Thursday, April 30, 2015

XYZ - eXamine Your Zeal

Since I fell behind, I am finishing with a triple, but I am finishing. I hope to spend May visiting the other A to Zers because I fell behind on that as well. It's called a challenge for a reason, but it's also a fun way to stretch myself. I'd like to thank Arlee Bird again and all the team of A to Z helpers. You all are a wonderful inspiration and encouragement. Thank you for putting this together and inspiring so many. Here goes:

A to Z Challenge

XYZ - eXamine Your Zeal. When you think about what’s been breaking out in cities across the U.S. right now, the riots and the mobs and the protests, can you help but wonder what’s going on? Is their zeal well grounded or unfounded? What is under it or behind it?

I believe within each of us there is a need, a desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We may not know it or see it or understand it, but it is there and it shows itself in someway. I believe we are witnessing the ugliness that it can produce when we misidentify what that bigger something is. That the need was placed in us for a purpose. Yes, we have a real need which fuels a real desire, and it is for the something bigger that we were created for, God Himself. We were created to belong in the family of God.

However, we also have something else naturally in us, a rebellious nature. So when that need for something bigger intertwines with our nature to rebel, it can produce the kinds of things we are witnessing in our society. We search to belong to something bigger in all the wrong places. Only God Himself can give us what we long for, what we are created for, relationship with Him. The Bible tells us God has made Himself known within us.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures
                                                                               Romans 18-23 (NASB)

We should eXamine what we are Zealous for. With what do You Identify? In what do You find You Reality? How do You determine Truth? What is You Ultimate? Are You Equipped to defend or offer an Apologetic Your Worldview? Can You Lay it Out for someone? How do You deal with Your Doubts?  Are You willing to make some Observations to Make the Most of  the Quality of Your Life?

EXamine Yourself and direct Your Zeal towards the One You were created for. You were made to be an Heir of the kingdom of God. Jesus has made a way to restore us to what we were intended for, Glory as children of the King of Kings.

God bless, Maria


I am catching up on my A to Z Challenge. I fell behind due to an accumulation of circumstances that occur in life.

A to Z Challenge

Worms - any of a number of creeping or burrowing invertebrate animals with long, slender, soft bodies and no limbs.

As I walked this morning, there were lots of little squirming worms about on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help thinking about them. They were seeking refuge from the rain. I thought about their purpose, burrowing through the soil to aerate and fertilize.  Amazing little creatures aren’t they?!

Could they have evolved from nothing? I mean, when I think about the importance of the worm and its purpose, I think about the other things in the world. I think of how it all fits together and works together. Could it have just come about randomly? No, I don’t think so. It takes too much faith to look at a world that is clearly designed and believe it just happened. I mean, consider the worm.

Consider the worms:

God bless, Maria

V is for Virtue

Well, I am running behind, but I vow to finish. So let me start by catching up with V.

A to Z Challenge

Virtue:  Behavior showing high moral standards, goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, moral excellence, integrity, dignity, honor, decency, nobility, rectitude, purity, conformity of one’s life and conduct to high moral and ethical principles, uprightness, rectitude

Where is the virtue today? Where are the high moral standards, standards of goodness and excellence, righteousness, honor? Have they died as we negate God in our world? Without God, where does virtue come from anyway?

In a search for ‘virtue’ on the internet, I found many organizations attempting to recreate the virtuous that has been lost. There are some that admit religion plays a role. There are others that identify other mechanisms to instill virtue like sports, work, or stable relationships like families or schools. However, this neglects a deep question. Why should anyone desire to be virtuous? Who defines virtue and where does the idea of virtue originate?

To have true virtue, we need a standard by which to measure that virtue. We need a definer of virtue. That standard definer is God.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Here are a few websites to check out to:

God bless, Maria

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Ultimate

A to Z Challenge

Ultimate: The highest, the greatest, the unsurpassed, the most valued, the most important

What’s your ultimate thing? What is it that you put before all else, that guides your decision-making, that most important, most valued item in your life? That is your idol, your ultimate.

