To Bless or To Curse

In this final post on my “Love Series”, I want to speak about one of the most powerful ways we LOVE, through our words.

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”

This is not the truth! This is a blog about speaking Gods Truth in Love, so let’s get honest. Words hurt, they hurt badly! Sometimes so deeply, that the scars that are left remain with us forever. Long after a cut, a scrape, a bruise, or even a broken bone has healed. HONESTLY, words can leave such deep wounds that sometimes they remain open! They can even ooze at times, causing that insecurity that we live with to rise to the surface once again. They can cripple us in fear, or even paralyze us. Sometimes a scab forms but then we hear it again, that word, maybe in the form of an accusation, or maybe unintentional by the one who spoke it. We are faced with the situation and the insecurity rises in us so greatly that the scab is pulled off and it causes us to bleed again.

That very untrue phrase is often said by kids trying to deflect the silly words thrown at them as they encounter their first socialization experiences. Do you remember some of the hurtful things you heard or said?

“You can be my friend if you pick me first.”

“I like you, I’ll invite you to my birthday party.”

“You’re not my friend anymore!”

“Poo Poo head”

It often starts out so innocent. After all, “they’re just kids.” However, it only escalates from there. It’s grade school, or middle school, and you start hearing, “You can’t be on my team, you’re not any good.”

“That dress is ugly.”

“Is that all the money your family has, that’s what they buy you?”

” You’re fat!”

“You’re ugly!”

“That’s the grade you got on that test?”

“You’ll never be good enough.”

…the list goes on and on.

In fact, you can fill in your own blanks. No matter where we were raised, no matter how affluent or non-affluent our family was, we all heard words. Words that hurt, words that have stayed with us.

I remember the words spoken to me in fifth grade like it was yesterday. I was the oldest of four girls. My baby sister was born that year. My other two younger sisters were small, in fact you could say tiny. I was taller, I was bigger, and even though my first sister was only 11 months younger than me, she looked 3 to 4 years younger than me. She never fit into my hand-me-downs until 2 to 3 years later! That year, some of the boys in school started calling me “Pig.” As I write the words my hand shakes. I still hate writing it, because somehow admitting it seems to bring up fear that it may be true. I have always struggled with feeling that I am too big. I wasn’t back then! I look at pictures of my skinny legs, and I am still surprised that that is me. It is not how I saw myself. Those words hurt, they wounded me deeply, and they made a mark on my life that I have fought continuously. My family never made me feel like that. My mom told me I was beautiful, my dad told me I was beautiful, my sisters never teased me or made me feel big, but those words sunk in deep! They caused a wound, and they are a scar I still carry with me.

Now, we’re all grown up. We’re past all that right? Or are we? We certainly have learned to be a lot more careful about what we say, how we say it and where we say it. In fact as adults we disguise it much of the time in humor, or sweep it away with the comment, “just kidding.”

Well, let me tell you something, to this “Words of Affirmation” girl, “I am just kidding,” doesn’t take away the sting of the words spoken. In fact, sometimes it makes me feel like that person does not care about what they just said, and certainly not about the way it affected me.

Our words are so powerful and an incredible tool. With them we can build up, or tear down. Weather or not your love language is “words of affirmation,” words still affect all of us. Don’t take it from me, listen to what God has to say about our tongue.

Throughout the book of James, God tells us that the tongue is small but powerful, and needs to be tamed. James devotes the major part of an entire chapter to the tongue!

James 3:5, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going…” is one of my all-time favorite camp songs. However, living in Southern California long enough, with the dry weather and a little amount of rain, I have encountered a scary season, ” fire season!” It is a fact of life in Southern California. I have driven through smoke clouds with ashes falling on my windshield to the point of having to use my windshield wipers. I have watched the news closely to see how close the fire is coming to where we live. Praise God it is never threatened our home, but it has threatened the homes and cabins of many people we know and love. Not once have I heard a news reporter share that the fire was started with anything great or big. No, it was started by a single match, the embers left over from a campfire, a careless cigarette thrown out of a car window and so forth.

