Driving down the road, I saw a sign advertising Pie Soup. Thinking how disgusting that sounded, I realized a comma must have fallen from between pie and soup. Does a comma on a sign make a difference? Yes. Does a comma or pause make a difference in our lives. Yes. How? Days can run together with activities. Without pauses, we may be as unappealing as pie soup. Consider how the following spiritual commas might help frustrated mom, hurried dad, or over-scheduled child. A morning comma between waking and dashing out the door to pause in prayer. A noontime comma to thank God for your food. An evening comma to pray between work and arriving home. A bedtime comma between dinner and going to sleep to read your Bible. Christians are billboards for Jesus. Which spiritual comma might you incorporate to make Christ appealing to others? Find more tips in “The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World.”
Have you heard about the pastor who used four worms for an illustration? He put the first worm in a jar of alcohol, the second in a jar of cigarette smoke, the third in a jar of chocolate, and the fourth in a jar of soil. Concluding his sermon, he reported that the worms in alcohol, cigarette smoke, and chocolate had died. The worm in the soil was alive. Then he asked, “What do you learn from this?” Maxine quickly raised her hand and offered, “If you drink, smoke, and eat chocolate, you won’t get worms.” Yes, some people like Maxine have a view based on their perspective and preferences. However, Jesus presents us with an eternal, Biblical world view. Although we may chuckle at jokes, our eternity and what we believe about Jesus is no laughing matter. Get into the richness of God’s Word and discover how He wants you to thrive even in difficult times. Find resources at debbietaylorwilliams.com.
OnStar to the Rescue
Have you ever locked your keys in the car? Several years ago after driving my daughter and her sick son to the doctor and returning home, I went into the house only to hear Lauren call from the garage, “Mom! You locked Logan in the car!” Rushing to the garage, I peered into my car and saw my keys and sleeping grandson. “Don’t wake him,” I urged Lauren while trying to find OnStar’s number. After explaining what happened, I heard the words I longed for. “Ma’am, step back from your car while I unlock it.” Then, the car unlocked and Lauren retrieved her sleeping baby. OnStar. An entity that is invisible to my eye heard my voice and responded to my call for help. God. Invisible to our eye hears our voices and responds to our calls for help. Step back. Call on Him. Learn more about ways to call on God in my book, “Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.”
Did you know cookies could get dusty? Years ago, in the process of dusting a table, I realized the uncovered cookies on the table must also be dusty. Throwing them away, I realized how I can sometimes be like those cookies. I may appear fine, but Jesus sees the dusty sins in my life. Is Jesus concerned about dusty sins we carry about that are invisible to others? Yes. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, His concern wasn’t the grime between their toes. It was the sin that separates us from Holy God. Christ’s concern was for us to be washed of our sin so we can appear before God holy and unashamed. If you’ve never repented of your sin and confessed Jesus as Lord, do so today. You’ll find a prayer of repentance at debbietaylorwilliams.com/meet-jesus. If you’re a Christian, ask forgiveness for sin that affects your fellowship with and usefulness to God.
The Rose and the Skunk
The other day I stepped outside and was greeted with the worst of smells – a skunk! Turning to go inside, I noticed a rose. Leaning down, I breathed in its fragrance. When I did, I realized the rose’s fragrance trumped the skunk’s odor as long as I kept my nose to the rose. I soon turned my thoughts to how there will always be skunks in our lives in the form of politics and relationships. We can focus on the skunk or we can lean into Christ, who the Bible calls the Rose of Sharon. We can breathe in His fragrance. We can even be Christ’s fragrance to others as 2 Corinthians 2:14 tell us, “thanks be to God, who manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him.” If the world is seeming stinky to you, lean into Christ. Carry His fragrance to others. Learn more at “How to Live by Divine Nature.”
