Monday, July 4, 2016

5 Ways to Support Someone Struggling with Mental Health

Healing comes from the Holy Spirit

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

In today’s devotion, I share the story of the cripple in Acts 3 who is healed when Peter and John reach out in the power of the name of Jesus. When I recently read this story with a fresh set of eyes, I was surprised to see that shortly after experiencing this miraculous healing, this man needed someone to lean on.

We all need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to set us free, and we will often need someone to hold on to as we walk out that healing day by day.

It may seem strange to you that I would choose to focus on healing, especially in cases of mental health when it is the 4th of July. 4th of July … the day in America when we celebrate freedom.

For many, freedom, especially mental and emotional freedom, is something they long for, but struggle to find. This can be especially true for those in our armed forces. What is true for our military members is also true for many people in general:

“Others never seek help out of fear over how others will view seeking treatment,” says Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the Army’s vice chief of staff.

This is so true, especially in the body of Christ. Seeking medical help and counseling is often viewed as a lack of faith, being weak or that one is not “believing” in Jesus for all of their needs.

Yet, if we have a love one who is diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, we would not say, “You should trust God. Don’t take insulin. Do not get chemo-therapy treatment.” Mental health is an issue we need to learn more about and make progress in breaking stigmas.

In Acts 3, nothing in this passage indicates that the beggar’s healing was incomplete because he needed to lean on someone. In fact, later in Acts 4:10, Peter reiterates that the man who was crippled after 40 years was healed. Yet in his healing, he still needed a little help.
Ecclesiates 4:9-12 shines this truth, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (ESV)
Here are 5 ways you can support someone struggling with mental illness:
1. Learn about mental illness.
    Taking the time to learn about a loved one’s particular mental illness says, “I care about you.” The class I     I mentioned in my devotion today is called “Family-to-Family” and is offered through NAMI,  National Alliance on Mental Illness. This class, taught by a person who also has a family member with a mental illness or experiences it themselves really helped me to understand all types of mental illness.
   There are also books written for those who love people with a variety of brain disorders.
2. Go to counseling with them.
     For my daughter, regular counseling helps her to keep moving forward in overcoming Obsessive-        Compulsive Disorder and managing bi-polar disorder. When Madi first went to counseling, I went first;        once by myself and then with her. Again, taking the time and making the effort to come alongside our
     loved one can help provide the support they need.
3. Ask questions.
    Society has so many stereo-types and stigmas when it comes to mental health. Movies or shows have formed incorrect ideas. When we ask questions directly to our loved one in a caring way, we open the door for them to share their struggles with us. This can help them to not feel so alone when mental illness is still so taboo in our culture.
4. Be a good listener.
     Every person needs to talk and to be heard; those who struggle with mental health are no different.
     Listen without trying to fix them. I really wrestled with this before I began to understand my daughter’s    struggle. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say about how she felt. It sounded to me like she was putting herself down. What she was doing was crying out for help.
5. Be a safe zone.
Again, our loved ones need a place to share and not have what they are sharing held against them. They need us to be a safe place to speak truthfully.
One thing our loved ones need to be reassured of is that they are loved just the way they are. This is why I am giving away a copy of my book, His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You, to one commenter today.
To enter to win, please share which of the 5 steps spoke to you today or simply say, “I’m in”. I will announce the winner later this week.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Way Will We Be Pushed

When we choose a posture of humility, we invite God's presence into our situation.




























I’m one of the fortunate ones.

I didn’t grow up in a home where I heard, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Maybe my parents learned from Moses and Aaron. This morning I am certainly challenged by the example these two guys set.

Returning from scoping out the Promised Land, the 40 spies come back defeated before the take over could even begin. Allowing fear and ungratefulness to overflow to everyone they come in contact with, the spies spill out every thought in their mind: “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:32b-33 (NIV 84)

Burning lava spilling from an explosive volcano, the spies’ flippant words vibrate deep in the quivering hearts of the Israelites. All their fears, frustration and fussing begin flowing, burning up their community. Soon, the entire camp is in a rebellious uproar directed straight at their leaders: Moses and Aaron.

