your mind and make you more like Christ.

Just like my daughter’s dance teacher, God isn’t going to give you a role that you are not ready for. He doesn’t want you to get burned by the heat of the spotlight. If you truly want to do great things for God, you must first put your time in at the barre!

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Before the Door Shuts

I love to travel! I love to see new places, experience different cultures, and unplug with my family. But, as much as I love to get away, I really dislike the “travel” portion of the trip. It is so exhausting! So, I make every effort to shorten it. I try to only book direct flights, I check as few bags as I can, and I arrive at the airport as late as possible, while still getting through security and to my gate on time. In fact, if I do it right, I will arrive at the gate just in time to board. But, you have to be careful. Once the aircraft door is closed, it will not be reopened, no matter how much you beg and plead.

This reminds me of the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids that Jesus speaks of in the book of Matthew.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” . . .

But while [the five virgins without enough oil] were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!”

– Matthew 25:1-6, 10-11

All ten bridesmaids thought that they would be welcomed into the wedding feast. All ten bridesmaids had their lamps in hand and were waiting. Unfortunately, five of the bridesmaids let their lamps die out. They did not anticipate how long it would take the groom to return. They were not prepared and ran out of oil. They missed their opportunity to enter in. The door was closed, and no matter how much they begged or pleaded, it was too late.

But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. – Matthew 25:12-13

This really is a scary parable. No one knows the hour of Christ’s return. And, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. We need to prepare ourselves for that day by keeping our flame burning strong for God. We do this by meditating on the Word of God, by spending time with Him alone in prayer, and by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in our lives that compromise who we are as children of God.

Ladies, we must not grow complacent as we wait, nor let justification and rationalization of sinful behavior snuff out our flames. Make every effort to be prepared for your final moments here on earth before the door shuts. Because once it does, it will not be reopened.

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No Turning Back

To some, 2015 has come and gone in a blink of an eye. To others, it has dragged on, full of obstacles, hardships, and disappointments. No matter what kind of year you have had, we all press on to another year. I am especially entertained this time of year by all the “get healthy” propaganda. Gym memberships, home fitness equipment, and diet plans are just a few of the life improvements that are being sold. Everyone has the best intentions, but by the time the end of January rolls around, the commitment to change has vanished along with all the leftover Christmas cookies.

On the other hand, I like to think of the beginning of the year as a time for spiritual refreshing. It’s a time to reflect back on the prior year, take note of all the successes, as well as the missteps. It’s a time to seek God’s help in becoming more like Him in the new year.

Unfortunately, many of us get too distracted with the missteps that we fail to see all the areas where we have succeeded. Discouragement sets in, and there is a tendency to return to, and sometimes long for, the lifestyle we used to live. That was, however, a life before we allowed Christ into it. People forget how empty and broken their life actually was before Jesus entered in.

There is a woman in the Bible who also made this tragic mistake. I am talking about Lot’s wife. She and her family were living in a depraved land filled with immorality and debauchery. Because of the persistent prayers of Lot’s uncle, Abraham, God graciously removed them from the judgment and destruction that was about to fall on Sodom and Gomorrah. But, Lot’s wife had gotten so used to the sinful lifestyle she was engrossed in that she failed to recognize the grace upon her life and the freedom God was granting her. And although she was warned not to, she looked back with fondness on the sins of her past, which ultimately brought destruction on her life.

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. – Genesis 19:25

Ladies, it’s a new year and a fresh slate. Keep walking in the direction that God is calling you. Longing to go back to a life without Jesus will only cause heartache. Keep running the race for God, and His favor and abundant blessings will follow. Ready or not, 2016 is coming. There’s no turning back!

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

No Turning Back

What If He Doesn't?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were living as exiles in Babylon. They were taken from their homes and were forced to serve under an evil ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar. These young Jewish men would not compromise their walk with God and refused to bow down and worship an image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar set up before them. Refusing to obey the king’s decree meant their life would be in danger – as they would be thrown into a blazing furnace. Once King Nebuchadnezzar found out about this, he became furious and summoned the men. I just love Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s response to King Nebuchadnezzar’s threat.

King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But, even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. – Daniel 3:16-18

What a bold statement to say when death is staring you in the face! That’s unwavering faith! Live or die, they would not abandon their God. Fortunately, God supernaturally spared the men’s lives.

Ladies, God is more than able to deliver you from your fires today. No circumstance is too difficult for Him. But, what if He doesn’t? What if He doesn’t restore your marriage? What if He doesn’t bring financial breakthrough? What if healing doesn't come when you want it?

