Let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race
God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the Champion Who initiates and perfects our faith.
Hebrews 12:1b
New Living Translation

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night with an itch. An itch is such a small thing, but has the ability to make one miserable to the point of screaming…especially if for some reason you can’t scratch it. I discovered the source of this itch was a bug bite…on my stomach, no less. Now how did a bug get to my stomach to bite me? It’s an absolute mystery! Anyway, back to my story… I was so comfortable in my warm, soft bed, not to mention extremely sleepy. I didn’t want to get up to put cream on it, so I procrastinated for a while. But eventually I realized that the itch was not going away without some intervention on my part. So I boost my resolve, get out of bed, find the cortisone cream and apply it. The relief was not instantaneous; nevertheless I knew it was on its way.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What in the world does a bug bite have to do with the things of God. As you know from reading my devotionals, the Lord uses the simplest things to get a point across to me. (Hey, I’ll have no comments on that one, please!) Anyway, as I pass them on to you, hopefully we both will learn a spiritual truth. The Bible talks about how a small amount of sin can wreak havoc in our lives. And just like that bug bite, it can cause a large amount of discomfort. That bug didn’t buzz in front of me as if to say, “I’m going to bite you now!” Nor does the devil announce to us the plans for his subtle temptations. He sneaks up on you and attacks you in the most unexpected places. At first you feel an itch, a little discomfort, as though something in your spirit man is not quite right…those thoughts you’ve been having…those words you’ve been speaking. But if you don’t get out of your comfort zone and apply the Word of God to the area, not only will you have no relief, but the poison will spread. A guy in my office had a spider bite. That’s the worst kind of bug bite! If it is left unattended, the poison can get into your bloodstream and cause severe complications. Jesus said sin is like that. He likened it to a small amount of yeast put into dough. That tiny bit works its way through and eventually permeates the entire lump, making it rise to double or even triple proportions. It is so important that we be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If you have the slightest feeling that something is not right, deal with it immediately. Don’t allow it to spread. Some of my friends lovingly tease me about the fact that when I say something I know I shouldn’t have, I immediately say, “Father, forgive me.” It’s because right away I feel a check by the Holy Spirit. I want to do what’s right, but once again that “bug of sin” bites me and I have to apply the healing Balm of God’s Grace to keep the poison from spreading.

Therefore submit to God, Resist the Devil,
and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 NKJV




At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus,
Who then is [really] the greatest
in the kingdom of heaven?
And He called a little child to Himself
and put him in the midst of them,
And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent
(change, turn about)
and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving],
you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
Whoever will humble himself therefore
and become like this little child
[trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving]
is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:1-4 AMP

Have you ever heard of the show back in the days of black and white TV called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”? It was hosted by Art Linkletter and was very popular for a long time. It was based on the premise that you never know what kids will say when asked certain questions. Most young children just “tell it as they see it” with no reservations or filters. It can be quite humorous at times (or embarrassing), which accounts for the popularity of the show.

While adults often get caught up in the politics of things, children just look at the facts and accept them in blind trust. Why else would they accept it when they ask a parent why they can’t do a certain thing and the parent says, “Because I said so!”. End of conversation.

Jesus knew the trusting, loving, humility of little children when He told the disciples that the only way to attain greatness in the kingdom of God is to attain the purity of spirit that children display…the honesty, the blind trust in the things of God. We, as adults, tend to complicate things too much. Have I prayed enough? Do I have unconfessed sin? Have I been good enough? If all those things are necessary for us to come before God, why do we need Jesus blood? Those things are based on pride…what do “I” need to do? Jesus has done it all. We need to come before Him in faith in what He has already done!

Having four granddaughters, I have the perfect example. How it blessed my heart when my daughter gave me the following testimony of God’s goodness! My almost three year old granddaughter, Lilah, had not been sleeping well for months. She would wake up several times each night crying and screaming that there were spiders in her bed. We had no idea where the fear started, but we knew who started it…the enemy of our peace, Satan himself! My daughter prayed with her and I prayed for her every night before going to bed.

