The Pharisee Factor

Have you ever experienced The Pharisee Factor? This factor is negative and it can destroy relationships before they even start. A Pharisee is someone who looks down on another because that person doesn’t meet their particular standards. I was hit by it the other day and it almost destroyed a friendship that was just beginning.

I had been chatting with a gal and after a few days realized that perhaps she worked in the sex industry. When I realized it, I wanted to reject her and not speak to her again. Boom! I had been hit by The Pharisee Factor. Fortunately for me, after a few minutes of that thinking, The Holy Spirit began to convict me of my attitude. He made me realize that I was acting like a Pharisee and that my attitude stank. I was judging her and somewhere deep inside of me, I had forgotten about my own sins.

I repented of my bad attitude and began to feel compassion for the woman. For whatever reason, she was involved in a lifestyle that had to be very negative for her. I began to pray for her and am hoping for an opportunity to share the love of the Lord with her. I suspect that before that happens though, I must look at my own life, my own heart, and pray that the Lord will give me a heart like his.

When we read about Jesus in the Bible, we see that He always reached out to those who were lost. When the Pharisees would criticize Him for the company He kept, He would always remind them of why He came to the earth. He would tell them He came “to seek and save the lost.” He would say that “the well have no need of a physician.” He had a heart for those who were hurting and He wasn’t going to let other people’s opinions stand in His way from reaching out to those that needed Him.

Have you been hit by The Pharisee Factor? Do you sometimes reject people for the way they live and the things they do? Do you need a heart of compassion in order to reach out to them and offer help? If so, don’t be afraid to come to the Lord and ask Him to give you a heart like His. If we want to reach those who are lost and hurting, we must be more like Him and less like a Pharisee.

Image by John Hain. Courtesy of Pixabay.


We walked into our favorite travel agency, “Destinations,” with anticipation. It had been a long winter and we were ready for another trip. We were going back to see the family in Italy but every time we go, we like to plan several stops around the country. Our usual agent, Sylvia, was there waiting to help us. There was a new man, Damon, who was also there. She introduced us to him as he was a recent hire.

She handed us a complimentary chocolate as we sat down. She opened her map and we got to work. She asked us where our primary destination would be knowing we would say Milan. Then we got down to business. As we ticked off each city we wanted to go to, she would enter it into her computer and then say, “Next Destination?”

We were just about at the end of our list when I opened up the wrapper on the chocolate and popped it into my mouth. It was soft and creamy and as I closed the wrapper, I got chocolate all over my hand. I was distracted for a moment and I heard her say, “Final Destination?” I looked at my hand and said, “Could you excuse me a moment? I need to use the restroom.”

I walked into the restroom and ran the water. I washed my hands and as I reached for the paper towel, I touched the light switch and the light turned off. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just turn it on again.” I reached for the switch and as I touched it, a spark flew out and the light flickered. “Strange,” I thought, as I waited for the light to stay on. A moment later, the flickering stopped, the light came on and I exited the washroom.

Everything looked a little different as I walked towards Sylvia’s desk. I figured it was just my eyes adjusting to the light. I sat down but nothing seemed to change. There was an iridescent glow around everything. Sylvia looked down at me and again said, “Final Destination?” No longer was there a map of Italy on her desk but a picture of a road with a fork in it. One fork led to a beautiful oasis and the other to the edge of a fiery volcano.

I looked over at my husband and it was as if time had stopped. He sat there but he wasn’t moving. It was just Sylvia, Damon and myself who were having this conversation. Sylvia had the same kind expression on her face like she usually did but Damon had a greedy leering look on his face. It was as if he wanted to make me choose the path whose end was a fiery volcano. I could see his hatred of me and sense that he wanted me destroyed.

I gasped as I realized this really was happening. This was no longer a conversation about our next trip but about which path I would choose that would lead me to my Final Destination. Fear began to grip me as Damon reached for my hand. My heart started thumping in my chest and I wanted to run but I couldn’t move. Instinctively, I knew Damon wanted to take me to Hell. I shuddered and called out the only name I knew who could help me, “JESUS!” I looked up and He stood before me. He took my hand and led me to my Final Destination…that beautiful oasis called Heaven.

Destinations aplenty, but only two choices when it comes to our Final Destination.

Which will you choose?

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3: 16-17.

Podcast available below:

Photo by Pam Patterson, courtesy of Pixabay.

The Road to Ravenna

In this sequel to “The Unwelcome Stranger,” we find Livia on the run from Lucius Marius. She has escaped the Marius home, married Marcus, and is well on her way to Carthage. A terrible storm suddenly changes everything. Their ship is damaged and they are forced to put in on the coast of Italia. Little does she know that Lucius Marius has come home and discovered her absence. He is on the Emperor’s business moving down the coast and is right behind her. When he doesn’t find her on the ship, he makes other plans to bring her home. He has one of his soldiers, Crispus Cadellus, disguise himself and orders him to find her and bring her back. Marcus and Livia fall for the ruse and take Crispus into their home thinking he is a runaway servant. Will Cripus betray them to Lucius? Will Livia ever be free from her obligation to him? Come join Livia in this exciting story of deceit, betrayal and redemption.

Available on Amazon in print or Kindle. Also available at Lighthouse Christian Publishing.

Get your copy today!

A Rorschach Test

Life is like a Rorschach Test. It’s all in how you look at it. For decades, psychologists have given people Rorschach tests. They are shown an image of an inkblot and then tell the psychologist what they see. Everyone perceives them a little bit differently. Life is sort of like that.

Each day, we are confronted with a host of problems and different circumstances. How we navigate them is mostly determined by how we perceive them. For instance, let’s say a truck drove by your house and a small log fell off the back of it. At first you would get the log out of the street and place it on your sidewalk, hoping the truck would come back and pick it up. After a few days however, if it hadn’t been picked up, you would move it onto your property and decide what to do with it.

