Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · worry

Higher Heights, Deeper Depths


And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19


I admit it. I’m challenged by the mere thought of heights (I’m trying not to use the word afraid as a woman of faithJ), which is why I didn’t like the idea of stopping off for a little mini-vacation on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  There are certain areas where I haven’t allowed my faith to reach maturation, and this is one.  In a household of all males, I’d never be outvoted on this one. I sucked it up, grabbed a latte and a dose of courage as we traveled up the mountain in the dreary weather.

While we followed the trail, I wasn’t fearful at all.  We passed markers along the way giving us historical information about this location and that while we laughed and took pictures. I forgot that we were going up the mountain. It didn’t feel like we were ascending, but when we came off of the trail, I realized that we’d reached the pinnacle. I hadn’t even felt the incline. My guys all remarked at how breathtaking the view was, and I agreed, but in a much different way. My stomach dropped when I realized that we were so high up.

It got me thinking though. What would our problems, challenges and fears look like if our focus stayed on the right things?  While we hiked up the trail, I was focused on the nature around me and just enjoying time with my family, not my fear of heights. For those reasons, I made it up the mountain without worry. In that same way, we are all bombarded with problems, great and small, but we should take the time to consider what our focus should be.

It’s only natural for a trial to have our attention. Sometimes life’s trials are so consuming, we can’t turn a blind eye to them.  The reality of the problem seems overwhelming. We may try to figure out why it’s happened and strategize for a way out. If we can’t come up with an immediate solution, we can feel distraught, depressed, and either make a decision out of impulse or become stagnant out of fear.

Most of us know that we should turn to God, cast our cares on Him, and pray about everything, including problems and obstacles. However, how do we focus on God in the midst of trying to make a difficult decision? How can we keep our eyes fixed on God’s promises when there seems to be no way of escape? And how can we be at peace when unrest is all around us?

Initially, grappling with these questions have brought me plenty of sleepless nights. The what ifs have made me feel like a dog chasing its tail. I would have a day of peace and the next day be right back wrestling with the same problem. Sometimes life throws us situations that can shake our faith if we allow it. We don’t see God intervening the way that we expect–even after we’ve prayed, fasted, and meditated on His Word.

I’m convinced that during these times, we have to keep doing all that we know to do is right. We must keep praying, fasting, meditating–in the midst of the doubt. We have keep doing these things until our spirit, soul, mind and body is in alignment with God’s will and timing. We have to refuse to allow our feelings to dictate our behavior!

We have to remember that when we get through the test, we will be at another place in our faith if we keep pressing forward in Him. We will reach a higher height and deeper depth in our faith, which will bring us to another level of peace and joy in Him.

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul instructs,

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

We have power when we are anchored in His love and even more so when we fellowship with other believers. This power equips us, even in the most difficult times, to grasp the height and depth of His love us. He loves us. His love sustains us and elevates us above life’s many problems. We have to silence the noise of our issues, and hear His voice. We are His children, and He has not left us. The peace in the valley that we have access to is ours, but we must know that He loves us. His divine purpose for our lives will not be altered as a result of the test. In fact, we are catapulted to our purpose when we go through the test. He told us that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Knowing that God’s “love surpasses knowledge” is something that has kept my faith in check.  He allows things to happen that don’t always make sense to us, but accepting that He knows and loves us can give us the assurance to quell the anxiety, questions, and fear. When we come up the mountain and through the test, we will find ourselves in a higher place in Him and His love.

Trusting Him with you,



Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · Employment · purpose · Uncategorized

Working with Purpose


“90% of adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.”

Why We Work, September 2015 (Simon & Schuster/TED)

I ran across this article about the reasons why we work, and overall, the statistics are daunting.  Many people aren’t spending most of their time on earth doing things that they find meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging.  However, the reality of the situation is that if we don’t work, we don’t eat, right? (2 Thessalonians 3:10)  While a small percentage of us have jobs that we find meaningful, most don’t. How can we navigate through life when, out of necessity, we have to do things that we don’t want or like to do? How can we push through everyday tasks when we don’t feel like they’re part of our purpose?

When I was young, I remember my father having us help him to take large stones from one side of our pond to the other.  We carried heavy stones, loaded them into a row boat, and unloaded them, only to carry them up a hill to their final destination.  I had no idea what my father intended, but when the task was over, the landscaping looked beautiful. We all felt like the effort had been worth it, but we didn’t have the vision or insight to see what our father saw.  I’m convinced that sometimes life can be like this very simple illustration.

We have to trust that God knows our desire to please Him and to fulfill His purpose in us.  When we have a heart for Him, regardless of what our immediate placement is, He can use us and fulfill His purpose in us. It’s always toughest when we can’t see what’s up the road and we don’t understand the whys.  I know that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and push the panic button more than a time or two when things just didn’t make sense. However, we can’t cave in to what we see. When we do this, we have the inclination to sin. We want relief so we gravitate towards what we think is gratifying. For example, gossiping, sexual sin, alcohol or drug abuse, negative attitudes, bitterness, resentment, etc. can be a result of us caving to our feelings and not clinging to His Word.

One verse that I live my life by is found in John 15:2. Jesus says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” Many times we might think about bearing fruit by simply imagining all that we can and will do for others, but I think it’s more.  We have to mediate and reflect about ourselves first. I’ve had to ask myself, what is your relationship with Christ bearing in you? We must ask ourselves daily if we are being obedient to His Word. Are we loving another? Do we have peace and joy? Are we patient, forgiving, kind, gentle, good? Do we have self-control? And, if we don’t have love, how can we have any of the other fruit?