As I read this passage today, I didn’t feel contempt for the Israelites. I’ve been the complaining consumer of God’s goodness before. What I felt was awe, seeing the response of Moses and Aaron:

“Then Moses and Aaron fell face down

in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.” Numbers 14:5 (NIV 84)

Friends, can I just tell you this is not my normal response when someone comes at me! Oh no! I may not be explosive with my words and actions, but my mind immediately begins to build a defense strong enough to head into a court room. I want the person who I feel is attacking me (key word – feel) to know just how wrong they are! All my energy goes to self-preservation.

That is not what I see in Moses and Aaron. I see humility. God responds to these men who do not take up defending themselves and their actions, but instead turn to their God. “…Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, …” (Numbers 14:10b-11a)

The result of Moses and Aaron’s posture of humility was the presence of the King.

They could have chosen the natural human route: build a case – put the camp in it’s place.

They chose humility and God chose to defend their leadership.

Today, tomorrow or in the very near future, you and I will be in the pathway of a spill whether through madness, misunderstanding or a mistake of another person. As those words come close to burning us, like Moses and Aaron, we’ll have a choice. We can rise up in anger and self-defense. Let them have what they deserve! We can also choose to humble ourselves and allow God to come to our defense.

One has the immediate benefit of an emotional release; short term we feel better getting our feelings off our chest. Long term, like the Israelites, there will be consequences to pay.

Should we choose humility, we pay the price of self-control up front, but open the way for our God to come to our defense and reap His benefits instead.

Lord, we’re not leading a million people through a desert, but we are leading. In our home, our workplace, our neighborhood and in our churches, we are leading. Holy Spirit, empower us to lead from a place of humility, where You are in control and not our emotions. Open our eyes to see when we, like Moses and Aaron, need to fall face down and get Your heart before we spill out our’s on others. Amen


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

{Pre-teen and Mom’s Give Away}

Dannah Gresh's Book Give Away


Child or teen?

These years we’ ve named the pre-teens year (between 8 – 12 years old) can be fun and carefree … and a bit confusing too!

This fall I’ll be speaking at a conference for pre-teens and their moms and I need your help preparing!

Could you ask your pre-teen girl a few questions?

In exchange for helping me, I’ll be giving one mother and daughter these wonderful books by Dannah Gresh: Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and It’s Great to Be a Girl: A Guide to Your Changing Body.

Here’s some questions to get the conversation rolling. I hope these will lead you to learning some new things about your girl too! You can share your answers right here in the comments below or feel free to email me at

All responses will be entered for an opportunity to win this book set.

Thank you in advance for your help! I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

  1. What is your favorite part about being ________ years old?
  2. What is the hardest part about being _________years old?
  3. What makes your best friend your best friend?
  4. What advice would you give a girl about making friends?
  5. What are your favorite things to do?
  6. How do you feel about becoming a teenager one day?
  7. Do you think growing up looks fun, scary or something other feeling?
  8. How do you feel about trying new things? Sports, music, clubs, meeting new friends?
  9. How would you describe your relationship with your mom?
  10. What are you most looking forward to in the next school year? Not looking forward to?



The winner from this post is Alivia Scarbrough. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me, Alivia!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

He Said Yes!

A simple way to open the door to sharing Christ!


Yesterday we talked about the simple door opener for sharing Christ: “How can I pray for you?”

I wrote that post last Wednesday when my family was in the middle of having some repairs made in our back yard. As the workers sweated away in the back yard, I typed in my office, happy in my air conditioning. I finished my post, writing this challenge: “Today, let’s you and I look for someone who needs our prayers.”

Looking out in the yard, I noticed a worker I hadn’t seen before; someone from a different company so I headed out.

That’s when I struck up a conversation with Jimmy.

Jimmy has not lived in Charlotte long. In fact, when he first moved here, he didn’t really like it; wanted to move back to where he was from. But he stuck it out. We dialoged for a few moments about the differences in the South and where we both were from and then I began to have that nagging, “I’ve got to get back to work” feeling. That’s when I felt that first nudge:

Pay attention to the person in front of you.

I decided to spend a few more moments listening to Jimmy.

After heading inside, I located my checkbook. As I began writing my check, I noticed my pen. My pen from my church. (I go to a church that encourages us to steal the pens!)

Ask Jimmy to church came my second nudge.

Ever take a spiritual gifts test? I have and evangelism isn’t one of them. I know asking someone to church and sharing the gospel are not the same thing, but I get scared doing both! I told God, “I’ll ask Jimmy to church if I see him again.” 

