Harmless as serpents?

Mt. 10:16: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  He instructed them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, and to freely give of what they had been given.

But He warned them that He was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Doesn’t sound like the safest scenario to me. 

He said there would be persecutions coming.  But He also said that the disciple is not above his teacher, so if they have called Him the master of the house of Beelzebub, how much more would they call those of His household.  It makes sense.  Persecutions do take place.

Now, what did He then tell them?  “Go out there and speak your mind!  Let people know how it is and set them straight!”

I’m sorry, but no.  That’s not what He said.  Now, Jesus wasn’t one to sugar coat things, but He spoke what the Father told Him speak.  And in verses 19-20, He said, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak.  For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

Who is speaking?  Us?  Uh-uh.  The Spirit of our Father.

There is a lot of speaking around us and unfortunately, all too often, it seems that it is not coming from the Father.  Jesus told His disciples to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  I’m afraid that these have gotten mixed up.  I see and hear words that strike out at others, just as a serpent would do.  I see words that are meant to cause harm or injury.  I hear words that have poison dripping from them.

In contrast, doves truly are harmless.  Do you know that the male and the female both produce milk for their young?  They’re nurturers.  Did you know that doves can adapt to almost any environment on the globe?  This reminds me of the way Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.

Doves have also been a symbol of peace, globally, for thousands of years.  I recall Jesus saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9)

We can be the ones that are the peacemakers.  We can be the ones that fulfill the great commission as wisely as serpents, but as harmlessly as doves.  We weren’t asked to strike out at people.  Yes, be wise.  I’m not ignoring that part.  We are being sent out as sheep among wolves.  We need wisdom.  But Proverbs is full of ways to use wisdom with regard to our words, and when we are supposed to be sharing the “Good News” about Jesus with others, it sure helps if it actually sounds good and doesn’t feel like a slap in the face.



God still loves you

“But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20  (The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32)

I’ve been teaching my class about God, the Father, and yesterday we talked about the prodigal son.  This son took the possessions his father gave him, went his own way, wasted them all to the point of starvation, and found himself wishing he could eat pig food.  He suddenly realized that even the servants who worked for his father had it better than he, so he decided to go back home and beg his father for mercy…and for a job.

The scripture says that when he was still a great way off his father saw him.  That makes me think his father had been watching for him.  His father was just hoping and waiting, day after day, that his son would return.  The father was so full of compassion that he ran and hugged and kissed his son.

Not only did he welcome him, but he gave him gifts.  He ordered that the best robe and a ring be put on his son.  He also gave him new sandals.  I don’t know if he had no sandals by this point, or his were just tattered all to pieces, but his father wanted nothing but the best for his son.

Next he ordered a feast–bbq time!!  He said, “It’s time to eat and be merry, for my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  There was music, dancing, and celebration for this son who came home.

It’s the same way when we come back to the Lord.  God isn’t just sitting on a throne of Judgment.  Hebrews 4:16 says it is a “Throne of Grace, where we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  God is waiting for us, just like that father.  God is our Father, waiting for us with grace and mercy.

Not only that, but when we do decide that being with Him is better than starving in sin, there is rejoicing in heaven when we come home!  (Luke 15:6-7)

Don’t ever think it’s too late to return to your Father, God.  He still loves you.  You are still His child.  He’s watching for you, waiting.  He has good things to bestow upon you.  His grace and mercy still available now.

Come home,


Month of Prayer, Day 14

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.  The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.”  Ps. 119:71-72.  Lord, in 2011, I wrote in my Bible that this is my testimony.  Remembering the battle that had just been won in my life, I know this was true.  I look at that now, after having fought for 4 1/2 years with physical mysteries and I notice my heart is a bit hardened towards those words.  I don’t like being afflicted.

But Lord, You have indeed dealt well with me.  According to Your Word, You have walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death.  You have been my comfort.  You have led me in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.  You have been my shepherd who restores.  You have been a place of refuge.  You have turned me away from the snares of death.  And I thank You.

Surely I can have strong confidence in the One who does all those things.  Surely I can rest on the promises of the One who is consistently faithful.  Although there have been times of tearing in my life, I have also seen healing.  When I focus my thoughts on You, I see promise.  Isn’t that what Your Word encourages us to do?  Pr. 14:14 says, “A good man will be satisfied from above.”  Col. 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Set Your mind on things above, not on things on earth.”

Lord, help me set my sights on You and, according to Your Word, let Your peace rule in my heart, causing me to be thankful.  Would I have desired to seek You so had I not been afflicted?  If everything were going my way, would I need a Provider?  Were my body to be in perfect shape, would I consult the Healer?  If I weren’t in pain, would I run after my Father, seeking comfort and peace?  Perhaps not.

Lord, with prudence, help me as I consider well my steps.  As I walk out this affliction day by day, let my focus remain on the One who is good and who does good.  Let my eyes stay fixed on the One who does not cast off His people, nor forsake His inheritance.  Let my trust be in the One who anoints my head with oil, and causes my cup to run over.  Let my cries be sent out to the One who hears my voice from His temple.  Let my tears be entrusted with the One who puts them in His bottle, treasuring my heart’s loyalty and trust in Him.

