Guilty But Innocent

Romans 12:16 (NIV), “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Innocent but charged as guilty. Locked behind bars and confined to a jail cell for a crime you did not commit, perhaps even serving a life sentence. Maybe it’s a case of mistaken identity, but still the verdict remains the same…guilty. Can you imagine the agony of that? No matter how loud you scream out that you are innocent, you are still considered guilty and are treated as such.

There have been times driving down the street that I have passed a group of police cars with a person standing there in handcuffs, and I was overwhelmed with both compassion and gratefulness. I felt compassion because although they may deserve to be arrested, I cannot help but wonder what went wrong in their lives that caused them to end up where they are. I felt gratefulness because I am thankful that God has allowed my life to work out the way it has.  I realize things could have turned out differently for me, and a few wrong choices could have landed me in the same spot with the same fate, trapped behind bars.

We must be careful to realize that no matter how much success we have, it’s all a blessing from God. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). His mercy, grace, and favor have kept us and caused us to experience His goodness in the life we live here on Earth, as well as the one we will forever enjoy in eternity. Although many of us may not have committed any crimes to land us in a physical jail, spiritually we were in bondage and guilty of sin against the God of heaven. Can you see yourself going to jail in the place of a man or woman who is guilty so that they can go free? Or even more extreme, can you see yourself dying for the sins of the world, dying for every man or woman that ever lived? That’s what Jesus did for us. He was innocent, but chose to take on a guilty sentence and pay the price for our sins. He paid the price for crimes He never committed. He was willingly arrested, charged, and put to death for our sins. He gave up His home in glory to come and die for us.

As we live together, we should live in harmony. We must be quick to abandon pride and realize how good God has been to us, while being willing to associate with all people regardless of their status. Let us pray for one another that we would stay on the path that the Lord has laid out before us and not go astray (James 5:16).


Thank you for sending us your Son to be the ultimate example of humility and the sacrifice for our sins. Help us to abandon pride and always realize it is Your goodness that has kept us and blessed us. We pray for those who have experienced misfortune in their lives such as being imprisoned. However we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory, so teach us to stay humble as we live our lives.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

jail cell.

Abundant Life is Yours

John 10:10 (KJV)

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

So phenomenal, so fascinating, and so beautiful.  Beauty that never ceases to intrigue me, and every time I see it, it feels like I’m seeing it for the very first time. It will often appear out of nowhere and catch me by surprise. Other times I realize that conditions are favorable for it to appear, so I gaze up at the sky, looking in every possible direction until I can hopefully find the image that I am searching for. Once I see the colorful, sprawling rainbow in the sky, I never want to let it out of my sight. If at all possible, I keep my eye on it until it fades away and can no longer be seen.

I wish I could reach out and touch it, but according to the laws of science, that can never happen. Why? Because it’s all an optical illusion. Sadly, since a rainbow is not a physical object, no one can get to it and it can’t be touched.  No matter how real it may seem, it can only be admired from afar. A rainbow they say is nothing more than a “distorted image of the sun” caused by raindrops bending the sun’s light. It’s a simple process that creates a stunning display. So based on this knowledge of what a rainbow really is, we know the sun is the real source of what we see. However this breathtaking, brightly colored arch stands in full view, capturing our attention and effortlessly stealing our hearts. I for one, can honestly say that when there is a rainbow on display across the blue sky, the sun is not the number one thing on my mind. What about you? When you see a rainbow, do you dismiss its beauty and redirect your attention to the sun?

I heard that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I guess we will never know since we can’t make it to the rainbow to find out. Even if there was a pot of gold resting at the end of the rainbow, chances are it too would be an illusion that cannot be touched.

Have you ever felt this way about life? Have you ever felt that there are some things you cannot seem to get to no matter how hard you try? I know I have been in that place before where I found myself pursing something that was all an illusion. It seemed right at first, but the closer I got to it the more I realized it wasn’t real, and for one reason or another it would never work for me. Or after putting forth energy and time, the thing I was hoping for all of a sudden begins to fade away right before my very eyes, until it has completely disappeared, just like a rainbow. Sometimes in life we can want something so bad that we imagine we can have what it is we want and the “pot of gold” to go along with it. So we run hard after that thing, hoping for the best and never taking the time to pray and ask God if it is really His will for us before we start the race. God has a purpose for each one of us. We must stay close to Him to walk into all He has for us, but we must also stay in His Word to understand how he thinks and works so that we will not be lead astray by “false images”.