The Smell Test
Once upon a time, before Covid-19, when you were grocery shopping, did you ever smell cantaloupe or peaches to determine if they were ripe? I remember the first time I saw someone hold a cantaloupe close to her nose. After she placed it in her basket, I decided to try the smell test. The first cantaloupe had zero fragrance. I returned it and reached for another one, wondering if the smell test was bogus. But as I held the second one close to my nose, I was pleasantly surprised. It had a sweet aroma. That evening at dinner, I wasn’t disappointed. Its taste matched its aroma. The Bible says Christians are a fragrance of Christ to God and to others. In other words, as we connect with people, they get a whiff of either the sweet presence of Jesus or a whiff of our anxiousness, impatience, or sin? How can we become a fragrance of Christ? We can daily focus on a character trait of Christ and pray He fill us with His nature. If you’re not already getting 365 Days of Praise – Beyond Ourselves, subscribe here. Be a sweet aroma of Christ to others.
Why Did I Do That
Have you ever done something and immediately afterward you said, “Shoot! Why did I do that?” That happened to me the other day. I’d tackled a stack of papers that had accumulated on my desk – you know – the to-dos, notes to myself; as well as important papers like bills. I was quite pleased with the amount I’d shredded. Then, after writing out a check and looking for the self-addressed envelope, I realized I’d shredded it, too. My haste had made waste. It caused me to stop and think about how I handle my days. Am I busily running around but wasting time that could be spent with my Heavenly Father in prayer and meditating on the important truths in the Bible? If you, like me, don’t want to get to the end of your day and life only to realize you wasted precious time that could have been spent in prayer and Bible reading, then delve deep in the Word with “How to Live by the Divine Nature” or “Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.” As Jesus pointed out to busy Martha, His presence is “the good part, which shall not be taken away.” (Luke 10:42)
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we busily run through our day without making time to sit in Your presence to study Your ways and to pray. Help us wisely choose the good part of each day – You.
Are You a Fisherman
“Are you a fisherman?” someone asked after I’d shared that my husband and I’d fished on our vacation. “Yes! I love to fish.” “So do you fly fish,” my friend questioned. “I do,” I replied, noticing by his, “hmph” that he was a little surprised. Then, I decided I needed to clarify. “Well, I like to catch fish, but I really don’t take the fish off the hook. And, I need someone to tell me what bait to use.” The more I thought about it, I wondered if I should even say I’m a fisherman. That caused me to realize that sometimes we use the word “Christian” rather loosely like I rather loosely said I’m a fisherman. What does it mean to be a Christian? Well, certainly not just showing up at a church building. Christ defined His followers as those who born of His Spirit and follow His teachings. If you’d like to know more about what it means to be a Christian, visit debbietaylorwilliams.com where you’ll find the blog, “Am I A Christian?”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spite. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” John 3:7-8
Good to the Core
A few mornings ago as my husband headed out the door, I said, “Hey honey, want an apple to take with you? I was really surprised when he looked at me and said, “No! Those apples are horrible.” Hi. I was shocked. Organic. Firm to the touch. I decided to try it for myself. I took a bite and ugh, he was right. It was mushy on the inside. You know, it’s really not how we appear on the outside that counts as much as whether or not we have good on the inside. There’s only one person who can make us good on the inside and that’s Jesus. He provides transformational goodness as we repent of sin and yield to the Holy Spirit.
“First clean the inside of the cup and dish and the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:26
Eyes in the Back of Our Head
The other day my daughter shared with me that when her son was little, he started looking through the back of her hair. His little fingers were combing through it, separating each strand. She said, “Logan, what are you doing?” He said, “I’m looking for the eyes in the back of your head.” Haha, he was so accustomed to her being able to know what he was doing even when she wasn’t looking at him, that she’d kiddingly explained, as many of us parents have, “I can see you. I have eyes in the back of my head.” Well, we certainly wish we had eyes in the back of our head so we could watch out for our children and warn them if they were getting into something they shouldn’t or were about to hurt themselves. No, we don’t have that capability, but there is someone who does. Our Heavenly Father. He watches out for us and over us. Spend some time today thinking back over the many ways God has watched out for you, then thank Him with a grateful heart.
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8