When there is a storm, struggles and problems coming at us like arrows, “It will result in (lead to) an opportunity to witness” (Luke 21:13).

They had been on a ship, and had gone through a rough, life-threatening storm.   They were told, after the storm, when you hit the calm, you will have an opportunity to testify.( verses 15 even says: the words will be given to you). In other words, after a wild ride, you will be ready to tell all about it. That is what my book is about. It is also, how I minister to those who are in the midst of struggle.

Just yesterday, an ongoing email conversation, began with a gal I have never met. She is struggling with fears. Since, I have been there and done that, through many storms, and have experienced the deliverance of GOD each time, I was prepped to witness to, comfort, and instruct her.


The calm, after the storm

Problems result in having something to share, and Luke 21:15 promises you will have that audience/ opportunity to witness.
The words will issue forth, like a baby thrust forth out of the womb. The struggles, the problems, and even the temptations, will give birth to a testimony. Now, just think of new born who makes a lot of noise at first! Did you ever think, she is just giving her testimony concerning what just happened?
The next time you have a problem, remember this is GOD setting the stage for you to pass a message from HIM to others. Praise the LORD in all things, we are more than conquerors through HIM who loved us and gave HIMSELF for us!

Looking unto JESUS, the author and perfecter of my faith.



Take in context


Jenga is a game that was popular in the ‘States’ twenty-five or so years ago. I still have my Jenga blocks. It is a game of balance. To begin the game, you must first build the blocks into a tower, in a specific way.   Just as the blocks must be in place before the fun, of taking one block out at a time, begins, before we can understand what the Bible means in a specific verse, we need to see where that verse is placed.

I got a letter from a friend asking what, “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9) was all about. Didn’t GOD want us to be happy. She had taken that verse all by itself, and it confused her.  I told her, “The text is best understood, when taken in context of what is happening when it is spoken.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something, but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?   Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace” (James 4:1-6)
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.   Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. (over what you have done and what you lack).   Change your laughter (enjoyment of the world) to mourning and your joy (in things of this world), to gloom.   Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:6-10).

The meaning of verse 9 is clear, when we take it in the setting we find it in. (When have lived by the world’s/devil’s standards, and have valued what the world values, we have acted as an enemy of GOD. We need to recognize, and acknowledge that, and grieve and mourn our past actions. We need to desire to be freed from our old corrupt perspective. We have laughed over what the world laughs at, and we have found joy in the things of this world. We need to turn from that. Only as we grieve over our past pursuits, of the shallow lusts of the eyes (materialism- what we see and then want), and the lusts of flesh (physical desires beyond the boundaries GOD has set), and the pride of life (its all about me), unless we repent (turn from them), can we recognize what GOD offers. Then, as we begin desiring the things of GOD, we will be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, and changed, little by little, into the likeness of JESUS (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29).

Our attitudes change little by little. Just as a child in school, we learn line on line. We learn addition before subtraction, and then go on to multiplication (Isaiah 28:9-10). In other words, one lesson must be learned before we are ready for another. Like, Jenga blocks, truths are built on each other. Notice how mourning, grief and wailing comes in.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). First, we recognize our need.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Then, we mourn what we have done, and for what is missing in our lives.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Then, we recognize GOD is our source and supply.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Which leads to wanting to do and be right. Only then can the HOLY SPIRIT fill us.

Did you notice that only after grieving and mourning our chasing after the emptiness of this world, we come to recognize our source is in GOD, not ourselves? Then, when we begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness, GOD HIMSELF fills us with HIS HOLY SPIRIT.   Who then, in turn bears HIS fruit of righteousness in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

Is there something in your life that shouldn’t be there? Do you mourn and grieve, and wail to GOD concerning that which is not right in your lives? If you don’t, you are missing out on good things GOD wants to give you.

Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfector of my faith.




My dad was a teacher

My dad was a teacher. Besides teaching me the 3 r’s, he taught me other things, such as right from wrong and to say, “I am sorry.”

