You’re Killing Me

I was asked to do something thoughtful for an enemy.  Granted, the person doing the asking didn’t realize the would-be recipient is antagonistic toward my family.  What goes through your mind in a situation like that?  I’ll tell you what went through mine.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  No way!  I can’t do it.  Even if I could, it wouldn’t be sincere.  You have no idea what that person has put me through, and now I’M the one who has to be nice?  Does that seem fair?  You’re killing me.  And on and on my thoughts went.  By the time my mental rant was over, I’d done a nice job of convincing myself that the person wouldn’t welcome a thoughtful gesture from me anyway.  I patted myself on the back for having never retaliated (hello, Pride), and justified my choice to simply avoid the enemy.  What more could anyone ask?

“But I say to you who hear, LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to those who hate you, BLESS those who curse you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, OFFER the other also.  And from him who takes away your cloak, DO NOT WITHHOLD your tunic either.  GIVE to everyone who asks of you” (Luke 6:27-30).

Jesus asked for more.  I have to acknowledge that my avoid-at-all-costs plan isn’t good enough.  Okay, it’s not even good.  Avoiding doesn’t love, do good, give, or any of those other commands I decided I’d better circle in the text.  Jesus went on to say,”But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them” (v. 32).  By withholding love and goodness, I act like the world.  Still, it seems a bit much to ask.  Until I remember…

“Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him.  And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.  And [Pilate] delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.  They twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head.  They struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him.  Those who passed by blasphemed Him.  Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him” (Mark 14).

And He was completely innocent.  He never entertained an unkind thought.  He didn’t deserve such horrible treatment.  What went through His mind as He faced His antagonists, knowing He was on the cross for them?  “You’re killing Me”?  No.  Jesus demonstrated the very attitude He requires of us.  We know exactly what went through His mind.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Prayer for Today:  Humble me, Lord.  In my thoughts, attitude, and intentions, give me a heart like Your Son’s.



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Imagine my surprise when I walked into the kitchen and discovered my pizza dough had turned into a yeasty volcano.  I didn’t intend for the dough to rise more than an hour, but I got so busy doing other things, I completely forgot all about it.  I’ve made pizza dough dozens of times.  When I made this particular batch, I did everything right.  When I set it on the counter to rise, it looked good and smelled good.  But because I got distracted, what started out as a “good thing,” turned into a mess.

Poor Martha.  She started out doing something good by welcoming Jesus into her home.  But then she jumped into busyness and next thing you know, things weren’t going the way she envisioned.  We might be quick to come to her defense.  After all, the food wasn’t going to prepare itself!  But Jesus cut to the heart of the matter.  “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things” (Luke 10:41).  The text tells us that Martha was distracted (v. 40).   When Martha became distracted…

She became frustrated.  I can almost hear her tone of voice when she finally asked Jesus to make Mary help her.  We’ve all been in situations where it seems there’s so much to do and too little help.  As Martha’s frustration mounted, she started feeling sorry for herself.  Her attitude soured.  She started complaining.  Martha, Martha, “be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).

She started viewing others harshly.  Notice how Martha accused both her sister and her Lord.  She said her sister left her to do all the serving alone (Luke 10:40).  I wonder how many times she cut her eyes in her sister’s direction as she was working away?  She probably thought her sister was just being lazy, or at the very least, enjoying their special company while poor Martha was left with all the work.  Then she said to Jesus, “Lord, do You not care…?” (v. 40).  That question alone is proof positive that distractions are dangerous.  If she was in her right mind, would she have dared accuse the Messiah of not caring?  When we get overwhelmed by the extra responsibilities we take upon ourselves, we might lash out at those closest to us.  Jesus generously gave His time to Martha, but she couldn’t see that.  Mary was listening at Jesus’ feet (the implication being that He was teaching), not trying to get out of work, but Martha didn’t see it that way.  Martha’s perception of both Jesus and Mary was wrong.  How do we know she was wrong about Mary?  Because Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (v. 42).   Distraction led Martha to treat others unjustly.  Martha, Martha, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, show tolerance for one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).

She focused on the physical instead of the eternal.  And as a result, she missed out on a golden opportunity.  If Martha had sat at Jesus’ feet, she wouldn’t have been just a face in the crowd.  Jesus taught the multitudes many times.  But this time, He was in Martha’s home.  She could’ve had a special audience with the Son of God!  Martha wasn’t out doing worldly things or sinful things; she was serving.  But Jesus said she had “many things” on her mind when she should have had “one thing” on her mind (v. 41,42).  Martha chose poorly.  Because she was distracted by the urgent, she wasn’t focused on the eternal.  Martha, Martha, “set your mind on the things above, not on things of the earth” (Col. 3:2).

Prayer for Today:  Lord, help me focus on what’s truly important instead of being blinded by busy distractions.


This article can also be found at Women Living Well

Deeper and Deeper I Go

“It was when I walked alone with God that I learned the lessons He would teach.  I set aside a time and a place to meet Him, and I have never been disappointed.”  Oswald J. Smith wrote those words when he described what he called his “morning watch.”  Oh, how I want to know my Lord better!  I want to feel as close to Him as possible.  I want to be guided by Him, molded by Him, and secure in my relationship with Him.  I don’t want to be guilty of just going through the motions or coasting through Christianity.  I don’t want to have a faith that’s inherited or tied to associations.  I don’t want to have to wonder if my religion is genuine, personal, in my soul through and through.  How can I have the peace that comes from knowing I’m where I’m supposed to be in my faith, and in my relationship with God?

“This Book of Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” Joshua 1:8.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1a,2).

“I will meditate on Your precepts and contemplate Your ways.  I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word” (Psalm 119:15,16).

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).

If I want to be sure I’m doing all God wants me to, I must meditate in His Word.  If I want to rejoice in my relationship with Him, and have His approval, I will meditate on His Word.  Combining these verses with the definitions of “meditate” from, here’s how I can have a confident, meaningful faith (Romans 10:17):

  • Engage in contemplation or reflection of the Word day and night
  • Engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness of the Word
  • Focus my thoughts on the Word so I don’t forget what it says
  • Plan or project in my mind what I find in the Word

So I need a “morning watch” with God.  I think it must be separate from time spent preparing to teach Bible classes, or writing articles or lessons.  It needs to be deliberate, one-on-one time with the Father for the sole purpose of letting His Word instruct and strengthen me for the day.  Meditation.  To be sure of my faith, I can “receive the Word with all readiness, and search the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).  A practical way to meditate on God’s Word is to grab a clean spiral notebook and pen, and use the S.O.A.P. method.

S- “Scripture”- Jot down your Scripture text, and read it through a few times.

O- “Observations”- Write down all observations you can make about the text.  Don’t try to figure out what it means yet.  Just observe what it says, word by word.

A- “Application”- Write down what you learned, and how your life will be different because of it.  Is there an action to take?  A change to make?  Did you learn something different from what you’ve always been taught?

P- “Prayer”- Pray about what you read and your understanding of it.  Ask God to help you absorb, remember, and put into practice His will.

“Into the will of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go,

Praying for grace to follow, seeking His way to know;

Bowing in full surrender, low at His blessed feet,

Bidding Him take, break me and make,

Till I am molded, complete.”

(Oswald J. Smith, 1890-1986)

Prayer for Today:  May time in Your Word be a precious, daily priority in my life.


Blessings Abound

Political unrest, overwhelming national debt, sin tolerance, socialism, health care plans, rights of citizens, crime sprees…

In the midst of all of the distressing news, I need a reminder every now and then of the glory of the Christian life.  “A faithful man will abound with blessings” (Prov. 28:20).  So instead of feeling overwhelmed, fearful or discouraged, let us bolster ourselves and each other with the bounty of blessings found in Christ.  Find a quiet spot, open your Bible, and whisper a prayer of thanks as you circle the words that show the measure of goodness God bestows on those who are His.