Fulfilling our purpose doesn’t always mean leaving our jobs to do something else. Sometimes we have to stay right where we are, and it can feel wrong but be right in the Lord’s plan for our lives. Part of our pruning process may involve doing things that we don’t understand, but if we always keep our hearts and minds in sync with God’s plan, we will have peace and find purpose in any place in our lives.

Our fulfillment and joy has to be found in relationship with the Lord first. Period. Any other order is out of order. We don’t do God a favor when we go to church, read our Bibles, or give service to others. We do these things out of our love for him and our desire to please Him, but God is pleased when we trust Him and obey His Word. This seems simple but can be very challenging. There is always the temptation to put other things before Him, but worship has be a lifestyle. We have to lift Him up and seek to please Him. When we commune with Him, the evidence of what’s within us will flow outward to others.

People can feel the authenticity of those who are in fellowship with Christ. They light up their jobs. They brighten gloomy situations. They are positive but real. They are quick to listen and slow to speak. They are compassion, but stand for injustice and avoid cliques. They don’t brag about the good they do, but they do good. When we have a heart for Christ and a Christ-like attitude, we are working with purpose and on the mission that God has given us, regardless of our station in life.

I pray that today God will supernaturally reveal His purpose in where He has you right now. Psalm 119:105 lets us know that His Word is light to our path and a lamp to our feet. In the dark places, He will show us how to proceed and help us to work toward our divine calling.

Praying with you now and always,




Destined for Peace

One of my sons has had the busiest school year that he’s ever had.  I’d been getting on him about getting and keeping his room picked up and organized.  After much frustration, I did what I’ve done many times before.  I decided to clean his room for him.  I had his room looking and smelling better than it had in a good while.  When my son came home from school, he walked into his room and said, “Thanks, Mom, but you didn’t have to do that.  I was going to clean it up.”  I told him that I just wanted to help him.  He explained that if I really wanted to help him, I’d let him have a few bucks and hang out with some of his friends.  I was irritated!  I felt like he didn’t appreciate all I’d done for him.

After reflection, of course, I realize that he is responsible for being obedient and doing what he’s told, but I had to admit that I had cleaned his room more for me than for him.  I also realized that while he may have been grateful to have me off of his back, he really didn’t care whether his room was clean or not.  It made me think about how often we do things to please others, only to find that it was the absolute wrong thing to do, and often, our motive, in spite of our best intentions, can be wrong.

When we make decisions based on pleasing people, we will find ourselves insecure, tired, and frustrated, and unfruitful.  The bondage of people pleasing can a nightmare.  I know; I’ve lived it.  When you don’t want people to be disappointed, angry or upset, you are vulnerable to being tossed around by their every whim and emotion.  You’re always trying to figure out what people want and how you can accommodate.  You can’t clearly hear what God wants because His voice is drowned out by the desires of others.  When we live in fear the disapproval and rejection of others, we are in bondage. We can’t focus on our real purpose unless we shift it from others to Him.  Only the Lord’s presence can quell the demands that a person is apt to feel who has issues with people pleasing.  Proverbs 29:25 instructs that, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”  While we should seek peace and strive to help others, our desire to please the Lord must always come first.  Then, we will keep healthy relationships with others and be free from bondage.

If our decisions are based on self, what feels, looks, tastes, and sounds good, we will have a shallow existence.  While we might temporarily feel good, the feeling will never last long.  Like a bucket with a hole in it, a person living a selfish life can never be satisfied for long.  Christ’s love should control everything we do in our lives.  With His death on the cross, we should be dead to living for the desires of the flesh.  II Corinthians 5:15 tells us, “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  So, we must “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Our decisions must be based on pleasing Christ and His Word, the final authority for our lives.  When we do this, some will surely be displeased with us, but we will always have inner peace, knowing that we have been obedient to what the Lord would have us do.  As we all know, we can get caught doing the “right” things for the wrong reasons.  We end of spinning our wheels, not being productive, when we aren’t properly aligned with His will.

I’ve been meditating on Isaiah 26:3, which says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  When we focus on Him first, and not seeking after approval from others or fulfilling our own selfish desires, we will have peace in even the most adverse situations.  As I was reminded this week, it’s not about being “religious.”  It’s a heart issue.  Our very core must seek to please Him because when we do, we won’t be overwhelmed, stressed, or burdened.  Instead, we will move peacefully and confidently through our dilemmas, knowing that God will lead us and protect us.

This past week I was faced with two totally different dilemmas.  After conversing with two friends, each about a different dilemma, I was met with the same question: “Who are you doing it for?”  The question struck me with the same force both times it was asked.  Regardless of what kinds of decisions we make, it’s always important to examine why we make the decisions we make and who we’re making them for.  We must make sure that we are doing things out of our love and obedience to Christ, not others or our selfish desires.

Even in the small things, like helping my son clean his room, I should’ve stopped to prayerfully consider the options.  Then, it would’ve been clear to me.  I would not have cleaned his room.  Instead, I would’ve made him do what I told him to do, and I would’ve avoided that little aggravation.  There’s a verse that tells us that the little foxes are the ones that destroy the vine.  Many times, it’s like that.  Those little things that we do, when we aren’t called to do them, cause us stress and can take our focus off of fulfilling our purpose.  Let’s make sure that we’re always listening to the right voice and doing exactly what we’ve been instructed to do by God so that we can live in perfect peace.

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