This is my birthday week. Fifty some years ago my mom waited in expectation of a sixth child. She already had five children ages 7-10 and a one year old. She anticipated I would be a good playmate for my brother. Only time would tell if that expectation became a reality.

Expectations are funny things. What happens when expectations aren’t met? Does disappointment set in? Can we adjust? How can we be realistic when we set expectations? Do we really set them or do they develop on their own?

The Bible has a lot to say about expectations and often refers to it is hope (sometimes as longing or thirst). What do these scriptures teach you about setting expectations?

Reading: Psalm 42:1-2; Proverbs 10:28; Isaiah 64:3-4; 1 Peter 1:3-4

When I woke up today, my internal chaos meter was off the charts. As I drove to my Barre3 workout, I sorted through the swirling thoughts and I identified expectations – my expectations that were not met, my husband’s expectations that were in danger of being crushed, and expectations I perceived others held for me today. All these whirled around inside my head (and heart) creating chaos. As I submitted my chaotic thoughts to the Father, he led me to a quiet and peaceful place. It involved adjusting expectations, honest conversation and a few compromises. But once again, I am in a place of quiet trust.

May your day be filled with the knowledge of God’s presence in spite of any chaos you may be experiencing today. May your hope be set on Him!

Be still, and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

Psalm 107:29-30

Sunday! I have an additional reading for today. I am so challenged by David’s awareness of the effect of sin in his life and the key to living with pure hearts – God desires a broken and repentant heart. I wish for you a meaningful time of worshiping with other believers where you can find community and family.

Reading: Psalm 51

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Can you believe it is Saturday already! Where does the time go?

The reading for today is almost too important to put on Saturday, but here I go.

There are times – well, too many times – when thoughts morph into temptations and temptations grow into sin and consequences soon follow. It might be broken relationships, financial losses, internal torment. What happens now?

Earlier we talked about the importance of confession and repentance. And that’s just what needs to happen when sin overtakes us.

Read: Psalm 32

I know the reading is a bit lengthy today, but it is an amazing and magical psalm. David writes so clearly about the internal torment of unconfessed sin and the joy and lightheartedness of forgiveness and restoration in relationship. There is so much hope in this psalm.

My encouragement today is to take your thoughts, temptations and sin to Jesus at the cross. He understands completely and is ready to talk about all that is going on in your life.

May your weekend be blessed beyond your wildest hopes!

The battle begins in the mind.

Have you heard that before? Does it seem simplistic? Can we think ourselves into a better place?

Read: Romans 13:14; Philippians 4:8-9; Colossians 3:1-2

It seems like, according to these scriptures, the battle not only begins in the mind, it ends in the mind. When we think about ways to indulge in sin, we will sin. When we think things that are true, lovely, pure and worthy of praise, we will be people who are true, lovely, pure and worthy of praise.

That seems pretty simple, but many times it feels quite difficult. Last week I struggled getting on top of my thoughts. I kept imagining the worst all the while slipping deeper into a pit. I reached out to friends for prayer and one of the women immediately challenged me to change my thinking.

Is there anything running through your mind that needs to change? Is there someone you can share it with because we are better together!

Read: John 3:16-21; Proverbs 20:9; Proverbs 28:13

You are in good company today. Why? Because we have all sinned. We have all missed the mark. There is not a single person who has managed to live perfectly. Not even that person you kind of hate because they seem so put together. Everything is always just right, smile in place, perfect children, great hair, tidy house.

Behind all of that is a human being who has failed just like the rest of us. They just haven’t admitted it yet.

So what do we do when we fail? A few weeks ago, I held a woman as she sobbed because she had failed. Her failure meant job loss and tarnished reputation. She was devastated.

But at the cross everything is made new. I’m not making that up. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has begun. I don’t know how he does it, but he makes all things new.

What is required of me? Confession, repentance, receiving.

Confession simply means to say the same things Jesus already knows. It is agreeing with him.

Repentance is turning 180 degrees and going the other way. It isn’t feeling bad we were caught. It is sorrow for what we have done and who we have hurt.

Receiving is accepting forgiveness and the new life he promises. There is no limit on his grace, no cap on what we can receive.

Pause for a few minutes. Is there anything you haven’t talked to God about because it felt like too much? Or maybe it seemed to small? Talk to him about it now.

Remember…we are better together!

Read: Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus amazes me. I wrote last week that Jesus became human and experienced everything we do. He experienced fatigue, hunger and exhaustion. When his disciples fought about who was the best, he might even have rolled his eyes. But most importantly, he experienced temptation like we do. And he overcame! And because he did, so can we.

Jesus’ purpose for coming to the earth was to overcome sin and death and to crush Satan’s head. When Jesus was tempted in the garden, everything centered around derailing Jesus’ purpose.

He could satisfy his physical desire and gain a following by turning stones into bread. That isn’t how God planned it. So Jesus said no.

He could impress and wow the crowds if he jumped off the temple only to have angels swoop him up and set him down on his feet amongst them. Wow! That would be crowd pleasing! That isn’t how God planned it. So Jesus said no!

He could have authority over all kingdoms of the earth if he only bowed down to Satan. He could avoid the cross, the pain, the terror. But that isn’t how God planned it. So Jesus said no.

God has a plan for your life. You have an idea of what that is and you are tempted to short circuit the route God has laid out for you. Will you say no?

God has a plan for you life. You know that includes a spouse and intimacy. Are you tempted to listen to the enemy who tells you a wedding doesn’t matter? Will you say no?

God has a plan for your life. You know you have the leadership skills to be the manager. Are you tempted to cut others down so you might get ahead? Will you say no?

Do you see the way out? Keep looking ’cause it’s there!

Remember….we are better together.

Temptation is common to all of us but when does temptation become sin? Should I repent if I am tempted? Or is it when I act on the temptation that it becomes sin? Sin is an action and every action begins with a thought; the thought is not sin.

Thoughts come to us all the time flitting in and out. Most of them just move on through without any acknowledgement. Others we notice, as a butterfly gently passing by the window, we glance, wonder and away it goes. Others come and want to hang out.

When a sinful thought comes that we invite in for tea, the one that wants to stay and hang out, even be friends – that’s when the problems begin. We need to be relentless with the thoughts we allow to hang out in our minds.

Read: James 1:12-15

Notice the progression in this passage. Temptation comes 1) from our own desires. We are 2) enticed and 3) dragged away; then 4) sinful actions are born 5) sin grows and 6) death comes.

At any point in this progression we can say “no” to the thought and peace returns. Sin averted!

For a story with obvious progression from thought to sin, read about King David in the Old Testament. It provides a vivid, clear picture of a person who at any point, could have said “No!” to avoid many heartaches.

Read: 2 Samuel 11:1-4

What thoughts have you allowed to linger too long? How has God provided a way out of the temptation? Who have you told about your struggle?

Remember – we are better together!

Until tomorrow….

For six years I taught junior high and high school Bible classes at a local Christian school. My favorite days were open forum discussions when, as a class, we considered the students’ questions. Most of the time our discussion ended on some form of “do we really have free will?” We never decided.

We are better together! Find someone to worship with today. People are just plain scary sometimes, but I believe you can do it. If it hasn’t gone well for you in the past, give it another try.

Read: Hebrews 10:23-25

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Welcome to Saturday! I love the weekend!

Here’s some food for thought today…

The love of God will impact your life when you start connecting and stop correcting!

Randy Bezet, Bayside Community Church

Jesus’ greatest commandment to us was to love him with everything we have and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.

What keeps you from loving your neighbor? The people you meet on the streets? God loves you. God loves me. God loves the people I don’t like.

Read: I John 2:7-8

Have a great weekend! Find someone to connect with today!