Matthew 4:12, Mark 6:14-29

Thy Word:

Matthew 4:12 NLT – “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee.”

Mark 6:14-29 NLT – “Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”

When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”

For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias [his wife]. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!” Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.”


My Thoughts:

hallway with window

We cannot go beyond this one verse in Matthew without giving credit to John the Baptist, and reading more from the book of Mark about what happened to him at the command of King Herod.

John was not only committed to his calling, he fulfilled his calling. His purpose was to announce the coming of the Savior and warn those who came to hear him to repent. He accomplished all he was asked to do fearlessly!

John had no authority in the Jewish political system but we learned in our earlier verses that not only did Jewish and non-Jewish come to the desert to hear him, Jewish leaders did as well. His message to repent was taken very seriously by everyone who heard him with the exception of the Jewish leaders.

We also learn from the verses in the book of Mark that King Herod had a great deal of respect for and belief in what John prophesied. Unfortunately for John, his wife didn’t have the same respect or awe for John and ultimately tricked Herod into killing him.

bible blur book catholic

(You can read more about John the Baptist in Mark 1:1-15, Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:57-80, Luke 3:1-20, Luke 7:18-35, John 1:6-51, and John 3:22-36)

Jesus said this about John: “I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John.” Luke 7:28a NLT

With all of this goodness from the life of John, it is common for believers to be confused about his death. The “why” answer is as simple and as complicated as this: he died because of sin.

person s holds brown gift box

One of the greatest gifts we receive from God, whether we follow Him or not, is free will. Because of this gift we have the freedom to make all types of choices. As you know, a lot of people make good choices, but a lot of people make bad choices.

We want to assume when we become believers we will be surrounded by an invisible hedge of protection and nothing can/will harm us. But, we know from our own lives, the daily news, etc., this is not true. In fact, Jesus warns us:

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b NLT

I can testify to the truth of this because my family suffered abuse at the hand of my own father and his bad choices (my story shared in this blog in “The Power of Words”). However, I also believe that a lot of good has come from my own journey to Christ and from sharing my story with others.

Such is the case with John’s life story; he boldly and completely accomplished what God asked him to do:

“The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”” Matthew 3:3 NLT

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

The Jewish people had become complacent and turned away from God, but John’s message to repent brought many people back to God and opened their hearts to follow Jesus. In addition, John said:

“No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:27-30 NLT

John’s life story and his accomplishments live on in the Bible, but more importantly, he lives on through us when we mirror what he did. With our gift of free will we too can choose to prepare the way for Jesus and ultimately fulfill our calling when we do!


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for walking us through this difficult lesson and reminding us that we are in control of our choices. This lesson is especially heartbreaking when we see bad choices being made or someone is hurt when bad choices are made. Lord, I pray that we commit today to be more like John and not only fearlessly lead the way for You, but fulfill our calling all the way through to the day You bring us home with You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

The Power of Words (Part Two)

The Power of Words-Part Two

That summer, Mother worked multiple part-time jobs while she looked for a full-time job that paid well enough for us to get a place of our own. Because she didn’t make a lot, she hired high school students to babysit us, or took advantage of activities at a nearby church that provided free childcare. Because the childcare was free, she quickly enrolled all of us in Vacation Bible School (VBS).

Although it was a long time ago, I recall it was mostly a fun week. However, two things stand out in my memory, both associated with words. First, we memorized John 3:16, which I can still recite in the King James Version. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As we memorized that verse, our VBS teacher talked all week about God and Jesus and how God sent Jesus to the world to save us. The more she talked, the more my heart wanted to know this Jesus. He sounded nothing like my father, and I craved a relationship with a nice man. Unfortunately, she ended our week by saying some words that were not in the Bible. She had good intentions, but the words broke my heart. She said Jesus loved us so much he would always protect us from harm.

I don’t remember anything else she said that day.

What I remember is the horrible feeling I had when, in my child’s mind, I felt like God and Jesus did not love me or my family—because we had not been protected from harm. That day, I made a decision. I told Jesus, I wasn’t going to love Him either.

Don’t miss the importance of what I just said. I told Jesus. To talk to Jesus, I had to believe in Him. You see, there is something that happens when you know Jesus is who He says He is. That happened to me in the week at VBS. I was still very broken and confused by my teacher’s words, that I withheld my heart and love from Him.

(“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In defense of the young lady who led our VBS class, I know that by no means did she intend to hurt me with her words. She had no idea who I was or what had happened to my family. If she had, I’m sure her words would have come out differently. She would have shared this truth that is in the Bible: Jesus loves you unconditionally, in spite of what’s been done to you or what you have done. She would have also uttered this truth in God’s Word: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NLT).

