Wag More, Bark Less


“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalms 103:8

I love a good bumper sticker message. One of my favorites I saw a few months ago said, “I used to be cool.” It was on the back of a mini van. My daughter didn’t understand why I wanted to pull up alongside the lady driving the van and smile and wave at her (like we somehow had this sisterhood). Needless to say, I drove on, and the mini van went on its way – not before I got a picture of it and sent it to some of my girl friends, of course.

Last week, as high taxi season settled in (a.k.a summer), I saw a bumper sticker that really stuck with me (no pun intended).  It said – wag more, bark less. The word picture hit home – maybe because we just adopted an abandoned dog, or maybe because the kids are out of school and chaos has officially begun in my house, or maybe because I need to slow down and appreciate all that God has given me and reflect on His love more in my household.  Basically, I think God was telling me, I need to wag more and bark less.

Our incredible Creator is described as “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” – an illustration used eight times by six different authors in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God gives us Jesus as the perfect example of these attributes.  Just look at the patience Jesus had with His children as they argued as to who would be the greatest in Heaven (Luke 9:46), look at His compassion as He approached those who society had cast aside (think woman at the well), look at His graciousness towards those who plotted to have Him killed (think Judas Iscariot), and finally look at His amazing love as He begged for forgiveness towards those who were killing Him (Luke 23:34).  Today, I pray for a summer where I show my family the face of Christ.  A face full of  patience, kindness, compassion, graciousness, and love.  Help me Lord today to wag more and bark less.

In Christ Alone


“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 3:18-19

Memorial Day.  A day given to us to remember those who have fought and died for our freedom.  How thankful I am to be blessed to live in a country that has given me the incredible gift of independence.  However, as I remember those who went before me, I can’t help but think of the One who came and died to give me my ultimate freedom – deliverance from this life of bondage.  Don’t get me wrong – my life here is abundantly full of blessings that I’m incredibly grateful for, but I also recognize this world carries with it a price called sin – and sin inevitably leads to a fallen world full of sorrow and pain.  So, today, as I approach His throne in remembrance of heroes who have battled for my blessings here on earth, I’ll also recognize my Savior, Jesus Christ, who took on flesh specifically to die for me, so that I may experience a divine and glorious freedom like no other in a country I was made to live in with Him.

The following are the words from one of my favorite songs “In Christ Alone.”  The words fill me with thankfulness and hope.  I pray they touch you as they do me.

“In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!  My comforter, my all in all – here in the love of Christ I’ll stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe!   This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.  Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied; For every sin on Him was laid – here is the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, light of the world by darkness slain;  then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!  And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine – bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death – this is the power of Christ in me; from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.  No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand; till He returns or calls me home – here is the power of Christ I’ll stand.”

On this Memorial Day, may you be blessed beyond measure with the hope that is found in Christ alone!


“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Thank You Lord for redemption and transformation.  Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lives within me and never forsakes me.  You know my fears and my failures, yet You continue to call me by name – a child of the King.   This is not a title I’ve earned and certainly not one I deserve, yet You unconditionally offer it to me.  I’m in awe of Your grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.  Help me God today share these with those You place in my path today.

Redemption in Action

Close Your Eyes and Hold My Hand


49737761 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Eight months have passed since I last posted. Eight months full of ups and downs. Eight months I’ve debated on whether to write what I’m feeling or just stop writing at all. You see 2013 caught our family completely off guard with the shock of losing our 13-year-old god-son in January and my 74-year-old father two months later. Over these months, my emotional, mental and spiritual walk has been at extremes to say the least. I’ve delighted in the thin veil between heaven and earth and relished in the intimate relationship our Creator desires to have with us on a daily basis. While, at the same time, I’ve allowed my mind to be bombarded with doubts and despair, and I’ve longed to feel God’s presence in my spiritual walk. Believe me, this roller coaster hasn’t been an easy one to ride, but… God is faithful, and I’ve learned He does some of His best work when we are literally torn apart.

Three actions I’ve had to examine over these past few months are ones I thought I had, quite honestly, conquered in my relationship with God – trust, belief, and seizing hold of faith. I’ve learned how much these actions intermingle in our spiritual walk and how indispensable they are in the life of a follower of Christ, especially when you are faced with earthly circumstances completely out of your control. I’ve been reminded on more than one occasion that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).” I’ve clearly recognized that faith is essentially trust and belief in action – blind action.

