I’ve Fallen and I Can Get Up!

FalldownverseOften when I need to make phone calls, I will go for a long walk. This enables me to get a little exercise, and make the necessary phone calls. Now, come on, you know that’s smart!

Yesterday, I needed to make a couple of calls, and I knew they would be a little lengthy, so I set out on a walk that lasted forty-five minutes. As the call was coming to an end, I arrived at my house. I began to walk up and down the driveway until the call was finished.

At one point I was close to the shrubs around the front of my house, and I noticed a dead vine was wrapped around one of the bushes. I decided to stick my foot in the middle of the bushy vine and remove it.  As I jerked the vine with my foot, I found it to be stronger than anticipated. In a matter of seconds, I became entangled in the vine and fell hard to my concrete driveway. OUCH!

As I lay there for a moment, the pain was real and it was sharp. I have cuts and bruises to prove this!

Even though it was painful, I knew my only option was to rise up and walk again. There was nothing beneficial about staying down.

This is life, even for the believer. We walk with God. We move with God. We serve God. It’s a great walk, but inevitably there will be falls along the way. Those falls can bring so much pain.

Proverbs 24:16 is very clear: “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” This verse tells us that believers are not untouched by the falls of life. Even God’s people will have times when they have problems, failures, disasters, and adversities. We know the pain of sickness, financial woes, broken relationships, loss and more.

If you are in the middle of a fall right now, don’t despair. There is hope! It’s easy to think, “I am done; it’s all over now.” That’s not true. You can’t see so clearly when you’re down on the ground wallowing in the dirt. But, child of God, you will rise up again. The second part of that verse is just as true as the first part! The whole verse is true … there will be times of trouble, but there is triumph in the midst of trouble!

Child of God, rise up! Don’t give up, and don’t give in. God is on your side, and He will give you the strength to walk again, live again and be fulfilled again.  Today, I rose up out of my bed and started walking again.   There’s a little pain in my walk, but this too shall pass.

Circumstances can’t keep God’s people down. As you go through the ups and downs of life, look for the power of God to meet you there. He will be close-by when you are down. He will give you strength to get back up. Yes, you will rise again!

God Has The Biggest “BUT”

but-god1Have you ever been lied about or done wrong, and it seems the perpetrator got away with it?

From a human standpoint, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that one can do the right(eous) thing, and not get the expected result.

Joseph, in scripture, said a resounding NO to the advances of Potiphar’s wife. He said NO over and over, and stated that he would not sin against God by sleeping with another man’s wife. Where did it get Joseph? After Mrs. Potiphar lied about him, Joseph was thrown right into a dark prison cell.

How is that possible? Doesn’t the Bible say, “You reap what you sow?” Indeed it does, but the Bible never gives a time frame on reaping and sowing.

Joseph sat in that jail cell for two long years. It was unfair and incomprehensible. As Joseph sat there, an innocent man, he had a choice to make. He could be mad at life, mad at God, and say, “I’ll never serve God again. What good did that do me?”

Joseph did not look at what was happening at that moment in life, and let the moment define God. He continued serving God, continued being faithful to God and continued trusting God. He even started a jail ministry!

After Joseph was in prison for two years, he got up one morning not knowing his deliverance was about to come. He woke up, brushed his teeth, tidied up his cot, ate a not-so-great prison breakfast and did his regular slave work. BUT GOD! God said, “Today, it is finished!”   Before the sun went down that day, Joseph was living in a palace and was the second most powerful person in the land.

It only took Joseph THIRTEEN years to arrive at the palace. Thirteen years of faithfulness in less than stellar circumstances. Thirteen years of right(eous) decisions in less than stellar circumstances. Thirteen years of serving God with no expensive suits, no pricey chariots, no beautiful wife, no book publisher, no cool worship band and no television program. Just a man who chose to be faithful to the One He loved, and the One who loved him.

Don’t give up doing the right(eous) things in this life! We serve a God who is a “BUT GOD” kind of God. He is not limited by what is happening in your life at this moment. This “BUT GOD” that we serve has the biggest “BUT” in the room! He is at work in your life. He has the final word.

Never give up on God, for He never gives up on you!  One day, you will look back, and this will be your song:

“He’s been faithful, faithful to me,
Looking back Your love and mercy I see,
In my heart I question if You’re there, and I fail to believe
But You’ve been faithful, faithful to me.”

“You intended to harm me, BUT GOD intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” – Genesis 50:20

I Wasn’t Called To Fit In

Fitting inI’ve had a few sets of eyes rolled at me in my day. I’ve had venom spewed at me on Facebook a few times. I’ve been called out-of-touch, unrealistic, behind-the-times, judgmental and other great things. Why am I called these things? Because I refuse to compromise what I believe the Word of God says.

The pressure is on all of us as believers to be quiet, be accepting of everything, don’t offend anyone and just fit in. After all Christians are to love. What a ridiculous definition of Christian love! In order to show that I love, I must keep quiet and embrace what society is embracing. God never called me to fit in, but He did call me to stand tall and be a woman of the Word.

In the book of Daniel is recorded a story of three Hebrew men who would not bow to the king, which would mean compromising their devotion to God. God was the only one to whom they bowed and gave worship. As we read their story, we celebrate the deliverance of God. We shout, “Hallelujah!” That is certainly warranted.

Let us remember that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were living it in real time. Going into the fiery furnace, they confessed ahead of time that they did not know what the outcome would be. The outcome had nothing to do with their decision to stand for God. They were not concerned about fitting in, getting a position in the King’s palace or being popular. Their greatest concern was living a life that honored God.

While I am certainly not a hell-fire and brimstone preacher, I refuse to bow to a cry from a culture that says you have to fit in, that says you aren’t loving if you call anything sin. I want to live a life that honors God and His Word.

You see, I understand that I was called to preach the Good News that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is the way to the Father and eternal life in heaven. Oh, that’s not a popular message either. It’s okay! I’ll preach it anyway because I was not called to fit in!

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16-18


CoverI was to be the speaker at a conference in a city where I had been before. Much hard work was put into the conference, and anticipation was building. As I spent time with God and in study, I was excited about what He was showing me in His Word.

There was a woman who heard about the conference and was gung-ho to attend. She started talking it up with others, saying she had heard me teach before and “people would love it.” Her anticipation fed my excitement.

Later, after seeing my picture, the woman realized that I was not the woman she had remembered, so she was no longer interested in coming. That took the wind out of my sails a bit!

She made it known who she thought would be speaking, and it was a speaker with whom I was somewhat familiar. As I thought about the other speaker, I began to talk to myself. “She’s a better speaker than I am. She’s slimmer than I am. What do I have to say that anyone would want to hear? Why would anyone want to pay money to attend a conference just to listen to me? My gift is not good enough for me to travel across the nation?”  Negative thoughts assaulted my mind.

I had a flare-up of a disease called “comparisonitis.”

Comparisonitis can be a chronic, debilitating disease. It goes into remission when we’re happy, when we’re stroked by others or all is going well, but all too often, the moment something doesn’t go the way we want it too, it flares up.

I remember going to God  and telling Him why I couldn’t continue. Surely He had missed it when He called me, or maybe I even missed what I heard. As I wiped my tears and quieted myself before Him, it was almost as if He spoke audibly. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU – Barbara – YOU.” God did not try to convince me. He did not argue it with me. He just stated His truth and His opinion.

The Bible has quite a bit to say about being happy with who God made us to be. One of the most freeing verses that I have found is, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” – Galatians 6:4.  That verse just shouts, “FREEDOM.” This tells me that all God wants and asks is that I give my personal best to whatever He has called me to do. I can be secure and satisfied knowing that God is pleased with me, and I don’t need to compare myself with anyone else. That is THE truth.