If I had heard these words, I might have been comforted, and I might not have turned away from God. Instead, because of my brokenness, I grew up with no complete trust for anyone. I got married, had children, got divorced, and finally remarried a fabulous man.

We had been married for about twelve years when he said some interesting words to me: “This is what is missing from our lives.”

He said this after we attended a church service where his brother spoke. I didn’t know anything was missing from our lives, so this came as a complete shock. But that day, because I was confident in his love and trusted him, I said, “If this is important to you, then it is fine with me.”

We had been attending church for just a few weeks when the pastor kicked off a new series about the Ten Commandments. When he came to the week when he would speak about the commandment to honor your parents, I had a few sarcastic words to offer. I said, “I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about this!”

The pastor started by saying, “If you are a victim of domestic abuse, I have some words for you at the end of the message.” The promise of those words was the only thing that kept me in the service that day. I cried all the way through his message, because his description of a loving earthly father was nothing like what I had experienced as a child. The feelings I had about being fatherless were intensified and painful.

As the service came to a close, with a tone of heartfelt sorrow to those who had been abused, the pastor said, “I am so sorry.”

No one had ever said that that to me before. Without even knowing it myself, they were words I needed to hear. In that moment, I wept thankful tears, because those words healed my broken heart.

I wish devastating words and actions did not exist. But because we are sinners, we have these terrible things. If anyone has ever hurt you, I want to share those words that Jesus said to me that day in church.

“I am so sorry.”

And you know what? God is sorry too.

God never desires abuse or harmful words for any of us. He gave us all an amazing gift, free will. We have free will to do and say what is right or wrong. Sometimes we do the right thing, and then we sometimes do terribly wrong things. Maybe you’ve been wronged with words or actions. Or maybe your words or actions have harmed someone else. Either way, here is what we all need to know: We are all sinners. How do I know this? God tells us this in His word: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But he also says that he wants us to have a relationship with Him, and He wants us to turn from our sins and receive His forgiveness. And guess what? You can have that today.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess [your faith] and are saved.”

Maybe these words have hit home in your heart today. I hope they have. I would love for you to have that same precious relationship with Jesus that I have.

Who is Jesus to me now? He is my Father. I know there is no perfect father but Him. If you are missing that relationship in your life like I was, consider some of the most loving words I know from God’s Word. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

All those years I thought I was fatherless. But God made me realize I had a Father that was better than any earthly father. Knowing I was the daughter of God changed how I saw Him. Before I knew the truth in this verse, I saw Him as a distant being, but now as my Father, my relationship with Him is more personal. I now address my prayers to God as “Father God,” because He is my heavenly Dad.

I praise God that am no longer fatherless. I am the daughter of the Most High King.


The Power of Words (Part One)

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on your life.” Zig Ziglar

Here is a picture of me and my husband on our 30th anniversary in 2017. The following is my written personal testimony, which was edited and published in “Stories of Roaring Faith” Volume 2. I thought it might be fun to see us as you read my story. NOTE: Because of the length of this story, it will appear in two posts.

The Power of Words-Part One

I have loved words since I was a young girl. I enjoy learning and using new words. When I was a child, we got copies of Reader’s Digest from one of my mother’s friends. My favorite game from that magazine was matching a list of words with definitions. My answers weren’t always correct, but I learned a lot and loved playing the game.

Whether we know it or not, words affect all of us. We treasure words of encouragement, and we often repeat favorite words or phrases from a movie.

When my kiddos were growing up, they would frequently say things that would either send me into fits of laughter or have me asking myself if my behavior needed to change.

When my son was five he quizzed me about marriage. I remembered someone saying that boys want to marry someone like their mother. So I asked him, “What kind of girl do you want to marry? Someone like me?”

“No,” he quickly said. “You’re too bossy.”

Some of the most precious words I ever heard was from my mother when she was in the hospital, near the end of her life. I asked her if we were “square.” You see, my childhood was difficult and as a teenager and young adult, I was rebellious. I needed to know if we were okay, if there was anything I needed to address. She patted her bed and invited me to come lie down with her. We talked for a long time. After our discussion, I knew we were square. Those were sweet words of comfort that day, giving my heart peace at her funeral.

My husband doesn’t always speak a lot of words, but when he does, I listen carefully. He is gifted with wisdom, his words are good, and he often delivers them with hysterical humor. On our 10th anniversary he wrote me the sweetest note that I cherish to this day.

As I said my daily prayers today,

I started with the normal things,

Lord, thank you for this day.

But then I remembered today was a special day.

