While We Rant About The Weather Man

New Logo PPMIn my home state of Alabama we recently had a state of emergency weather alert. Schools were canceled all over our area and surrounding counties in order to keep our children safe. As our local meteorologist studied satellite images and made their best predictions as to what dangerous storms appeared to be heading our way, as our state government took the necessary steps needed to not burden our school administrators with  “make-up days” placed on them by other government entities, as businesses, churches, and parents focused on what we needed to do to make sure everyone was as SAFE as possible… a nation across the water was under a chemical attack.

Yesterday as we learned that the storms did NOT hit our area my social media newsfeed became filled with rants of those condemning our meteorologist and condemning those who condemned our meteorologist.

Such outrage over an attempt to keep our children and the people of our area as safe as possible… and no outrage… none over a chemical attack in Syria. Why? Because most were glued to the weather man because we have lost the ability to be able to walk outside and look out of our own windows and discern the signs of danger for ourselves.

But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

Matthew 16:2-3

If we have become a people that cannot discern the approaching of a storm… how can we even come close to discerning the work of God in our midst? Do we really understand the times in which we live? Are we aware of the day? Are we so concerned with being SAFE that we cannot see those in danger?

Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?
Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help.
I have become a brother to jackals
And a companion of ostriches.

Job 30:24-29

We know that Job was in a place of great suffering. In the last verse of this passage he says that he has become a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches. What could he mean by this?

Jackals mate in pairs and are territorial. Both the female and the male mark and defend the boundaries of their territory. Yipping calls are made when the family gathers. Here is the kicker: members only respond to their own family’s calls and ignore those of other individuals.

Ostriches, when threatened, run although their powerful, long legs can be formidable weapons, capable of killing a human or a potential predator like a lion with a forward kick. At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a distance, gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.

So here’s the picture Job is painting for us. He needs help. He is crying out for help. He is in the midst of suffering. He is hurting. He has experienced great loss. He has spent his life helping others and now that he needs help… he finds himself among jackals and ostriches.

He realizes he is surrounded by those who only care if it’s their own and those who run from him and lie low so that they might claim they did not know of his pain or of his trouble.

We have a world full of Job’s…

And we have church buildings full of jackals and ostriches.

Church let us lift up our eyes and see. Let us learn again how to discern the signs of our times. Let us step out and hear the howls of those that are not our own and run to them in their pain and NOT away from them. Stop laying low and playing ignorant… when we know that we know someone needs the grace and mercy of God and the hands and feet and words and love of Jesus.

For the love of Christ and the call of His heart let us be willing to leave the safe ninety-nine and go after the one that is lost.

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Luke 15:4

Crawling To Mount Zion


As I completed my study in 1 Samuel I thought of the main things that I learned through this historical book that contained the end of an era and the beginning of another in the nation of Israel. There were three main topics that the Lord focused in on me as I studied each week:

  1. The character of God
  2. Prayer
  3. Obedience

The three are all related to one another and depend on one another. When we begin to understand the character of God we will see our lives change in the area of prayer and obedience. We will go through seasons in this life that are flat out difficult and we might find it hard to pray… even feel it is a vain pursuit, but that is a lie. When we understand the character of God it makes it a lie easier to defeat.

We might go through times when we are being instructed in a way that doesn’t make sense to us, and God will call us to trust and obey. There will come times in life when we will question our “need” for obedience and what exactly obeying looks like in our present situation. Knowing the character of God will help us make the right decision.

As I thought on all that the Lord has been teaching me and reminding me of through this time in His Word, I wrote this poem:

Crawling To Mount Zion

My God You are good

My soul knows this very well

At times my heart deceives me

Tries to make me doubt that You are there

Yet only so far will You allow the lie to go

You never cease to reach and touch me through Your Word

Your truth never fails to open blinded eyes

Your light penetrates the places where darkness tries to hide

When this world makes us weary

When this life makes us weep

Your grace never fails completely sufficient to be

Your mercies new each morning do renew our strength

Your everlasting lovingkindness help us when we’re deplete

My eyes lift up and look to the glory that I know

If I have to crawl on bloody hands and bleeding knees

To Mount Zion I will go

To Your cross my sweet Jesus

To my Savior and my Lord

You endured great hate and persevered until death

So I shall keep crawling until I breathe my last breathe

Though the world thought it over in truth it just began

For the grave could not hold You, death was not the end

What looked like defeat was victory finally won

Hope is fulfilled for those that trust in the Son

It was finished and begun all in one event

Though this world bring me trouble

Though fallen mankind bring me pain

Though the prince of darkness bid me, come his way

Though this flesh try and tempt me to deny Your sweet name

No weapon formed against me can prosper

For I am hidden in Your grace

My soul in despair might fall from time to time

Yet hope in You my Father will always see I rise

To God be the glory for You are good indeed

I will trust in Your Word and by it let You lead

Not to the left nor to the right shall I ever turn

For Your truth lights my path and I will not be detoured

I am looking for Your promise to my home away from here

And while I travel onward I will trust You through my fear

My prayers I will offer as Your face I do seek

Knowing that You hear me and Your arms are not too short to reach

Whether I stand tall and strong or am crawling small and weak

I know that You are with me and my purpose You will see complete



Youth Choir and Spain Mission Trips

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Here is a small clip of the Messenger’s Choir singing. This group of kids has been given the open door to sing of the gospel and glory of God at Disney! Thousands from around the world frequent this park, therefore please remember them in prayer that the gospel being proclaimed through music would bear fruit in the lives of those who are there. May all who walk by their way have ears to hear!


cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgI just finished doing a little Google search on this word, leadership. The word came into use around the mid-19th century and appears to have had its peak around the 1970’s and then began to decline again until at least around 2008 (That’s as far as my Google search would take me.) This information is pulled from the use of the word in books, specifically book titles I believe. Leadership is the combination of the words leader and ship. Ship is a native English suffix that denotes a nouns condition, character, skill, office, etc.

What makes someone a leader? It’s really quite simply. Stop and look around you. Do you have anyone that you lead, guide, or inspire?  Are you a coach? A teacher? A parent? A pastor? An office manager? A supervisor? An upper class-men in your school? An older sibling? An aunt or uncle? Etc. You quite possibly are someone that never considered yourself to be in a position of leadership, but now that you have looked around you… you have just realized that yes, you indeed are one who leads, guides, and/or inspires others.

Now that you have looked around and realized who you are leading and when you are leading them, the next questions are:

  1. What kind of leader do you want to be for them?
  2. How are you leading them?
  3. Why are you leading them?
  4.  Where are you leading them?

The Word of God is filled with examples of leadership. The Lord leaves nothing out. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly of leaders recorded in the Scriptures. As I have just finished a study in 1 Samuel and am currently working through a leadership study with my family in our home, I have discovered that the leader I most aspire to be like is Samuel.

We are given a look into the leadership of this man of God in the first twenty-five chapters of 1 Samuel. I encourage you sit down and read through these chapters and make a list of all that you learn about the condition, character, skill, and office of Samuel. You will indeed be inspired and encouraged by this man’s example. For the purpose of this post we are going to look at one particular chapter to answer our four questions, 1 Samuel 12.

In this chapter Samuel is giving the people the king they asked for and in this he is, in a sense, stepping down as the leader of the people. In the first five verses he asks the people to answer, “How did I lead?”.

And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.”

1 Samuel 12:2-4

In the next five verses (1 Samuel 12:6-11) Samuel reminds the people why he was leading them…

When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.

1 Samuel 12:8-11

Then in 1 Samuel 12-18 he reminds the people where he was leading them.

13 Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

1 Samuel 12:13-15

Finally in the last verses of this chapter (1 Samuel 12:19-25) we see what kind of leader Samuel desired to remain to be whether it be in an official position of leadership or not…

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.

1 Samuel 12:23

Some use their position of leadership as an opportunity to take advantage of others, as an opportunity to lord power over others, as an opportunity to push their own agenda, as an opportunity to do nothing while forcing others to do everything, and as an opportunity for their own personal gain. This is not how Samuel led. The Lord and the people could bear witness to this truth.

Samuel led with integrity. Samuel led in order to lead the people to the Lord. He wasn’t leading so that the people would follow him. No, his leadership was for the sole purpose of leading the people to follow the Lord. Even when those he led rejected him, he remained steadfast in his devotion to be a man of integrity. He would not allow the actions of others to change his character or life’s purpose.

As we walked through our study as a family last night my husband shared a piece of advice that a friend gave him once, “It’s hard to be mad at someone you are praying for...” Our daughter Shelby chimed in and said, “I have never forgotten you telling me that! I couldn’t remember who told you that, but I remembered the advice, and have never forgotten it!” My husband went on to say, “It’s hard to pray for someone your mad at, but it’s also hard to be mad at someone you are praying for… it works both ways.” So the bottom line is, will you choose to pray? Will you choose to take the situation to the Lord or not?

This is the kind of leader that I want to be… one that leads with integrity and one that leads other to follow the Lord… not me. One that takes all things to the Lord in prayer before I step out to lead so that I can make sure that I, myself, am indeed following the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding. When we read the first twenty-five chapters of the book of 1 Samuel we see that Samuel prayed about everything and then he waited for an answer from the Lord before he moved forward in action. His first desire was to be faithful and obedient to the Lord his God. May that be our first desire as well.

…the Lord declares, …for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.

1 Samuel 2:30

Share and Share Alike

Design_PNGThis past week our precept class at Central completed our last week of study in the book of 1 Samuel. It has indeed been a rich study full of truth for the reality of situations that come with life on this earth. As we walk through the recorded history of the events of David’s life we are able to see that being a man or woman after God’s own heart does not exempt us from trouble and it does not exempt us from struggling with doubts and discouragements. However, being a man or woman after God’s own heart means that in the midst of our trouble, our doubts, our discouragements we have a Living God there with us to give us help, hope, encouragement… and wisdom.

As I studied in 1 Samuel 30 I saw where the Lord recorded a very wise call through the mouth of David. Wisdom in dealing with others is vital for those in leadership. When we compare David’s leadership with that of Saul’s through the book of 1 Samuel we see exactly how vital it is, not just for themselves, but for all those they are leading.

In 1 Samuel 30 David has returned to his current home at Ziklag with his 600 men as they were rejected by the commanders of the Philistines and not allowed to fight with them against Israel (that’s a whole other lesson in itself on how God uses what we may think is rejection as our character preservation).  David and his men return to find that the Amalekites have raided their town and taken everything including their wives and children. The men are absolutely distraught and they are flat out exhausted.

The men turn on David and threaten his life, but David turns to the Lord and strengthens himself in the Lord… possibly for the first time in  while. David inquires of the Lord and the Lord tells him to pursue the Amalekites and all will be restored. David and his 600 turn to pursue the raiders, but 200 of them are simply too weary to cross the waters that divided them and those they pursued. These 200 stay and camp while David the other 400 cross over and continue the pursuit.

The Lord gives them victory just as He said He would and not only do David and the 400 men gain their own people and possessions back but also all the other possessions that these raiders have taken from others. Then they turn to return home…

21 When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 23 Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. 24 And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”

1 Samuel 30:21-24

How does the word of God describe the men who did not want to share the spoil with those who had to stay behind? They are described as wicked and worthless.

What nugget of wisdom does the Lord deliver through the mouth of David? “For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”

Let this principle sink in beloved. Think on how it applies in our day and think of how many wicked and worthless we have spouting off the same reasoning today.

Dear stay-at-home wife and/or mom yes, when your husband goes to work and you remain to care for the home and children… his wages ARE equally yours.

Dear church member whose current place in life does not allow you to teach, go on mission trips, or freely serve as you so desire, but you faithfully live out the Word of God in your daily life, pray, tithe, and support those who can go… every soul that is saved IS a part of your fruits as well.

We are supposed to all be in this together. If we are indeed in Christ then we are all part of His body. Sometimes the feet rest while the hands work and the hands rest while the eyes work. Yet, they share in the spoil of the battle, in the fruit of the labor, because they are striving together for the same purpose with the same mind united in spirit.

Don’t confuse rest with laziness and those who lead undisciplined lives being busybodies that stir up strife (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13). No, we must also remember where those 200 men had been prior to their rest on the other side of the brook of Besor. They had been right there fighting and traveling and serving alongside all the others. They did not stop because they were lazy, but simply because their bodies could go no further.

This past Sunday our church celebrated its 125th Anniversary as a church body. At the beginning of this celebration service one of our pastors acknowledged everyone who had ever served on ministerial staff (pastor, financial secretary, admin assistant, etc), anyone who had every served as support staff (buildings and ground, library, director, etc), and anyone who was a direct descendent of a charter member. Our church acknowledged that no matter the service, no matter how long the service, they shared in the fruit of all that the Lord has done, is doing, and will do through our church.

Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Deuteronomy 7:9


The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 33:11

David made clear to his men that the spoil didn’t belong to any of them. It was in their hands only because the Lord gave them victory. David did not just command that these 400 share this victory with the 200 waiting on the other side of the brook, but he took these spoils and he shared them throughout Israel. What the enemy had taken away, the Lord restored, and David was not going to take credit for something that God alone accomplished.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1:17

Dear God, I’m Stressed!

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgThe Word of God truly is a beautiful and amazing tool at our fingertips if we are willing to learn it and apply it. This past week as I studied and taught through 1 Samuel 21-23 the focus of the week was, how do we live as men and women after God’s own heart when we are under unrelenting stress. Some Christians will claim that if you have enough faith you won’t be stressed… and well I am here to tell you that is a load of crock. If David, a young man who had enough faith to stand before Goliath with just a sling and a stone, lived under unrelenting stress… then why on earth would I expect to go through this life stress free? No, instead of denying the reality of stress let us rather acknowledge it so that we can gain the knowledge to persevere and overcome.

There are many things in our day that can cause us to be stressed and the reality is, stress effects our health: Stress Effects. Sometimes stress is put on us by others and by circumstances out of our control. We have not caused it or asked for it. However sometimes stress is a result of dealing with our own choices and the consequences that come with them. When we follow the life of David through the Scriptures we see him walk through all these various causes of stress.

In 1 Samuel 21-23 the focus is on stress that is not of our making, so today, that’s what this post will be focusing on.

A little background: In 1 Samuel 15 King Saul disobeys God for the last time that the Lord is going to allow him to remain king. In this chapter the Lord tells King Saul through the prophet Samuel that his kingdom will be ripped from his hands. Then in 1 Samuel 16 the Lord sends the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. David was the youngest son of his father and was out with the sheep playing his harp for the Lord. This anointing was not something he was seeking, it was placed upon him by God.

The Lord then orchestrates events so that David ends up in King Saul’s presence playing his harp for him in order to calm his disobedient selfish self down, and David does so with great honor and respect. He would go back and forth between playing for Saul and tending sheep for his father. Then in 1 Samuel 17 Goliath shows up and David slays the giant and becomes quite popular with the ladies and everyone else in Israel.

This leads to King Saul becoming pretty darn jealous of this young handsome harp playing warrior. He becomes so jealous that in 1 Samuel 18 he actually tries to spear David to the wall TWICE while David is playing the harp for him. Then he sends David out as a soldier hoping he will get killed in battle, but David just succeeds. King Saul gives his daughter to David to be his wife, in the hopes that she will be a distraction when he is in battle, but that doesn’t work either. King Saul, now David’s father-in-law, grows even more jealous of this young man, to the point that David has to run for his life. I would say this is a stressful situation. Now the question is, how does David handle it?

In 1 Samuel 21 David flees for his life and he stops to visit with Ahimelech the priest in order to inquire of the Lord and get some food and a sword. While there, one of Saul’s servants sees him, but at this time no one but Jonathan (Saul’s son) knows that David has fled. David with his bread and sword now heads into Philistine territory hoping to hide from Saul. He was, however, unaware of his popularity in the land and is quickly seized and taken before the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-14).

Stress #1: I’ve done nothing wrong and yet those that I call family and have faithfully served want to kill me. I have just decided to leave and run for my life and just when I think I am safe I am now captured by enemies of my people. I mean this is a Hatfield and McCoy’s moment. This is an, I grew up a Hindu and my family disowned me because I became a Christian and I had to leave and now I just got kidnapped by ISIS moment. Hello! MAJOR stress!

What does David do?

He takes it to the Lord: Psalm 56

For they are many who fight proudly against me.
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?

Psalm 56:2-4

As David cries out to the Lord in his fear and recalls who his God is and commands himself not to be afraid even in the midst of his fear the Lord gives him an idea of deliverance. David acts like a madman before the king of Gath and the king sends him out of his presence (1 Samuel 21:15) and then David praises the Lord. We are privileged to his praise in Psalm 34.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:1-4

Oh beloved, read through Psalm 34, all of it. As you read pay attention to the word ALL. David praised the Lord for his deliverance from the king of Gath, but as he did he recalled ALL that the Lord had delivered him from. He went back to the lion, the bear, Goliath, Saul’s spear, and the countless times on the battlefield. The Lord gave David this Psalm to remember all that He had done so that he could remember all that He could do because the stresses in David’s life were not over, there were many more to come.

Stress #2: I’m thankful that the Lord has delivered me and protected me thus far, but I am alone and I am afraid. I need some Jesus with skin on. God, is there anyone out there on our side that will help me and walk through this pain, this time, this trial with me?

When David escapes the Philistines he hides in a cave in Adullam. We see the emotional roller coaster that David is on during this time through the words of  Psalm 142.

We see him go from praising the Lord in Psalm 34 to once again crying out to God for help as he is alone and hiding in cave and fearing for his life. So guess what the Lord does… He sends his family to him and he begins building him an army (1 Samuel 22:1-2, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18).  When we need Jesus with skin on, when we need the fellowship and friendship of other believers, the Lord has a way of sending them to us.

Stress #3: I simply did what I believed to be the right thing and now innocent people have been hurt and it’s my fault. Someone took my words and my actions and twisted them and used them to hurt someone else. My actions, whatever they were, have caused even the death of someone else.

Do you remember that servant of Saul that saw David talking with the priest? Well this little tattle tail hears Saul offering land and vineyards to anyone who will turn in David. You see Saul’s soldiers love David and they are not to quick to offer up any knowledge of his whereabouts, but this servant, Doeg the Edomite, he is more than willing. He tells Saul about the meeting with the priest and Saul calls not just that priest, but all in the town, to him for questioning. Then he wants them killed. None of Saul’s soldiers will move, but Doeg kills eighty-five of them. One escapes to tell David what has happened.

22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, for you are safe with me.” (1 Samuel 22:20-23)

Can you even imagine?

What does David do? Does he fall apart under the weight of the guilt? No he doesn’t. Once again he takes it to the Lord. We see this in Psalm 52.

I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

Psalm 52:8-9

Lovingkindness is a covenant term. David recalls that He serves a good God. He serves a sovereign God. He may not understand why God allowed this to happen. He might feel that evil is winning, but he knows that somehow God is going to make it right. He has to choose to trust Him. He has to choose to wait one His name. He has to choose to remember that the Lord is good. The Lord acts in love always. The Lord is kind in all His ways. The Lord will not allow the wicked to prosper.

Stress #4: I did everything in my power to help them. I protected them. I cared for them. I fought for them. I have never in any way hurt them or been a burden to them, and yet they betray me. When I need their help they leave me stranded and do not help me. They even have gone so far as to purposely cause me pain.

While David and his men are hiding from Saul a band of Philistines attacks the area he is in. David asks the Lord if he should help the people and fight the Philistines and the Lord tells him yes. So David and his men defeat the Philistines and deliver the people of Keilah from their hands. The people of Keilah repay him by telling Saul they know where he is so David flees to Ziph and well the people of Ziph do the same thing. (1 Samuel 23).

So what does David do? He leans into the Lord. Through Psalm 54 we see how David cried out to the Lord.

People have a way of using their tongues to try and bring destruction, but as David has also says in Psalm 27:3,

Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

David begins crying out to the Lord in Psalm 54 as Saul and his army are closing in on him, and the Lord sends in the Philistines as a diversion. Saul’s army has to retract their attack on David and go and defend the nation of Israel from this Philistine army and David and his men flee to a new hiding place from Saul. Once again the Lord proves Psalm 34 and delivers David.

Yes, there is this thought that passes through christian circles claiming that if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and are living righteously and keeping His Word then your life will be stress free… but through the life of David we see that is simply not true, nope, not so much. We live in a fallen world with fallen people that is filled with spiritual forces of darkness that hate the Light. How on earth would we think that in the midst of this we could ever be completely stress free?

We can’t.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

When we cry, “Dear God, I’m stressed!” Let us do as David did and lean into the Lord we cry to. He will sustain us if we will just trust Him. Beloved there is nothing that we will walk through that is new and the Lord has recorded through the lives of His people how we can make it day by day through whatever this life might throw at us. We can remain to be women and men after God’s own heart even while living under unrelenting stress, if we will keep ourselves humble under His hand knowing who our God is and remembering that He is for us, not against us, and He is with us,.. ALWAYS.


The Problem Wasn’t Obama And It Isn’t Trump Today

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgI am currently teaching through the book of 1 Samuel and as I was digging into the treasures it contained the Lord highlighted a particular verse. This verse caught my attention, but I wasn’t clear why as to why as I was looking for particular key words at the time. Then as I read through this particular chapter again I felt His Spirit teach me.

If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God.

1 Samuel 12:14

At this point in time in Israel’s history they are in the midst of a major transition as a nation.  The children of Israel were led out of Egypt by Moses and carried into the promise land by Joshua and then after the death of Joshua and the elders that ruled under him, the people went through a time known as the Judges. Sadly, even though the people had been led by faithful men of God for hundreds of years, it did not take long for them to fall away from their devotion to God without them.  By the time of the birth of Samuel Israel was really in an idolatrous mess.

From what I can gather the book of Judges and Ruth coincides in time with the first twelve chapters of the book of 1 Samuel. When you read through the book of 1 Samuel with this in mind you get a much clearer picture of how far away the people and priests had strayed from their foot of the mountain devotion to the Lord their God. The covenant they had made to the Lord at Sinai and their promises for undivided devotion to Him had long since been forgotten, however they still expected Him to keep His end when they needed Him too.

We see this when in battle with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4, the people have the  serving priests Hophni and Phineas grab the Ark of the Covenant and bring it on the battlefield expecting its presence to deliver them from their enemies. However, the god of Gods, the Lord of lords, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and our every breath will not be used as a good luck charm. He instead allows the Ark to be captured by the enemy, Hophni and Phineas are killed, and Israel is defeated in the battle.

The Lord allows the Ark to remain in enemy hands for seven months (at the enemies expense of course, just read 1 Samuel 5-6 to see what I mean), but the Lord our God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). The Philistines place the Ark of God on a cart pulled by some milch cows to see if these cows will be led away from their nursing calf in order to be led by God to return the Ark to Israel, and well them two momma cows carry the Ark straight back to Israel and never check up on their bellowing calves. At this point and time Israel is hit in the face with their depravity and they realize their sin against their God who loves them and is willing to return to them to keep His covenant with them. The children of Israel put away all their false gods and they turn their hearts back to God as they are led by Samuel, the prophet and judge.

However, years pass… and now Samuel is getting a little gray in his hair and they are not to happy with his two sons and so the elders come to Samuel and ask him to ask God for a king to rule them. They wanted a king like all the other nations. They wanted someone else to fight their battles for them.  Samuel is crushed and takes their request to the Lord, and the Lord tells him that they have not rejected Samuel, but they have in fact rejected God who has been their king and has been the One who has fought for them since the day He brought them out of Egypt. Nevertheless, if they wanted a king, they could have one… and all that comes with him (1 Samuel 8:10-22).

Not much has changed about the nature of people since the days of the Judges… or from the day of the fall really. We think we are in a new day with new thinking and new revelation and new wisdom and ideas… all people ever do is repeat history over and over again. It’s actually quite exhausting when you sit back and watch and see it for what it is… there is NOTHING new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). This is why the children of God should not wring our hands in worry and get distraught over politics and policy and laws, we just need to be obedient to the Lord and trust Him with the consequences of that obedience.

Let’s look at 1 Samuel 12:14 again,

If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God.

Judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). If we, as the church, will simply be obedient to our God then He will cause the one who rules over us to be obedient as well. However, when we loose focus, He will use the heart of our earthly ruler to redirect us back to Him and His purpose for us.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1

You see we can blame Obama and we can protest Trump, but it’s not about them… it’s about us church. God commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and when they chose instead to build a tower and city for their own name He came down and scattered them Himself (Genesis 11). Jesus commanded the church to preach the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, and when they wanted to stay holed up in Jerusalem, He allowed persecution to run them out to do what He had commanded them to do (Acts 8:1). When our churches become community country clubs, entertainment centers, prisons of judgment and condemnation, or places of promoted licentiousness that mock the grace of God then our Lord will do what He has to do to tear down these walls.

He summons the heavens above, And the earth, to judge His people…

Psalm 50:4

He has called us to seek and save the lost. He called us to make known the magnificent promise and to glorify the name above all names, Jesus Christ our Lord. He expects us to do it. It’s kind of hard to see the Light when it’s locked in behind closed doors. It’s kind of hard to sow seed into concrete parking lots. Scattering more salt on already salted food simply begins to make it inedible and unpalatable… and well you just can’t help but want to snarl your nose at it, and spit it out, and trample it underfoot.

Perhaps it’s time that we stop blaming our elected officials and we simply begin by choosing to submit ourselves under the authority of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Let the church be reminded that we are ambassadors for Christ in a foreign land. Israel asked for a king and the Lord gave them one… because what they really needed to know was that it didn’t matter what earthly form of government they were under. It didn’t matter whether they were led by a judge, a prophet, or a king as long as their hearts and wills were submitted to the One who ruled over the heavens and the earth.

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

Acts 17:24

So You Say You’re Not A Racist

New Logo PPMThere has been much debate within our country in the last few years about whether or not racism is a real issue in 2017 or whether it is pot stirred political agenda hype. In all honesty sitting here in my southern born, light freckled skin, red-headed self… I say it is still an issue.

Many will claim they are not racist. They will talk about how they have friends, co-workers, team mates, etc of different races and make their stand, but there is always one thing that seems to change that… when their child comes home dating someone of a different race. Here is where the stammering starts and the truth of the heart is revealed.


This is a picture that I snuck last year in church as a Momma who caught her fifteen year old daughter holding hands for the first time with a boy who was not her Daddy or a boy that just happened to be standing next to her in a prayer circle. It was a moment that as a proud Momma I couldn’t help but capture. This was one of those times when I looked and thanked God and in my heart said “for this moment I prayed.”

My husband and I have been praying for our daughters and their choices in relationships since we knew they were coming into this world. We knew that a young man’s family was important and how he interacted and treated his family would be how he treated our girls when the “best behavior” of dating wore off. So when our daughter expressed interest in this young man, we started watching him.

We saw that he faithfully served in several area of our church. He attended a Bible study on his own every Sunday morning BEFORE Sunday school and in addition too. We watched how he treated his parents and his sister. We listened to how others in the church spoke of him. We paid attention to how he honored our present rules with our daughter within the area of the friend zone, rules that  were the same whether they were male friends or female friends. We actually began watching before she knew that we were, because well when you talk with your kids and study them… you can always tell when they are beginning to “favor” someone.

One night, after she had admitted her liking of this young man, we were discussing boys and futures during our bedtime devo. I asked her questions about what it was that she saw in him that caught her interest and I shared with her what I, as her mother was praying concerning her future husband. The look on her face was priceless as she realized that I was praying for specific things that she had never told me that she herself had also committed to prayer. However, here is the thing, as I shared my list of the qualities, gifts, talents, character, and spiritual maturity that I was praying for the Lord to develop in her future spouse, never once was one of those that he must be fully caucasian. Thank God! For if it was we would have missed a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness, provision, and specifically answered prayers.

Our daughter’s first serious relationship began at the age of fifteen after when twelve years old she realized that she did not want to join the jump from crush to crush but let’s call it love bandwagon. She chose friendship. She decided that if they could not survive in the friend zone then they were never worthy of even consideration of the next zone… and she saw no need to open the next zone until marriage could be considered the next step. She chose to share who she thought was cute and caught her eye with me and her Daddy and then when that moment passed… it simply passed. No weirdness included.

Then she met the young man she is holding hands with in the picture above.  They served together in children’s and music ministry and she finally shared with me that the way she felt about him was different and it was NOT going away. She for the first time realized what it was to really want to allow someone into the next zone. She had met someone who checked off everything she was praying for as she prayed for her future husband. She saw ’til death do us part in this young man… and yes we are also of that weird set of parents who have no problem with young marriage. We are old school and believe you can do life, learn life, and grow up in life together (and that includes college).

Had we have said NO, you can’t date him because he is from a different culture and race we would have missed:

  • a young man who was eighteen years old and like our daughter had never allowed any one out of the friend zone
  • a young man who said I have to talk to my parents still but I would very much like to pursue a relationship with your daughter
  • a young man whose parents met with us and we discussed what we expected in the relationship, what boundaries we expected to be respected when at the others house, and then a prayer as parents over their hearts and their relationship with each other and the Lord as they both stepped into unknown territory
  • dinner all together as both parents clearly expressed to the young couple that we knew what was expected from each of them
  • a mother who points at her young son and tells him that it is his responsibility to honor our daughter’s commitment to have her first “real” kiss at the altar on her wedding day

This is just a few of the things we would have closed the door on had we stuck the race stipulation on our daughters.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;

Revelation 7:9

My husband and I and our girls are a part of an unusual race; the race of Christ. We are a part of a chosen race…

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9

This is the only race and cultural expectation that we place on any one they date while under our roof. This is the one that is eternal. Our prayer is that they enter into the covenant of marriage with someone who has a family legacy of belonging to THIS race even if it is only one generation back. We just want them to partner in life with someone who is hard at work in their Father’s business (Luke 2:9, KJV). The color of their skin and the cultural background they come from is all God and His plans for a  future and a hope for them (Jeremiah 29:11).

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

Act 17:24-26

Racism is alive and well in our nation… and it will remain so until the church of Jesus Christ chooses to truly see past the flesh and judge all people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. There is one certain place where the color of one’s skin should never matter and that is the church! It shouldn’t just be the athletic arena or field but the church of our Lord and Savior! His bride is made up of every nation, tribe, and tongue and His church should boldly express and proclaim it.

My favorite time every year in our church is VBS. During VBS our church is filled with at least a 1000 kids, youth, and adults from what appears like every race and social and economic background. It is a beautiful site to behold. One day we hope too see that same beautiful site on every Sunday morning…

I Choose Hannah


This past week in my newsfeed there have been many comments and posts relating to the protests and women’s march. I simply read one article containing the transcript of one of the women who spoke and it was enough to break my heart. If you do not think ministry to women, youth, and children is important then watch just a little of this and you will hopefully understand exactly how important it is.

I could cringe at these women and say how disgusting their words are, but the truth is I used to speak just like them. It’s a good thing that the Lord captured my heart before I was introduced to the world of social media or followed through on that journalism degree. I felt the sting of second class citizenry to the point that when I found out the child I was carrying within my womb was a girl, I left the ultrasound room in tears. My husband was dumbfounded.

Why was I in tears? All I could see was the statistics that 1 in 3 women would be raped or molested in their lifetime. All I could see was years of condemnation that she would endure due to the size of her waistline and the label on her clothes. All I could see was the fear on her face when she once again had to walk through the school and call her parents to come and get her because her menstrual cycle had ruined her clothes. All I could see was her not being strong enough to fight off an attacker. All I could see was the hurt she would endure simply because she was a girl. I wanted a chance to raise a boy that would protect girls… not a girl that would be hurt by them. Yet, God gave me girls.

If you have read my book Devotions From Genesis It’s Not Just Ancient History then you have heard me share how as I was reading through the Bible for the very first time I grew quite angry with this God I was trying to get to know. I struggled through Lot’s decision to throw his virgin daughters to an angry horny mob of men but when I read of the concubine in the book of Judges I closed my Bible and told God that if this is really how He viewed me as a woman I wanted nothing more to do with Him. Yet God is quite stubborn and His Spirit quite persistent and so I picked up the Bible again after a week or so and I am so glad that I did… because I found my life in Him.

As I continued to read, the Spirit of God taught me and wrapped up my heart and bound my wounds. The Word of God held me as He worked me through the Psalms and taught me of my intrinsic value and worth. He spoke words of love and adoring favor in my heart as my eyes read of His true feelings and devotion for me.  He began to teach me of the great gift of womanhood. I went from believing that being born a woman was a curse to knowing instead that it was indeed a blessing with great honor and privilege. One so much so that the serpent of old had a target on my back just because I was a woman. I began to learn that men were not the enemy… Satan was.

Today as a woman we can listen to the women shouting in the microphone of the world or we can choose instead to listen to the women praying in the Word… Today, as a woman, I choose Hannah.

“My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God. Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength.”
~ Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-2, NASB)

Hannah felt the sting of second class citizenry. She knew it well. She also felt the sting of bitterness and oppression from other women. Even here as a mature believer I have watched the words of women sting other women. I have seen posts of Christian women demeaning and calling for the crucifixion of other Christian women and the stepping down of pastors of a church simply because they allowed a godly woman to share the Word of God in their pulpit when men were in the room… GASP!

I myself have taught the Word of God before and have had boys older than twelve told to leave the room because I had no right or authority to teach them as a woman. To this very day I step into a pulpit to teach with great caution because I know that the hearts of many, women included, think I have no right to stand there simply because God in His sovereign will chose to knit me, His servant, His beloved, in the womb as a woman.  I can’t help but find it quite sad that God shows in His Word that a man can be taught by a donkey… but so many think a man can’t be taught by a woman. I am thankful that I was raised by a man who saw my value, my worth, and yes, my Holy Spirit given gift of teaching the Word.

So as a woman, I could grab a microphone and shout and spew venom or I can take a knee. I can bow before the One who created me woman and I can humble myself and trust Him.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him…

Philippians 2:5-9

Hannah humbled herself and it was God who exalted her. She didn’t look to man to exalt her. She didn’t look to other women to exalt her. She didn’t look to the world to exalt her. No, she humbled herself under the mighty hand of her God and she poured her complaint to Him and then she trusted Him with the results. She remained humble and kind. The words of her mouth and the mediation of her heart were pleasing to God. Hannah didn’t get nasty… she got holy.

