Grain, New Wine, and Oil That Satisfy!

Grain, New Wine, and Oil That Satisfy!

I opened up to Joel 2:19 and saw something that I had never noticed before:

“I am sending you grain, new wine, and oil – enough to satisfy you fully.”

If these three things – grain, new (as opposed to old) wine, and oil – were important enough to mention in the Word, I figure I should probably pay attention.

So I started giving these fourteen words some thought (and attention), and want to share my discoveries with you here…




This is what bread is made of. Jesus is the Bread of Life. I need Him to live. To be transformed. To get victory over sin in my life. To grow as He intends for me to grow.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

How much I eat of the Bread of Life is up to me. The greater my challenges, the greater my need for even more bread.

He is there for the taking. I need to take Him more. “More of Jesus, less of me.” Literally and figuratively.





This is spoken of in the parable of the new wineskins. God wants to give us His new wine, but we need a new wineskin in which to hold the new wine. Why? Because our old wineskin will burst as the new wine He pours into us expands. Here’s a story that still feels like yesterday even though it happened to me back in 1985 ~ 34 years ago as I write…

My fear of public speaking was huge when I first started speaking – like at a microphone, in front of an audience. I was set to speak at a homeschool convention, and it was going to be held at a big fancy-schmancy hotel in Seattle where just one of the room’s chandeliers was larger than three rooms of my house! The very thought of entering that room freaked me out! 

It got progressively worse as the convention approached. Every thought of standing in front of that huge room (which really did end up being as big as I’d imagined), sent a horrible churning pang jolting through my guts like lightning. I had no idea how I was physically and emotionally going to survive this!

After getting out of the shower one day and seeing my “eau de natural” face and hair in the foggy mirror, I told the Lord I did not know why He was having me do this; that I was NOT a speaker!!!

The very sight of a microphone sent intimidating chills through my stomach!

“Well…  Yes, Lord, HOWEVER! I can’t DO this!!! I’m dying every time I think of standing in front of that microphone ~ so that people can actually hear me ~ and speaking, I just shrivel up and feel SICK!!! I simply can NOT live like this!!!”

I felt Him say: “The problem is that I am filling you with new wine (which I knew was sharing the message He had put on my heart via public speaking), but you still have your old wineskin, so the new wine is bursting your old wineskin.”

Me:  “Wow. Well that sure makes sense. So what are we going to do about this?!?!?” ~ by which I actually meant “What are YOU going to do about this, because I knew there was nothing *I* could do, other than turn and run the other direction!

Him:  “You need to let Me take your old wineskin (which I just see as being the heart and soul of me that “holds” who I am, including my will and my thinking), and give you a new wineskin!!!”

And that happened that very day! I handed over to Him my old wineskin, which He then redeemed by giving me back a new wineskin that would hold this new wine He was pouring into ~ and through ~ me. I never had another horrible jolt regarding speaking ever again!!! And that was 35 years and hundreds of speaking engagements ago! Butterflies and excitement, but NO jolts!!! In fact, I actually love speaking now!




The Holy Spirit is referred to as oil in the Word, and I desperately need more of Him – the Holy Spirit – flowing in me.

Psalm 23:5 says: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

I have enemies around me all the time, mostly in the form of temptations trying to lure me away from what God has for me. What is it that God has for me? – especially in this area of eating, and my relationship to food? Here are a few things that Christina has shared regarding what it is like to be…

Walking in Freedom:

• It feels right and good to be listening and submitting to the Lord.

• There is a peace between the Lord and me, and I feel more intimate with Him.

• It feels good to know that I am bringing my needs to God instead of to food.

• When I am eating within my boundaries, I have a feeling – which is actually a fact – of HOPE because my hope is in Him.

• I feel lighthearted and buoyant because there isn’t such a weight on my shoulders of guilt, frustration, and hopelessness.

• When I am flying high because I’m eating God’s way, it makes me want to praise Him because it feels so good!

• It feels good to separate my emotions from my eating; to get my feelings untangled up from my eating.

• I enjoy my food within my God-given boundaries, using it to fuel my body; not using it for comfort.

• I love the way I feel physically when I’m eating smaller portions. My body feels good; my stomach feels normal and settled.

Our Birthright:

“All the above” are my birthright! But how often do I sell my birthright for a mere “bowl of soup”? ~ or whatever other food is in front of my face at the moment that I somehow think is going to satisfy me more than obedience will?


As my birthright, those are ALL things that God intends for me to have! And I can have them right now! This very moment! Just by walking in simple and sweet surrender and obedience to Him and, by and with His mighty power at work within me.



A Fresh View of Zero

A Fresh View of Zero

I’ve noticed that, as I’m getting close to zero ~ truly hungry, but not starving ~ anxiety rises up in me. If I’m busy and my mind is occupied, anxiety is less likely to happen, but it often does. 

I obviously need the Lord to renew my heart and mind regarding zero. So I thought I’d start by defining anxious.

The word anxious has two different, almost opposite meanings, and I feel both aspects of the word as I approach zero…  

One kind of anxious is what you feel when you’re looking forward to something and you have tingly butterflies in your tummy. Like when you think of meeting a friend for coffee, or going to get a pedicure, or an upcoming vacation to a fun destination. Eating my next meal may not be quite as exciting as vacation or a pedi, but my resident butterflies nonetheless say otherwise.

Linked to the fun kind of anxiety is the other kind of anxiety – where you feel nervous with a sickish sense of dread. Like…

• a test coming up that you haven’t studied for, or…

• stopped-up traffic on the freeway when you’re trying to get to the airport, or…

• someone told you they want to talk to you, but didn’t tell you why, and you have a hunch it’s going to be hard.  

Because of that dreadish kind of anxiety, just getting down to zero is a huge victory for me! 

In my “pre-Thin-Within” days, I seldom felt hungry! Seriously! I often went months without ever feeling a single hunger pang! If I ever did, it was purely accidental; never planned for, and certainly not something I desired or sought!

So I’m thankful that I’ve become much more acquainted and comfortable – in an uncomfortable way – with zero! It’s not quite my “friend,” but we’re definitely more than “mere acquaintances.”

Instead of rushing to fill my tummy once I hit zero – and thus stuff that anxiety with food – I have asked the Lord to give me a fresh view of zero, to help me renew my mind about it.

I want to deal a death blow to the dreadish anxiety, but doing so is a processAnd, thanks to Thin Within, I have a wonderful array of tools to help me deal with these anxieties! 