Do flare-ups of comparisonitis try to find their way into my life? Yes. What’s the best thing to do for it? Be me! If you feel yourself coming down with this disease, what’s the best thing you can do for it? Be you!

Don’t Waste Your Pain

2005-03-2520painDon’t waste your pain. Some of you are immediately thinking, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what I’m going through.”  In most cases I don’t know what readers of this blog are going through, but this I do know: Life is peppered with all kinds of pain, and each of us will be touched by some kind of pain. While it is nice to confess, “Because I am a child of God, I shall live a pain-free life,” that is simply not reality.

I have no plans to preach or pontificate at this point. I simply want to say that pain can help us to become more loving and caring to others in pain.  Who can better comfort a widow, than one who has walked that path?  Who can better encourage a person with cancer, than one who has walked through a cancer battle?  The scripture says it this way,  “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  – 2 Corinthians 1:3,4


  1. I refuse to waste my pain of child abuse.
  2. I refuse to waste my pain of being betrayed.
  3. I refuse to waste my pain of having a child with cancer.
  4. I refuse to waste my pain of Church hurt and disillusionment.
  5. I refuse to waste my pain of miscarriage.
  6. I refuse to waste my pain of a tear-stained face as I visit my son’s grave.

While I wish life was pain-free, it’s not! Loved ones die, tragedy visits, betrayal comes, but through it all, God is with us. He will bring us through it.  I can’t stop pain, but I can decide to use it to comfort others, to say God will bring you through this.

No, I can’t stop pain, but I refuse to waste it!

I Think I’ll Walk to Boston

IMG_2849 (2)I am the proud owner of a Fitbit pedometer.  One of my sons gave it to me a couple of years ago, and it is my faithful companion.   As I go to bed at night, I literally remove it and place it on the night stand, and then as soon as my feet hit the floor the next morning, back on it goes.  Each day of my life I am intentional about taking steps.  I have a goal of no less than 10,000 steps, and most days I make that.

Because I have the Fitbit synced with my computer, I receive progress reports.   I got my report for the year 2014 and was amazed at how far one can go by taking intentional steps.  Last year I walked more than two and one-half million steps, which translated to over eleven hundred miles.  The numbers would have been even higher except I lost my pedometer, and was without it for almost a month.   So, in 2014 I walked enough steps  to get to Boston, MA, Roswell, NM, Minneapolis, MN, and  a number of other places.

When I set out in 2014, I never knew how far I would go, but I purposed to get up every day and intentionally take steps. Some days I made much progress, and some days I hardly made any progress. Yet, I kept walking, and it amazing how far I went.

How did I do this?

  1. I was intentional about my walk. Some days I did not want to walk – I was tired, lazy, sick, burned out or depressed, but I still intentionally kept walking.
  2. I did it one step at a time. If someone had said your goal is to walk to Boston this year, I would have been overwhelmed. Instead, I just got up and walked a step at a time.

This is exactly what it is like to walk with God. Victory and fulfillment in God, comes through learning to continue whether one feels like it or not, and we do it one step at time. Each step gets us farther down the road. As we keep walking, we will look back and say, “Wow, look how far God has brought me!” And even better, we will get to walk with the living God, and know His presence and power.

I love what is said of Enoch: And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters… Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away”. (Genesis 5:22, 24).

I want to so walk with God that I am literally taken away by Him, that I am no more, and He is reflected in me.

Today why don’t you pick up your spiritual pedometer, strap it on in the Spirit, and head out!


I Quit!

quitting-churchA member of a certain church, who had been attending services regularly for quite some time, stopped going all of a sudden. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to pay the man a visit. It was a very cold evening and when the pastor arrived at the man’s home he found him sitting alone before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed the pastor and led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace. The man then sat down in his own chair and waited for the pastor to speak. Settling himself in the chair, the pastor said nothing. In silence, he contemplated the flames dancing around the burning logs. Several minutes passed. Then, the pastor took a pair of fire tongs and carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it on one side of the hearth — all alone.