Check your heart. Does it resemble that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s or is it full of contingencies and demands? God wants women to have a faith that is genuine, not contingent on His favor and blessings. If He doesn’t rescue you from your trial, will you still serve Him? Or, will you quickly abandon Him?

The Lord is more than able and willing to save you, but will you stay the course if He doesn’t?

Lord, you will always be my God, and I will always be yours!

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In Name Only


During my freshman year at college, I was invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. At the time, I was very flattered and quickly accepted their invitation knowing that a honor like this looks great on a resumé. The honor society held monthly meetings, offered guest lecturer events, and hosted many social gatherings. Once I was inducted, I hardly ever attended these events, unless of course there was free food. I was too busy doing the things that I wanted to do and never made their events a priority. I am ashamed to confess that I only joined because of the benefit that it would provide me during my job hunting days. I was, in fact, a member in name only.

You may be laughing at me right now, but we have all done this. We’ve joined some organization, club, or group just because we wanted the benefits of being associated with them, but didn’t want to make a true commitment. Unfortunately, some people are Christians in name only, too.

If you ask them what their faith is, they will proudly declare that they are Christians. They have accepted Christ’s invitation for salvation, but neglect to move past this initial step. Sure, they may go to church occasionally and toss up a prayer from time to time, but that’s pretty much where it ends.

Interestingly, a recent poll suggests that nearly 80% of people living in the United States consider themselves Christians. I must admit that this number seems high to me considering morality is at an all time low. You see, having a relationship with Christ requires more than identifying yourself as a Christian. It involves allowing Christ to rule in your heart and, by His grace, turning away from the sinful nature and living a life that glorifies Him.

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. . . .You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." – Colossians 3:5-10

Ladies, I am not here to judge or question anyone’s authenticity with the Lord. What I want to do is encourage each of us to ask ourselves some hard questions. Are we really living our life for Christ? Are we standing up for the things of God and turning away from sin, even when culture says it is ok? Are our hearts set on things above? We need to decide if we are really one of Christ’s own, or simply a Christian in name only?

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  Colossians 3:1-2

He is Risen!


Every Easter, it is the same routine. First thing in the morning, I call my parents to wish them a happy Easter and my father answers the phone, “He is risen.” I quickly reply, “He is risen indeed!” This little exchange may sound like an endearing moment between a father and daughter, but it is more than that. It is an acknowledgement and declaration of the most powerful moment in history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior. Savior, that’s right, Savior. This isn’t a word that you hear too often outside of the church walls. Why do we need a Savior? You may think “my life is not perfect, but I don’t need any saving.” Well, according to Romans 3:23, we:

“all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

Sin separates us from God. Accepting Jesus as the Son of God and acknowledging Him wipes those sins away and restores our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Jesus was and is the ultimate sacrifice. Some of you may be thinking that what you’ve done is too severe to be forgiven. That is not true. He endured a horrific death on the cross so that all mankind would be set free. All we need to do is receive this gift by faith.

“For the wages of the sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”-Roman 6:23

Everyone has a choice and opportunity to invite Jesus into her life. But, it is not just words recited out of obligation; it is a change in our hearts to receive the gift of Jesus Christ. If this free gift is something you would like to receive today, then pray something like this:

Jesus, I thank you for what you did for me that day nearly 2,000 years ago. I believe you are the Son of God, that you died on the cross, and that You rose again. I invite you into my life and submit to you. Forgive me of all my sins, known and unknown, and help me live a life that glorifies You. In Jesus' precious name, amen.

If you just said this prayer and you meant it with all your heart, you are now saved and are a child of God. If this is the first time you've said a prayer like this, you may ask, "Now what”? Get into a Bible-based church, study God's Word, and turn away from sin.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”-Romans 10:13

Say Something

Have you ever been in the midst of a pleasant conversation when all of sudden the mood changes? Maybe the women around you start gossiping about another woman or a family in town. Or maybe they suggest pulling one over on Uncle Sam because who’s going to know anyway. Or perhaps, the conversation switches to a topic that you know God would definitely not approve of. I hate those moments. I get a knot deep in my stomach. What do I do? I have a few options. I can join in and rationalize my participation. I can sit quietly and pray the conversation changes quickly. Or, I can say something because my silence means I condone or agree with what is being said.

But, to be completely honest, sometimes I just don’t want to say anything. I know what they are going to think – goody two shoes is at it again. And then I hear the Holy Spirit tug inside of me:

Are you just going to sit there or are you going to say something?

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. He brings conviction when I need it most. When we recognize sin and remain silent, we are no better than the person doing it. In fact, God will hold us more accountable because we know better.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:17

But frankly, people don’t like to be told that what they are doing is wrong, even if it is done in love. And yes, it has to be done in love. If you enjoy bringing correction, then it is not done in the right spirit. Our purpose is solely to point people to Christ.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting that I have it all together and never mess up. That’s crazy! And I so appreciate the people in my life who keep me in check. What I am saying is that God has called us to stand up and defend Him, even if you are the only voice in the crowd.

Ladies, I have news for you. Taking a stand for Jesus and defending Him can be a lonely place. A place where offenses develop and friendships can be lost, possibly forever. Jesus, more than anyone, understands those feelings of loneliness and isolation. He experienced them first hand when he walked the earth.

But take courage. There is a special inheritance waiting for those who don’t compromise and take a stand for Him. You may feel all alone at times, but He is always with you.

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:10

Finding Jesus Demands a Decision

Amidst the wrapping paper, cookies, parties and decorations, it is important to spend some time reading about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

On coming to the house, they [the Wise Men] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. - Matthew 2:11-12

After finding Jesus, the Wise Men changed their path home, avoiding Herod, because they were warned in a dream by God to take a different route. Herod had evil intentions and wanted this child, the Messiah, killed. Herod saw the potential threat Jesus would have to his power. But, because the Wise Men trusted God and were obedient, this evil scheme was thwarted.

Like these Wise Men, when we truly find Jesus, we experience a miracle in our lives. It’s life changing. This means that the path our life is headed on must change. It must change to one that is alignment with the perfect will of God. It should be a life that glorifies Him and flees from the sinful nature.

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:7-10 

Ladies, if your life doesn’t look any different than it did before you found Jesus, then I can guarantee you that you are headed down a dangerous path, one that is filled with temptation, selfishness, and sin. The Christian life is not easy. It requires difficult choices each day, choices that set you apart for His holy purposes. Although there are sacrifices, I can guarantee you that staying on the straight and narrow path that Christ requires will be one full of blessings and peace.

We need to recognize that Jesus’ presence in our lives demands a decision – a decision that requires obedience. Stop listening to the lies the world spews, selling you a lifestyle that is contradictory to that of a “Wise Woman.” During this Christmas Season, you need to make a decision. Will you stay on the path the world offers, which is full of sin and disobedience? Or will you reroute your life to one that obeys Jesus fully?

May the presence of God fill your hearts and minds this Christmas and may your feet be on the path that God has planned for you. Merry Christmas!

And You Are Mine

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head, replaying over and over and over again? Hillsong United’s Ocean (Where Feet May Fail) has been echoing in my mind from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. I just love that song. The following verse especially touches my soul every time I hear it.

"For I am Yours, and You are mine"

What a beautiful illustration of a committed relationship with the Lord. We are His, and He is ours.

And yet, as beautiful as this verse is, it tugs at my heart. Many Christians today are so quick to call themselves children of God, reaping the benefits, blessings, and promises that come along with being His. But, at the same time, refuse to acknowledge that He is ours.

This type of declaration – He is Mine – comes at a price. Making God ours has a cost associated with. It requires us to flee from any sinful behavior that we may be holding on to. Sin is a serious issue. So serious that God sent His son to die for it, so that we may be reconciled with Him. Nevertheless, Christians often willfully choose to live a life contrary to what the word of God instructs, ignoring His call for us to flee from sin, and rationalizing sinful behavior as acceptable in God’s eyes.

Furthermore, it’s one thing to go to God when you need him; it’s quite another thing to be available when God needs us. Making Him ours doesn’t just require us to change, but it requires us to take a stand for Him when his name is misused, or when scripture is abused, or when morality is compromised.

What will people think of us? It is simply easier to stay quiet. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, even though no one has a problem offending us. But He is ours. He is our God. If we won’t defend Him, who will?

Let me illustrate this another way. I’ve been married to my husband for over 16 years, and I am one hundred percent committed to him. He is mine. I proudly wear my wedding ring on my finger declaring my unconditional love and vow to him. Furthermore, if someone were to speak badly about my husband, I would, without hesitation, defend him at all cost. There would be no shame on my part.

Ladies, there will be times in our lives when we will be the only voice taking a stand for God. It can be lonely. People may mock us. Friendships may be lost. Family members may be offended. Will you recoil in fear of what people might say or will you proclaim and demonstrate, without shame – Jesus, you are mine!

    “I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine,”

Song of Solomon 6:3