“Close your eyes and hold my hand” is a directive I’m given quite often from my 11-year-old daughter. So, I close my eyes and stumble, clinging onto her hand, knowing she has a great surprise waiting for me when I open my eyes. It’s a saying I’m sure many of you have heard in your life – “close your eyes and hold my hand.” I’ve come to believe over these past few months this is how God wants us to approach our life here on earth – to close our eyes and hold His hand. We try so desperately to see ahead – we anticipate, we prepare, and we plan. But, we are so very limited in our sight and in our knowledge of what lies on the path in front of us. We must give control over to Him. We must close our eyes and cling desperately to our Creator if we are going to survive this world. For as Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

So, today, I encourage you to shut your eyes. Let go of your agenda and take hold of His hand. He has great plans for you and for your family.  And remember that when you finally open your eyes, you will have been led to the greatest surprise of all – face to face with our Lord, standing in our rightful home with our Father in Heaven, finally seeing everything from His perspective, with His eyes.

Until next time, eyes closed and hand clasped with our Creator… Katie

God With Us


3538790“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel– which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23

The Alpha and the Omega. The Messenger of the Covenant. The Author of my faith. The Gateway to my salvation. My fountain of Living Water and my Bread of Life. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. Mighty God. My Vine. My Refuge. My Strength. My Rock. These are just a few of the glorious names that come to mind when I think of my Lord Jesus Christ. Each of them hold special meaning to me, but there is one name that stands out above the rest and gives special meaning to my soul, especially during the Christmas season – Emmanuel, God with us.

The true message of Christmas should stagger the imagination. The second Person of the Trinity, the Son of the Most High, the eternal Word becoming flesh so that sinners could be saved. Completely human, yet completely divine. Over two-thousand years later, I have to wonder if we really understand the significance of this magnificent gift. God with us. The birth of the final Passover Lamb that would save the people from their sins and offer eternal life to all.

In the Old Testament, we are told of God’s presence with His chosen people. The nation of Israel, including Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David, show us time and again not only how powerful and mighty the Holy Spirit is, but how personal and intimate He is as well. David writes of this experience with God’s presence in Psalm 139, “you know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me (2-5).” On that silent night in Bethlehem, Psalm 139 came to life to all believers. God with us. The gift that would lead to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” – a promise given in the Old Testament (Deut. 31:6) and the New (Hebrews 13:5) – a promise fulfilled as a result of the baby asleep on the hay. This is our antidote for the ramifications of living in a fallen world. This is our eternal hope when we are in fear of the present day. What sent the shepherds back to the fields rejoicing, what made the Magi travel hundreds of miles and risk their lives to witness, what made the heavenly host of angels sing praises to God that special night was the fascinating realization that God was now with us. The Christ-child that would become the King of kings and the Lord of lords was in their midst, and as a result of His death and resurrection, He is in ours as well.

I’ve learned over the years, without God with us, we, as sinful humans, are incomplete at best. A baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger brought all of us to absolute wholeness with God. Do you feel the power of God today? If your answer is no, don’t worry. There are many days when I don’t experience His power, but I know I have His presence, and as a believer, you do too. Emmanuel, God with us… this gift means He came to this earth to stay.  Yes, His body left as He ascended to heaven, but His precious Spirit remained as a result.  Claim, as His child, that every second of every day His Spirit is flowing through you and you are made complete.

This Christmas, as you exchange gifts with your loved ones, recognize the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ, and allow His presence to fill your homes with the insurmountable joy and love that was felt that first night in a stable in Bethlehem.  And if you want to retrace that wondrous night through Amy Grant’s song, Emmanuel, God with us visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sdghXzCdAY.  I pray God’s blessings on you and your family.

Until next time, celebrating the birth of our Savior… Katie

Follow me


“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

I’ve never been a very good follower.  I like to do things my way, on my time, and under my stipulations.  It’s a selfish approach to life that admittedly brings me a false sense of security.  I think my way is faster, better, and certainly easier – why would I choose to live any other way?  I might be wrong, but I think most people lead their lives this way.  Sure, we may be great at following instructions from our boss at work, following the principles of our preferred politician, or even following the latest fashion trend of our favorite celebrity, but when it comes to our lives, we don’t want to follow anyone but ourselves.  It’s a worldly trend that has quite honestly caught on like wildfire, and I believe it has become one of Satan’s most deceitful tools His uses to draw us away from the Spirit-filled life Christ calls us to live.

Jesus tells us He came to this earth so that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), but how do we experience this abundant life?  Jesus puts it plainly.  Follow me.  He speaks these words 20 times in the New Testament.  Follow me.  It seems simple enough, right?  However, in a world filled with “self” it becomes one of the hardest tasks we, as Christians, are called to do.  Think about it, we live in a self-motivated, self-assured, self-reliant, self-centered society that provides the path to self-righteousness or self-loathing.  This process of choosing self over God becomes the bottom line to all of our sin.  So, what can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, do about it?  I think the answer is found in dying.

STOP TRYING AND START DYING – this is a new quote I have put on my refrigerator.  You see, in my self-centered world, I have tried to follow Jesus on my terms, but I’ve learned I can’t “try” to be a better follower of Christ.  When I try and follow, it puts me in the driver’s seat.  I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  Deny myself.  Pick up my many crosses and follow Him – His way.  It’s not a new concept.  Jesus told all, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

The very root of this word, “deny,” means to die to our own interests and desires.  It doesn’t come naturally.  We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do it.  As the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ and the ultimate resurrection of our souls, he told them “I die every day (1 Cor. 15:31).”  He went on to tell them “the body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (42-44).”  I have learned I must die in order to truly live.

I have a critical tongue with my spouse.  DIE.

I lose control when my kids don’t obey.  DIE.

I’m jealous or envious of a friend.  DIE.

I am fearful of the future.  DIE.

I am overly sensitive.  DIE.

I am controlled by those around me.  DIE.  The list could go on and on.

By dying to myself and following Christ, I am no longer saying Jesus is top priority in my life – I am saying He is the ONLY priority in my life.  I allow the Holy-Spirit His rightful place at the driver’s seat of my heart, and I am no longer in control.  Is this hard to do?  Absolutely!  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, decision to die and follow.  But, we aren’t alone.  As children of the Almighty Creator of the Universe, we are blessed with His strength and power to lead us, and lead us He will.  In Luke 11:13, Jesus says all we have to do is ask for the Holy Spirit, and He will give Him to us.  So, today, may each of us approach His throne with confidence, and ask Him for the amazing gift of His Spirit, in order that we may offer ourselves fully to Him.  “Follow me,” He says.  Yes, Lord Jesus, one death at a time.

Until next time, dying to live.   Katie

Wake-Up Call


“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

As summer draws to a close and a new school year begins, I find myself reevaluating my walk with Christ.  While I have enjoyed a break from the hustle and bustle of my children’s normal activities over the past couple of months, I have also found myself out of my normal routine with God.  Ashamedly, June and July brought little quiet time with my Father, and I have to say I have been missing Him terribly!  So, a few weeks ago, I revved myself up to refocus my attention back on Christ and checked out some books from my church’s library.  One book that has brought me to my knees and created a revival of sorts in my soul is “The Slumber of Christianity” – the title, in and of itself, caught my attention right off the shelf and the content didn’t disappoint.

In the book, Ted Dekker takes a close look at why Christians, in general, are settling for lives of mere contentment rather than living with genuine joyfulness, which our Creator intended for us to experience (1 Thess. 5:16).  Why are we, as Believers in our great Lord, living as if this earthly life is all there is?  If you are like me, it’s easy to rely heavily on the pleasures of this life to bring you happiness – unfortunately, that happiness is fleeting when you are faced with the reality of living in a fallen world.  The fact is, we weren’t created for this earth – we were created for Heaven (Ecc. 3:11).  How can we awaken from our slumber and create a passion for Heaven while we are living here on earth? 

My wake-up call has been to recognize with an open heart, mind, body and soul that the life I have created for myself here on earth IS NOT all there is – I have a much more superior life waiting for me in which I will spend eternity, and, if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, so do you!  Think about it – if you viewed everything from this one truth, how would your life change – how would your day change?  The Apostle Paul tells us, not once, but twice to keep our hearts and minds set on our final destination.  He writes “since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).  The fact is our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and we must become obsessed with our nationality! 

Dekker so eloquently writes, “We humans are naturally obsessive creatures.  We tend to fixate on objectives and dreams, and we are quite good at achieving whatever our minds conceive.  Why is this?  Because we were created in the image of a God who has a similar nature.  His ways are beyond our understanding because they aren’t bound by human reasoning and His obsession is not an entirely rational thing. We were designed to obsess after our Creator.  But our hearts have been corrupted, and the agent of evil, Satan himself, has successfully redirected our obsession away from God and His great reward for all those who love Him, by filling our minds solely with the things of this earth.  Christians have fallen asleep to the promise of the afterlife and no longer dream of that great day.  Their obsession for eternity is in slumber.  And being creatures created to obsess, many have redirected their obsessions to the pleasures of this world alone.”

I hope those words hit you like they did me!  Where is your obsession?  Is it your children, your spouse, your vacations, your food, your drink, your things, or is it your God?  I’m constantly trying to fixate my mind on the ultimate destination of my heavenly home and the eternal life which awaits.   I have to say, when I succeed with my thoughts, I am given peace, patience, and genuine joy.  I’ll close today with Dekker’s final words, “There is a truth that this life will quickly pass and the staggering reality of the life to come will be upon us.  There is also a truth that you were created for that life more than for this life.  Thinking on these matters alone will begin to change everything you do.”

Until next time, setting my eternal alarm clock to obsess after our Creator… Katie