About Rhea Beaudry

I am a retired person who loves to find many ways to share the love of God with others. I love to blog; I also love gardening, photography, sewing, quilting, and crafts. My passion is to see people connected with each other and helping each other to grow and flourish.

I AM: The Seven I am’s in the Gospel of John (Part I) “Out of the Ashes”


All of our pain has a story behind it. ASH is the aftermath and residue of fire. Some people’s fires are their own fault; others are caused by another. Whether the fire is started by our own sin or error or the deliberate act of another against us, the ashes can bring dysfunction and bitterness–or new dreams can rise out of painful ashes. God offers Himself as a solution, not a 5 point planner for change and success.

He did not say, “I am the possessor of the life”; He said “I AM the Life.” Our deliverance OUT OF THE ASHES lies not in what He does, but Who He is.

Jesus is the answer to everything–every question, every need. For example, He is not just our financial advisor, but He is our Provider.

John 11 tells the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. Let’s walk through the story together.

A. A fire has started

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.[a] Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

Jesus is a real person who had friends whom He loved. He had an inner circle of friends, in which Lazarus, Mary and Martha were included. He hurt when they hurt, and wept with them even while He delayed coming to them for a higher reason.

B. Jesus sees beyond the fire.

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

He is not limited by being reactionary to the emotions of the moment. He sees long term. He knows the end from the beginning; and His thoughts and plans are deeper and more far-reaching than we can begin to imagine.

C. Jesus moves toward the ashes after the fire seems to have ended everything.

But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people[b] in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin,[c] said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” 17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles[d] down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus saw beyond the stark and painful reality of Lazarus’ death to his recusitation and resurrection. He sees far beyond what we see. He moves toward the ashes after it all seems to be over. Martha still had faith present in her, shown in the fact that she talked to Him about the “ashes”. She had a conversation with God even in the depths of disappointment. She knew Him well enough to realize that He loved her, even in the midst of her confusion regarding why He had not come sooner to their aid.

D. Jesus is the Answer

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[e] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

While looking upon the ashes of death, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Death lay in the tomb. Life stood outside the tomb. He called Martha–and He calls us–to believe even in the presence of stark evidence to the contrary. He is the Answer!

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him,[f] and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Sometimes our practical nature can prevent us from even seeing the possibility of a miracle. To Martha and Mary, death was final; but to Jesus, it was not.

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Jesus shouted. We can pray like He prayed. He does not speak timidly to resurrect things.  If Jesus had not used the name of Lazarus in his command to come forth, every dead person would have had to obey His powerful command.

Then He commanded, “Unwrap! Don’t live in the ashes!” We are equipped by our faith and our life in Him to speak the name of Jesus and call others out of their ashes!

Jesus calls us to listen to a new voice—the words that He is speaking to our situations, our ashes.

Is Jesus calling your name?

Don’t just hear—COME OUT!

Let’s pray together.

“Lord, we ask that we would be able to see with the eyes of faith that You are standing right beside us, weeping with us, at the scene of our fire. When there are ashes and death all around, help us to look at YOU, not at the scene. Help us to believe. We stand there with You right now looking at the ashes of __________________________________(fill in the blank). We see you weeping with us. We hear Your shouted command to come forth, live again. We know that You have a very personal interest in the things that are on our minds. We choose LIFE over death, standing here with You. We wait to see how You will bring new life, hope, healing, or purpose from our ashes, whether we caused the fire, or someone else’s actions did.  We trust Your timing, Your methods, and Your heart in this. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Let’s go forth trusting Jesus as our great I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, and apply the Word from Isaiah 61:1-4 to our own mission as we walk with our Lord.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.”



I am reposting a favorite message of Pastor Peggy’s from just over a year ago.  This one ministered to me greatly then, and still does today. Perhaps it will minister to Pastor Peggy as well as she is recovering from a procedure this week.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Philippians 4:6


Is Life Overwhelming? I have heard some people say in the past that they do not want to bother God unless it is a crisis emergency situation. Some have said that God’s help is not to be used for small things.


Sometimes, life can become overwhelming. No matter how much we plan, or how much we prepare for it, sometimes things happen, and we feel out of control. We feel as if we do not have the power that we had before. Something has happened, but we don’t know exactly what.


Do you remember the story of the giant in “Gulliver’s Travels?” Here was a person, like us, who was all-powerful. Here was a person who could walk above problems. Here was a person who could seem undefeatable but the giant’s thoughts were working against him. The giant in “Gulliver’s Travels” falls asleep on the beach. While he is sleeping, all these tiny, little people come, put strings over him, and then stake down the strings.


A few strings would be no problem at all. He could easily pull those up, sit up, and go about his way. But these little people worked all night long. Each tiny, little person came up to the giant and placed strings across him.


The giant wakes up and finds that he cannot move his arms or legs, and he cannot sit up, no matter how hard he tries because he is all tied down.



You and I have had the same experience, haven’t we – of being all tied up in the thoughts and worries about momentary circumstances of our lives.


These little people can represent those little worries and thoughts, those little things that scramble around inside of our mind and seem so uncontrollable. Every time they move across, they take a string with them. Soon we are tied down. Soon we are weak in thought and we don’t feel like we can get up again. Soon we think the weight of life is pulling us down, and we are powerless.


You might say, “God, can I ever stand again? Can I walk tall and free? Can I ever be all I once was?”


You can! You can! With God’s help you can.


Sometimes, the things that happen to us can seem so overwhelming. But whatever they are, we can! We have the power—because God has the power and the know-how.


We have the ability to have a transfusion of thought where we totally change our mind; where we have a fusion (if you will) with a Mind that is greater than our mind. God’s Mind knows how to lift us up and out of our problems. When we are free from selfishness, limitation, greed, fear, anxiety, hatred, and inferior feelings, we can stand up to anything.


Revelation 21:4-5: “The former things are passed away . . . Behold, I make all things new. “


Imagine if God came up to you, tapped you on the shoulder, stood right by your side, looked into your eyes, smiled at you and said, “Don’t let the past burden you. Don’t let it tie you down on the beach of life any more. Don’t worry about those waves. The past is no more. It has passed away and you have a brand new life in Me.”


To truly follow Jesus Christ, we have to do this in our prayers and truly embrace His truth.


“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do
he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”   John 14:12


When we do this, we’re recharging; we’re getting ready; we’re going apart for a while like Jesus did, and then coming back into the world fully powered, super-charged, ready to perform miracles. Nothing can stand in the way of the Divine power coming in and through us. We are then FULLY working with God. We’re so much of God in action and God’s love in demonstration that people cease sensing us; and, instead, they sense God. That is Christ within us.


We have seen, or sensed those in life that manifest this degree. Mother Teresa is an example that comes to mind. St. Patrick, the famous monk, is another. I bet we could name many more.


Is this a one-time experience? It’s not even a one-time daily experience. It is something we have to constantly decide upon, choose, and do. When we do, we truly follow Jesus, we live up to our potential of all we can do and be.


Jesus told us: “Leave your nets.”  for us, in today’s time, We can look at these as nets of our own personal involvement.


What do your nets pick up? If you are putting down your nets in your mind and catching things, your nets are picking up thoughts of people who are telling you that you can’t build your future, you can’t prosper, or the dying-nosis that says you can’t rebuild the cells in your body with God’s help to produce new wholeness and life.


Jesus said, “Leave your nets – and follow me.”    What does that mean?


It doesn’t mean to follow Him with just your feet. It means to follow Him with your head and heart and feet.


There are a million miles between the two. We can run to every church and religious service and still never “get it.” But we can close our eyes wherever we are in prayer and “get it” right where we are—in an instant. We have that within us to always be able to rely upon.


Walt Whitman said, “I am not contained between my hat and my shoes, and neither are you.” We are much more. Any time we might think we are contained, we are like that giant tied down.


Any time you sit in a chair and think this is all there is to your life, you are like that giant tied down. If something is going wrong and you’re depressed and you think this is all there is, you are like that giant tied down.


Christ IN YOU—the hope of glory!


We are not just to stand at the foot of the Cross and look up. We are to take Jesus with us and follow Him by becoming what He said to become; by becoming an active disciple on the quest; by becoming that inside of ourselves, which will cause people outside of us to say, “Now there is an example—a sample of the great example—of Jesus.” We are active examples of our faith, OR not. Remember the message a few weeks ago telling us that we are the channels of God’s word? Always remember that.


Following Jesus, we become living examples of our faith. We sense it working in us, and so does everybody else. We realize that God is big enough to tackle and manage any problem we may EVER face.


We are not tied down to anything on earth, but instead tethered to heaven itself.


How do we do this? Let me give you three words:


There are three “D’s” to discipleship.


The first D – Discipline.


