Ten Truths That Will Change Your Life

Paul told the Christ-followers in Rome that they needed a change of mind. He said, in essence, “Look, you can be guided by the world’s thinking. Or you can be guided by God and His Truth. But it is going to take you choosing to pop out of the mold that the world is trying to squeeze you into and, instead, letting your thinking – and therefore your actions – be transformed by God renewing your mind. And, by the way, this is a process – not a one-shot deal. “

That is the Kathy-phrase of this:
Romans 12:2 (AMP)
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Simply reading a list biblical Truth won’t renew your mind. Instead, you have to choose to live by Truth daily. When Truth changes your behavior, you are living Romans 12:2. Because, let’s face it: anyone can say these things. The “proving” comes every day of the week, in every place you find your feet.

Ten Truths That WILL Change Your Life:

1. The Word of God is Truth. Period.
Practically Speaking: When I come to a point where God’s Word says one thing and the “experts” say another, I choose to go with God’s Word. Even when I have to go on faith without “empirical data”. His Word has withstood many tests through the annals of time. Don’t check your brain at the door when you read it. Instead, get the tools you need to really be able to sink your teeth into it. But you can always, always trust it to hold true.

2. There is one God, and One Way to Him.
Practically Speaking: Sincere Belief = Truth is bunk. I can sincerely believe that I was hatched from an egg, but that doesn’t make it true. In an effort to not offend man, we have offended God by diminishing Him to one of many options. Jesus himself said that He is The Way to the Father. Who am I to argue with Him? (See Number 1.)

3. Because God is the Creator, He gets to set the rules. Not me. Not my culture. Not the government. Not my pastor or my parents.
Practically Speaking: All of those things – me, culture, government, the church and the family – they are all creations. God has ordained three of them – the government, the Church and the family – to govern us. But He is the ultimate decider of all things because He is the Creator of all things.

4. Everything I own or have is on loan from God. I am not the owner; I am the caretaker of it.
Practically Speaking: This is incredibly freeing! I want to be a good caretaker, or steward, of all God has entrusted to me, whether that is people, animals or stuff. But I am not the bottom line in caring for them. God is. I do the very best I can, but the results are on Him, not me. It is also freeing to know that I can freely give away what He has given to me, whether that is time, talent or treasure. He is the Source of all of those and I cannot out-give Him. Of course, He has guidelines for how to best steward all of those. But I am not the provider of anything for anyone; God is.

5. There are exactly two things on this earth that will live forever: people and The Word of God. Everything else is temporary and will one day burn.
Practically Speaking: See above! I love my cats. I love my house and the way it is decorated. I love my family. All of those “loves” are different. And we get it badly wrong when we mix them up. I will be devastated when my cats die. They are like family to me. But they are not eternal. And therefore, I do not love them like I love the people in my life. Same thing with stuff. It will all burn. So I will take care of it while I have it. But I will not let it own me, my time or my thoughts. Instead, I will make people and the Word of God my top priorities. Everything else is icing!

6. All people have one of two destinies.
Practically Speaking: The Bible is very clear: the entire world is divided into two camps. Not by skin color, socio-economic status, or gender. Not by “good” and “bad”. The division is “in Christ” or “without Christ”. Those who are “in Christ” – who have accepted that they are sinners and He is THE Savior – will live forever with God. The Bible calls that heaven. And those who are “without Christ” have said, “Nope, God, I’ve got this. Don’t need you. I am trusting in ____, instead.” The Bible is clear that God will ultimately not force anyone to choose eternity with Him, or eternal life. So, at the end of this earthly life, He will grant their will to those who chose to be without Him. The Bible calls that Christ-less eternity hell, or eternal death. Every person you meet is bound for one of these two places. The job of a Christ-follower is to tell those who are bound for a Christ-less eternity how they can change that, using words as necessary.

7. My body is the temple of God.
Practically Speaking: Go to Exodus and read the description of the Tabernacle, the movable worship site for Israel. Or go to First Kings and read the description of the first temple. Then fathom that Paul told the church at Corinth that our bodies are now the Temple of God because we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as believers. God doesn’t make junk – and He also expects His stuff to be treated well. “Well” can be a list of things I won’t do – or a list of things I will do. But either way, my body matters to God. My soul matters more, because it is eternal. But don’t “toss the baby with the bathwater” and think that you can do to your body whatever you please.

8. My days were numbered before one of them came to be.
Practically Speaking: Temples wear out. Or sometimes they are destroyed suddenly. The same is true of my body. I can be a good steward of it – but ultimately, God gets to decide when this structure goes into the earth and my soul goes to be with Him. So frantically rushing around trying to extend the time this body lives is foolish and near-sighted. Treating it well is honoring to God. Swinging to either extreme – caring too much about it or not caring enough – is idolatry.

9. I have one true enemy. But the war has already been won – and we win!
Practically Speaking: Satan was defeated at the cross and the empty tomb. A time is coming when he will be bound and thrown into the pit of fire for all eternity. But in the meantime, he wages war to see how many casualties he can create. There are two types: the ones he deceives into never believing and the ones who believe but never live the “abundant life” God desires for them. The first are destined for hell. The second are destined to purposelessness on this earth as well as a loss of the incredible joy that comes from whole-hearted obedience. I do not have to fear Satan – but I do need to be aware of his schemes and use the armor I have been given by God to thwart them.

10. My value has nothing to do with me. Therefore, I can do nothing to increase or decrease it. Nothing.
Practically Speaking: My life is not a frantic search for meaning, value or love. It is not me gritting my teeth and doing the right things in hopes that God notices or that it somehow goes on the good side of the column. Nor is it me blowing a trumpet and saying, “Look how good I am!” I am deeply, profoundly, scandalously flawed. But I am also deeply, profoundly, scandalously loved. The good I do is an overflow, the outpouring of the love and grace I have been given. As Michael Card sings, God “cannot love you more and He will not love you less”. You can’t change God’s love for you because you didn’t start it and you cannot end it.

So every bit of my list is based in Scripture. If you are curious to know where, let me know and I will be happy to share references so you can look these up for yourself. My prayer for both of us is that we will allow God’s Word to renew our minds and transform our thinking, today and daily!

But God…

It’s such a tiny word.

Yet it holds such power.
“I love you, but I don’t want to marry you.”
“You do great work, but we have to let you go.”
“We got all the cancer, but you still have to do chemo.”


It’s not always bad news.
But it often is.

There is one way, however, that I love the word “but”.
And that is when you combine it with “God”.

“But God…”

It happens over and over again in the Bible.
The story will be moving along and something negative is going down.
But then the narrative changes with two simple, powerful words: “But God.”

Joseph, the dude of colored-coat fame, recognized the power of those words.
Do you remember the end of the story?
He had been reunited with his family in Egypt and all had been forgiven.
But then his Dad, Jacob, died.
And the brothers freaked out.
They were afraid that the only reason Joe was being nice was because of Dad.
Here’s the account from Genesis 50 from the New Living Translation:
“After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.

So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.”

And I LOVE Joseph’s response. It rings with the power “but God”!

“Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.”

“But God.”

God steps in.
He intervenes.
The story changes.
Lives change.

But God…

Another favorite “But God” of mine is found in Ephesians 2.
Paul writes, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins…But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.”

And again in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

I look around me, at my friends and family, and I see “But God…” written all over their lives as well.

There once was a little girl who was horribly neglected. But God wrote it on the heart of a family to bring her in to be one of their own and now she thrives.

Or the tale of a disposable child in China who should have died. But God used an orphanage there to get him to a family here, a place where he is chosen, wanted and loved.

The son of a Muslim Imam grew up as a devout follower of Islam, but God intervened and he is now one of the pastors at my church.

My Dad should have had serious – or even fatal – damage from the stroke last week but God arranged the circumstances so that he was one of the 30% who can get the clot-buster drug – and it was effective.

The doctor missed the 99% blockage of my Dad’s left carotid artery in the first test, but God made him take a second look and it was found and dealt with before it caused another stroke.

My parents both came from homes that should have trapped them in abusive patterns or bondage of some form, but God laid it on their hearts to have a marriage centered on Him and, because of that, my story is vastly different than either of theirs.

I have seen it over and over again.
Addicts delivered.
Marriages restored.
Parenting transformed.
Attitudes reversed.
Racism erased.
History unrepeated.
Lives changed.

Because our God is a God who intervenes.
Who steps into the story and turns it around.
Even when it doesn’t look like He is winning, He is.
Even when it feels hopeless, He isn’t.

Because He is the Author of The Story of our Lives.
And He is Sovereign over the details in them.
And when a life is surrendered to Him, the “buts” begin.

Dead in sins, but God brings the dead to life again.
Trapped in patterns, but God breaks the chains.
Given a death sentence, but God conquered death with an empty tomb.
Unable in my own strength, but God declares I can do all things through Christ.

But God.
Amazing words.
Perhaps the best words in the Bible.
And the most powerful in any life.
But God…

A Tale of Two Dads


This past Sunday.

“Daddy had a stroke during church and is unresponsive. He’s in an ambulance now on the way to the hospital and Mom is driving herself there.”

My phone had rung at 12:30, just as we were wrapping up the final details of Sunday service clean-up. Never a good thing when family calls at a time that they should be busy and they know you are busy.

And while my earthly Dad was being rushed to the hospital, my heavenly Dad was already at work in these circumstances, leading, directing, and orchestrating like the Good, Good Father that He is.

That morning, my parents had a spot serving in the lobby between Sunday School and church. Mom was wrapping up and Daddy went in to find a seat. They typically sit in the middle of the middle. But that area was packed, so Daddy picked a seat on the end of a row in the back. Very unusual behavior for them.

When he let out a moan right as the sermon was wrapping up, Mom thought he was snoring and gave him a solid wifely whack to wake him up. That’s when she realized something was very wrong.

He was slumped over and didn’t respond to her “nudge”. She flagged down an usher to ask him to call 911. As God would have it, their church was having communion that day, something that happens once a month there. So the pastor they are closest to on staff was standing at the back, waiting to go forward for communion.

Mom was able to let him know that something was wrong and that an ambulance was on the way.  And when he made an announcement to the church that there was a medical emergency, no one panicked – but the nurse, nurse practitioner and EMT who were worshiping that day all immediately went to my Dad and began helping.

My sister and niece were out of town, returning on Sunday. They walked in the door in time for Mom’s phone call. My sister was able to turn around and walk back out the door to head to the hospital with everything she needed to stay for a while packed and ready to go. She even had snacks already packed that were appropriate for me and Mom to eat – not a small feat with our food allergies and sensitivities.

Meanwhile, on my end of the world, I was sort of wandering the church in a daze, knowing I needed to pack up my stuff and get going the hour up the road to the hospital. Ministering angels, also known as my friends and family in the Lord, immediately jumped into action. One instantly made arrangements for her six kids to be cared for so she could drive me. One instantly agreed to take over my responsibilities for an evening event I was supposed to lead. And one offered to drop everything and come but it was all covered. Others immediately prayed with me and for me.

And as my friend drove, we talked. And I was struck once again by the peace, the security, the reality of what it means to be “in Christ”.

Because as we drove, I knew these things as rock-solid fact:
– No matter what I found at the hospital, God was going before me and was walking with me through it all.
– If I never had another conversation with my Dad in this life, I would spend eternity with him in heaven.
– God was in control of every detail.
– And I had nothing to fear.

Did those facts completely still the emotions in me? No, of course not.
But they gave me peace that had nothing to do with how I felt.
They gave me the certainty of Truth that is not based in circumstances or emotion.

And as I walked through the doors of the ER, I found a huddle of people who had come from my parents’ church to walk with them through whatever was going to happen. Mostly strangers to me, but instant family because we are all part of the Body of Christ, His Church.

But one of the guys I did know from years back immediately said, “Kathy, he’s doing well. His color is back, he’s awake and talking, sounds just like himself.”

Amazing grace. Amazing God. And amazing advances in medicine that God has allowed.

Because they knew exactly when it happened and because he got help immediately, my Dad was able to receive a clot-busting drug that was nothing short of incredible. Two hours after the stroke, he had lost every visible symptom that it had ever happened. No longer did his face droop. No longer was his speech slurred. He could hold both arms out evenly without one drooping. He could smile evenly and swallow well. Amazing grace. Amazing God.

That’s the story thus far.
And here are my exhortations to you (and me):

Know God intimately before the storm hits. If you do not have a relationship with the Living God, it is as simple as asking for it. Acknowledging that you are a sinner and He is the Savior. And then, once you have done that, getting to know Him better through reading His Word and prayer. My earthly Dad made sure that those things happened in my life throughout my childhood. So now, when crisis comes, there is a heritage of faith, a bedrock of assurance and a history of walking with the Lord that holds us together and allows us, as a family, to say, “Blessed be Your name”, regardless of what God chooses to do or not do in our lives.

Have a church family before the storm hits. Church has become a nice icing on the cake for many believers. The thing you do when it is convenient to your schedule. Kids don’t have a game? OK, we’ll go to church. Caught up on our chores? I guess we can do church. Not too tired this week? OK, let’s go. (Sigh) I am not advocating legalism here. Don’t go to church to check it off your list. But go – and get involved – so that you have an amazing extended family to walk through both the joys and the sorrows of life. Doing life together with other believers consistently – that is what church is meant to be. Will people hurt you? You bet. Because a church is a collection of sinners, all growing in their walk with the Savior. We are all works in progress. But when the storm hits, you will not be alone. You will have an instant network of people standing beside you, holding you up and cheering you on. It’s worth getting out of bed on Sunday – and blocking your schedule so that church is a priority. And you will also be giving a huge gift to your children. Long after they are grown, they will most likely engage in a part of the Body wherever they are if you model for them now that it is a priority. I know that is what happened in my life. I bet it is what will happen in theirs.

Know His Word before you enter the storm. For example, learn Isaiah 64:4, which says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” God is at work in every detail as you trust in Him! And of course, there are many other promises He makes in His Word that will be comforting blankets of Truth to your soul in these moments in life. Romans 8:28 – He’s working all things together for your good and His glory. Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Or even the rest of Philippians 4 – bringing Him my needs, coupled with thanksgiving, knowing His peace will guard me. So many rich, rich promises in His Word for you and I to cling to in these moments. But if you don’t know them before the storm, how will you cling to them in the wind and waves?

I once heard Pastor Tony Evans say something like, “You are either in a storm now, you just got out of one or one is coming shortly.” And it is so true! This flawed world is full of painful things. Storms WILL come. The question is, are you ready for them?

I have learned to lean hard on my Heavenly Father in the storms. The foundation of faith in my life came from my earthly parents making sure that I came to know Him early and well. And in the last decade, our family had weathered many health storms in regards to my Dad. This is just the latest in a long list of “things” that have gone wrong in his body. But every time – Every. Single. Time. – our Heavenly Father has been faithful. And the storms have only served to strengthen our roots, driving us deeper into who God is, trusting Him through it all.

A tale of my two Dads. One perfect. One imperfect. But I am eternally grateful for both of them – and that I get to spend eternity with them both. Guaranteed.

Ramblings on Prayer…

James 5.16

We are currently in a 21 Day Prayer Challenge at my church, where we are asking folks to pray for at least 5 minutes a day for 21 days, encouraging them to use the A.C.T.S. model.

A.C.T.S is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

Or, in other words,

acknowledging how awesome God is,

confessing any sin that He brings to mind,

thanking Him for His blessings and then

seeking His heart and hand in specific areas in our lives.

Preparing for this and participating in it has led to all kinds of thoughts, ideas and “ahas!”, even though the official campaign is only three days old. So here are some of the meanderings of my brain over the past few weeks:

  • There is no such thing as the perfect prayer because there is no such thing as the perfect pray-er. But there is such a thing as a perfect God who perfectly understands my heart and sees the whole picture.  The Holy Spirit graciously fills in the blanks that this imperfect girl leaves and then intercedes on my behalf to the Father. (Romans 8:26-27) In other words, I never pray alone!


  • Although Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in His model prayer (AKA, The Lord’s Prayer), I fear that often I am saying, “Father God” but what I mean is “Mighty Vending Machine In the Sky”. I treat prayer like some sort of magic formula where, if I say the right words, God will do “the right thing”.  But that is not how I have conversations with my earthly Dad or any other person I love.  I safely pour out my heart.  And, in the case of God, I pour out my heart knowing He has the power to truly do what is right in every situation.  His version.  Not mine.


  • I have journaled my prayers for years now. I decided for this campaign to “draw” them instead.  I use colorful pens and blank paper to write words, phrases or doodles that express my heart.  Sometimes it is a list.  Sometimes it is what us teachers like to call a “bubble map”.  Each letter of A.C.T.S. gets a page.  And can I tell you, it has been fun!  But my greatest joy thus far has been the confession page.  I haven’t loved recording all the ways I mess up each day.  But I have LOVED writing over the entire page in red ink, “FORGIVEN” or “PAID IN FULL”.  It has been a great visual reminder of the Truth – that ALL of my sins were paid for on the cross.  ALL of them.  Even the ones I find myself repeating day after day after day.


  • And that led me to this random thought: Jeremiah said that God’s “mercies are new every morning”.  Jeremiah didn’t realize this very fun Truth, but God knew when He inspired him to write those words: It is always morning somewhere!!!!  God’s mercies are constantly there, constantly renewed, an inexhaustible well!  What a Savior!  What grace!  What freedom!


  • In prepping the prayer guides we passed out at church, I was looking for different verses for us to pray back to God each day. It was super easy to find 21 verses (or sets of verses) that talk about God’s character and His heart for us for the Adoration portion of each day.  It was harder to find 21 verses of confession.  Not that they aren’t there and not that we don’t need to confess – because we do!  But I love that the emphasis in the Bible is on the mercy of God and who He is – not our depravity and who we are not.  That is there – in every story on every page, our depravity is apparent.  But it is always met by abundant mercy, unstoppable grace, unbelievable kindness – even when the people reject it and there are consequences.  But over and over again, God reaches out in kindness before He executes judgment.  Because, as Paul said to the Romans, it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance!  (Romans 2)


  • And, finally, the more I study prayer and the more I pray, I always come to two conclusions:
  1. I have no idea how prayer “works”. It is a mystery in many, many ways.  Why would the God of the Universe choose to listen to my feeble prayers?  And how in the world could what I pray impact Him in any way?  He is God, I am not.  He is Creator, the Master Potter, the Glue that holds the whole world together.  And I am the creature.  The flawed, broken, sinful creature.  And yet, He commands us to pray!  And He tells us that, when we are in right standing with Him, our prayers are “powerful and effective”.  Amazing!  And incomprehensible, really.


  1. But then there is number 2. I don’t understand all the “hows” and “whys” of prayer.  I know God is not a vending machine.  I know His thoughts and ways are higher – and better – than mine.  I know He is all-powerful.  And I know that He is a good, good Father.  Which means that sometimes He says, “No” to my requests.  But this I also know – prayer changes things.  Yes, it changes me.  But it also changes hearts.    Nations.  Hopeless situations.  “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” according to James 5. So, even though I do not fully understand God or prayer, I pray.  And what a difference it  He makes when  I  we do!

Will you pray with us?

On Burdens…

Dawn breaks.
A new day begins.

And as soon as my feet hit the floor, I see them, neatly lined up in a row.
Some are large.
Some are small.
Some have handles.
Others have indentations from where they have dug into my shoulders for years.
Some are very heavy.
And others are light.
But when you take them in total, they are an enormous load.

But they are my load.
And so I pick them up, one by one.

I carefully pick up certain ones first, simply because I don’t want anyone to see them. I tuck them carefully away so that I look good to others – I hope.

Some of them are so familiar that I almost forget they are on my back as soon as I lift them.
Others are new and so I am more conscious of them.
By the time I am fully loaded, I am about an inch shorter with a distinct slump in my back.
My knees ache before I even take my first step.
But hey, that’s life.

I want to be a good steward.
So some of these burdens are labeled “time management” and “money management.”
Others have names on them. A friend here. A family member there. Someone over here that I am trying to forgive. And someone else who is driving me slightly batty.
Perhaps the most familiar burden is the one that says, “Eat right”. I’ve been shuffling that one my whole life.
And many others have good things in them – like exercising and spending time with friends, reading my Bible and taking time to pray.

But they are all still burdens.
Still mine to carry.

I am finally all packed up, strapped up, ready to go.
My neck is hurting a bit from the strain but, hey, I want to be a good disciple so this must be the way!
I turn to my Companion who has been quietly waiting while I load up and say, “OK, Lord, let’s do this day! You coming?”


Dawn breaks.
A new day begins.

And as soon as my feet hit the floor, I see them, neatly lined up in a row.
Some are large.
Some are small.
Some have handles.
Others have indentations from where they have dug into my shoulders for years.
Some are very heavy.
And others are light.
But when you take them in total, they are an enormous load.

But they are my load.
And so I pick them up, one by one.

And I hand them to Jesus, who is standing beside me with arms outstretched to take them.

Some of them are terribly familiar because I have wrestled with them – or at least carried them – for a long time.
Others are newer.
Many are good things that I want to do, things that I know will help me grow.
Others are areas that need work. Lots and lots of work.
And still others are simply people.
People I love.
People I am concerned about.
People who are driving me crazy.

But none of them are mine to carry.
Yes, I have to be responsible for many things.
I have to choose to do the good.
And to keep wrestling against the bad.

But the power to do that does not come from my shoulders.
Or my bootstraps.
It does not come from “my will be done” willpower.
Or from any source around me.
Except The One.
The One who shoulders every burden I have like they are weightless.
While I stand there, free as a bird, light as a feather, able to move freely into my day.

I know I will be tempted many times through this day to reach over and take one or two of those off His back.
If I give into that temptation and attempt to carry them myself, it WILL end in disaster.
I have proven that time and time and time again.

Just like He has proven His strength is sufficient.
His grace is as well.
His mercies are a constantly renewed well because He is Living Water.
He has proven that He supplies my needs because, after all, He is the Bread of Heaven.
He is the Light of my world, the One who chases the darkness.
And He is the Glue that holds me together, because He is the Master Potter who created this clay vessel that is my life.
But most of all, He is my Friend. My constant companion.
And He never, ever leaves my side.
I can turn to Him at any moment in the day for any reason and He will be there.
With me.
Guiding me.
Strengthening me.
Loving me.
Carrying me.

As I breathe out a need, or a thank-you or a what-do-You-think, He responds.
With a Scripture that pops into my head.
Or a song on the radio.
A wise word from a friend.
Or just the “peace that passes understanding”.

And I am free.
Free to be me.
Free to be loved.
Free to be lovely to others because I am loved.
Free to move.
Free to be still.
Free to laugh.
And free to cry.
Free to be useful as a conduit of His love.
And free to reach out to others along the way.
Free to risk.
Free from fear.
And free from condemnation because I am in Christ Jesus.

Are you free today?
Who is carrying your burdens?
Give Him a chance to be your Burden Bearer – you’ll be so very glad you did!