Redeemed and Repurposed

…by His grace and for His glory!

Let Down


What a let down…

The water pipe burst…my husband lost his wallet…my son’s computer didn’t record the song he had been practicing…a friend won’t return my call…

Life can be full of let downs, and so as I stood among the congregation at my church on Sunday and sang the words to “King Of My Heart” by J. McMillan; “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down,” I reflected on the Biblical truth behind the lyrics. It is true you know, God will never let us down.

So then, how do we reconcile that truth with the disappointments and ‘let downs’ we experience in life? It’s tempting to think God has let us down but his Word says (Deuteronomy 32:4 English Standard Version) The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Disappointment isn’t from God – it comes from within. It is a feeling and a response to my circumstances when they don’t go the way I expected them to go. And that can happen pretty often! I get an idea in my head about the outcome of something and then am totally caught off guard when it doesn’t actually pan out that way.

God, on the other hand, is never surprised at our circumstances; and therefore isn’t ‘let down’ by them. He sees every path in our life, whether chosen by us in rebellion or obedience, as an opportunity. For what? For good!
(Romans 8:28 English Standard Version)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

If we sin…it is an opportunity for us to repent.
If we obey…it is an opportunity for Him to bless us.
If we fall…it is an opportunity to see God’s character from our knees.
If we are on a spiritual mountaintop…it is an opportunity to see the breathtaking panorama of God’s great love for us.

At times, from the mountaintop vantage point, I seem to see and achieve the reality of Isaiah 40:31 (English Standard Version)

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

It is a wonderful thing when our spiritual wings are spread in victory, our spiritual eyesight is keen, and the world’s problems below us are in their proper perspective. But there will come a time when instead of soaring like an eagle, I feel like I am in the free fall of disappointment again; when life isn’t going the way I planned and feels like it’s falling apart. In those moments, my eagle wings seem to fail. But it is in those moments that I need to be reminded of another Biblical aviary image…

(Deuteronomy 32:11-12 English Standard Version)
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.

Sometimes, like the baby eaglets, we must be pushed out of our comfort zone and into a growth zone; and if our flesh should fail us in those moments, it becomes an opportunity for our Heavenly Father to swoop down beneath us as we fall and catch us. The parent eagle literally swoops in under the falling chick and catches them on its back, its pinions, carrying them to safety.
This passage gives us a beautiful image to apply to the times when we are free falling in disappointment and questioning where God is in the midst of it all.; but God doesn’t allow it so He can stand back and laugh at our misfortune. No! It is an opportunity for us to fly, to spiritually soar on wings like eagles; or to experience the sure provision of being carried by our Heavenly Father when we are too weak.

Now, most of us would prefer that we don’t experience anything in life akin to being thrown out of a nest. However, Jesus himself told us that in this world we would have trouble – but not to fear because He has already overcome the world. Hallelujah! There will be let downs, but Christ will not let us down in the midst of them. There is no rock bottom for the Christian who is clinging to Christ. There is only a Rock of refuge.

He never lets us down.

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14 ESV)
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. (Psalm 145:19 ESV)

Remember, Brothers and Sisters, in the midst of your disappointments, that God does not disappoint us. He is our Loving Father. He is faithful. He is our Rescuer.


Fork and Spoon


The fork looks at the spoon and sees her smooth clean lines. The spoon looks at the fork and sees his powerful tines.

The fork feels less beautiful. The spoon less powerful.

So the fork looks again and supposes the spoon disdains his jagged edge. The spoon takes another glance and assumes the fork rejects her as powerless.

Both the fork and the spoon were made with a purpose, perfectly designed for their service.


In the book of Numbers, we see some of the Israelites suffering a similar phenomenon. The twelve have just returned from spying out the Promised Land, and this is the report they give to Moses and those back at the camp…

Then the men who had gone up with him (Caleb) said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them. Numbers 13:31-33 (ESV)

The ten spies saw themselves as being inferior and powerless, and not only that, but they assumed that the inhabitants of the land also saw them that way. They experienced fear from how they saw themselves and from how they perceived others saw them. Their focus was on themselves and their own ability/disabilities, and not on the Lord and his plan for them. They looked at themselves and their circumstances, and in doing so, turned away from the Lord.

This fearful and self-focused attitude brought discouragement (14:3), but of more importance, it led to spiritual rebellion.

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? (14:11)

When our focus is on ourselves, our tendency is to sin against the Lord. We deny our true ability that He has gifted us, we lose our identity that He has defined us with, and we forfeit the work that God desires to do through us.


Some of us are forks. Some of us are spoons. God desires to use each of us for service in the Kingdom, but we must look to Him with confidence and not to ourselves or our circumstances.




The morning sunshine comes through my laundry room window and reveals the true beauty of this stained glass window.

In the same way, our beauty is really shown when we let Christ’s light shine through us.


Matthew 5:16 “let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)

Life Lesson From a Cake


I made a cake.
As my best friend told me (in love of course) it was not my best work.

After frosting my luscious red velvet cake with homemade buttercream frosting, I decided that it would be enhanced with a few sprinkles on the top. I carefully opened the small section that I wanted to use of my multi-sprinkle container. As I began to gingerly shake out the dainty candy circles something unexpected happened – the lid fell off, completely off. On about one quarter of my masterful cake there was a mounted up mass of every type of sprinkle in the container. After pausing a moment in disbelief, I decided there was only one thing to do – add more sprinkles. I emptied the remainder of my container in a similar ‘pattern’ over the rest of the cake.

I told my friend that there was a large life lesson to learn from the great cake mistake…sometimes we get to make our own decisions in life…and sometimes life makes our decisions for us. What I had planned for my cake was interrupted by a different reality. So many times that happens, doesn’t it? We are moving forward with a well-laid plan, when BAM out of nowhere, our circumstances bring us to a screeching halt. After pausing a moment in disbelief, there is only one thing to do…

James 1:2-5 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The unknown, unpredictable, and unexpected should not hold us back from our forward progress. After pausing in shock as our circumstances test our faith, we should move forward by confirming our faith in God’s faithfulness, and pour out more ‘sprinkles.’ Although trials are not usually in our plans, we can choose to respond to them in a way that doesn’t cripple us spiritually. We can pour out more steadfastness, pour out more perseverance, pour out more praise, and pour out our prayers to our faithful God, who is never surprised by the lid falling off our life’s circumstances. Life does not have to follow our own plans for it to be beneficial and beautiful. Our response to our unforeseen circumstances and our trust in God’s faithfulness toward us can bring unexpected beauty to even the ugliest of trials.

As I gaze at my cake, I see it through different eyes than most would. It may not win a beauty contest, but it bears the marks of joyful victory over the unforeseen. It shows the world that something broken doesn’t have to be a mess, but may hold the beauty of a mosaic. Its colorful chaos doesn’t diminish its wonderful flavor, just as chaos in our lives doesn’t have to diminish the richness God intends to bring to us.

It seems a simple lesson from an unlikely source. I have not been schooled by a cake before. An ugly cake reminding me of a beautiful truth…life’s untimely interruptions bring with them an opportunity. Sometimes I get to make my own decisions in life and sometimes life makes decisions for me, but I ALWAYS get to choose how I respond to the unforeseen events that intrude on my life when the lid falls off my own well-intentioned plans. In that response is an opportunity to both be faithful and to experience God’s faithfulness toward me.

1 Peter 1:6-9English Standard Version (ESV)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


A Christmas Poem…from the archives


The ghouls of October are tucked back in closets.
The gourds of November are moldy and rotted.

We welcome the new holiday, Christmastime.
We take days off work to relax, shop and dine.

Hustle and bustle, lights and trees,
Snowmen, gingersnaps, nativities

Families gather all around.
Everywhere the church bells sound.

We hang our stockings with much care.
We solicit gift lists with fanfare.

We tell of Santa and all his elves.
Children are bribed to behave quite well.

The presents mount up under the tree,
Commercialism disguised as generosity.

Christmas day comes in a great crescendo.
We tear open our treasures with great gusto.

Homes are filled with colorful wrappers,
New noisy toys, gift cards, and sweaters.

Children are happy, parents content,
Grandparents broke, but money well spent.

Amid the chaos and clutter of gifts
A present under the tree is missed.

There is one gift, forgotten and left.
He is the Christ, wrapped in flesh.

All rush on in great haste
As another holiday lays in wait.

The New Year is coming, Santa is forgotten.
Party dresses, champagne and noise makers beckon.

Why do we welcome the year with such grandeur,
When, without Jesus, we’re running headlong toward disaster?

Another Godless year in Godless lives,
Living for ourselves, from high to high.

Christ still waits, the unopened gift.
Salvation awaits, but many will miss.

But one unknown day, ready or not,
Christ will return to rescue his lot.

Many will wish they’d seen the gift,
Believed, opened and received it.

But they hadn’t believed that it really mattered.
Some tattered old gift, dusty and battered.

Now, in armor of light, The Gift comes in his glory!
Powerful, Mighty, Awesome and Holy!

He comes with an army, ready to save
All who are His, prepared for that day.

He takes those who had the faith to receive
The dusty old gift left under the tree.
Romans 5:18 NKJV Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Romans 6:23 NKJV For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A Celebration of Life

Cecil Allen

April 17, 1948 – September 27, 2017


Sometimes God gives us a picture of Himself in a person…a person like my Daddy. I think He does this so we can better understand who He is. My Dad was always extending his love to people. If you are here today, you are well aware of that. My Dad didn’t just extend the right hand of friendship, he extended his love, gave all he had to offer to each of us with both hands. My Dad’s life is a testimony of giving generously. His two hands were often extended in loving us, in giving hugs, in helping others, and in giving gifts.

My Dad asked me to give something to each of you today. The last time I saw my Dad, we both knew we were saying goodbye. There are a lot of things that a dad could say to his daughter in that moment. We could have reminisced about childhood, or he could have told me what I mean to him. Instead, my Dad took my hands in his. And that was such a special thing too, because my Daddy always was a hand-holder. Even when I was a ‘grown up,’ he would still reach out and hold my hand. You know, sometimes even grown ups need their hands held. So, he took my hands in his and pulled me close. He told me, “Chris, so many people have come in here to see me and have asked me to save a seat for them. You and I both know that’s not the way it works.” At that point my Dad began to weep. He said, “I’ve tried to tell them, but I’m not sure they’ve heard…maybe you can tell them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bring them all with us to Heaven?”
My Dad had eternity on his mind when we last spoke. He was certain of his future, but it wasn’t his future or his past that was on his mind, but our futures. One of his favorite artists, Jim Croche, sings…

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

My Daddy knew the truth that you can’t save time in a bottle, but he also knew that we can spend eternity together…and he wants each and every one of us here today to be in heaven together someday.
Dad wanted me to extend the gospel to you.

The gospel destroys lies that have led us astray and replaces them with truths that lead us to Jesus.

The lie that most commonly keeps us from coming to Jesus is that He is trying to take something from us and not give to us. Jesus is not trying to take our lives from us, but rather to give us salvation and eternal life. We desperately need what He is offering – to forgive us. Heaven is not for ‘good’ people, and hell is not for ‘bad’ people. Heaven is for those of us who recognize that we need to be forgiven by God. Heaven is for the forgiven. Hell is for everyone else. Heaven is where God wants us to be. Hell is where we choose to go if we reject his offer.

Just like my dad extended his love with both hands…so does God love extend His love with both hands. They are and always will be the hands of Jesus spread on the cross.

As long as we are on this side of Heaven, this offer of forgiveness and salvation through Christ is held out to us. Have you reached out and taken hold of it? Will you?

God wants to give you eternal life and the Bible tells us also an abundant life (John 10:10). That is not just a promise of Heaven, but what God desires for you to have here and now.

One of the greatest lessons my daddy taught me is to enjoy the life we have here. Have that happy hour, buy that shirt; but most importantly…make time for those people you love. I plan to honor my dad by enjoying this life, but I also look forward to the next…because two of the men I love are waiting for me…my Jesus and my Daddy …both of them with their arms open.

How about a little GRATITUDE?


Gratitude is an expression of our faith.

Luke 17:12-16

As Jesus was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice “Jesus, Master; have pity on us!”  When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests. ”  and as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’s feet and thanked him …

Got does beautiful things in each of our lives every day… But it is not all of us, or all the time that we thank him for it.  On the day that  Jesus healed the ten men, only one of them returned, and only one of them thanked him for the healing.

Surely all the men, having been lepers before, were thankful to be healed, but only one was thankful to Christ.  Only one of the 10 acknowledge that the good thing that happened to him came from his good Lord.  He believed that the good thing that had just happened to him was a gift from God and he thanked God for that gift. His gratitude was an expression of his faith.

Today, on Thanksgiving 2017, it is especially appropriate to think about what we are grateful for; and even more importantly, Who we are grateful to.




The God of the Waves


Proverbs 8:27-29 (English Standard Version) I was there when he established the heavens, when he laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, when he placed the skies above, when the fountains of the ocean gushed out, when he set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command.

I sat on the beach recently, having gone on a girls’ weekend with a friend of mine. For her, it was much needed. Her husband of 16 years had just told her that he had been having an affair; not only that, but that he had been unfaithful since the beginning of the marriage, and he wanted a divorce. Such an overwhelming season for my sweet Sister in Christ. As I sat, she walked to the ocean’s edge and stared out at the vast expanse before her.

As she stood, I imagined her seeing the storm-birthed waves that were crashing to shore that day as being similar to the tumult of her current situation. “How many more waves, Lord, will come tearing at the shore of my life?” And in response, I could imagine the Lord saying, “Sweet daughter, the waves will never end, but I control how far they go.”

In this deeply challenging season of life, my friend has chosen to keep her eyes fixed on the Lord. Her example offers me encouragement. She has consistently kept her eyes on the God of the waves, and not on the waves themselves. By the grace of God, she has been able to have a supernatural response to her natural circumstances.

Do you ever feel like God is unaware of your suffering, or of the magnitude of your suffering? Have you ever cried out to him to notice your problems and to fix them… please! It is not an uncommon phenomenon for us to see life from our perspective, but our human stature will never give us the Godly vision that we need in order to faithfully walk through trials. Whether we look at our circumstances through our own eyes or through God’s eyes depends on what we believe – on what we believe about God.

If God is truly in control, truly loves me, and wants to conform me to be more like his Son, Jesus; then I should see my circumstances for what they are – God’s loving and divine tools that He has ordained or allowed in my life to sanctify me. But if I believe something erroneous about God – perhaps that He is unaware of my life, or uncaring about what happens to me, or unable to change things – then I will continue to look at my life from a simply human perspective, and I will continue to be fearful and disappointed.

Before we are too hard on ourselves for our occasional ‘faith failures,’ let’s go to Scripture and learn from the disciples. Those 12 imperfect, but obedient men, who followed Christ all the way to their graves. God sees our lack of faith, not as failure, but as opportunity – He stands ready to fill the voids in our life created by faithlessness or faulty faith with the Truth of who He is and what He is able to do.

Matthew 8:23-26 (English Standard Version) As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves – but Jesus kept sleeping. Do you ever feel like Jesus is sleeping while you are suffering? Perhaps it seems like He is blissfully unaware of your current pain and heartache.

Matthew 8:26 (ESV) So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” And when we are certain that Jesus is asleep on the job, we cry out in our loudest prayer voices – proclaiming the truth of our woeful circumstances, as we see them. Instead of relying on the character of God and His promises, we proclaim the reality of our own circumstances. This, Brothers and Sisters, is a lack of faith. But have hope! God desires to grow our faith and reveal more of Himself to us. He does not arise to condemn us, but instead to conform us.

Matthew 8:26-27 (ESV) He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” Jesus acknowledges their problem – it is not the storm on the sea, but their lack of faith in who He is. The true problem is not what they cried out in loud voices about, but the true problem was their unbelief in who Christ is. But instead of condemnation, after restating the real issue, Christ gives them a revelation. He is in control and never sleeps. Psalm 121:4 (Study Bible) He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. He who made the waves; He has authority over the waves. The disciples were amazed at what kind of man Jesus was…are we?

Do you stand in awe today of the One who made you? We need not fear our circumstances, when we have faith in our Lord.

Even the winds and the sea obey him! (Matthew 8:27b)
He set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command (Proverbs 8:29a)

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.





Fire in the kitchen!

Those are not words you usually want to hear, but they were music to my ears today. As I drove my Mexican pastor friend, Gonzalo, home from the airport he told me of a lady who recently started serving alongside a sweet group of women who run a feeding ministry in his little church in Monterrey, Mexico. When she first came to the church her countenance was downcast, lacking the joy and life that Christ so desperately desires to give to each of us. But now, only a few months later, time spent in God’s Word and in communion with God’s people has sparked a fire in her. She has transitioned from being a silent partner in the Sisterhood of servants to being an encouraging participant. Now she is the fire in the kitchen!

When the Holy Spirit came and rested on men at the first Pentecost, He was a flame of fire. Acts 2:1-4 (New International Version) When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.


There may be places in our lives where we do not want to see an actual fire, like our kitchens! But God’s fire, the life of the Holy Spirit, should be something we desire to see evidenced in all areas of our lives. Where are you lacking the fire that the Holy Spirit seeks to give you? Do you need a fire in your marriage? Perhaps to ignite or reignite passion, or to burn away some of the dross of apathy. Do you need a fire in your quiet time with the Lord? Ask for fresh eyes to see His Word and fresh ears to hear His heart. Do you need a fire where you’re employed? Desire opportunities to witness and see souls converted. Do you need fresh fire at your church? Pray fervently for the unmistakable movement and presence of the Holy Spirit. Do you need a fire in your mind? Let God burn out selfish or condemning thoughts, and fan into flame the Truth of the Word and the power of His promises.

We need the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to want the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. We must desire what God wants to give us. It is natural for our flesh to cry out for the things of this world, and to look there as its source of satisfaction. It is just as natural, and necessary, for our spiritual self to cry out for the fresh fire of the Holy Spirit to satisfy and fill us. Galatians 5: 16-19,25 (English Standard Version) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
We must not be content to live only in the flesh and for the flesh. Ask God today for fresh fire in your life.

Luke 11:13 (English Standard Version) If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”


A few women in a small church in Mexico have fed hundreds of children in their community and surrounding areas every week for over 10 years. Now some of those who have received spiritual and literal sustenance from this vibrant ministry as children have grown up and gone on to participate in it and offer their time to serve the next generation. The life and power of the Holy Spirit is evident as you see these children receiving provision that goes beyond their physical needs and meets their greatest spiritual need. The fire of the Holy Spirit in a small church kitchen in Monterrey, Mexico is fanning out and igniting its flame for the glory of our great God.

I thank God for the testimony of this small band of Believers in Mexico. They have fire in their kitchen and fire in their hearts. May we each let this encourage us to seek the presence of God and the power of his Holy Spirit in our lives daily.

How can we kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in our life? And how can we seek to hand off that passionate torch to the next generation?

pan de vida

2 Timothy 1:6a (New American Standard Bible)
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…


Blog at

Up ↑