Recently, I did wrong.  I didn’t fully understand, and maybe didn’t want to know, and so acted in a way that I should not have.  I needed someone to show me the way.

We believers, need a teacher too.  GOD, who supplies all our needs, has given us one.  But the Helper, the HOLY SPIRIT, whom the FATHER will send in MY name, HE will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26).

As we read GOD’s word, a verse, or even just a bit of a verse, will make us aware of what we should, or warn of that which we should not do.

GOD also, speaks to us, leading us through nudges HE places within us.

For it is GOD who places within you both the want to do, and the ability to do (Philippians 2:13).  HE did the same thing, way back when, in Old Testament times (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

When we obey the nudges, the checks that GOD places within us, it is also called being led by the SPIRIT.  When we let the Holy SPIRIT lead us, we don’t need to have a check list of the ordinances to follow (Colossians 1:14), for we are following GOD HIMSELF, step by step.  The law was a schoolmaster, a teacher, to show us we needed CHRIST (Galatians 3:224-25).  Now, that we have CHRIST, HE leads us through HIS SPIRIT.

The Bible tells us what GOD is like, and therefore, what we, as HIS children, should be like.  As we go to HIS word, we see how we are to act as HIS child.  The Bible often speaks directly to us, exposing things about ourselves.  Things that we are not aware of.   Sometimes, we don’t like what it is showing us.

It is like going to a mirror, and the displeasure we feel when we see our hair is a mess.  It would be silly to go to a mirror, and see a problem, but not do something about it.  Likewise, when GOD reveals to us, something wrong in us, we need to turn away from the wrong, turning to GOD and follow HIS way.  If we do that, we are allowing the SPIRIT to lead us.  Those who are led by the SPIRIT, do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

If we follow the nudges and checks of the SPIRIT, we will automatically do what GOD wants.   Thereby, the righteousness of the GOD will be fulfilled in us.  (Romans 8:1,4)

But, what about when we refuse to do what we know we should do?   At those times, we have literally turned our back on GOD, and refused to follow the SPIRIT.  When our back is to GOD, we don’t hear HIM speaking clearly.  Sometimes, we are not even aware we are sinning.

Every single day, we need to begin, and end, in asking the HOLY SPIRIT if we have grieved, or quenched HIM.  HE will tell us if we have.  If something comes to mind, all we need do is stop, and confess it.

For just like we keep soap on hand to wash with when we are dirty, so GOD has given the Christian, a bar of soap.  It’s 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


You and I were made in the image of GOD.  But, sin has marred that image.  And although, we are cleansed from sin, when we accept JESUS as our Savior and LORD, the old nature within us battles us and we at times, stumble into the mire of sin.  I am so glad, GOD patiently nudges me in the way I need to go.  Aren’t you?   I even take comfort in knowing that HE, in HIS great love and knowledge of me, has provided a bar of soap to wash with when I fall in the mud.
Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith



Getting the details


1897 Claude Monet painting, appears lazy, while actually its full of life

Let’s say, one day I was walking, and came upon this view.  The green hues make it a restful scene, yet breathtaking, with it’s backdrop of various types of trees, highlighting a Japanese bridge reaching over a lazy lily pond so full of lilies, and lily pads that very little water is seen.  I took out my camera, but before I clicked the picture, I grazed over the landscape with my zoom lens wanting to get the best shot.  Catching just a glimpse of something, I zoomed in closer, and spotted a tiny toad, in a wild pose.  It was like I was right there beside the little toad in his death grip on the lily bud.


Now, if I’d taken a picture of it with my phone, no one could ever have detected what I was seeing, for the image would pixelate before it was enlarged enough to see the tiny critter. But, with the special lens in place on my camera, I was able bring in the details, that could not, otherwise, be seen.

This parallels what GOD does in Genesis one and two, as well as elsewhere in scripture, such as in Revelation.

In Genesis 1 GOD creates the heavens, the earth, and the sea, and all that is within them.  It is a landscape view, but you don’t see many of the details.  In fact, it only speaks of the creation of man in four verses.  Then, in Genesis chapter 2, GOD devotes the entire chapter to giving details about making Adam and Eve.  If you just look at the overview, seen in chapter 1, you will miss out on some exciting details shown us in Genesis chapter 2.

Keeping this in mind as you read through the whole counsel of GOD (the Bible), will keep you from needless confusion, and help you understand that GOD, sometimes, will stop in relating a sequence of events, for the intended purpose, of clarifying important details, not given in the overview.

Now, go for it!  “Study to show yourself approved unto GOD, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.



Idol Numero Uno

Idolatry is struck down with the very first commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3). And boy, howdy, there are idols aplenty. Gather a few girls in a group and ask for a list of idols and it grows long in a hurry. But what is our number one idol today? A hint – it hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.


photo credit: freedomoffaith.tripod.com

Self is the number one idol. “I want what I want when I want it. Consequences be hanged.” Self breeds rebellion and pride against God and sets up substitutes for God in our hearts and lives.


What was the very first sin? In a short narrative in Isaiah 14, we read five times that Lucifer said in his heart “I will. I will be like God.” And he was thrown out of heaven. He used that very self-issue against Eve in the garden: “In the day you eat of that tree, you will be as gods.” Governed by self-will. No bowing to God or anyone else.


God later pleads with Israel: “Remember the commandments of the Lord, and do them. Seek not after your own heart to go into idolatry, but do My commandments and be holy” (Numbers 15:39&40).


For every self-idol mankind sets up, God offers cleansing and a holy choice instead. To every one who chooses the way that seems right but ends in death, God calls out “this is the way, walk in it.”


When Self-Righteousness rears its ugly head, it says “I’m good enough on my own. I’ll get to heaven by good works. I’m not so bad!” But God proclaims His Name – The Lord Our Righteousness. All our righteousness is as filthy rags. Dressed in His righteousness alone will we be able to stand faultless before His throne.


Self-Sufficiency says, “I can do it! I don’t need any help, or advice, or instruction. I’ve got this covered.” God says, “I AM Jehovah-Jireh. The grace I provide you is sufficient. It’s better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Worship God and rejoice in Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh. But be confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!” “The arm of flesh will fail you; you dare not trust your own,” the hymn-writer warned.


Self-Defense is a touchy one, isn’t it? “I’m no worse than anyone else, and really, what I did wasn’t so bad. There are extenuating circumstances you don’t know about. It wasn’t really my fault at all.” Self-Defense is a poor resting place when Infinity is offered. David said, “God is my Defense.” Paul wrote, “The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.” John tells us that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” He’s at God’s right hand and by our side to defend us! Jehovah-Nissi. God is our Protector, Strength, and Victory.


Self-Indulgence proudly proclaims, “I’ve worked hard and I deserve it! Who deserves it more than I? I will not be deprived.” But Paul wrote, “Don’t trust in uncertain things, but in the Living God Who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Luke stated that God fills the hungry with good things. David reminds us that those who seek God lack no good thing. Jesus said He came that we might have life abundant! Paul tells us that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think!” Wow! Women can think up some pretty abundant stuff. But God’s not trapped by our thoughts. He can exceed abundant!


Self-Seeking gets a lot of attention. Who hasn’t heard a rendition of this? “You’ve got to take care of yourself. Look out for Number One. No one else is going to!” But God says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things you need shall be added to you.” “For my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”!!! Hallelujah! The one set of footprints is real, Girls.


Self-Consciousness is a strange one. When God calls, Self-Consciousness bows its head, kicks the dirt, and responds, “I can’t.” Within Moses, Self-Consciousness cries, “Who am I to do that? They won’t believe me. I’m not eloquent. I can’t do what You’re asking, God. Send someone else.” But God says, “My grace is sufficient for thee, made perfect in your weakness. Commit your work to Me, and I’ll help you think. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary. He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Sing with me – “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!”


Self can never be anything but hateful to God, Tozer states. Self is the enemy of God. And the only safe course with this enemy is death. To be rid of self, we come to the cross. “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in this body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”


Photo credit: johnsanidopoulous.com

Read the old song lines with me: “Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee. May all self be slain; my friends see only Thee. Though it cost me grief and pain, I will find my life again – if I lose myself, I’ll find it, Lord, in Thee.”


Paul wrote, “It is a faithful saying, if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” We must be crucified with Christ that we may live a life pleasing to the Lord. Death to self is the way to life.


Jamie Lucero

1 Timothy 1:17

Give It To God


“Give it to God”

What does that even mean?? This has been one of my biggest struggles in my walk as a Christian, and also one of my biggest annoyances.

Just last week I was sitting with a group of friends when someone told my best friend (who is in the midst of a storm that doesn’t seem to ever end) “Just give it to God.” I rolled my eyes. I’m a little too good at that these days.

See, we live these double lives. We live in the World, in the flesh. But we also live with Christ. And some days? This balancing act is just too much. Our ultimate goal is that our relationship with Christ will win out, but all too often the battle of the flesh wins. And this is when we need to do just that, give it to God.


Isaiah 41:10 shows us that we should not fear or be dismayed for he will strengthen us. Which is great. But how? How do I let go of these worldly struggles and just hand it to him?

Sure, I can sit down in my comfy chair and close my eyes and start to pray. I can tell God about my problem, that comes easily. I can ask him to handle my problem. That comes easily too. But once I’m done with that prayer? I so often pick that problem right back up and start fighting with it. (So I gave it to Him, but then I took it back. How frustrating that must be for Him!! When the answer is so simple, LEAVE IT!!)

Once I had a wise woman tell me that she would visualize herself handing Jesus a box with whatever her problem was inside. That really resonated with me, because I’m a visual person. But I took it a step farther.

When I am truly struggling? I leave everything behind and get alone with God. (Often, this involves a small hike.) I’ll find a tree to sit and rest against, and I’ll pray. I’ll pour my heart out to God. Then I’ll just sit for a bit, with my eyes closed.


I will imagine the tree at my back is the cross, and that Christ is standing before me. (Matthew 11:28 reminds us to come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest.) I hand him my box, inside is whatever my problem may be. And he will take it, set it at the base of the cross and at that moment I know he has the situation in control. And I know, with all that is in me that I need to leave it with him. I cannot pick that box back up.

Once I’ve reflected for a bit? I walk away. Remembering in my mind the image of my box of junk sitting at the foot of the Cross. (If it’s a HUGE problem? I’ll find a small stick on the ground and take it with me. Carrying that stick in my pocket will be a reminder of the box I left at the cross.)

Is it a bit cheesy? Maybe. But for me, this visual exercise really helps me to leave these problems with God. Sure, I’ll continue to pray about them. But holding that small twig in my hand, will remind me that I need to just say a quick prayer, and remember that I’ve left that problem with God. I can’t interfere with his work, or he won’t be able to do his work with me bumbling around!

So yes, it’s often a struggle to “Give it to God” – but it’s clearly what scripture tells us to do. With prayer, the Word and a few little moments of quiet time? We can give Him all of our problems, and then wait patiently for instruction from him on where to go next.


Hebrews 4:16



Wow, I can’t believe that picture was taken 20 years ago.  John is skinny, as a rail now, and wears his hair cropped short.  My son John really didn’t like to play football.  But, for me, he did play one season of football when he was in Jr. High school out in Ellicott.

Football season has begun, and many of us in Colorado were delighted with the game last Sunday.  The Broncos’ recovery of the fumble the other team made, was a highlight of the game for me.

Football teams study videos of the team they are going to play against.  In that way they learn the strengths and weakness of the other team, and strengths of certain players on that team. They learn to recognize certain plays, so that they can anticipate, and outmaneuver their opponent.