When I looked out in my backyard, there was no Jimmy to be seen.

I’m sorry to say I felt relieved. I didn’t have to do the scary thing. As I walked through my back door, my eyes looked through my house, all the way out the front door.

There stood Jimmy; finishing packing up.

You can see Jimmy. More nudges.

I had to obey.

Heading down my drive, I decided to act like I was getting my mail. I actually was. When I reached the mailbox, Jimmy was busy talking to another worker.

He’s tied up, Lord.” I thought as I grabbed my mail and prepared to head up the drive.

You saw Jimmy. I felt Him pointing out.

The Lord wasn’t letting me off the hook. I meandered over toward the workers. Feeling completely awkward, I joined the conversation until the other worker left. That’s when I started a new conversation, “Jimmy, you said you were new here. Have you found a church because you should check out mine?” and I handed him my pen.

Jimmy looked down at the pen and then looked up at me. I knew he wanted to say something. Honestly, I was so afraid of what would happen next.

What happened next was Jimmy poured out his heart. I shared with him how good God was and it would help him to find a group of guys to go through life with.

After a few minutes, I again tried to button things up so I could get back to work.

But you didn’t pray for Jimmy. I felt in my spirit.

“Here, Lord? In the middle of my cul-de-sac? What if my neighbors see me and wonder what I am doing talking to man?” I quickly prayed (or was that called reasoned).

That’s for me to deal with. I felt Him reassure me.

So, I simply said to Jimmy: “Can I pray for you?”

He said, “Yes!”

And then I did my best to pray the most unchristianese (I know that is not a word) prayer I have ever prayed, beginning with: “God, sometimes life can be stinky ….”

Yep, that is what I said: life can be stinky.

After I prayed, Jimmy looked up and said, “God is here. Right here! That was the most powerful prayer I have ever heard!”

Friends, I tell you this not to boast whatsoever except to boast in God. He is so amazing!

If we simply make ourselves available, He will show up.

Even in our cul-de-sac!

The winner of yesterday’s post, my first book, “His Revolutionary Love” is Sharla Marie! Congrats Sharla! Please send me your full name and address and I’ll get it sent right out to you!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

You Are Loved No Matter What {GIVE AWAY DAY}

No matter what we do, there is nothing we can do to loose God's love.


“If you were going to share the good news of Jesus with a group of people, where do you think you would first go to share that message?”

This was the challenging question in my First 5 Experience Guide.  Suddenly, I was transported back to a restaurant in India on a trip I took recently with Mission India and Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Though my mouth was timid to take in the fiery foods in front of me, my ears were soaking in the conversation swirling around. A church planter, who I’ll call Naveesh, shared the steps he had been taught to share the good news of Jesus and the love He offers to all.

The first step: he simply asks, “How can I pray for you?”

How can I pray for you?

There is so much wrapped up in this uncomplicated question.

How can I pray for you? says, “I care.” It communicates a desire to listen and learn about the person’s life.

How can I pray for you? says, “Life can be hard. Can I share your burden?”

How can I pray for you? says without saying, “I believe in the One who answers the prayers I pray.”

Such a simple door opener creating an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.

Friend, maybe you are the one who needs to be introduced to Jesus and His love. He died to give you a new life – here and in heaven one day. Today is the day you can begin that new life! Click here to learn about the new start He wants to give to you!

Today, let’s you and I look for someone who needs our prayers.

The lady in line at the coffee shop.

The neighbor you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

Your boss who is stressed out; over her head.

A simple question can open a powerful door.

Jesus, show us who needs You. Open our eyes to see who needs your love delivered through us today. Create a situation where we can offer to pray for them and open the door to share Your love with them. Amen 

Today I’m giving away a copy of “His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”  to one reader who comments on this post.

For the girl who needs to know: Jesus is the One she's been looking for!His Revolutionary Love, helps teen girls and their moms:

  • Create confidence leading to higher self-esteem by discovering Christ’s life-altering love.
  • Replace loneliness, rejection, and pain with acceptance, affirmation, and approval.
  • Make wise choices that lead to a fruitful future, rather than becoming a victim to emotionally-based decisions.
  • Shift faith in Jesus from just a parental influence to a personal, growing relationship.

This is a great resource to give to the young woman in your life who needs a greater understanding of the depth of Christ’s love for her. It is also perfect for a summer small group or that mother/daughter time you’ve been longing for. {Free resources to compliment this study can be found here}.

To be entered to win, please leave a comment sharing someone you want to share the good news of Jesus’ love with. We can pray for you and them! If you’re in a hurry, simply post, “I’m in.”

To be entered, you must post on the website

Stop back tomorrow and I’ll share my own exciting story of asking someone,

“Can I pray for you?” after I wrote this post!



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Simply Share

Sharing Jesus? Sounds scary. Telling my story? That is easier!

so that a future generation — children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands. Then they would not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” Psalm 78: 6 – 8 (HCSB) 


The time of the year for hot dogs and hot days.

For many, it is also the time for reunions.

Though it isn’t officially summer yet, our family scooted up the vacation schedule and gathered together early.

I was blessed to be born into a wonderfully, big family and then I doubly blessed marry into a wonderfully, small family. In fact, I call these precious people my “in-loves”.

Before heading out for an afternoon of fun together, my father-in-love took a few moments to gather together and call us to reflect on our lives. Being a sports enthusiast, he took the angle of a football game.

What quarter are you in? 

He shared that each one of us are in a quarter of life. 0 – 25 years old, 26- 50, 50 -75 or 75 – 100.  Being in the fourth quarter, he shared with us some of the highlights of God’s faithfulness in his life.

My father-in-love practiced this verse from Psalm 78. He was telling his children the works God had done in his life so that they would in turn put their confidence in God.

It’s not always easy to be bold with our kids.

Especially as they grow older and develop opinions of their own, as parents we can easily slip into keeping the peace or not rocking the boat.

But that is not what God calls us to do. He tells us to tell our children all He has done and all He is doing because He can move when we share our story.

For many, school is getting out soon. For me, it’s already here. One college student has moved home and one is soon to come.

I hear the Father whispering to me, “Make the most of these days, Lynn. Tell your children who I am so that they will put their confidence in Me.”

Be bold, friend. Don’t worry about what your children or grandchildren will think or how they will react. That’s up to God to handle. Just obey and see what He will do with your story.

The winner of Suzie Eller’s new book “Come with Me” is Pat who commented on May 13th at 7:31 a.m. Pat, please email me at and we’ll get this wonderful book sent out to you! 





Friday, May 13, 2016

Is There Something You Want Me to Do? {{GIVE AWAY DAY}}

Where we go isn't as important as who we go with!















Jesus, is there something you want me to do?

This was the question I was challenged to ask when I read the book, “Come With Me” by my very, special friend Suzie Eller.

Suzie had encouraged me as a reader to write this question on a sticky note and put it where I would see it regularly, asking Jesus, “Is there something you want me to do?”

So I did.

Each time I walked into my office, I saw that bright, pink heart with the simple question. I asked it.

Most of the time, His answers were quite small.

Take my friend some flowers.

Write a note on the desk of another.

Remember to send a card of thanks so one doesn’t feel forgotten.

I received a lot of joy from those small acts of obedience. I guess I got into a rhythm after awhile. Moved by the Lord and got moving, right? 

I am so glad I’m learning the power behind the small “yes”. I discovered on a trip to India recently that the small yes can lead to a miracle.

I’ll let my friend, Suz, tell you all about the night her and I recently followed Jesus when He said, “Come with me.”

Here’s Suzie:


 It was the end of a long day.

We had just left a literacy class located in a slum in South Central India. I (Suzie) was overwhelmed at what God had just done in that small room.

It was after 10 p.m. It was still over 100 degrees.

I wish I could describe the traffic we were in, but a giant game of Chicken doesn’t accurately define the thousands of pushing, shoving match of cars, buses and scooters.

“Is it possible that we could go one more place?” one of the MI team asked.

He had a friend whose wife was ill. She was at the hospital undergoing chemo and would be home in 45 minutes. It meant that our night would extend two hours, but as a cancer survivor I knew how desperately I needed encouragement years earlier.

“Sure,” I said.

My friend and Proverbs 31 Ministries sister and team mate, Lynn, instantly agreed.

We finally made our way to her apartment. We walked through the door. She sat in a chair, weak. She wore a night gown, a sea green scarf covering her hair, nearly all gone.

Our sweet friend in India

I sat across from her and told her my story. How I once was diagnosed. How I needed to talk to someone who had been through it. How God loved me and my family through one of the most fearful and hardest parts of my life.

She stared at my face intently.

“Are you Suzie Eller?” she asked.

Seriously. Did she just ask that?

“Yes. How do you know that?”

She put her hand to her mouth as the tears came. She told us that she reads the Encouragement for Today devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries every day. She said that we had become friends, like sitting together over tea, as we loved Jesus together.

In a nation where Christianity is rife with subtle and overt persecution, this courageous woman loved Jesus.

She started naming members of the team, those who wrote. She looked over at Lynn and said, “You’re Lynn Cowell.”

She continued.

“I have often prayed that I could come to the United States and thank my friends.” She shook her head as more tears came. “How is it possible that God brought you to my front door in my lowest hour?”

The odds of meeting this women on this trip was 1 in 1.2 billion.

How big is God?


How personal is God?


I had struggled with leaving the U.S. at an “inconvenient” time because of a book launch. God spoke to me that day through my new friend.

Following Jesus isn’t about our agenda. It’s not about whether it’s convenient. It’s discovering His heartbeat. It’s loving people. It’s seeing how He works, and how stepping into His footsteps leads us from the natural to the supernatural.

I still fall apart when I think of this moment.

God loved her so much that He stirred a few of us 8,000 miles away to come to India. We had a plan. We had a purpose, but so did He.

Her name is etched on the palm of His hand. He wanted to encourage this beautiful, strong woman of faith. I got to be a small part of that all because I whispered yes, when everything inside of me was saying no.

That’s the miracle I witnessed.”

This is our invitation to say "yes" to His invitation!

Today, I’m offering one give way of Suzie’s new book, “Come With Me; Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads.” I’ll choose a random winner from the comments in today’s blog post. To enter, simply share one small yes Jesus might be asking you as He says “Come with me” in the comments section of the site below.  If you’re in a hurry, simply say: I’m in.

The winner from Wednesday’s give away is April V.! April, send me an email at with your full name and address and I’ll get it right out to you!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Time to Get Moving {Give Away Day}

When the Holy Spirit is doing a work inside our heart, we need to take the next step and move in obedience.

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

God makes it very clear: His salvation for us is a free gift. There is nothing we can do to gain it. There is nothing we can do to loose it. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8 – 8 (NIV)

Salvation is a free gift.

Blessings can also be a gift from God, but there are also scriptures that indicate that blessings can also come as a result of obedience.

Let’s look at this portion of God’s word found in Deuteronomy 28:

Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 2, “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” 

I added the emphasis to this portion to draw attention to key phrases that speak of obedience: fully obey and carefully follow. These action phrases are followed with direct results: set you high above and all these blessings. God goes on to share with the Israelites what all these blessings look like:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him.  Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.” Deuteronomy 28: 3 – 14 (NIV)

This is the type of blessings I want in my life; blessings that touch on every area – from my finances to my family.

Obtaining blessings begins with obedience.

So when we read God’s word, hear that stirring song, or listen to the stimulating sermon, we can’t just enjoy the feeling.

We can’t just be moved; we have to get moving.

Move in obedience.



















Today, I am giving away a beautiful journal and leather bracelet to one commenter. To enter to win, just say “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner on Friday!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

To be the Shoulders of Jesus

Who needs to lean on you today?

There are so many people in the world I don’t understand.

Those I have never walked in their shoes. Those who have struggles I have not wrestled with; seen things I haven’t seen or been where I have never been.

I met many of the precious people on my recent trip to India and I met more last night at my class.

Earlier this spring, I decided to take a class through NAMI, National Association of Mental Illness, to learn more about mental illness and the struggles of those who deal with it. I am hopeful that as my knowledge increases, so will my compassion.

Last night, two young people came to share their stories. They weren’t professional speakers nor had they rehearsed what they had to say, but they were brave. They were courageous; vulnerable about the struggles in their past and their difficulties of today.

These are the kind of people I learn from.

This young woman and teen guy both had something in common: they needed others to help them reach their fullest potential. They both had that someone; support they could lean on to encourage them in their efforts to keep moving forward in life.

In Acts 3, we read the story of Peter and John and the beggar at the gate called Beautiful. Here we witness a miracle; a man crippled from birth is healed. After taking the hand of Peter, he is lifted to a place of wholeness resulting in the ability to walk, jump and praise God!