Ladies, having gone from a hard core feminist mindset to a sold out biblical womanhood advocate let me tell you that Jesus is the real deal. He is the One, the only One, that truly sets you free. In and through Him I have learned what it means to be a woman. I have learned that the prayers of a godly woman move mountains. I have learned that He is my strength, my defender, my voice, my Lord and my God.

Therefore, let us become women of God whose hearts exult in Him and whose mouths declare His praise. May the words of our mouth be filled with the knowledge of God and flow out from a humble heart so that the weak may be made strong in the Lord and the hurting might find hope in Him. May God be able to use our prayers, our words, and our actions to show others the way to Jesus.

Sittin’ In The Dark


The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 19:7-8, NASB


These two verses are a couple of my favorite. They make my favorite list because wrapped up in them is this beautiful pathway to life. At first glance or just a regular read through we might miss it, but if we take the time to look a little deeper the pathway is right there and actually was always there all along. 

The first part of verse seven tells us that the law of the Lord is perfect. The Hebrew translation of “perfect” in this verse is tamim and it means complete. Then we see what the law does… it restores the soul. The Hebrew word for restoring is shub and it means to return, to turn back, convert, to refresh.  Here lies the first step on to the path; the recognition that our soul needs restored.

The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh and it means a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion. The soul encompasses all that we are on the inside. The part of us that we might be able to decorate and disguise for others in intermediate intervals, but no matter how hard we try it’s brokenness reveals itself in our struggles to keep the thing under control.  May it be the kids that won’t stop fighting, the referee that can’t seem to make right the call, the traffic on the way to work, or the person that finally answers the phone at the help desk after you have pressed one at least six times and been on hold for thirty-eight minutes and forty-two seconds. The reality of our broken soul reveals itself time and time again. 

As the brokenness of our soul and our inability to control its appetite, desire, and emotions reveals itself to us we really only have three choices before us. So here lies our choices:

1) We blame others, our circumstances, and particular situations claiming that if they would change we would be fine.

2) We accept it as who we are, embrace it, feed it, and use it to get what we want regardless of who it hurts.

3) We acknowledge it, refuse to accept it, take responsibility for it and turn to the Lord, the One whose law is perfect and is able to restore our soul.

As I shared this particular verse with a group of young ladies yesterday I explained that usually when the Word of God uses “perfect” it means completes. It doesn’t mean perfect in the way that we use it as in a not-a-hair-out-of-place kind of way. I then used the illustration of a vase.

When God created us we were like a beautifully crafted vase, but then sin shattered us. Now we are fallen, broken, and scattered in pieces. However our God is able to take us and all our broken pieces and put them back together again. He is able to complete the vase. Now the once broken vase is complete, not perfect, but complete. The cracks and lines of the once broken vase remain, but it is once again complete.

We don’t yet stand before Him perfect as in not-a-hair-out-of-place as if we were never broken. One day we will, but not today beloved. Today others need to see that we once were broken but are now restored. We once were shattered and scattered but now we are complete. Others need to see this because the cracks allow the light to shine through.

When we skip ahead and we look at the last part of verse eight in Psalm 19 we see that the commandment of the Lord is pure and the result of it is that it enlightens the eyes. In Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus teaches us,

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

My husband just walked down the stairs and entered the room where one of our daughters is doing her school work. The first words out of his mouth was, “Do you like sittin’ in the dark?”  Then he switches on the light. She hadn’t realized she was sitting in the dark until the light entered the room.

I’m sure you have experienced this as well. Possibly it’s a day when you did not have an overhead light on because the light from the sun streaming through the windows was more than enough for the room you were in. However, as the day went on and the sun went down your eyes began to acclimate to the darkness. It never even occurs to you to get up and turn on the light because you have slowly adjusted for the darkness. However, once you get up and walk into a lit room or someone else walks into the room and turns on the light, all of a sudden your eyes are flooded with light and you realize that you were sitting in the dark.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:6-12

Yes, Psalm 19:7-8 gives us a beautiful pathway to life. It introduces us to the law, testimony, precepts, and commandment of the Lord. Through them and in Him we both realize our brokenness and receive our restoration. We both discover we are sittin’ in the dark and have the light flipped on.

We also come to realize that if we didn’t know we were sitting in the dark until the light came through, then others do not either. Jesus tells us that if our eyes our clear then we will be filled with light, but if our eyes are bad we will be filled with darkness, and if the light that you do have is actually darkness then how great is that darkness.

If we are looking through darkness then what we see is distorted versions of reality, but it IS our reality and it will remain our reality until the light allows us to see clearly. Sometimes that light flips on and it blinds us and we close and cover our eyes and blink like crazy until we can see and quickly adjust, but sometimes it takes just as long for our eyes to adjust to the light as it did for them to adjust to the dark.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:12-16


To learn more about God’s Word and how it restores our soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, and enlightens our eyes, order your own copy of Finding True Joy Through a Study of Psalm 119…

The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn