Friday, May 29, 2020


So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 

Nothing takes the air out of my sin wheels like humbling myself to God. If I remind myself that I want to be obedient to His Word and His way, and not pursue my own pride and selfish ambition, my idea to sin has little wind left in my sails.

I remembered a pastor say that sinful behavior is usually premeditated, and that’s true. Sin doesn’t always catch us off guard, it usually plans ahead. It doesn’t just show up unannounced, it’s got a plan, even if it’s a momentary dream in the back of our head.
Rarely does it come dressed as it really is, full of decay and destruction —no, it’s usually camouflaged as something that is exciting and beautiful. It satisfies momentary pleasure and then consumes us by destroying everything we have held dear. It takes wedding vows made to God and turns them into mere words of repetition, eliminating them to one sided excuses to commit matrimonial suicide. No longer a balanced statement of hope and teamwork, it becomes a pledge to  selfishness. We pick and choose the verbs we use to justify breaking vows and create selfish manifestos.

But sin is not limited to destroying marriages, it gives in to addictions and other gods, creates idols out of hobbies and work, reduces the names of God to cuss words, consumes our time, destroys families, takes away life, steals belongings, slanders neighbors, and puts our wants before others’ needs. Mostly, it removes the ability for us to love each other the way Jesus set the example of us to love, by serving each other. Sin exalts our own wants over other people’s (and God’s!) needs. When we ignore the effects of our sin on others, and put momentary pleasure ahead of other people’s pain, we choose selfishness over serving. To serve another is to lower ourself, to put their needs over our wants. To humble ourselves before God, resist the devil and his temptations, and make him flee is the ultimate superpower. You have this power in you! I have it in me too.


This post originally appeared on Marina’s Kitchen Table on May 28, 2018.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Counting 1000 Gifts 2020 Continues...(512-530)

Counting 1000 Gifts 2020: 512 I’m learning so much in this season...lessons, facts, skills, it’s all learning.
I learned today that 513 people who have a great need have to see the need met first, then you can share Jesus with them. 514 Jesus always met people’s needs first. 515 When folks are in crisis they can’t listen. They can’t get past their neediness.
I’m 516 learning the difference between different options in self-publishing an ebook. I want to do something with my 517 photography in a 518 simple devotional of encouragement and prayer, and printing it doesn’t make sense. But an ebook🤔 Hmm. Something to pray about.
519 We learned last night that if you bring jump ropes to turn 520 Double Dutch, 521 kids will learn it. 522 And parents too! I’m afraid my DD jumping days are over (I tried!) but we have ended the past 2 days on so much 523 laughter with jumping ropes and 4 kids and more parents in our neighborhood. It makes my heart full!
And the 524 hydrangeas! Last year the 525 oak leaf didn’t bloom, this year we are 526 creatively staking them up. And 3 of the 527 others that are blooming are all different colors! Pink. Purple. Orchid. I had to remove the fountain up front, and the 528 delphiniums I planted in its place are blooming. Beautiful! The 529 mums will be blooming by week’s end, and everything is so 530 green and lovely.

Friday, May 15, 2020

SO MUCH NEW!! Balanced and Beautiful in Christ: 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

I've been accepted as a writer on the team at Balanced and Beautiful in Christ, a Facebook Group for women. You are welcome to join it—there are SEVERAL accomplished devotional writers there, but I'll also be sharing my posts here too. The theme this Summer is "Time In the Garden." I pray it encourages and grows you! 

Also, with kicking off this new-ish site, I'm doing a random give-away for anyone who signs up to receive these in your email inbox! Sign up by June 1, and I'll be doing a give-away to TWO people to receive a copy of my book Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table, A devotional memoir. The random drawing will be at noon (Central Time) on June 2, 2020 from people who have signed up using the Feedburner email form on the right side of the page. 
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." - I Corinthians 3:6-7 NIV
I was not raised in a Christian home. In fact, I was very much the antithesis of a Christian when God began wooing me to Himself. I walked blindly through major life events—a job change, a new friend, a relationship I thought was long-term ending, and my vehicle catching fire and being destroyed on the side of the highway. In hindsight at every turn, He was steering. Ultimately, He revealed Himself to me through others in a way I could understand His great love for me.
God used people all around me—a new friend kept inviting me to lunch and eventually asked me to church, my new job was for a group of Christian attorneys, and God had a few people pray for me without me even knowing. Each person knew my reputation and knew I needed a Savior named Jesus. Not one of them ever confronted, embarrassed, or belittled me—they only showed love and compassion towards me. They didn’t know each other, but they all knew The Father.
God could zap anyone into obedience, but He invites us to come to Him, just as we are. I came broken with addictions and deep wounds from years of manipulation and abuse. I came with bad memories and low self-esteem because I believed I was not worthy of love. I came with selfishness and pride because I had been raised to believe that I was self-sufficient and didn’t need anyone else.
God Himself came from the lowly place of a manger as Jesus the human baby, and with that vision, He pruned things that kept me from Him and welcomed me into His loving arms. He chose to use each of the people He placed in my life for a reason—the soil preparer, the hand who planted the seed, and the people who watered and weeded. Yet, He provided every moment of sunshine, every drop of water, and every co-laborer in Christ!
He knew how to amend my life to make it ready to receive Him. He is the Master Gardener. He brings all His tools and workers together for His Kingdom’s glory. He causes growth and allows us to bear fruit in every season.