Just after this amazing miracle is a verse that can easily be overlooked: “While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.” Acts 3:11 (NIV)

If the beggar was healed in Acts 3:7, why was he holding on to Peter and John?

These words held on to in the Greek is krateo meaning: to take hold of, grasp, hold fast.

Yes, the beggar had been healed. The evidence of that healing was demonstrated very quickly. The entire crowd had seen him walk and jump right before their very eyes. Yet shortly after these miracle movements, this man finds himself needing a little assistance; someone to lean on and hold on to.

Last night, the young people struggling with mental illness shared with us one very powerful thing they had in common: family they could lean on. They both spoke of parents who stood by them as they journeyed on the long and hard road to recovery.

Not one of us in that room judged them for their need for help. They had made great strides on their own, but to keep going, they needed someone to lean on.

I love this story in Acts because it points me to a powerful truth: we need two things to move toward healing and wholeness in our lives. We need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to set us free and we need people. We need family and friends that we can hold on to.

And that’s ok.

Sometimes in life, we’ll find ourselves in the position of the beggar, in need of a Peter and John to lean on so that we stay on this journey toward becoming more like Jesus. Other times, we’ll be Peter and John, the shoulder others will turn to in order to find the strength they need to keep going.

And that’s ok, too.

There is no where in this passage that indicts that just because the beggar needed a little help that his healing was not complete or somehow he lost it. In fact, later in Acts 4:10, Peter reiterates that the man who was crippled after 40 years was healed. Yet in his healing, he still needed a little help.

We often talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s also be the shoulders of Him as well; looking for those around us who need a little support as they move forward on this road called life. Let’s also not be hard on ourselves when we’re the ones who need someone to hold on to.

Like the beggar, that ok too.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When I follow Jesus who is consistent, I can be as well.


She knew the rules, followed the rules and then still got in trouble … with me.

Her senior year my husband and I had lifted our youngest daughter’s curfew. In a few short months when she left for college, we would have no idea where she was going or what she was doing. It made complete sense to me to give her that kind of freedom whiled she lived at home so we could work through any kinks she might have with making wise choices.

My daughter wasn’t the one who had the problem with the lack of curfew. It was me.

When given the opportunity to drive to the beach for the day with her friends, she had made it clear that she would be home very late. Since we would not allow her to get a hotel room with all her friends, they were going to stay on the beach as long as possible before they drove home.

When I woke up late in the night and saw her car still not in the drive, I flipped. I immediately called her. Where are you?

If you haven’t already discovered, let me spare you the pain. Don’t argue with your teen in the middle of the night. It’s just not worth it. Besides, like me, you might lose because they are used to thinking clearly in the middle of the night! I am not!

The next day, my girl who has always seemed more mature than her years, pointed out to me: you are inconsistent. You say one thing, but your actions display something different. I had given her freedom, yet when she exercised this freedom in a way that made me nervous, I got upset.

Consistency. I lacked consistency.

Jesus on the other hand does not.

How many times have you heard this verse: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” ? Taken from Hebrews 13:8, I can’t imagine how many times I have heard it preached, on a plaque or in a card. Yet, every time, it stands alone. A powerful verse, it certainly contains enough truth to stand alone. Yet as I read it in the context of the entire chapter of Hebrews, a challenge leapt off the page.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:7-8 

There seems to be a natural progression here. To shake it up a bit, try reading the verse backwards:

“Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.”

I see a challenge here for us.

Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. When we focus our lives on His life, we become people whose entire lives are impacted and changed. We will not be the same when we follow the One who is! When we begin to speak His word, it changes us and we become models to others of the way to live and how to walk by faith.

Through this process of speaking God’s word and having our lives changed to become like His life, then we too can become the same. This is how we become consistent in our daily walks with Christ. Filling our minds and hearts with His word creates uniformity in our mind and heart on how to love and treat others and how to honor God. This consistency is the fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5.

As my girl began to point out my inconsistencies, I could see that the mom I wanted to be, the one who gave freedom and opportunity to mature and the mom I sometimes was weren’t the same. She challenged me to speak and then, in faith, walk out what I had said.

May we do the same in other areas of our lives. Become the people of God who walk in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, through the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us! Then, like the leaders spoken of in Hebrews 13 7, we can lead our kids to become people of the fruit of the Spirit and consistent as well.