Judging Bites Back

My God Has Taught Me A Lesson

When I was in grad school, I was housed in a dorm reserved for graduate students and students with families. This meant that I met lots of international students, including a Nigerian family. I don’t remember their family name (Don’t judge. It was a long time ago). But I do remember what the husband’s name meant when translated into English. Here’s the translation: My Friend Has Taught Me A Lesson. According to the husband, his father named him that because a friend he had loaned money never paid him back. Well … My God Has Taught Me A Lesson.

I’m not supposed to drink soft drinks, but I like them, especially Co-Colas as they are called here in the deep South USA. I recently shook off my Co-Cola addiction and have been Coke free for months. Then I backslid. Drank a Coke and therein lies my lesson. But first the back story.

I have been ministering off and on with three different women who have husbands addicted to behaviors that—when it comes right down to it—release the ladies from their marriage covenants. Of the three, only one is moving on; one is enabling the behavior (in the name of Jesus); and the other is waffling around. As things have dragged along with no apparent progress, I have become exasperated. Ok. Enough back story.

After drinking—and thoroughly enjoying my Co-Cola and the subsequent buzz—I forgot about it, other than noticing that I was visiting the toilet an awful lot. Then I went to bed and my bladder started to howl. That’s when I realized that I might not ought to drink Cokes because I might be allergic to something in them. Simultaneously, I was CRAVING a Coke.

So, on the one hand, my bladder was begging me to repent and on the other hand my whatever it is that craves was alternating between demanding I drink more Coke and grieving that an allergy might mean never having another Coke. Nowhere in the midst of that conflict did the horrible consequences—that I was experiencing at that VERY moment—have any power to affect my craving.

Here is the lesson, and it’s straight from the mouth of Lord Jesus. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). The Greek word translated judge is krino which means to judge with condemnation. It’s the attitude that I would never be that stupid because I am better than you.

Well. Take a look at Stupid here, because I was intensely craving what was causing me extreme misery. Consequences were not a deterrent.

So, it all boils down to this. It is by the grace of God ONLY that I am not caught in the traps that my people are struggling in. It sure isn’t because I have better sense than anyone else.

As soon as the Lord made it clear, I repented for my condemning attitude toward others—those with relationship addictions as well as other addictions. Hallelujah! My craving stopped, my bladder settled down and I went to sleep.

Jesus warned us. He said if we judge with condemnation that we would be judged. How are we judged? We do the same things we judge other people for doing. Oh. It may look a bit different. But an addiction is an addiction. A hurtful behavior is a hurtful behavior.

Let’s face it. We have all judged. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes to how we have judged, and when He does, let’s be quick to repent.

Let’s pray:

Father God, Maker of heaven and earth, I ask you to keep me safe from making condemning judgments (krino). Open my eyes to any past judgments I have made; to any current judging I am doing, and protect me from making future condemning judgments.

I repent right now for ever believing that I am better than anyone else. For thinking that I would never fall into the traps that have caught other people. It is ONLY by Your grace that I am free. Thank you for setting me free and thank you for keeping me free.

In the name of Jesus, I repent.


Blessings and hugs,



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Strategic Freedom

A Quick Helpful Prayer Strategy

Good news! I have finished my book (Yay!) and I will be meeting with book agents June 7 and 8. Prayer that the Lord’s will be done is very appreciated.

Prayer Strategy: Cutting Free from the Future

The need to not only heal, but to cut free from the past is recognized among prayer ministers pretty much across the board. But there is also a need to cut free from ties to the future.

These ties can be a prophetic word that you are waiting to come true. Prophetic words about the future can keep you from living today. AND they can cause you to feel distress when your present life doesn’t look anything like that word.

Fear of what the future holds or hope in the future (instead of in Christ) can pull you into anxiety. Anything that causes you to live future-focused and not present-focused is a potential weapon in the hands of the evil one.

Now, let me clarify. A wise person plans for the future. But it is not good to anxiously live there. Instead, live your best present because the Lord has your future well in hand.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer for Cutting Free from the Future

In the name of Jesus, by His blood and by His Word, I cut myself free from all ties to the future. My future belongs exclusively to the Lord. He is fully capable of managing it.

Lord God, please bring all of me into the present where I am supposed to live. Please bring to death any habits I have of living in the future. Amen.

Blessings upon you and those you love,


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Transition: Are We There Yet?

showers of blessings

I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Exekiel 34:26

The wife of one of my long-ago pastors told a story about her rude and cranky neighbor. After a run-in with this neighbor, she reported being shocked at what had poured out of her mouth, finishing up her story with these wise words: You don’t know what is in your bucket until someone kicks it over.

Transition is good at bucket kicking. That in-between stage of “one foot in what will be and the other stuck in what was” is a stressful place. Uncertainty, impatience and anxiety spills out of our inside bucket, sometimes in a flood; sometimes in a trickle, but out it comes during times of big change.

My mother passed away in September 2017. Being without a parent has been a difficult emotional transition for me. There is no way to describe it except to say it is a very odd and disconnected feeling.

Settling my mother’s estate has been a long and challenging process, requiring me to meet and interact with relatives, lawyers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, estate sales managers, auction house movers and so on. Then, when her house sold, the closing date kept shifting around. I felt like I was chasing a broken egg across the kitchen floor. All my prayer appointments became maybes. (Thank you to all those I pray with for their patient understanding). My settled, predictable life became very unsettled.

When my mother’s house finally closed, I grieved it, unexpectedly. I had no idea what that house meant to me until I walked through it one last time. This was the house where I had visited my mother for 30 years. The house she loved. The house she died in.

So what did Sam and I do in the midst of this life transition? We bought a house! A big beautiful, sadly neglected house that we could in no way afford unless it had been sadly neglected. And guess what? That closing date is shifting around! AND the sellers are in bankruptcy, which was NOT disclosed at the time we made our offer. So, we don’t know for sure when we will be moving or even if we will be moving. And there is an enormous amount of expensive work to do on our new house. What were we thinking?!?

So here I am suspended in transition, painting the windows of our current house, getting it ready to go on market. And like a tired cranky child riding in the backseat on a too-long road trip, I’m asking the Lord: Are we there yet?

Here is how I’m handling TOO MUCH transition. Heads up: it’s not pretty.

  1. Panda Fun got my take-out order wrong. I cried.
  2. Sam stepped in front of me to use the sink while I was cooking, I bit his head off. (Not as tasty as Panda Fun).
  3. I’m spending too much time on Facebook.
  4. I’m restless, unfocused and sleeping poorly.
  5. I’m worrying about the new house. Did we follow the Lord? Have we made a mistake? What were we thinking?!?
  6. I even caught myself watching a mental movie of the previous day’s social interactions while the devil provided a nasty commentary. I haven’t succumbed to that kind of self-hating nonsense in years.

What’s going on besides transition?

  1. The Devil. The enemy requires negative emotional energy (the dark stuff) in order to have any kind of power. He sees transition as an opportunity to amplify any fear of the new and unknown. Fear is negative emotional energy.
  2. Unresolved Historical Pain. Past issues stored in your bucket (the heart) surface during times of anxiety. That unresolved emotional pain mixes with, flavors and amplifies any present-day uncertainty.
  3. The Fall. We live in a fallen world. This means that we are surrounded by fallen people acting in fallen ways. They are afraid and uncertain, too. We feel their distress and add it to ours. Ugh.

Help! Is there help with transition?

  1. In the midst of my distress, the Lord posed a question. He said: “If you were in heaven and I gave you a challenge, like the one you are facing with your new sadly neglected house, would you be afraid?” I answered, “No. I would not be afraid because I would have all the resources of heaven to call upon to help me.” The Lord responded: “You have all the resources of heaven now. It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the Fall.” I remind myself of this when I’m scared.
  2. It has helped to read the books of Proverbs and Psalms.
  3. Worship is helpful.
  4. If you have unresolved historical pain, work on it. If not, but the enemy is trying to take you back to resolved pain (what was happening to me), recognize what is going on and tell him to get lost.
  5. Sending my angels to bring in the help I need to accomplish the task at hand.
  6. Reciting the Lord’s attributes in my mind (so that I don’t give in to worry). He is kind; He is willing to help me; He is eager to guide and advise me; He wants to share His wisdom with me and so on.
  7. Remembering to be kind to myself, being my own best friend, the friend I always wished for has been helpful.

Let us pray together as we grow together, that our buckets will contain less and less of the nasty stuff and more and more of the good stuff. Because, while we are in this fallen world, our buckets will get kicked.

This time of big transition has been emotionally upsetting AND beautifully humbling. Any notion that I was a spiritual big shot full of faith and confidence is long gone. I still need a savior. And I have learned that when the challenge is big enough, what is in my bucket is going to spill out.

I bless your journey wherever you may be.

(Leave a message when you call).

Please share this teaching if you found it helpful.

Freedom from Bitterness (excerpt)

Written September 2015

Here is an excerpt from a downloadable teaching available for purchase at http://www.thepoolministries.org.

The subject of bitterness has always troubled me because no one has ever defined it or explained it to me. Actually no one has ever tried to explain it to me. I have been taught to avoid bitterness; to not be bitter; to not let a root of bitterness grow up (???????) … whatever that means … and so on, but I have never had ANYONE teach me what bitterness is. So here is a taste of what the Lord showed me about bitterness. (I pestered and pestered Him until He told me).  🙂

Mara means bitter. (Naomi means my joy, by the way.) I looked up the meaning of Mara in the Hebrew and its literal meaning is a bitter taste ranging from disagreeable (the taste of a walnut shell) to poisonous or deadly (the taste of an elephant ear plant).  Applied to Naomi’s suffering I think it is safe to say that she was experiencing such extreme loss that recovery felt truly impossible.

I understand Naomi’s anger towards God. I have seen this tendency in myself, in other Christians and in non-Christians. It appears to be universal for people to blame someone when things go bad. And who better to blame than God who is omniscient and omnipotent? He could have stopped it from happening. Couldn’t He? We all think like this and it takes time working through difficult losses with the Lord to come to an understanding of sin, eternity and God’s plan for humanity. Certainly in the grip of a horribly devastating loss we tend to automatically rage at the Lord. I don’t think being angry at the human who has hurt us or even being angry at God, while we are working through our loss, results in bitterness. Bitterness sets in when we sink into resigned despair and accept that we will never recover from what that person/God did/allowed.

Picture a tree, its roots deeply planted in the soil of pervasive painful experience, the sturdy trunk wrapped around the belief that your life is ruined, and dangling from its far-reaching branches hatred, resentment, jealousy, cynicism, rage, judgmentalism, pride, hopelessness, depression, despair and unbelief. And probably other fruit I haven’t thought of yet. (The pride grows from our belief that we would NEVER treat anyone like God/person treated us. We are BETTER than them. Ha ha! Live long enough and you will see how true that is.) We will talk about the unbelief in a bit.

The complete article is available at http://www.thepoolministries.org. This is an excerpt. I am referring to Naomi in the book of Ruth.