“The man who isolates himself seeks his own desire.” Proverbs 18:1a


Few things equal the imagination of children! Being raised in a dysfunctional family, at an early age I learned the escape from reality that books afforded me. My aunt had many wonderful books, an actual series, by Arthur Maxwell, and I would sit in the corner behind a chair and read story after story. Later, my grandmother gave me a book by Grace Livingston Hill, which presented me not only with a physical book, but a way of life that grew into a hobby and collection that few rival. But my greatest feats were the fantasies I would make up as I lay in bed at night: I can still see the woods around me, the small cabin I (in my fantasy) lived in, the garden I grew, and the hermit life I lived! It was my dream–to be a hermit, away from people.

Although that didn’t happen, it has never left me, and over the years I can see our pattern of residences have almost all been on acreage. A couple of years ago it happened–as it does often to all of us who read God’s word on a regular basis–as I’ve mentioned before on other passages, that, as I started on Proverbs 18, this first verse jumped off the page and God spoke straight to me, that, in my fantasy of isolation, I was not heeding His desires, but my own. Ouch! Double ouch! We are to be “neighbors,” to “love our neighbors” (wherever we find them), and spread His word. It’s hard to do that if you don’t go into the world!

So, I rationalized. Don’t tell me you don’t do that. I do this, I do that, I minister here, minister there; go on short-term mission trips—-WHOA. Suddenly that one hit me, and for a very good reason. The last one I went on, nearly two weeks in duration, was long enough to love on the people, help with a project, eat their food, and tell my story. But, oh! was I ready to come home at the end of two weeks. I just spoke to a sweetheart of a sister-in-Christ who had gone for three weeks, which, she said, was too long. We wanted to get back to our comfort zone.

Where does all this go? If you read any of my blogs, you know I don’t take short cuts. I have to lay the groundwork before giving the interior design, and this design nearly took my peace away! You see, a short term mission trip is great because it is SHORT. We can get back to comfort zones, but also to responsibilities–I understand that. But we also miss a lot. I know–I got a letter yesterday, which some of you may have gotten also.

The letter spoke of a dire need that is never addressed in Christmas boxes, medical terminology, children’s school requirements (i.e., books, pencils, paper, etc). The need is much more crushing, but overlooked–in fact, the mention of it in a blog might be a “no-no,” I’m not sure! But a certain humanitarian organization, Gleaning For the World, addressed it in letter form, and it touched me like few things have: it communicated the crucial need of young girls when they begin their feminine cycles, and have nothing with which to keep themselves clean. They have to resort to used newspapers, old rags, corn  husks–use your imagination. They miss school, and are basically housebound for the week. As a woman, how can I NOT have considered this in the trips I’ve made to Guatemala, India, or sitting in my comfort zone, isolated? I should have thought of it in connection with the sweet young girls that were ministered to in the poverty stricken countries. Shame washed over me, and I realized a new kind of isolation had been in my heart: unmet needs that are not talked about.

GFTW has made a kit available which will help these girls. For a mere $15 USD, it will take care of six months worth of necessities these girls need. I had to come out of my isolated “studio” and put it on paper this morning before I could shake the responsibility I feel to reach out and give hope where there is none. You can go to and read the letter, I’m sure. But along with me, let us be pro-active in reaching the world for Christ: He Himself ministered to physical needs and then taught the spiritual lessons. I pray we do that as well.

Dear Lord, please forgive me for staying in my area of comfort when there is a world who is suffering at the hands of Satan, held bound by tradition, not knowing there is a freedom that is found when they give their heart to You. Help me reach them, not only with spiritual food, but with daily needs as well. Please, God, give me love as You love. Amen



The dust on the road made little “poofs” as I jogged down the path, no one but me in my world at the moment. I had not alarmed the birds, who continued to sing, and I could hear squirrels as they scratched in the leaves trying to bury a late acorn–or perhaps find one. I loved being alone, soaking in the beauty, and watching the creek, out of sight on the left, gurgle over the rocks as it went its merry way. How can everything not be alright in a world like this? The day was made to be enjoyed!

