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Friday, March 17, 2017

Willing Savior Pt 1


We all have our own unique cross to bear. We each have burdens, sufferings, and painful situations. Most of the time we don’t have a choice. We can’t avoid it. We just shoulder it and go on. 

But if you were to give me a choice? Would I choose to suffer? To go through pain? No thank you. I would never choose to do so. I want to avoid it if I can. 

But what about carrying someone else’s cross? Shouldering someone else’s burdens and pain? Well, I can help a little. But no matter how much I love them, and want to help, I’m only human. I can only do so much. 

But if I could do it, would I do it willingly? That’s a tough question. I don’t know if I would, to be honest. Sometimes with the ones I love the best, I may feel like I would. I don’t like to see them suffer. Or anyone for that matter. But what about someone who deserves punishment? 

Would I take someone else’s punishment for a crime I didn’t commit? I may feel like a noble, good person, but deep down...I just don’t know if I would do that. After all, sometimes they just plain deserve it. 

Well.....I deserved punishment. I am guilty of sin. I was Simon Peter who fell at Jesus feet and cried, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8  I was Judas who betrayed Him for coin. I was much worse. 

I was born into sin. Nobody had to teach me how to sin, I just did it. It was my nature. It rose up within me, like a underground spring. You can’t cap this. So what’s the answer? 

Do all the good works I can to gain God’s favor? Follow all the rules to a T? Go to church every time the door opens? Give all my money to charity? Or just turn a cold shoulder to God and pretend I don’t care? 

I so love Paul’s vulnerability when he shares the his struggle with the sin problem; But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 6:17-25 The Message Bible

Yes, thank God, Jesus Christ can and does! Paul goes on to share this gospel, (good news) in the next few verses:

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. Romans 8:1-4 The Message Bible

Dear friend, let this soak in your spirit. Drink it in. It stirs my spirit. Jesus entered my hot mess of a life and took my punishment. He dove deep in my pain and suffering; Felt. it. all. He set me free. I now have a spring of life, bubbling up within me. Wholeness, joy and peace. 


It’s a gift, a free gift. Yet bought with a price by a willing, suffering Savior. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rambling Thursdays



Winter is winding down and I’m beginning to plan my garden. When it gets into March, I get restless for Spring. Yet I have done a little work outside. I’ve pruned bushes and the peach trees. Tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths are peeking out of the ground. 

I’m primarily a flower gardener, yet I love my vegetable garden as well. Flowers are my passion. I’m willing to try new species. I’ve had some fail miserably and others prove a lovely surprise. I keep track of these successes and failures in a journal I’ve kept for about five years now. 

The journal is great for collecting pictures, store tags, and any useful information. I even have a section for garden quotes. I highly recommend it. In today’s Rambling Thursday’s edition, I thought I would share some ideas for your garden this summer. 

Elderberry: This is something new I planted a couple of years ago. It’s a small shrub that I planted at the back of a border. It exceeded my expectations. It has beautiful lacy foliage with pink flowers. It almost looks like a Japanese maple. Very easy to grow. Plant in the sun or partial shade. You may have to prune it every year. Other than that, not much work at all to maintain. 

Anise hyssop: This is my favorite flower. The flowers are pretty lavender spires. Other colors may be available. Very easy to grow, in fact, it thrives just about anywhere. I’ve transplanted a few plants from one flower. 

It can get a bit tall, so it’s a good back of the border plant. The leaves smell like licorice. Another plus...the butterflies and bees adore it. 

Heliopsis.  Another very easy flower to grow. Almost like miniature sunflowers. It’s thrives in the sun. As long as you dead head the spent flowers, it will bloom till fall. 

It can get a bit tall and fill out quite well. So give it plenty of room. It transplants well also. 

I’m sure you are seeing a pattern by now. Easy to grow, transplants well. That’s how I roll! I’ve done all the work, so learn from me. 

Butterfly resting on a Pholx


Coral Bells: I’ve grown to love these plants. They are similar to Hostas, only smaller and more colorful. Beautiful foliage and some have delicate flowers. They grow in partial to full shade. Easy to grow. They are small, squat plants, so you’ll have to put them in front. There are many varieties and colors. 

Catmint: I discovered this flower a few years ago. Fragrant leaves and purple spires. You can’t go wrong with this one. Very easy to grow. Loves full sun, but probably partial shade will be fine. It will bloom until fall. It’s a small plant, but will widen, so give it room. Butterflies and bees love it. 