The second D—Dedication. Matthew 6:22 Jesus states, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.”


In John 18:37 Jesus says, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” [RSV]


The third D—Devotion. “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.” James 4:8


When we are tied down and locked into the pattern of thinking (tied down), we have an inadequate self-image. We need to change our self-image, realizing that we are a partner the Lord.


We do not think of ourselves in wrong terms. In truth we are children of God. In truth, we are native citizens of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is our house. God’s house is a mansion of love, joy, happiness, and a thousand other individual gifts awaiting us.


The little thought people with the strings are always trying to tie us down.


Whenever anything in life gets you down, God can get you out of it. God can cut the rope that is tying you down. Nothing has to be an overpowering weighty experience.


We can turn weakness into strength, limitation into fulfillment, fear into an all-knowing faith, hate into love, and prejudice into open-mindedness, compromise into integrity, falsity into honesty, ugliness into beauty.


I believe that with God as the center of our universe we can accomplish anything, and be happy doing it.


As we look at these words that are concepts of our human mind and concepts of Christ, we have to realize that, as native citizens of the kingdom of God, we have a free will choice—we can choose. I suppose that is the whole lesson and the destiny of each one of us. In this moment, tomorrow, and the next day we have the choice.


In this and future moments, do we follow the little people who are scurrying around on the beach trying to tie us down, or do we follow Christ?


If we follow Christ, we have to get up.   At first, it may appear a struggle… We may begin on our knees. We may have to struggle up the rest of the way until we stand.   BUT when we stand on the firm foundation of faith in God, we are a free soul.


We are flying high above our problems (flying high like the eagle), looking down and saying: “My, don’t they look small and insignificant? I can’t believe that I allowed that to bother me so much.”


Let us pray.

Dear God, I know that I am more, I can do more, be more, and manifest more in my life. I agree to follow You, dear God in my spirituality. God, I totally consent to You NOW. Manifest Divine ideas through my human brain, through the words I speak, and the sounds I hear and perceive when I am hearing. Help me to keep my focus single, manifest through my eyes so that I am no longer blind or tied down —so I can see and touch beauty everywhere in a new degree, higher, better and deeper than I ever have before. Manifest in my physical body so I can express radiant health. Manifest in my being – ness so wherever I go I will radiate spiritual love to everyone without saying a word or making one action. I give myself totally and completely today. I untie myself and leave my nets; I follow, and I become.

In Jesus Christ’s name we so dedicate ourselves—each one of us—to this lasting truth we hold true.





Maximum Spiritual Impact

Let’s look at the last words of Paul to his followers before he took leave of them, never to return:

I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.  I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,  except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.  But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

“And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (Acts 20:20-27)

How can we live our lives for the maximum spiritual impact while on our journey?

Serve the Lord with humility. (V 19), having a servant’s heart. I most impact the lives of others by serving them. Serving the Lord IS serving others.

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:7-8)

Have a MINDSET of humility.

“Though he was God,  he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

The people saw Paul’s tears. He exuded love, patience, and understanding. In other words, his life was a demonstration of the life of Jesus Christ.

Grow in your knowledge of the Lord. (V20,21) .

Grow PERSONALLY: be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1). Personal growth is beneficial to ourselves because it allows God to change us and to develop within us the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Our character is changed, and we become Christlike.

Grow PUBLICLY: Share your life in Christ with others, fulfilling Acts 1:8.

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Our lives are to be clean, not wavering, not lukewarm. We are to have clear intentions and be a bright light.

“so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:15)

Other people’s lives are at stake! Like Paul in Acts 20:20 and 27, we are to keep back nothing, not shrinking away from sharing all that they need to hear. We speak out what we are living out.

Live a selfless life (Acts 20:22-24), sacrificing self for others’ benefit. Before acting or speaking, ask, “How will this help the cause of Christ? Let nothing—none of our own creature comforts—hold us back from living unto Christ, not unto self.

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” (II Corinthians 5:14-15)

We can be bold for Christ because “living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21)

We need to present ourselves daily “as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) as it is our “reasonable service”. (This word reasonable means logical.)

Let us pray that we may finish our course with joy!

Lord, we want to be like Jesus. We want to be so totally committed and surrendered to You that others will be able to just look at us and be able to see You and follow You. Create in us that humble mindset coupled with self-sacrificing boldness that we need to fulfill Your Kingdom purposes in our lives. We pray that every life that crosses pathways with our lives will be impacted TO THE MAX for You! Thank You Lord. Amen.