(Emphases mine, to highlight words having to do with abundance)


  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3)
  • “For the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him” (Rom. 10:12)


  • “That you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18)
  • “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13)


  • “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8)
  • “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us” (Eph. 1:7,8)
  • “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7)


  • “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might” (Eph. 3:16)


  • “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:17-19)


  • “That you may know….what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19)
  • “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20)


  • “Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psa. 119:165)
  • “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7)

Let’s show the world our confidence in these blessings so they will want that kind of security for themselves.  Let’s show our neighbors and fellow Christians that we rely on God’s abounding and steadfast love (Psa. 103:8).  And let’s be a blessing to others by abounding in good works and sacrificial love (1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Cor. 8:7; Phil. 1:9).

Prayer for Today:  In a world of turmoil, may we always recognize Your goodness and grace.

Bible Study Treat

Ever since my mom started taking the Biblical Exegesis class by Denny Petrillo and Michael Hite, she has been all excited about marking key words.  I often see her with her Bible open, pad of paper close by, Bible-marking pens and colored pencils on hand, searching for recurring words like one digging for treasure.  Happily for me, she likes to compare notes.  Just yesterday she shared one of her discoveries with me, and because it’s too good to keep to myself, I’m going to share it with you, too.

In 2 Corinthians, the word “God” appears about 75 times, but the phrase “of God” appears some 32 times.  According to the World English Dictionary, the simple definition for the word “of” means “indicating possession, origin, or association.”  With that in mind, notice some of the words attached to our phrase “of God” in 2 Corinthians:

  • In 1:1, the “WILL of God” and the “CHURCH of God”
  • In 1:12, the “GRACE of God”
  • In 1:19, the “SON of God”
  • In 1:20, the “PROMISES of God” and the “GLORY of God”
  • In 2:17, the “WORD of God” and the “SIGHT of God”
  • In 4:2, the “SIGHT of God”
  • In 4:6, the “GLORY of God”
  • In 4:7, the “POWER will be of God”
  • In 4:15, the “GLORY of God”
  • In 5:21, the “RIGHTEOUSNESS of God”
  • In 6:1, the “GRACE of God”
  • In 6:4, the “SERVANTS of God”
  • In 6:7, the “POWER of God”
  • In 6:16, the “TEMPLE of God”
  • In 7:1, the “FEAR of God”
  • In 7:9, the “WILL of God”
  • In 7:10, the “WILL of God”
  • In 7:12, the “SIGHT of God”
  • In 8:1, the “GRACE of God”
  • In 8:5, the “WILL of God”
  • In 9:14, the “GRACE of God”
  • In 10:5, the “KNOWLEDGE of God”
  • In 11:7, the “GOSPEL of God”
  • In 12:19, the “SIGHT of God”
  • In 13:4, the “POWER of God” and again the “POWER of God”
  • In 13:14, the “LOVE of God”

Are you rubbing your hands together with anticipation?  This information is a great starting point for studying some big concepts that belong to/ originated with God.  It’s GOD’S grace, GOD’S temple, GOD’S gospel, GOD’S will.  So what does He have to say about them?  For instance, one glimpse at the verse that mentions the “knowledge of God” shows that it trumps every argument devised by man.  My mom pointed out that the specific phrases that recur the most are “will of God,” “grace of God,” “sight of God,” and “power of God,” each appearing 4 times.  I can’t wait to take a closer look at the passages surrounding those phrases to see what I can learn!

On a personal note, my mom has experienced some hardships, and still does.  I’m grateful anew for the ability of the “POWER of God” to bring joy and purpose to the lives of all His children (2 Cor. 6:4-10).  My mom thought it was interesting that the “love of God” was saved for the very last verse of the letter, which seems like an appropriate verse to end with here.  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).

Prayer for Today- Help me, dear Lord, to be an eager student of Your Word all my life.  And thank You for my mom!

My beautiful mom and me
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