I slowed to a walk to savor every moment, knowing it would come to an end soon and I would have to return to my parked car, go finish my errands, and head home. Back to the computer, back to the business, back to the “daily grind.” But wait–first let me continue long enough to see what lies around the bend in the road! Anything this peaceful has to have a happy ending.

I decided to walk lighter, not making any more noise than possible, almost tiptoeing. Why? Maybe gut instinct, which had kicked in! I had no idea how far the path continued, but time seemed to have stood still for these precious moments. As I got closer to the bend, I was still soaking in the peace that permeated the scene. And then I rounded the curve, to the unseen. There, sitting quietly beside the path, about 100 feet in front of me, sat a mama bear, with two small cubs playing happily; after all, Mama was there to keep them protected. I stopped, backed up, and rounded the bend I had just traversed, and then flew on feet that would have won a marathon back to my car. I didn’t take that nanosecond to look back to see if she had been as alarmed as I, and was giving chase. I fumbled my automatic door key, but finally hit the right button. She was not behind me–all that fear, and nothing was chasing me.

I could not help but make the spiritual analogy: it’s part of who I am. How often do we think we can handle what might be around that next step in life, when we can’t see? May we never be so arrogant that we think we can go into any situation, not knowing the outcome, unless He is leading us there to do some work for him. We have no idea what lies ahead, but “He orders our steps (Psalms)” and leads us–unless we’re set on going our own way. Then He does not stop us, but let’s us proceed until eventually we get so lost, or so in conflict that we turn back and ask Him the way.

I pray I always go no further than God leads me. He has always BEEN faithful, therefore He will always BE faithful! If I am trusting Him with my eternity, how is it that I can’t trust Him with today, here, in this “nasty now and now”? Life isn’t always about beautiful paths and peaceful scenes: sometimes–ofttimes–it’s about the bears. But He is all we need. Is He all you need?

Dearest Father, when our hearts are so heavy that we cannot lift them, we think of the beautiful Psalm, now a song: ” Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God! But, Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head [and my heart!]! (Psalm 3:2,3). Thank You for what You did for me on Calvary–thank You for the scars in Your hands and feet, and what they represent. Thank You for making Yourself so lowly and humble that You left heaven for us, who are so sinful! Thank You for the cross, Lord! Amen


“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13b, 14

Attending a conference this week, I heard a speaker refer to moments that have been passed by, but not lived! What a stirring that has done in my spirit since his reference on Wednesday! Are you like me, with a life full of moments that come and go so quickly, yet you haven’t grasped them, and held on to them? The second I just lived, I will never live again. One second closer to eternity, to seeing God face to face. Do you ever wonder about the people who have treated Him with hatred, and suddenly are standing before Him?

Oh, if only we could recycle those unused, or thoughtless moments! A friend of ours, whose job involved building and handling guns and ammunition, got careless for a fraction of a second–just long enough for the weapon to misfire and render his right hand useless for the rest of his life. Just the twinkling of an eye, and doing something he had done hundreds of times, but that fraction of a second changed his life. Do you have those?

How many of the moments that we have lived could we have used to lead someone to the Savior? Once upon a time, there was a girl in my church who wanted to commit suicide. I prayed for her, but then told the Lord, “I can’t go to her house, but if You want me to speak to her, You will have to bring her to me.” I felt safe saying that, as we did not run in the same circles, so to speak. Later that very night I went into our local food store. As I rounded the check-out lanes, in front of me, not 30 feet, she was walking toward me. A divine appointment. Did I grasp the moment? I had to–I had asked God for that very thing.

Oh, that we could go back and re-live the bad choices! Have those moments back when we’ve really blown everything! Perhaps changed our lives and the lives of those we love by deciding to “do it my way,” as the old song said. But that’s not God’s plan for us. It is much bigger, and encompasses Grace, grace, marvelous grace. If we could re-live and fix mistakes, we wouldn’t need the grace; if we could do it right the first time, we wouldn’t need mercy and forgiveness. We wouldn’t need to “forget those things that are behind,” those things that Satan uses to browbeat us, trying to make us useless for God. But bless His Holy name, we can look forward to the things that are ahead, knowing that we can take the useless, unused, or messed up moments to Him, and He alone can recycle them–and we can press on toward the prize of being with Him in glory one day. Praise Him for His promise to return for us!




I will lift up my eyes unto the mountains; from where does my help come? It comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1, 2 NAS

Somehow the scene just popped out at me! How appropriate–the beauty of mountains sticking up out of the foggy valleys! What a glorious time God must have had as He painted this picture so early in the morning for me, the only person around! Climbing up onto one of the guardrail posts, in high heels, I did a balancing act while taking this picture of a scene that took away my breath. How amazing, and what a spiritual truth lay in the beauty!

Raised in the “hills” of West Virginia (America’s “Little Switzerland,”), mountains have been my love for all of my decades. It was sheer agony for me as our family drove our now-vintage vehicles, loaded with a week’s worth of necessities, to spend a week on the beaches of North Carolina. The heat, the sand spurs, the sand, the tides–none appealed to me and I longed to return home to my beloved mountains. Later, as a move to Florida came about, I thought my life had ended: as you top the small ridge on the Interstate and enter Florida, your vision feels as though it is going for miles and miles in a straight, flat line. Once, when my youngest son was about four, we were driving. As we went over a speed bump on a street, he looked back: “Was that a hill, Mom?” he asked.

Later, moving to Central Virginia, I would awaken to the gorgeous beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, drinking in the cool air, the wonder of the loveliness, and the grandeur of the height and depth of the terrain. I have never gotten enough of the view, no matter how often I awake to it.

Now, mountains and valleys have become my daily expectation. Oh, not the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, but the ones that come with regularity into my life: those people who are seem to delight in making our lives miserable, whether in the workplace or a social setting; the load of work that has to be completed by a certain date (have you ever noticed that we refer to the files on the desk as a “mountain” of work? Or, a “mountain” of laundry?); the deadlines set by someone who expects actions to be accomplished yesterday, and on and on. Then the valleys: our spirit gets low, Satan steals our joy, unexpected bills are due, we find one of the children is being bullied, someone we love has a terminal illness, and again–on and on. Sometimes, as in the picture, the fog is so heavy in the valley that we can’t see our way. Do you call on the Shepherd at that point, or has He been walking beside you all along?

Last year, after reading my Bible through for the umpteenth time, as I came to the verse in Matthew, “If you have faith the size of a  mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and nothing shall be impossible to you,” (Chapter 17:20 NAS) suddenly I was struck by the word ‘mountain.’ Now probably you, if you’re theologically taught, have already realized that was speaking metaphorically, but for me–well, I had always thought there would have to be a mighty good reason for the mountain to move, and I had never had that practical motivation, although I felt my faith was solid. Suddenly, I saw the metaphor, and realized that I could have enough faith to move a mountain of heavy burdens, a mountain of tasks, a mountain of responsibilities…and so much more. Why had I thought it had to be a physical mountain? Because I’m a black and white person, I guess. I have to really work on seeing gray areas. God opened my eyes, and the word popped out! Don’t you love it when that happens?

So today, you can move a mountain! Not perhaps all at one time, but you can start with the first wheelbarrow full of dirt. Does your spouse or family member have a mountain of bitterness against you? Then start moving it! Do you have a mountain of work at the house that it seems it will never get done? Then start with one square of 4×4 ft. space. Tomorrow do another square! By the way, leave one mountain in place, so you can go to the top occasionally for a real “mountaintop” experience! And while you’re there, remember how many valleys God has brought you through. Even though Christ was talking in Matthew 25 in a parable about servants and faithfulness, it is easy to apply it to Christ Himself: if He has been faithful in your life to bring you through the many small things, will He not also bring you through the big things, the mountains, if you will? Of course He will! Your faith only has to be the size of a grain of mustard seed!