A tiny spark set hundreds of acres a blaze causing millions of dollars in damage, hundreds of homes lost, families displaced and even killed.

This is the image that James likens our tongue to! At the time James is writing this to us, there are no well trained fireman, with water hoses, chemicals to pour onto the fire, and planes to drop chemicals on top of the fire! No, in his day, a fire usually destroyed everything in its path. Much of the time it was left to run its course. They were simply unable to put it out until it burned itself out. No wonder James tells us to tame our tongue! He goes on to say that with it we have the power to “bless or curse!” My paraphrase….”to build up or tear down!”

James 3:9-10, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, (My Sisters), this should not be so.”

Words are powerful my friends. They are  WONDERFUL when spoken in love! They bring sunshine to a cloudy day, they put smiles on faces, they make us feel beautiful, worthy, and loved. They can give us wings to soar, to step out of our comfort zone, and take chances we never would take on our own without them. I wouldn’t be writing this blog without the written and spoken words of encouragement, love, belief, and support spoken to me by my loved ones! I keep every card given to me, because they hold inside of them the words from those who love me. On difficult days I read them and I am reminded that someone loves me and believes in me. I read them on good days too, and I am inspired to keep on keeping on!


As much as those cards and words mean to me from my loved ones, they pale in comparison to the love letter my God has written to me! He wrote it to you too! He tells me I am the apple of his eye. He tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He tells me that he loved me so much, that I matter to him so much, that He sent his son to die for me. Let these Truths sink in deep, let them touch your heart. Those are the words I choose to hang onto. Those are the words I choose to believe. Those are the words I choose to live by, because those are the words of Truth!


IMG_7758Your tongue can be used to bless or to curse, with every word you speak, you choose one or the other.

We have a powerful tool in our tongue! With it we have the power to encourage and build others up, or hurt and tear others down. Let’s commit to taming our tongue, to allowing God to use us to speak words of love, support, and encouragement to others. Let’s ask Him to help us keep our mouths shut before we stick our feet in them and cause hurt or damage to another.

If we can set an entire forest on fire with this tongue of ours, just imagine the good we can do with it!

God calls us to tame it. He gave it to us for a reason-to share his great love with others! Do others know Him by the words you say? Do others know Him by the words I say? I desperately want them to!

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”- Proverbs 12:18!

Next week, get ready to ENJOY! God loves it when we do!

Speak Truth Love

Love in word and in deed

Thank you for your faithfulness in taking this journey with me! This is week 4, can you believe it? I’ve loved being able to share God’s Truth with you, and hear from you about what God is doing in your life!

As we continue to take a look at love this week, I pray you are moved as I am, about what love is and what love is not. There is no greater love chapter in the Bible than 1 Corinthians 13! It gives us a clear roadmap on life. It also clearly defines what love is, and what love is NOT! Because love is an action, it requires certain things, and it prohibits certain things.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

First, let’s talk about what love does not do. Love does not act in a self seeking, me first way. Love does not act rudely or offensively. Love does not brag, or boast, or self promote! Love does not hold a grudge or drag up the past. Love does not get offended easily. Ouch! That one really affects me. I am the queen of taking everything personally.
Acting in love reminds me that I have to be like ‘Queen Elsa,’ not ‘Queen Lisa,’ and just “let it go!”

Now that we know what NOT to do, let’s look at what we should do. Love is kind, thoughtful, and it looks to what is best for the other! Love is patient, it keeps on listening, and waiting, and staying focused. Love celebrates when the truth wins! Love protects a relationship: it believes the best about another! Love demonstrates trust in another. It gives the other person the benefit of the doubt. Love continues to hope: it looks always to the good and right outcome! Love always perseveres, it hangs in there when everyone else has bailed. Love never fails! Never is a tough word, isn’t it? It is something that we must continue to work toward! Even though I fail and fall short numerous times, it is still my goal! I pray it is yours too!
Because I know it’s God’s truth, I have to work at it daily! Oh, and just so I won’t forget, I’ve put it on the wall of my home!

IMG_7616 (1)
The way people show you they love you, stays with you and makes an impact, doesn’t it?
Doing is outward: it demonstrates to someone that you love them, that you were thinking of them, and that you are willing to sacrifice for them. Thinking alone is inward: it only reflects on you.

God’s love is an action not a feeling, and therefore, it calls us to do something! It is in doing something for someone, that we truly impact them with God’s love!

Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus clearly sets the example here for us: real love is not just a feeling; it’s an action!
One of the best examples of love shown to me was on December 5th of last year, my birthday. My teaching staff did something totally unexpected. I arrived at school as usual, to begin morning openings with my classes. All of the students were lined up with their teachers as they always are. However, this morning their faces looked a bit brighter! As I took the microphone to commence with my normal greeting, “Good morning, Eastside Christian School!”, each teacher emerged from their line up to the front where I was standing. Each one of them was holding a red rose. They presented them to me one at a time, took the microphone, and each proceeded to share something special about me that they appreciated and admired. You should know that words of affirmation are “my love language!” They each hugged me and I was left standing with a bouquet of red roses and a full heart.
That was just the beginning…
I returned to my office to find my favorite Starbucks drink waiting, and sitting next to that was my favorite pastry: a chocolate croissant! I didn’t think it could get any better than that, but it did. I was given a beautiful gift bag with treats and a gift card to my favorite restaurant!
I knew I was truly loved because of what they had done. That feeling of love in action did not last one day, or a few weeks, the truth is, it is still is in my heart! That love in action by my teaching staff will stay with me for the rest of my life. How often do we stop at telling people how we feel, versus show them in and through our actions?
As a young mom I remember disciplining or correcting my children. They would make a mistake and I would correct them. They would quickly say “I’m sorry.” However, just saying sorry wasn’t good enough. “What are you sorry for?” I would say to them. “What did you do or say that hurt someone else?Are you truly sorry for it? Or are you sorry that you got caught? And if you are truly sorry for what you did, then yes, you need to apologize for it, and ask for forgiveness. And then, you need to ACT differently!”

I love the card I received from my husband for Valentine’s Day, and I cherish the words that he wrote. I also loved the flowers, the special gift, and more than anything I love the book he got me from the Bible bookstore. He knew it would be one of my favorites! I was touched by his love in action. Knowing that after being in a relationship with him for over 33 years, he was acting on his love for me by doing those things. Knowing his nature, he would not normally spend money on any of those things. He did it because he was demonstrating his love in action, for me! I am truly grateful for that!

Just saying the words alone are not enough. Our actions must demonstrate our true change of heart.

I John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love merely with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”

So love isn’t just action, and love isn’t just words. It’s both! People need to hear how we feel, but they won’t truly know how we feel until we act on the words we say.

Truth bomb

Real love isn’t just action, and real love isn’t just words…It’s both!

People need to hear how we feel, but they won’t truly know how we feel until we act on the words we say.

Often, it takes going out of your way to show someone how much they mean to you. Remember how much God has demonstrated His love toward you, and pass that on to others. Showing Kindness and love will change the world. It can start with you!
DO something today or this week to intentionally SHOW someone or many people how much you love them, and how much God loves them!

I’ll look forward to talking with you next week as we look into the power of our tongue!

Speak Truth Love

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Love is in the air! It’s February, Cupid has shot his arrow, and you can’t get away from it! Chocolate hearts you can eat, gold and silver hearts you can wear, hearts on T-shirts you can put on, even hearts in the foam of our beloved cappuccinos! There’s no escaping it, The Love Bug is contagious!


So it may seem obvious to you or redundant, that I would post a series on LOVE in February, but it is quite the contrary! I find love anything but typical. Yes it’s true that the world has set aside a day to share love. Scratch that, an entire month with the wonderful stretching of commercialism. However, the world did not create love. In fact, too much of the time the world doesn’t even know the author of love. Although the world certainly has the market on enticement! So quickly, without even thinking much about it we get caught up in all of the hearts and flowers. Before we know it we have allowed the world to define the concept of love for us.

This misinterpretation of Love can really do a number on us. It can cause us to distrust or dislike the concept all together. This is what happened to me at the age of seventeen. It wasn’t a young love in high school that broke my heart, or an infatuation of a valentine I never received. For me, it was the loss of my Hero.

My Dad was bigger than life to me! He could do no wrong! He loved me, played with me, defended me, and truly made me feel that if I was daddy’s little girl, then nothing could hurt me. I was loved and I was cherished! Then it happened……He chose to love someone else over me, over my sisters, and over my mom. It didn’t just leave me with a broken heart, it destroyed me.

I couldn’t make sense of it. My mind and my heart were no longer synced together. It seemed as though they were two separate entities, swirling in loss, grief, pain, and misunderstanding. My concept of love had been shattered. I remember sitting alone on the floor of my closet, picking up one shoe at a time and throwing it at the closet wall. I screamed out loud that I would never love anyone again. I would never give my heart to anybody. I would never give anyone the opportunity to hurt me like that again!

Then it happened…I learned the true meaning of love. It came to me in a gentle but firm voice. It overwhelmed my spirit, and it filled my broken heart to the brim.

God spoke to me and said, ” You can choose to never love again. You can close your heart off and never let anyone hurt you. But, if you do that then I can’t use you to share my love with others. I love you with the love that will never leave you or forsake you. I am your Heavenly Father.”

It wasn’t like magic. My world didn’t turn into flowers and hearts. My life didn’t become an easy path to walk. However, my heart opened up and God was able to teach me what the Truth about Love Is.

God also brought complete healing and restoration with my Dad! He taught me the true definition of love and forgiveness through that process…but that is blog post for another time!IMG_0044

So what’s love got to do with it? As the song lyrics say, “What’s Love but a second hand emotion. What’s Love got to do with it, got to do with it? WHO NEEDS A HEART WHEN A HEART CAN BE BROKEN?”

Love has everything to do with it! Love is an action, it is the act of giving something away. Giving your heart to another, and opening it up to be broken. Taking the chance to share God’s Love with someone else.

Yes it’s true, your love can be rejected. Boy does that rejection sting! But your love can also be accepted! It can bring joy to a lonely person, and healing to a broken heart. It can put a smile on a sour face, and bring everlasting life to a lost being. Love, true Love, God’s Love, is the greatest gift the world has ever, or will ever know! It is meant to be given away.

God loves you and God loves me! He proved His love for us when He gave the greatest gift we could ever receive, His Son Jesus. God’s love never fails! I trusted him that day when I was only seventeen years old. He picked me up off that closet floor, set my feet firmly on the ground, loved me like I had never been loved before, and He has never failed me! He never will. God is love!

I’m not saying that I don’t like Valentine’s Day, for in fact, I actually LOVE Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day gives this silly, emotional, passionate, over joyous woman, an “approved” day to share God’s great love with those I love!

What I am trying to clearly say is that love is not a feeling, love is an action

So, let’s choose to Love because you have been loved. Giveaway what God has so freely given to us!


True love is not a feeling, True Love is an action.


“For God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Love is something we do because of what God did for us! God, the author and perfecter of love, gave His son as a sacrifice for us, so we can in turn, love others!

Whether you consider yourself a Valentine’s Day lover, a Valentine’s Day hater, or you are just neutral, TRUE LOVE is yours, and TRUE LOVE is mine. It’s time to turn that love into action!

Speak Truth Love

Lift Jesus Higher


“The heavens declare the glory of God; The skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1

January 1, 2016-standing on top of my favorite HIGHEST point in this world, Squaw Valley, USA!

Yes, it’s true, I am undeniably a mountain girl. Nothing gets me higher or makes my spirit soar faster than being in the mountains! Spring time, when you can see the wild flowers, smell the fresh breeze, feel the cool air on your face, and hear the birds sing their songs that make me want to hum along is lovely. Summertime, when the fresh air and blue sky’s beckon me to lace up my Nike kicks and hike the beautiful hills is fun. The Fall, when the autumn colors burst forth from every tree like flame set ablaze is beautiful. Those seasons are wonderful, but Winter stands apart from them all! By far, my favorite season! The magic of the evergreens that never change color, and seem to point straight to heaven. Being able to witness their strength demonstrated in greatest form as a snow storm settles on their branches and weighs heavy as they stand firm and tall. Watching the snow fall softly to the ground or in swirls of white, causing everything to look fresh, bright, clean and new…New, that’s what resolutions are all about!

An opportunity to start new, with a fresh beginning and a clean start. To repurpose ourselves and to make a commitment with the newfound dedication to follow through and not look back!

I told you in my first post that I am a snow skiing enthusiast! More than anything the mountains make me feel alive. I feel as though I am ushered into the direct presence of God. He’s there in the breeze that hits my face. He’s there in the movements my muscles make as I make my way down the slope. He’s there in the beauty that surrounds me. The beauty of God’s creation declares His glory and I need not say a word or utter a single sound. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

It’s so automatic to simply respond to the glory and splendor of Gods creation when I’m in the mountains. However, as the saying goes, “I have to come down from the mountain top.” Inevitably the routine and reality of daily life creeps back in. The challenge awaits me: How do I hold on to the glory and the majesty of God in my daily mundane?

I must purpose it! It became clear to me that I must purpose to lift Jesus higher!

To purpose is to have intent. Therefore, I must be intentional! No one has to tell me to be intentional about eating. I rarely have to have an alarm go off telling me it’s lunchtime. I am typically looking at the clock counting down the minutes. No one has to tell me to be intentional about drinking coffee in the morning. Those aromatic beans call my name most mornings before I can even get my teeth brushed! In fact if I’m being completely honest, I think sometimes they are the reason I get out of bed!
I tell others that Jesus is the most important purpose in my life, and He is. If that is Truth, then I can do nothing less but to purpose to lift Him higher!

“He must become GREATER; I must become less.” John 3:30.

My Resolution for 2016 is to “Lift Jesus Higher!”
In order to do that, I must become less, and He must become the GREATEST!
-the GREATEST purpose in my life
-the GREATEST intention in my life
-the GREATEST in my work
-the GREATEST in my marriage
-the GREATEST in my parenting
-the GREATEST in my neighborhood
-the GREATEST in my world

To lift Jesus higher means my ego must be lowered. It requires me to stop living for me. To stop putting myself first. To stop praying only when I find a quiet spot that suits me. To stop serving only when I am well rested and have an adequate amount of time on my hands. To stop loving my husband only  when he is showing love to me. To stop spending time with my kids only when it fits into my calendar. To stop smiling at my neighbor only when she is kind and smiles back. To stop giving only my leftover resources to missions, child sponsorship, my church, etc….

NO, that’s not lifting Jesus higher! That is simply allowing Jesus to have a place in my life, not THE GREATEST PLACE IN MY LIFE!

If I truly desire to lift Jesus higher, to the place my spirit soars so easily to on the mountaintop, then it has to be all about Him, not about me.
I must live for His glory! I must live to make Him famous! I must live to increase His kingdom! The beautiful thing about our Savior, is that when we lift Him higher, we soar to heights that are higher than any place this earth holds!
Are you ready to take the steps with me? I know it’s easier said than done. I have failed time and time again. Truthfully, I fail every day at one or more of my “good intentions.” However, the Truth is, Jesus never fails me! He is waiting to catch me when I fall, and help me do a better job next time. Together we are stronger, so let’s do this!
Nike has nothing on us! One step at a time. He is Faithful!

To lift Jesus higher means I must lower my ego. I must purpose my eyes to be fixed on JESUS! In all things, I must practice putting Jesus first. Then, and only then, can I put others first!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!”  Hebrews 12:1-2


I’d love to hear your comments and encourage one another on how you are taking steps to lift Jesus higher!

Also, coming next week…A Series on LOVE! After all, Valentines Day is just around the corner!

Speak Truth Love