Category: <span>thoughts by Julie Cosgrove</span>


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

This is my verse. So many times in my life it has spoken to me.

There was a time I over-worried about my appearance and what others thought. I was so self-conscious I imagined the giggled whispers. I chose fashion over comfort in an effort to fit in. I’d stare into the mirror and be jealous that this style didn’t look as good on me as it did on so-and-so. I would peer into my closet claiming I had nothing to wear. “Or about your body, what you wear.”

Sometimes I have wondered how I would squelch the echo in my refrigerator when payday was ten days away. Other days, food occupied my every thought. I’ve tried every new fad or program in an effort to battle the bulges. Meal planning became a demigod. Guilt flavoured every chew. “Do not worry about what you will eat and drink.”

And of course, life can be filled with worry. Will my job last? Will my child return to the faith? Will my husband love me again? Will I ever find happiness? When will the chaos settle down?

Jesus has the answer. Himself. Once we begin to grasp the concept that He is in control (when we trust Him) then the worry sloughs off. Life becomes more than our doubts, more than our material possessions, and more than our desire to be accepted. Our perspective shifts. We take our focus off ourselves and put it on the One who knows, and loves, us. And that is more than enough.

Father, help me to see the bigger picture — the one of you holding it all together. You promise that there is nothing I can go through that you do not already know about and can give me the resources to handle. Dispel my worry and let me trust in you. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove

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Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”
Psalm 103:1 (ESV)

Sure, I bless the Lord with my lips and, as much as I can, with my heart. But with all that is in me? Can I really bless Him when my lower back is kinked or my sinuses are blocked and filled with pain? Can I bless him for my middle-aged tummy bulge or those widening hips? What about my second chin that is beginning to appear, or my hair, which has a mind of its own and pays more attention to the humidity than to any futile attempts to style it?

When we look at our flaws, imperfections, and body aches, it is hard to be positive, isn’t it? Other people may see our good points, but we magnify those things we hate about ourselves: our too-straight or too-curly hair; our big or pointy or hooked noses; our short legs; or, our over-sized bottoms. Some of us despise the fact that we are scrawny and tall and can’t seem to gain weight. (By the way, I secretly envy you, if that is your difficulty.)

Then there is the inside stuff: Our anger; our pride, which rears up when confronted; our stubbornness; and, our bad habits. Do people judge us more harshly than we judge ourselves? Does the way we act affect our appearance, or vice versa? What does that say about us as disciples of Christ? Where is our attitude of gratitude?

When will we realize that we are wonderfully and fearfully made by our Creator who desires relationship with us so much He even went to the cross so He could be with us? God sees us not as we are, but through the eyes of a loving parent. He sees the potential of who we can be when we use all the talents He has given us and when we choose to follow His ways. As the children’s song says, we are precious in His sight—no matter our race, our body shape, or our background.

It is true that some of our flaws are the result of our own life-choices. Through prayer and study of the Scriptures, we can change how we react to stress and to life in general. We can start turning to God for comfort and satisfaction, rather than to food or other worldly pleasures. We can spend less time at computers or on the couch in front of a television screen and, instead, get out to enjoy the beauty of our world. At the same time, we can help others in need.

Let’s read what Psalm 103: 2-5 (ESV) goes on to say:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

The key is in the second verse when we forget not all His benefits; that is the attitude-changer. Once we claim Jesus as Lord, we receive eternal life and will one day have spiritual bodies free of disease and all imperfections. Since we have confessed Christ as Lord, we also get the crown. He forgives us, loves us, and shows us mercy. We can be more-than-satisfied with what is good, both in our bodies and in our lives. We can also seek God’s help to begin to see ourselves as He see us.

PRAYER: Dear God, the next time we feel down on ourselves, help us to remember who we are to You. Heal our attitudes and our bodies. Give us Your strength so we can renew every aspect of ourselves: our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies. May we rejoice in what we have been given, rather than complaining, knowing that so many have so little. Most of all, may we bless You with all that is in us for redeeming us from death and granting us eternal life and the forgiveness we could never hope to earn. We ask these things in Your holy and mighty name, Lord Jesus, Amen

Questions: When you look in the mirror, do you see yourself for your faults or for your blessings? How do you believe the Lord sees you?

By Julie Cosgrove
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There are many posts, blogs, articles and thoughts about the New Year. Make a resolution or not. Turn over a new leaf. Find a meaningful word. What is our focus?

If it is on us, then perhaps it is why we seem to fall short each year. After all, Paul reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

I once heard that both SIN and PRIDE have “I” in the middle. In today’s “me-ism”  world of selfies and all-about-me introverted thinking, our society suffers from too much of a focus on ourselves and not others. Whether we meet our goals or not, the focus is still the same…it is on us. How quickly that can absorb us, right?

In contrast, the Christian is supposed to strive to be more other-focused. Paul also told the Philippians, and tells us –

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!  (2:3-8)

Perhaps, instead of focusing on how we should change, become more aware, adjust our weight, habits, etc. we need to shift our focus to the Cross. Not rely on our own strength, or even ask God to give us strength, but for Him to be our strength. May we choose to be other-orientated and open to being used to His glory. Let God set the path, and be pliable enough to be molded in the way He wishes so we can be His hands and feet in this world and point others to Him, not ourselves

By Julie Cosgrove

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I have become like broken pottery.” Psalm 31:12

The past fifteen months, a huge hammer has repeatedly smashed my world. I once carried my life in a beautiful bowl. A sudden job loss, poor health, and other issues have left what once felt solid in scattered, tiny shards. I didn’t know how to pick up the pieces.

Have you been there? Do I see you nodding?

Contemplating my situation, especially over the past year , I noticed a cross I have hanging next to my fireplace. I bought it years ago at a church festival…long before I turned my widowhood apartment into shades of turquoise. Most of its life it hung outside on a patio. But it matched my sofa now, so…

Who knew God would use it to show me He loves me?

It is a mosaic, made of three or four different china or pottery items that have been smashed into pieces. The artist gathered them together, placed them carefully in the cross mold, and then poured in the plaster of Paris to adhere them into a beautiful design.

What someone else might have swept up and dumped as useless trash, she saw as beauty. She could envision the end product. She arranged the pieces just so, and created something new, and stronger, and with new purpose.

I know I am not the first person to make this analogy. But it reminds me of what Jesus said to his disciples after everyone on the mount had been fed with the fishes and loaves.

 “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (John 6:12).

With Christ as my mold, the pieces of my life have been transformed into something new. He knew they’d come together in a wonderful way.  But first, they had to be broken to be repurposed. His Spirit has plastered these experiences together and made me stronger than before.

Thank you, Lord that You see the potential in each experience and that You will use it to Your glory and my benefit. Nothing is wasted. As You gathered the pieces of what I once had and began to mold them into my future, I have drawn nearer to you, wrestled with my pride, and learned to lean on the generosity of others. Most of all, I know anew that You are always with me. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how the Father cares for the birds of the air, and how much more He will care for us.


I watched through the windows of a friend’s house as several sparrows fluttered back and forth from the ground to lawn furniture on her veranda. They were chirping loudly. Then I saw why. Her dogs were crouched down, watching them.

One little bird flew toward the whirring ceiling fan instead of joining the others in their frantic dance. I held my breath, knowing there was no time to bang on the window and divert the little thing from flying headlong into danger. I watched with my teeth tucked into my lower lip, and yeah, I said a prayer.

But the bird was savvy. It knew how to fly above the turbulence caused by the blades and land securely on top — safe from harm of the fan and from the dogs below. Then I noticed a small tangle of grass and twigs. It was building its nest there!  Smart  critter.

God’s lesson: In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how the Father cares for the birds of the air, and how much more He will care for us.

We can fret on the ground about things that are beyond our control, hopping around like chirping sparrows. We can sense the danger and feel helpless to do anything about it. It can overwhelm us with worry so much that our judgment is clouded. We may even just freeze, close our eyes, and pray we’ll come out unscathed as our knees crumble and our teeth chatter.

Or we can soar above the turbulence in life and nest safely in our Father’s love. We can ask Him to give us the way to lift ourselves above it all as we follow His voice and trust that He will either lead us out of the peril or armor us with the smarts to get through it by His mercy.

In I Samuel 17, David slung a stone and whacked Goliath smack dab in the one place that would fell him. He used his expertise in scaring off wild animals from his flocks, a talent God had developed in him for such a time as this. Just as God taught that little bird to judge the wind currents so he then could navigate the whooshes of the ceiling fan.

God is preparing you and me for His purpose. He knows what is going to happen and has our best interests at heart. He will provide the equipment we need to face any challenge or show us a route to safety.

So, before you think your life is going to hit the fan, seek the Father to give you both the strength in your wings and the knowledge you need to lift you above it all. He is faithful to do so — if you look to Him and not your situation.

By Julie Cosgrove
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It can happen in a matter of minutes. A beautiful sunshiny day can become overcast, gloomy, and dank. A wet fog rolls in and blankets everything. It clings to you as you strain to see beyond a few feet in front of you. You feel closed in, almost claustrophobic. Your hands are tempted to swoosh it away like you would debris when swimming in a river or lake. But it closes back in after a millisecond.

Life imitates nature, doesn’t it? I know there have been times my outlook was quite sunny. My world was just about perfect and I felt happy, accomplished, blessed. Then a situation or circumstance hit. Suddenly I felt as if I was encased in a fog. All sense of direction lost. I couldn’t see my way. My dreams and plans vanished in the thickness of the now.

Peter, John and James experienced this. I’d read the transfiguration story in the Gospels many, many times. But recently, Luke 9:34 leaped out at me. And God whispered a lesson to me. Because you see, I’ve been in a fog lately.

Jesus took these men up on the mountain to pray, as told in Luke 9:28-36. It must have been a gorgeous vista. Their Lord had gone up into the mountains to pray before, but always alone. Now He invited them. Not all of the twelve, just these three. Can you see their proud l struts, their smiles? What could be better?  Then they see Jesus’ countenance change into a dazzling white as the two most important, holy people in their tradition, Moses and Elijah, descended to be by his side. Wow. Talk about a Kodak moment! But they didn’t have that modern invention. No phones for selfies. So, Peter suggested they do what their patriarchs had done when encountering God breaking through to earth. Build an altar. Erect a tabernacle. Mark the moment.

As he [Peter] said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.” (Luke 9:34).  In rolled the blinding fog. Their view of the holiest thing they’d ever witnessed blocked off. The moment gone. Their breaths stolen.

But God didn’t leave them there. “A voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’(vs.35). Focus not on yourselves, but on Jesus. Erase your self-oriented thoughts. Let Him lead you. This isn’t about Jesus acknowledging you, it’s about you acknowledging my Son.

The good news is that God doesn’t leave us either. Even if we can’t see Him though the circumstances that are clouding our faith, He can still break through to comfort us, correct us, and lovingly guide us back to what we need to be focusing upon–Him. Just as He did for me as I read this passage in Scripture.

Fogs don’t last forever. The sun will break through again. But in the meantime perhaps we are supposed to stop and no longer rely on our own abilities. Instead, let us listen for God’s directive voice. Then when the sun does break through and we can see again, like Peter James and John in verse 36, let us continue to focus on Jesus alone.

By Julie Cosgrove
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God will repay each person according to what they have done.” Romans 2:6

Not a comforting verse, is it?  And a bit confusing. Can we earn our ticket to heaven?

No. Later in Romans 3:23, Paul admits, ”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot be saved on our own. We need Jesus, plain and simple. No matter how hard we try, we will not live out the laws of God to the letter every single time. Our humanity gets in the way. As the old proverb states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

So what can Paul mean by this verse? Though at first it sounds contrary to the Gospel, it actually confirms it. Read it again.

Those who try on their own will be judged by their efforts. They may live wonderful, caring lives and be known for their kindness and generosity. They give to the poor, raise their kids with strong morals, and volunteer at the local soup kitchen. But it won’t be enough.

What we who believe will “have done” is drop to our knees and confess when we sin. Salvation is a one time event on the cross, but its effects are ongoing. Jesus deposited His merciful grace in our account, but we have to draw it out to pay our debts. Here is the thing, though. We can’t ever repay Him. Don’t even try.

So it all depends whose money you want to receive from that celestial bank — yours or God’s? Come that glorious and eternal “payday,” how will God repay you?

Heavenly Father, help me always remember I am not supposed to do your will on my own. Keep me humble and ready to confession when my humanness slips in and I slip up. Thank you for depositing your forgiving grace, paid through your Son’s sacrifice, into my account. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.”   1 Corinthians 7:17

Not only are pastors or priests “called” by God to serve. Every Christian is. That may sound daunting, and you might shake your head with hand to heart and think, “I’m not sure God has ever called me.” But, my friend, He most certainly has.

God meets us where we are in life, and when we accept Him as Savior, He can use us no matter how unholy, inept, or unworthy we feel. There have been times I have doubted I am making a difference. I don’t see throngs of people coming to Christ through my devotionals. But God reminded me that He has called me to write about Him. What happens after that is not within my realm of influence or power. It is in His.

When we obediently use the talents God has given us — be it having extreme patience with small children, being a superb organizer, having a strong back, or a soft heart — He takes that offering and uses it to His glory to call others to Him. If you think back, I bet one or two people were instrumental in bringing you to the realization you needed Jesus in your heart. They may not have been famous, but they lovingly exemplified what Jesus meant in their lives and that made all the difference.

Dearest Lord, You have called each of us, with our unique experiences, gifts, and talents, to draw others to You. Help us step outside of our inferiority and, out of gratitude for all You have done for us, offer ourselves to Your service. Amen.

What is the unique way that you shine for Jesus? If you are not sure what your specific calling entails, ask God to specifically show you. Then be open to His answer. It may surprise you.

By Julie Cosgrove
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Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

Recently I had to go for a CT scan and an MRI. Why do they make those tunnels so confining and loud? Even the open ones seem freaky. I’ve had these procedures three times before. I know they are  harmless (except to the eardrums) and I should not get anxious. I know this.

Even so, as I drove to the imaging center with my aroma-therapy drenched washcloth to put over my face and my ear plugs tucked inside a plastic pouch, I asked God to calm me and bring me physical evidence of His presence. I really need to find God in my day!

After the CT scan (no big deal. I got to go in feet first, and then only up to my chest so my head stuck out into the room) I was led to another waiting area and told my MRI would be performed in a half hour. No one else sat in the row of chairs. I was alone.

I sat, and wiggled my knee. OK, I can do this. I refuse to let the heebie-jebbies bubble up. Trust in God, be not anxious scriptures floated through my mind.

A kindly, older black man wandered in and nodded hello. Seeing his warm smile, I asked if he was here for an MRI, too. He explained he was there as a consultant to instruct the staff on some new procedures. This was his second career and he got to travel all over, which he enjoyed now that his kids were off on their own.

We chatted and found several things we had in common. His presence calmed me and the time zipped by. When they called my name, he gave me a wink and thumbs up.

I told him he was a true God-send, and even though my remark took him back a bit, I truly meant it.

God uses flawed and fumbling folk on earth to be His hands and feet. Sometimes we are the ones He encourages to get out there in a ministry, and at other times He graces us with others to minister to us.

That day, I found God in the calming presence of a stranger. Where will you find Him?

By Julie Cosgrove
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Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm…Isaiah 32:2

Years ago there was a movie about a mega tornado. The couple tried to outrun it, but finding they couldn’t, instead wrapped a leather strap around a pipe anchored deep in the ground and held onto it for dear life. As the tornado passed over them, they were able to peer into the calm, peaceful center. Both stared in awe at the inner beauty and tranquility as the straps held tight and saved them.

To me, this scene describes the Christian life. We don’t have to try and run from the situation barreling down upon us. That rarely works, does it? Isaiah 32, talks of the kings God will send to reign over the turmoil in the lives of His people. Today, we have direct access to the King of Kings. Though the storms rage in our lives, we can anchor ourselves to God’s truth and love as found in Scripture. We can grab onto the strap called faith and secure it to Christ, our foundation. His steadfast love can help us weather anything that comes along, as long as we cling to Him.

As in the movie, in the midst of the turmoil, we may glimpse an inner peace and calm in the center of all the chaos. We might actually, for a brief time, witness the majesty of His power and the beauty of His purpose. It is a time to take a breath and, in awe, realize God is with us, no matter what. He truly is our refuge and strength in the midst of trouble, as the psalmist says.

Dearest Lord, let us strap ourselves to you. Anchor us in faith and help us to cling to your love, no matter what swirls around us. And in the midst of it all, be our refuge and allow us to glimpse your majesty and purpose to bolster us and encourage us to hold on. May it bring us peace. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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I have heard serene and beautiful places described as a “little piece of heaven“.  It may be a pristine beach with tumbling waves glistening in the moonlight. A vast mountain vista or a bubbling creek under the canopy of shade trees. But it is ONLY a piece. It cannot replace the inner peace that comes from Heaven.

Why? Because where we live and move and have our being is time-bound.  Our world is ever changing– minute to minute, second to second. Weather can affect that serenity. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and blizzards ravage the earth. Human progress can affect it as well. Bulldozers can topple mountains and oil tankers spill black gunk into the water, coating everything. And even if the serene views remain intact, our human emotions can discolor it. When we are angry or depressed we often block out birdsong and sunshine filtering through the leaves. No wonder cartoonists depict a dark cloud over the head of their characters. If there is one thing that is definitely not constant, it’s our mood.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7

This peace that passes all understanding, as Paul describes it, is not affected by change. It is constant, eternal, and unmoving. It doesn’t come and go, or ebb and flow.  It is there like a solid foundation that is unshakeable even in times of turmoil. You can cling to it and know it’s not going to crumble.  This peace only comes from anchoring our hearts, minds and souls into the living waters of our faith in God. It transcends whatever is happening in our ever-changing world, because His peace is not of this world. It is Heaven-sent.   In John 16:33, Jesus said, “...in me you can have peace.”

Two words that sound the same but are so different.

The first one, pIEce – where the IE stands for I Enjoy – is fleeting. It can be gone in a moment.

The other is pEAce  – where the EA stands for Eternal Access. For the believer, it is always there, no matter what.

Which will you choose to bask in?

By Julie Cosgrove

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But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.” Jeremiah 34:11

Did you know it became a law in 600 BC that no Hebrew could enslave another? Makes sense, considering their ancestors had been slaves in Egypt. It didn’t last long, though. Pretty soon, the desire to have slaves became too great to resist.

Reading this made me wonder how many “slaves” I’ve set free as a Christian, only to take them back. Things that once shackled me such as fear, anxiety, worry. Maybe pride, envy, or unjustified anger? I think I can do without them for a while, but pretty soon old habits make me want to snatch them back from the cross and claim them once again.

We are told by Paul that if we believe in Christ we will be truly free (Romans 8:2). And yet, my humanity keeps wanting to chain me to sin. Instead of trusting in God and resting in His love, I pull on my chains of worry and lock myself down in anxious, sleepless nights. Instead of thanking Him for His blessing, I find myself mumbling why I can’t have the beauty of so and so or the income of whosit.

Click the shackles. Padlock the chains. I’m enslaved once again. I fight to get free, but deep down I know only One Person can set me loose. I cannot do it on my own strength. Again, I realize how much I need a Savior.

If this sounds like you, will you join me in surrendering to the One who can truly set us free?

Precious Lord, forgive me when I want to enslave myself once again to sin. It is like nailing you to the cross all over again. Yet I know you died for each of my sins, past, present, and future. Thank you for that, Lord. Set me free, again. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove

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I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. ”  John 10:9

I live in a gated community. In reality, it is little more than a false sense of security. I have lived here four years, and the code has never changed. Every pizza and package delivery knows it. The tenants who move in and out every six months to a year know it.  But even if the manager was more diligent in changing the code, it wouldn’t really matter.

The same gate that lets a car in also lets a car out. In this warren of residencies, one usually only has to wait a few minutes before another car appears, wishing to exit. No code needed. Slip right on through as they drive out. To avoid lawsuits, I imagine, the gates open and close very slowly, and if they detect a car in the path, they will stop and reopen. This allows at least two or three cars to zip through at a time.

What we need is a guard 24/7 to monitor who passes in and out. But that would be too pricey.

Why am I telling you all this? We each put up barriers and boundaries to keep us safe in our personal space: Rules, internal alarms, habits. However, there is also a gate. A gate you assume will stay closed during the times you want to stay safe, but in reality, can allow lots of things to seep in. That whisper that tells you this one time will be okay. You won’t really be breaking the rules. You are being bold, adventurous, trying something new. That new idea which makes you think perhaps your boundaries have been too rigid and unfair. An interpretation of Scripture that opens your eyes to a more broad understanding, adding a new lane along the road to salvation.

Jesus told His first-century listeners that He was the gate for the sheep. The people who heard His words understood the analogy. Shepherds would lead their sheep from pastures into a communal enclosed area at night. This was in order to watch over them and protect them from predators and poachers. The shepherds then laid down in the gap and guarded the entrance. Nothing came in or out without their permission.

The Holy Spirit is our mind’s gate. The gate code is the Word of God. Whenever something rattles our thoughts, we should ask, does it jibe with what I know to be Truth? Even so, if we rely solely on our own understanding, it can be a false security. Many people use the gate code, and not always for good purposes.

We need the Gatekeeper, 24/7. Don’t worry, He already paid the price.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission

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My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.Psalm 62:7

I counted on my husband, not only to provide for me and our child, but to be there for me. He was supposed to be my rock, my guide, and my confidant. He was to fight my battles and defend me, love me for whom I was, and honor and cherish me…until death parted us. And it did.

Then I learned how misguided I had been. That reality ripped my heart in pieces. I felt so alone, abandoned, and hurt. I also felt duped, and that made me angry. For awhile I shut myself off, thinking I could handle life on my own. I’d be there for others, but didn’t dare expect anyone to be there for me in return.

There is one Man who will be all I expected my husband to be. He is my Lord and Savior. And death will not part us because He already died on the cross, and now lives forever. As a believer, even if I turn from Him temporarily, God will never abandon me. I can count on Him no matter what…for all eternity.

You can depend on Him, too. As it states in Revelation 3:20, Jesus stands at your door and knocks. Each and every day, with every breath you take or decision you make, you have the option to let Him in or keep Him out of your life. No matter what you have done, said or felt, you can count on Him. He won’t let you down. Count on it.

Lord Jesus, you are the only one I can truly rely upon. You are my rock, my shelter and stronghold. And while others can love me and I them, it is unfair to them and me to totally depend on them. Instead, precious Lord, constantly knock on the door of my heart and remind me to let you in. Amen.

Thought: Is there someone you depend on and for what? Then decide if you are expecting them to replace God’s job or not. It might change how you see your relationships

By Julie Cosgrove
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Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?Matthew 7:3

It is easier to ignore our own shortcomings than it is to forgive others for theirs. Surely we we’d never act as wrong as they did, right? Lynette Hoy, LPC states, “But when we do something wrong or hurtful/disappointing we tend to excuse our own behavior by attributing external causes…. This is what psychologists call the “Fundamental Attribution Error.”

There’s an old saying: when you point a finger, three more point back to you. That is something to remember the next time you are tempted to not hold a grudge. We tend to think someone else’s offense is greater than anything we’d do. We’re trained to do that because our legal system measures a wrongdoing, and then assigns a penalty to fit the offense. Shoplifting doesn’t carry the same severity as a murdering an entire family.

Yet, in God’s eyes, sin is sin. No shades of gray. Paul states in Romans 3:23 we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Christ died on the cross because He knew humans are prone to mess up. Are we fooling ourselves into thinking we are really better than someone else? What excuses are we using to try and justify our behavior?

As Christians, we’re not to drag our brothers and sisters before God to be punished or examined under a holy microscope. We are to forgive them, just as Christ forgave all of us on the hard wood of the cross as He bled for us…and them, too. After all, we probably need forgiveness for something we have done or said, too.

Father, forgive me for my attribution error, in thinking my sins are less than someone else’s or trying to make excuses for them so they seem less somehow. Correct me when I come to you wanting you to punish someone who has hurt or angered me. Let me realize that I am flawed, human, and imperfect as well. Keep me humble, and open my heart to receive others despite their humanness. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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