God, You are so tremendous! What a glorious world You have given us to enjoy, with the beauty never-ending! Yet we know this world is going to wear out like a garment, but we don’t have to fear: You have gone to prepare us a place that is beyond our imagination. Meanwhile on this earth, Lord, as we sojourn here, let us be good and faithful servants, even unto death. Thank You for Your nail-scarred hands, and all that they mean to us! We love You, Lord! Amen




“Will the mother stand who has eight or more children? The oldest mom…” Our pastor, along with thousands of others around the US, addressed the moms in the congregation. Not a big deal? Maybe not to you….

Thursday before Mother’s Day I attended a program where one of our first-grade grandchildren would be participating. As the little ones–so gorgeously dressed–took turns at the microphone with their tribute to their mother (“I love my mom because…. she gives me cookies; … she reads to me… she plays games with me…), my heart broke for the little ones who were making up things to say. Don’t tell me out of a group of 30 or so kids, all had their moms–I won’t believe you. I couldn’t help wondering how many were living in homes where a step-mom resided, who really didn’t like this child of another woman. For a moment I went back to a time in another century when I was responsible for my children enduring a Mother’s Day program without their mother, because I was too backslidden to be a mom. Gasp only if you have never wandered from the path of righteousness–and oh, by the way, don’t doubt for a second but that I would give my life had I never sinned, for I would–but I did. But where I am today is at the foot of the Cross, with its “Grace, grace, marvelous grace.”

As the program continued, I wondered how many were being raised by Grandma… or in a foster home… or had lost their mom to illness and death.

I couldn’t help but reflect on the moms who were sitting there thinking of a baby lost in the womb. One mom in our church has lost ten–can you even imagine the grief? I can’t. Having lost one, I can’t even begin to sympathize. How does one stand up when the pastor calls a number? What if you’ve lost three, as a good friend has, but hasn’t had a baby yet? Does that make her not a mom?

I even thought of all the women who were sitting in the audience who have had abortions; sure, there are some who go on about their lives and never give the baby a thought–but how many do you know personally? Have they ever told you that it hasn’t hurt them? I’ll believe it when they sit before me.

For now, it’s over. Another year before we have to agonize over whether to stand and count the three that we had that we lost in a custody battle, or the three that we raised afterward. Don’t get me wrong: it’s great to honor moms. But somehow the ones who should be honored may be the ones who raised their children to be loving, hard-working adults, when there was no father in the home; the ones who raised their child to remember a picture of a soldier who gave his life that our country could be free; the ones who celebrate a Mother’s Day because they’ve given up having a career that would have given them financial freedom, instead of a one-income home where food is sometimes pancakes for supper, but everyone is happy and grateful for each other–those and more need to be honored. Not how many times you’ve gotten pregnant, nor how long you’ve lived on this earth.

No, next year won’t change. It will be the same categories in all the same churches, the restaurants will be full, and many moms will not receive a card. But maybe each of us could do something special for at least one mom we know who will be alone with her children, doing her best. That would make two people have a wonderful Mother’s Day: You and Her.

Father, You have called out the best in Mothers, and given us guidelines to have life, and have it abundantly. Forgive us when we stray, when we are impatient, unloving, and place ourselves before those we love. Help us to remember that in serving others, we serve You. Bring this all to our minds next year, so that we can learn from the lessons of yesterdays. Thank You for grace, Lord. We love You.