Again, the pastor settled silently in his chair. Without a word, the man watched. Before long, the one lone ember flickered and then with a final momentary glow, the flame went out. Soon the ember lay cold and dead on the hearth. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Glancing at his watch, the pastor realized it was time to leave. Slowly he stood up, and taking hold of the fire tongs, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

At the door, the host clasped the pastor’s hand. With tears coursing down his cheeks, the host said, “Thank you, thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon! I will be back in church next Sunday.”

We live in a world today where, too often, people try to say too much with too little substance or worth — or say too little with too many words. Often, the end result is that no one listens. There are times when the best sermon is the one left unspoken.

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42


Boot Camp? What Was I Thinking?

bootcampToday, my upper body is groaning whether my lower body joins in or not!  I am more than willing to hug my husband, if he is willing to lift my arms and put them around him.  The lower body will be singing its own song tomorrow.   I started a rough, tough, six-week boot camp. This is not for sissies! At age sixty-three, I’ve asked myself several times: what were you thinking?

For years, I have been very stagnant with my exercise routine, doing the same things over and over and over. While that might be better than nothing, it was not getting me stronger for life.

Facts about my boot camp:

  1. I prepaid the whole six weeks so I’d think twice about quitting. This is not one of those fifty dollars for six weeks camps. The price that was paid makes me want to grow stronger!
  2. I am way out of my comfort zone. Treadmills I know! Ellipticals I know! A few exercise machines I know! All of those have helped in my journey. Now, I’m doing things beyond what I did in the past. For example, I’m squatting while “battling” large ropes. I have to quickly flick my wrists and keep the long, thick rope making waves.  The crunch machine – ugh!  The only thing I have been crunching for the last few years is chips.  Did I say this is not for sissies? 
  3. I bought  new clothes to dress the part. I have worn sloppy clothes to the gym for a long time. I took the Christmas money I was gifted and bought new, sharp looking duds! I am dressed to succeed.
  4. I have to listen to the right voice. One says, “You don’t want to do this, and you don’t have to do this.” Another says, “You can do this. It’s time to stretch and grow.” My success depends on my willingness to listen to and act upon the right voice.
  5. My leader (trainer) coaches me to go beyond where I have been. If I am not in a correct position to do what it takes to build my muscles, he tells me to position myself. I don’t have to do what he says. I can smile at him, praise him, thank him and go home and feel I have grown. Not! I have to do what the coach tells me.

Boot camp is much like the spiritual walk:

  1. PAID-IN-FULL. A price was paid in advance for us to have victory in this life, and be a part of God’s great adventures.  The price alone should make us push forward. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. 
  2. Battle the ropes.  Some of us have not moved beyond where we were ten years ago. We are doing the same spiritual treadmill. While that might have gotten us to this point, it’s time to “battle” a few ropes and move out of the comfort zone.  What can you do differently?  Stretch that faith!
  3. Dress the part. Put on the whole armor of God listed in Ephesians 6. I don’t mean the oral ritual that so many do each day, but really study the armor and dress in its principles. We have worn sloppy spiritual clothes long enough!
  4. Listen to the right voice. Hearing God’s voice above all others is essential. The easiest way to do that is to get into His written Word. So much “untruth” is being preached and taught today. Find out what God says, and don’t pick and choose verses that say only what you want to hear. Study whole books of the Bible even if it takes you a year to go through one book.
  5. Do what God says! He might even have to tell us that we are not in a correct position to grow, and there needs to be a position change. We have listened to hundreds of sermons, gone to countless conferences and taken enough notes to fill whole books. Too often we smile, throw up our hands in praise, give thanks and then go home and lay the notebook down. It’s time to do what the coach says!

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite  you to join me in God’s boot camp.  God is gently coaching us out of our comfort zone into a faith zone.  We can stretch our faith or play it safe. I think I’ll get up off this chair and head to the ropes!  How about you?

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15

Say It Out Loud in 2015

Say it louWe often quote or see quoted: “Behold, I am doing a new thing and it springs forth.”   Many pastors will preach/teach from this very verse as we enter 2015.

What is rare is to see more of the context quoted, and we need to see it.   Isaiah 43:16,18-19: “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

God is stating that He is a God who parts the waters to make a path when there seems to be no path. He promises that He will do a new thing, even if it requires blazing a path through the wilderness, or bringing a river to a desert.

Perhaps you don’t even feel like hearing “Behold I am doing a new thing.”  Perhaps you are thinking, “But look at this wilderness I find myself in.  I am drowning in the river of life.   It will never end!”

There is good news!!! God’s promise came in the midst of acknowledging that life takes us into the wilderness, and into waters over our heads.  God did not pretend it was all roses and chocolates.

As you enter 2015, talk to God about His promise and His declaration. “God, I find myself overwhelmed in life, but I stand in faith that You have declared that You are doing new things – things that might require a path through the sea or water in the desert.”

Now is the time to claim a new beginning and believe God can/will do a new thing in your life and your circumstances.

This is what I shall declare every day over my life in 2015:  “I declare that God is still the way-maker, the miracle worker, the provider of that which I need, the God who loves me, the God who cares about that which concerns me, the God who moves mountains, the God who heals, the God who restores, the God who works all things together for good,  the God of the open door, and the God who is going to do a new thing.”

Have you lost hope that anything will ever change? Take God at His word and declare it aloud, and continue declaring it.  Allow God to show Himself mighty in your life.

He is your God, and you are His child.  Now it’s time to say it out loud!

Am I Just Being a Wise Guy?

youth-leave-it-to-beaver-wise-guyThe “three” wise men in scripture are often not given credit for anything but the gifts of worship they brought to Jesus. There is only one account of the Magi and that is in the gospel of Matthew. We are not told there were only three men, but we assume that because they offered three gifts.

How wise were these Magi?

First, they were wise to find their way to the Christ child and worship Him. They did not come to observe Jesus, stare at Jesus or make judgments of what they thought of Jesus. These men set out on a journey to find the living Lord and bow before Him in worship. They, by faith, accepted that He was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the God. With all the “wisdom” around us, the wisest thing one can ever do is to worship the Lord Jesus, and offer our gifts to Him.

Second, these men were wise to listen to God and take action based on what God communicated. God had provided a star so these fellows could find Jesus, and they took the time to follow the star. Later, God gave them a dream telling them to return home a different way.   Herod intended to interrogate them, so he could find Jesus and kill him.  The important thing is not how many sermons we hear or Bible studies we attend, but how much of that becomes action in our lives.   We might know a lot, but that in itself is not wisdom.  It’s a wise man or woman who listens to God for direction and quickly puts it into action.

As I reflect on these wise men, I have purposed in my heart that I want to be a wise woman. The Bible tells of many wise people:

  • There was Enoch and Noah who were wise enough to walk with God in their day while the world around them refused to live for God. Thus, they were both saved while others perished.
  • There was Ruth who was wise enough to say to her Jewish mother-in-law, “…for where you go, I will go; and where you live, I will live; Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16, while her sister-in-law turned around and went back to a sinful society. Thus, Ruth became an ancestor of Jesus.
  • There was Andrew who was wise because he brought people to Jesus. He that wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30.
  • There was David, who was wise enough to say and understand, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
  • There was Martha, who was wise enough to invite Jesus into her home.
  • There was Mary, who was wise enough to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word.
  • There was Peter who was wise enough to step out in faith towards Jesus, even though the storm around him was raging.
  • Then, there were the wise men, who came to worship the Lord Jesus and offer their gifts.

Am I some sort of wise guy? I hope so. I want heaven to record that Barbara Benton was wise. Why? She followed God and worshiped at His feet.