A few days ago, at this writing, Lilah stood beside her bed and told her mom, “God helped me with the spiders. Jesus tell me not to be scared of spiders an’ then He give me a hug. Then I hugged Jesus an’ He give me a kiss an’ I said, ‘Ewwww, dat was gross…like dat.’”

She has had no problem sleeping since then. Our God is so good and He does answer prayers! He knew what it would take to comfort my granddaughter and He revealed Himself to her in a very special way. Lilah related the experience in a very matter-of-fact manner. She knew what Jesus did and it was no big deal. It was just Jesus being Jesus.  Why don’t you let Him be Jesus in your life today!

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.
Don’t stop them!
For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those
who are like these children.”
Matthew 19:14 NLT



The Lord said to Moses,
“Give Aaron the following instructions:
When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand,
place them so their light shines forward
in front of the lampstand.”
So Aaron did this. He set up the seven lamps
so they reflected their light forward,
just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Numbers 8:1-3

Sometimes when I’m reading my daily Bible reading, I tend to speed read or scan over passages in the Old Testament that I feel are more historical in nature than applicable to my life today. And although that is the case many times, especially in the Books of Numbers or Leviticus, sometimes a passage will jump out at me and preach an entire sermon. That is what happened this morning as I was reading in the Book of Numbers. The verse above, that ordinarily would be just another one of the Levitical regulations set out for the operation of the temple caught my attention like a neon sign in an otherwise dark city. “When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand.”

If I am to be totally honest, and I usually am, I have spent most of my life looking backward, shining a judgmental, critical and remorseful light on my past. “Oh, why did I do that? Why didn’t I do this? How could I have been so stupid? What is wrong with me?” Do you sense a slight hint of perfectionism? Yes…and not just a slight hint, but a full-blown expose’! I don’t know if I was just born with that propensity or if it was developed early in my childhood, but it has made me miserable most of my life. As I said, I was my own worse critic!  Even when I did well…in my own eyes I didn’t measure up. I always could have done it differently…or better!  Not until recent years have I come to a full realization of this and tried to change it.

What if a person is walking down a dark path at midnight? There is only a sliver of a moon which really provides no beneficial light. The person has a flashlight, but is holding it the wrong way, thus the light is illuminating the pathway behind them. They can’t see where they’re going, only where they’ve been. Their hope for the future is minimized, as they focus only on the past.

What about someone who is driving, but rather than focusing on the road ahead, is obsessed with the view in the rear view mirror? To put it very tactfully, their future would be a very dismal one indeed! Are you getting the picture? It is so not worth it to focus on the past. Every once in a while you do have to glance in your rear view mirror, but a prolonged look could cost you.

Look at your past, learn from your mistakes, ask God to forgive you, forgive yourself and move on. Shine the light of your attention forward, in front of you…on the future God has prepared for you. He declares if you put your trust in Him, it will be a good one!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11





By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud
to guide them
on their way and by night in a pillar of fire
to give them light,
so that they could travel by day or night.
Exodus 13:21 NIV

I was listening to a minister on the way to work and he made a most interesting point that I would like to share with you. This verse about the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire has always fascinated me. And I have always equated it to the guidance of the Lord in our lives. Just like he provided such absolute and direct guidance for His chosen people, so He does for His children today, as we abide in and lean on Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own under-standing; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:3-6) We do not have the visible images of His guidance as they did, but we have the presence of the Holy Spirit within us to direct our steps as we seek to walk in His ways.

This minister pointed out something that I had never thought of before. The children of Israel were traveling through the desert of Sinai on the way to the Promised Land. During the day, the heat radiating off the desert sand would have been blistering hot and almost unbearable. But at the same time, when the sun dropped below the horizon, so also did the temperature. It became very cold at night. Only a loving Heavenly Father would take this into consideration and find a solution that is both comforting and practically beneficial. He sent the cloud by day to shield them from the heat of the desert sun, as well as to be their own personal GPS system. What an awesome God! But not only so, He sent the pillar of fire at night to guide them, yes… but also to give them warmth in the frigid desert night.

This is the same Heavenly Father that we serve today. Not only does He direct our steps, but He gives us provision and meets our needs in all areas, as we call on Him and trust in Him. He is indeed our Cloud by day and our Fire by night!

Thank you, Heavenly Father,
That you are my Cloud by day and my Fire by night;
Thank you that you are always with me
in every circumstance,
leading, guiding,
comforting and blessing me.
You shield me from the heat of life’s trials and temptations,
And You warm me with the presence
of Your blessed Holy Spirit.
You are my Heavenly Father, my All in All.




Take delight in the Lord and He will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Our God is such an awesome God! I am ever amazed at how He cares about the smallest things in our lives. Sometimes I think to myself, “Lord, you must think I am so silly at times. I can obsess about the most trivial things!” But no, if it’s significant to us, it’s significant to Him. That’s how much He loves us.

Think about a small child. Many times, something very trivial to us is so important to them. When they start looking for their favorite blanket to sleep with, do you say, “You don’t have to have that! Just lay down and go to sleep.” Of course not! You tear the house apart if necessary to find it for them. That’s how much you love them. Why would our Heavenly Father be any different? Do you feel childish at times about the things you desire? You ARE a child! You are HIS child!

Now don’t get me wrong, Our Father is not going to do something just because we desire it if it would not be good for us or harm us in the end. But you know the difference and so do I. Let me give you the perfect example. (It’s another one of my cat stories! I have many.)

I have several feral cats who have grown up at my house. Their mother is wild and she either had them on my covered back porch or brought them there shortly thereafter. I have fed her and them since that time. On occasion they allow me to pet them very briefly, but are still very wary of any human presence. As they are now grown, I did not want to have an influx of wild kittens running around. So I figured the humane thing to do would be to take them to the Spay and Neuter Clinic. But the problem was, since they wouldn’t willingly go into a carrier, I had to catch them in a trap in order to take them. That in itself was not an easy task! But with much perseverance and patience I was able to trap the mother and two females and take them to the clinic. When I brought them home I kept them in my guest bathroom for about three days where I talked to them, petted them, fed them and provided bathroom facilities (a litter box). Now what cat, wild or tame, wouldn’t be completely grateful for such royal treatment! But as soon as I let them outside again, they were gone with the wind! Never mind that I had spent my hard earned money to try to give them a better life. Forget the fact that I had tried to bond with them and nurture them back to health. What ungrateful creatures! I was upset, frustrated and hurt at their indifference. (I know…weird, right?)

Several weeks after their disappearance, I was feeling particularly down one day about something totally unrelated that had transpired in my life. And when you’re down, you start pondering everything else sad that you can think about…for me, it was the cats. Where are they? Are they okay or has some wild animal eaten them? (I live in the country.) Do they absolutely hate me now? (Silly, silly…AND sillier.) At that point I was looking to the Lord for comfort and said, “Lord, please bring the cats back. I really miss them and I need to know if they are okay.”

I was driving home from work at the time. When I turned the corner of my house, I saw Fluffy standing on the steps waiting for me. When I went out to the back porch, there was Midnight too. But where was Cherise, my favorite? I don’t see Cherise! (My daughter-in-law thinks that’s a hilarious name for a cat!) At that moment, Cherise came crawling out of a nearby box. After several weeks of no-show, they were all there. We were united once again! (A little drama for effect!) A little thing…even a silly thing to most people, but not to My Father. He cares about me and everything that touches my life. He cares about you too! Never doubt it! Delight in Him and He WILL give you your heart’s desires, even if it’s just bringing your cats home.