Category Archives: Devotions

Are You Thirsty? Water and Wine

I am currently involved in a Bible study on the Book of John. Today’s section was about the first miracle Jesus performed, turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. A few years ago during a time of prayer, the LORD showed me some interesting things about water and wine.

Water is a basic necessity of life. You drink water to keep hydrated. Water quenches thirst, but there is no taste. Water refreshes–it is necessary for the health and functioning of the body. Water cleanses. Water is not valued until there is a lack of it.

Wine is a luxurious treasure. You drink wine to relax, to celebrate, to unwind as you enter a place of rest. Wine has strong flavor, so strong you must sip it slowly. There is an art to tasting wine; it takes skill and practice to discern all that you’re supposed to exerience as the taste lingers in your mouth. Only the mature can partake of wine. Wine has medicinal qualities.

Passover begins with water and ends with wine. It begins by a ceremonial washing and ends with a celebratory partaking of wine.

Wine is for those whose thirst has been quenched. In a dry and thirsty place all you want is water; wine would burn. When your thirst is quenched then you can take the time to taste the wine.

You are not to drink wine alone. It is a covenental drink–it’s meant to be a shared experience. You employ all your senses when you drink wine:

  • hear the cork pop
  • see the color
  • smell the bouquet
  • taste the richness
  • feel the tanons coating your teeth

When you drink water you just swallow.

So we must stay hydrated and keep our thirst quenched so we can experience the deeper, richer flavor of the wine.

The Big Picture: As Seen Through Heaven’s Eyes

A single thread in a tapestry
Through its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heaven’s eyes

The Burning Bush

The above is from the song Through Heaven’s Eyes from the soundtrack for the movie “Prince of Egypt.” I love that imagry of my life being a colored thread within a tapestry that God is weaving. What an amazing day it will be when the revelation of this tapestry is unveiled. A real time to revel with elation (see my last post).

There are many times when things don’t make sense. Times when I’m frustrated, sad, disappointed, and, should I dare say?, mad at God. Then after time passes, and life settles down a bit, the dust clears and I can see more clearly, and I come to realize that God knew what was happening and had everything under control, and my heart is filled with gratitude for all He brought me through.

“Yes, I still get frustrated. I want to know how my current difficulty fits into God’s big picture. It would make things so much easier to endure the challenge at hand, wouldn’t it? But God’s ways are not our ways, and until it’s my turn to sit in Jesus’ lap and feel that unimaginable peace and security, I’m trying to live my life with that in mind.” {Todd Burpo, HEAVEN CHANGES EVERYTHING}

Another perspective is that I rarely have an inkling of the impact my life makes on others. What I do and the choices I make don’t only affect me but other people are impacted as well. This became clear when I got married and became a mother. My life is also a thread in the tapestry of the lives I encounter and have relationship with. My life is not my own. A sobering thought.

I think about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were grieved over Jesus’ death and bewildered about what they were supposed to do now. Then they were joined on the road by a stranger asking them what they were talking about. They couldn’t believe the ignorance of this stranger.

“You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

Then the stranger proceeded to remind them about all the writings of Moses and the prophets that explained all the Messiah would have to do and suffer. Then they had a meal together. As soon as the stranger broke the bread the veil was lifted and they recognized Jesus. I find it interesting that their claim of experiencing their hearts burn wasn’t when Jesus broke the bread, but when He took them through the writings of Moses and the prophets…as they began to see the pattern of the tapestry of God’s ultimate plan of redemption their hearts were aflame.


Father God, giver and author of life. Let this lesson be a reminder to me of the bigger picture–the beautiful tapestry your are weaving. I surrender myself to Your plan. Weave me into the tapestry as you see fit. May my life draw attention to Your beauty, and may my life beautify others. Open my eyes. Lift the veil so I may see my life through Heaven’s eyes.

Revelation–Joy Revealed!

I went to church this past Sunday morning a bit down emotionally. I just finished a challenging week at work, averaged 3-4 hours of sleep per night, and I was fighting a cold. So, I picked a seat in the back corner not wanting to expose myself and my germs to anyone, and I began to pray before the service started.

Our church services are different from the norm. The atmosphere is casual. The worship is contemporary. There is no hierarchy of leadership and lay folks. We’re just a bunch of friends who come together on Sunday mornings to love God and one another. Yes, we do have a pastor and a leadership team, and a basic structure of how things are done, but it’s a flexible structure that gives room for the Holy Spirit to express His heart in the way He wants.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

We have an “open mic policy,” so that anyone who has something to say, pray or share throughout the service is free to do so during worship and even during the sermon. The congregation is encouraged to speak up and add to whatever is being shared.

