Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1)

Which group do you find yourself in? Jesus told us to judge ourselves first. Our motives are revealed by what we say or do. We complain or murmur and God sees it all while those whose hearts are yearning for God’s touch are coming to hear. The sight is not pretty.

Stop and look at this group of tax collectors such as Matthew and Zacchaeus and the sinners such as the Samaritan woman at the well. They sit on one side of the aisle or church and on the other side are you and I.  Jesus sat and ate with the tax collectors and sinners. Do you and I? If truth be known, we play favorites; we choose to sit either alone or apart from those whose touch might rub off on us.

The tax collectors and sinners came to hear Jesus but the religious leaders only came to judge and complain.

Yes, I am a Pharisee and you probably are too. God’s mirror is pretty clear; we do not love others as God did. He proved it by sending His Son. What do my actions reveal to God about my heart?

As we read Luke 12 and 13 we come face to face with the hypocrisy of the religious leaders but also the populace. All are guilty of what we are guilty of–condemnation of other’s level of spirituality. We love to stand righteously before others failing to look within our own hearts to see what Jesus sees.

Take for example the barn builder. He sees himself as one who has completed all that is needed for a righteous life. He can sit and smugly say all is well when indeed God sees him as a fool. Then there are those who come to Jesus to tell him of the tragic deaths of some Galileans. Their faulty hypothesis comes across as well as they make a judgment call based on one’s birthplace.  Jesus correctly reminds them that as a Jerusalemite, they too are in the same boat.

The truth is bad things happen to ALL people regardless of where they are from or who they are. The important thing is to look within your own heart and judge yourself first before making assumptions about another’s person’s salvation.

So what are we to learn? Bad things happen to both good and bad people. The most important thing is if something bad were to happen to you this very day you are ready to meet God. You may not know that today may be your very last day to wake up and smell the roses. In fact, it may be your name is on God’s calendar to leave this earthly domain.

Do you qualify as a hypocrite?



Prov 30 One of my enjoyments, of which there are many, is to browse in the bookstore near to us. I could spend hours reading, browsing, picking out books but when I return home, the book I love most is God’s Word and it is waiting for me each morning as I awaken with wonderful words of blessing.

It seems that our author, Agur, also loves to read also love as well as he asks:  “Who has ascended into heaven, and then descended? Who has gathered up the winds in his fists? Who has bound up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? – if you know!”  Later, another lover of books and truth would write that it is He the very son of the Most High and “he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Is 9] Or how about the Apostle John who wrote about Him in the book of the Revelation saying: He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end!”

Agur asked: What is His Name and what is his son’s name—if you know! The inspired Word of God tells us that His Name is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Do you know the One who came to save His people from their sins? 

Matt 1:21 





Photo Credit:  Aaron Burden/Unsplash + Author’s caption

Some years ago I read “The Secret Garden” to my third graders and they were spellbound. What made it so special was that the garden had a magic key that if found would open the door. A robin digging in the dirt revealed its contents and was indeed the key to a  neglected but beautiful garden. She transformed it into a garden of delight and reunited a father and son.

In John 19, we meet the religious leaders who sought to have Christ crucified so they would not be defiled. Yet, two others, who were “secret disciples” reminded  them that this was not “kosher.” These unknowables became notables by their actions on a late afternoon. They shook off their silence and boldly went to Pilate with their request that they alone be allowed to remove Christ from the cross and bury Him. By this, they along with Pilate were saying the execution was unjustified. By this, they became the true defiled as they handled the dead body of our Lord and Savior, Yet their outward defilement was cleansed by the Savior’s blood shed on that cross. By this, the True Passover was handled gently by their hands. By this, they chose to stand alone and risk rejection but their outward loss became their inward gain. By this, they were exclaiming I once stood silent but I will be silent no more when God opens the door of divine opportunity.

God’s ways are not our ways. As man was birthed in a garden and then died in a garden, so a dead man would be buried in a “secret garden” owned by a “secret disciple” whose faith was blooming to be ‘re-birthed’ in that same garden three days later. They may not have voiced their faith openly while the man Jesus was alive but now they would seek to bury him with dignity. They bravely sought a private audience with Pilate and opened their coffers of rich spices and found a place of burial, a neglected but prepared “garden” tomb.

Where have you been silent when you could have spoken?

Are you also a “secret disciple” expecting another to come to Christ without your testimony and let a divine opportunity to pass by?

Learn from these two so you will not have to hear in eternity: why did you not tell me about Jesus?

Are you a procrastinator or an anticipator? Procrastinators use many delaying tactics to not complete tasks but anticipators move full steam ahead because they are driven by time and details. Joshua is the latter but now after 5 long years of war he is weary. Yet, parenting is never done when you have procrastinators in your family!

Procrastinators don’t know how to “un-procrastinate.” They have a to-do list but find other distractions along the way to completion. Satan uses this deadly d to keep us comfortable where we are. He includes fear of the unknown, or you don’t have the right xyz or it is ok to compromise.  He doesn’t tell you about those future minefields that lay ahead. That’s why procrastinators need a Joshua in their life.

The Joshua’s know that procrastinators can’t see the forest for the trees and that they need a plan with simple small steps which precise directions: “Go, walk through the land, map it out, and return to me.”   They also need a buddy system and Joshua did just that.  “Pick three men from each tribe.” Procrastinators always need the assistance of others to keep on track to complete the project and to keep the motivation going.

Do you know a procrastinator? How do you help them or even yourself if you fall into that camp?




The Apostle John recorded the scene in Bethany about the death, burial and “resurrection” of the dear friend Lazarus. It was a gripping story which left us waiting with bated breath as to the outcome. But now here it is a few days later and we find this same Lazarus not in graveclothes but in his “tux and tails” hosting a dinner party. What a word picture of believers who will one day move from the earthly Adam suit into the heavenly Christ-like suit.

Zechariah records the amazing word picture of the transformation of the high priest Joshua: “Remove his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have freely forgiven your iniquity and will dress you in fine clothing. “Let a clean turban be put on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him.”

As believers, the Holy Spirit has removed our grave clothes of sin and given us new robes of righteousness that we may stand before a Holy God and sit at His banquet table. Without this transformation, we are like the man caught by the king without his wedding clothes. [Matt 22] But when the Holy Spirit does His work we can say “he clothes me in garments of deliverance he puts on me a robe symbolizing vindication.

What clothes are you wearing today?



Jesus has been in Cana and has now traveled back to Jerusalem. He could have chosen any of the city gates to enter but he chose the sheep gate, the very gate that the lambs are ushered in for sacrifices. Grab that thought and ponder it: the Sacrifice enters the Sacrifice Gate. And why has He come? He has come to reveal the heart of the lame man and ours as well.

Jesus asks him a simple question; do you want to be made well? And yet the man’s answer reveals his true nature and heart. I have no one, I am friendless. I try but someone else gets ahead of me. But, Jesus ignores his lame excuses and tells him simply; stand up and walk. Some of us are like this man, full of excuses why we can’t change; we are just that way so accept me like I am. To change means responsibility and independence rather than our comfort zone of “I can’t because of…”  But, Jesus gave him no alternative.

Don’t you find it strange that the healed man didn’t toss his mat away but carried it with him? This is so like us. We are healed but we want to cling to our old problems, our old excuses. We say we want to change but when Christ offers us new life we have a myriad of excuses. Another time. Another place. I can’t because of this or that. Jesus says to you; come and see, come and taste, come and drink, stand up and walk and your life will be forever changed.

What’s your excuse?

The NT gospels share with us about the ruling religious leaders who walked about Jerusalem telling others what to do but never doing it themselves.  Yet there was one, a member of the ruling council and “the” teacher in Israel who came in humility wondering and walked away with more questions than answers. His answer was found at the foot of the cross. We all come “at night” for we are all in spiritual darkness and it is only when the Holy Spirit pricks our hearts that we move from being onlookers to seekers that we find the answers to our questions.  We, like Nicodemus, must take that first step.

So what did Jesus and Nicodemus talk about in that late night discussion? They talked about the wind and the new birth and in that discussion Jesus shared God’s plan for mankind. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that men may not perish but have eternal life. For Nicodemus, it was a life-changing experience for, in the end, we find him helping bury the body of “his” Master after the crucifixion. Just as Nicodemus moved from spiritual darkness to light, it can be for you as well.

He had the scriptures and the visual evidence about him in creation, yet needed that personal encounter with the Master Rabbi. That is where we all must begin.

Are you where Nicodemus was? Come and see, come and taste and receive eternal life.





In chapter 1 the Apostle John asked us to “come and see.” In chapter 2 he asks us to “come and taste.” And what are we to taste but the goodness, lovingkindness, and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the way John shares that is through a wedding crisis when the mother of Jesus puts on her mom hat. A mom hat is when you as a Mother get vexed over a situation that is out of your control but you know or think you know that Son #1 can solve the problem. And so we can learn much about this interaction between our Lord and his mom and the observers to the miracle.

The crisis? Running out of wine in first century Palestine that is what we would call a “no-no.” But, why did this crisis happen?  Did more guests show up that were unanticipated—think the Lord and the 5 disciples in tow. Did the guests drink more than the wine steward had anticipated—recall the head steward’s comment about drunkenness.  Did the bridegroom not have enough money to purchase more? We could suggest even more but John wants us to see that it was a miracle to prove He was truly, as Nathanael had said, “the Son of God,” and that He cares even about the smallest or largest detail of our lives.

John also wants us to see and taste that the miracles Jesus performed were to reveal His glory so that those who see, those who taste are without excuse if they deny the evidence. The witness was clear but it is said only the disciples believed.

Come and see, come to taste. What will you do with the miracles when His glory is revealed?


A Story of Joshua, Caleb and the Truth of Psalm 37

Waiting, waiting, waiting is the hardest test God has given to us in so many ways. We want the answer now but Isaiah tells us that God’s ways are higher than ours. His answers are, in fact, so precious that we can claim the principle that Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon.  He said: Listen, God has a plan; will you trust Him? God has not just a plan but a plan to prosper you, to show you how to become His treasure once again. God has a plan for a future that will shine like the heavens because it will be filled with hope. (Jer 29:11)

This is where Joshua and Caleb were and where I was just three years ago. Like the exiles centuries later, Joshua and Caleb had waited patiently for 40+ years to see the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb teach us important lessons in waiting on the promises of God. They were the only two of the Egyptian slaves to believe those promises. But the sin of unbelief of others caused them to wait alongside their leader Moses until God said: It is time! Go! The Promised Land is just over that river. That is so like us. God has us do laps around the wilderness until we are just the perfect spot for His plan, not ours, to come to fruition. It might be hard, uncomfortable—think camping night after night, eating manna day after day.

Perhaps that is where you are, waiting for the birth of a vision that you have held onto what seems forever. This is where I have been for over 3 yrs. No matter which door I opened it slammed shut. I was just waiting for a time to minister in His church yet the doors slammed shut no matter how hard I pushed and entered the key. I attended all of the support classes, wrote out and delivered lesson plans, participated in VBS but the doors remained closed. Words from one wiser than I said: “wait on God; His timing is perfect.”

But, let’s be frank; waiting is not a part of our agenda!

We want it now but God says later. We say but 40 yrs is a very long time! Yet, here we are with Joshua and Caleb and here I am now 3 yrs later. I am learning from a precious friend that waiting is the lesson God wants from all of us.

Beloved, take a lesson from Joshua and Caleb and yes from me. God’s timing is perfect, His plan is higher and grander than we could ever think or plan for.

Psalm 37 reminds us to trust in the Lord, don’t be angry and frustrated and don’t fret! Those who rely on the Lord will possess the land and that is just what happened to Joshua and Caleb.

Will you trust Him? Will you wait on Him? Join me in the wilderness foray into the land of Waiting. The door may be shut now but trust me it will open and His treasures are there for you.