Lost & Found

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 2


NADM Lost & Found

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible.  I guess because I know so well what it is to be lost.  I know how good it feels to be found and to find that which is treasured.  I love how Jesus tells story after story of something valuable lost and the rejoicing that occurs when it’s found.  Even if it’s only one of His little flock, Jesus goes searching.

Wouldn’t any Good Shepherd?

Won’t He light a lamp, make a sweep, and search carefully for us like the woman who lost her silver coin? He will.

Doesn’t He watch for and receive those who have planned out their repentant speeches?  Doesn’t He even go out and find those who are too proud to come in on their own?  The Bible says He does.

I just love it.  I have been the Prodigal.  And, heaven knows, I have been the prideful older brother, pouting outside the party, refusing to go in because, in my estimation, God’s goodness was somehow “better” toward someone else than it was to me.  Gracious.  I love how the father looks everyday to see if his lost son is coming down the road.  He must have been watching for him, right?  Verse 20 says “while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him.”  You don’t see something far off unless you are looking for it.  Before the practiced speech was given, the father was running to grab his boy up… he was lost and is found.  Before the elder brother even had the chance to come to his senses, the father “came out and pleaded with him (v. 28)”… he was lost and the father went to find him.  Thank you, Father.

We don’t know how the other brother responded and, I think, it’s by design.  I think just like so many in Jesus’ audience, we tend to be more like the older brother than the prodigal.  I am.  I haven’t demanded my inheritance and run off to do God knows what in a foreign country, but I sure have looked around and decided that something wasn’t fair.  I think we get to decide how the other brother responds and what we decide makes all the difference in the world.  One thing is certain, no matter how long it takes, when he decides to join the party – when WE decide to join the party… to come back and go in – all will be forgiven, full restoration will be granted, and there WILL be rejoicing.

Oh how He loves you.  Oh how He loves me.  Oh how He loves you and me.

Praising the Lord

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Your Turn to Talk

NADM Praise

Somewhere along the way, I was taught that when life seems out of control, the best medicine is simply saying the name of Jesus and considering HIM.  Just His NAME is powerful!  Imagine how our days would change if we considered His character, grace, blessings, love and on and on and on before we thought of anything else.  Spend some time today considering Jesus, praising Him, and speaking His name.

Some ideas

  • WHO HE IS!  Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler is a great resource for delving the character of God.  Some names to consider: Creator, the God Who Sees Us, Almighty, Provider, Peace, Healer, Rock, Strong Tower, Shepherd and Father.
  • Your health – just opening your eyes this morning is a gift!
  • Your family – all they are and all they aren’t
  • The Little Things – how God winks in ways that are just for you
  • Answered prayer – give credit where credit is good; remember
  • His faithfulness – when others falter, He never will
  • Your salvation – Where would you be today without Jesus?
  • Grace upon grace upon grace
  • The Word – what passages of scripture has God used to minister to you recently?

The Button Pusher

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 1

Gracious!  I so wish I had no experience with “button pushers,” don’t you?  Unfortunately everyone of us has at least one in our lives and, frankly, we probably do some button pushing of our own.

I’m thankful for the reminders throughout the New Testament that we do not fight against the powers or the people of this world.  I am thankful for Jesus, who shows us how to fight against our true enemy and always makes a way for us.  Flip with me to Luke 4 and take note of a couple things to keep in mind as you walk through this day.

  • Notice that the Devil came to Jesus after he’d been in the desert for 40 days.  When we are tired and hungry, at the end of our ropes in our humanness, we need to be extra vigilant in our awareness of the enemy.  He’s pretty savvy and he’s been doing this tempting/warring thing for quite some time now.  He may come at you when you are well-rested, fed, prayed up, and feeling strong, but chances are really good, he’ll wait until you’re already a little off balance and then strike at your weakest point.  Don’t forget, his goal is to kill, steal and destroy us.  Nice.  Be on the lookout.
  • Those of us who regularly sit under a steeple have probably heard at least one sermon on Luke 4 focused on how Jesus combatted Satan: He used scripture.  I’d like to further point out that Satan did too.  The Devil tempted, Jesus retorted. So, Satan came at Him again.  Again, Jesus pulled out the Word to counter him.  The third time – tenacious, right?! – Satan clearly thought, “Alright, you want to talk scripture, let’s go.”  For the third temptation, instead of simply offering to meet the Messiah’s physical needs or appealing to His rightful place as King, the Devil pulled out a Bible verse. Jerk.  Isn’t that the way He works?  Twisting and manipulating even that which God has intended for our good to battle us?  Jesus never wavers – nor will we, in His strength! – and finally, Satan leaves Him alone.
  • BIG NOTE FOR US: sometimes Satan tempts us to rush ahead of the timetable God has set. Check out Luke 4: 4-8.  Remember, Jesus IS the King.  All the kingdoms of the world ARE rightfully His, but had He bowed to Satan here, rather than waiting on His Father’s timing, all would be lost.  WE would be lost.
  • When you feel weak and ill-equipped to fight, remember that, as a believer in Christ, you have His very fullness within you.  In HIS strength ALL things are possible.  Remember, the end of our passage today: At HIS word, “the demon came out of [the man] without hurting him at all.”

Thank You, Jesus, for coming and showing us exactly how it’s done.  Remind us, teach us, who we are in You and let us never forget the sacrifice that You made so that we can live victorious, abundant lives HERE and live with You forever when we get THERE.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

WWJD? Not. Rush!

Y’all.  I LOVE how God ALWAYS speaks right into out circumstances.  When I wrote Never A Dull Moment two years ago, I surely did not know I’d be reading through it with you now.  I didn’t know I’d be the PTA President, that Class Assignment Day would be upon me, that I’d be playing “catch up” and lamenting how quickly the days of summer flew past… but God did.

What a PERFECT devotional reading for this day!  And the super cool thing is, I know it is speaking to many of you in the same personal way this morning.  Life. Is. CRAZY!  Our kiddos grow up so fast, vacations fly by, it feels like we need to start putting the Christmas tree up in August!  Ok.  Maybe that last one is just me!  The point is, we are all so busy and time flies.  But, we can BE STILL and KNOW that God is GOD (Psalm 46:10).  And Jesus, as always, gives us a perfect example to follow.

  1. Cover your day in PRAYER
  2. CARE about the people who cross your path
  3. ALWAYS keep the main thing, the main thing

So easy to type.  So hard to DO!  I don’t know if y’all took the time to look up each of the passages mentioned in today’s reading, but I did!  Here’s the thing, Jesus was a VERY busy man!  I think a lot of times, we tend to think of Him as floating through life on this planet with maybe a cute little sheep near His feet and a halo around His head.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He didn’t live in peaceful, calm, orderly circumstances, BUT He is peace, stayed calm and keeps order.  See the difference?


Mark 5:15-16 says, “the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  YET He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.”  Even as people clamored for His attention, He withdrew for prayer.  That word: YET.  YET… even though people wanted Him to heal them, teach them, feed them, go with them, talk to them… He withdrew to pray.  He, better than anyone, knows exactly where our strength comes from.  Jesus was absolutely clear about WHO is in control.  We need to get there.  All of our striving won’t accomplish a fraction of what time in prayer will.  It simply can’t skipped.  No matter what.  YET… even though kiddos are clamoring, the phone is ringing or dinging or beeping or chirping or WHATEVERing; even though your head is spinning, the list is calling… YET she often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.  He must be our first report, not our last resort.


Take a look at Mark 6:34 and let your eyes wander up the page to verse 30.  Please notice that Jesus and the guys were on a little vacay.  They had been commissioned and sent out back at the beginning of chapter 6 and upon their return, Jesus said, “Whew!  You guys were busy!  Way to go!  I think a boys’ weekend is in order (Mark 6:31, The Joeli Version)!”  They made their plans, but when they arrived, their fans had followed them!  Jesus didn’t freak out or cry or scream at His friends (for me, insert: kids, husband, mom, cashier at Wal-mart…).  He stepped ashore (They were at the BEACH, for heaven’s sake!) and “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd (6:34).”

Oh, how I love Jesus.  What a precious friend and savior.  I am like a sheep without a shepherd.  He took time for me and has compassion on me.  And every day He brings people across my busy path that I can, in turn, have compassion on.

Not too long ago, I was very upset/hurt/frustrated over a situation the details of which, honestly, aren’t even important.  I was talking it out with my kiddos because they were there for it.  They knew I was upset.  They understood WHY I was upset.  But after all my dismay and anger, my girl said: “Mom, you would never have [done that thing that upset you so] because you know Jesus, but maybe that lady is just tripping down the wrong path and maybe she just needs Jesus.”  Oh, my wise girl.

Y’all, every single person we meet every single day as we run through our crazy lives “just needs Jesus.”  We get to BE Jesus.  Oh Holy Spirit, wake us up.  Give us a YOUR compassion and care for the people we see.  Use us to love the wandering sheep and lead them home.


One word for you: MISSION.  What is yours?  Jesus knew He was here to declare the day of the Lord and preach the Good News (see Luke 4:17-21)  We all have a mission too.  We are not all called to DO every thing.  We would do well to spend some time with the Father getting clear on what it is our “main thing” is and then keep it the main thing.  Just like Jesus, we need to allow for interruptions without becoming distracted.

Christmas Tears

Some times when I am overwhelmed or too tired, the only thing that really makes me FEEL better is a good cry. (Bless my Husband’s heart!) This season, as joyful as it is, comes with its share of tears too… because I am always a little more overwhelmed than usual, things rarely go exactly as “Norman Rockwell” as I envisioned them going and in my valiant effort to make everything just right, sleep is usually the first thing I let slide right off my list of top priorities. Not smart, but tis the season!

A few days ago, I read Psalm 56:8: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” My heart did a little leap to think that God sees every tear and knows all my sorrows – the real ones and the ones I create for myself by thinking my crazy family is ever going to look like a still depiction of the “perfect” Christmas-y group. I flipped to Revelation 21:4… “He will wipe every tear from their eyes” and then my finger wandered up to verse 3 which reads, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

Isn’t that what Christmas is, really? God loving us so much that He came to wipe our tears with His own hands, to wash our feet and take our sins and teach us to pray and know what it is to be the creation rather than the Creator? Isn’t Christmas about God understanding us and saving us? He has always cared so much about our tears that He bottles and records every one. In Jesus, He came to experience and know our sorrows – to cry His own tears. And, even though we missed His first coming, one day, He will take our faces in His loving hands and gently wipe all of our tears away. THAT is love. THAT is hope. And THAT is joy – even when things aren’t going exactly the way we would like them to go.

Wide-Eyed Wonder

If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.  If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. – Luke 11:34, The Message

When I was in high school I had a really good friend who often said I wore rose-colored glasses.  He was a really smart guy and a year older than me.  So, I think I took that oft-heard comment as an indication that in order to be “really smart” and “mature”, I would need to eventually take off those glasses.  Over the years, there have certainly been times and seasons when the glasses seemed to be slipping.  But this morning as I read Luke 11:34 from The Message, it hit me that I don’t ever want my “positive outlook” to leave me – or even become dull from years spent in this crazy life.  Certainly, there have been experiences and circumstances that I wish were different.  I do expect the best, goodness, and honesty from people I meet along the way and when they behave differently than I expect, it is shocking and disheartening.  But Jesus said to live “wide-eyed in wonder and belief”.  Jesus said that if I live “wide-eyed in wonder and belief”, my whole body – my whole self – will fill up with light.  I don’t know about you, but that’s how I want to live!

I want my whole outlook to be hopeful.  I want to believe and see God move and trust His heart for me.  I want to be a doer of His word and trust Him for the results even when I don’t see them.  I want to extend grace to the people I meet and forgive them when they stumble because I have been extended great grace and I have stumbled many times.  I want to be known as His girl because I am filled with His light.  And I want to see others like God sees them: precious creations, made in His image; masterpieces worth dying for.  So, “mature” and “really smart” or not, I will keep looking around with wide-eyed wonder and belief, holding unswervingly to the hope I profess, knowing that the One who promised is faithful.  My prayer is that you will do the same.  Who doesn’t want to be filled with light?

Propitiation: A Big Word I Didn’t Know I Knew

I often say that God did all the hard work for our salvation.  He chased us throughout history, always loving us first; always making a way.  He proved His love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent His Son to die in our place.  He, by the power of His Holy Spirit, draws us to Himself, convicts us of our sin and even cries out on our behalf in prayer when we don’t know what to say.  Jesus stands at the right hand of the Father telling Him over and over again as we come to His throne with our humanness – in our sin – what it is like to actually walk around on this ball of dust held captive by skin.  He does the chasing.  He does loving.  He did the dying and the resurrecting.  He does the drawing.  He does the mediating.  By comparison, our job is so simple.  Our job is to recognize Him as Lord, to see that He loves us, to hear when He calls and to confess our sin – every time.  Our job is to repent and rest and be quiet and trust; to obey and follow and stay focused on Him.  He does the forgiving, the leading and the directing.  Our job is to receive it from Him.

I am working through a pretty hefty book right now by John Stott called The Cross of Christ.  This morning’s lesson is on “propitiation”.  How’s that for a vocabulary word?  It’s so funny to me that I am studying this now because 5 years ago, before sitting under the teaching of my current Pastor, I would have had to look it up in a dictionary.  (Don’t worry… you don’t have to get yours.  I am about to tell you what it means!)  Now, it at least doesn’t scare me!  To “propitiate” means to assuage or appease someone’s anger; to gain or regain the favor or someone else.  Turns out what I “often say” can be summed up in one really big word.  I don’t like thinking too terribly much about the anger of God, but to use my own terminology, “propitiation” simply means that God did all the hard work to save us.  To quote, Stott, “It is God Himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God Himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God Himself who in the Person of His Son died for the propitiation of our sins.  Thus God took His own loving initiative to appease His own righteous anger by bearing it His own self in His own Son when He took our place and died for us.”

I don’t know about you, but that blows me away.  God took His own loving initiative to do the hard work for me because He knew I would never be able to do it for myself.  He bore His own righteous anger at MY sins because He knew I would never be able to withstand it on my own.  And then He, Himself, in His Son, Jesus, died for my sins so that I might be His very own daughter – chosen, adopted, blessed, gifted with every good gift, abundant and eternal life, the Fruit of the Spirit and the very fullness of Christ.  And my job is to simply accept His gift of grace and mercy, rest in His salvation and trust Him with all that I am and all that concerns me.  My job is to simply gaze into my Father’s face and fall in love with Him.

O Father, captivate me.  Even when I struggle and pull away – as children sometimes do – hold me fast.  Change my heart and draw me close.  Whisper my name in the winds of life in this world and the downpour of my daily.  Continue to do the hard work of drawing me to Yourself and make me more and more like Jesus as I keep my eyes fixed on Him.