A Diamond in the Rough

A Diamond  in the Rough
Quartz

When our daughter was in Middle School she had an interest in rock collecting so for Christmas we gave her a rock tumbling machine. Her kit came with a small variety of geodes.  The machines they design for kids are very noisy and take what seems like an eternity to semi polish a stone. Geodes are rocks that are plain on the outside but can have beautiful crystals on the inside. These polished stones can be found at rock shops all over the country.

The world’s love of diamonds had its start in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as the fourth century BC.  Today diamonds are plentiful compared to other precious gemstones and can be found all over the earth.

A diamond has to go through a lot before it reaches the jeweler’s display case. It forms deep in the earth under extreme heat and pressure. It’s ejected violently upward until it arrives at or near the earth’s surface. It’s forced from its hiding place by nature or by man. Then it’s cleaved and cut and polished until its natural beauty shines through.

World’s largest uncut diamond auctioned in 2016

Diamonds are then graded in four categories to measure value. First by Carat or it’s size and secondly by the Cut which displays the jewelers skill in making the stone sparkle. The next grade is grade for lack of Color, clear being the best . All diamonds have an inclusion or tiny unique imperfection developed when it was forming , like a birthmark, which determines Carity. The Master Jeweler can tell the difference between a diamond and quartz and sees the microscopic details within.

Industry statistics indicate that approximately one ton of earth has to be moved for every one carat of diamond that is mined, so in the case of the 1.60 carat diamond about 4.25 tons of earth were moved… That’s a lot of dirt for a tiny rock. (from pricescope.com) Only 30% of diamonds mined are used for jewelry the rest are used in industry for drilling, grinding and cutting among other uses.

We are all like a “diamond in the rough”. He sees our imperfections and knows our value and uniqueness. He already knew all about us before we were born and has a purpose for our lives.

Psalm 139:15–16 (ESV)
15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God is Sovereign and wants to mold us into the person we should be. But like a potter with a lump of clay, we are a work in progress. Some people require a lot more “dirt” to be removed before moving on to the next step but that too is part of the process. (sorry no verses for cutting a diamond)

Jeremiah 18:2–4 (ESV)
2“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

When we are going through difficult circumstances of any kind it is easy to question what God is doing. But He ultimately desires the best for us. He will use the pressure of trials to help us grow in faith and resilience. We will shine brighter in our testimony because He puts the sparkle of love, joy and peace into our lives.

Zechariah 13:9 (ESV)
9And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are m
y people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ ”



When Life Doesn’t Seem Fair

When Life Doesn’t Seem Fair

Often when I hear news of someone’s else’s misfortune or I am going through a difficult time myself I think, ” life just isn’t fair”. When my kids were growing up sometimes they thought we parents weren’t being fair. But God never promised life would be. Does that surprise you? Jesus told His disciples that there would be trouble in the world. Reading the scriptures gives us a different perspective. I am using a different version of the bible in my blog today because we can discover deeper meaning by using different translations.

Psalm 37: 1–9 (Christian Standard Bible) A Psalm Of David.

1Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong. – The ESV version uses the word fret. The verb fret means to be constantly or visibly worried or anxious. Why should we not fret? 2For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants. – it’s only temporary. Some of the synonyms for fret are agonize, mope, make a fuss, grumble and eat your heart out. It sounds like fretting would make us miserable and those around us also.

3Trust in the Lord and do what is good – we have a choice to do what is good and not grumble or try to get even. ;dwell in the land and live securely. – The ESV tells us to befriend faithfulness but my NIV uses the phrase “cultivate faithfulness” in place of live securely. Did you ever think about cultivating faithfulness? The word cultivate is a gardening term but also means to acquire or develop a quality, sentiment, or skill.

4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. – This verse does not contain a promise to give us everything we want because you are such a good Christian. Psalm 119 exhorts us to delight in God’s word and Jesus told us to pray according to the Father’s will. When our desires are aligned with his He does bless abundantly.

5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act, To commit to something or someone is to pledge or bind – devote, apply or dedicate. When we do this, we let God be God and trust Him take care of the problem. That trust will take a weight off of our mind by replacing it with peace.

6making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. Do you remember the old song “This Little Light of Mine”? The light of Jesus in our lives is hidden when we are agitated and worried.

7Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for him; I have a hard time being silent and still. To be honest, sometimes I like to explain to God how He should fix problems. do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the person who carries out evil plans. I remember my mother saying, “you are only responsible for your own actions. God will take care of the rest.” I should be silent more often.

8Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated—it can only bring harm. How did anger end up here when we are talking about worry? Often in the medical arena an agitated person (for whatever reason) necessitates de-escalation techniques before violence occurs. When we allow worry to control us we can end up in the trap of entitlement and feeling like a victim. Our negative feelings and thoughts can get out of hand if we do not give them over to God.

9For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Our hope is not here on this planet. Our hope is in Jesus Christ and an eternity with Him.

Please read the rest of this Psalm on your own remembering that …v.24 The Lord is the One who holds your hand and choose wisdom over worry.

What is Your Moral Compass?

What is Your Moral Compass?

I believe our society is losing something extremely valuable to the wholeness and vitality that makes us unique and united. No not the honor due to the American flag , that is only a symptom of the problem. We have lost our moral compass. America was founded on the Judeo Christian ethics that support the right to life ( all life is valuable in God’s eyes from conception to death) liberty (the freedom to choose how/where you will live ) and the pursuit ( the right to achieve one’s personal goals) of happiness.