Anyway, back to the service. Nate opened the service in prayer and a gentle admonition wondering why everyone was so quiet as we should be in joyous celebration. Kristi got up and shared how the LORD ministered to her as she saw her dad, Ken, dance his way into the service. Ken’s face radiant with the joy and glory of the LORD lit up the room. We entered into worship, and afterward prayed for one another to be filled fresh with the Holy Spirit. Kristi’s husband, Luke, was invited to speak. He spoke about transformation. The gist of his message was that God isn’t working to change us into something we’re not, but He is bringing us into our true identity–who we really are. And it is as God reveals the truth to us that we can embrace our identity. In the here and now we only see a part, but there will be a time when the veil will be removed and we will fully know even as we are fully known. Oh what joy that day will bring!

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the LORD. And the LORD–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

It is through revelation that we are transformed into His image. I wrote the word revelation in my journal as Luke was speaking, and I saw something I never saw before. I saw two words:


The word revel means to take intense pleasure or satisfaction.
The word elation means a feeling or state of great joy or pride; exultant gladness, high spirits


For me this was the decorative bow that tied everything that happened in the service together. I understand that God has specific times and seasons for everything. This service was a week prior to the Jewish celebration of Purim. Purim is the commemoration of the story of Esther, and one interesting fact about the Biblical book of Esther is that God is never mentioned; however, it is recognized that God was at work behind the scenes directing all that happened for the Jews to triumph over their enemies. Purim is one of the most joy-filled celebrations on the Jewish calendar. People dress in costumes (as a tradition of God working behind masks) and give treats to one another. Games are played. Food is eaten, and it is one holiday that Jewish people are actually commanded to get drunk.

I am so grateful for how the service played out, and what God wanted to say was so evident and beautifully unveiled (revealed) through many of us–Nate’s admonition for us to be joyful, Kristi’s testimony of her dad dancing into the service (by the way, a year ago, Ken was very ill and in desperate need of a heart transplant. He received his new heart over the summer, and I’m so blessed in seeing his health restored and that all of us are getting to see and know the real Ken!), Luke’s message, and the revelation that God is inviting us to revel–to take intense pleasure and to be in a state of elation–exultant gladness as our eyes are opened to see Him and we are transformed into His image.

Parable of The Gift Giver



A father came home with arms full of presents for his children. The children greedily grabbed the gifts and tore into them, not even noticing the beautiful wrapping paper, ribbons and bows nor the obvious effort their father took in making these presents beautiful for them. They didn’t care about that. They wanted what was inside. They were very pleased with their gifts, each exclaiming that their’s was better than the others. This happened regularly. Whenever father came home, he always had wonderful presents for his children. However, over time it was apparent that the children cared more for the presents than they did for their father, and while father enjoyed giving these gifts to his children and seeing their happy faces, something made him sad.

He noticed that each time he brought them something new, the previous gifts were despised and tossed aside, even though there was nothing wrong with them; the children grew to expect that each new gift father gives them will be bigger and brighter and somehow better than what they got before. No matter how generous father’s presents were, the children were never truly satisfied.

One day he decided to do something different. When he arrived home he greeted his children with open arms. Unfortunately, all the children saw were his empty hands. He called each one by name and offered his embrace, but the only response was sneers and snorts of disdain and disappointment. The eldest asked indignantly, “Where are our presents?”

Father responded, “Well, because I truly wanted to show you my love, I decided not to come today with presents, but to offer you my presence.”


What is more valuable? The gift, or the person who gives the gift? Gift giving is one of the familiar love languages, albeit one that is probably often misunderstood as materialistic. It’s not. One who is fluent in the language of gift giving strives to communicate love through giving a present to declare, “I remembered you today, and I wanted to honor you by giving you something that would bless you and give you pleasure. I saw this and thought of you, and I hope that this gift will remind you that you are loved and deeply cared for.” And giving gifts is one way that God demonstrates His love for His children.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.” John 3:16

“Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning.” James 1:17

God never regrets the gifts He gave, even when they are misused, misunderstood and despised. He doesn’t regret what He gave even when His children are unthankful and greedily seek after more of His presents than they do of His presence.

On the contrary, I think of Moses who had the opportunity to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land; however, God told him that because of their sin He would not go with them. Moses refused to go. He would not receive God’s gift without His presence. I also think of the ten lepers Jesus healed. It was as they were on their way that they discovered that the leprosy was gone. Only one returned to Jesus to thank Him.

I am very grateful for the gifts He gave me. I am thankful for the gift of speaking in tongues, prophesy, words of knowledge, healing, miracles, and everything God pours out from Heaven. However, I want to be careful that I don’t place more value on these gifts than they are worth and unwittingly fall into the sin of idolatry. I want to be sure that I am seeking to know God first and foremost. All He gives are a wonderful byproduct as He is the greatest Gift Giver. The purpose for His gifts is to demonstrate His love, to show that we are valuable to Him, and to ultimately develop relationship with us. Throughout the Bible I read about the cry of His heart, “that My people would know me.”

“For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me.” 1 Corinthians 13:12


Father of lights, Who brings all things to light, leaving nothing obscure or hidden, but Who delights in revealing truth. Thank You first of all for giving Your beloved Son to die for me so that I may live the life You intended. Thank You for Your generous provision that sustains me. Thank You for the ways You reveal Yourself to me and interact with me. Thank You that You are near and alive and always speaking to me, always revealing Your heart in wonderful ways. Thank You for the gifts You gave in the past. I do not toss them aside for the new, for I treasure the past ways You showed Your love to me through the gifts of the Spirit. Each gift is precious and useful and builds on one another. The gifts You gave before are but the building blocks for the gifts You give now. I sincerely thank You for the gift of grace that has brought me farther than I ever thought I could go and proved to me that I am stronger than I know. Thank You for Your mercy that gently guides me along the path of life, encouraging me to keep moving forward. Thank You for strength and healing so I can climb mountains and leap over walls. Thank You, above all, for Your presence.

Ferociously Feminine

Are you ready?  God has unleashed a weapon so powerful that it is causing great trembling in the enemy’s camp.  This weapon is the one he dreads, the weapon he fears, the weapon he tried to cripple over time now has the strength to stand.  What is this weapon?  It is women who understand that their strength is their femininity.

God created both men and women in His image.  His image is complete only as men and women are united, each taking their place in God’s great plan.  The Bible is clear that God does not make a distinction between people based on gender.  Each has a unique role and strength and gifting, but neither is more important than the other; in fact, each gender needs the other to take their place in the body so they both can function fully.  The unique calling of the woman is to give birth to Christ, Who will ultimately serve the fatal blow to the enemy.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike[a] your head,
and you will strike his heel.” 
Genesis 3:15
This is why there is such an attack on women and a history of misunderstanding about the role of women in the Church.  In this day, and throughout time, women have been rejected in favor of men, they have been humiliated through rape and sexual slavery, they have been abused, abandoned, and treated as less than human, and if an ultrasound reveals a girl baby the chances that baby will be aborted is high.  It is time that the value of women is understood and embraced.  It is time for women to be released from all that has imprisoned them, to be free and confident and ferocious in their femininity.

I grew up believing that I was the biggest disappointment in my father’s life because I was a girl.  While awaiting my birth, his father (my grandfather) often said, “If it’s a boy call me.  If it’s a girl send me a letter.”  Then he suffered a fatal heart attack.  His funeral was ten days before I was born.  All the relatives said to my mother, “You have to have a boy for grandpa.”  Well, I was born a girl, and my mom went into hysterics believing that she failed, and my father believed that he failed his father by not having a son.  These were the stories I grew up hearing, and it was never forgotten that I was “supposed” to be a boy.

Most of my early childhood was spent in pursuit of trying to win my father’s heart.  I did everything I could think of to connect with my father.  I longed to be “Daddy’s girl.”  It never happened.  He died of melanoma when I was 12, and I spent the next few decades struggling to find some sort of significance with my life.  I experienced a string of abusive relationships with men, suffered from depression and was near-suicidal.  I didn’t want to kill myself, but the thought of being in an accident that would incapacitate me and put me in a hospital where I could be taken care of sounded really good.  This is what came of believing that I was a disappointment and not what my parents intended.

However, over the years, I have grown to be confident of this fact–God intended that I be a woman, and as a woman I am able to manifest His strength through my seeming weakness.  I am an unexpected threat to the enemy.  As a woman I’m supposed to be an easy target, right?  No way!  There is a strength and a fight in me that God has released.  It has taken a long time to get to this point, it’s been a hard journey, but everything I’ve been through has only made me stronger.

I love the final battle scene in the movie The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King when Eowyn is facing down the Witch King of Angmar.  Because she is clothed in full armor, he doesn’t know who he is really facing.  He taunts her with his evil laugh and says, “No man can kill me.”  She rips off her helmet and with her long golden hair flowing down revealing her femininity, she responds, “I am no man!”  And then she ferociously thrusts her sword into his mouth silencing him forever.  In my spirit I too ferociously thrust my sword into the enemy’s mouth, “I will not listen to lies.  I will not be deceived.  I will not be intimidated any longer.  I am a woman, and my strength is in my femininity!”


I believe that in this time God is breaking the molds and stereotypes that have trapped women and prevented them from fulfilling God’s purposes for their lives.  I also believe that God is encouraging men to not feel threatened by a strong woman, but to accept her as an equal partner, as was God’s original intention.  Indeed, as long as women are silenced it forces men to take on roles they were not meant to fulfill.  God is awakening women with the strength of Deborah and Jael in this day.

“Wake up, Deborah, wake up!
Wake up, wake up, and sing a song!”
Judges 5:12

The time of the judges of Israel was a dark time, when everyone did what was right in their own sight.  However, there were some bright spots when the Israelites were reminded of Who God is, and there were mighty men and women of valor who took courageous action to preserve the Name of the Lord.  At this time, Deborah was the judge in office.  She was the national leader who was sought after to settle disputes among the people and acted as the rallying point to coordinate resistance against enemy armies.  During Deborah’s time, the enemy army was the Canaanites under the leadership of King Jabin, and his captain Sisera.  The Canaanites oppressed the Israelites for 20 years and THEN they called on the Lord for help.  I can’t help but ask, “How long will you tolerate the enemy before calling on the Lord?”

I want to point out that it is stated that Deborah was the prophet and judge of Israel at that time.  There was no issue with her gender.  Nothing was out of the ordinary with having a woman leading the nation.  There was a particular palm tree where the people knew they could find her.  From that place, she sent for Barak, the captain of Israel’s army to inform him of the Lord’s battle plan.

When Deborah told Barak the battle plan, he responded that he would not go to battle without her.

“Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.”   Judges 4:9

Many who teach this story paint a picture of Barak as a wimp; however, I beg to differ.  Barak was a man of character and integrity.  He was wise in wanting Deborah on the battlefield.  He knew she was God’s vessel.  She heard from God.  She was his connection with God.  He didn’t care that he would receive no honor; he knew this battle was ultimately the Lord’s.  He was completely secure in his masculinity and was not threatened by having a woman in the lead.

Sisera’s army was a threat.  900 iron chariots was quite intimidating to the Israelites who were not as well trained and armed.  However, as is common through history, against all odds, Israel won!  After the Canaanite army was defeated, Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael.  Jael was simply the wife of a man named Heber, who was most likely in business dealings with both Israel and Canaan.  Sisera knew Jael’s husband was on friendly terms with his king so he believed it was a safe place.  Near East culture dictated that when a guest entered your tent you were obligated to protect and provide for that guest.  Jael was acting on her husband’s behalf by inviting Sisera in, but Jael had no feelings of loyalty to him.  I believe that she too was tired of the oppression.  She acted wisely and courageously by taking the opportunity before her to destroy the enemy of Israel.  She lulled him to sleep and drove a tent peg through his skull killing him instantly.

Not exactly the nice story we like to hear.  We like to hear about beautiful princesses falling in love with handsome princes and living happily ever after.  However, there are times and seasons when women need to be ferocious in their femininity.  There are times when women are required to take up the sword and fight, but the way we fight is different.  Both Deborah and Jael had wisdom and courage to recognize the Lord’s timing and strategy and to act without fear when the opportunity came.  Their wisdom and courage to act was more powerful than brute strength.  Their courage was fueled by the knowledge that God was fighting on Israel’s behalf–much like David when he faced Goliath–and the Lord brought the victory.

These two women were honored and revered for the victory their actions secured.  There was no shame for the men that God used women in this battle.  In fact, Barak joined Deborah in the celebration song of Judges chapter 5.  What would have happened if the main characters in this event acted according to stereotypes?  What if:

  • Barak went into battle on his own?
  • Deborah stayed under the palm tree praying?
  • Jael cowered in fear in the tent when Sisera arrived?

Because all of them followed the Lord’s leading, this was the final outcome:

  • Israel became stronger and stronger (Judges 4:24).
  • There was peace in the land for 40 years (Judges 5:31).
I believe God is awakening Deborah’s and Jael’s who are ferociously feminine, as well as Barak’s who are not threatened by strong women, to take their places side-by-side to accomplish the Lord’s purposes in the earth.

Women–there are dreams in your heart that have gone dormant.  Other things in life have taken prominence, and for some it should be that way.  There are seasons when you need to put your dreams on a shelf and allow them to go dormant.  It’s okay.  However, dormant doesn’t mean dead.  God hasn’t forgotten the dreams He placed within you, and God is fighting for all of the promises and dreams He planted in your heart to be fulfilled.  Today, He wants to remind you of those dreams, and to let you know that He hasn’t forgotten, so don’t you forget that God intends for you to be extraordinary.

The Ability to Dream
If you are capable of dreaming then you are truly free
To do all that you have in your heart and become all God intended you be
For in your dreams you explore all of God’s opportunities
For you to experience peace, joy, love and the wealth of prosperity
Along the way you may have to face the challenge of the enemy
Who would keep you bound and in the realm of mediocrity
If you but knew that deep within God gave you the ability
To break the restraints of limitation and walk in liberty
God’s plan for you is that you would live a life extraordinary
To be unashamed of Jesus’ blood nor of your testimony
And in the end as you look back in joyful reverie
You’ll have no regrets as you enter into Heaven’s ecstasy
Are you ready?