Then God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:1-4

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans1:20-23

If we allow something to take the ultimate place in our hearts, in our lives above the place that God should have, then we actually reduce the value of all things in our life. Why? Because God IS the ultimate; so to put anything in His place devalues the ultimate place and consequently devalues everything else in relation to the false ultimate. Only by giving God the place in our lives that He should hold to we give appropriate value to all in our lives. It is in dignifying truth, that we dignify all else by the standard of truth.

Here are some websites to help you consider if you have idols for your ultimate.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TRUTH with a Capital T

A to Z Challenge

Truth: Reality; What is real. The actual state of what is; Consistency and conformity with God’s perspective and standards;

“The sum of Thy word is truth,
And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.Psalm 119:160

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

How does one determine truth? It is not uncommon to treat truth as mere preference today. For instance, the thought is that what’s true for you may not be true for me. However, that isn’t then truth. What is true must apply universally, though circumstance may change the application of truth, for truth to be truth it must be so regardless of who we are and what we may think of it.

Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason puts it something like this. When you go the ice cream shop with friends, you can all choose your favorite flavor. What you choose is merely your preference. However, when you go to the doctor, you want to be sure he is treating you with the right medication for your particular ailment. A topical ointment will not help you if you have an internal injury. If you have a disease, you want the doctor to treat you with the right medicine. If the doctor offers you ice cream when what you need is insulin, then you wouldn’t appreciate his prescription.

When it comes to making choices about what to believe concerning God and eternity, truth matters. If God is, and He has determined the path to eternity, then there is a right way and a wrong way. It isn’t a matter of our preference, but a matter of truth.

Consider Jesus.

Here are some websites to check out regarding the matter of truth:


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


As I have been navigating my way through the 2015 A to Z Challenge, I've been examining briefly various words and concepts in apologetics, that is the defense of what we believe, and for me that is Christianity and the Christian worldview. Today's word is sin.

A to Z Challenge

Sin: The violation of God’s expectations; transgressing divine law; rebelling against God; making something other than God our ultimate thing, our ultimate standard, our ultimate.

…All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

People in America today don’t like to hear the word sin. They think no one has the right to pass judgment on them, even God. Who is anyone to declare something sin? That argument easily falls apart with a little thought, however. If God made us, He knows how we work best, and He has the right to set the guiding principles for how the world and we in the world should operate. If there is a God, then He is the ultimate, and He determines our purpose. In fact He gives us purpose and meaning. If there is a God, as A. W. Tozer said,

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Why do I bring up God in the topic of sin? Because according to the definition of sin, it is God who determines what it is. If He is the King of Kings, then He has the authority to say what sin is and why it is significant.

We must determine what we think about God first in order to have a right view of sin. Otherwise sin has no meaning. Someone who says, "There is no God," likewise must say there is no sin to be consistent, and rightly so. However, if there is no sin, what is the basis for determining right and wrong? If it is just us and our own conclusions, who gets to decide? Think about that to its logical conclusion, and you will understand why Voltaire said,

"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him."

Are you willing to consider the reality of God and sin? What do you think of Tozer’s statement? Do you have an alternative thought to Voltaire's statement?

Here are a few websites to help you consider what sin is and what to do about it.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


A to Z Challenge

Reality: The quality of existing; the state of being real; something that is true.

So is God reality? Is Jesus real? Did he live? The evidence is there to examine. If one is looking for reasons to reject God, one will find them. However, if you truly are seeking truth, seeking to find God, clearly the God of the Bible says you will find it if you are seeking it. What are you looking for?

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew7:7-8 (NASB)

Monday, April 20, 2015


Participating in the A to Z Challenge is just that, a challenge. It is also a wonderful learning experience and a way to meet new friends, other cultures, and new ideas. Checking out the Blogging from A to Z homepage is a great way to keep up with all the latest goings on in the challenge, but it's also filled with encouragement and tips to make it to the end. 

So here's my 'Q'.

A to Z Challenge

Quality 1. Essential characteristic of a thing.  2. An attribute 3. A high level of value or excellence.

Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.

… Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 

To grow in the qualities of Christ is to be a quality Christian. The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit grows those qualities of Christ in the Christian who seeks to follow Jesus Christ.

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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

O is for Observation / P is for Prayer

O is for ObservationA to Z Challenge

Observation: an act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence; to be aware of one’s surroundings; to listen and pay attention; to see, watch, recognize details, to collect information through one’s senses

It seems today, we have lost the art of using our brains when told something or even when looking at something. We no longer observe. Instead we absorb. Time to reawaken those observation skills that engage our reason and thinking. Yes, think and weigh the evidence presented to us. Is it logical? Does it make sense? Are we truly open to where the evidence leads?  

Here are a few websites to challenge you to be an engaged observer.

P is for PrayerA to Z Challenge

Prayer: Talking to God from your heart; 

Prayer has an effect not only on the person praying, but God affects things and events because we pray. How do I know? I look at what God Himself says He does when we pray as in this example of His response to Hezekiah's prayer.

          Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”
          Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.’ This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him….
           ‘Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, “He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”
          Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. From 2 Kings19

There are different approaches to prayer, different techniques to help us. Here are a few approaches.

Thanks for visiting,


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Name Above All Names

A to Z Challenge

Being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11 (NASB)

Name Above All Names by Sovereign Grace Music

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making the Most of...

I am participating for the third year in the April A to Z Challenge. Each day of the month, minus Sunday, we blog on a certain topic that begins with the designated letter from the alphabet. Today is 'M' and I chose to make the most of it. 

We have reached the halfway point. So I thought one way to make the most of the challenge was to again thank Arlee Bird for creating the challenge for all of us to enjoy. It is amazing how it has grown. Well over a thousand people are participating this year. Thank you to all of those involved in making the most of this blogging experience.

A to Z Challenge

Making the most of: An idiom meaning to use to full advantage, to enjoy to the greatest degree possible, to maximize one’s experience, to get as much out of something that we can.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17 (NASB)

I encourage you to check out what the therefore is there for in this verse from Ephesians. But even if you don’t, the point that is made about being wise in the use of your time if you are going to make the most of it is worth pondering. We are constantly in a state of making choices from the littlest thing to the monumental. Do I stay in bed an extra 5 minutes? Should I take the job? Do I marry him? Many little decisions we don’t even realize we make. Will I smile at the cashier or remain preoccupied? What kind of an attitude will I have today?

I believe the more purposeful we are in these little decisions, the more likely we are apt to make the most of…(fill in the blank.) Deciding to have a good attitude, to have a positive impact on one’s environment, to be a blessing and to receive the blessings from God gratefully, all these little decisions have monumental consequences and lead to making the most of our lives and everything in them.  

Here are a few articles to help make the most of your life, talents, and even less than happy circumstances.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Laying it Out

Check out the A to Z Challenge home page. There's always something interesting, encouraging, and inspiring taking place there. There's also the master list of those participating and many are worth a visit. Today, I'm just laying out a little 'A to Z' fun.

A to Z Challenge

Laying it out: answering the question, bringing out the basics, clarifying your case, delivering your message, explaining the essentials, finding the facts, giving your support, holding forth the fundamentals, informing of the idea, justifying the logic, keeping it real, making your message known, naming the nuts and bolts, observing the details, proving your point, questioning the answer, revealing your position, settling the specifics, telling the truth, underscoring the information, verifying the data, weighing the particulars, eXamining the evidence, yielding to reason, zapping objections.

Here are a few 'L' songs and sites to lay out before you more of my message.

 Living Waterby Bob Carlisle
Life is Story
Lies Young Women Believe