Butterfly Bush: If you love lilacs, you’ll love Butterfly bushes. It’s a woody plant that produces small lilac like flowers. Once planted, they will establish themselves for years in your garden. They will get tall and wide. Full sun is needed. If you deadhead the spent flowers, it will continue to bloom into late summer/early fall. You will need to prune it back at the end of the season. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love this plant. 

Tiger Lily 


Baptista Bush: This is another similar bush that has become a favorite. My neighbor gave me a start off hers. It has beautiful purple spire flowers and pretty cool foliage. It almost reminds me of a pea vine. It blooms in early summer, but the bush is pretty enough on it’s own. 

Once planted, it will establish itself for many years. So plan on not moving it. 

Hydrangea: I’ve kind of flirted with the idea for years about getting these beautiful shrubs, but have frankly been intimidated. How fussy are they? Is it worth it? I bought a couple and loved them. They love morning sun and afternoon shade. So I found a perfect place to plant them. 

There are a few different kinds, so I would do my research online before you buy. They are beginning to show signs of growth now, so they aren’t exactly delicate in our Indiana winters. I don’t regret planting them. They are beautiful. 

Peony: Of course you must have Peonies! What would spring be without their beautiful, mop head flowers? And wow, so fragrant! They don’t like to be moved about, so make sure to plant them in an well established spot. But once you planted them, that’s about all the work you’ll have to do. 
Just pruning them down after blooming is all the work required here. 

Coneflowers: I love these daisy like flowers. Again, very easy to grow, transplants well, and blooms till fall. Many different colors to choose from. I have many and can’t resist another pretty face when I see one at my local greenhouse. You can’t go wrong with a coneflower. 

All the flowers I’ve listed above are Perennials. They will come back year after year. They’ve been my proven favorites through the years. Start a bed with these in it and you’ll have a great flower garden. Don’t be afraid to try new ones though. Do your research first and go for it. 


Happy gardening! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

A purpose for living?


In my last blog, I revealed an intimate picture of a God who isn’t distant and uncaring, but whose heart beats for you. 

This same God desires to give you a purpose for living. He not only wants you to thrive here in the land of the living, but more wonderfully, even beyond death.

That’s hard to picture sometimes in the here and now. I’ve had a painful past and have the scars to prove it. I experience pain and sorrow now. Just because I am a Believer doesn’t mean I’m exempt from that. 

You may come up and ask, “How are you Deb?”. I honestly can’t say, “Completely satisfied and overflowing with joy!”  

To be clear, I have a “joy unspeakable” deep within that cannot be shaken. I have peace with God, through Jesus’ work on the cross. God’s spirit dwells within me. He has lavished His grace on me and I am a very blessed woman.

Yet I live in a broken world. Life can be difficult and messy. It can be downright painful at times. But there is an awesome, powerful truth in all this and I want to share it with you:

 And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.
1 Corinthians 15;13-20 The Message Bible

Do you see the passage I marked bold? “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.”

Is this all there is to life? To live approximately 80 years and poof, die. The end? 

As a believer, is it all about stamping my ticket to heaven? I’m on my way there and that’s all that matters? Just passing time until I die? 

No, a thousand times no! Look at what Jesus said to His disciples when in a gush of faith they said, “We believe that You came from God.” 

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:32-33 The Message Bible

In a few short hours, Jesus would experience the cross. But the cross was not the end. He did overcome, not just for Himself, but for us. If there was not a resurrection, we would be a most miserable people and life would be meaningless. 

But thank God, He did rise victorious! And this has powerful ramifications for us if we would believe. It means that we don’t have to live in despair. Even through the difficulties, we will be unshakable, assured and at peace just like Jesus promised. It means that His presence and power will be at work in and through us, even in pain and suffering. In this broken and messed up world we have an abiding, unwavering hope. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I think 2 Corinthians 4 says it so well: 

You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.....So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 
The Message Bible

There's so much more to life than you know. Without Jesus, you are missing out on Real Life. Because He is Life Everlasting. Life in the here and now, and beyond the grave. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Who is this God?


You know, oftentimes I have preconceived ideas about people I meet. I judge them from face value and determine things that in all likelihood aren’t true. It takes effort and time to get to know people. Kind of like a onion, we peel back the onions layer by layer until we see that deep down we all struggle with the same stuff and carry much the same baggage.

I think we do the same thing with God. What are your preconceived ideas about Him? 

Is God unapproachable and distant? Does He care about me? Do I need to go through a bunch of rituals and follow a slew of rules to gain His love? 

I recently read a powerful verse in the tiny book of Zephaniah that hopefully causes us to rethink any ideas we have about God.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

A picture comes into my mind of a parent holding a child. Quieting it’s cries, singing a lullaby and just holding it close. It’s a intimate scene. 

When anxieties and fears harass me, when I’m at a low ebb, when I feel rejected and unloved, I can crawl into His arms and allow Him to hold me close. I can let go and know peace, security and a strong love. He holds me tight through it all. He quiets me with His love. 

Be still and know that I am God. I’ve got you and will not let go. I am enough for you. 

He is always there. That’s never the question. The question is...”Will I go after Him? Will I let Him love me? Will I let Him close? 

Sadly, sometimes I will muddle along until I finally go to Him. 

But what especially blows my mind is this idea that He rejoices over me. OVER. ME. How can this be? 

I’m so quick to scrutinize myself, to pore over shortcomings and weaknesses. And here He looks at me in this way? No words people. How do you explain this? It’s a wonder to be loved like this. 

You can push Him away, curse His name, and even shake your fist at Him. Hey, He went through much worse on the cross. He still loves you with a relentless love. He’s still as close as your breath. and will come running when you finally give up and allow Him to love you. 

When you do, I guarantee you, sure enough as my name is Deb that you’ll finally find your soul mate. Cause He is the only One who is. 


You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to You, Your face Lord, do I seek. Psalm 27:8

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Broken Vessel


The Israelites were desperate for deliverance. Exodus 2:23  tells us they were groaning for it. Crying out in prayer. The Egyptians were unrelenting slave masters.

In verse 24 it says God heard their groaning. God saw and remembered His promise. He knew. And He had just the person to lead them out. 

This man He picked? A fugitive. A murderer. But also familiar with the Egyptian royal courts. Adopted by a princess. Now fallen out of favor and a obscure shepherd on the far side of the desert. 

This was the man handpicked by God Almighty to save His people? When encountered by God at the burning bush, Moses didn’t even want the job. He argued with God. He cringed in doubt and fear. 

But he humbled himself and God used him powerfully. He was the answer for the Israelites. 

Moses has always been one of my favorite people in the Bible. I guess because I’ve struggled much the same way. We tend to think of Moses as this self-confident, fearless and assertive guy. But you know, when you read Exodus chapters 3-4 you may think otherwise. 

He spends all of chapter 3 and part of 4 arguing with God about why he can’t do it. In fact he says, “I’m not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to me, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Finally he even says, Oh, my Lord please send someone else.” 

Yea, I see myself here. The Word once again is a mirror, shining it’s light into my heart. 

The Word tells me that I am a Temple of the Lord walking around. He lives in me by His Spirit. But yet there seems to be a paradox sometimes. I am weak and insecure at times, I certainly am “slow of speech” too. Doubts can flare up. I feel rather inadequate. 

Why me Lord? Why did You choose me? 

I don’t have the answer for that. But like Moses, I just have to give myself, flaws and all, and know He is enough. He is powerful enough to shine through my weaknesses, my brokenness. Hopefully you will see more of Him, less of me. See His beauty outshine my flaws. 

The bottom line is that He came for broken people. The ones crying out for freedom and deliverance. He hears the groaning of your heart. And He hears. He cares. 


And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In This World....


It had been a wonderful time on the mountain. A most intimate moment with Jesus. They had been ministered to, they rejoiced and saw heavenly things that filled them with wonder. 

How badly they wanted to remain longer here. Soak up the sweet presence of God and ponder upon this experience. 

Never-the-less it was time to leave. They descended glowing still, their hearts full. It was back to reality. And what a ugly thing reality can be. 

They came upon an unpleasant scene. The disciples who remained behind were involved in a fracas. They appeared to be distressed and confused. People were yelling,  pointing fingers, jostling bodies pushed in anger. A group of religious teachers were right in the middle of the melee sneering with accusations. 

Standing off to one side was a father and a young boy who watched sadly. Shoved aside and forgotten in this drama. 

Now I can’t speak for you, but I would probably be tempted to turn around and climb up that mountain to hold onto what warm feelings I have left. Life can be rather difficult at times and it seems much better to escape the ugliness than to bear down and face it. 

Jesus did more than just face it. He rose above the negative atmosphere calmed the situation and touched that father and his son. He was proactive rather than checking out. 

Jesus warned us we would have days like these. “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This life and all that goes with it can be quite overwhelming at times. I get tired of the struggles and conflicts. After a while my soul gets weary, I want to escape. Why can’t the mountaintop experiences remain a little longer? How can I keep my mind on higher things when I’m facing ugly realities that pull me down? 

I believe our mindset is the key in how we handle the rough spots. If we are already defeated in our minds, then it stands to reason we will  be defeated. What if a football team comes out of the locker room with their heads down, bogged down in the disappointment of their last loss?  What if they had listened to the press coverage about their opponents, “This team can’t be beat, the won’t gain a yard against their defense...”  What if they listened to coverage about themselves? “They played horrible in their last two games. There’s just too many key injuries that will hinder them. They can’t win this game...”  

I highly doubt they will play well in this game. They are already defeated before they hit the field. How can you face life’s challenges with a mindset like this?  

What are you confessing to yourself? Does everything look so bleak? Are you proclaiming defeat? A negative mindset can surely bog you down. 

Perhaps we need to change our mindset. Does this mean we are blind to reality? No, it means we choose to see the truth. Truth says: I can overcome the world because He overcame it. I can do all things in Christ, because He gives me strength. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness. These powerful sentences are in the Word. 

Can’t God work even in the midst of the rough spots? Can we bask in His presence in the middle of chaos? Is it impossible for God? I believe He can, and I believe that I can overcome. And it all starts in my mind. If it’s all gloom and doom there, then I guarantee that negativity will reign in my world. 


We can be proactive rather than just reacting. We can be a powerful witness. It’s your choice. If you want to remain in the pit of negativity, then you will. You don’t have to remain there. Choose to see truth and confess it. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Entrusting my heart



Thirty years. That is how long I’ve been married. Hard to believe it’s been that long.  February 14, 1987 was the day I began my journey into marriage. 

Entering my twenties, I just couldn’t see myself getting married. I was carrying around a lot of baggage and deep scars. The Lord had begun a healing process in me at that time, nevertheless I didn’t see myself as good marriage material. 

But also a deeper question lingered. Could I entrust my heart to him? Every man up to that point had hurt me deeply. I had been through abuse. I was taking a big risk giving myself to him. 

So when we starting getting serious, instead of getting giddy with excitement, I guess you could say I was a bit hesitant. I remember one evening standing in the glow of a beautiful sunset praying about my upcoming decision. Just feeling so unsure and scared to take the plunge. 

I will never forget the peace and rest the Lord gave, while I gazed at the sunset. It was one of those turning points in my life. 

I did take the risk to love and to be loved. Did I still get hurt? Did the old scars flare up? Did my husband let me down? I think you know the answers . Yes, yes and yes. 

I had to learn in little and big ways to entrust my heart to him. I had to let him love me. He was a safe place. He saw the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I am a very blessed woman to have him. 

We journeyed together through tough seasons, ups and downs, awesome times...just life. 

I began another journey ten years before my marriage. At that time in my life, I was a mess. The abuse I went through left me shattered. Out of protection, I closed myself in. I was just surviving. 

I entrusted myself to someone then. Someone I had known since I was a toddler. This person took me in and changed my life forever. I gave Him my shattered, torn, scarred heart. I entrusted it to Him. 

He tenderly took it and began to heal the pain, began to show me a better way to live. Really live and not just survive. 

I began to walk with Him, began to trust Him with struggles, doubts, and fears. We walked together through deep valleys, mountaintops, miles and miles of uncertain territory. Sometimes He had to carry me. We did life together. 

He was constant, and trustworthy. He satisfied my hungry, longing soul. He gave me strength, peace, rest, and a inner joy. 

I’m sure by now you probably guess who it is....

Jesus, my wonderful, sweet Jesus. My all in all. What would I be without Him? Where would I be? Scary to think about. 

Kind of like the turtle on a fence post. If you see one, you know someone put it there. It didn’t get there by itself obviously. I would not be where I am or be what I am without Jesus’ touch in my life. 

You see, bottom line, it’s a relationship, not religion. You can entrust your heart your life to Him. 

Human relationships are awesome. I am so blessed to have many wonderful friendships, and family. It’s how we are wired and created to be. 

Yet far above the human ones is the Divine connection. You have a hole, a vacuum in your soul that can only be filled by God. You’ve tried to fill that hole with so many things and people. The yearning doesn’t cease. 

My heart burns, yearns within me and only Jesus can satisfy and fill that emptiness. This is my passion, what drives me. 

Know Jesus, know life.

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11