From Victim to Victor

By Juliet Sharrow 01419676c13f3393ae901dec23ae13cff24f8cb52d-1

Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others. Titus 3:14a NLT


It’s a label no one ever asks for. In fact, it’s a label that has to be forced on us! No one EVER chooses to be a victim. But that label forever defines us. It taints every decision, every moment, every occasion for the rest of our lives. We filter everything through our victim mentality. It can take years for us to trust again, to feel normal, to hope… to love.

Even if you’ve never been a victim yourself, I would guess that you know someone who shamefully wears this label. Victims see the whole world and every circumstance through the tainted lens of their victimhood. Victim becomes their identity. They believe this is who they are and who they always will be.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, a time for us to remember and honor victims, especially those who have died as a victim, carrying this identity to the grave. The sad part is this is not an unstoppable evil! It is not a cancer that ravages our body and we have no control over it. Abuse is one person choosing to hurt another.

Often abuse occurs between two people who love each other, and sadly even occurs in marriages. Do you know what it’s like to be beaten every day by the person you love? Have you been torn down with ugly, hateful, demeaning words until you believed they were true? Do you understand how it feels to wake up each day and wonder if today is the day they will kill you? Countless people around the world live with this fear every day!

UNICEF reports that 1 billion people worldwide who are alive today, have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic violence. And in the US, 1 in 7 adults (over 40 million people) currently live with or have lived with domestic violence, causing UNICEF to label it “one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world.”

Do these numbers surprise you? They should, because domestic violence is our best kept secret in this country. No one wants to talk about it, and even fewer will admit they are part of this statistic. But I stand before you today admitting that I a member of this statistic. I have worn the scarlet letter of victim for most of my life. I carried the shame of victimhood far too long. I believed the lies my abuser and Satan spoke to me, lies that told me I was unloveable. Unwanted. Worthless.

Can I let you in on a secret? All victims believe these same lies. Just ask them if they feel unloved, unwanted or worthless, and you will see their eyes well up with tears as they lower their heads in shame!

Life experiences have taught them they are unlovable. But God says differently.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God believes these victims are worth dying for.

Their abusers and sometimes even their families tell them no one wants them. But God says:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5a

“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” John 15:16a

Society tells her she is worthless. Worth less than those who have a husband, or a good job, or a put together life. But she is treasured by God. Created in His image. Priceless!

These women don’t realize how beautiful, loved, wanted and valuable they are! And they won’t know until someone shows them. They need someone who makes them feel things like hope for the first time in a long time. Someone who speaks light into their darkness and life into their crippled hearts of stone. Someone who shows them their beauty in Gods eyes by loving them in all their ugliness, who shows them the depths of Christ’s love for them by serving them in their darkest hour and providing for them in the direst of circumstances.

These women don’t just need a handout. They need love. They need someone to show them how desperately God wants them by walking alongside them through even the hardest of days.

This is the mission God has laid before us here at Kelley Latta Ministries. We have felt His call to be His hands and feet and minister to these broken families. To serve them and love them and walk alongside them on their journey to independence and freedom. To break through the lies in their belief system and deliver them into the freedom truth promises.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

This ministry was birthed through my own background of abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness. God used my past, my pain and my struggles to birth a passion to minister to and love those who are where I have been. While at the same time laying it on Kelley’s heart to reach out to the orphans and widows of our day—broken families—as scripture commands. God joined our hearts and our passions as we obediently followed His lead in founding this outreach ministry called Love LIVES.

The focus of this ministry is to meet the needs of abuse victims and their families along with the broken and down trodden in our communities. We do this by providing for financial, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. In meeting the most basic of human needs we build trust and show them they are not alone and that someone cares. This lays a foundation that enables us to share the love of Christ and the good news of the gospel with them.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 NLT

We also offer a mentoring program that allows us to walk alongside the victims on their journey to freedom and victory. Our mentors were all victims themselves, so they understand the struggle these ladies are going through and can minister to them in ways no one else could! In this way we share life with them, counsel them, love them and help meet ongoing needs with the goal of enabling them to not just survive but to thrive!

Through Love LIVES we have answered the call to minister to the forgotten and unwanted. We stand beside these victims and broken families to show them that their lives matter. That they are valuable. And that someone actually cares whether they live or die!

But we need your help. We cannot do this alone. We invite you to partner with us in making a difference in the lives of these women and their families.

You can help us meet the needs of our clients on an individual basis by joining our email list. We send out emails listing individual client needs as they come in from the Safe Home. We don’t expect you to help with every need, but only as you are able and feel led to. If you get the email and want to help, you let us know. It is that easy! And remember, even what seems like the smallest gift can mean the world to them.

We are also looking for those who would like to partner with us financially through a one time or monthly tax deductible gift. We use these funds to help victims with first month’s rent & security deposit to get an apartment or to help pay their rent or utilities in extenuating circumstances. We also use financial donations to purchase needed items that aren’t donated, or that we must purchase new, like car seats and mattresses.

Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us as we reach out to a lost and hurting world, giving them hope and sharing the love and grace God has so lavishly blessed us with? Will you stand with us to prove that Love LIVES?



Putting Love Into Action

“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
James 2:5

The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew leaves the nation of Haiti in desperate circumstances. Homes are destroyed. Loved ones have been lost. Survivors starve.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine such life-changing devastation. We see it on the news and feel it briefly, but we have so much distance from it, we don’t really comprehend its impact.

Yet I’m grateful for those who don’t settle for distance. Who stare suffering in the face and serve on the front lines to do something about it. Our friends at HBM stand on those lines. They don’t share the luxury of keeping a safe distance. They see the faces of starving children. They watch the sorrow over extreme loss. And they give of themselves hoping to enable change.

But they need our help, beloved. Would you consider offering your aid?

Here is an update from HBM from October 9.

Hurricane News:  Food Distribution

Thanks to Mission of Hope’s arrival yesterday with a boatload of food for Jeremie, we were able to start distributing supplies today!  6000 pounds of food and supplies were distributed today in the city of Jeremie to provide relief to the suffering people in the city.  We are so happy to be working in partnership with other missions in the area, and excited to get another 6000 pounds distributed to our Te Wouj, Kolimo and Des Champs areas tomorrow.

Tin for roofs is scarce, and one of the biggest immediate needs to make other houses livable again.  Our team at HBM bought what they could find today to begin distributing it in our community.  They plan to give 25 pieces of tin to each family toward roof repair and replacement, which costs $125 per roof.  If you would like to “donate a roof” toward this cause, simply click here, choose “Hurricane Matthew Relief” and write “Roof” in the comments box.

We also have a praise report that our first grade teacher at Te Wouj and wife of our Te Wouj Church pastor, Madam Marc Lapais had her baby this past week!  Both baby boy and mother are well!  We have been praying hard for her this week that her hurricane baby would arrive safely with no complications for either.  God is already working and facilitating new life in our community!


HBM Paster Eldet Tine and his family stand where their house once stood. Notice their smiles. The joy of the Lord is their strength.


Here’s what’s left of the HBM church plant in downtown Jeremie.











In this season of so much chaos, this world needs love. Love that takes action. Let’s be that love.

Donate to HBM’s Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18


Does God Have Your Vote?

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” Joshua 5:13 ESV

We all want God on our side. In fact, we often claim He is without ever bothering to ask Him. We assume we have the power of His name behind us, fighting for what we believe.

And Christians fight against Christians, fully believing that God stands with them. Only God never battles against Himself.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

God never gives mixed messages. He never disagrees with Himself. We fight one another from our flesh.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James 4:1

It makes us feel better—especially with our passions roused in an election year— to say that our convictions come from God. Unfortunately, they often don’t. And sometimes we stand opposed to God without even realizing it

Even the Apostle Paul opposed God’s work because he made assumptions about what God would want and how He’d move. He wrote of his mistake in Galatians 1:13.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.

Paul didn’t just raise his voice against God’s church. He raised weapons. His “zeal for God” imprisoned, wounded and killed those who loved Jesus, God’s beloved Son. He’d convinced himself he fought to uphold God’s desires when really, he fought to uphold his own.

The real question, beloved, isn’t whether God stands on our side. It’s whether we truly stand on His.

I’ll say this as delicately as I can. What you want to see out of this election really doesn’t matter. Your opinion on economic policy doesn’t make any difference. And your perception of each candidate holds no weight in God’s economy.

What matters is whose policies align most closely with God’s Word.

We stand at a tipping point, beloved. This nation must decide if we remain true to the One whose blessing and favor exalted it to the power it became. God’s hand inexplicably prospered a group of farming colonies into a national superpower because they chose to unite and establish themselves as One Nation Under God.

Yet we have systematically written into law statutes that deny the very God responsible for our great victories. And we stand amazed as our prosperity declines amid increasing instability.

It doesn’t matter if the lost among our nation refuse to recognize God, dear one. What matters to God is when His own do.

As this presidential election hastens toward us, I understand the frustration over the candidates. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t particularly like either personality. Both fall far short of the high moral ethics I’d like to see in a candidate.

But God doesn’t ask us to vote for a candidate, beloved. Party affiliation means nothing. As Christians we must vote for policy that most closely agrees with God’s Word and honors His position.

A great debate rages among the people of this land over the rights of an unborn child. I would like to ask you for a moment to shift your gaze from personal feelings and public opinion and look upon the question from heaven’s view.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Jeremiah 1:5

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14a

The question, beloved, is this. Do you believe God’s Word is true?

If not, it really doesn’t matter how you vote. But if you do, a new question surfaces.

If every life is, in fact, created by God and ordained for purpose, do we have a right to override what God has decreed? Does man—created by God from the dust of the earth—have the right to tell God He was wrong this time? Can we really believe that we are entitled to tell God we know better?

Such thinking displays arrogance that sets itself up in God’s place. When we exalt ourselves where God deserves to be, we position ourselves on very dangerous ground.

If you’re a believer, I don’t need to tell you whose nature that resembles.

I understand that my words might upset some people. In fact, scripture promises they will. For we find ourselves in the days described by Isaiah 59:12-15.

For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

We can’t allow the public square to define our truth, beloved. Public opinion no longer recognizes truth. The deceiver has lifted his voice, establishing false wisdom that denies our Lord. And we have believed him.

Forgive us, Father.

Wisdom cries aloud in every street (Proverbs 1:20) begging our return to the Lord our God. He alone holds the right to create life and deny it. He alone established the covenant of marriage and maintains the right to define it.

Everything else hinges on whether we believe that’s true.

You see, economic prosperity, victory in battle, and the safety of our borders all fall under God’s blessing when we stand in agreement with His Word. And He repeatedly promises that when we stand for Him, He stands for us and will make Himself known on our behalf.

Your vote this election will announce your answer to this question, dear one.

Do you believe Him?


That Real Place

I imagine you’ve struggled with feeling distant from God. Empty. Lost in a sea of messages insisting the God you set your heart on won’t be found.

Doubt sets in as you grieve the loss of that mountaintop feeling—the one that made you excited to follow Jesus. Now the loneliness of the valley makes you wonder if the feeling you long for came from your imagination rather than your memory.

Today I’m excited to share a post from the teenage daughter of a friend of mine. I pray you will see yourself through her transparency. More than that, I pray you will see your God.



That Real Place

By Alia Dyke

 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

So lately, my heart has been far from where it was created to be. From where it belongs… And when you’re far from where you belong you get homesick and lonely, you crave that place of belonging. I didn’t blame that on anyone but me and I tried and tried to sit down and focus on Jesus. To actually take away something when I read my Bible. To feel something… And I just didn’t. I was far enough away from the place I belong that I didn’t know how to get back.

I am writing this post from that place. That place of being lost. It’s a real place.

Over the time period of my heart trying to stay above the waves of the world that were constantly pulling me right back down, Jesus never stopped pursuing me. He never stopped loving me. He never stopped speaking to me. It’s just that sometimes when someone is speaking to you and you are caught up in yourself, you don’t hear anything they say until after the fact.

Knowing Jesus is there but feeling nothing… That is a real place.

My day to day life was me trying so hard to feel the closeness of Jesus, but being too caught up in my feelings to do that.

One thing Jesus spoke to my heart time and time again is that it isn’t about how I feel. He is still God and He is still good. If I feel happy, sad, lost, confused, loved, lonely… He is still God, and He is still good.

Who knew you could be so caught up in your own feelings to feel Jesus.

When we feel distant from God we try so hard to feel something. We try to connect to a good worship song and feel his nearness. We try to read a verse that we know we like because maybe we will feel the way we did the first time it was read. We try to sit outside with our Bibles in hand and feel his peace. We try to go to church so that hopefully we will hear a message that just relates to our life.

That place where all you do is want is to feel something, that is a real place.

But what if we are trying too hard to feel? What if human nature is all about feelings. And Jesus’ nature is not.

So, I sat down and read Psalm 121 without trying to feel anything. I put on worship music and didn’t listen to it just to feel something. I wanted to be still and know that even when I don’t feel close to God he is still God and he is still good.

That place of sitting and knowing God is good no matter how you feel, that became a real place for me.

And you know what? He met me in that real place. Just like he met me in every other real place. I wasn’t overcome with emotion, I didn’t hear an audible voice, or even feel a change in my heart. I told myself that whether I felt anything or not I would sit knowing that God is good.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

Who am I to doubt God simply because I cannot feel him? He meets you where you are. In every place.

God says be still and know. Not be still and feel.

God says be still and know. Not be still and feel. Click To Tweet

So I sat and knew that He is good. I didn’t sit trying to feel His goodness. And He met me there. And I felt him.

After sitting and knowing, I felt.

And He said to me, “my daughter, it is only from knowing me that you can feel me.”


You’re a Star! You Just Don’t Know It.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus called you and me the light of the world.

It only makes sense, really, since He is the “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9) and now He dwells within us. As His body, saved and redeemed by His blood, Jesus asks us to shine His light. And according to Matthew 5, that light should never remain hidden. Instead, it should light up the sky like a city on a hill.

Do you shine, dear one? Are you giving Jesus what He asked for?

I can’t help thinking of the song I used to sing as a little girl in Sunday school. We’d proudly hold up our hands with fingers pointing toward the heavens and proclaim, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

Only it didn’t shine. I never let it out.

We often make the mistake of trying to act like Jesus. We think we shine His light by simply imitating what He would do. But we don’t have the strength to act like Him all the time, so that inner “self” we try to hide through our good behavior reveals itself more often than we’d like it to. And the watching world looks at our version of Christianity and calls it hypocrisy.

Can we really blame them?

You and I aren’t supposed to act like light, dear one. Jesus intends for us to become light.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus carried the burden of our sin to the cross so that we could become His righteousness. He actually changed our nature. Now He invites us to believe it.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

Beloved, Jesus doesn’t want us trying to act like something we’re not. He wants us to know who we truly are and allow His Spirit to empower us to live it.

Jesus doesn’t want us trying to act like something we’re not. He wants us to know who we truly are and live it. Click To Tweet

Jesus gave us His nature the moment we put our faith in Him and received His Spirit to dwell within us. Now we need to let Him out. We need to yield to the power of His Spirit and let His nature take over.

You see, beloved, Jesus shines through a transformed heart.

Have you offered Him your heart to mold and change, dear one? Have you told Him you’re willing to let go of your bitterness? Have you invited Him to circumcise your heart to love with His selfless love?

It’s time we stopped pretending and let Jesus set us ablaze with His light!

Times are changing. Evil shows itself in increasing measure. Scripture foretells of astonishing things to come—some of them terrible, some wondrous—but all of them remain certain.

Yet in Christ, we have glorious hope!

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3

Those who walk in truth drawing others to their light will shine like stars. When will these things be fulfilled? God made this astonishing announcement to the prophet Daniel centuries ago.

“… When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7

When the power of the holy people has finally been broken? Why would God break His own people?

Consider the power struggle that rages within you. Each day you must choose whether to bow to your own self-will or submit to the Spirit’s leadership. More often than not, your flesh wins the battle, quenching the Spirit’s power.

Our selfish desires have remained too important to us.

Yet in the last days, the power of the Spirit will rise victorious. Christ’s own will finally overcome and claim the victory Jesus purchased for them through the cross. Like in the days when Christ first birthed the church, believers will choose to abandon self-will, leaving its power broken. His church will rise, yielding to His Spirit in glorious surrender, uniting in the love and unity glimpsed at the birth of the church and restored in time for the return of the King.

Beloved, you and I can hasten His return.

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 2 Peter 3:11-12

As we choose to surrender to the Spirit’s work in our lives, allowing Him to sanctify our hearts and renew our minds with His purpose, we move toward the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom.

Like the Disciples who first answered Jesus’ call and paved the way for us, will you choose to live radically for Jesus, abandoning all else to the rise of His glory? I pray that you will, beloved,

. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Philippians 2:15

Then our eyes will finally gaze upon our Lord and King without a veil. Glory rises, dear one. Will you allow Christ to reveal it in you?


Don’t Starve with Food in Front of You

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. Lamentations 4:9

I spent Sunday afternoon walking amid billowing flags. Each flag bore a name—and a story. They represented the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

I find it difficult to describe the feeling. I stood before a seemingly endless display. 3000 flags simultaneously representing life and death. Joyful memories. Devastating anguish.

The mind battles to accept the magnitude of it. We weep for the families suddenly ripped apart in one, single terror-filled day.

But God whispered something into my heart as I stood in that sea of red, white, and blue.

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field.

We waste away, beloved. God’s children and the lost He sends us to. We starve rather than thrive because the fruit meant to nurture and sustain us has depleted.

And according to God’s Word, we’re better off dying quickly at the hand of another than wasting away slowly and painfully, starving for fruit.

Perhaps you know the starvation I’m talking about. You feel empty. Alone. But you can’t really explain why. You struggle to find joy, even when something good happens to you. In fact, if you’re honest, you really haven’t felt happy in a long time. You have much in your life you should be thankful for, yet you don’t feel grateful. Something looms before you unattained, and the weight of it feels heavy. Too heavy. You feel overwhelmed, and you don’t know how you’re going to make it.

Can you relate to any of those feelings, dear one? They point to the absence of fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

God created us to bear fruit in His image, beloved, to fill the earth with all that He is (Genesis 1:27-28). Man has filled the earth, but we don’t reflect the image of our Creator. Instead, we more closely resemble His enemy. Sin’s seed implanted in man’s heart has changed our fruit.

Love has become selfishness that breeds hate.

Sorrow overtook our joy.

Instead of peace, we naturally worry.

Instead of patience, anger erupts.

In place of kindness, we hurt people.

Evil has overrun goodness.

Faithfulness withers into doubt.

Harshness crushes gentleness.

Self-control is all but lost.

God’s image on earth has become overshadowed by the image of the evil one. And all humanity wastes away, starving without proper fruit.

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field.

God wants to change that, beloved. Jesus went to the cross to make us fruit bearers.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:16-17

Dear one, Jesus died to restore us to God’s image, equipping us to fulfill our original purpose. He calls His church to rise in the power of the cross, putting sin to death and allowing His Spirit to reunite us with our Creator. Fully. Completely. So that His fruit may come forth in us and the earth can flourish with His life.

But instead of rising in the cross’s power, we exalt the power of sin. We proclaim its strength over our inadequacy. We justify its presence in us, giving life to what Christ put to death.

Why do we exalt sin's power? The cross conquered sin. Don't give life to what Jesus put to death. Click To Tweet

Perhaps we should read what God says about us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Jesus gave us His own divine nature, dear one. The nails that held Him on that cross also crucified our sin there. Sin has been defeated, rendered powerless.

I sense the question rising. Then why do believers still sin?

Because we do not yet believe we’re who scripture says we are. We still see ourselves in our fallen state. 2 Corinthians 3:18 holds the key to our sanctification.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Experiencing the power of the Gospel comes down to one simple choice: opening the Word to see God as He truly is. When we behold God in truth and believe, the Spirit within us transforms us bit by bit into the image that we see. Why? Because everything God is, you now are. And as you receive the truth of your new nature into your heart, the Spirit waters that new seed giving it life, and fruit bursts forth.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Psalm 1:1-3

Oh, beloved. Let God show you who you are. People are starving. They need fruit.


What Are Your Choices Costing You?

“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61

We love to celebrate God’s grace. His love and mercy offer so much blessing we don’t deserve, we often find ourselves tempted to think our choices don’t matter. God forgives, so we trust He overlooks the little things. Especially if our lives produce good kingdom works.

I wonder if that’s what Solomon believed.

Solomon inherited the kingdom of Israel through God’s promise to his father, David. Even Solomon’s birth unfolded in wrappings of grace, evidence of God’s redemption after his father’s grievous sin with Bathsheba and his attempts to cover it up.

But David’s sincere repentance unleashed marvelous blessing upon his son. And God gave Solomon a kingdom he had not earned.

When the time came for Solomon to take his throne, David gave him these instructions.

“Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.

 And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:8-9

Solomon started out dedicated to God’s ways. He sought God’s wisdom and God honored him, exalting him high above all other kings. Solomon built God’s earthly dwelling place, a glorious temple of gold, and his kingdom prospered with wealth and peace. God blessed Solomon, just as He promised He would.

But Solomon had one area of his life that he neglected to submit to God, one fleshly appetite he continued to feed in spite of God’s Word on the matter.

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 1 Kings 11:1-4

In spite of God’s warnings, Solomon clung to foreign women who did not follow Israel’s practices. And just as God predicted, Solomon did the unthinkable.

Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:7-8

Unbelievable. The son of promise entrusted to build God’s house on earth also erected places of worship to other gods—demons who defied his God—on the mountain east of Jerusalem.

Why? To please his wives—the ones God warned him not to marry. Solomon allowed his appetite for women to pull him away from heeding God’s words.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. 1 Kings 11:9-10

 Did you catch it, dear one? On two separate occasions God appeared to Solomon to warn him and call him to repent. But Solomon refused.

Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13

Like his father, Solomon enjoyed the remarkable privilege of hearing from God. Another similarity also unites them. Both found themselves caught in sin, pulled away from God by the strong desires of their flesh. Yet one marked difference separates the legacies of these two men.

David loved God more than his sin, so he fell on his face in repentance when God confronted him through the prophet Nathan. And God poured out blessing that could not be undone.

Solomon loved his sin more than he loved God, so he built altars that defied Him. His refusal to repent cost both him and his children eternal blessing.

I have to ask, beloved. What are your choices costing you?

God kept His word to Solomon, exalting Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s servants, to rule over the kingdom of Israel.

“But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and will give it to you [Jeroboam], ten tribes. Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” 1 Kings 11:35-38

Nothing would keep God from keeping His promise to David. He watches over His word to perform it. But Israel became a divided kingdom because of one area of unsurrendered ground in Solomon’s heart. And his inheritance—the blessing that would also pass to his children—diminished to 1/12 of the blessing God had intended for him.

I wonder, dear one. What blessings are we cutting off from our inheritance because we don’t walk in God’s ways with all our hearts? Do we daily deny our Lord through appetites that defy Him?

In the days of the kings we just read about, the cross had not yet defeated sin. Sin still had authority to rule and reign within man’s heart. Yet God still held them accountable for their sin in every way their hearts denied Him.

 How much more will He hold us accountable on this side of the cross, beloved?

Jesus freed us from the bondage of every sin. Fear. Lust. Greed. Selfishness. Pride. No stronghold remains that Jesus did not defeat. He has given us the power to overcome every fleshly appetite.

Repent, beloved, and rise to receive your full inheritance.


If Only I Had Moved

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” Exodus 33:18

Our hearts hunger for glory. We want God to show up and prove that He’s who He says He is. We long to see the miracles recorded for us in scripture.

But we don’t want to have to participate. We’d rather sit back and watch God show up. At least, that’s what I discovered about myself.

I sat with my mother in the oncology wing at Exeter hospital while she rested during her chemo drips. I’d decided to use the quiet moments to catch up on some ministry work.

I never saw the woman enter the hospital. My position behind the curtain in our little cubicle blocked my view of the hallway, and my fingers clicking across the keyboard had stolen my attention from everything else. I hardly noticed the presence of another patient in the curtained room beside me.

Until I heard her.

A painful cry pierced the monotonous buzz of hospital activity. “Stop it, please! It hurts! It hurts!” Panicked wailing accompanied her cries.

My eyes lifted from the computer screen to my mother’s face. Her eyes fluttered open, and we looked at one another with increasing concern. The cries lingered on. We waited to hear sounds of relief, but her anguish only increased. “We need to pray for that poor woman,” Mom said. I nodded agreement and silently lifted her before my Father.

I heard her story unfold through broken, anguished sobs. She had come for a blood transfusion. I don’t know what illness plagued her, but I know her journey had been long. And hard. The continual treatments had caused her veins to collapse, and now even what helped her, hurt her. She was tired of the pain.

And she had lost hope. “I can’t do this any more.”

Something stirred in me to go to her, to put my hand on her and call upon the Great Physician to open her veins and ease her suffering. Almost simultaneously another thought overshadowed the urge to rise from my chair. She doesn’t want you to bother her. You’re a stranger. She doesn’t want to know that everyone is listening. Just pray where you are.

 So I never got out of my chair.

I reasoned that she wouldn’t want me to pray. Her demeanor suggested she might kick me out of the room. Besides, I had ministry work to finish.

Shame rises in me as I type those words. Ministry.

Beloved, what is ministry without love?

Jesus came into this world to meet people in their suffering, to call a lost world that has forgotten their Father back to Him. He watches us striving to grab hold of life by any means. And He sees us fail, because life is only found in Him.

Yet people don’t know, because the deceiver has veiled God’s glory (2 Corinthians 4:4). They believe they’re alone in their suffering, that there is no hope because they’ve exhausted all their own resources. They don’t understand that hope lies in their Heavenly Father and has been poured out to them through His Son.

And they won’t know. Unless we tell them. Unless one who houses the Spirit of God within her rises when He calls to reveal Him. And offers love in the midst of hopelessness.

I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan. A man lay bleeding, beaten and robbed. A priest and a Levite both passed by on the other side of the road, perhaps even on their way to do “ministry.” They missed that love defines ministry.

I wonder if the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ story did what I had done. Perhaps they muttered a silent prayer, convincing themselves they had done their part. But they still left the man bleeding and half dead on the side of the road.

Yes, God hears every prayer, dear one, even the silent ones. But that suffering woman on the other side of the curtain that day never knew anyone cared. Her circumstances hadn’t changed. She felt as alone and hopeless as she did when she came in. And if God had touched her in response to my prayer, she never would have known He did it. Her gratitude would’ve gone to the nurse that finally found the right vein.

And she would’ve left still not knowing the God who wanted to save her.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8

Glory lurks in every dark place, beloved, waiting for exposure. God releases it when His people show themselves as His disciples.

We show ourselves when we love, dear one.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

God desired to move in that woman’s life. He wanted her to know the comfort only He can give. And He wanted me to show her.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you for your new mercy every day. Sift my heart, Lord, and make me faithful to respond to You alone. I ask again for Your healing touch upon that woman. You know her name. You know her need. Send a faithful one, that she might know and experience Your love through another. Please, Father. Don’t allow my shortcomings to rob her of Your blessings.

 If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13