Some people would just see it as a problem and wonder how they could get rid of it. Others would see potential in the log. One might see it as a plant stand and place it by their front door and put a beautiful plant on it. A woodcarver may see the log and think he could sculpt an image from it. Someone else might think he could cut it up in rounds and make a design on a wall with the pieces. Another might view it as a source of firewood to warm his house. However, if you had a toothpick factory, you would look at that log for what it could yield; hundreds if not thousands of toothpicks. You would view each part of it as having potential. Very few people have the ability to see the log that way.

If only we could only see the problems that come our way with that kind of perspective. Every problem has the potential to help us with our character development and add something positive to our lives. Will we trust God with the problems we face and turn to Him for the answers or will we just gut them out and try to get rid of them? However we decide to face them will ultimately decide the amount of good we will gain as we walk through each one of them.

We all get a choice as to how we view our lives and the problems we face. And just like a Rorschach image, it’s all in our perspective.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Image by Edith Luthil. Courtesy of Pixabay


Have you ever had your heart-jacked? We know that when something is hi-jacked it is taken and used for a different purpose. So heart-jacked…what is it? Heart-jacked is when your heart is taken away from the purpose it was set on originally. Think of it this way: you are in a relationship and you meet someone you like better. You break up with the person you are with and start dating another. Voila, your heart has been jacked! Or perhaps you were going to pursue one major in college and you worked in a different field over the summer. You love what you did and so you change your major. Again, your heart has been jacked.

Most of us can relate to how easy it is to have our heart-jacked. In fact, if we are married and we work out of the home, we may have been in a position to have our heart-jacked more than once. It usually starts out very innocently. We start working with a fellow employee of the opposite sex who is attractive to us. We begin to share our personal feelings with that person and we become good friends with them. We continue to become better and better friends until one day, we wake up and find that we prefer spending time with that friend more than with our spouse. We haven’t realized what was happening and now all of a sudden, our heart has been jacked!

Once we realize that our heart has been jacked, we need to take immediate steps to stop the heart-jacking. We have to spend less time with that person and quit sharing personal details with them. If we can’t get away from that person, we may need to transfer to a different department, shift or find another job altogether; otherwise our marriage may end up on the rocks. Heart-jacking is real and it happens every day of the week. Just ask anyone who has experienced it.

As perilous as that example is, there is an equally perilous heart-jacking we must work to avoid if we are believers in Jesus Christ. When we first met Him and entered into a relationship with Him, we were totally in love with Him. We talked about Him with our friends and loved to spend time with Him in His word.

But then after a while, our heart began to get jacked. It may be that our work took primacy in our lives, or perhaps other relationships, hobbies, or even our ministry. Heart-jacking is real and we all have probably suffered from it to one degree or another. When we examine ourselves and find our heart has been jacked, what do we need to do?

In Revelation 3 verse 4, Jesus speaks to this issue when He speaks to the Ephesian church. He tells them, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” His advice to them is straightforward, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.” What exactly does that mean? It means we need to return to the way we were when we first met Him. We need to spend more time with Him in Bible study and prayer. We must focus our thoughts on Him, and be careful about not let our hearts get jacked again.

Heart-jacked? There is an answer…let’s take it! What do you say?


Parallel Realities

On Sunday morning, I received a message on Facebook. Normally, I ignore the messages unless they are personal, but this one was flagged and so I looked at it. It talked about martial law soon to be in effect, people getting arrested and President Trump being sworn in again on January 20th.

I was kind of in shock at the thinking and showed the message to my husband. I then called a girlfriend and told her about it. I asked, “Am I living in an alternate reality?” In my world, the message seemed so out of touch with reality than I couldn’t comprehend how someone could believe that it would be happening. On Monday, I heard from a few people that thought that the President might actually be sworn in on the 20th. I then watched the riots on January 6th and heard what some people thought was going to happen when they went to D.C.

It made me realize that we are living in a country where people are living in parallel realities. There is such a divide, such a disparity in the news services that no one really knows the truth. One group listens to one news service and believes what it says. Another group listens to another news channel and believes what it says; hook, line and sinker. What bothers me is that there seem to be so few people in the center, so few people that are willing to look at both sides of the problems and issues. Is there any way we can bridge the divide between both realities?

It seems to me that we must stop getting our news from just one source. We must listen to disparate points of view in order to find the truth. We must stop listening to politicians and believing everything they are telling us is the truth. They should be the last people we rely on for the truth as they have a political stake in most outcomes. We must also stop demonizing people who are on the other side of the political spectrum. No one is all good or all bad. No one person or side has THE ANSWER to all of the problems that we face as a nation. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth and the answer for most of our problems.

Do you see what I see concerning parallel realities? If so, what do you think can be done to help bring our country back together and bridge the divide?

Image by Octavia A. Tudose. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Holding My Breath


Right now, I am holding my breath and praying:

Heavenly Father,

I pray for a smooth and orderly transition of power in our government. Please place your angels around every elected official and protect them from any workers of darkness who would bring violence against them.

I pray this in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photo by Alexandr Ivanov, Courtesy of Pixabay

A Bridge Too Far

No matter where you stand in your political views, you must admit that what happened in Washington D.C. yesterday was A Bridge Too Far.

As a nation, we must learn to come together as Americans. The Tribalism that has divided us must stop. It doesn’t matter if you are on the left, right or a centrist, we must stop demonizing those that don’t agree with us.

Let this be a wakeup call. We must not try to disenfranchise any one group. We are all in this together. And please, let’s stay away from the Wing Nuts on the ends of the parties. They will only cause problems and lead us towards A Bridge Too Far. And really, as we just saw, we don’t want to go there.