Monday, July 29, 2013


"Huh.  Looks like there's a fire."

Though I didn't know it at the time, when "The Hub" uttered those words, an odyssey of faith began.

I thought about several titles for this post:

"Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Me"

"Smoke Gets in My Eyes"

"Burning Love"

"Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"

"I Got Your Fiery Furnace For You"

Then I decided that all of those titles were too flippant for one of the biggest events in my life.

So, let's begin.  (You might want to pull up a chair and get a cup of coffee or tea.  This one is going to be long…)

When "The Hub" said those words, I got up to look out the picture window that has the beautiful view of the valley.  And sure enough, there was smoke – a lot of smoke.

"Do you think we're OK?" I asked.

"Sure.  It's farther away than you think."

Except things kept changing.

The smoke clouds kept getting bigger, and they kept crawling up the mountain ridge toward our town.

I followed the news on several websites.  The fire grew exponentiallyincreasing in size and ferocity at an incredible rate.

By Wednesday morning, the smoke was just over the ridge from where our house sits.  The smoke clouds boiled and roiled, rising almost 30,000 feet into the air.  Our other picture window, the one with the beautiful view of the mountain peak directly across from our home, gave us a very scary bird's-eye view.

It looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off.

I fretted and worried and prayed all day.  Then I read that we were being evacuated.  I told "The Hub" – who wasn't inclined to go.  But then we got the automated call, and the visit from four county sheriffs who tied a yellow ribbon around the tree right outside our front door.  The one that read, "DO NOT CROSS."

A frantic hour and a half ensued.  What was important to take?  What was precious to save?

Important papers, photos, a few stuffed animals, sentimental things, some artwork, a change of clothes…all quickly packed into two cars.

We finally left about 9:00 PM.  "The Hub" stopped to talk to a US Forest person in town.  She said that if we stayed in town, we probably wouldn't have to leave the mountain.  (We live quite a bit higher out of town – next to National Forest and Wilderness land).

So, we decided to try to *hedge our bets* and got a room at a small inn just on the outskirts of town.

Well, at 2:30 AM, we were rudely aroused – (I'd say "awakened" – but we had never been able to sleep) – by another sheriff, who told us we'd have to leave. Well, here's exactly what he said, a direct quote:

"I can't make you leave.  But if you stay I need your names, your birthdates, and the name of your dentist in case you die."

Uh, yeah.  We're leaving…

Almost 3 hours later, we finally found a hotel room.  Everything, everywhere was booked solid.  We landed at 6:00 AM in a room far, far from home.

We spent one day and one night catching up on rest and sleep – and then we traveled down to where my family lives.

The continuing coverage was scary.  The fire kept getting closer and closer to our home and town.  Actually, it was closer to our home than town – just on the other side of the mountain ridge that surrounds us.

It was four days later, on Sunday afternoon, that the evacuation order was finally lifted, and we were allowed to return home.

"The Hub" and I were speechless as we stood in the driveway.  Our gratitude went beyond words.

That's the backstory of what was happening.

But I have to share what God was doing through it all – because He was mightily working behind-the-scenes.  

There were several times when the fire updates mentioned some treacherous possibility happening that would make the flames sweep down the mountain into town.


Monsoonal conditions, including lightning and high, erratic winds never materialized.

An ice cap that formed at the top of the smoke cloud, heavily laden, could have crashed to the ground creating a 40-50 mph downdraft.  That never happened.

Expected high winds could have carried burning embers far away.  The winds never occurred.

And finally, the forecasted thunderstorm finally came – and this is a direct quote from the incident commander – with "just the right amount of rain." Just enough to help the firefighting efforts, just enough to remove the threat to our town.

Yes, JUST enough.

That's what God was doing behind-the-scenes.

Which doesn't begin to tell you what He was doing in me.

First of all, I was terrified.  Panicked.  So anxious I thought my heart would burst – literally.  Frantically packing, crying, worrying – feeling a bit resentful, too.  The thought did cross my mind – "You know, Lord, YOU'RE the one who told us to move up here.  Did you do that just to make us lose everything?"

Well, no He didn't.

But, He did have some reasons for this trial.

Here's what I learned:

First of all, God is loving.

That first night away from home I was desperate to hear from Him.  So, I did a "Bible Pick 'Ems" – (you can read about that HERE).  And these are the verses He directed me to:

"…so I will not destroy all Israel…I will preserve a remnant of the people…to possess my land.  Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there.  The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me."  (Isaiah 66:8-10, NLT)


Not only did the verses speak a promise of protection and preservation, not only did they speak of hope and a future…they also contained MY NAME!

God is love – intimate and caring LOVE.

Second, God is mighty.

At some point in the turmoil, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the story of Elisha and his servant.  And these verses:

"When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. 'Oh, sir, what will we do now?' the young man cried to Elisha.
'Don't be afraid!' Elisha told him. 'For there are more on our side than on theirs!' Then Elisha prayed, 'O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!' 
The LORD opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire."  
(2 Kings 6:15-16, NLT)

One of the things that continues to amaze me is the map of the fire.  In those first two days the fire burned to the southeast of us.  And then, it took a deadly turn to the northwest.  It marched steadily toward our home. 

But now, at almost 92% contained, I can see the outline of the perimeter. There is a huge semi-circle that surrounds our town.  The fire never crossed the last ridgeline separating us from the flames, less than a mile away.

I can see where the angels stood.

Third, God is sovereign.

I don't think I have ever felt quite so helpless as I did when we drove away from our home, with only the possessions we could fit into two cars.  There's this false feeling of "control" that I fool myself with sometimes.  Well, let me tell you, that illusion got burned away.

But I was comforted by the knowledge that GOD had it in His hands.  

He still sat on His throne. 

He was still in control.  

Each night, I would read the latest update, and then I would turn my computer off.  I'd roll over, utter my prayers, and then go to sleep – trusting that WHATEVER happened in the night, God would take care of me.

I had peace in the midst of it all.

And if you know me, that is a minor miracle in itself.

Fourth, God is jealous.

He takes the First Commandment pretty seriously.  So should we.

To be honest, I struggled with Godabout why He might want us to lose all of our possessions.

But, this time He didn’t want us to lose them – He just wanted us to loosen our grip on them.  

He wanted us to let go of the need for things, for the insidious urge to accumulate, for the tendency to make idols out of stuff.

Yes, "The Hub" and I have spent a great deal of time – and yes, money – to make this our dream home.  And our things give us great pleasurethey create a *feeling* that we enjoy living in.

But, they are NO replacement for the God of the Universe.


Same old question He's been asking me for two years now – different circumstances.

"Sharon, is it really JUST Me?"

Fire burned that Truth deep inside.  Yes, Lord…YOU.

Finally, God is personal.

I truly don't believe there are "coincidences" for the believer.  There are just God-ordained moments, and we are wise to keep our eyes open for them.

I have two that I'd like to share with you.

Sunday, we found out that we could go home.  We packed up from the hotel, and drove over to my parents' house to pick up our valuables.  On the way, I really wanted a coffee from Starbuck's.  There was a drive-thru right next to the hotel, but "The Hub" suggested that we go to the one closer to my parents' house.

OK.  Not a drive-thru, so we'll have to get out and walk in.

As we're walking across the parking lot, another couple is coming out.  I recognize the man – he LIVES in our hometown.  We had JUST talked to him the weekend before.

We look at them, they look at us – and I smile.  Because, you see, we are now 2 hours away from home.  Twenty seconds sooner, or twenty seconds later, we would never have seen them.  What are the odds???

Evidently, with God in the mix, 1,000,000 to One!

What a *God-Wink* moment!  

Oh, by the way, we had never met his wife before.

Her name?


Yup, I know.

The other moment occurred that night.  It was raining when we drove home, and a dense, gray cloud cover blanketed the mountains.  But, later that night, in the span of 15 minutes, the clouds completely disappeared, and "The Hub" and I watched a full moon rise over the mountain peak right outside our window.


It might as well have been the face of the Lord – His glory passing by us – just like He had done with Moses.

Silenced by awe, we stood and gazed upon a loving, mighty, sovereign, jealous, and personal God.

A God who is mighty to save.

And did.

Thank you, Lord, for everything…

When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you. 

"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves." 
(Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

"'Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.'" (Exodus 14:13, NLT)

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice…Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy." (Psalm 5:11, NLT)

"'Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you…'"  (Exodus 20:20, NIV)

"'Do not be afraid…I am your shield…'" (Genesis 15:1, NIV)

"The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." (Exodus 15:2, NIV)

"Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes." (1 Samuel 12:16, NASB)

"You will not need to fight in this battle.  Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf…'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out…and the LORD will be with you.'" 
(2 Chronicles 20:17, ESV)

"'…Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood…'" (Isaiah 7:4, NIV)

"'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous [victorious] right hand.'" (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

How has God saved you lately?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS
Jen at UNITE

(***SIDENOTE:  Our words can never express our gratitude for the many firefighters who valiantly, courageously, tirelessly waged a literal war against this fire.  (Statistics:  3,478 personnel including 68 crews, 260 engines, 15 dozers, 20 helicopters, and two DC-10's).  We know that God strengthened them, as many were working 16-to-24 hour shifts.  Thank you, one and all, for the courage you displayed while battling to save our town and our home!  May GOD BLESS you always!  And may we continue to pray for the 7 homes that were lost, and the tragedy that this fire was for those people.  May God comfort them, and give them HIS peace.***)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 26, 2013


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a question (or few)…just a little something to
"fan the flame" of your creativity!

And, to further fan those faith-filled flames (try saying that 10 times in a row!) – I'm adding my favorite devotional from the week!

Today's word: value

What does the word value mean to you?

What is one thing that you value about yourself?  (C'mon - you know there's something...)

What are the things that God places value on?

How might we learn to value ourselves as God values us?

"And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]." 
(2 Corinthians 5:15-16, AMP)

"But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward." (1 Corinthians 3:13-14, NLT)

"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24, ESV)

"Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:7, ESV)

Let me know what you think!!        


"Sometimes I feel trapped by my insecurities...[Give me] an honest appraisal of my own worth based on who I am in you.  Your Word makes clear that you value me highly because you love me deeply.  Thank you that you are sufficient for me.  I have worth because you place value on me and you have created me for a purpose...May I believe this in my heart, and may it affect the way I me the confidence to do what you have called me to do."

*Help me become a confident and secure person.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

(Devotional from: "365 Pocket Prayers for Women" by Ronald A. Beers, c. 2011, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 22, 2013


"She's all that."

Ever heard that phrase?

The Urban Dictionary defines it like this:

"…means that a person thinks they are the coolest…person in the world. Most often it is only an opinion of the person. Often times the person who thinks they are "all that" is the only person who thinks they are."


Yeah, though I suffer from low self-esteem most of the time, with a healthy dose of inferiority complex thrown in, I also seem to find it easy to focus obsessively on myself.

I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about how I'M feeling, how I'M acting, what I'M thinking, how I'M looking.

Blah, blah, blah.

It's actually distressing to realize how myopically focused I am on the trivial travails of being me.

This realization was rather forcefully thrown in my path by two separate encounters in the last week.

The first came in a blog post.

(Please forgive me, whoever wrote it.  I can't seem to remember who it was, and where I found it.  Senior moment, week, year…)

The post was talking about weathering storms.  About how there are just certain times in one's life when the going gets rough.  When the gales of struggle blow hardy, and the swells of fear and turmoil incessantly break upon us.

It's easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, afraid.

I knew what this post was talking about.  I've shared with you guys the new difficulties of becoming a part-time caretaker for my parents.  About how these last few months have been the stormiest I've ever had.

So, I was nodding my head as I read this post.  Muttering a heartfelt, "Oh yes."   Clapping my hands in a figurative, "Sing it, sister."

But then…there was that other part of the post.

The part where she talked about the storms in OTHER people's lives.

And how sometimes, when we are so focused on our own *stormy weather*, we forget to see that there are others who are fighting their own storms.

I got to thinking about this.

I've whined, complained, *oy-veyed* about how this new phase with my parents has affected me.

And largely, that's all I've been looking at.

A lot of me.

You see, I've been so caught up in the storms in MY life, that I've failed to recognize the storms in Mom and Dad's lives.  They are, after all, struggling too.


They are the ones who are facing growing older, with a loss of so many things that I still take for granted.  The ability to move around easily, the ability to hear and see well, the ability to remember things, the ability to drive and be independent – among other things.

Their storms are just as bad, and probably worse, than mine.

But have I been so focused on MY storm, that I can't see the other people who are battling the waves in their lives?

The answer to that would be yes.

Lesson Number One:  Don't be so caught up in your own storm that you fail to see those who might be drowning around you.

The other encounter occurred in one of those love/hate my devotional moments – (which I wrote about HERE).

It was the familiar story about Lazarus being raised from the dead.  

You know, that VERY familiar story.

Sometimes, as a life-long believer, it's easy for me to think that I've "heard it all."  However, God has this unique and powerful way of teaching me new insights from His Word ALL THE TIME.  (I like that about Him…even when I shake my little fist at the sky!)

So, this devotion was focusing on how Jesus intentionally CHOSE to wait before He went to visit Mary and Martha.  How He made a conscious DECISION to wait until Lazarus had died.

This was the line that stopped me:

"Jesus intended to bring his friend Lazarus back to life, and part of His purpose was to bolster the faith of the disciples."

Here's how that got me thinking...

I know that life is going to be full of difficulties.  Earthly life is peppered with suffering and turmoil.

And, I've always tried to do my best to hold on.  There are plenty of verses that tell me that God has a purpose in my suffering.  There is a reason…

But I have always focused on the reason for the trouble as it pertains to MY life.  How it might increase MY faith.

This is most often true.

But this devotion got me looking at this from a different side.

What if the things that happen to me, my faith struggles, might just have a greater purpose OUTSIDE of myself?

What if my faith struggles might be happening to bolster someone else's faith?

What if it's NOT all about me?

I think of Job.  He never knew the behind-the-scenes battle that was being waged between the devil and God.  He never really got the "answers" he was looking for.

And, sure enough, Job's faith WAS increased by the suffering he went through.

But, there was undoubtedly other purposes that God had in mind.  I can think of two…

First, Job's struggle struck a blow against the enemy.  Job's decision to stay true to the Lord, in spite of a horrible life situation, defeated the devil's taunts and temptations.

Job's faith gave the smackdown to Satan's lie, "What if God isn't really good?"

And, might I just add, that Job's testimony of faith has blazed through the centuries as a beacon of trust to all of us who have followed.  

My faith has certainly been bolstered by the witness of Job's unwavering faith in the midst of excruciating circumstances.

Might Job's troubles have been for the purpose of encouraging us now?  

Might Job's struggles have been for the purpose of encouraging Jesus?

Jesus, who knew all about the unseen battles that were being fought in the heavenly realms.  Jesus, who knew that the devil would never win, but was still sorely tested.

Jesus, who knew He had to die.

What if the whole story of Lazarus wasn't just for the disciples the twelvebut for all of the disciples that would follow – including us?

What if Jesus could look back at this moment, and remind Himself on the cross that His Father indeed held the power and authority over death?

Might He have been encouraged to remember that death could not hold Him in the grave?

The answer to that would be yes.

Lesson Number Two:  My faith struggles might have a purpose far beyond me – in the heavens, and in the hearts of fellow believers.

You know, I think it's time that I get over myself, and start looking at the world with clearer eyes.  Eyes a little (a lot) less focused on myself.  Eyes that see beyond my struggles, and see perhaps the glimmer of a greater purpose.

"She's all that."

No, actually, I'm not.  (Thank goodness!)

But HE sure is!!

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

"Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." 
(Romans 12:3, NLT)

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up." (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

In what area of your life do you need to *get over yourself*?

***SIDENOTE!  Hello everyone!  Last Wednesday in the middle of the night, "The Hub" and I were evacuated from our home due to a fire that came within a mile of our home and town.  
We were finally able to return tonight (Sunday).  

We are so grateful to so many people who fought this fire, and managed to save our town and our home.

But, more than anyone else, we truly believe that God intervened in a supernatural way.  He controlled resources and the weather to work to the greatest advantage for the firefighting efforts.  Praise His name!

Keep praying - 7 homes were lost in an area outside of town.  These people need His comfort at this time.

Words will never be able to express our gratitude for all your thoughts and prayers!

Look for what God taught me through this experience on next Monday's post, July 29th.  


(And oh, how He did!)***

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE
Debi, Jenifer, and Shari at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!

Friday, July 19, 2013

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Perspective

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a question (or few)…just a little something to
"fan the flame" of your creativity!

And, to further fan those faith-filled flames (try saying that 10 times in a row!) I'm adding my favorite devotional from the week!

Today's word: perspective

What does the word perspective mean to you?

What is the main difference between a human perspective and God's perspective?

What are the things that blur your spiritual perspective?

How can we gain a more godly perspective on the situations and circumstances in our lives?

"He replied, "What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God." (Luke 18:27, NLT)

"Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. "Get away from me, Satan!" he said. "You are seeing things merely from a human point of view [perspective], not from God's." (Mark 8:33, NLT)

Let me know what you think!!          


"Jesus binds us to Himself in a permanent relationship, and for it to function well, we have to have the same agenda He has...When we lift up our eyes to see the big picture in His heart, He looks much more favorably at the pictures in our hearts.  When we take up His desires, He takes up ours...Soaking in His Presence shapes your heart with His desires and brings you in line with His purposes."

*Surround me with Your Presence and impart Your heart to me.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

(Devotional from: "The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional" by Chris Tiegreen, c. 2011, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 15, 2013


I am directionally-challenged.

I admit it.

But I do not take all the blame.

Men are partly to blame because of their very confusing way of giving directions.  

Why do they always tell you to turn east or west on this street, or go north or south?  When I want directions, I want to know whether to turn LEFT or RIGHT!  The other thing they do is to always mention distances – like "go about ½ mile before you make the turn."  I want to know how many stoplights – and please give me some landmarks.  You know, like turn at the VON'S market, the one next to the Denny's on the corner, across from that cute little gift shop!

You know what I mean.

At least I have no problem ASKING for directions when I don't know where I'm going - 

I am not aided by any convenient directional assistance either.

Eddie the Explorer does not have a Garmin…

So, I usually resort to using some online site for directions – (and most often, they give you the most indirect way to go, by the way!)  I actually miss those old Thomas Guidesgive me a paper map and I'm a happy camper.

It's not surprising that sometimes I get myself turned around, or find myself having to backtrack to get where I need to be.

Lately, it's not so different with my life.

The last couple of weeks especially, I have been overcome with unrelenting anxiety attacks.  The familiar tingle of adrenaline has greeted me each morningfrantic insomnia has accompanied me most nights.

My mind has felt like a rat caught in a maze – turning here, running there – always trying to escape the sense of impending doom.

I've always been a Nervous Nancybut this latest storm of anxiety has been particularly intense.  Disturbing.  Overwhelming.  Unnerving.  (LOL!)

It started with my introduction to the new role of being a part-time caretaker in my parent's life. 

For one thing, I am physically exhausted.  I have made so many trips down the mountain and backeach trip taking 2-3 hours, one way! – that I can almost drive in my sleep.  A few times I have had to fight against that sleep, let me tell you!

But it's the onslaught of emotions that I am greeted with when I arrive that's the most tiring.  Emotions from the past stirred up into flames.  New emotions to fan the flames.

These emotions are not easy.  They aren't comfortable.  They aren't familiar.  

They aren't godly.

Sure, I understand that they're probably very human.  But we all know that human feelings often spring from a sinful nature.

And that's the battle.

I have found myself taken away by negative thoughts, ugly feelings.

Getting lost in them.

Zooming off on the highway of jealousy.  Getting sidetracked by anger.  Finding myself getting all turned around on the freeway of fear.  Ending up at the dead-end of selfishness.


The enemy loves giving directions – false directions.  He's like a crazed crossing guard, or an evil traffic copa detour that delights in sending us off on wild goose chases.

But, the saving grace is exactly that – the Saving GRACE.

So many mornings I have pleaded, "Lord, lead me today."

So many nights I have cried out, "Lord, help me find my way."

That's why I'm turning to the Lord's GPS…God's Positioning System.

I need His heavenly eyes.

For I have never needed His guidance, His direction, His perspective more.

The Narrow Way is narrow indeed.

And it's so easy to get waylaid, to get turned around, to get lost.

But, that's why we need to trust The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

He is the only One who can lead us away from our sinful nature, back into the folds of the Spirit.



Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

"My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.  I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths.  When you walk, you won't be held back; when you run, you won't stumble.  Take hold of my instructions; don't let them go.  Guard them, for they are the key to life." 
(Proverbs 4:10-13, NLT)

How do you need the Lord's *direction* lately?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 12, 2013


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a question (or few)…just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

And, to further fan those faith-filled flames (try saying that 10 times in a row!) – I'm adding my favorite devotional from the week!

Today's word: alert

What is the difference between being aware of something and being on the alert for it?

What things should a Christian be on the alert for?

Why do you think God calls us to be alert - why is it so important?

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8, NLT)

"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." 
(1 Peter 1:13, NIV)

"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." (Ephesians 6:18, NLT)

Let me know what you think!!            


"A miracle may make someone sit up and take notice, but it surely does not guarantee long-term change...A phrase has come down from this story (in Daniel) - "the handwriting on the wall" - to signify a final warning just before the end.  The prophets of Israel and Judah tried to interpret God's "handwriting" for their countrymen, with little success, and God used Babylon to punish them...They have ignored handwriting on the wall."

*God may use "handwriting on the wall" in a person's life to get their attention.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

(Devotional: From "Meet the Bible" by Philip Yancey and Brenda Quinn, c. 2000, Zondervan Publishers)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 8, 2013


Our new home came with an alarm system.

Complete with a speaking voice.

I have named her Sylvia.

Yes, I have a curious need to name things.  Like my car, Eddie the Ford Explorer.

Most everything in my house is named.  The cigar store Indians are named.
All of the wooden bears in our collection are named.  And my stuffed animals?  Puh-leeze!  Of course they are all named!!

(A sampling?  I know you're curious...

Cigar Store Indian – Chief Standing Bull
Carved Bears – Woody Buzzcut
Stuffed Animals – Spidey the Adventurer)

So, one day as "The Hub" and I were leaving out the front door after arming the alarm, and listening to the disembodied alarm voice say:

"Armed away.  Exit now."

I answered:

"OK, OK.  We're leaving.  Wow, Sylvia is so strict."


I have no idea how I came up with that name.  I'm thinking that "she" somehow conveyed it to me telepathically.

Sylvia is a lifesaver.

She alerts us if anyone tries to break in.  She lets us know if a window gets shattered.  She warns us of smoke, or open doors and windows.  She provides us safety and protection.

I got to thinking one day – wouldn't it be great if I had a *Sylvia* in my own life?

One of those little alarm systems that would alert me to the dangers in my life.

"Warning – Temptation approaching.  Walk away."

"Warning – Life struggle ahead.  Have faith."

"Warning – Sin lurking.  Steer clear."

"Warning – Incoming fear.  Stop, drop, and pray."

I'd like to have a little internal *beep* that alerted me to those times when I'm about to depart from the narrow way.

Actually, I do.

So do you.

As a believer, we have the BEST warning system available.

And it's not a disembodied, mechanical voice.

It's the Voice of a Person – the Advocate – the Helper – the Comforter – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit.

The challenge is to tune ourselves in to hearing His Voice.

This is my prayer.

Remember that old song "Day by Day" by Godspell??  (I'm severely dating myself here, I know):

Day by day, day by day
Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day.

Such good words.

Yes, He is always speaking to us.  Mostly in His still, small voice.  An inner prompting.  A gentle nudge.  A quiet word of advice.  

Discernment – that's what we need.  The spiritual "ears" to hear Him.

After all, He has a way of alerting us when the enemy tries to break in.  He lets us know if our faith is about to get shattered.  He warns us of sinful smoke, or when the doors and windows of our hearts are open to temptation.  

He provides us with safety and protection.

I'm gonna start listening more.  I want to hear Him.


He is the One who will keep me alert and armed.

Speak, O Holy Spirit, speak to me.

Armed and Dangerous

"Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you."  (2 Timothy 1:14)

How does the Holy Spirit speak to you?  How does He protect you?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 5, 2013

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Refine (New Format!)

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a question (or few)…just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

And, to further fan those faith-filled flames (try saying that 10 times in a row!)I'm adding my favorite devotional from the week!

Today's word: refine

What does the word refine mean to you?

Why does God want to refine us?

What is God using in your life to refine you?

"'I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure.  I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.'"  (Zechariah 13:9, NLT)

Let me know what you think!!              


"What a chain of graces could overflow from tribulation.  It is in the furnace that faith is tested, patience is tried, and where all those rich virtues are developed that make up Christian character.  It is while they are passing through deep waters that God shows how close He can come to His praying, believing saints."

*Thank You for drawing close to us when we need You most.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

(Devotional: From "The Power of Prayer" by E. M. Bounds, c. 2007, Christian Art Gifts, RSA)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 1, 2013


Do you remember that song by Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror?

"I'm starting with the man
in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change
his ways…"

So, the other day I took a good look at myself in the mirror, and I'm thinking about making some changes.

No, I'm not getting plastic surgery.

Though I am wildly tempted when I see those commercials for The Lifestyle Lift.

However, with my luck, something would go wrong.  The doctor would probably nick a nerve, and I would be left with a permanent twitchwhich would be interpreted by people as a wink – which would then result in multitudes of 60-year-old men following me home.


The doctor might sever a small muscle in my face, and I would be left with half of my face frozenwhich would make people wonder why I was mad or sad all the time – even though they sometimes wonder that now – but I like to have the *option* of smiling.


However, I'm not getting plastic surgery.

But I have taken a good long look in the mirror.

It hasn't been pretty.

For the most part, I usually think that I'm a pretty good disciple of Jesus.  I'm following Him closely, doing my devotionals, reading my Bible, attending church, prayingthinking I'm looking like Him more and more.

But lately, when I've looked in the mirror – I've seen the cracks in my spiritual armor.

Wanna know what I've seen? 

Petty Jealousy.

Suspicious mistrust.

Bitter anger.

Judgmental attitude.


Snide comments.

Unkind thoughts.

I could add more, but I am so embarrassed to admit even these things.  Sure, certain circumstances are taxing my strength right now – they're trying my patience – they're testing my ability to cope.

But honestly, coming face-to-face with the deeper layers of sin in my heart has been excruciating.

I've lived in my new mountain home for a year now – and I can honestly say that I've never grown in my faith as much as I have in this last year.

I feel like God has been removing my "props" shaving off the things that have always made me feel secure.  Friendships have faltered, familiar places have disappeared.  My parents are getting older – my dad has even begun to forget who I am from time to time.

It's all been very hard.

But now, the Lord is pruning even more of the ugly branches off my sin-filled tree.  He isn't content with me being a pretty good discipleHe wants me to look like Him…really.

Evidently, He doesn't just want to change me – He wants to refine me.

I looked up the process of refining in Wikipedia.  I read this:

"Refining consists of purifying an impure material…in refining, the final material is usually identical chemically to the original one, only it is purer."

I got to pondering that.

God's refining work doesn't destroy me – it just makes me purer.

I like the sound of that.

I have not enjoyed seeing the truth about me – the deeper truth.  The things that I really didn't know were lurking under the surface until certain circumstances brought them out.

My mirror image needs some work.

And yet, I wonder at the Lord's timing.  It's like I feel like I somehow just graduated from elementary school, only to find out that He wants me to go to college!  Does He think I'm ready for this?  Is He thinking that it's time for me to die a little more (a lot) to my self?

Yes, I think that's exactly what He's thinking.

I've been quite chagrined, mortified, ashamed to see these snaky, black, and ugly sins crop up inside of me.  How could I have not known they were there? 

"'The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?  But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.'"  (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NLT)

And so, at this time in my life, God has decided to burn these things out of me.

Cost of discipleship.

High cost indeed. 

But worth the priceless treasure of knowing God in an even more intimate way.  

Worth the priceless treasure of being a reflection of His Son.  

Worth the priceless treasure of ridding myself of sins that I didn't even know I harbored deep within.

Worth the priceless treasure of refined gold…

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

"Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart."  (Psalm 26:2, NLT)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."  (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

"'I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure.  I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.'"  (Zechariah 13:9, NLT)

What does God want to *refine* in you?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY

(SIDENOTE:  I hope all you former Google Reader readers out there find a way to find me!  I cherish your company as we walk out this journey called LIFE!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"