Are You Sure?

Psalm 34:16

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

But the Lord delivers him out of them all….are you sure? What exactly are we supposed to think about this verse? It promises that the Lord will deliver us from all of our afflictions. And yet people stay sick, people die, and our troubles continue or even get worse.

So it doesn’t seem as if that verse is true. But I believe the Bible and I believe in the truth of the Bible so…then what? Jesus told his followers promised that we would all have troubles but that just as he overcame the world so would we. He overcame the world, but not when he was in this world as a man.

God has a different perspective than we do.  One verse tells us that God’s way are not our ways. And that’s what we need to remember as we experience difficulties in this life. We see things differently than God does. For us, to deliver or to overcome means having the problem go away–to resolve in a way that is positive.

That’s what our prayer is.  “Make it better!”

But that’s not always going to happen. Sometimes deliverance can come in the form of acceptance, in the form of learning, in the form of moving forward in spite of, or in the form of being an example for others.

This is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time. At least I know I do.  The treatments for my brain tumors are “done.” So I want to feel better NOW, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. And I don’t mind admitting I’ve been rather irritated about that this week.

When I read the verse this morning, I was instantly reminded that God’s ways are not our ways, but His way is perfect for us–even when it doesn’t seem so. That’s what faith is all about–believing in God’s love and in His promises even when we aren’t getting our own way.

A good parent knows that it’s not good for their children to always get their own way. Well, God is the perfect parent. His way is the right way–even when we don’t like it.

So am I sure that the Lord delivers the righteous from all their afflictions?








My guest writer today is Barbara Harvey Carter, an Author, Registered Nurse, Speaker, Workshop Facilitator and AODA Counselor. She enjoys Christian counseling, speaking and participating at Christian and community events. She has a passion for women’s issues and a burden for victims of domestic abuse because “it hurts and destroys individuals and families!”

You can follow Barbara on:

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on her blog at




Luke 14: 10 (NIV)

“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.”


I attended a professional conference in Little Rock, Arkansas during the eighties. My high school friend was well known as an ‘alto’ gospel singer in the area. We hooked up, spent the day together, and were late arriving for the closing banquet at the hotel. I gave our tickets to the host at the door, expecting to be seated somewhere in the rear. The host recognized my friend and escorted us to a table at the front of the room. I remember feeling very special to be seated one table from the dais. Former President Bill Clinton was governor at the time and was the keynote speaker. The incident brought to mind Luke 14:10 – we didn’t ask for a front row seat or attempt to find one near the dais – I was pointing to one in the rear. But because of our humility, God allowed us to ‘move up’ to better seats.

Another time, I was attending a Black History Program in Milwaukee Wisconsin, arrived late, and surreptitiously slid into a seat at the back of the auditorium. I was spotted by the host who asked me to come take a seat on the front row. I really wanted to stay at the back since I was late and the program had already started but God honored my humility. He allowed me to be ‘asked’ to come to the front row and honored in view of all the other guests.

I’m not bragging about being elevated to seats of honor or trying to say that I’m so humble. The morale of my stories is when you feel you are not getting the respect and honor you think you deserve, don’t fret; trust that God will elevate you in due time. Continue to walk humbly before the Lord, trusting Him; taking the lowest place when you are invited to a function, then God will honor you in front of all the other guests.



Thanks for the devotion, Barbara. Great reminder. As a writer, it’s so easy to think it’s my job to promote myself. And in some ways it is, but letting God be in control takes away a lot of the stress!



The Right Tool for the Right Job!

Earlier this year I released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Here’s an abbreviated Lesson 6. Only some–if you want all of it, you’ll have to buy it! Click here for the link.

This is it! If you only “get” one lesson, this is the one.  Getting the right tool for this job we call life can and will change your life. I know this because it’s done just that for me.



Psalm 119: 162

I rejoice in your word like the one who finds a great treasure.




The right tools are important. Try mashing potatoes without a masher. Try cutting wood without the right saw. Try painting without the right supplies. No matter what you’re trying to do, the right tool makes it easier and better. And that’s certainly true for life as well. And I’ll share a secret with you. I know the right tool for life.

The most important tool for life is…drumroll please….is The Bible.

The Bible is filled with all we need to know for a joy-filled life. Notice I didn’t say happy life or perfect life. Happy depends on our circumstances; joy depends on our relationship with God. 2 Peter 1: 3 says: His power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Let’s read that again…His power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him. How do we get that knowledge? Through the Bible. All the knowledge, wisdom, and power we need is in the Bible.

By learning, studying, meditating, and most importantly applying God’s Word, you will develop not only a more intimate knowledge of God, but develop a more intimate relationship with Him. It is in that relationship that you will find the strength to endure the toughest of times, the patience to wait for God’s timing, and beauty for the ashes.

Did you notice the emphasis on applying? Learning, studying, and meditating on God’s words are all wonderful, but it’s the applying part where your life will change. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says. It’s in the doing where we will find God’s power. If we’re lost in the woods, the only thing we care about is surviving the ordeal. But in life God wants us to do more than survive, he wants us to thrive. And he’s given us what we need to do just that.

But we won’t know how if we don’t read the manual!

Just as you needed to be prepared for emergencies before they actually happen, the same is true of the Bible. The more you learn and understand about God and His character before you need it, the more prepared you will be when the storms of life come.

And they will come, but you can rest in the knowledge that God is with you always. No matter where you are on your walk with God never forget that!





Lesson 5-Have a Little Faith!

Hebrews 11: 6 (NIV)

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Way back in July I posted Listening Lesson Four from GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS. So yes, I’m a bit behind. If you want to read more, or find out what hula hoops have to do with it you’ll have to buy it! Click here for the link. Now without further ado…




Our spiritual journey begins with faith when we take that very first step to believe and to become God’s child, then faith continues to grow as we mature spiritually, and finally our faith will be fulfilled on that glorious day when we will reunite with our Creator.

But until that day—faith can change your life more than you can imagine.

So what exactly is faith? We need look no further than the Bible for the definition of faith. Hebrews 11: 1 tell us: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. In other words, faith believes without seeing. Faith is believing God’s words and promises before they happen. Faith is praying and then believing it has already happened—even before you see it.

That is the kind of faith that pleases God and the kind of faith He honors.

Believing without seeing!

Believing when it doesn’t make sense!

Believing as long as it takes!

Faith is the key to miracles!

In Matthew 13: 58 it says, “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” No faith equals no miracles. More faith equals more miracles.


It’s not always easy to develop more faith, but it’s well worth the effort. God uses our circumstances to help our faith grow. If we keep our eyes on Jesus during the difficult times, our faith will grow. As our faith grows, our spiritual maturity will too.



Want a different life? Start thinking differently, start speaking differently, and start acting differently. Then wait and see what happens.

Have a little faith—and God will do the rest!


Why Are You Discouraged?

My guest writer today is Cherie Burbach. She’s a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She’s written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends. Visit her website for more info,


Why Are You Discouraged?


Cherie Burbach


Since I know a lot of writers, I know a lot of discouraged people. Writing is one of those professions where you get turned down a lot, but it’s also one where you need to change your idea of where you want to go from time to time too.

You might think a big publishing contract is the way to go, and then realize you’d rather self-publish. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. You self-published and from now on you’re going to go for a traditional contract. Maybe you invested all your time in one client and then that job dried up and now you’re back to the beginning, looking for gigs.

The professional writing world is all about change. And yes, it can be discouraging sometimes.

I see a lot of writers get in a bad place that starts with discouragement and then ends up with jealousy. They’re discouraged because they want something like a publishing contract, and then when someone else gets one they get jealous.

I wish I could take their jealousy and bad feelings away. It just isn’t worth it. God has blessed me with an ability to rise above jealousy. Whenever I see a situation that isn’t working out the way I had hoped, I take a step back and think about it. Obviously, this involves a lot of prayer. There is no better place than the Psalms when it comes to finding inspiration:

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! ~  Psalm 42:11

I don’t get jealous (don’t hate – I’ve got other issues), but I do get discouraged. When I keep hitting a dead end I wonder where I’m supposed to go. The answer always comes, although sometimes it takes a while. I’ve begun to look at disappointment like a big change of direction sign. Sometimes I even picture God like one of those guys directing airplanes on the ground. Have you seen them? They wave their flags in an urgent attempt to move planes across a runway so they can take off.

I picture God doing this with us. He sees we’re trying to take off on one runway, and only He knows that there is nothing but bad weather and delays if we do this, so He directs us to launch from another point. It feels weird to us, but if we follow, we may just find that where we land is so much better than the original place we had intended to be.


Thanks for the devotion, Cherie. By the way, Cherie started and runs a devotional blog that I’m involved in–Putting On The New. Putting on the New is a group of women (including me) that write devotions on a monthy basis about their spiritual journey in the real world! Check it out at



James 4: 14

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.


I had really good intentions for the summer relating to this blog I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS.  Click here for the link. t’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Throughout the summer, I’d planned to post a devotion for each chapter but…I only got to 5 before I got busy with other things and forgot to keep posting.

Life is like that, probably even more so for you than for me since I’m retired. Busy, busy, busy. But we shouldn’t ever be too busy to spend some time with God. And I don’t mean going to church, that’s all good and wonderful. But spending time with God outside of church should be a part of your schedule.

Why you might ask? Several reasons come to mind.

Spending time with God will keep you in his peace and joy. And that’s something we can all benefit from because we are so busy and our lives are so hectic.

Spending time with God will help you develop the roots you need to weather the storms of our lives. Life’s not always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult sometimes. But the more anchored we are in God, the more we can weather the storms.

Spending time with God will help you become the person God created you to be. God created each of us for a reason. Finding that reason will bring you inexpressible joy, but if we’re too busy focusing on this world rather than Him, we might just miss out on the plan! And I’m sure you don’t want that.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t spend as much time with God as I want or I should, but I can always tell when it’s time to refocus on HIM. I start feeling like a rowboat on an ocean during rough seas. That’s when I turn my eyes back to God. And he’s always there waiting for me.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite way to spend time with God? For me, I love to turn on praise music as I exercise and sing along with it!