Do You Feel Loved?


One of the most important questions you can ask your spouse or your child is, “Do you feel loved?” 

Feelings come and go.
Love is not a feeling.
Love is a decision.
Love is not given for good behavior.
Love is not withheld as punishment.
Love is given whether or not it is deserved.

You know you truly love someone when the act of loving that person is more important to you than how that person makes you feel.

Do you want to live a real love story? Select a mate that knows how to love you beyond their self. And pick someone you are willing to love for a lifetime, no matter what. And when you have children, share that same kind of unconditional and secure love with them.

If real love sounds hard, look at Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that he willingly gave his life and died for us – even for those that did not believe in him, that betrayed him, and that spit on him. He gave his life for the undeserved because he loved them even though they gave him nothing in return. Jesus’ love is perfect love.

Some people say they would die for their spouse or for their child, but yet they live every day selfishly for themselves. How do you compare?

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice…


I am shocked at what appears to be an increase in unfiltered venting of angry or mean comments without regard for how it makes another person feel. Recently, I witnessed a small battle of good and evil where one person spoke up amongst a sea of cruel comments to say, “Please be respectful to others and do not make intentionally hurtful comments. Think before you speak.” To which the dark side reacted like a frenzy of angry piranhas and one person in particular remarked, “We have so many angry people in this world because people hold in their feelings and never express them.”

Shaking my head. I completely disagree! Self-controlling the expression of angry feelings is not what creates the many angry people in this world.

First, let’s distinguish a person’s anger (internal feelings) from unfiltered spouting of what someone thinks (external action). Unfiltered venting of mean comments at another’s expense is a direct expression of anger…. A weapon of words. And further, uncontrolled venting of angry and cruel remarks at another person’s expense does not bring joy to the person venting; sadly, it perpetuates and magnifies the internal anger.

Angry people that do not take responsibility for managing their internal anger and instead choose to express what they think without regard for others is like saying, “I don’t know what to do with this angry crap within me, so I am going to heap it on you and the rest of the world in an attempt to make myself feel better.

Let’s be honest here. Anger is not born from lack of expression. Anger never goes away by spreading it unjustly in the world. Anger is an internal response that requires someone to go within themselves to learn why they are feeling angry (usually a defense to hurt or fear in their lives). And then the person can either use the anger to fuel their act of expressing angry comments, or…. They can learn how to process their anger and cope with it in a healthy way so they can achieve happiness, obtain joy and act in kindness.

Anger is often a defense mechanism. But it cannot be heaped onto the undeserved. If the angry person has no desire to achieve healthy filtered expression or impulse control for their own genuine joy, then perhaps they will do it for the love and consideration of those around them that do not deserve verbal attacks.

I pity a man that can actually gain any degree of internal satisfaction from delivering harsh words without regard for causing undeserved pain or grief in a fellow man. I personally think it only magnifies the internal anger, and the person never really finds peace or joy in themselves.

Human decency and love are always the answer. Anything less is an indication that something is wrong; something is very wrong.

And if you are angry and venting without respect for those around you and nothing about this touches your heart or makes sense to you whatsoever, then there’s always the hard and fast golden rule that any good momma or daddy taught us when we were little kids. You don’t have to understand it, just do it and the world will be a better place, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Proverbs 29:11
A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.


Are You Listening?


I saw the following quote and thought to myself, “Listen? Listening is not my problem.”

20140729-000129-89536.jpgI often pray and listen. And then I will pray again and listen again. I will pray without ceasing and continue listening. I listen all the time. It’s having the courage to do what He tells me to do that becomes my problem.

All too often I try to wait for “what He tells me to do” to feel good. It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes “what He tells me to do” is going to be really uncomfortable, difficult, out of my routine or even painful. Sometimes it’s a quick something, like facing the pain of ripping off a band-aid or holding my breath to toss back some bad-tasting but good-for-me medicine. And other times it’s a journey that’s going to be slow and long.

So I listen to what He says to me and I think, “that option doesn’t feel good, so that can’t possibly be the answer to my prayer.” It becomes a “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?” moment. (Yes, you have to be old to understand that reference.).

After a few days, weeks or even years of praying and realizing that He did in fact speak to me, I just didn’t like or agree with the answer He gave me. I will finally say “ok”, and succumb like a child whose relentless Father keeps telling me how to do something His way rather than my determined way.

This means taking a deep breath. A. very. deep. breath. And then I surrender my anxiety, fear, disbelief and creature-comfort to Him. One by one, I lay my shackles of doubt and uncertainty at His feet. And in exchange, I pick up and place on me the armor of God.

And so it begins. I announce with confidence, “You are God. You are the one I know that is all powerful and all knowing. I am going to trust you now. I am giving you my everything. I am going to live in faith. And by this armor, you will protect me and see me through.” I muster confidence and courage standing in His armor. And that’s the moment His strength and His hedge of protection ignites! POW!

I take my first step; no looking back now. Just me and God and the mission ahead. And He is right there with me like a great Coach cheering me on, guiding me and encouraging me to keep going. He begins to knock down my enemies. He begins to tear down walls that I thought would stand forever. He throws open doors for me that I never imagined could be opened.

Is the journey hard? Sometimes.
Does it mean a big change in my life? Sometimes.
Does it mean that others may be disappointed or confused by my decisions and actions? Sometimes.
Does it mean the enemy will try to stop me? Most of the time.

But there is great fulfilling purpose in moving from my Point A to God’s Point B for me. The reward of doing it for Him and accomplishing His purpose for me is what this life is all about. And every time I do it, He renders a mountain of peace and joy for me and my family like I have never dreamed.

So today ask yourself…. Are you living for what you want today? Or are you living for what you need most in your life? Are you circling your Point A or are you making your way to God’s Point B for you? Are you listening?

I encourage you.
Listen to Him.
Block out the noise that is around you.
Have faith in your Father.
He is calling you to trust Him.
Say “yes” to His request.
Hold His hand (really right).
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
And say, “LET’S DO IT!”

Determining Someone’s Value



Do you have someone in your life that you value so much that you are willing to die for them?

Do you know someone that values you so much that they are willing to die for you?

How do you value yourself? Do you believe that you are worth dying for?

Thoughts of inferiority attack us all. No one, no matter how beautiful or successful, is immune from thoughts of inferiority.

Who should you allow to determine your value? Who really knows enough of you inside and out and who can really see you and your full potential?

A parent?
A spouse?
A sibling?
A coworker or friend?
A boyfriend or girlfriend?
A neighbor?
A boss or teacher?
The enemy?

Hardly! All these people, including you, are limited in their knowledge and understanding. Compared to God, they lack truth and understanding about what is within you.

So, how do you determine how valuable you are?

The best way to determine the value of something is to find out what someone is willing to pay for it.

What was the price God was willing to pay for you?

Death. His Son.

Do you value someone so much that you would give up your child for them? Is there a person in your life that values you so much that they would give up a child for you?

God, the all mighty creator, the only person that knows every hair on your head, the one that knows your every thought and that has seen your every action, all of your good and all of your bad, he knowingly paid the ultimate price for you: death. He gave up his only son in exchange for you. There is no greater price to pay.

God knows you are extremely valuable. Yes, this means YOU. There are no exceptions to his love for all of his creation. Don’t let the enemy rob this precious truth from you. Maybe you are not yet displaying your full potential, but God sees what you can eventually become and loves you for it today.

YOU are valuable enough to die for, so don’t ever let anyone else beneath God, including yourself, tell you any different.

32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?




On Dad’s Shoulders



Many children in Texas took the standardized STAAR test this week. All of their hard work and all of the teachers’ efforts for the year were put to a test. That can be a lot of pressure for everyone. The school sent home a reminder sheet, “Prepare for Testing Day”:

1. Get a good night of sleep;
2. Eat a good breakfast;
3. Arrive early;
4. Use your testing strategies;
5. Double check your answers.

The morning of the first testing day, I loaded up the car with my three elementary school children. Their bellies were full and they had their sharpest No.2 pencils in hand. On the way to school, I gave them a pep talk. “Take your time. Don’t get nervous. Do the best you can do. You’ve worked hard all year. I know you’ll do great.”

As we approached the school, there were the usual parents scurrying here and there. Children with backpacks were scampering out of cars and making their way to their classrooms. I waited at the intersection while the crossing guard protected the line of children trotting across the crosswalk.

Then I noticed a very tall and youthful dad with his son on his shoulders. His son was smiling and laughing as his dad took the time and effort to trot towards the school. He even stuck his hands out like an airplane in full trust that his dad would not let him fall. This child was about to take the same test as the rest, but he did not have anxiety on his mind. He was focused on the comfort and joy that his dad had to offer.

And then it dawned on me. Our Father! He lifts us up so we can soar on wings like eagles! So I am offering a new “Prepare for Testing Day” list:

1. Pray for wisdom;
2. Have faith that your Father has your back;
3. Do not be anxious, but instead rest in His comfort and have peace;
4. Rejoice in everything; even testing day, because this is the day the Lord hath made;
5. You worked hard all year, so go rock this test and do it for His glory!

My kids and I said a prayer before we exchanged our usual morning hugs, kisses, “I love you” and “Have a great day!” His peace and glory were upon them as they rushed to their classrooms.

We all go through tests in life. Some tests are academic, some are related to work and others are a life test of some sort. And yes, good sleep, good food and good strategies are good things to do to prepare. But let’s not forget our Father! When we have a test, he is always there waiting for us to climb on His shoulders and rejoice. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us. No matter the test, we can soar on wings like eagles.

Watching Her Son Die



“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” (Jn 19:25)

As a mother, I cannot possibly fathom how Mary managed herself during the tragic days when they arrested and crucified her Son. She stood on the road and watched her precious Jesus pass by struggling to carry the burden of his cross. When all his disciples fled, she remained with him. I think no one could rip her away. She was completely helpless to do anything for him. Even more, she knew she had to support him to accept the suffering to come. All the while knowing that he did nothing to deserve such punishment. He was perfect and pure in every way. While she watched her Son die, she did the only thing she could do, offer her love while he suffered. Stand by and watch in hopes her presence might offer some comfort to her precious child. What an incredible amount of faith Jesus’ suffering and death had to demand of Mary. When he died, they took him down from the cross and placed him in her arms. She held him and looked at him. I am sure through her tears she thought of her precious baby boy from long ago. Probably never wanting to let his body go. Her Son displayed perfect faith. Her Son died to save the world. Oh how she must have had an overwhelming mix of emotions. Debilitating grief, proud of his courage, proud of his faith, angry at those who killed him and anxiously putting all of her hope in His resurrection so that she too might survive another day.

The Night Before


Jesus knew what was about to come….

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44 NIV)

He didn’t deserve it, but he willingly accepted it for us….

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46 NIV)

…dying for the sins of his enemies. Forgiving them. Saving them. Forgiving me. Saving me. Forgiving you. Saving you. Pure, selfless, perfect love like no other.