2 Corinthians 2:11 says “we are not ignorant of his (the devil’s) schemes.”  We Christians need to know things about our opponent.   If we don’t recognize him, if we are ignorant of his schemes, he can, and will take advantage of us.  That word advantage, in this verse, is a Greek word meaning to step beyond the boundary line.   So you see, that it is even more important for us, who know JESUS, to know our enemy’s tactics,  than for a football team to know their opponents  moves.  They are just playing a game, but we are fighting a war.

I remember a time, when I was 1st learning about spiritual warfare.  When I was being tempted to do wrong, inside me, I was impressed with the thought, “It’s the battle, Sharon.”  Until then, I thought the temptation came just from myself, and so I wasn’t fighting against it that much.  Because, I figured, I couldn’t fight myself and win.  But, GOD took pity on me, and spoke to me, “It is the battle, Sharon.”  I knew then that the temptation came from the outside, from the devil, and  not me, so I fought back, denied my flesh, and won.

I was losing the battle, until I knew I was dealing with the enemy.  Now, I realize how very important it is to recognize the enemy.

Let me list for you just a few of our enemy’s ways, that I have learned:
The devil tempts us, as he did JESUS, by twisting scripture (Luke 4:1-13).
He calls GOD a liar, and says GOD is unfair- not caring for us, or trying to keep good things back from us. Genesis 3:4,5
He tempts us to love this world and the things of this world, for the whole world lies in his arms (I John 5:19).

He tempts us:
with the desires of our flesh: To go beyond God’s preset boundaries for food, sex, pleasures, drugs and so on.                                                                                                                          with the desire for things we see: like a new car, a fancy this or that, something belonging to our neighbor, anything that looks good to us.
with pride: I’m 1st, my way, power, position and the like (I John 2:15-16).
He attempts to take advantage of us, by pretending the things he tells us are our own thoughts, and he is quite the impersonator.
He lies, actually, he is the father of lies and very convincing (John 8:44).
He whispers doubts and accusing thoughts to us, about ourselves, and others, (and his words sound just like us) for he is the accuser (Revelation 12:10).
He tries to stir up anger, and cause division. When we refuse to forgive, at his constant grumbling in our ear about an offense, he takes advantage of us, and gains a foothold in our lives (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Ephesians 4:26-27).

Today I want to highlight one specific scheme of the devil.

“But, I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, so your minds (thoughts) may be corrupted (seduced/led astray) from the simplicity, and purity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3 explanations added in parenthesis).

We know that JESUS is pure and holy, and our focus should be on HIM, for HE is the object of our faith and the ONE leading us the way we should go (Hebrews 12:1-3).  The enemy, however, attempts to distract us, and get us to focus on anything rather than JESUS.  He tries to corrupt our thinking, from the simplicity of going straight to Christ about everything (Proverbs 3:5-7a), so that we will struggle on our own with the thoughts, and problems, and temptations that come our way.  For instance, he gets people to feel that believing in JESUS just isn’t enough to save us.  He insists there is a whole bunch of other things they must do in order to be saved.

In a practical way, the simplicity of going to JESUS helps me.  Since our battle begins in the mind, we must battle wrong thoughts given us by the devil.  Often the devil mocks us for having the thoughts he placed there to begin with.


Those thoughts, like a colorful lure attracting a trout, can seem overpowering.  I have found that to win that battle, to shut up the devil, I don’t do the fighting.  I simply go to JESUS, and say “here are my thoughts.”  As I take every thought to JESUS, HE impresses on me a piece of a verse that shows me a different perspective of the situation, the truth.  Then, the moment I inwardly choose to obey the instruction within that word, HE floods me HIS peace as confirmation.  Actually, just being in HIS Presence, seems to open me up to hear.  This is what I mean when I say  I talk to JESUS about struggles.  It is what the Word of GOD instructs me to (Proverbs 3:5-7; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 4:16).  For  JESUS takes my thoughts, and exposes them for what they are.  My whole perspective changes.   The battle is won, for what a person thinks in his heart, that he will eventually act on.   Now, the devil may give me another sneak attack, but, all I have to do is run back to JESUS.

Don’t let the devil catch you in his snare of deception.  Take every thought to JESUS.
Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.