You may not have been raised “old school” where the hymns were the basic doctrine for almost all of one’s theology, but if you were, you know there was (is) a hymn for every situation! My son once said, “No matter what I do, you have a Bible verse for it!” Believe me, that was not meant as a compliment! But there truly seemed to be an old hymn for however one was feeling and you would find yourself humming or singing the one that fit your mood! “What A Friend,” “The Old Rugged Cross..” so many great hymns. This week God reinforced the beautiful one that said “just when I need Him most!”

My son-in-law posted that he had had a week of four Mondays… someone else said he was about the fourth person they had heard that from–and I made a fifth! Do you have those weeks, when it seems as if every day brings a crisis, an unexpected bill, a sickness, or worse, a dry, spiritual river bottom, rather than a flowing stream? Your prayers don’t seem to go through the ceiling, and God seems silent. Not a good week.

But He knows our weakness, and oh! the reassurance in the reminder that “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are but dust!” (Psalm  103:14). He hasn’t moved one inch… He’s just waiting for–well, what? Us to get quiet? To draw near to Him? To get to the end of our frayed rope? To call upon Him in the day of trouble? Yes, these and more!

One Monday after another for four days, and then suddenly, like a flower opening in the sunshine, He sends down some blessings to remind me–and you–how special we are to Him. Like a child who comes to you in loving obedience, and suddenly you forget the misdemeanors for the love, just as suddenly you forget the faithlessness of wondering if He really cares as you bask in the love that He’s showing. Problems that were stressing me all week disappeared as He acted: sending answers to prayers that had been fervent all week. And I wonder, why did I doubt that He would? I am so often truly a “double-minded man [woman], unstable..” in so many ways! And yet He remains faithful. Again I rest in the Scripture: just because I am faithless, does not make HIM unfaithful! (2 Tim 2:13.)

We serve an Awesome God! One Who has our best interests at heart, but is not persuaded to act when it’s too early, just because we are stressed. His answers come “just when we need Him most!” And when they do, we forget the pain, for the gift of life that has come again to us! (John 16:21, with apologies to John for taking it slightly out of context!) He has answered with love and kindness, miracles that are so special they show me they are “Love Notes” directly from the heart of God–straight to my path.

Forgive me when I waver, Lord! Keep me on the straight and narrow path, even when the world tempts me to get busy and forget my first responsibility is to hunger and thirst for You, O Lord! Thank You for Your love, Lord, and thank You for the Cross! Amen


Do you ever get mixed up on the days? Perhaps you think it’s Wednesday, and it’s Thursday… or you date something with the month that just passed, and you’re suddenly feeling, “Where is time going!”?? It’s not just a senior-moment thing, it’s an every age, busy thing! We cram so much into our days that we’re living 36-hours in twenty-four.

All that to say it seems as though I just wrote, but here it is, almost two weeks! Two weeks, and I have to ask myself, what have I done for my Lord in the past two weeks besides go to church? Has anyone been impacted in a positive way for Christ? How about a negative way? Possibly–although I hate to admit it. Life is going by at the speed of light, and each second that ticks away on the clock behind me is one second I’m closer to eternity. How about you? Does it effect you like that?

I get up and mean to make the day count, but work interferes. Have you found that it stops you from doing a lot of things you’d like to do? But we’re locked into it, and nothing except time or catastrophe will end the work life of most people. And the family–when work is over, you have to spend time with the family, right? That’s a chunk of time. You start cutting the “pie” clock into slices, and see that there isn’t much left when all the priorities are cut. And again we have to ask, what was done for Christ?

Unless you’re in full-time ministry, there’s little time to make an impact on someone’s life. We’ve lived for eleven years in this house; except for taking Christmas cookies one time to the next door neighbors, that’s the extent of our knowledge of them. They never pull out of their driveways for church, so that probably means they are unbelievers, or at the least, back-slidden. I’ll probably have to answer for that in Heaven, and I doubt “busy-ness” will be an excuse.

What’s the remedy? I don’t know. We all are caught up in our job, whether it’s 40 or 60 hours a week (mine is 60), trying to run a home, interact with the family–whether they are still at home or living nearby with grandchildren–and do the errands that all that entails. Is there an answer? Are we in such a fast-paced world that time has gotten completely away from us? Perhaps. But there is an urgency in the air now, one that says we can’t keep on with such an ungodly society, with such withdrawl from those we don’t know that we are not even a testimony to those around us. Why would my neighbors think I care about them, when I don’t even make time for them?

Not much encouragement here, is there? But if you are breathing, it’s not too late! We can start, and that start can begin NOW. I’m not sure how–just a note that takes 5 minutes to tell someone “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” or encourage them in some way.

God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23), and we have a fresh start–let’s use it today to make a difference!


Memories keep events alive in our minds, don’t they? Flashbacks will come if the right terminology, situation, person or thing passes your vision or ear! This morning as I was reading in 1 John 1, he writes in verse 8 that if we say we do not sin we tell a lie: you can’t get much plainer than that. However, it reminded me of several years ago: I was talking to my then-pastor, and made the comment, “There’s never a day goes by that I don’t manage to commit several sins!” He looked totally horrified. “What?!” he exclaimed, as if he himself would never do that, nor even think of doing that! I sat quite stunned, wondering where he was spiritually.

Just this morning, deep in work and concentration, my phone rang. My husband was calling just to say hi; he was driving to an appointment, and decided that was a great thing to do with his time on the road (we won’t go into the logistics of cell phones here!) After we hung up, I was “upset.” That’s a woman’s word for furious, but sounds much nicer. Did he not realize I would be trying to take advantage of every second of the morning to get computer work done–work that is not only necessary but time consuming, mentally challenging, and with tons of deadlines? How could he be so thoughtless! BOOM! God lowered the conviction and I breathed deeply, as my mind quoted James, “the anger of man does NOT achieve the righteousness of God!” (1:20). My husband did not sin when he called me, but I certainly did by imploding anger after the call was finished. Repentance, forgiveness, a new start, in that order. Cleansed. But how long will it be before something else happens? Probably as soon as I get behind the wheel of my car! Don’t turn up your nose–you’re right there with me.

We are not perfected yet, despite the standard the world wants to hold us to (which, of course, does not apply to them). We are “justified” (just as if we’ve never sinned), we are being “sanctified” every day (set apart from the world and having a daily cleansing), but we are not yet “glorified” (present with Jesus and with our new heart)! Oh, that we were already perfect! Like the bumper sticker says, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven!”

If your day is not spent letting the Holy Spirit convict you of activities, thoughts, attitudes, or reactions that cause a blemish on your soul, do some self-examining and make sure you’re on the right path! It doesn’t take much: just ask God to reveal any sin that needs confessing, and needs to be dealt with. He will! It will flash in your mind instantly! If nothing does, then sing a song of praise, and keep on keeping on!



This poor tree, with a tiny one in its shadow! What an analogy to the modern day Christian! The strong one doesn’t blend in with all the other trees in the background, but somehow–whether by intention or reaction–it became a loner from the group, with only one weak follower, and was outsted from the others! Not only is it by itself (except for that weak little one that it is shielding), but as you can see, all the other trees are dressed in gorgeous colors, while our poor Christian tree looks rather plain, having lost all its beauty! There isn’t much room for hope, is there? It is stuck where it is, and only time will renew its strength and the fruit of leaves!

Do you ever feel like that? I doubt you’re a teenager reading this, who is trying to walk with Christ in school, but you may have one, and they can probably relate very well; or possibly even a college student in a Philosophy class, as in the now-popular movie that has made a Christian into a hero rather than shown as a ridiculed moron! But adults can relate as well! How? Well, walk into a class at the church, where all the faces are unfamiliar, and you feel like you are standing on stage, with everyone looking at you! Walk into a Bible Study, where everyone seems to know each other, and you wait, as you look for a table where someone not only meets your eye, but smiles a welcome. Standing alone makes you feel everyone is looking at you, judging you! Sit in the waiting room with a dozen others, while the appointment time gets more and more behind: this happened recently and everyone was cursing loudly enough for the secretary to hear and understand their anger at losing time; I finally spoke up, “Now isn’t the time to say I only read Christian fiction, is it?” The room got quiet, the cursing stopped, but I felt like the tree!

Standing alone is what God means when He says that we are to be “set apart” from the world. We are to dress modestly in a world where the females dress to attract the most attention; keep our language clean in environments where the females as well as the males no longer have any embarrassment about using profanity. When I was growing up, no gentleman would curse in front of a woman . . .  we could go on and on. God’s idea of a living sacrifice is to give up the things that are not good for your spiritual walk, and put your hand in His. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to stand alone? It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes the Holy Spirit standing alongside you!

This week, be alert to situations where you can stand alone and shine for Christ! Pray He gives you opportunity to not be ashamed of Him in public!

Father, thank You for giving us salvation! It was a gift that cost You everything, and we often treat it so lightly. Forgive us, Lord, and let us take our “lights” from under our baskets this week, so that the world can see that we glow for You! Amen

You–The Only Christian Someone May Know!

The man in the pew in front of me, and slightly to the left, opened his Bible when the pastor announced the Scripture he would be using as the basis of his message. I knew him to be a sweetheart of an older man, always with a kind word for everyone–or a teasing joke. He also was the chairman of the deacons. As he looked for the passage in the Old Testament, he eventually turned back to the index, found the page, turned to it, and then turned his attention to the sermon.

Have you ever had to go to the index, especially if the pastor tells you to turn to, perhaps, one of the “Minor” prophets? When my husband and I walked out of the service and headed home, we both felt the weight of discouragement that had come to us as we watched someone who was a “pillar” in that church show his unfamiliarity with his Bible. We did not judge his salvation, but his testimony to us, although unseen by others, definitely was tarnished that Sunday!

It’s a common quote in the church to hear someone tell you that “You may be the only Bible some people read!” Have you ever realized that old sayings become old sayings because there is so much truth in them? Mr. Phillips may not have realized anyone sitting near him would notice his insecurity in finding Habakkuk, but to not know your Bible possibly leaves open the question, “How well do you know your God?”

There are few who are in love who would destroy a letter that has come from their soul mate. Perhaps we don’t destroy the Bible, but if we leave it on the shelf or in the car, and pick it up on Sunday, we are losing the relationship that our God wants with us. Read Isaiah 1, and you’ll read a modern-day exegesis on America! (As well as the world!) God tells Israel (please excuse the loose paraphrase), “Your sacrifice (going to church on Sunday in order to ‘satisfy’ your debt to me) sickens me! You act so holy and righteous outwardly when at heart you are nothing but sinful people who would rather fit in with the world than know me!” As you read Isaiah 1, you will see God has nailed on the head the cities in America in this new millennium! If I stand near the door of my church and watch people flow in, I see the world coming in the door–where are the parents who check out their children before leaving home? Are slips no longer part of attire? How far down can a tee shirt go before it hits the navel? Skirts, pants, tops that look as though they are painted on! We have lost our shame.

But there is hope! God tells Israel–as He tells America–beginning in verse 16, to put away the things that divide the relationship with Him! Repent of the sins and let Him cleanse you! There is so much hope for the backslider or the person who once loved God with all their heart, but who now plays with the Smartphone during the service! Anything that you love more than you love God needs to be tossed aside, until He fills you with joy in the morning, hope throughout the day, and blessed rest at night!

Remember as you go about your day, that truly your actions will be watched by someone who wants to know if you are real, or if you are just like them: they can justify their lives if they see you, who calls yourself a Christian, doing the things they do. Set yourself apart, and stand alone. Show the love of Christ to them, don’t use the words they use, nor flirt with the world, but keep yourself holy–for HE is holy!