Imago Deo

O Lord, our Lord How majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on

The significance of the Latin phrase- imago deoin the image of God– is incredible! From the very creation of the first man and woman, the LORD declared that we are fashioned in the image of God. Each human bears the image of our divine Heavenly Father.

We are imprinted with this image when He forms us in the womb. For those who reject God, His image becomes obscured by sin. No matter the extent of a person’s darkened mind or physical appearance, the image is present although perhaps it is deeply hidden.  May God open our eyes to see that the clerk at the grocery store, the inconsiderate driver, child with Down syndrome, the homeless veteran, the drug addict, and even a murderer or persecutor of believers (I’m thinking of Paul) are each created in His image.

For those who know God and are called according to His purpose, His image upon us is clarified and refined like a polaroid picture emerging to view.* I find it interesting that while we may not be able to recognize other believers, I think heavenly beings (angels) discern the ones sealed by God as his own.

What a privilege and responsibility we hold to re-present our LORD as image bearers. However, even more astonishing is that our Father additionally gives the gift of His Spirit to each one who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior. As His children, He sets His seal upon us giving us His Spirit as a guarantee promising us redemption.* He puts this marvelous treasure, His very presence, in fallible and deteriorating bodies.

Some days life may seem impossibly confusing or difficult. Be fortified in these truths – You are created in the image of God, and He dwells within you as His promise of hope in His glory.*

* Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 1:13-14; Colossians 1:27



Thanks to our new youth director, Edgar Ruiz, I have another acronym to share. This one is a simple model when praying for God’s purpose and direction.

F – Fill me with Your Spirit

E – Empower me

E – Embolden me to be your witness

D – Direct me

GO- Go before me

Jesus revealed to his disciples in John 15:5, “He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Praying in this manner places me in a position of abiding by keeping me from organizing my days and hoping God will come alongside me as I attempt to do what I think is good. This prayer reminds me that my strength, power, and direction all proceed from abiding in Jesus. If God is not leading the way, it is far better to wait than to make my own way in my own strength.

Moses understood this as he pleaded with the Lord in Exodus 33:15-16, “If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. …Is it not by Your going with us that we may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

Waiting is difficult. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Father to send the gift He promised, the Holy Spirit. For the disciples as well as for us, waiting on the Lord may be the difference between cowering and courage, being a wanderer or being a witness. In his message, Edgar observed, “The presence of God is what sets us apart.”

Lord, please fill me, empower me, embolden me, direct me and go before me so that my life is not filled with ordinary accomplishments, but extraordinary fruit-bearing.


Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me a purity of heart, so that I may honor you. Psalm 86:11

As I look over my years of reading and studying the Bible, I have found 2 methods stand out as most beneficial. The first has been studying each book of the Bible inductively using Precept upon Precept workbooks written by Kay Arthur. In the beginning, some people discouraged me from this because I had 3 little children and these studies necessitate about 5 hours of homework each week 😊 Even then I realized if I am going to invest my time into something, time in the word of God is always wisely spent.

But for those seasons when I was not prepared to commit to an in-depth study, I found SOAP, an acronym introduced to me through the Hawaiian pastor Wayne Cordiero. This technique is so simple and now provides a written journey of my time spend in the word of God.

Scripture – Under this heading, select one or more verses to write out.

Observation – What do you notice about this verse? Some questions to consider…

Who is speaking? To Whom? Do you learn something about God’s character? What does it say to do or not to do? Is there a promise? What is the historical context? If you are really curious, you can look up a word in its original language (Hebrew or Greek) to gain more insight.

Application- What does God want me to do as a result of reading this? Perhaps my response will be to worship our amazing God. Or do I need to repent? Do I need to incorporate this truth into my thinking so my worldview resembles God’s and not man’s? Is there something God is placing on my heart to do or to stop doing?

Pray – Talk to the Lord and enjoy the privilege of coming boldly to His throne of grace to find help in our time of need. (I record a 2-3 sentence summary of the prayer.)

My prayer for you is that you will delight in God’s word, His love letter to us.

Is There Any Good News?

After hearing about disastrous world events or learning of heartbreaks your friends are experiencing, you may wonder, “Is there ever any good news?”

ABSOLUTELY! What is it? I want to draw your attention to the ultimate good news. In Greek, the word used is euangelion, a proclamation of glad tidings, the gospel.

The word gospel is no longer familiar to many, and for those of us who understand its significance, this amazing, good news has lost its glimmer. I first read the phrase “preach the gospel to yourself everyday” in a book by Jerry Bridges. He asserted that the gospel isn’t merely something we believed at some past point in time, but the gospel bestows continual, ongoing effects of which we should remind ourselves each day.  

What is this good news of salvation?

It is inclusive – The gospel is the power of salvation for all who believe. Romans 1:16

It is exclusive – There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Jesus who lived, died, was buried, and was raised from death to appear to many is the only way. Acts 4:12, 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

It is complete – When Jesus died on the cross his final word tetelestai means, “It is finished!”  The debt of sin has been paid in full. For all those things we have done wrong and could never do enough good to make right, Jesus paid the price God required, a perfect sacrifice, Himself. John 19:28

It is ongoing. I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection which Christ Jesus first possessed for me. Philippians 3:12

It is now. We are given His Spirit and His power to live in this world as overcomers not making a name or fortune for ourselves but to make His name known. Nothing can separate us from His love. He is always with us.  His grace is always sufficient, and God’s strength is best showcased through our weakness. Romans 8:35-39, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9

It is still future.  The empty tomb proclaims that we have hope, not only for this life but for the eternal life to come. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to you. Matthew 28:6, Romans 8:18

Whoever will call upon the Lord will be saved.  The invitation is for you! Romans 10:9-10

What’s the Point?

No one aspires to be the kind of friend Job had. He called them miserable comforters because they judged him and presented lengthy discourses when what Job needed was an empathetic listener.

 My friend and I were discussing how not to deepen another’s pain with meaningless words.  In the midst of suffering and depression, her friend had lost hope questioning, “What is the point of my life?” I don’t know that anything my friend could say would be beneficial yet being present speaks love and concern without words.

Thousands of years ago, Job asked something similar, “Why was I born?” Today, we are still pondering the reason of our existence.

What makes life meaningful? Fortunately, we do not have to formulate a response to the question, “What is the point of my life?” God knows His purpose for each of us even when we do not. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 138:8

From an eternal perspective, a life is never pointless if a person worships God and intercedes for others.

When Satan roars lies into my ears, “Your life doesn’t matter. Everything you do is pointless.” I turn my focus to the King of Kings by recalling parts of Revelation 4

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty who was, and is and is to come… Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things and because of your will they existed and were created.

Or I lift up a prayer for God to strengthen believers who are being persecuted, for his comfort for those grieving, or for the peace of Jerusalem.

Showing kindness, encouraging someone in the smallest way or spending time in God’s word is never worthless to our Lord.

You cannot determine the value of your life by using the world’s standards. 1 Corinthians 1:27 reminds us, “The Lord has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.”

 Plant one mustard seed by faith each day and trust God to bear His fruit.


As Josh and I walked around the neighborhood today, I was excited to notice signs of spring. It has seemed like a long winter. Physically as well as spiritually, I have been longing for more warmth and light.

Perhaps you have heard the idea expressed, “When you are in midst of darkness, don’t forget what you knew to be true in the light.”

My son is training to become a pilot. On one of his flights, after he took off, a shield came into place completely obscuring his external view. He flew without seeing anything outside of the cockpit by recalling what he had learned and by relying on the plane’s instruments. No matter how disorienting it was to fly without visibility, he could not make decisions based on feelings. (The second pilot, his instructor, had full visibility and could assume control if a problem arose.)

When things in my life are difficult, I am tempted to make decisions or judge my circumstances based on feelings. Unfortunately, when it is the darkest, it is hardest to navigate my way. Lest I become disoriented and veer off course, I began a list to maintain my bearings for when the shadows of dusk loom and dawn comes slowly.

God will never leave me or forsake me.

God hears my cries, and He answers prayers.

I am loved by God.

God has a purpose for my life, and He will fulfill it. The enemy cannot thwart God’s plans.

The grand tapestry God is weaving is far grander and more complex than I can comprehend.

My Redeemer lives, and one day I will behold Him face to face.

My eternity is with God forever.

It’s easy to forget truth when we cannot perceive how God is working. Consider making your own list of truths to mark the way.  As you navigate through the darkness, remind yourself what you knew to be true when the light of Jesus was clearly lighting your path.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it. John 1:5

Being Intentional

I have been wrestling with some questions lately. After discussing the topic with my 3 oldest children, this clouded issue became even murkier.

To what extent should I plan for the future or set goals?

Is there a difference between goal setting and being intentional?

When does being intentional become prideful?

Proverbs 16:9 NLT states, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

I don’t want to live the life God has given me haphazardly, yet after many attempts of planning things, I encountered God’s divine detours and interruptions of these intentions I thought were wise and good.

So I face a dilemma. How much time and energy to do I put into goal once I encounter obstacles and unforeseen circumstances? How much do I rest in the sovereignty of God that if He is behind the plan, it will unfold in His time and His way?

Proverbs 19:21 ESV reinforces the sovereignty and omnipotence of God, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

The outcomes belong to God. Maybe I think the goal is to do something, but God’s purpose is for me to become something. If I am focused on the goal or the intention, am I missing what is unfolding in my life now?

James 4:14-15 give us an important reminder -You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

But this leads to the other extreme. Do I just wait on the Lord and plan nothing? I wonder if some personalities who are initiators find this instruction nearly impossible while others who are responders, use it as an excuse not to take any action.

Clearly God is intentional in accomplishing His purposes. To what degree do I seek to be intentional since my desire is to become more like God?

How is obedience an outflow of being intentional? Can we build spiritual discipline without intentionality?

Hebrews 10:23-25 reminds us that our God who promised is faithful. Then the writer instructs us to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. What are your thoughts on this subject? If you comment, you don’t have to give your name or e-mail but you won’t be able to see you comments right away.  

By Faith

Hebrews 11 is filled with examples of men and women who lived by faith. I was reading these inspiring accounts and wondered, “What would the writer record about my faith?”

But Hebrews 11 is not just about “them” – those giants of faith who did amazing things we could never live up to. It is about us too.

Hebrews 11 describes you! You are a noteworthy example of faith when you come to God believing that He exists and realizing that He is pleased by and rewards you as you seek Him.

Over the years, I have written notes in the margin of my Bible.

By 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, I wrote, “Lord give me this faith.”

 By verse 5, after reading of the witness of Enoch being pleasing to God, “May this be my witness too.”

In verse 28. Moses endured as seeing Him who is unseen, I wrote, “Please strengthen my ability to see Him who is unseen.”

To remind myself that I am part of this great cohort of faith, I decided to add a footnote to Hebrews Chapter 11. “By faith Lynn did not shrink back, but placed her hope in the Lord.”

We are not there yet. One day our faith will become sight!!! Until then, remember our faith isn’t about doing greater things but in everything trusting Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

O Come, O Come Immanuel

O Come, O come Immanuel and ransom captive Israel.

That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears…

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight…

Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Each year when I hear this song my spirit is drawn into the minor key of longing for the fulfillment of promise, waiting in darkness for the long expected Messiah. The good news of Christmas is that God has brought the light of His Son, Jesus, to people trapped in darkness.

Yet even as we sing, “Joy to the World the Lord has come,” there is still an intense longing for what is yet to come. Feeling joy and excited anticipation is not the story for everyone this season, and to suggest that it should be only magnifies the isolation and depression some people are experiencing during this season.

Even as believers, sometimes the light is merely a dim flicker nearly overcome by the brokenness around us or within us, living each day in incredible physical pain or the anguish of separation from someone dear to us.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish the light of Christ. John 1:5 Sometimes instead of a bright light appearing, we are given strength from God to endure the darkness a little bit longer, to wait with the tiniest glimmer of hope knowing the light will one day come.

While we rejoice that the birth and death of Jesus is God’s provision for our salvation, our spirits still cry out, “O Come, O come Immanuel” as we await the glorious return of Immanuel.

A Blessing in a Different Package

In case you are not a regular reader, I will share with you that our 13 year son, Joshua, has Down’s syndrome. A friend of ours approached me a few weeks ago telling me that he was asked to pray with a family whose newborn child also had been given this diagnosis. He mentioned that some of the others present were praying “against the curse of Down syndrome.” He confided to me that he was unable to pray that way because he did not see the diagnosis in such a negative light. Having been a part of a special needs ministry, he commented that the participants in that program had a unique connection with God.

My response when I heard this was sadness for the baby and the family. I do not feel Joshua is plagued by the curse of Down syndrome or that his condition was a triumph of our Adversary. Joshua is a divine gift for our family for reasons only God understands, yet I do know having Josh has taught us about God’s abundant and unfailing love for his children. Joshua’s presence in our lives has given us a depth of compassion for hurting people that we as a family would not have gained parenting four typical children. Joshua reminds us that our value does not rest on our performance.

Katherine Wolf, who survived a stroke and wrote about her journey expressed an idea in Hope Heals that resonates with my journey.

I have learned to do many things well – to wait well, to suffer well, to cope well, to persevere well, and even to lose well. Our culture tells us to be beautiful, to avoid pain and be happy. What if everything important in our lives is actually the opposite?

The things the enemy intends to devastate and cause despair, God transforms into uniquely designed opportunities for sanctification. The diagnosis or circumstance that someone perceives as a curse may become a window into the heart of God.