Lord, the care You take of me, the salvation You’ve given, and the promises You keep in Your faithfulness…surely those things are worth more than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  Thank You, Lord.

I love you,


Month of Prayer, Day 13

Lord, just like the writer of Ps. 119:59, I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.  I made haste and did not delay, for Your Word says that those who disdain correction will find poverty and shame.  Those who regard a rebuke; however, will be honored.  Lord, more than honor for me, I want my life to honor You.  Thank You for delivering me from destruction.

Pr. 13:4 says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”  Lord, if it takes me getting up at midnight to praise You; or reading Your Word in the early hours of the morning, that is what I will do.  I will be diligent in my pursuit of You in order that my soul might be rich.  You are better than any treasure.  The wisdom that I gain from Your Word is life-giving and more advantageous than any other knowledge I could gain.  When I listen to my Father’s instructions, I am wise.

Guide my feet to wise men and women who also fear You.  Give me companions that keep Your precepts and understand that the earth is full of Your mercy.  This way, Lord, You may turn us away from the snares of death.

Help me to act with knowledge and not folly.  Help me to fear Your commandments all the days of my life.  I long for that eternal reward…eternity with You.  I love You, Lord, and I thank You for giving me Your Word and for loving me enough to discipline me when necessary.  Thank You for wanting me that much.  You are an amazing Father!

I love you,


Month of Prayer, Day 4

Lord, in Pr. 4, I hear the words of a father, pleading for his son to hear and follow his wise commands.  Solomon implores his son to hear him, pay attention, receive his sayings.  He longs to spare his son heartache and the consequences that bad choices bring.  He tells his son not to forget, nor turn away from the words of his mouth.  As parents, we all long for the same.  Having wisdom beyond our children’s years, we long to guide and protect our children.  We want our children to be wise, to be honored, and to keep their eyes on You.  We hope to impart the wisdom behind our rules and instructions, knowing they will lead our children in right paths.

Likewise, Lord, You have given us Your own Word.  You have imparted unto us wise commands.  Ps. 119:17-19 says, “Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word.  Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.  I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.”

Just as a young toddler would be considered a stranger on the earth, not yet understanding the dangers, the consequences, or the long-term effects, so we are strangers here on this earth.  Lord, You alone know what today brings.  You are our Father, guiding and protecting us each step of this journey.  Just as we ‘toddle’ behind a young one beginning to walk, You are ever behind us, ready to steady us when we fall.  You have gone before us, clearing the path so that we will not stumble.  You are there guiding us with encouragement, love, and comfort as we find the courage to continue on.

Lord, You are a loving Father, who has given us Your Word, Your instructions on how to live here on this earth.  You are ever with us.  Help us see the wondrous things in Your law, to receive Your words, to pay attention as You lovingly guide and protect us.

Thank You, Lord, for loving me so much that You not only sent Your Son to die in my place, but You gave me Your commandments that I might live abundantly.  Help me, Lord, to heed Your word, as I toddle through my day.  You are gracious and kind.  Your love and attention make me feel safe.

I love you, Lord.




Month of prayer, Day 1

Lord, in Pr. 1, we read the words a father has lovingly written to his son.  He beseeches his son to hear his father’s instruction and his mother’s law.  He writes words to impart instruction and prudence upon his son.  He implores his son to shun evil counsel and listen to wisdom’s call.  He warns his son what will happen if he forsakes wisdom.

In Ps. 119:1-8, I read about another Father who has written to His children for those same reasons.  I read that those who walk in Your law and keep Your testimonies will be blessed.  I am reminded that You have instructed us in Your rules, Your precepts, and beseeched us to keep them diligently.  If we would but do that, Lord, we would not be ashamed.  If we would do that, we would make wise decisions and forfeit the consequences of forsaking wisdom.  If we would shun evil and do no iniquity, we would be blessed.

Lord, help me to heed my Father’s word.  Help me to walk in Your ways, and to praise You with uprightness of heart.  Help me to listen to wisdom’s call, so that I will not have to suffer the consequences of shame.  Bless me when I seek you with my whole heart.  Bless me when I choose to walk in accordance with Your instructions.  Help me increase in prudence as I learn from Your word.

Lord, I thank you for what I read in Your word today, and I ask that You would allow these instructions to help me hear wisdom’s call more readily.  Help me to become so tuned in to Your mighty voice, that all other ‘instructions’ around me simply fade away.  Thank you for the privilege to have access to Your mind, through Your Word.

I love you,


Call your Father

“Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Ps. 73:25-26

First thing this morning, my husband had a Face Time call on his phone.  Our son stayed with his grandparents last night, and when he woke up this morning, they weren’t in the room.  For some reason, he thought they left him at the house alone, so he was crying and very upset.  He called his dad.

His dad was able to calm him down, speak logic and assurance to him, and give him the courage to go look for them in another room.

Sometimes we feel alone and upset.  Sometimes life just overwhelms or weakens us.  We have a choice to make.  We can sit in the dark room, crying and feeling hopeless.  Or, we can call our dad.

Our father hears our voice from His temple.  Our cries come before Him, even to His ears.  (Ps. 18:6)

Feeling afraid?  Call your Father.  He will calm you, reassure you, and give you courage and strength.

Thanks, Abba.