Reflections #20, Your Promised Land

Today’s verse is Nehemiah 9:31, but if you have time, read all of Chapter 9. 

It helps to know a bit of Israel’s journey to the promised land as we discuss this reflection.

Three thoughts stand out to me from Nehemiah’s reflection on Israel’s history.

1) God had set aside the promised land for Israel, but they still had to go in and take possession of it.

2) God sustained them in their exile on the way to the promised land.

3) Once they were in the promised land, their sin caused them to be taken from their promised land as slaves to a foreign country.

Even though I don’t like to admit it, my reactions to life’s circumstances aren’t always that different from the Israelites’. Listen below with Only By Prayer  to see how this may apply to your life too.

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Reflections #17: The Potter

short meditations on scripture intersecting life

As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. Jeremiah 18:6

I have a college friend who has started a second career. She is an artist, more specifically a sculptor, or potter. Recently she posted pictures of some of her work online. I studied her nature sculptures of rabbits, loons, owls, and a cheerful little bird—I think it was a Carolina wren.

Block of unformed clay

Now we don’t live close to each other, so I haven’t seen her at work, but I can imagine her hands sculpting a big lump of clay into exactly the form that she wants it to take. Sharp tools are needed to add intricacies of form and personality. As I zoomed in on the photos I could see all the amazing detail work that gives life to each of her pieces.

To hear the rest of this podcast as we discuss being the clay in the Potter’s hands, listen by simply clicking on the arrow below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so it’s delivered to your podcast library every week.

What Do You Think?

Finally, what are your thoughts on the process of being clay in the Potter’s hands? How is God shaping you today? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

My friend’s work

Thanks for listening! May your soul’s meditations be fuel for Spirit-led actions today.






Reflections #16: First Things First

short meditations on scripture intersecting life

Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.

The backstory for this verse is that the Israelites had been released from exile and were back in Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God. I can only imagine the feelings the older exiles must have felt after living for many decades as servants in Babylon. To set foot in their homeland again must have been such a joyful time. And I wonder about the younger ones who had been born in captivity, and Babylon was all they knew. I’m sure they had heard stories of their homeland and to see it for the first time was an experience they would never forget.

The First Thing They Built Was …

After they were settled, they started building the temple. They needed to put first things first, and they did because the very first thing they built was the altar so they could make their burnt offerings to the Lord. They needed to have a way to take care of the sin problem between them and the Lord.

And we need to do the same thing when we sin. We need to “rebuild our own altars” too. We need to confess our sin and be restored.

Join Jane from Only By Prayer on today’s podcast by listening below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to have each new podcast sent right to your device.

Thanks for listening, and please leave your thoughts below.





Reflections #15: The Accuser

short meditations on scripture intersecting life

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. Zechariah 3:1

Whether we have been “living in exile” as the Israelites were by pursuing a selfish, sinful lifestyle for a long time, or we had a fight with our spouse or other “quicker” sin, as soon as God calls us back to Him, Satan is right there doing what he does best to us: accusing and deceiving.

Join Only By Prayer today as Jane talks about this problem and how to overcome it.

To listen to the podcast, click below or subscribe to it on iTunes. Thanks for listening, and may your soul’s meditation be fuel for Spirit-led actions today!




Reflections #14: Prayer Is Powerful

short meditations on scripture intersecting life

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13

Prayer is powerful.

It changes situations, people, and events. Daniel was one of the most faithful pray-ers in the Bible. We can take away much from his example. And we can get a bit of a behind-the-sceneslook as to what goes on when we pray.

Let’s dive into these two verses to see how they can impact our prayers today!

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Reflections #8: Messy Middles

Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.

“I have set my face like a stone determined to do His will.” Isaiah 50:7

Show Notes

When I am starting something new, there’s the excitement and freshness of this new thing. Perhaps I’ve been thinking of it, dreaming of it, praying for it for a long time. I bring energy, zest, and enthusiasm to the table. I’ve researched and planned and am ready to go.

And then when I’m nearing the finish line of said dream or project, I receive a fresh burst of energy because the end is in sight. I’ve almost reached my goal.

But it’s in the messy middle that dreams fade, marriages fail, jobs lose their luster, and parenting seems not quite so fun.

“It’s in the messy middle that we must “set our faces like a stone and determine to do His will.” 

If you’re in the middle of a messy middle, take heart. Mary and Joseph had to deal with them in their lives too. Join me on this short podcast today to reflect upon messy middles and how we can persevere through them.  And remember,

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May your soul’s meditations be fuel for Spirit-led actions today.