Collaborations Devotions

Pruning the Ark, a Re-Post worth reading!

Oh, my friends, I’m so excited! I was catching up on some blogs I follow, using WordPress Reader. I came across one by Rev. Mitch Todd, and boy was it timely!

I’ve been thinking and writing about the importance of letting God be God. I want to be content sitting shotgun, making room for Him in the driver’s seat of my life. I want to quit jumping behind the wheel when I think I have a better plan.

Mitch wrote about this very thing, but from a different perspective. He has given me permission to repost his article. I strongly encourage you to visit and follow his blog, “Weekly Devotion” where he consistently hits home with thought-provoking truths.

This was his article last week. It is certainly a re-post worth reading! Enjoy…

Pruning the Ark

Animals entering the ark

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Genesis 7:15

If I’d been Noah, I might have been tempted to do a little creative editing to the ship’s manifesto.

Snakes, scorpions, and mosquitoes: That is just the beginning of a long list of creatures that I might have been tempted to leave off the ark. When God wasn’t looking, I’d have kicked the hyenas out. I’d definitely have tried to omit the skunk.

See what I’m saying? This would have been the perfect opportunity to do a little weeding out of some of the peskier creatures. That didn’t happen. We still have lions and tigers and bears.

Here’s the thing — if I did do a little pruning down of God’s creation, I would be no better than those revelers dancing in the rain. I would have been choosing my way over God’s way.

This story of the flood is a lot of things. It can be confusing to understand why God would destroy nearly all life. I think the purpose of the story, however, is actually to show God’s enduring love of God’s creation. God takes great pains to ensure that life would continue, even when humanity had sunk so low in its depravity.

In Genesis, God says this: “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark” (Genesis 6:18a)

God is not washing God’s hands of the world — God is saving the world, and reestablishing a covenant with Noah, one that had almost been forgotten. This was the covenant made with Abraham, a promise of unending love and relationship. And, judging by the crazy collection of life upon that ark, God was making a covenant with all of life. Even with the cockroaches.

See, I wouldn’t have been so magnanimous. I would have been tempted to tame the wildness of creation, to make it fit my needs and my comfort. I would have tried to remake the world in my image.

Noah was a wiser man than I. He practiced obedience in his response to God’s strange commands. He was willing to do what seemed to be a most illogical thing, collecting such a menagerie. He must have known something I don’t always remember:

God knows best.

I’ll admit, I struggle with those three words sometimes. I get thinking I know best, forgetting that sometimes we’re called to do things we don’t want to do because they are part of a larger picture that we can’t fully see.

It’s not just obedience that Noah displayed, it was faith. Faith that God is on the scene, gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) working to give new life to life itself.

If you find yourself being tugged in a direction that doesn’t fully make sense, try to look at the situation through God’s eyes. Instead of forcing things to your own comfort, allow yourself to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of God’s covenant and great purpose.

Left to my own devices, I confess I would have gotten rid of bats and spiders, never realizing…

they both eat mosquitoes.

Have a great week,


People, animals, and a rainbow.

Relatable, right? I’ve long said I want to ask God why He created cockroaches. And to think the population was down to only 2, which Noah could have easily squished. I confess with Mitch; I would have been tempted. But I also agree with those three formidable words, “God knows best.”

Please visit Mitch’s blog and follow him if you’d like. I have been following for awhile and have been challenged in many ways. Here is the link, one more time –

Thank you, Mitch, for letting me share your post. I pray you keep writing and pointing out truth in the beautiful way God shows it to you. Pruning the Ark is a post worth reading. And re-reading. Blessings to you from the Back Porch.


Wisdom or Folly? The Suspense is Real!

Good and evil, hero and villain; we’re told the best stories contain these elements. Why? Because it creates drama, angst, and choice.

Wisdom or Folly? The Suspense is Real!

In one of my favorite books, two leading ladies compete for attention. One is wholesome, the other is scandalous. They each make their play. The one to whom they offer themselves must choose. The suspense is real!

Would you have guessed I was describing the Biblical book of Proverbs? It is full of dilemmas, comparisons, and right vs. wrong. In it, Wisdom and Folly are depicted as influential women. They each call out to passersby.

“Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud
‘To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all humanity’.”

Proverbs 8:1-4

“Folly is an unruly woman;
    she is simple and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house,
    on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who pass by,
    who go straight on their way”

Proverbs 9:13-15

Wisdom and folly have very different messages.

Wisdom uses words like listen, watch, and wait. She promises a great reward for those who attune to her for the long haul. She offers life and favor from God to those who do not give up and disregard her.

“Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 8:33-35

Folly prefers her audience does not take time to think. Her appeal is to those who want to remain simple. With her, there is no requirement to work or to wait. She offers easy satisfaction from instant gratification. But her reward is deceptive and ultimately fatal.

“‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’
To those who have no sense she says,
‘Stolen water is sweet;
    food eaten in secret is delicious!’
But little do they know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.”

Proverbs 9:16-18

Both voices call from the “highest points”. They are equally discernable. The stage is set. What will the hearer do?

The suspense and repercussions are real!

This is no mere entertainment.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is a participatory story. You and I, dear friends, are the characters who must choose. Wisdom and Folly call to us.

The repercussions of our decision will affect our lives for now and all eternity. Wisdom or Folly? The suspense is real! Which do you choose?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through wisdom your days will be many,
    and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
    if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”

Proverbs 9:10-12
Devotions Emotions

Angry and Convinced Someone Should Die? Make It Quick!

When my blood starts to boil, and I feel myself getting really angry…

(I know you’ve been there too!)

It’s like fire raging from deep within, bursting out of control…


(Know the feeling?)

Someone needs to die!

(Yes, definitely!)

And that someone is me.

(Wait, what?)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”

1 Peter 2:23, 24

To be clear, I am not advocating for suicide. This is not about physical death. But there are many natural instincts, with which I was born, that need to die. My need to be right, my desire for revenge, and the longing to have things “my way” are just a few.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone. When I gave my life to Jesus, He gave me a Helper. The Holy Spirit convicts me of what needs to die in me and provides strength and motivation to put it down.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Galatians 5:24-26

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Romans 8:13

Someone once pointed out to me that a dead (wo)man has no preferences. (S)he may have wanted certain things while (s)he was alive; enough to stand, strive and fight for them, even. But not anymore. Once (s)he dies, (s)he no longer has rights or desires, and therefore can not be imposed upon or offended.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:2, 3

If I have truly died to myself, and Jesus is living in me, there should be no struggle for control. I shouldn’t be consumed with pursuits of things I used to want. I am no longer relevant. My life is His.

A tiny plant in a handful of soil
Photo by Akil Mazumder on
Just as a seed will die to live as something much greater, so must I.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:5-10

I committed my life to Christ many years ago. The Holy Spirit has been hard at work. But friends, I’m not there yet. My sinful flesh does not quiet quickly.

In the words of Paul, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12) And it sure is on my mind! By God’s grace, I hope to resemble Him more, and me less, every day.

When I feel provoked, angry, and convinced someone should die, I need to make it quick. I’m the one who needs to die. My sin, my fleshly desires, my arrogance, my rights – I need to lay them all down for the joy of the Lord.

“We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 

Romans 6:2a, 6-8, 11, 13, 14

Celebrate Full Forgiveness, Rich Reconciliation, and Lessons for Life

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with the keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

Death in His Grave – Song by John Mark McMillan

Hello, my precious friends! I’m here to testify to God’s grace. I blew it and let my mouth get ahead of me. Again. But while God let me feel the painful pinch of my mistake, He also encouraged me through His Word with a timely, seasonal lesson.

Celebrate full forgiveness, rich reconciliation, and lessons for life

Are you familiar with Simon Peter? He was a disciple, who had left everything behind to follow and learn from Jesus. And he was impulsive – known for letting his mouth and muscle run ahead of his mind.

I found myself identifying with Peter because  I also lost control of my tongue. I shared details in a conversation which should have been left unsaid. I felt so convicted!

I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all night, just wanting morning to come so I could ask forgiveness from the friend to whom I had misspoken.  While I lay awake, I felt for Simon Peter.    

At dawn, on the morning the world would forever celebrate as the first Easter, Peter was in a bad space, physically and emotionally.  He was with the other disciples of Jesus in self-quarantine, something we all know a little bit about these days.  They were sequestered because of fear and grief. 

They had seen their Lord arrested, beaten beyond recognition, and crucified with a taunting sign over his head that read “King of the Jews”.  Peter and the others had upheld that title and helped to propagate it.  Would the soldiers come for them next? 

It was even worse for Peter because, not only was he sad and afraid, but he was also ashamed.  He had disowned his Savior! Jesus had tried to warn him that he’d fail this way. But Peter had indignantly rejected the possibility. Instead, he raised the stakes and promised to die with Jesus if it came to that.

But it happened. Peter’s tongue leapt before his thoughts and he denied he was a friend of Jesus; not once, not twice, but three times!  Jesus heard the whole thing and had looked him straight in the eyes while the awful words still rung in the air. And then Jesus was led away to his death.

The story is in Luke 22:54-62. I imagine Peter lay awake those next few nights, wishing he could find forgiveness.  But how could he?

Lessons for Life

Have you ever done something awful that you never intended to do, or not done something that you really should have? Maybe you betrayed a close confidence or didn’t stand by someone when they needed you most?

If so, you know that a heavy heart is a burdensome thing. As I wrestled with mine, I felt for Peter. I was anxiously awaiting dawn so I could make things right.

Peter must have felt hopeless in his shame. Jesus was gone. He couldn’t have expected dawn to hold any hope of reconciliation for him.

A rowboat in the water near the shore. Celebrate!
Photo by TheOther Kev on

Oh but it did! Dawn brought news of the Resurrection! And that changed everything!

On that glorious Sunday when Jesus arose, there was so much for Peter to celebrate. His Lord was alive! And so were his chances for restoration.

When Peter’s opportunity came, he was in a boat offshore. He saw the Lord on the beach and jumped into the water. He couldn’t get to Jesus fast enough. He really needed to make things right.

What a succinct lesson for life! Jesus is alive! And so is our opportunity to receive forgiveness and reconciliation.

Rich Reconciliation

Jesus had no words of accusation. He simply asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter said he did. Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs”. Then He asked him again, and a third time. In each instance, Peter responded the same and Jesus repeated His command.

How precious is that turn of events? What a rich reconciliation! Jesus allowed Peter to settle his own heart with a reiteration of love, and a promise to serve, for each of the three times he had failed. You can read the account in John 21:7-17.

Full Forgiveness

Jesus not only granted Peter full forgiveness and took away his devastating remorse, but He also reinstated his purpose. It was Peter who founded the church. His forgiveness was so full, so complete, it was as if nothing had ever come between them.

Now, as we celebrate the miraculous implications of the Resurrection, I wonder if there are possibilities of restoration in your life? Are you needing forgiveness? Have you been carrying a heavy load of regret or shame?

Do you crave another chance to fulfill your purpose? Well, my dear friend, launch yourself out of that boat you’re in and hasten toward Jesus. He knows what’s in your heart and He is eager to unburden you.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

What better day than Easter to come to the Risen Lord, confess your sins, and reconcile with Him? Will you take the opportunity to profess your devotion, and allow Him to set you free toward your renewed purpose? The victory of Easter means new life and new beginnings! I’d love to celebrate yours with you today!

God of salvation,
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride.
On a hill You created,
The light of the world,
Abandoned in darkness to die.
And as You speak,
A hundred billion failures disappear;
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here.
If You left the grave behind You so will I.

So Will I (100 Billion X) – Song by Hillsong Worship

If you would like more information on what it means to reconcile with Jesus, please reach out to me in the Comments or via the Contact link at the top of the page. You can also read The Gospel in a Nutshell.

The word gospel means good news. We all need more of that. And oh, this Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is the BEST NEWS!

And in case you’re wondering, I reached out to the person whose confidence I’d broken as early as was reasonable to do so. I repented and my burden was relieved by mercy and grace. My friend was a beautiful example of Jesus to me.

I learned a life lesson about second chances and our resurrected Savior. We find nothing less than full forgiveness and rich reconciliation when we ask it of Him. We have the opportunity because He arose. What a reason to celebrate!

Related Post: Might Have Missed the Miracle


Settle the Most Urgent Distractions Now

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Psalm 68:19

No matter what time I do my ‘quiet time’ with Jesus, it is the most chaotic time of day.  The phone chimes, the kids need help, and my brain suddenly remembers something urgent.  I have learned to write the distractions down, getting them out of my head so my mind can be still. 

I believe God wants me to treat each day like quiet time.  When I begin to worry about some future event, I will take a small immediate action to put my mind to rest.  That might mean saying a quick prayer to release the stress to God.  Sometimes it may be a more hands-on task, such as stashing a few dollars away or doing some research to inform myself about a scary unknown.  

I have what I need for today.  I will do what I can to prepare for tomorrow, knowing that when tomorrow becomes today, God will bear any burden that remains.   

How about you? Is there anything occupying your thoughts and disturbing your peace? What can you quickly do to settle the urgent distractions now?


How my Love Falls Short of the Greatest Love

“‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you.”

Luke 6:27, 28

When someone lashes out at me, my first reaction is usually concern for me. I reassure myself that I did not deserve it and I lick my wounds. I feel justified in coddling my dignity.

My love falls short of the greatest Love.

It happened the other day at Starbucks. My order was made incorrectly. It occurs occasionally and baristas are usually apologetic and accommodating. But this time was different.

I politely asked the young woman behind the counter for a correction to my drink and was shocked at the sassy reply I got in return. I tried to smooth it over with her, thinking surely there was a miscommunication, but that only made it worse. Her retort was rude and hurtful.

I retreated to the corner to wait, because although she was mean about it, she was remaking my drink. I stood there and replayed the exchange in my head. I didn’t say anything accusing. I didn’t deserve such a response.

Hearts in foam on a cappuccino: How my Love Falls Short of the Greatest Love
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on
Love and Coffee, both best brewed pure.

I had placed my order from an app on my phone, so I had a copy of what I’d asked for. I pulled it up. Yes, I did it right. She made the error. I had proof. I was licking my wounds.

When my corrected coffee was ready, I tried to let bygones be bygones. I mustered extra sweetness when I said, “Thank you! I really appreciate it. Have a great afternoon!” She responded with unkindness, and I hurried out.

I got in the car and told my husband all about it. As the words came out of my mouth and I heard them, I felt God nudge me. I’d missed an opportunity. My love had fallen short of the greatest Love.

I know that hurt people hurt people. I suddenly wondered what had transpired in the barista’s day to make her so bitter. I could have cared for her and her needs instead of protecting my own.

Coffee cup in the middle of a heart made out of coffee beans: How my Love Falls Short of the Greatest Love
Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on
Showing love is more important than drinking perfect coffee.

I imagined my own daughters, who are similar to her in age. I remembered the times they had been hurtful and what had driven them to it. I suddenly wanted to cry. My new emotion was for her, not because of her.

It was too late to go back. I prayed for her instead. I prayed that her next customer was not as slow to hear God’s voice. And I prayed for me.

I asked God to recondition my responses to care for other people when they get in my face. I want to immediately seek to ease them at the source of their pain instead of taking offense. If they see Jesus instead of me, He can make an impact!

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Luke 6:35, 36

Oh Lord, please forgive me. I thought I was being the bigger person because I was polite. But You didn’t put me there to show that I could rise above. You should have been magnified. I should have ministered, on Your behalf to the injured heart I encountered. She was precious to You and I could have shown her your healing grace. Please continue to teach me how my love falls short of Your greatest Love. Help me do better next time, in Jesus’ name.