Whenever I see a beautiful rainbow, I will not hesitate to admire it’s beauty. I will also let it be God’s reminder to me to pursue only the things that are His will for me, and not to be enticed to go after what He never meant for me to have. The enemy attempts to get us off course and distort our lives by presenting an alternative path that appears perfect, but it is in fact a counterfeit. He wants us to chase after “rainbows” that are not real. He wants us to go after beautiful illusions that we can never get to that will eventually disappear right before our eyes. Remember, only what is truly real has staying power, everything else will fade away.

The devil comes to steal, to kill, and destroy, BUT JESUS….He came that we may have life, and have life more abundantly. Why not run after Him, the one who can give you what is best for you? No tricks, no gimmicks, and no illusions. His love is real.

Always focus on the true source. Jesus Christ is the True Source. The life we live should be a reflection of His Light. Stay alert and keep your gaze fixed on Him! He is the Author and the Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).



Thank you for being real. You never deceive us or lead us astray. Teach us by your Holy Spirit to stay true to You and Your Word. Keep us from counterfeit paths that are meant to bring destruction and pain to our lives. Help us to stay on that narrow path that leads to life. (Matthew 7:13-14)

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Genesis 9:16 (NLT) When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.


Do you dwell in The Secret Place?

Psalm 91:1 (KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty

Again and again I thought about this Secret Place. I wrote, I deleted, then I wrote some more. I found myself struggling to put into words something that means so much to me, something that has changed my life completely. When I first begin to meditate on this verse in Psalm 91, I was thinking of “The Secret Place” as a physical place where you go to spend time with God. We do indeed have quiet, secret places that we retreat to just to have time alone with the Lord, but as I read it, the Holy Spirit illuminated the word “dwell” to me. He began to show me that this Secret Place isn’t a place where we go and visit from time to time, it’s a place where we can dwell continuously, every single moment, of every single day. The Secret Place is a treasure that allows us to share a closeness with our Lord, a closeness that can never be taken away from us by anyone or anything. It’s a Place where we are forever protected, we are forever provided for, and we are forever loved.

Even now, as I attempt to reflect on what this Place has been to me, I do so with the realization that it is so much more than my words could ever say. God has shown me great things, but yet as time passes by, I sense that there is still so much more He wants to show to those of us who choose to dwell with Him each day. This Secret Place where I abide in Him, is the reason I can face the dawning of a new day with joy. I can  wake up every morning and know that He loves me. Knowing that He loves me is everything. My life has meaning because of His love.

This is what The Secret Place is to me…

As I dwell in The Secret Place, I can exhale. I can rest. I can let go. All the troubling thoughts and too heavy to carry burdens can be laid down. I am free to flourish. I find the strength to endure.

As I dwell in The Secret Place, contentment washes over me. Peace abounds. I have His permission to relinquish my anxiousness and exchange it for His joy. He shines His Light. He lifts my spirit and make me smile.

As I dwell in The Secret Place, I am overwhelmed by the reality of who He is. His infinite wisdom. His perpetual kindness. His endless provision. His unconditional love. His patience and mercy leave me in awe.

As I dwell in The Secret Place, my lack becomes abundance, what was empty becomes full. He fills me with confidence. He makes me secure. His presence completes me. I am never alone.

As I dwell in The Secret Place, I listen for His voice, He whispers secrets in my ear. He reveals truth. He has all the answers because He is the Answer. Yet by faith, I can trust Him with what He chooses to leave unknown.

As I dwell in The Secret Place, sometimes there is laughter, sometimes there are tears, sometimes we speak, and sometimes we are silent. My hope overflows. My faith grows. My soul is anchored safely in Him.

He has created this Place for all who choose to dwell, for all who choose to abide. Morning, noon, or night, His availability never ends. His love is timeless. His heart is pure. Under the shadow of the Almighty we have all we need.

Are you fearful, weary, lonely or confused? God is waiting for you in The Secret Place.

Is your heart broken or is your soul troubled? God is waiting for you in The Secret Place.

Do you feel there is no one who understands you or perhaps no one who even cares? God is waiting for you in The Secret Place.

Maybe everything in your world seems perfect and life is good. God is still waiting for you in the Secret Place, because every good and perfect gift we recieve is from above (James 1:17). 

Whatever it is you need, rather big or small, look no further, God is indeed waiting for you in The Secret Place. Will you enter in?


You provided the Way for us to enter into Your Secret Place, when you provided the body of your Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Every person who chooses to repent and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord are free to enter in, because of His pure and precious blood that was shed on Calvary. Thank you for providing a Secret Place for us to dwell safely in your care, and get to know you intimately. 

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Don’t Settle

Psalm 84:11 (NIV) For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

I believe that not settling and learning to wait on God go hand in hand. In order not to settle we have to be willing to wait on God and trust Him to work things out for us and provide what it is we need. He will bestow favor and honor upon us, according to this truth in Psalm 84. We can often be tempted to rush and get things done in our own strength just so we can feel a sense of security within ourselves. However, true lasting security only comes from God. He is the One who knows what is best for us. He is the One who faithfully watches over us each day.

Waiting on God can be a true test of our faith, especially if we feel anxious and want answers fast. I’m learning that waiting on God is an important part of learning more about His character and His ways. It also gives us the opportunity to grow in godly character, because as we study the ways of the Master and apply it to our lives, we become more like Him.

I’m not sure what you are waiting on God for, but rather it seems within your reach or out of your reach, just keep trusting Him to provide. Don’t settle for less than. Don’t be in a hurry to patch things up and take care of yourself.  If it’s beyond your control to change things, be patient and wait for God. He does hear your cry.

Psalm 40:1 (NIV) For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.


Your Word says that when we wait on you, you will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Help us to wait with expectancy knowing you will answer us and work things out in your time. Please help us not to let fear drive us to act outside of your will and settle for less than what you want us to have. Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding us.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Believe Me Now

Mark 9:17-24 (NIV)

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

How do you believe when you can’t find a reason to? How do you find the strength to believe when everything in your soul hurts and wants to give up? You don’t really want to believe anymore because believing seems senseless. Believing can seem cruel, like you’re doing yourself some type of injustice. Especially when you look around at the ones who don’t believe and appear to be fine, at least on the outside anyway. Or how about those who you thought believed but at times have conveniently set their beliefs aside to enjoy the pleasures of the world?  If you’re honest with yourself, there have probably been many times when you found yourself flirting with the flip side of believing, known as not believing. Your mind drifted off and begin to examine the pros and cons of not believing. It looked as if not believing might be the way to go, you’d feel free and life would become simple because you’re no longer tied down by believing. Instead you just get to do whatever feels good, whatever feels right.  But then you’re faced with more questions. How long will the freedom last? Will it be painful to live not believing or will it be a breeze? If you stop believing, what are you going to do when you find yourself in a situation where you need something to believe in?

Uncertain of the outcome that not believing will bring, you decide to keep on believing a little while longer, but life happens and the road of believing gets hard again. Those nagging feelings consume you again, discouragement, frustration, or even feeling forgotten by God. Where is He? Why must I wait so long? All of a sudden your heart is heavy, you have no peace and you just want to give up. You feel believing has failed you and that there has to be another way. You find yourself haunted by an unrelenting question, “Why Do I Believe?”

Some time ago, I was sitting in church, the pastor was preaching, I was surrounded by other brothers and sisters in Christ in a beautiful sanctuary. On the outside everything seemed perfect, but on the inside my heart was wondering, “Why Do I Believe?”

Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God heard the question in my heart that Sunday morning, and for several seconds everything went silent except the sound of His voice speaking these three words to me, “Believe Me Now”. The Holy Spirit captured my heart when He spoke those words. Doubt came to an immediate halt. My soul was comforted. Heaven had reached down into the seat where I sat and told me to believe. Not just to believe, but to believe Now. Why was God’s message so urgent that he told me to “Believe Him Now?” I’m guessing that He was determined to quickly pull me away from the unsettling thoughts in my mind that could lead me away from his will and down the road of disbelief.

I must be honest, I have been down that road of disbelief before. There have been times in my life where I was one of the ones who chose to set her beliefs aside to enjoy the pleasures of the world. It may have felt good temporarily but it always would end in emptiness and hurt.  With every empty, hurtful experience came more resolution to persevere in faith and keep believing God. There is a scripture that keeps me aware of sins deception, James 1:14-15, which says, “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Sin when full grown always leads to some type of death. It could be physical, emotional, or relational, just to name a few, but the possibilities of sin’s devastation are endless. Whenever you are tempted by your own evil desires, open your ears to hear God’s voice saying, “Believe Me Now”. Then use your voice to speak out, like the father in Mark 9 and say, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Not believing what God says is sin, but we can stay safe in his loving arms by choosing to believe what He says over the world and even over ourselves when our thinking is contrary to His.

The Lord is passionate about us, even when we are less than passionate about Him. He still remains steadfast. He still loves. He still protects. He even understands our questions and our weaknesses, but he also knows the dangers that we invite into our lives when we linger too long in disbelief. Stay close to the Master. Don’t just believe in Him, but believe in what He says. Sin doesn’t set us free, the Son does. Sin leads us into bondage. Bondage to ourselves, bondage to the Enemy. Freedom comes from knowing Jesus Christ and “Believing Him Now.”  When we are free in Jesus Christ, God’s son, we are free indeed (John 8:36).


We believe please help us overcome any unbelief we have! You search our hearts and know even our deepest secrets (Jeremiah 17:10, Psalm 44:21). Please help us to remain steadfast and not to be dragged away by our own evil desires. Thank you for helping us to believe You every day without hesitation.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Cultivating Godliness with Contentment

1 Timothy 6:6 says, “But Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

We have goals to pursue, we have dreams to fulfill, and at times a never ending list of tasks to complete. With so much to focus on, it can be easy for the pursuit of our future endeavors to overshadow the enjoyment of our present reality, making it seem impossible to find peace with where we are today. Of course we can believe and have great faith for our tomorrows, but at the same time we must have balance, and be willing to accept where we are today and make the most of it.  We can always bloom right where we are planted.

The scripture says godliness with contentment in our lives is great gain. Finding contentment requires some intentional moves on our part, because contentment is not something the world willingly dishes out to us in generous portions. We must make a conscious effort to keep our lives simple and drama free. It is wise to ask God to reveal areas of our lives that could use more order, because there maybe things that need to be changed to better suit his plans for us. He can guide us by showing us the most efficient way to get things done. I’ve always been a firm believer in quality over quantity because more doesn’t necessarily mean better. We must be careful to make sure the things we are pursuing are God’s will for us.

Putting forth effort to experience contentment can be just as simple as having a talk with the Lord while you walk in the park (one of my personal favorites), or adding things to your calendar so you don’t forget to do them and get stressed out.  It may also mean cutting back on some of your activities so you can be more at peace, and have some time to yourself. Never forget to place Bible verses all around you where you can see them often (another one of my favorites), this way you can be reminded of who God is, this will also help to keep your soul content and cause you to grow in godliness.

I trust God daily to give me contentment with where I am in life, while at the same time giving me wisdom and motivation to take the necessary steps to accomplish my goals for the future. It’s always astonishing to see how he works to bring things together, even in the little ways, every day is a piece of the puzzle. Therefore, we must learn to rest in him and enjoy the journey.


Please help us to grow in godliness and experience the contentment Jesus died to give us. Every day is an important part of Your dream for us. When we are fully committed to you, we can be confident that the ambitions we have in our heart, originated in Yours. So please help us to trust You with our desires.

In the name of Jesus Amen.

The Last Will Be First

Matthew 19:30 reads, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

Years ago I was traveling with my mom and daughter along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We were on our way to our family reunion which was being held in Philadelphia. At some point, we came to a stretch of road on the turnpike that was lined with dead trees. The strange thing about it, was that although the trees on the front row were all dead, immediately behind them, as far as the eye could see, were beautiful, vibrant, healthy green trees. However, these lifeless trees on the front row, stood very tall and erect almost as if they possessed an inner confidence. Because of the green background behind them created by the other trees, they appeared to stand out even more. Odd as it may seem, even though these trees were dead, they were still very much alive. They had a mysterious beauty radiating from them that drew attention to their presence.

As I continued to observe this peculiar scene, God brought to my mind these words, “The first will be last and the last will be first.” I have no idea what natural events may have occurred that caused those trees to end up like they were. But to me they represent many people who may not measure up to the world’s idea of beauty. But because they follow God’s ways He has elevated them to a certain level. Like those trees, you may never know what someone has endured to get to where they are, but because they did endure, God has shown them favor. Never underestimate what God is doing in someone’s life just because things appear a certain way on the outside. As Christians, we should have an inner beauty that radiates from our hearts and changes the world around us. People should be able to sense a distinct difference and want to know more about us and our lifestyles. Ultimately who we are should lead people to want to know more about the God we serve.

Those of us who call Jesus Savior, need to take a stand and be all that God has called us to be for the sake of the cross and the glory of the One who died there.  2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, then I will receive you.”

If those trees could speak, I know the stories about life on the “Penna” Turnpike would be unforgettable. The good news is that you and I can speak. We can speak life to those around us. Not only with our words, but through our actions. We must let the life we live speak for us. Ask God to show you how you can “come out from among them and be separate.” When you are serving God, even if you think you are last, in God’s eyes you are first. We need to make sure that wherever we are standing, is the place God really wants us to be. When we are where we should be, we can then be effective and make a true difference.


Please let the beauty we have in you through your Holy Spirit shine brightly so that those around us may be inspired and changed. Help us not to get caught up in things that do not matter but instead to focus on what matters most to you.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


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