Enjoy this beautiful worship song by Emmanuel Live (the worship group of our church)


The Good and Faithful Servant

My resource for this writing is my notes from my Pastor’s sermon last Sunday.

Our life has a purpose, and God is interested in us. We are to be in a state of constantly reshaping, growing, regrowing, expanding, re-upping, updating, and making “something out of nothing.”

ENTROPY is defined as the tendency for things to fall apart if unattended. We ask the Lord to teach us to value our days, our lives. The opposite is to devalue. If we devalue, things begin to dissolve and fall apart.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Parable of the Three Servants

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[b] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![c]

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  1. Everyone is given something.
  2. God gives us freedom to do what we want with His gift. He does not make us do anything.
  3. God returns to evaluate what we did with His gift.
  4. God’s reward is based on our actions (no on the amount or worth of the gift in our eyes)

Principle: When we use well what we are given, more will be given. If we do not, what we have will be taken away.

Our culture is based on entitlement. (Everybody gets a blue ribbon). God wants a return on His investment. He isn’t particularly interested in the amount of money or talent He invests in us, as He is in what we choose to do with it. We cannot sit on our progress, but must grow and make the most of each opportunity. We have the opportunity to change our thinking from “I have to” to “I get to.”

Rene Braithwaite, a college professor, said: “You are an axe in God’s hands. God will wield you as an axe whenever He can. Your role is to work to become as sharp as you can. The sharper you are when God wields you, the deeper the cut.”

Ecclesiastes 10:10: “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.”

A dull axe saps your strength, and you will be found to be trying too hard and accomplishing little.  Lord, sharpen me! Swing me!

My church’s Mission Statement reads: “Empowered to reach those away from God, to grow in faith and to live a life of purpose.” We come together at church to grow, so that we can succeed outside the walls. Just hearing the word on Sunday does not fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. We are building  “Redwood Faith”: The root system of these giant trees is interconnected. We need accountability and connectedness; we cannot grow in isolation.  If you are retired, don’t give in to the temptation to entropy (quitting and deteriorating), but remember you are a part of the biggest mission field, the Baby Boomers. There is much to be done. God has invested talents into you which can be used to reach those who do not yet know the Lord. Use your God-given talents to bring the love and blessing of the Lord into the lives of others.

Phil 1:9: “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.”

How can I sharpen my axe? How can I renew myself from a fixed mentality (Im OK the way I am, I can’t change; negativity) to a growth mentality (I can stretch and grow and learn new things; positivity)?

  1. SHARPEN APTITUDE. Become better, learn new things, prepare for future, break the chain of “It’s always been this way; this is how I am”. Search for ways to grow, such as mentorships under people whom you would like to imitate. Increase the capacity and the skill set.
  2. SHARPEN EXCELLENCE. Excellence is a reflection of who we are and what we are called to do. We are to set up new boundaries. Rest is necessary to be at the top of the game. Attention is to be given even to how we dress and prepare for the day. We must teach ourselves optimism, and say no to things that prevent excellence.
  3. SHARPEN MOTIVES. Why am I here? What is my assignment and purpose? What is my platform? (way to get something done to accomplish the real purpose. Col 3:23 “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
  4. SHARPEN ATTITUDE.  Sharpen speech and communication. Eph 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Don’t be myopic (short-sighted). Work is to  be a sanctuary where ministry can take place. Have an attitude mentor, someone who you can follow, who lifts you up. Phil 2:7: “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being, when he appeared in human form.”
  5. SHARPEN DISCIPLINE. Discipline is the ability to finish as if to win. Know your own quitting points or failure points ahead of time, and push through obstacles. Get a new grip. Persevere.

Heb 12:11-13   No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

Let’s pray together:

Lord we thank You for the talents and resources you have invested into each one of us. No matter what our age or circumstance, Your investment in each of us can be used to reach people who do not yet know Jesus. We ask together that You would show each one of us what our talents and resources are. Give us clear definition and insight so that we may know ourselves as we really are in Your sight. Help us to let go of preconceived self-image. Then, show us ways we can sharpen these things in our lives and use them to the maximum. Let us not be found burying Your gifts out of fear or insecurity. Show us how we can connect with others and combine our faith and resources to accomplish Your purposes. Nothing is too small for You to use and bless. Show us our infinite value to You. Let us step forth into a growth mindset and put all of our faith and trust in You, and what You wish to accomplish through us. Amen.


We are Called to Worship. (Based upon my notes from Pastor Nate Ruch’s sermon on Sunday June 25, 2017)

Scripture Text: Daniel Chapter 3

20 years after the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon, Daniel and his 3 friends, who were tested and tried in Chapter 2, were still thriving. They were high-ranking in the Babylonian court, they were loyal servants to a cruel, narcissistic king, obedient whenever it was possible for them; but they were still loyal to the living God. They had boundaries that could not be violated and loyalties which were non-negotiable. These men had now spent more time in captivity than they had spent before captivity. They did not have their daily devotional reading, a church family, a Spiritual Family Chat, or a Bible to keep them in line. They had the previous wise choices of their strong characters, and wisdom which had developed from the knowledge they had gained of God and His Kingdom, before being taken away from home and family.

And the King? Nebuchadnessar had been warned in a dream which Daniel had interpreted: You are the head of gold, the king of kings—but your kingdom shall be crushed and taken from you, just as the statue in his dream was crushed. His reactionary proclamation that “there is no god like the God of Daniel who is able to interpret my dream…”  Now we find him twenty years later, having forgotten about what happened to the statue in his dream, and having built a huge icon of himself to be worshipped! Instead of bowing his knee to the God of Daniel, he insisted that everyone’s knee should bow instead to him! Little did Nebuchadnezzar realize it, but he had been “set up” by God, used to show God’s superiority through His loyal worshippers.

The goal of such a call to worship was unity in the nation, establishment of loyalty. Such “statues” are still being built today, and the call to leadership is to worship them.

We are born with  a call to worship. There is a God-shaped cavity within each of us that can only be filled with God. When we unwisely choose to fill it with the worship of other gods, we violate our divine purpose.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo were ordered to bow down and worship the statue of evil King Nebuchadnezzar; but they made the choice to refuse, knowing that it would likely cost them their lives. They did not know the end of the story, as we do.

A decision like this can not remain private and go unnoticed. It is seen and known by all! As there are haters and tattlers now who seek to betray and destroy the loyal followers of God, so there were in this day as well. The haters hated and the tattlers tattled, and the three men were condemned to die in the fiery furnace. Yet they remained firm in their choice.

What kind of faith is this?

  1. They had faith that had moved from “What if?” to “EVEN if!”. They declared that their God was able to deliver them—but even if He did not, they would not waver in their worship of only Him.

     “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

    They did not have commercial faith, which is based on rewards or outcome. They had true faith, based on the Personhood of God. He is Who He says He is, regardless of what the eyes could see.

  2. They had non-negotiable faith.  When the music was played (the powerful cue) they were determined not to bow, no matter how strong the pull. They would pass the test of the importance of their priorities. Their convictions were not based on comfort or convenience.
  3. They had a tested and tried faith. Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.  They had developed this endurance and strength over a lifetime of wise choices of obedience. It did not just miraculously show up in the eleventh hour.

God’s Presence is with us in the Fire! Emmanuel means “God is with us”.  Whether we inevitably perish in the fire or are miraculously delivered as these men were, God is with us! In life or in death. The book of Job records Job saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.

25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god[g]!”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:19-28)

When we worship God BEFORE the test, He joins us IN the test. However, He is not the only one who sees us in the fire. Our enemies and those around us also see our faithful obedience and loyalty when we stand tall when everyone else bows down. Evil will be overcome by our testimony. TT

“Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:10

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. (Rev. 6:9)

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4)

So, what are your “non-negotiables”?  How big or how hot a fire would it take before you would give in? Are you about the business of building up your strength and endurance NOW, before the hottest fires are upon you? Are you making wise choices about who and how you will worship? Are you following Your Father with loyalty and perseverance? NOW is the time to prepare for the coming trials and testings.  Daily set your focus on the FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE! He will not let you down!

Let’s pray: Lord, so often we wonder about ourselves when we compare ourselves with Bible characters like Shadrach, Mesach and Abednigo…Would I stand the test? Would I persevere to the end, not knowing how the story would end, or would I cave in? I want to be one of those who will stand by You to the end, as You stood by me to the end. But I am so weak, so filled with fear, doubt and I lack courage. Your word does not ask me to live in the tomorrow, but in the today. TODAY I want to make choices that will temper my faith and endurance. TODAY I want to worship only my God! TODAY I want to stand true. Lord, without You I  can do nothing. But with Your Spirit living within me, anything is possible. Lord, please come and fill me anew and redirect my purposes along that path that You have marked out for me so that I will be found faithful and true, and my faith will be non-negotiable!

In Jesus name, Amen.


Get Yourself Closer to God


Jennifer Camp  (ibelieve.com)

You are the beloved. You are adored. You are worth fighting for.

Even if the opposite of this feels most real.

Even if you don’t know how to take the first step to believing this.

Even if you don’t know how to get close to God.

I want to share with you what practical things I do to fight for my own heart when God feels oh, so far away. It has been a season of hard things—and a season of blessing.

There is so much more to say. But for now, let’s start with a simple list.

Are you ready?

1. Get your eyes off of you.

When we are focused on our own self—our problems, our issues, our worries, our fears—we forget to look at God. This is super hard to do, right? Particularly when we feel overwhelmed. Stuck. Alone. But we need to do this.

We need to keep the eyes of our heart on God. His abundance. His presence. Right here. Right now. So, be bold—and, even if you don’t feel like it, praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His love. Name His attributes and look up verses that remind us of who He is. Speak them aloud. Write them down. Declare their truth over yourself.


“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91)

2. Confess to God your brokenness.

Screenshot 2015-11-04 17.47.46

Ask Him to show you how your heart is struggling. Be specific. Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about your words—how to communicate what your heart is saying.


“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23-24).

Just say what is on your mind. Trust your heart. The Holy Spirit will guide you toward Him.

3. Make note of what He’s given you.

Ask God to show you how He has shown up for you in the past. Remind your own heart of His faithfulness, the gifts He has given you, the way He continues to press in. How has He healed you? How has He pursued you? How has He helped you? This is a prayer He loves to answer.

4. Listen to music that creates space in your heart for God.

When we are stuck—when our mind knows that God is close, but our heart struggles to believe it and move toward Him, it can help to listen to music that opens up our heart to Him. There are certain songs I turn to when I am lonely, when I am far away from my Father and I am desperate for Him to pull me close. They are songs that help my heart be receptive to the Holy Spirit. They usher Him in. They open up heart and mind and spirit to receive more of Him—more of all He has.

5. Change your posture.

Wake up. Get your body positioned to better receive the presence of the Holy Spirit. This might mean finding a place of quiet, of removing yourself from distractions. Do whatever it takes—physically—to help yourself be present to Him. Get on your knees. Or stand up. Lie down. Or raise your hands. Dance. Or run. Walk. Or be still. Concentrate your whole self on thinking about who He is, how He loves you, how He is with you, how He never leaves.

Screenshot 2016-03-10 20.43.286. Let your imagination run beautifully wild.

Picture yourself with Him—with Jesus, or with God, the Father. Invite in the Holy Spirit and give Him full access to your mind. Let Him open up your heart. Ask Him to show you a scene—just you and God or Jesus. Stay there. What does He look like? What is He doing? What are you doing? Where are you with Him? How do you feel? Stay there as long as you can. Stay. Let him show you what it is He sees when He looks at you. Let Him love you. Let Him come.

7. Do something different.

If you normally sit down and worship—stand up. If you normally stand, sit down, kneel, or lie down on the floor. Tell your mind to get out of your own way. Let your body respond to your heart. It is telling it what to do to wake yourself up to God’s presence. Trust it.

Screenshot 2017-06-22 09.49.078. Just do it—(do what you love).

This might mean finding beauty—immersing yourself in it. Or going on an adventure. Or resting and reading a book. You are created to experience God’s presence in a way that is unique to you. Invite in the Holy Spirit to steer you toward an activity that brings you joy—and, in that joy, helps you experience God’s presence. And then do it. Break the agreements you have made with the enemy about who you are, and who God is. Then you will hear Him and see Him and move with Him more easily.

9. Be a rebel.

Go against what your mind is telling you is true about yourself, and about God, and about the world that is actually false. Our Savior has risen up against the lies about ourselves and about the truth of who God—and who our Savior—is. He rises up again and again, just as the lies sneak in again and again. Jesus never forsakes us. He never leaves us. He knows our hearts and how we need Him. He knows the false messages of the enemy and entreats us to pray—activate the armor He has given us. We can’t be passive, sisters. We have what it takes to stand, to be bold, to send to the foot of the cross the lies that threaten to pull us under.

10. Accept healing.

This is big. This is the beginning of our life with Jesus—the laying down of our old life for His. This deep healing is difficult to do on our own. God welcomes us into community with Him—and into community with Saints—so that we can help each other toward healing.This pursuit of deep healing can mean counseling. It can mean sharing our stories and receiving healing prayer. It definitely means doing the hard (and usually painful but necessary and good) work of letting Jesus into the places where we have never let Him in before. We need to let Him transform our wounded, broken hearts and make them whole again.

Let’s fight for our own hearts now. He gives us the tools. He will guide us deeper into Him. We are not alone in this fight.

Father, let us step toward you now. Let us see You. Let us hear You. Remind us how we are Yours. Let us live this day believing You are right here.

Connecting the Pieces

by Rhea Beaudry

I am not a fan of putting together jigsaw puzzles. I do not have the patience to sift through all those pieces to find some that fit together. I get frustrated and cranky, and usually give up before I have matched even two together, rather than see it through to completion.

screenshot-2017-02-24-18-46-23Life can be like a 4,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The one in front of me is an artistic rendition of the map of the world, all in blues and greens and browns. Lovely. But there is a definite disconnect between the depiction on the box cover and the 4,000 piece pile of confusion before me on the work table.


We want our lives to look like that beautiful finished composition, but in reality it resembles the messy pile of random puzzle pieces so much more!

All this disconnection! It brings frustration. Frustration tells me that I should NOT have to deal with all of this! This raging inner anger brings discord, dysfunction, discontent, disability, disillusionment, despair, discombobulation. When you take the D for Disconnect and add it to ANGER, you have DANGER!

Ephesians 4:26 says that anger “gives a foothold to the devil.” The anger and disconnect do not have to own me. I can come into connection! I can “make it” without “losing it.”

The book of Ephesians sets a backdrop for the whole idea of Connection. Without Jesus we cannot be connected to each other in relationships, or to Him. He is our purpose for living. Connection with God through Jesus will overflow into our lives. We will win, and we will have relationships that cannot be broken.

What are our options when dealing with in the disconnection and frustration of our inner thoughts and our outer relationships? Matthew 5:28 clearly indicates that disconnection begins in the heart, and then is carried through into action. You cannot be both happy and frustrated at the same time. It is said that we “cannot keep birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair.”

Option number one is to react in the old way—the way of the flesh, the way of one who does not know and trust Christ. We will either explode, or implode.

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”      Ephesians 4:17-19.

What a hot mess we are without Christ! We are hopeless in our disconnection!

“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”   Romans 7:14-24

Option number two is to react in the new way—the Life in Christ. Turn to the One who is the author of the puzzle and knows exactly how to put it all together. Be renewed—made new, restored to freshness, vigor and perfection— “by the transforming of the mind” (Romans 12:2).

Our passage from Ephesians 4 continues,

“But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:20-24

Throw off the old, put on the new. These are active choices which we can make.

Our passage from Romans 7 continues,

“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:25

It is during the disconnected, temptation-ridden moments of life where there is an intersection between the mind which is unrenewed and the choice to live in Christ that we must be ready to take action. We must be prepared ahead of time for enemy attacks. King David was unprepared and had drifted off course when the temptation arose to sin with Bathsheba. He was lounging around on the rooftop when as king, he should have been out on the battlefield. He let his fleshly desires take precedence. It is in the moment of exposure to the negative bait of Satan that we need to be ready to speak Truth. That Truth can only be assimilated into our spirits by the transformation of our minds. And that can only be done by the Lord.

Jesus sets us free, the moment we invite Him, from our slavery to sin. That moment of frustration and disconnect is the moment to open up to Him. “The Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). These moments are the puzzle pieces that God puts together, causing “all things to work together for good” (Romans 8:28) in the lives of those who belong to Him.

As we learn to be fully connected to the Lord, and remain in this blessed place, we will see Him at work time after time in our lives, putting together those pieces of our life’s puzzle that we could never hope to accomplish on our own.

Let’s pray together:

Dearest Lord, we come to You, knowing that You designed the masterpiece of our lives according to how You desired us to be. All we see at times is the tangled, disconnected mess of random puzzle pieces that is impossible for us to work with. We try to put things together, make the pieces fit, and even compromise the corners so that we can try to squeeze it into the mold we think is right. But it doesn’t work! Lord, You are the puzzle maker. We choose to trust You–in Your time, in Your way, under circumstances of Your choosing–to fit the pieces together so that we may be connected. Connected to You first of all, and also to each other, for the glory of Your Name and the work of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen.