Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 3

Thinking Deeply by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

What do you do with deep thoughts?

The kind that can weigh you down or keep you up at night?

What about the deep thoughts about God? Who can you tell? Where do you go with them?

I’ve found this blog is a great way to express my cavernous thoughts. For you it could be a journal. Back when we were kids, it was a diary, locked for safe keeping. Did you have one of those?

But now I have a new outlet, music, because I just purchased a guitar. Before you wonder Why in the world would she do such a thing? I have to tell you about my history with the guitar. I played guitar as a teenager into my early twenties. I used to write songs and occasionally performed. I even won a college talent show with a couple of my original songs, but my strumming came to an end the day I moved to Tennessee. I left my guitar in an old boyfriend’s garage because I couldn’t fit it in my car. (Sounds like a country tune) The distance was too much for the relationship to withstand and I never saw my guitar again. I guess you could say that’s the day the music died.

Has the music died in your life?

Sisters and brothers, there’s hope. God promises to give us a new song (Psalm 98:1). He says he wants to do new things in our lives (Isaiah 43:19). There’s no age limit given. He also teaches us new things and gives us revelation through his active and living Word (Jeremiah 33:3).

Just this week I was reading in the book of John and saw something I’d never seen before about the healing of the man, who had been lame for thirty-eight years. In the New King James Version of the Bible, John 5:4 says: “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.” I’m guessing if an angel stirred the water, people were feeling good as they toweled off. However, the lame man sat by the water for almost four decades, longing to be healed and looking for a lifeguard to help him into the pool. No one ever did. People disregarded him as they took care of their own needs, post–stirring, for healing.

Then along came Jesus, and with just two statements, “Get Up! Pick up your mat and walk,” the man was immediately healed and walked away. I wonder what the Bethesda swimmers thought at that moment?

Here’s what I know. God is El Roi, the God who sees. Jesus knew the needs of this man. He knew he was desperate for healing. He saw he’d been overlooked and passed by. Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, came along, singled this man out, and did what no one else would do, he cared. Just like he sees your hurts and cares for you.

So you guessed it. This story has prompted me to think deeply and to write lyrics for a song. Guitar chords will follow.

Stir up the Water

Verse 1

Stir up the water.

Does anyone see me lying here?

I want God’s healing,

Someone carry me, and dry up all my tears.

Verse 2

I’m down and wanting,

What can I do to change from my old ways?

Come stir the water,

So maybe this will be a bright and glorious day.

Chorus

All it takes is one word, Jesus.

You can speak and make me whole.

I’ve been waiting for your presence,

Your touch can heal my soul.

Verse 3

Stir up the water.

I’m running now Lord, cuz’ you have set me free.

There’s no more longing,

Jesus, you’re the God who knows and always sees.

Verse 4

My life is yours now.

No looking back on who I was before.

I leap for joy now.

You cared enough to give me life and soar.

Chorus

All it takes is one word, Jesus.

You can speak and make me whole.

I’ve been waiting for your presence,

Your touch can heal my soul.

Stir up the water.

Stir up the water.

Stir up the water.

Jesus—set me free.

Marriage Advice for our Children

We’re just over two weeks and counting until my son Kyle’s wedding and as I shop for clothes for the big day and the rehearsal dinner, it’s becoming real. I’m also realizing how fast the pages of life fly by.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Kyle looked so cute in his sandbox that I had to snap a photo?

Then there were those birthday parties that we always tried to make extra special.

And the day he wowed us at his piano recital. His teacher thought he should play in Carnegie Hall. (Kyle’s piano playing career ended at age ten.)

Now he is a man, preparing to begin his own family life with a girl we love, Bailey, and as I think about the advice I’d like to give them, this is what comes to mind.

  1. Most important—Build your marriage on the rock, Jesus Christ. Jeff and I did not start with Jesus as our foundation, but eventually we rededicated our lives to him and it made a huge difference in our married life. We now answer to a higher authority and we realized when we said “I do” we entered into a covenant with God. Covenant relationships are permanent, but too many people exit a marriage during difficult times, rather than pray and do the work necessary to transition out of problems. These problems are working on something in us as well, and with Jesus as your foundation, no storm can destroy your union.
  2. You must forgive and give each other unconditional love. It’s guaranteed that your spouse will disappoint you and you will disappoint your spouse. Humans are imperfect and will make mistakes, however the Bible says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). I am a communicator, so I have rarely let twenty-four hours pass before a conflict is resolved. We have a “discussion” and I present my feelings. He shares his and we try to find a resolution. We generally meet halfway on an issue.
  3. Discover each other’s love language. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is still as current today as it was when it was first written in 1992.  It’s interesting the both my husband’s and my love language is “Words of Affirmation.” We like compliments and encouragement! Knowing that, we actually have to work harder at encouraging each other because we like to receive those positive words ourselves. Jeff and I also recently shared our results from a “Strengthfinders” test and we each had different strengths, but it gave us insight into how we tick. It also made us realize how much his strengths help me in my weaknesses, and vice versa. God knew what He was doing when He put us together!
  4. Be thankful for each other. As we have now been married almost 33 years, I think about my mom who lost my dad about a year after they were married. I am thankful God has given us this much time together, and that I did not have to endure what my mother went through. I am grateful for the fun trips we’ve taken (I love adventures!), the movies we have watched, the golf we’ve played, and the spiritual conversations we now share. Jeff is a good listener and problem solver, so I am thankful that he is patient when I need to vent.

Growing up fatherless with a mom who struggled, it has been great to have someone to do life with. I find that when Jeff travels, I miss having him around the house, even if he’s upstairs and I’m putzing around downstairs. I find it interesting that Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding, when he turned the water into wine. If you’ll let Him be the central focus of your marriage, He will perform miracle after miracle in your lives as well, and the latter years will be sweeter than the first.

Congratulations, Kyle and Bailey. I love you both very much.

Love Hope and Marriage by Dr. Lynnette Simm

Today’s blog is provided by Pearls of Promise Creative Director, Dr. Lynnette Simm. Dr. Simm, with degrees in psychology and education, has been a college professor for nearly fifteen years. She is a contributor for Focus on Fabulous magazine and a freelance editor. Married over twenty years, Dr. Simm, her husband, Madison, and their two amazing daughters live in North Dallas, Texas, where she continues working on her writing. She is the author of And the Day Came, an inspirational memoir. Contact her by email: drlms96@gmail.com or on Facebook.

Wedding season is upon us. Two of my favorite people are getting married this summer, my niece and my brother-in-law. Oh the memories of my own wedding come flooding back. I remember my bouquet of Cali lilies, ribbon bows, twinkly lights, balloon arch, three-tiered cake, my antique white dress, and my family and friends.

But what is a wedding really?

It’s the joining of two histories, two families, and two individuals, in the hopes that two can become one. During this season, I have been reading a book that a dear friend gave me, The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book about Living by Ira Byock, and the book presents four statements that matter most to make life worth living. They are: “I forgive you, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you.” These are the elements that make relationships strong, that make relationships worth living for, and that make relationships worth remembering.

When I met Madison, almost 26 years ago, neither one of us had the support of our families. It was acceptable that we were dating, but when we got engaged only five months after our first date, there was a lot of resistance. My future husband’s family felt our engagement was too quick. At the time I could understand their need to protect their son, grandson, and brother; however, I can say I was very hurt. I felt rejected, unworthy, and dismissed. My family’s marital history was riddled with divorce, so it seemed as if my marriage was doomed. I felt my family was disengaged from my life, which left me feeling lonely and sad. So with one side of our family worried, and the other side of the family somewhat ambivalent, Madison and I had a difficult time gaining support.

“I forgive you.”

That’s what Madison and I had to do in order to gain trust and build a relationship with our families. Because we had a three-year engagement, we had time to show our families that we really care about them, and that we wanted to grow our relationship. Forgiveness is not simply something that we want but it is actually a commandment by Christ, to forgive one another as he has forgiven us. It also is something that is essential in our lives and that can heal us. Unforgiveness can rob us of years, it can rob us of joy, and it can rob us of family. The opposite is true about forgiving. It gives us years of relationships that grow, flourish, thrive, and prosper in love. Forgiveness can give us joy and peace beyond all understanding, and forgiveness can bring us lightness and strength that we can’t find in any other phrase. “I forgive you.”

“Please forgive me.”

Words that we need to say more often. We need to take into account that we are not perfect, we make mistakes, and it is by humbling ourselves that we strengthen our relationships. By coming to that person and saying I’m sorry, it allows them the opportunity to get to know you and to get to know that you want to make a relationship stronger. I had to humble myself with my family. I had to take responsibility for our strained relationship. I had become very passive aggressive during my adolescence that made my family unwilling to be hurt by my behavior, so we became distant. When I reached out to them and asked for forgiveness and began to show a change in my behavior, our relationship began to grow.  

“Thank you.”

Two words that show an immense amount of gratitude and an immense amount of respect. Thank you means we appreciate you. Thank you means we see the value in you. Thank you means we feel that you took the time to care about us. Those two words seem to be an under-used power tool. Thank you can brighten someone’s day even when they simply give you a cup of coffee. Thank you can show respect toward your parents, who love and supported you. Madison and I have parents and siblings who truly care about us. They worry and only want the best for us. Both our families have helped us through the years and have shown that they support our relationship. By saying thank you to them, we created a foundation for a relationship that is built on respect, understanding, and gratitude.

The last one, “I love you.”

Sometimes we say it too much, without understanding it’s impact. These words, “I love you,” should be cherished, used sincerely, honestly, and with a pure heart and motive. I appreciate the fact that the Greeks had six different words and meanings of love. Each word having a specific emotion connected to it. The two types of love that build families are agape or love for everyone: selfless, charity love, the gift of love and pragma or longstanding love: deep understanding, compromising, patience love that is built over long periods of time.

Building relationships takes time. You’re asking many people to get to know the person you love and come to like, if not, love them too. Building relationships takes grace. Grace because we all come with our own history. Each person had years of life and experience before we met and family dynamics that had been cultivated for decades. Sometimes people find it easier to just let go of family and not do the work, but our family is proof that when the work is done, blessings are abundant!

Weddings are a time of hope, family, and love. It’s a time to feel the blessing of a partner, who will help each other walk through life together. The ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the gifts and excitement of a life shared. That’s the hope of marriage. It is truly possible when you include each other’s family, respect the differences, place healthy boundaries, and honor and cherish each other.

When God Doesn’t Answer Prayers Right Away

Woman praying with hands together on black background

Do you have a few prayers that are many years old, while immediate answers come for others?

Have you almost given up praying for someone but something keeps you on your knees?

Maybe you’ve prayed for a family member to overcome addiction or for his/her salvation but nothing seems to happen.

Should you keep praying or give up?

I wonder if the parents of the man who was blind since birth ever gave up praying for their son? In John 9, when Jesus’ disciples saw this same sightless man they asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In our case, we say, “What have I done wrong that God is not answering my prayer?”

We might think, The person I’m praying for must need to repent so God’s freed up to make a change in them.

It’s doubtful that either of these scenarios are correct. Instead, as in the blind man’s case, God may be delaying an answer so he is glorified in the greatest and most impactful way.

After Jesus healed the man using spit and a little mud, the former blind man’s neighbors and others who had witnessed him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

This man could now see and people couldn’t believe their eyes!

If this man had been healed as a small child, would it have glorified God as much?

If this man had not been on the streets year after year, begging, where countless travelers saw him, would the miracle have been so profound?

God’s ways are not our ways, and in our persistent prayers, we must trust His timing.

In the blind man’s case, his healing was not only a witness to the people in the neighborhood and his parents, this supernatural opening of a blind man’s eyes was also a neon sign for some Jewish leaders, the Pharisees. It caught their attention! While they tried to find everything wrong with what Jesus did that day, I wondered if a certain Pharisee, and future believer in Yeshua named Nicodemus was there observing? Perhaps the day the blind man’s eyes were open, his spiritual eyes opened as well? It’s fun to imagine a scenario like this.

God is the ultimate multi-tasker. Like in the sport of bowling, he wants to strike the most pins in one roll. That’s why it sometimes takes a little longer to receive an answer to prayer. There’s still work to be done. There’s a story developing. God’s vat of glory is filling up before it spills over.

So keep praying.

How to Become the Person You Were Created to Be


There’s a little bird who lives outside the window of our neighborhood workout facility and almost every time I’m at the gym, this bird repeatedly flies into the window. Apparently, he sees his reflection and thinks it’s another bird. I want to tell him, Don’t do that anymore. Don’t you know that you’re going to get hurt? However, he continues to pound the window and doesn’t learn his lesson.

Sometimes we are like the little bird, aren’t we? We make the same mistakes, with bad results, and don’t learn from what we’ve done. We might say:

That’s the last time I’m going to worry.

I’m not going to get angry like that in the future.

I’m not going to spend money I don’t have.

But then we fly into the window again and we repeat the pattern.

How can we change, once and for all? How do we avoid regret and become the woman or man we were created to be?

We must acknowledge that we cannot eliminate a behavior or generational curse in our own power. If it’s a family trait that we can’t shake, we have to bind it in the name of Jesus. If it’s a behavior, we must pray for God’s power to overcome. Remind yourself of 1 John 4:4 that says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

I’m down to one credit card, and my goal is to pay it off over the next couple of years. I’ve never been able to do this on my own. When it comes to shopping, I’m like the little bird crashing into the window, but I have asked God to give me the resolve to eliminate debt, and I am binding a poverty mindset that says I don’t have enough. I also want to travel more, and desire a card that give me airline miles, so that is extra motivation. It has become a fun activity to watch the debt decrease and to think about the places I want to go. The Lord is giving me the strength I need because I have turned the bad behavior over to Him. He has become greater than my desire to spend.

What do you need to overcome? Do you want to be the man or woman you were created to be? Then take a moment to pray over the area where you repeatedly fail. Tell God, “I cannot make this change on my own. You are greater than this shortcoming, Lord. Help me to stop pounding the window in my life.

1 2 3 4 5 113