I’m “attacking” it from four different angles, which I think of as the four sides of a boxing ring. I actually hate how violent boxing is! Why would any sane person would put themselves inside a ring where the sole intent of their opponent is to punch them repeatedly and win over them by knocking them out! But that is exactly what I want to do to my unruly appetite! Deal its unruliness some death blows and gain victory over it!

The four “punches” I’m utilizing are to: 1) Renew my Mind about Anxiety,  2) Make Truth Cards (or a Truth List) about Zero,  3) Gain Wisdom Regarding Eating (Once I’m at Zero), and 4) A Prayer as I Approach Zero.

Let’s take them one by one…



I did a word study on anxiety using a study tool I share in “Two Forms for Studying Scripture” called the “Word Alive Study.” Here’s the one I did on the do-on-your-computer version. (There’s also a print-and-write-in version for those who prefer handwriting.) I copied the definition from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and pasted it into a box on this form!

(Click on this form to see it more clearly in a new window; click your back arrow to return here.)



To get a fresh view of zero, I created several Truth Cards about it and made a Truth List using the same truths. So the two are the same in content; one is just in card form, with one truth per card and a pretty picture or page, and the Truth List is just a list of the same truths. This can be hand-written on a piece of paper, or typed and printed out, in a list on your phone or computer. Or you could make them into a small booklet.

Here are several truths relating to “zero”:

When I reach my zero, it is not an excuse to chow down, but to simply replenish my body’s fuel.

I need to be more thoughtful about my zero, and “spend” it wisely and with self control.

Zero is not to be feared; it is God’s design for my body – as is self control.

“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy.” (Psalms 16:5)

“Nothing tastes as good as obedience feels.”  ~Heidi Bylsma

“When I eat at zero, food tastes so much better, I am free from bondage to food, and I feel peaceful and content.” ~Christina Motley

And here are several of the above truths made up into Truth Cards. These first four are photo/graphic truth cards I made in Canva(.com):

I also make many on my phone using Word Swag, an awesome free app. Here are three using that:

I keep all my digital Truth Cards in an album on my phone, and have printed some out and added to a pack of Truth Cards.

These last two are actual physical cards in a spiral card pack that I made like small scrapbook pages, using stickers, pretty papers, and buttons:





The Keys to Conscious Eating are the foundation of becoming wise in how we eat. These are presented and discussed in:

However, even though the concepts are simple, for those of us with disordered eating and food addiction, it’s not so simple. This is why there are several more resources to help you dig down and deal with the reasons behind our disordered eating. (It’s not just a simple matter of loving food!) These resources each have different but dove-tailing messages that will greatly help you gain freedom from food addiction:


There are no food rules in Thin Within! No “taboo” foods, omitting of entire food groups, nor focusing on just a few certain foods…  just common sense, really. And, while there are some basics that don’t vary much, specifics vary from person to person.

Here are a few words from Judy Halliday in Hunger Within, page 112:

There are no forbidden foods. Nevertheless, as we follow the leading of the Spirit, we will find ourselves making wiser, healthier, God-honoring choices. While we have the freedom to choose what we will eat or drink, we know not every food or beverage is beneficial for us, nor do we want to be enslaved by anything. When we are guided by the grace-giving keys to conscious eating, we recognize that certain foods can be detrimental to our health, and are best enjoyed in moderation or avoided. We also develop discernment about what we call “trigger” foods and beverages.



Finally, in my prayer, I want to cover what I’m feeling as I approach zero:  the good anxiety of looking forward to eating, the harmful anxiety of fearing that I will throw off all restraint and just binge.

Lord, I’m getting close to zero, and I need You to help me process this anxiety that I’m feeling, and not just rush to squelch it with food. I’m excited to eat, but I don’t want to use it as an opportunity to indulge my flesh.

I don’t want to have my heart be so connected to eating that I look forward to eating more than is appropriate. So help me utilize the Keys to Conscious Eating and really take time to enjoy what You have provided for me. 

I’m also feeling some fear that I will lose self-control and just devour everything in sight, so would You live Your life through and in me so that, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me,” I can eat as You originally designed me to eat? I want to learn how to “eat to live instead of living to eat”! 

We do not earn grace or our salvation. Salvation is “the free gift of God to those who believe in Christ Jesus” and grace is “unmerited, unearned favor.” Which means we don’t have to DO a single thing to get them. Both are entirely free!

So I think of doing “all the above” work not as a way to earn my healing and victory, but simply as applying all that He has given me to “work out [my] salvation,” making it my own, especially as it relates to this very difficult area of my life. This helps me get all the hindrances out of the way that keep me from receiving all God has offered me! And you, as well!



Please feel free to share any prayers YOU pray as you approach zero, as well as any insights you have gained in this arena that would bless and encourage your fellow journeyers!


When It’s Not Right to be Thankful for Food

When It’s Not Right to be Thankful for Food

Imagine a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. Actually, no need to imagine; here’s the exact scenario I’m talking about…


Now imagine that one of the gifts has this message on the tag: “Do not open until December 25!” (See further down.)

Of course, even if that message is not stated right on the tag, the expectation is still there that it is not to be opened until “the appointed time,” be that Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or whenever your family chooses to open gifts.

So let’s say it’s a week before Christmas and I spot a gift with a tag that says “To Barb from Dave.” I grab it, shake it a little, say “THANK YOU, Dave!” and start tearing off the wrapping paper.

Dave says “What are you DOING?!?!?!? You can’t open that!”

I say “What do you mean?? It says right here that it’s from you to ME!”

Dave answers “But it’s only December 18th! It’s not time to open presents yet!”

Reluctantly I put it back…  to wait for December 25 to get here.



So let’s take a closer look at what I was really doing…

Was I thankful? Indeed I was! Wasn’t that enough? Nope! I was thanking Dave for a gift that, while it had been bought and even wrapped for me, and was going to be mine eventually, it was not yet the appointed time for me to receive and open it. I was starting to open something that had not actually been given to me yet.

The Lord showed me that this is what’s actually taking place when I give thanks for food I want –  and even start – to eat, but I am not yet at a zero.

Yes, the food was chosen for me (perhaps by me) and it’s intended for me, but the Giver is not yet giving it to me because it is not yet time.

So I really don’t have any business thanking God for it until it is actually “the appointed time” for me to eat. Which is when I’m actually hungry!

If I sit down at the table and start to say “Thank You Lord for this meal,” no matter how appreciative I am, it’s not going to change the fact that I should not actually be thanking God for it when he has not actually given it to me – YET.

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy desires of every living thing.“ (Psalm 145:15–16)


He gives us our food “at the proper time.” I looked up proper, and one of the meanings is “appropriate to the purpose.”

Okay, so what is the purpose of food? … To nourish our bodies and keep us alive and healthy. 

So “proper time” doesn’t mean we have to have meals at a certain (or proper) set time, like breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm. It means that when our bodies are actually getting hungry, then is when it’s “the proper time” to refuel them.

So what we want to aim for is eating in the right timing – as in when we actually need the food. And I do not actually need it physiologically until I am physiologically hungry.

Head hunger cannot be satisfied with physical food. God alone, as it says in verse 16, satisfies our desires – our head hunger – with Himself.

He opens His hand to me, but my part is to take from His hand. At the proper time  when I’m actually hungry.

And it is at that point I can – and, of course, should – express my gratitude to Him, because He is actually giving it to me then. That is the right time to be thankful for my food!





Two Forms for Studying Scripture

Two Forms for Studying Scripture

Way back in the early 1990’s when I was homeschooling our two teenagers through high school, I wanted a way to help them ~ and myself ~ study Scripture in greater depth, in an orderly, organized, uncomplicated way.

So I created two forms, both of which enable us to dig deeper into the Word by dissecting and examining several key words in the verse and definitions. One is the “Word Alive Study” and the other is the “Scripture Verse Study.”

By the end of either study, the meaning of our word or Scripture verse has been blown wide open, having come alive in a totally fresh way.

Both are very eye-opening, and if you allow the Lord to speak to you, not just doing them in an “intellectual” way, they are heart-changing.



One of these forms is called a “Word Alive Study” and the other is a “Scripture Verse Study.” The two have similar components, yet different purposes and results. I will explain both, as well as include free printables of both at the very end. But first, here’s what they are and how to use them…



For the “Word Alive Study,” you choose a word that you want to study, one that has special significance to you. It could be a word that you feel the Lord has given you. This might be for the coming year, for a season you’re in, or for your life. Some of my favorites are hear, surrender, commune, and redeem ~ the latter being my life verse. The first three were in seasons, and I have written about some of these in the articles that I have linked you to in two of of them. (Plus here are two more on “redeem”: HERE and HERE.)

Or it could be a particular “theme” that’s been springing up in your life. Struggles are often telling, and one of the things they can “tell” us is what God is currently working on in us.

  • Like are you finding yourself more frustrated and impatient than usual? … Patience would be a good word.
  • Do you tend to feel jealous of certain people? … Jealousy, envy or contented could be your word.
  • Do you feel like you lack in order in your day, how you deal with your children, or your eating? … Discipline or self-control.
  • Maybe you feel sad or depressed more often than you’d like? … Study joy or rejoice.

Next, here’s a picture of the form for you to refer to as I explain how to use it:  (You can’t actually copy and paste this or print it; the free printable given at the end is what you’ll print.)


Decide on your word, and look it up in a dictionary. But I would suggest not just any dictionary. The one I highly recommend is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. This is an amazing resource! It’s actually Noah Webster’s original work. What they call “Webster’s Dictionary” today is not even close to his original, which included Bible verses and character traits as being part of the definition ~ all of which have been omitted in today’s versions. Webster would roll over in his grave if he saw a modern version in which the heart of his work has been extracted. I bet he would insist his name be removed from the title. (I am not kidding or exaggerating!) Take a look at one definition, and you’ll see what I mean…

Go to the main page of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and type “house” into the box at the very top. Look at all the definitions that have Scriptures in them!

Now go to the definition of house in the modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary…  Do you see even one Bible verse there?

Point made.

So back to the Word Alive Study…  You will still get plenty out of this study even if you use a modern dictionary because of how merely defining words opens up scripture!

Go back to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and type your word into the box at the top. Let’s use integrity.

There are always multiple definitions, and here’s what to do with them.

First, I don’t use any of their examples as part of my definition. I colored the examples grey below to show you what I mean…



INTEG’RITY, noun [Latin integritas, from integer.]

1. Wholeness; entireness; unbroken state. The constitution of the U.States guaranties to each state the integrity of its territories. The contracting parties guarantied the integrity of the empire.

2. The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others.

The moral grandeur of independent integrity is the sublimest thing in nature, before which the pomp of eastern magnificence and the splendor of conquest are odious as well as perishable.

3. Purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state; as the integrity of language.


So all the grey words are out.

Next let’s condense the above three definitions:

“Wholeness; unbroken state. The entire unimpaired state of a thing, moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Genuine, unadulterated.



Comparing this to the definition above, you’ll see that I deleted repeat concepts, removed examples, and did some condensing.

This is the definition that I would enter into the definition line on the form.

In the next section of the form it says: “Seven major words from the definition and their definitions:” So on the top line of each of the seven subsequent line-pairs, I’ll put one of the words in my combined, condensed definition. So I will choose these words ~ the ones in red ~ here:

Wholeness; unbroken state. The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Genuine, unadulterated.

You can choose any seven words, but those are just the ones I chose.

You can actually omit the “ness” part, if you want, as that is the root word. In fact, I looked up “wholeness” in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and it’s not even there, so I just used “whole,” which was ample! So now I will look up each of those seven words and put a combined, condensed definition for each of them. Here’s the first definition. (I choose my favorite.)

The entire thing; the entire or total assemblage of parts. (The whole of religion is contained in the short precept, Love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.)


Next I looked up unimpaired. It’s not there, so I deleted that word and went to the next word: soundness:

Firmness; strength; solidity; truth; as soundness of reasoning or argument, of doctrine or principles.



Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; as purity of heart or life.



not marred, impaired or spoiled; not defiled or depraved; pure; sound; untainted; applicable to persons, principles or substances.



Honest; just; adhering to rectitude in all social intercourse; not deviating from correct moral principles


…and last, genuine:

real; natural; true; pure; not spurious, false or adulterated. Vices and crimes are the genuine effects of depravity, as virtue and piety are the genuine fruits of holiness



When I’m done with that, I’ll do what it says in the next section, which is “Now go deeper with four definitions above that stand out to you and write what you feel God is saying to you:  [Hint #1: If you do not feel that you are hearing God, just go with whatever you feel excited about, convicted about, or edi­fied or encour­ag­ed by. Hint #2: That’s probably hearing God!]  (You will probably need to use the other side if hand-writing this.)

So, of these, the four words that stand out to me the most are: untainted, honest, rectitude, unadulterated. 

I guarantee that it doesn’t matter what word you choose, you’re going to end up blessed and enriched by it!

Now let’s look at the…



This has similar components to the Word Alive Study above, but you study a verse instead of a word.


Let’s do this verse as an example…

“I send forth my word and it shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)


There’s space for 8 major words in the verse, but I found 6 to be enough; there’s no need to delve into words that are insignificant.

