Good Morning Sluggard!

Ahh. Mornings with God. There is no better way to start the day! I have never regretted rising early and spending time with my Savior. My day always goes better when it starts with hearing from God. For some reason though, many times when I am drifting between the land of being asleep and being awake, I convince myself that my day will be more satisfying, more productive, and all around better, if I just get an extra 1/2 an hour of sleep. I definitely am not thinking my clearest in between snoozes if I think sleep is a better addition to my day than spending time with the God of the universe.

Prov. 26:14 “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.”

Oh gee. This verse. I am quite the sluggard! Instead of popping out of my bed when I first hear my alarm go off, I push snooze until I am rushed and short on time. No time for the Lord. I mean, I may pray on my way to work, or listen to something Christian while I brush my teeth, but there’s no intimacy in the mornings. No intentionality. No showing my God that I love Him and value time with him. I do go through good seasons where I am disciplined enough to live by mantras like “No Bible, no breakfast!” or “I’d rather do my devos than do my makeup!” But far too many other days, pride and sluggardness trump my desire to be in the Word. Lame, I know.  But I also know that you are probably right here with me! You understand this battle too, right? You and I both need this reminder: We need to stay clear of our snooze buttons and train our body, mind, and spirits to rise each day in a timely manner to invest in our relationship with our King and Father.

“Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”  – J. Hudson Taylor

Thankful for Trials


I am beginning to see more clearly the truth of trials being a blessing. Though difficult and painful-they can bring us right into the throne room of God. Uncertainty brings the need for faith, and if we to embrace that need for faith, we are ushered into His presence. Without the comforting fact that Yahweh is near to the broken hearted, I certainly would beg, “Please God, keep me from trails”. But the growth and peace that comes with said times, seems worth it to know Him more intimately. James tells us that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. I want that! I want my affection and devotion to the Lord to be unwavering and not based on circumstance or emotion. The ultimate goal would be to feel that dependence apart from tragedy and to not need to be drawn to Him through circumstances. But I’m certainly not there yet. My steadfastness is not where I want it to be. I doubt Him and try and take matters into my own (weak and selfish) hands. I am becoming more and more conviced that I need trials in my life. I’m still so far from the woman He wants me to be.

Dear Father,
Please help me in both the bad times and the good times to grow exponentially into the image and likeness of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Help me live more intentionally for your glory and less for my own personal temporary satisfaction. The weaker I realize I am -the more dependent I am on your all-sufficient grace. I need to default my mind to you and rely on your power. I want to consistency depend on you for absolutely everything. Help me know you, love you, and live for you more deeply.

Forever Yours,

God Provides!

So a couple of years ago when I was in need of a car, a dear couple from my home church actually GAVE me a car for a dollar. Her name was Wilma (the car) and here is our first picture together!

The car was a blessing to me in so many ways. I was committed to making it a “ministry machine” which means almost any time someone needed to borrow a car, or to be driven to the airport, or the train station, or whatever-Wilma was game.  Unfortunately, as she approached her 20th birthday and 175,000 miles, this dear car had seen better days. When she failed inspection and needed an additional $1,500 worth of work- I decided to let her go.

It was just a few months ago when this happened and I decided to be “car-less”. I don’t have the financial means right now to get a car, so I am going to be saving my pennies until the fall when I finally go shopping for Wilma 2.0 (Side note-that will not actually be my new car’s name). In the meantime, I am borrowing a co-worker’s bicycle (here’s another pic!) and pretty much relying on my awesome friends to get me to places.

Now, wouldn’t it have been nice if God, in all his gracious kindness, would have miraculously provided a car for me months ago?  Yes, I would have loved that! Imagine my joy if my mom were to call me up and say “Sweet, sweet favorite middle child! Your father and I have decided that we don’t actually need my new, red, Volkswagen bug-you can have it!” Or a different phone call from church, “We were just about the sell this old mustang convertible when we thought-Betty sure would take good care of this car”. Would I have praised God? You betcha! Would I have bragged on his awesome ability to provide for me? Everyday!

But, you know He didn’t provide me a car like that. And that’s okay!  In fact, that is more than okay! He provided me a good job and a good home where I am able to save my money to buy a good car for myself.  He also has given me so much more than that. He provided generous people in my life who pick me up and take me to church, who let me borrow their bike, or their car, or their Land Rover (watch out!).  And in all of those different things he is providing, He plants a lesson into each circumstance. Here is an example of just that happening  a few months back:

Dear ________________,

I can’t thank you enough for your generosity in letting me borrow the Lexus while you were away! The Lord used the car to minister both in my life, and the lives of people around me, in many ways during the past three weeks. It was such a joy to be able to go visit loved ones, babysit on a whim, and go grocery shopping on my own!

 One of the ways your car ministered to my life was teaching me about prayer. Before I was “car-less” I had the habit of jumping into my vehicle, putting on my seatbelt, and immediately turning on the radio. My mind would quickly be ushered into thinking about “what’s new” in the secular music world, or sinfully critiquing Christian music or radio stations. What God taught me through the Lexus was to not waste my driving time. I consistently kept the radio off and instead thanked the Lord for whatever upcoming opportunity I was driving too. The same thing would happen as I drove back home; I didn’t want to listen to music as much as I wanted to pray for what had just happened or what was to happen next. Even during the two hour drive home to Hagerstown, I was blessed by not flipping the off-switch to my mind, but by flipping the on-switch to the Holy Spirit who interceded for me as I intently prayed for each of my family members.  I most definitely want to continue this habit whenever the Lord does provide a vehicle! Thank you for your generosity which allowed the Lord to teach me this lesson!

Another lesson your Lexus taught me, was simply a lesson of gratitude. In Daniel 2, Daniel hears of the King’s decree to execute all the wise men of Babylon (including Daniel and his dear friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) so he prays for mercy and that God would spare their lives.  During the night, God revealed the King’s dream and meaning to Daniel in the form of a vision and immediately, for four verses, Daniel praises God! What struck me about this as I read it this morning, is that technically, God had not yet answered Daniel’s prayer! The King has not yet revoked the sentence, or even believed Daniel’s interpretation. For all Daniel knew-he could reveal the dream to the King and still be sent to the gallows! But, Daniel had faith in what God was going to do, and he had joy in what God had already done through providing a vision. In that same manner, when it is tempting for me to not trust that the Lord will take care of his daughter-I can remember what he has already done and rejoice! I can absolutely praise the Lord for my four verses about providing so many different ways of transportation already!  Seeing that brings me joy; I know that I can have faith that he will continue to provide!

Thank you again for loving me well even while we were thousands of miles apart (12,125 miles according to Google Maps!). I am grateful to have you both in my life and look forward to following your examples of generosity in all things. 


Betty Pompell

You see, when God provides in different ways, wrapped up in each provision is a lesson on His goodness. Sometimes it’s in the form of a car title for a dollar, and sometimes it’s in the form of a borrowed Lexus. But no matter what the format is-it still moves us to gratitude and should inspire us to learn from each experience. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Valuable People

I remember the conversation very clearly. Dr. Bigley and I were sitting in a booth in the far left corner of my school’s dining hall. I hadn’t touched my plate. I looked up from him in disbelief with tears starting to form in my eyes.  He had just finished telling me that my value is not based on my talents. Simple enough concept, right?  It may seem to be a simple concept, but it was earth shattering to me at that time.

For as long as I can remember I’ve thought that my worth was directly correlated with my performance. Good grades? Good daughter! Good singing? Good friend! Good serving? Good Christian!

Some people might blame this pattern of thinking on a traumatic experience in life. I am sure there was a young woman who was severely punished for poor grades in elementary school and has ever since fought for the approval of man based upon her scholastic achievement. And there have been young men who were torn apart after a soccer match in Junior High and the whole  team turned their backs on him. But after he won with a Beckham like penalty kick the game prior to championships, each of his teammates and his coach treated him like a brother.  Perhaps we look back on situations like these and blame them. “Well of course I think my worth is in my performance! Look how cruelly they treated me!”  Maybe that is true for you. But I don’t think it is for me.  And I don’t think it is like that for most people.

You see, as humans, we are very selfish people. It’s what we do. I think about me. You think about you. That guy thinks about himself. And that girl thinks about herself. So when we live in our self-centered worlds of “what’s in it for number one?” we tend to look at people and value them based on what they can do for us. Think about the kind of characteristics you look for in a friend. Now it is, of course, different for everybody, but some general ones are: someone who is easy to talk to, who is funny, maybe someone who is interested in the same things I am interested in, etc. etc. Look at that list. Nothing wrong with that list. But they are all self-gratifying characteristics.  Who would want a friend who is needy, or depressed, or takes extra work to love. It should be easy!

What am I getting at here? It may seem like I am just rambling. Here is my point: we sinfully look at other people and value them based on what they can do for us. Then we wrongfully look at ourselves and think our value is based on what we can do for other people. And God is saying


No, your value isn’t in what you do, or how well you do it. You are always both incredibly easy and incredibly difficult to love and yet I do love you at my absolute maximum. I do not think like you think.  I do not and cannot love you any more when you are successful, and happy, and doing everything right. And I do not and cannot love you any less when you fail, and are miserable, and oh so very difficult. My love for you is at 100% and it is staying just there. And because I love you so relentlessly and steadfastly, despite all your mess-you ought to do the same.

So my friends cling to the truth that you are not cherished by God based on your performance, ability, or skill. He is love. It’s what He does. That beautiful truth should cause you to change how you view yourself and how you view other people. On both your good days and your bad days, as a child of the High King you are of infinite value. Knowing this changes things. Even in the moments where you struggle to love yourself, God isn’t struggling at all. Find peace in that. And even the people that you find hard to love, God doesn’t at all. So don’t just love people who are easy to love. Anyone can do that. Even the unbelievers do that. How people can tell that we’ve been washed by the blood, is that we love the unloved. We love the difficult. We love the least of these. Because in all reality-we are one of them.