Daily Word


Read Zephaniah – read and reflect on the three chapters as a whole. This is different from what we’ve done with other books because Zephaniah hit me differently than other books and I am not ready to move on…. and if I’m feeling this way, maybe you are too.

I had to confess to the LORD that chapters 1-3:8 made me fear him. But it wasn’t the reverent fear I normally experience, it was more like the cowering fear an abused child might feel. Confrontation and wrath scare me.

He gently took my confession and reminded me I am not condemned. I am his. The wrath to come is against those who live opposed to Him. The wrath is God’s protection and rescue over believers – evil must be dealt with – I do not need to be afraid of it. And I no longer was.

Then I prayed for a holy comprehension of him singing over me from 3:17. It’s a big switch from God of the universe to God who delights in me personally. The president of the United States may declare war and imprison bad guys to protect me, but he is certainly not going to drop by my house and sing over me…. Yet God is that personal! The LORD God Almighty has the whole world in his hands, and time to delight in little old me, and little old you.

Zephaniah showed me that I need a bigger concept of the LORD.

And the LORD, in full mercy and grace, gave me a picture of myself getting on the floor with my dogs. I am their master, but when I get on the floor, it’s play time! I delight in them and they know they are precious to me.

I shared last month that my biggest take-away from the retreat in Montana was to cease striving (September 14th post titled Remember). Jesus just plain loves me and his love is not fickle or temperamental. I have loved and been loved imperfectly, yet God’s love is perfect. Today is a beautiful day to cease striving and simply try to wrap my head around that – playfully. He delights to spend time with me and his time is infinite!

Beloved, sit with Zephaniah just a little bit longer and see what the LORD reveals to you. Confess, play, get on the floor and wrestle if you must, but don’t leave this book without all that God has for you.

Daily Word

Ephesians 6

Read Ephesians 6 – Love incorruptible – Those are the last words of Ephesians in the ESV… other versions say ‘undying love’ – ‘love in sincerity’ – and some just plain ‘love’.  

“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” :24

Incorruptible love covers any waves of doubt or fear.  Incorruptible love rules over the heart and conduct.  Incorruptible love lives in celebration of the glory and holiness of our LORD and Savior, and it is a strength that carries one with authority and dignity through the corruption of this world.

Backing up to verses :10-20 you found a true powerhouse of wisdom for that very thing, and that is putting on the armor of God.  We are up against much more than we see, Paul mentions the schemes of the devil, evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, mighty powers in the dark world and evil spirits in the heavenly places. :12  

As Christians we need to be aware of these entities, and how to deal with them by putting on the armor described in :13-17, and praying in the Spirit at all times. :18  I caution you to be aware, but not ruled by this awareness.  As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Beloved, I hope you enjoyed Ephesians and all this epistle equips you with for life as much as I did.  Tomorrow we are going to revisit the Old Testament in the book of Zephaniah.  He is considered one of the minor prophets – minor in that the book is just three chapters in length.  I don’t know a thing about him beyond that and am looking forward to discovering with you.  

To find it, start at the end of the Old Testament, moving backwards you’ll find Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai and then our new friend, Zephaniah.

Daily Word

Ephesians 5

Read Ephesians 5 – Imitate God, as dearly beloved children. When my children were just toddlers, they would stand in my husband’s warm and worn work boots, imitating him with delight.   My heart is so full and happy with that image.

Things were so simple then.  Life seems much busier and complicated now, yet God is only asking that we do the very simple thing of imitating Him, as dearly beloved children (:1).

He says: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. ” :14

As you read Chapter 5, what did you sense you needed to arise from?   Hallelujah, it’s as simple as taking the stand to say YES to all of Jesus – and He does the heavy lifting… the shining of light as only He can.

Beloved, look carefully at how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise,  making the best use of time because the days are evil.  (:15-16)

Imitate, walk in the light, expose wickedness, love, respect, wake up and arise into the grand adventure of your Christian life!

Daily Word

Ephesians 3

Read Ephesians 3 – Be awed. Be truly and fully AWED by our holy, benevolent, glorious Heavenly Father.

As I read I couldn’t help but want more of Jesus. I don’t think I have even scratched the surface of how awesome he is.

Paul mentions that “the stewardship of God’s grace” (:2) was given to him for the Gentiles (like me). The words struck me as especially wonderful…. I may have read them countless times before, but today they are precious. He even says the mystery was made known to him (:3). What an incredible and joyful privilege… how very special to introduce a person to the most excellent nature of God’s grace, especially a Gentile who may have felt outside of the Lord’s love prior to Jesus.

Paul’s prayer is that we, and all God’s people, have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (:18). I am small in the presence of His love, even my little understanding is so enormous it makes everything else small. The God of the universe, the LORD God Almighty loves us fully and eternally… wow!

Beloved, may we both ask for more today…. More understanding of God’s love, and more understanding of our privilege to know and share Jesus.

Daily Word

Matthew 22

Read Matthew 22 – What’s love got to do with it?  EVERYTHING. 

Jesus teaches through the parable of the wedding banquet. He showed us three unworthy reactions to the invitation: refusal,  distraction and showing up unchanged.   Those with the invitation refused to come.  The same applies to heaven; no one is getting in based on family religion.  No one is getting in having heard the Gospel and doing nothing with it.   And no one is getting in without being clothed in Jesus Christ.  Beloved,  wear your Jesus- fueled love everywhere you go.   Live dressed and ready for heaven. 

The religious folks keep trying to outsmart Jesus with various questions.   Note that the questions were all hypothetical.  They remind me of my skeptical questions prior to Salvation… there is truly nothing new. Jesus can stand up to any question this world might throw at him.

The best question received the very best answer!  (:36-40) It’s all about love.   When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered it is to love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.   And He added that the second most important command is to love your neighbor as yourself. 

I confess that I misunderstood this second one for quite some time.   I thought I was loving others MORE than myself, by putting myself down. That’s not what Jesus wants from anyone.   

Beloved, life is his gift, and we must take very good care.  You are His gift.   Your crabby relative/ neighbor/ stranger on the street/ person who cut you off in traffic/ etc.  are all made in His image and you are called to love them.

Daily Word

Psalm 25

Read Psalm 25 – We last spoke of who God is in Psalm 24.  Now, in Psalm 25, David entrusts himself to the LORD.  (:1-2)

David recognizes that many are his enemy and their behavior is treacherous. David was a man of bloodshed with a life’s purpose to be king according to God’s plan.  I am much more ordinary than that, yet still need a healthy awareness that those who hate Jesus are enemies. (Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.”)  Beloved, we must love our enemies with wisdom and grace, not simple naivete and wishful thinking.  

“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God, my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” :4-5  Beloved, with this desire you will not be led astray!

David goes on, recalling God’s nature, asking for forgiveness from the sins of his youth and iniquities for God’s namesake… not David’s merits, but for God’s own namesake.  David even speaks about some dark days… David is not a stranger to anxieties, but he also knows where to take them.

Beloved, can you carve out some alone time today, search your soul, as David did, and lay it before Jesus, our Savior.

Daily Word

Psalm 23

Read Psalm 23 – The LORD is my shepherd. Okay, raise your hand if your grandmother made you memorize this. I hope your hand is raised, and if not, will you commit to memorizing it now? These 6 verses are excellent for navigating life in our fallen world with the Good Shepherd.

King David had a correct view of himself as a sheep, and the LORD as the shepherd. Remember, David was a shepherd; he knew a shepherd’s role and the needs of sheep. The LORD guides and guards his sheep. The shepherd is responsible for food, water, rest, care from sickness, and protection from attack when caring for the flock.

Okay, now re-read and pray through Psalm 23. “I shall not be in want.” :1 Lord, am I fully trusting you for all my needs? Show me my heart through your eyes…. (confess anything He brings to mind) Green pastures, still waters… offer gratitude for the Lord’s provision. Fear… what are you fearing? Get practical: is it a tax bill, a relationship, a promotion? Remind your fear how big your God is! Prepare a table… Thank God for knowing the plans he has for you, plans for your good and his glory. Goodness and love… Beloved, celebrate with the LORD that you don’t have to get tangled up in this world, his goodness and love follow you and ultimately you will dwell in the house of the LORD forever… In the New Testament, Paul says, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 As you view this life through the lens of God’s care and control, know that the best is yet to come. Your future is certain in Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd, and all the days leading up to that divine appointment are filled with meaning and purpose because you are His.

Daily Word

Psalm 5

Read Psalm 5 – “You and me against the world… sometimes it feels like you and me against the world….” Excuse me while I entertain myself with this Helen Reddy song. David seemed to be in a “You and me against the world” state of mind when he penned Psalm 5, and for us, it serves as a breathtaking model for prayer.

David approaches the LORD with great reverence as O LORD, my King and my God. (:1-3). He focuses of the LORD’S character; the LORD abhors wickedness, and those who are evil, liars, bloodthirsty and deceitful…. David aligns his heart with the LORD as he speaks. Beloved, pray by this example, consider who you are speaking to. Examine your heart, and if you see anything displeasing, confess it before any petitions.

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.” :7

David draws near to God by God’s very own steadfast love, and not his own merits. His petition is simply, lead me in your righteousness, my enemies are terrible.

And he closes the Psalm with a reminder of how good the LORD is to those who take refuge in Him.

Beloved, the LORD went to the greatest of lengths for your heart to be near him. He is the one who will never leave you or forsake you. The world may be against you, yet in Christ you will never walk alone.

Daily Word

James 2

Read James 2 – I learned an equation early in my faith.  It has helped me understand the difference between Biblical Christianity and everything else.  James captures it well here in our chapter, Faith + Nothing = Salvation as evidenced by Good Deeds.  Our good deeds are a celebration of all that Jesus has done for us.  Every belief system apart from Biblical Christianity will tell you Faith + Works = Salvation or even just Possible Salvation… they keep you guessing.  Jesus paid it all, and the unstoppable overflow from His love in us should spill onto others by our actions.  It’s the best economy there is!

In the Book of James, there should be a verse that pops out at you in every chapter.  My bible has lots of verses underlined with dates… those are the verses the Holy Spirit spoke to me the most at that time.  Each time a person reads the Word, they are different, they are older, their circumstances change.  One could read the same chapter every year and be convicted by something different each time.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing into the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

So read, Beloved, and let the Great Physician have his way with your heart.  I can share my verse from today, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” 2:17  That tells me to go love people.  It reminds me to listen to their heart and do what I can with action and not just words.  And when I think about it, it’s very exciting, like a daily treasure hunt for Jesus!  Abba, who do you have for me today???

Will you share your verse with me?

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 6

Read Deuteronomy 6 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ” :5 Beloved, all things fall into place as you obey this wonderful command.  Jesus sums up all the laws under this as the greatest commandment (Matthew 22, Luke 10).  

The Lord also reminds the Israelites they are moving in to houses they did not build,  drinking from wells they did not dig, etc (:10-12) and He cautions them to always remember it was the Lord who delivered them from slavery in Egypt into this life of plenty. 

Beloved, be very careful with the success and prosperity the Lord blesses you with.   It can be so easy to take credit and take your eyes away from Jesus.  Remember and talk about the good things God has done in your life and teach it to your children. So often the next generation gets lost as they grow up expecting the life they had without understanding these things stem from walking closely with God…. In other words,  getting the number one commandment right.

Beloved, as you read, consider what a love letter these commandments are.  If you feel so much as an inkling of shame for falling short, change your dialog to one of confession, celebration and joy – Jesus paid your debt.   You have a Savior and Redeemer in Him.