Look up each of those six words and put a synopsis (short version) of each of them here. Then, just as we did in the first form, look up the four “best” or “majorest” words in those six definitions. (You do these just as you did for the Word Alive Study, so I’m not putting examples here.)

Last, write any revelations, discoveries, and insights that came to you as you were doing the study.



There are two versions of each form:  One is to print out and hand-write on, for those who like to sit in a cozy chair with a blanket and a fave beverage, and hand-write your thoughts. The other version is to open on your computer and type in. (You can still have a blanket and fave beverage nearby! And if you have a laptop, you can still be in a cozy chair!)

On the do-on-your-computer version, the boxes expand with your typing. The printable versions just have a certain number of lines to write in, but you can certainly use the back! These do-on-your-computer versions are in Word format because you need to be able to type in that one, and PDF’s are non-type-in-able.


Word Alive Study:

To type in on your computer  (Word document)

To print out and write in  (PDF document)


Scripture Verse Study:

To type in on your computer  (Word document)

To print out and write in  (PDF document)


I’d love to hear any revelations ~ “heavy revvies” as we used to call them back in the 70′! ~ you get while doing either of these studies!

Preparing for Challenges in Advance – with Jesus

Preparing for Challenges in Advance – with Jesus

Lord, I have a lot going on today; many things on my plate. You said You’ll be with us always, which includes TODAY! So would You help me prepare for these things ahead instead of being a sitting duck and waiting until I’m in the middle of them – sinking down, getting overwhelmed, confused, or discouraged? 

Christina (Motley) often talks about asking God, at the beginning of the day, to help her process things she knows will be coming up that day. This is the first I had ever heard of doing this, and I love the concept!

I invite you to join me as I walk through asking the Lord to help me process five things I deal with on a regular basis.

You’ll recognize many of the truths herein as being things we have heard from Heidi and Christina in the Thin Within groups and materials!


Okay, Lord, let’s DO this!







My past failures tend to creep up on me and suck me down into the miry pit of discouragement. I easily start feeling I’LL NEVER CHANGE! Why even try? I’ll just fail again! 

TRUTH: Yesterday’s failures do not define or confine me. God has forgiven me, (assuming I have asked), so despite what I couldn’t do yesterday (or simply chose not to do), the truth for this moment is that I can begin afresh right now because today is a brand new day!

PLAN: When failures come at me like a fastball, and the enemy tries to use them to strike me down, hit him back with these verses:

SCRIPTURE: “Remember not the former things, [the things of the past] nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)   |   “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (and it’s always morning somewhere on the planet!); great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–24)   |   “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

PRAY: Lord, I’m so grateful that You don’t hold my past against me, and that You don’t want me to keep regurgitating my failures and sins. Thank You that You are doing a new thing in me! Help me be aware of it springing forth in me rather than continually focusing on my sins, failures and weaknesses. I want to walk with You as You make a way in the wilderness of my undisciplined thought life and rivers in the dry desert of my gluttonous nature..






I have many things to do today and am feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what to do and not do, and how to get everything done that I need to get done.

TRUTH: The Lord knows what He wants me to do today and He is able to show me this and to UNoverwhelm me.

PLAN: Make a list of all the things that need to be done so that they aren’t just floating around and hitting me in the head all day. Pray, wait, and allow God to show me what to do next, and then next… and what to let go of, at least for today. And even though I don’t think I know how to hear the Lord, see John 10:27 below.

SCRIPTURE“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)   |   “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)   |   “Let all things [that the Lord wants me to do] be done decently [kindly, dutifully, suitably, and generously; not minimally or begrudgingly] and in order.” (I Cor. 14:40)

PRAY: Lord, You know everything before me today, and what all You want me to do. So show me what I do and don’t need to do today, and how to accomplish all that You want me to!






Lord, there’s a task that I don’t want to do today, something I’ve been procrastinating doing  just because it’s distasteful and I simply do NOT want to do it! 

TRUTH: Whether or not I want to do this is not my bottom line, but whether or not God wants me to do it. I’m thankful that I’m physically capable of doing it.

PLAN: Pray the prayer below, and then get in and JUST DO IT!

SCRIPTURE“For the moment, all discipline [hard work that I don’t particularly want to do] seems painful [distasteful] rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [including having something done that I didn’t want to do] for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

PRAY: Lord, would You help me not only do this, but also make me extra aware of Your presence while I do it? I’d love it if you put something on my mind and heart to think about and process with You while I (we) do it.






Lord, there are all sorts of yummy foods in the fridge and my pantry, and they’re calling my name!! I just SO want to eat them ALL – or at least as much as I can cram in!

TRUTH: Yes, there are lots of good things to eat, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat them all today, or ever! The truth is that it’s more wasteful to eat it all than to toss what we don’t eat; the excess fuel in my body will weigh me down, rob me of energy, and steal my joy and my “food-peace.” The truth is that “one more bite” will not bless me or help me; it will take me in the opposite direction from where God wants to take me, which is into freedom, peace, and joy.

PLAN: Each time I get down to zero, I can eat a small amount of whatever I want – up to “satisfied.” Focus more on abiding in Jesus today so that “there I’ll be” when troubles come.

SCRIPTURE“For God has not given me a spirit of fear [of the yummy leftovers in the fridge], but of power [to not eat everything in one sitting], of love [of myself, enough to tend to my actual needs and not lusts], and a sound mind” [which, as God renews it, is capable of regarding food as merely “tasty, enjoyable fuel” and not as entertainment!]  (2 Timothy 1:7)

PRAY: Lord, thank you so much for Your provision, which is so abundant that I have enough food to actually have this problem! Help me to enjoy food as tasty fuel, and not as something to scarf down until I’m stuffed! You know which foods my body actually needs and what will be “whole body pleasers,” so would You give me a desire for those foods, and help me eat “just enough” to satisfy my hunger. And remind me if I get preoccupied and forget to come to You as often as I need/want to!






Lord, I know I’m going to hear more bad news today, and each time I do, I get anxious and/or angry. All the yuckiness going on in the news and politics: the twisted perceptions, perverse ungodliness, defiance and mockery of God, injustices, despising and hatred of Christians – it all just grieves me so much, Lord, and I don’t know what to do with it.

TRUTH: These things are happening because people have rejected God and set themselves up as their own authority. They call what’s good evil, and what’s evil good. I need to expect to see these things; not be surprised.
       SCRIPTURE: “For, although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools … [T]hey did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.   … [And] they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.” (excerpts from Romans 1: 21–31)
TRUTH: I can’t fix these situations or the people involved. It’s not even my job; these people and situations are the Holy Spirit’s work; mine only to the extent that He brings me into His work. But it is my job to pray for them and to love the people.
       SCRIPTURE: “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:17)
TRUTH: In the midst of all the sad, horrible, and depressing things going on in the world, God still wants me to be loving, gracious, patient, and kind. There may be a time to speak the truth in love, but I need to let God lead me into those situations, and not strive to change/fix everyone as “the way it is” was prophesied. And, in the meantime, get His heart for others, even those with whom I disagree (vehemently).
      SCRIPTURE: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalms 145:8)   |   “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
TRUTH: God doesn’t want me to live in a state of continually being troubled, weighed down, vexed, and dominated by all the evil going on in the world.
      SCRIPTURE: “Cast all your anxiety (cares, burdens) on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)   |   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7)   |   “Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10: 5)
A) Make it a practice to “take every thought captive.”
B) Print out four copies of the above truths + verses and put them: in my Bible, on the inside of a kitchen cupboard, in my bathroom cupboard, and by my bed. Also copy and paste it into the Notes on my phone. So that…
C) Whenever one of these thoughts hits, process it with Jesus. Ultimately leave the matter – and its heaviness – with Him.
PRAY: Lord, there is soooo much happening today that is just so sad and depressing. It can easily suck the wind right out from my sails. Please give me Your heart and mind on all this! Help me carry Your hope-giving light to those who walk in darkness!




I’d love to hear what’s been weighing on your heart/mind and how you are processing it with the Lord!


Recognizing and Choosing “The Better Part”

Recognizing and Choosing “The Better Part”

“Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:42)

For many of us, doing comes much more naturally than being. Which means that spending time with the Lord may not come as easily as doing things for Him. This struggle goes way back to Mary and Martha…

Martha is known for being frustrated about not getting any assistance while preparing food for their guests – one of whom was Jesus Himself. And her sister, Mary, was of NO help! She was just sitting at Jesus’ feet, visiting with Him instead of helping Martha.

I imagine Martha, in the middle of kneading a loaf of bread, calling out to the living room “Mary! Could you come and grease a bread pan for me?” Mary doesn’t budge. So Martha complains to Jesus saying He should tell Mary to get up and help her in the kitchen.


Jesus’ response “Martha, you are concerned about many things…” had to have frustrated her. I know it would have frustrated me! I would have wanted to say this back to Him: 

“Well YESSSS I’m concerned about many things! Of course I am! I’m trying to get a nice meal fixed here, and, thanks to Mary who’s just sitting out here in the living room with You, I’m doing it all MYSELF!!!”

There’s probably not any way I could have said that respectfully, and hopefully I would have had enough sense to not say it, but knowing me…  

So Jesus continued with His famous words:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

“The better part.”  ::heavy:::sigh::  That is what I want to talk about today, because this “better part” does not come naturally for me.

I do desire to spend time with God, but I’m sad to say that I’d rather DO stuff for Him than just sit at His feet…  and be quiet…  and listen.

One reason is that it’s hard to pull away from all the stuff I want to get done! 

Another reason is that because, when I do just sit with Him, I don’t feel like I “hear” anything or like anything’s happening. It’s just quiet::crickets::  So this just confirms that I’m not as spiritual as I’d like to think I am, or else I’d be hearing something. So I’d better get busy doing something spiritual to quench that uncomfortable feeling or to try to make myself more spiritual.

Or else I just fall asleep.

Mary definitely had an advantage with Jesus’ feet being physically present. She wasn’t just metaphorically “sitting at His feet”; she was literally sitting at His feet. While He was actually talking…  to her… in person… with His actual feet right there – one foot away… or one cubit, or whatever it was.

If Jesus were in my actual living room in person, I would have nooooo problem sitting at His feet. But since He’s not, I need some help and enlightenment… which I got in the form of a Facetime call from our grandson, Weston, age 9…

He Facetimed me at 10am one day. I would never have answered a call that I could be seen in pre-makeup-and-hair-being-done from anyone but a grandpunkin. But I figured he wouldn’t be calling if he didn’t have something important to say. Besides, I knew he wouldn’t care how I looked.

But I did. And it was not good! So I seriously considered blurring the little pictures of me on the screens. (I had NO thoughts whatsoever of these being seen in a blog post!) But I ultimately decided to just be real and keep them as-is.


Weston told me about something he wanted me to change on a “Special Memories with Gramma and Grampa” notebook page I have them do here at our house. But, after doing so, rather than hanging up, he just kept talking…  and talking…  telling me about all sorts of things!

After a while, his mom (our daughter Sharnessa) told him he needed to get off the phone and do his tasks, but he wanted to keep me on while he did them – which she let him, and he did! As he unloaded the dishwasher, he continued telling me about the many ideas and plans he felt I needed to know about.

And finishing the dishes, he took me around the house showing me many things, assuming I’d be interested in every little detail!

I loved it and was certainly not going to be the one to go! So an hour and a half later, we were still on! It was so precious for him to be sharing all this with me. And I documented it with screenshots! My purpose in sharing these isn’t to show high-quality pictures – cuz most are blurry. I just want to bring you into my sweet experience…

(In many of them, I look distressed, but I wasn’t; I was just squinting to figure out what he was showing me! – no small feat because this boy has one speed: FAST!)



He showed me seeds they’d gotten at an Earth Day Fair, which are encased in “disks that look like spaceships!”


…and a page he’d done in his USA notebook…


…the sprinkles on his hot cocoa…


which, as he later told me: “They just basically disintegrated, Gramma!”


He showed me the melted-plastic ornaments he and Chase had made…


…and his plans for a 3-layer cake he wanted to make with me on our next Grandma’s Day. He’d drawn a diagram and we discussed how to make it work logistically.


…and the orange “plushy” they turned into the Sun for their Solar System in their homeschool room.


“And, Gramma! These are supposedly eggs, but they’re actually SOAPS!!!”


“And here’s our hotel phone that actually works!”


Then onto to their backyard…


…and the crawl space opening – which he knew I would love to see!


We live in the same town, and I’d been to their home countless times, so I’m very familiar with their house and already knew about almost everything he showed me! But I was delighted to listen to Weston, not because I was getting new information, but because connection happens in the time we spend together! 



As one might guess, the Lord spoke to my heart sweetly, deeply, and profoundly through this!

Weston had shared his ideas with me, his plans, things he had made, items he found amusing, and his beverage. He wanted me to be there while he worked, and told me his thoughts even as they were formulating in his head!

Basically, Weston just wanted to hang out with me!

He wasn’t a bit concerned about how anything sounded. He wasn’t even concerned about having – or not having – anything to say. There were several silences, but they weren’t awkward for Weston! He had no doubt I wanted to stay.

He loved my responses…  and I loved listening to him and responding!

The Lord showed me that, in “all the above,” Weston was choosing, in a very simple but real way, “the better part”!

Better than what? Better than doing things for me… Better than doing his own thing without me. Not that those are wrong! But being with me was just better!

And the Lord showed me that this is exactly how He wants me to be with Him!

He delights in me sharing my thoughts, plans, and ideas with Him.

He wants to hear about things I think are cool or beautiful.

He’s delighted to help me with challenging projects that are totally overwhelming to me. (Which is often!)

He wants to hear about a hope or dream that has “basically disintegrated” and show me what to do next.

He not only has no problem with silence; He knows that good stuff happens in time quietly spent with Him…  like healing, solutions, forgiveness, joy, heart-softening, and the calming of storms.

All of which is exactly why He invites us to…

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)


So telling God about things He already sees and knows is neither a waste of time nor an insult. Even though He already sees and knows it all, He still wants us to come and tell Him everything, because connection happens in the time we spend together! 

“I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over…” (Isaiah 1:18)

We are not on our own, expected to sort and solve our messes by ourselves. He offers us “the better part,” which is sitting at His feet and pouring out our hearts to Him – our ideas, hurts, plans, frustrations, failures, victories, delights, sins, and even the stuff that makes us angry,

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” (Psalms 62:8)

He wants to be our “safe place” for all our heart-outpouring.

Are you in need of a Personal Refuge, One who’s concerned about every little detail that concerns you? I sure am! And this is “the better part” that we have access to 24/7, if we’ll only cease my doing for a while and come to Him!

“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people,’ and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’!” (Psalms 27:8)





[A portion of this article was adapted from my “Commune With Me Guide” article on my Honeycomb Oasis blog.]

Boundaries That Fall in Pleasant Places

Boundaries That Fall in Pleasant Places

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6)

In Fresh Wind, Fresh Desire, Heidi wrote regarding boundaries: “The wooden fence protects a family dog from wandering off into a forest where predators lurk.”

It was interesting that I read this just a few hours after hearing some nearby animal predators doing more than just “lurk” in the woods we live in. I knew they were causing all the howling, screeching, and yelping going on not too far from our house! I didn’t see them, but the predators had to be a pack of hungry coyotes attacking a dog. The frantic, pathetic howling of the prey went on for several awful, horrible minutes.

It was agonizing for the animal, but it was also agonizing for us who were listening. By no choice of ours! Inside with the front door and windows shut, we still heard it loud and clear! And we could do nothing about it. The screeching and yelping eventually got quieter and quieter until, finally, the tormented prey was “quieted.” 😞

Living in the woods, there are no fences around here that would actually keep a dog safe, if we had one. We have fences that keep cows in and people out…

…and fences that keep horses in…

(I took both of the above photos out on my walk recently.)


…but neither of these fences would keep a predator out. And neither fence would have helped that poor dog, as both the coyotes and the dog were quite capable of slipping through them. Maybe not unscathed going through the barbed wire fence, but they could still make it through.

But I’m certain that if we did have a “thorough” fence around our property ~ like maybe a concrete wall or an electrical fence ~ and if the dog had been on the inside of the fence, and the coyotes on the outside of it, unable to get to the dog, that dog would have felt that “the boundaries had definitely fallen for it in pleasant places.”

The point, of course, is that, without any boundaries, those coyotes were free to attack whatever animal they wanted, and that dog lost any and all freedom it thought it had living out in the country.



Boundaries are everywhere and come in a variety of ways. Let’s take a quick look at a few…

Marriage boundaries: We state our marital boundaries in our vows, which include loving, honoring, and cherishing this person, and no others ~ in the same way.


Road boundaries:  The lanes, lines between lanes, shoulder, the concrete divider between freeway lanes all provide boundaries that, unheeded, have very unhappy consequences.

Getting more specific, if a vehicle goes outside of these road boundaries, they will literally land in the water ~ and most likely, their demise.


Clothing boundaries: It covers parts of the body that need to be kept warm and/or private; exposes (at least) the hands that work and face that needs to see, smell, and eat.


Organizing boundaries: Shelves, boxes and bins keep items separate and able to be quickly and easily accessed.


Time boundaries:  Many aspects of our day ~ like getting up, going to work, meetings, naps, eating, shows on TV, and bedtime ~ have time boundaries that keep our day regulated and in order.


Relational boundaries:  There are certain things we do and talk about with people depending on their relationship to us. Like I talk with my husband and closest friends about deep and personal matters, but not to mere acquaintances, bank tellers, or grocery clerks.


Geographical boundaries:  Borders between states and countries keep citizenship ~ and the responsibilities and privileges thereof ~ clear; residency defined.


Property boundaries:  Fences, lawns, landscaping define yards and boundaries between properties. (Clearly this fence would not keep the ocean out! But it would delineate property lines.)


Store sections:  Certain things can be found on Aisle 8 and others on Aisle 3; certain things in the bakery, and certain things in the produce section ~ all of which have boundaries within those boundaries!


Train boundaries:  The tracks are very clear boundaries, and a train going off of them results in a literal “train wreck” and “derailing.” Tracks might seem very limiting, but a train has complete freedom to go anywhere the tracks can go only when it stays on the tracks! When it derails, all freedom is instantly lost!


Building boundaries:  A home consists of boundaries in the form of rooms, which are made of walls, ceilings, and floors. And the outer walls are a boundary, too:  I live in this house, and not in the yard, sidewalk, road, or next door.



I’m sad to say that I have not seen my food boundaries as “falling for me in pleasant places.” So, knowing the Lord wanted to teach me some things about them, I started pondering the above pictorial boundaries, and their various roles and advantages. Some pretty amazing truths surfaced. Boundaries…

::  close the gap on wondering if this or that is beneficial to me ~ like getting down to a zero is beneficial; getting to a 7 is not.

::  help me love and honor my body; overeating is not cherishing myself.

::  make me stay aware that there’s a heavy (pardon the pun) price to pay for a few moments of out-of-my-boundaries eating.

::  keep the eating dynamics of my life regulated and in order.

::  help me to not become discouraged, ready to throw in the towel, and thus “derail.”

::  keep me aware of the limits of food’s capabilities: it can feed and nourish my body, but it can’t satisfy my innermost needs and desires.

::  make it clear where I’m to be in my eating any given moment. (Eat when I’m at a zero; stop when satisfied, not stuffed.)

::  keep eating from becoming something it isn’t:  a pastime or hobby. (I’m already there, so my boundaries are retraining me.)

::  not allow the enemy to devour me ~ along with my peace, hopes, desires, and goals.

::  give me freedom! I am free to go where the Lord wants to take me only as I stay on track and heed the wisdom-based boundaries He has given me!


Do “all the above” seem like they might be a lot more pleasant than I have been thinking? Living boundary-less – as my flesh would like to – leaves me wide open to be preyed upon by the enemy and every temptation he brings my way with the intent of basically devouring me. He wants to destroy my success, my peace of mind, my goals, my vitality and health, along with any possibility of a long and productive life.

Let me ask you:  Are inheritances pleasant? How about prizes? How about joy? Guess what…  These are all contained in this verse:

“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy!” (Psalm 16:5)


When we have the Lord, and when we seek Him, and allow Him (as opposed to our flesh) to determine our boundaries ~ in anything, including but not limited to food ~ we have the Ultimate in pleasant! And, as such, I need to partake of Him more frequently. When I don’t, I am lacking in pleasantness in my heart, and I am prone to look for false, fleeting, momentary, or imitation pleasures ~ including but not limited to food, or at least eating it outside my boundaries.

But it could be anything ~ for some it might be alcohol, for others drugs, or excessive shopping, or porn, or…  doesn’t matter ~ nothing satisfies our deepest needs other than the One who made us.

“Be delighted with the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)

That verse is easy to misunderstand, turn around and get mixed up, even disappointed about. Why? Because we are actually delighted with our own earthly pleasures, not really with the Lord. When we are truly delighted with Him, we will get ~ from Him ~ the desires of our heart because our heart is in alignment with how He created it to be delighted. Not with things that destroy us, mess us up, or steal our joy.

This actually goes right along with:

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

And one of those “things that shall be added unto us” is a fresh new view of godly boundaries regarding food! What we have seen as UNpleasant, God will turn to being a “pleasant place” that’s filled with delight, as (and only as) we surrender our will to His. For me, that means surrendering my (supposed) right to eat all the food I want when I want it, even if I’m not hungry! I have thought that eating without boundaries was the essence of pleasant and delightful. But nope! This is the essence of pleasant and delightful:

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory.” (Psalms 27:4)

Those are the boundaries I want to live within and enjoy! The rest of the verse actually sums up what happens when I do:

“There I’ll be (in His presence, delighting in Him ~ the ultimate in pleasure) when troubles come.”

What kind of trouble? … Trouble overcoming temptation to overeat…  Trouble with getting peace in a difficult situation. (Food will only take my peace; not give it!) … Trouble with feeling overwhelmed. (Food does NOT help me get UNoverwhelmed!) … Trouble making a decision or knowing what to do next. (Food has no power to help me make a decision; it only subdues the anxiety ~ for as long as it takes to eat it.)

If I enjoy peace, God’s presence, joy, not derailing or being destroyed, then yes, God’s boundaries definitely fall in the most pleasant of places. Not flesh-pleasing places, but truly, deeply pleasant places!



The Run-away Mixer

The Run-away Mixer

I’m not the neatest baker, nor is my mixer the neatest mixer, at least not when its beaters, generously coated with batter, get turned up to the highest speed. No idea how I did that, but I did, and I had quite the mess to clean up!

Since I couldn’t tend to clean-up right away, (I had to finish getting the banana bread into the oven, and tend to other matters,) my beautiful red mixer was now laden with hard, caked-on batter, topped off with a fine coating of flour. And all of this dulled the shiny red color of my mixer.

As I was wetting a dishcloth under the faucet, I could tell my mixer was cringing at what it knew was coming.

I brought the damp cloth over to the mixer and started wiping and scraping the debris off of it. But the more pressure I applied, the more it inched away from my cleaning efforts.


The more I wiped, the more obvious it became that my traveling mixer was simply not going to stand still for my plan. So, as one might guess, it wasn’t getting any cleaner. How could it – when it was just inching away from the very process and pressure that would make it clean and beautiful again?

I finally decided to lay it down on its side, where I could apply pressure from the top. Sure enough, pressing down, it was much easier to wipe the gunk off, now in a position that it couldn’t squirm out of.​

The whole scenario brings to mind several truths…

One is that God’s sanctification of us is something we should not be avoiding. For one thing, it’s part of our inheritance as children of God:

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” (Hebrews 12:6)


For another thing, we can’t get away from Him, even if we are foolish enough to try!

I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me.” (Psalms 139:7-10)

The Lord also showed me that, just as it was easier for me to clean up my mixer when it was laying down, so is it easier for Him to clean me up when I am laid down – surrendered – not resisting – rather than “standing up” and inching away from Him.

I remember with sadness the times that I have pushed away from Him when he was trying to do – or show me – something that would help clean me up, heal me up, free me up, and make me more into the “Barb” He originally had in mind when He designed me!

He desires to remove all the caked-on gunk of my failures, weaknesses, mistakes, and sin – which are multitudinous – as well as wipe away the dust-coating of worldly influences that still cling to my soul and dull the brightness of it.

He wants to wash me whiter than snow – which reminds me of one of my “uncomfortably favorite” Scripture verses,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51: 10)



Yes, Lord, give me a fresh, clean heart.

Give me ears that delight to hear Your voice, rather than try to ignore You, or drown You out… (– like when You’re trying to tell me I’m getting close to “five,” but I don’t want to hear that!)

Breathe into me a spirit that’s surrendered to You, not standing stiff-necked in opposition to what You are wanting me to surrender… (– which I know is my rights to eat all the food I want, when I want!)

Scrape away from my heart what isn’t holy or helpful, rather than me continuing to let it cling to me. (– along with the excess weight that clings to my frame)

And help me renew my mind so that I have a correct and truthful view of You…  of your discipline and sanctification of me…  of the boundaries You have set for me that I have not seen as “pleasant,” but that You say otherwise

“For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant. But later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)


In essence, Lord, I need and want You to give me a right view of anything I currently have a wrong view of.

For this to happen, Lord, I need You to continue doing a cleansing work in me. So I choose to lay still in Your Master-surgeon arms, and, instead of inching away from You and the heart surgery You want to do in me, I choose to inch toward You, and let You do whatever You want to do in my heart!

All this so that I can better reflect the “true colors” of Your nature, Lord, better represent You, and thus be better at drawing people to You.








Two Rosebuds Flourishing in the Light

Two Rosebuds Flourishing in the Light

Several weeks ago a couple came over for dinner (yes, we had invited them; they didn’t just show up) and brought us a potted miniature rose plant. It had some pretty red roses blooming, and was healthy and thriving. Which actually made me feel bad that it was now going to have me for its owner, as I do not generally do well with indoor plants. (Well, outdoor ones, either, but we’ll stick with indoor ones herein.)

However, the sweet beauty of this plant made me that much more determined to not only keep this one alive (like for more than a week), but to have it flourish! So I have done my best to water it with the “right“ amount of water – not really knowing what that is, but trying anyway.

I do remember my plant-whisperer mother-in-love saying something about watering plants when they’re dry. Okay, maybe she didn’t mean “dry for three weeks,” so I touched the surface of the dirt every day, and when it felt dry, I watered it.

Plants seem to enjoy light, as well, but living in the non-sunny (I’m trying not to actually say “cloudy and dreary”) Pacific Northwest, and specifically living in our house that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight anyway because of being in the woods, I had to get a bit creative. I thought it might help to put it in a spot where there was more light – specifically directly beneath an under-cupboard fluorescent light in my kitchen.

As you can see, I put it in a mini red crock pot, (which matches my Mary Engelbreit kitchen,) but it is not turned on, so that had no effect on its growth. That was just the only counter space available below any of the fluorescent lights under my cupboards!

Well, I am thrilled (more than you know!) to announce that my rose plant has thrived in this spot! It not only stayed alive, but it has actually GROWN!!! (I kid you not!) Three times its original size!!!

The original mini roses eventually matured and I picked them off, but that’s normal. The rest of the plant still grew. No more mini roses, but, in faith, I knew they’d eventually come. At least I had a green plant in the meantime.

While working in the kitchen one day, I happened to bend down further than I usually do and noticed something interesting: Two darling little roses right at the top of the plant, the spot that was closest to the light!

I looked through the rest of the plant, and did not see any other rosebuds anywhere else! (I’m pulling them down to get a picture of them, so that’s why they don’t appear to be right at the top by the light. This is a few days after the picture above, which is why they’re bigger.)


Whether or not this is the norm for miniature roses (growing in mini crock pots directly below fluorescent lights in Pacific Northwest kitchens), it wasn’t hard to run with and “interpret” this analogy!

Obviously, the closer we position ourselves to the Light ~ Jesus Himself ~ the more we will blossom and grow in our walk with Him!

There are many good reasons He uses “light” to refer to Himself. Many more than I thought as I discovered when searching for Bible verses about light. I was delighted to find that the Word even get very specific about how, as “the Light of the World,” Jesus:  (For your graphic-viewing pleasure, I made scripture-graphics of some of these verses.)



…helps us.

“Many say that God will never help us. Prove them wrong, O Lord, by letting the light of your face shine down upon us.” (Psalm 4:6

…keeps us from stumbling.

“Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” (John 8:12)   “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. (Psalm 119:105)

…gives us life.

“Answer me, O Lord my God; give me light in my darkness, lest I die.” (Psalm 13:3)  “He floods the darkness with light, even the dark shadow of death.” (Job 12:22)


…counsels us.

“Your laws are both my light and my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24)

…gives us wisdom and joy.

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.” (Psalm 19:7-8)

…dispells our personal darkness.

“You have turned on my light!  The Lord my God has made my darkness turn to light.” (Psalm 18:28)...

…warns us of danger.

“For their [it’s actually referring to parents’ advice, but because many parents are living ungodly lives, I’m using the word “godly” instead] advice is a beam of light directed into the dark corners of your mind to warn you of danger, and…” (Proverbs 6:23)

…gives us a good life.

[For their advice is a beam of light directed into the dark corners of your mind to] give you a good life.” (Proverbs 6:23)

.…leads us.

“Oh, send out your light and your truth—let them lead me. Let them lead me to your Temple on your holy mountain, Zion.” (Psalm 43:3)

…blesses us with good things.

“For Jehovah God is our Light… No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.” (Psalm 84:11)

…protects us.

“For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.” (Psalm 84:11)

…sheds glorious light on us, healing us, leading us forward.

“If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.” (Isaiah 58:8)


WOW! I knew that what I’d find when I looked up “light” would be good, but to see all these verses ~ and benefits of light ~ in one place is just a deLIGHTful BLAST of BLESSING!!!

Which my darkened-in-some-areas thinking could certainly use! I am on the path of getting my mind renewed, especially as it pertains to food and eating, but I need much more light to illuminate and correct my wrong thinking.

For others, maybe it’s a different addiction ~ shopping, alcohol, drugs, porn, too much of anything, be it TV, computer, games, entertainment, even exercise.

Any of these can be a little-g god in our lives, and, without them being exposed to the healing light of God’s truth, can (and will) keep us in darkness in that area, which will eventually spread to other areas.

Of course, to receive this new thinking, the very mind of Christ, we have to actually draw near to Him, who is the Light!

Which brings me full-circle back to my rosebuds and what they did. They drew near to the light, not because of how smart they were, but because of how attractive light is. By its very nature, light draws living things to it. 

But that doesn’t mean all living things ~ including us ~ always make the choice to draw near to the light! It takes time and effort. And denying what our flesh gravitates toward, which feels good for the moment, but is not ultimately good for us. Nor is it what we really want; what our spirit longs for. But it is sooooo worth the time and effort! And what valuable rewards come of it!

There’s one other little detail that did not go unnoticed by me…  There are two rosebuds side-by-side! If any of you have an active, growing relationship with an accountability/prayer partner, you will get this right away! As it says in Ecclesiastes:

“…(O)ne standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

It is the Lord ~ that Third Strand of the triple-braided cord ~ who binds us together and strengthens us! I love how He uses other sisters to help strengthen us! I know that, for me, having an accountability partner helps me “walk in the light” ~ which brings me full-circle to the focus of this article…

That nothing but good can come from drawing near to the Light of the World! He IS Light, He is FULL of Light, and He brings light to our darkness ~ whatever it may be.

When we go into a totally dark room, grope around on the wall for the light switch, and flip it on, there is no argument between the darkness and the light. Get that? NO ARGUMENT at all! The light always wins.

This is true in both the natural realm as well as the super-natural.

So let’s take hold of what God has for us, stop stumbling in the dark, and receive more of the wisdom, joy, protection, good things and GOOD LIFE that God has for us, if we’ll only choose Him and allow Him to shed light on ~ and thus pull us out of ~ our “personal darkness” ~ whatever area that may be for us! He is stronger and brighter and bigger than anything that, heretofore, has kept us in the dark! 

“Lord, You have turned on my light!

You have made my darkness turn to light.”