The anniversary of my life beginning again with

the most wonderful woman in the world.

Thank you, Lord, for my life and the wife

that you have blessed me with.

Without her, the things in life that you

give me would have little meaning.

I love you with every breath I take.

I felt loved and treasured from these words.

This year, my husband and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. He shared some loving words to me in humor. We were discussing family health issues and what we might face as we age. He simply hugged me and said, “Well, bag, nag or sag, I still love ya Babe!” Those words were much different from what he spoke on our tenth anniversary, but I felt just as treasured and loved.

We all have words we need to share, as well as words we sometimes need to change in our lives, don’t we? This is especially true when we say things in anger or frustration. Those words might be devastating to anyone, but certainly to a child.

When I was a child, some words confused me and hardened my heart. Up until I was about seven years old, my family members were victims of domestic abuse at the hand of my father. He was an abusive alcoholic—a man who, when intoxicated, was filled with unquenchable rage. My Mother took the brunt of his abuse and threw herself in front of him when he attempted to go after one of her children. Unfortunately, this only enraged him further, and he beat her until she was no longer able to fight—or she was unconscious. His words were powerful and painful, since most of his words were spoken with his fists. She was married to him for eleven years and had five children before we escaped, but not before I heard a lot of words that did emotional damage to my little heart.

Our escape was on a hot and confusing summer day. Confusing because my mother was doing something out-of-character. She was encouraging my father to drink as much as he wanted. He should have been at work, but he went to his favorite bar at lunch, got drunk, and came home, where he abused my Mother terribly. He demanded a meal, so she made him some food and kept serving him whiskey.

Because drinking brought his rage attacks, my older sister and I were terrified. Eventually, he passed out, face down on the sofa, and my mother moved into action—as fast as her battered body would allow. She loaded all of us into the station wagon, with instructions to be quiet and lock the doors if our father came out. After going back into the house, she brought out haphazardly packed bags and suitcases that she tossed in the back of the car. Taking one final risk, she took his wallet from his back pocket and removed all the money he had, then walked out, never to return.

We lived in Louisiana, but Mother made the long trek to Oklahoma to her mother’s home, stopping only long enough for bathroom breaks. When we arrived at my grandmother’s home, one might expect she would have been happy to receive her daughter and grandchildren in such dire circumstances. That was far from the case. Her home was tiny with two bedrooms and one bathroom. With another adult and five children ranging from two months to eight years old, she was overwhelmed. Although we had a place to stay, we knew we were not welcome. The years of training to be silent and invisible while we lived with our father certainly came in handy while living with our grandmother.

The greater problem was that my maternal grandmother was not only hardhearted, she was a “party girl.” While we lived with her, freedom to have her drinking partners over was put on the back burner. We were frequently reminded that no one would be happier than she would be when we left. My Mother was aware of her indiscretions, which was the primary reason she stayed with my father for so long. She knew she would be trading one set of problems for another.

(Part Two will be posted tomorrow)


Hello and welcome to my very first personal blog!

This idea was entered into reluctantly, because I don’t like being in the limelight, but I do like being in the “Light.” What does being in the Light mean to me? It means being obedient to God’s call, and I believe He is calling me to share what He says to me as I read through His word.

Many years ago, God revealed to me, through Dr. Henry Cloud, that every person in the world has a gift and a dream. I knew my gift was serving, but I was clueless to ever having a dream! I was so intrigued I bought his book (no longer in print) and by chapter three I knew what the dream was, but I was terrified! Why? Because in my head the dream was perfect, but if I executed on it, the perfection was over and I was going to open myself up to criticism.

What was the dream? I wanted to be a writer.

It took a long time for me to get the confidence to start writing and to live my dream. I wrote little stories here and there; some I dared to share, some I kept close to my heart.

Finally, I wrote and published a fiction on the book of Ruth called “Going Home.” My prayer was to encourage and help new believers see the characters from a personal perspective, with the added hope that reading my book would encourage them to also read their Bibles.

(Link to my book on Amazon)

I also began to write and share my daily prayers with one precious friend who wanted to grow her relationship with God. No one was more astonished than me when (1) the Lord asked me to share with others, and (2) before I could make up a bunch of excuses, others began to ask that I share my prayers with them.

Since my email distribution is getting rather big, the Lord encouraged me to blog, so here I go!

My hope and prayer is you will like my blog and share it with others. My desire is that my obedience to share my writings brings even more growth, and “increases my numbers” (a personal covenant made between me and God a long time ago).

In my next blog, I’ll share my own personal testimony and how I became a follower of Christ.

Thanks for joining me!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV