4 minute read

“Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23 NIV)

Rebuke is better than flattery.

If you have someone in your life who speaks loving truth to you, cherish them.  People who use flattery to gain friends are soon exposed.  Whoever tells you about the lettuce stuck in your teeth, they are people who love you.  Having greenery in the pearly whites is something we can’t see ourselves; we need someone to see it for us.  The problem is, a lot of people know the spinach is there but don’t tell you.  Instead, they let you walk around looking silly.  Pointing out a flaw to someone is never easy but necessary for growth.

My husband and I are working our way through a year-long couples devotion.  Often the questions lead to discussions on things that annoy each of us.  The author is trying to help us have difficult conversations with each other.  My husband’s insights into my life have opened my eyes to things alone I would never see.  Lovingly, he points out the lettuce in my life.

Help others see the lettuce.

Rebuking is disapproval of someone’s actions.  However, the person committing the act may not know they are heading down the wrong path.  When we see someone moving in a misguided direction, we should try to stop them. If we don’t tell them about the lettuce, they’ll never see it in their teeth. In other words, we’re holding a mirror up, reflecting to them what we see.

One of my most life-changing rebukes came from my husband.  We were answering a question about two life-defining moments from our childhood.  As usual, I talked about my father’s death when I was 16 and his disability growing up.  My husband’s moments were both sports-related.  As our conversation deepened, my husband pointed out; I wore my suffering like a badge.  In other words, I was proud of my misery.  Yes, we argued our way through this discussion for most of the night.  But as the dawn broke, I pulled the lettuce from my teeth.

My husband’s rebuke helped me gain a new perspective.  His insight opened my eyes to a new level of awareness I had not seen.  I began to understand the impact of my father’s death in a new light.  I was comparing my pain to others, but instead, I needed to just sympathize with their pain.  Suffering isn’t a competition.  No one wins because they’ve suffered “more” than someone else.  Now, when I start to “show my badge,” my husband’s words remind me, it’s not a contest.

Question of the Day:

Do you have people in your life who will help you see the lettuce?

Further Reading:Daniel 7:1-28 NIV, 1 John 1:1-10 NIV, Psalm 119:153-176 NIV, Proverbs 28:23-24 NIV


4 minute read

“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16 NIV)

God is our protector.

In the case of Daniel and his Lion’s den, God sent an angel to close the mouths of the beasts (Daniel 6:22 NIV).  God’s protection comes in various forms today.  Cars keep us safe in accidents.  Our homes offer shelter from the storms.  People protect us.  Unexplained mishaps stop us from more significant harm.  We all live in the lion’s den:

“Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 GNT)

Satan looks to devour; God wants us to trust.  When the soldiers threw Daniel into the lion’s den, he didn’t know how God would save him.  What Daniel did was trust God, no matter what his situation.  Daniel’s punishment came because he wouldn’t worship the king.  When Daniel first found out about the new law, his response was prayer:

“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10b NIV)

Battle lions with prayer.

Notice, Daniel prayed and then got thrown into the lion’s den.  Following Christ doesn’t mean we’ll never run into hardship.  Jesus tells us plainly, in this world we will have trouble, but take heart, He’s overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV).  When we pray, we’re lifting our concerns to God.  His answers are up to Him, not us.  Accepting His Sovereignty in our lives means acknowledging He is in control.   God does know what He is doing if even we don’t.

Daniel’s obedience, his acceptance for his lot, glorified God before the king.  As a result, the king changed the decree:

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.” (Daniel 6:26 NIV)

Lights don’t shine in the light, only in the dark.  The tiniest spark pierces the darkness.  Even faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains (Matthew 17:20 NIV).  We’re in the den, but God in us is bigger than any lion:

“You, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV)

We are living in the den of the lion.  Our world is in chaos with the pandemic.  But the God of Daniel is our God.   When we lean into Him, He protects us from the lions.

Question of the Day:

What lion do you need God’s protection from today?

Further Reading: Daniel 6:1-28 NIV, 2 Peter 3:1-18 NIV, Psalm 119:129-152 NIVProverbs 28:21-22 NIV


4 minute read

“Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.” (Daniel 5:5-6 NIV)

Whoever God appoints reads the writing on the wall.

Our narrative in today’s scripture took place while King Belshazzar has dinner with a thousand of his closest friends.  During the festival, a hand appears and writes a message for all to see.  The problem is, no one knows what it says.  Belshazzar tries to find someone to interpret the message; no one can.  Finally, his wife finds out about the problem.  The queen tells him to call Daniel because he has the “spirit of the holy gods in him” (Daniel 5:11 NIV).  Daniel comes and reads the inscription; “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN”. (Daniel 5:25 NIV).  Interpreted the words mean the king’s rule has ended, judgement is against him, the kingdom divided and given away (Daniel 5:26-28 NIV).  Hence the origin for the common phrase, “writing on the wall.”

Important to note, not everyone can read the writing on the wall.  Guests in attendance were able to see the writing, but they couldn’t understand what it meant.  Only one looking through God’s eyes could interpret the words.  What was true thousands of years ago is true today.  Not everyone can see the writing on the wall.  They don’t understand the turmoil in the world because they are looking through human eyes.  When we join our spirit with God’s, as Daniel did, we begin to understand what no one else can.

Gain spiritual vision.

Daniel had spiritual vision.  He honored God more than anyone else, even the king.  His life devoted to following God.  Daniel’s reward was a new lens to see the world.  Instead of seeing what everyone else at the banquet saw, He saw what God saw.  We can’t see what God sees if we aren’t in a daily relationship with Him.

My husband and I celebrated 8 years of marriage in August.  When I married my husband, I thought I knew him.  However, 2,999 days later, I know him much better.  Each day our relationship deepens as we invest in each other.  Our relationship with God grows with us as we include him in our days. We learn new things about God, ourselves, people, everyday.  Pursuing relationships takes work, but the rewards are worth every bit of effort.  The more effort, the deeper the relationship, which is the reward.

Pray this simple prayer: “God help me see what You see.”  Let Him open your eyes to the writing on the wall.

Question of the Day:

Who or what do you need to see through God’s eyes?

Further Reading: Daniel 5 NIV, 2 Peter 2:1-22 NIV, Psalm 119:113-128 NIV, Proverbs 28:19-20 NIV


4 minute read

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97 NIV)

Meditate on God’s law.

When we use God’s word as an instructional manual for our life, we’ll fall in love with it.  The reason we find His peace is because we meditate on His law.  God’s promises will encourage you to face any mountain, weather any storm.   Each day as you face new challenges, God’s word has an answer for you.  If you don’t meditate on His Word, you won’t find His answers.

For instance, when I worked for Nautica, lay-offs occurred every six months.  Worry about losing my job was a constant mental battle trying to steal my joy.  Because I worked remotely, I was not privy to office gossip, which was a blessing.  Gossip only fuels the fire of fear.  I won the mental battle by meditating on this scripture:

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19 NIV)

Every time worry and anxiety tried to rear their ugly heads, I changed my thinking.  By meditating on this scripture, I gained victory.  Time and time again, I used God’s promise to squelch satan’s attacks.

Flip the script.

Meditating on scripture helps you flip the script on your thoughts.  Instead of worrying about your problems, you focus on God’s answer.   Below are some of God’s answers to our circumstances.  

Need direction:  Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Need rest: Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Need a miracle: Luke 18:27 NIV

Need love: John 3:16 NIV

Need forgiveness: Romans 8:1 NIV

Need wisdom: James 1:5 NIV

Need strength: 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

Need Grace: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Need provision: Phil. 4:19 NIV

Need courage: 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

My pastor, in a recent message, talked about praying for something versus praying through something.  Meditating on scripture during the day is praying through something.  Instead of asking for God to do something, you’re meditating on what He will do in His time.  Our dependence on God deepens as we wait for His answers.  If we received everything at a moment’s notice, we wouldn’t appreciate what we have.  Nor would we grow into who God is calling us to be.

Find one of God’s promises to meditate on today. Turn your meditation into prayer.  Then, look expectantly for His response.

Question of the Day:

What promise of God’s do you need today?

Further Reading:Daniel 4:1-37 NIV, 2 Peter 1:1-21 NIV, Psalm 119:97-112 NIV, Proverbs 28:17-18 NIV


4 minute read

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)

Your sufferings are for Jesus.

Suffering is a part of everyone’s life, whether they believe in Jesus or not. Without Jesus, suffering is hopeless. But as a Christ-follower, our hope is in Jesus.  We know the trials we suffer today, God will use for His glory.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Suffering for Jesus means having hope in the future.  The last thing Satan wants is Jesus love spread into the world.  When he has a chance to stop love, he’ll take it.  Our suffering is compounded when we take our eyes off of Jesus and fall for the devil’s schemes.  The closer we follow Jesus, the less we’ll fall for the devil’s ploys.

Anchor yourself in Jesus truth.

Negative emotions accompany suffering.  As I talk about often, feelings lie.  The Devil loves to gain a foothold in our lives through our anxieties, fear and depression.  But Jesus refutes his efforts with His truth:

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11, 14-17 NIV)

Write these verses on an index card; make them your screen saver on your phone.  Read these words often, memorize them.  In this passage you can find strength for any battle you’re facing.   Truth grounds us, faith shields us, God protects us.

Our nation is suffering right now.  Political upheavel and unrest is at a maximum.  Finding the truth in today’s world is harder than every.  News outlets slant to whatever side they favor.  If the story doesn’t fit the narrative, it’s not covered.  Therefore, we as people, don’t know what is true and what isn’t.  But that’s ok, because God does.  God knows who is lying, who isn’t.  In His time, He will reveal the truth.  In Him we trust, not man.

Suffering is part of life.  In our trials, Jesus is with us.  In Him, we rejoice.

Question of the Day:

How has suffering caused you to rejoice?

Further Reading: Daniel 2:24-3:30 NIV, 1 Peter 4:7-5:14 NIV, Psalm 119:81-96 NIV

Proverbs 28:15-16 NIV


4 minute read

“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14 NIV)

Trembling before God keeps you out of trouble.

“Fear of God” was a term my siblings and I often heard growing up.  Usually, the phrase had something to do with punishment for some childish mishap.  My parents were devout Christ-followers, their actions speaking louder than their words.   Only in the last few years have I realized the depth of their convictions.   Because of them, I tremble before God, more concerned about His consequences than man’s.

We tremble before God by recognizing His Sovereignty.  When we understand He is truly in control, we can trust fall into His arms, no matter what the situation.  No one knows what the future holds, no matter what they say.  What we do know is God’s commands found for us in His word—respecting God in the utmost means obeying Him, no matter what.

Start with truth.

Facing the truth of our lives causes trembling.  Admitting our sinful nature, laying it before God’s feet, is not easy.  We deceive ourselves more than we deceive anyone else. Confessing to God can feel like a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  Fear of His punishment causes us to tremble.  But God’s response is never what we think:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)

God meets our sin with His grace.  As we lay our misdeeds at His feet, He folds us in His arms with love.  Does that mean you won’t suffer consequences?  No, actions still have effects.  If you spend too much money, you have to pay it back.  Lying is always exposed.  Thieves eventually get caught. Hardened hearts ignore what God says; trouble always follows—trembling before God means avoiding negative consequences.

God always sheds His truth.  What is unseen becomes seen.  He knows all.

Hardened hearts cause disunity.  God reminded me of that when I was Groups Coordinator at a local church, dealing with an issue in one group.  As I searched for the truth, I found the lie.  Another staff member counseled the leader to lie to solve the problem.  But God never commanded us to lie, in all things we are, to tell the truth:

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NIV)

Trembling before God means telling the truth.  The lying in this situation created unnecessary drama. As a result of the lie, the group split.  People were hurt, friendships ended. 

Fear God’s consequences more than man’s.  When we tremble before God,  He leads us to peace with man.

Question of the Day:

Are you more concerned about God’s ways or man’s ways?

Further Reading:Daniel 1:1-2:23 NIV, 1 Peter 3:8-4:6 NIV, Psalm 119:65-80 NIV, Proverbs 28:14 NIV


4 minute read

 “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV)

Everyone must respect authority.

Submission to people in power is something we all must do.  Whether your boss or the President, all of us are accountable to someone.  Spouses are responsible to each other; children answer to parents, students are subject to teachers, the list is endless.  We are to show proper respect to everyone.

Recently, I started back to hot yoga after a two-year break.  Things have changed because of COVID.  Now, plastic barriers are between each student.  At the end of class, we’re supposed to wipe down the partitions with the provided paper towels and cleaner.  I wasn’t aware we were to do this in my first class, so I didn’t.  I noticed another student cleaning his area as I was leaving.  I find this requirement ridiculous.  The room temperature is over 100 degrees; we don’t touch the walls; to me, this is stupid.  However, I must respect the establishment’s authority; therefore, I wipe down the walls after every class.

Submission occurs at all levels.

Whether minor or significant, submission comes at all levels.  Practicing obedience is done in the small things.   Following God daily helps us submit to His precepts.  Jesus set the example for us:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV)

Making time to spend with God daily is part of our accountability to Him.  Jesus prioritized alone time with God; we should do the same.  We show respect when we are present with Him, understanding; He’s the one in control.  Each day, our relationship with God grows deeper.  No matter whether five minutes or five hours, God uses it in our lives to propel us forward.

“Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NIV)

People misunderstand why, as Christ-follower’s we are to submit.  We don’t respect authority to gain people’s approval; we do it because that’s what God calls us to do.  Accepting His sovereignty helps us accept other’s rule in our lives.  

Submission spurs growth. 

God uses the authority in our lives to remind us, the world doesn’t revolve around us.  We are part of a broader community; therefore, we must respect those in it.  Everyone has value and purpose.  We reflect God’s love in our obedience to Him, then others.  

If you’re struggling with submission to authority, seek God first.  He’ll help you submit.

Question of the Day:

Who are you having trouble submitting too?

Further Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-48:35 NIV1 Peter 2:11-3:7 NIV, Psalm 119:49-64 NIV, Proverbs 28:12-13 NIV


4 minute read

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

Obedience purifies your heart.

We need Jesus because we all need a Savior.  Someone we can pour out our deepest sins, knowing His response is love.  Jesus does that for us the moment we first believe.  But the journey doesn’t end at that point; it’s just beginning.  Each day we must confess our daily sins.  As you grow closer to God, the more that truth becomes a reality.  As we purify our hearts in confession, He fills it with His love.

For instance, yesterday, my lists of sins are long—irritation with husband, anger at interruptions, disappointment with friends.   I didn’t golf yesterday, but if I did, I might have to confess lying for not counting the penalty shot when I hit the ball into the water.  More than likely, I would also need to disclose something about cursing.  As I dive deeper with God, my spirit becomes more sensitive to my sins.

Sensitivity quickens obedience.

When an offense occurs, the quicker you recognize it, the better.  Often, we don’t even know we’ve offended someone.  As a District Manager, I was responsible for 17 retail stores.  All of my managers were older than the young kid, fresh out of college; now they’re boss.  I had no clue what I was doing, but I did my best.   One phone conversation I don’t remember angered one of my best managers.  For two months, she stewed on my words, all the while I was oblivious.  When I finally visited her store, I found out the truth, at the same time, she gave me her two-week notice.  Had I realized my faux pas, I would have corrected it.  You can’t fix what you don’t know.

If I was seeking God diligently during those days, His Spirit is how He’d prompt me.  His light would illuminate the manager’s change in behavior.  I didn’t notice her lack of correspondence, short phone conversations, or a different tone. If I had, I would have known I had a problem.  Recognizing the problem is the first step to resolving the issue.  Sensitivity to the Spirit helps with recognition.   

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:12-13 NIV)

If our actions aren’t compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, and forgiving, we aren’t obedient.  None of us do any of these things all of the time.  God’s Spirit is what makes the difference.  When He prompts, confess.  As you remove the sin, you make way for His love.  His purifying passion for you creates a deep love for all.

Question of the Day:

How sensitive are you to God’s Spirit?

Further Reading: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24 NIV, 1 Peter 1:13-2:10 NIV, Psalm 119:33-48 NIVProverbs 28:11 NIV


4 minute read

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Petter 1:6 NIV)

Grief is universal.

All of us are grieving someone, something, someplace.  Missing something you can never have back again is how I define grief.  Everyone experiences loss.  As I get older, I understand more the loss of innocence.  Coaching children reminds me of how free I once was.  Watching them have fun helps bring fun back into my life.   Life’s problems replace our freedom.  We lose our unwavering trust for God’s provision we once had.   If we’re not careful, we get stuck in our grief.

Grieving is highly personal.  How someone responds to grief is how someone responds.  Allowing people the opportunity to work through their pain is pivotal.  As long as they aren’t doing any harm to themselves, give them space to mourn.  Some hurts take longer than others.  Time varies with each person, give it to them.  Just like Forrest Gump, eventually, they’ll stop running and re-engage with life. 

Without love, grief wouldn’t exist.

If we didn’t love people, places, and things, we wouldn’t grieve them.  Pet owners know this without a doubt.  Whatever your pet of choice, the love you receive from it is unconditional.  My two dogs, always happy to see me.  Wherever I go, they go.  When I feel blue, they cheer me up.  But their life spans are shorter than ours.  Very few live longer than humans.  As a result, our first experience with death is often of a pet.  

One of my most heart-wrenching pet stories involves a parakeet.  My friend’s kids were playing with the bird out of the cage.  A pot of water was boiling; the bird flew into it.  Birds, in a state of emotion, will accidentally perch or fly into boiling water.  The kids learned their first lesson, at a young age, about death.  If they hadn’t loved their pet so immensely, they wouldn’t hurt so profoundly.  Pain is part of the relationship process.  Better to experience the suffering than never loving.

“This is Us” is one of my favorite shows.  In a recent episode, one of the main characters, Kate, receives sad news.  As her brother tries to comfort her, her response surprised me. “No, I need to sit with these emotions for a while.”  I’m not sure if that’s exactly how she said the words, but that was the gist of the message.  We have to sit with our emotions for a moment, but then we have to stand back up.  Jesus will help, just turn to Him.

Allow yourself and others to grieve.  Rejoice for the love you had.  The deeper the passion, the more profound the grief.

Question of the Day:

What are you grieving today?

Further Reading: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12 NIV, 1 Peter 1:1-12 NIV, Psalm 119:17-32 NIV, Proverbs 28:8-10 NIV


4 minute read

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  (James 5:19-20 NIV)

We all wander.

Wandering is to “walk or move in a leisurely, casual or aimless way.”  If you ever go shopping with me, I’m a wanderer.  My husband is learning to accept this fact.  One moment I’m beside him, the next he can’t find me.  I’m not consciously looking when I meander around the store; I’m exploring.  Typically what happens, I see something that interests me, then something else, and something else.  My problem, I don’t realize how far I’ve strayed from my starting point, my husband.  He helps me turnaround when he finds me and waits patiently for me.  

We wander away from God, the same way I walk away from my husband, unintentionally. Something else captures our attention; we slowly drift away from our first love.  Everyone drifts.  We notice other people’s meanderings, even though we don’t recognize our own.  Just like my husband helps me turnaround, we can help others do the same.  Gentle actions of love can help people find their way home.

Turnaround with love.

Our best response to wandering is love.  After several years of marriage, my husband accepts my wandering.  Instead of yelling at me, he gets the look.  When I see it, I know I’ve wandered.  His gaze isn’t one of anger; it’s one of love.  His annoyance and acceptance both evident on his face.  Typically, he just asks, “Did you find anything?”  Then he smiles with arms wide open as he embraces me back into his arms.

God does the same with us.  He knows we are going to drift away.  Our wanderings are what make us realize God’s goodness. The difference is, no matter where we go, God is with us.  We never truly leave His sight because He doesn’t leave us.  Even though our movements are directionless, His eyes follow all of them. When we get too far, He sends someone to nudge us in the right direction.

Sometimes we need the nudge; other times, we’re the nudger.

Nudging, someone who has drifted, requires patience and love.  No one responds well to force; everyone reacts well to grace.

My husband doesn’t scold me for wandering. He accepts God made me this way; I will always meander.  Grace is apparent in the acceptance.  Instead of changing me, he protects me as I drift. He keeps a watchful eye when it’s time, nudging me back on track.

Wandering happens to everyone. Don’t worry, God knows everywhere you go.

Question of the Day:

Have you wandered away from your first love, God?

Further Reading:Ezekiel 42-43 NIV, James 5 NIV, Psalm 119:1-16 NIV, Proverbs 28:6-7 NIV