The definition of morality In the American Dictionary is, ” a personal set of standards for good or bad behavior and character, or the quality of being right and honest.”

In my research I found that people have different definitions for their personal moral compass. Our former first lady, Michelle Obama, was quoted as saying, “I’ve learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values and follow my own moral compass then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” That sounds all well and good except that as first lady the country had certain expectations as to her moral character and behavior. I have heard people say “well, that is my truth“. What does that even mean? If my truth says my car will go 40 miles on one gallon but the manufacturer states that it will only go 24 mpg then when I ignore that little blinking warning light – I will run out of gas. That is truth.

In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket, the genetically engineered racoon, is talking to Nova Corps and asks, “What if I see something that I wanna take and it belongs to someone else?” “Then you will be arrested.” “But what if I want it more than the person who has it?” “Still illegal.” “That doesn’t follow. No, I want it more, sir.” It was humorous because most people share the basic moral belief that stealing is wrong.

The ten commandments, also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity. God gave His people these rules to help make them a separate and holy people but it does not take away the basic problem of sin. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for breaking God’s law on the cross.

Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Dennis Prager put it this way, “The moral north reads south and the moral south reads north. Much of the world’s moral compass is broken.”

Jeremiah 17:9 states, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it

Since we naturally tend to be selfish and self-centered God has given believers His Word and an internal spiritual compass – The Spirit of Truth.

How do we find TRUTH? John 14:6–7 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Our internal compass John 15:26
26“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

Our Guide 2 Timothy 3:16–17
16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Put God First Proverbs 3:5–7
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

Everyday is a new beginning. I hope you choose Gods’ moral compass that always points true north.


Do You Know Your Assignment?

Do You Know Your Assignment?

Our son just competed in the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, FL.  22,000 athletes, coaches and families from all fifty states and the Caribbean islands came together for a week of hard competition in a wide variety of sports.  We are proud to say our son won a gold, silver and bronze in his athletic events and division. Jeremy was the only one to wear braces on his legs to assist with running but these games are about abilities – NOT disabilities.

One of the t-shirts team Massachusetts wore says, “We understood the assignment”. Each athlete had been chosen last year to compete in these games based on previous competitions. They practiced as individuals and teams to get in shape for their individual sports and had their eyes on the big challenge ahead. No one goes to these games hoping just to be there and watch. The goal is to win a gold medal! And more than a years’ worth of planning and preparing went on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

The Christian life is described by the apostle Paul as a race or competition much like the Greek and Roman Olympics in the first century.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)

Unfortunately, I think most modern Christians treat their assignment like a walk in the park. We go about our daily lives enjoying the good around us and then get frustrated and respond poorly when unforeseen obstacles are in our path. I certainly have been guilty of this when I am not in “spiritual shape” and preparing for each day or week ahead.

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV)

We are created in different sizes, shapes, backgrounds and God has given each of us different gifts and abilities to use for His glory. The Bible tells us He calls, prepares, equips and empowers us to live godly lives that will cause others to want to know Jesus. My assignment is to run the race He prepared for me day by day with purpose and intention. Purpose is the reason why I do what I do and intention focuses the attention needed to make things happen. Each day I must prepare myself with time in prayer and in His Word and also make extra time for training in the arena He has called me to live and work.

I love the Special Olympics athlete’s oath .

Obviously not everyone will obtain a gold medal and that’s alright. We aren’t given the same strength and abilities or assignment but everyone will be held accountable for how they use what they have. There are many questions we can ask ourselves to better our position. What obstacles or sinful habits stand in my way of success today? Did I prepare well this morning, week, month? Was I focused to do the best I could? If not, what attitudes, distractions or problems do I need to bring before The Lord and deal with? Endurance comes with practice, trial and error but never by giving up. Are you “all in” to run the race or are you just sitting by the sidelines?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)


I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (ESV)

When Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough

When Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough

Once again our Nation is glued to the media as another horrific and incomprehensible murder of innocent children has occurred. The news reporters and politicians offer their “thought and prayers ” as a way of expressing their sorrow but it doesn’t comfort the grieving families. Our good thoughts or wishes might make us feel better but prayer has no power if it isn’t directed toward the Sovereign God of the universe who hears and sees all. I viewed quite a few memes that stated “thought and prayers” are not enough.

The Jeremiah prophesied, “Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” He depicts the wailing at the time of Israel’s exile to Babylon and it is quoted in Matthew 2:18 after King Herod slaughtered all male babies because he felt threatened by the announcement of the newborn King – Jesus. Today the parents in Texas refuse to be comforted…. there are no pat answers to explain away the terror these children faced in their last moments or why. No amount of words can fill the void in their homes because nothing will ever be the same. It is bad for our own mental health to continuously watch the news but we do need to discuss openly and honestly with our children about what happened at an age appropriate level and then shut the news off.

What to do for ourselves: 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. What you will receive: 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. What we can focus our thoughts on: 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:6-8

Following Him and reading His Word is the answer for the issues of today. Faith should lead to action. Be a positive role model to the children in your neighborhood, church, school or community. Advocate for safety and increased mental health awareness and treatment. Watch your own children and monitor their use of media, violent games and movies. Children need a sense of security and boundaries. They also need to be taught respect for authority. It is our responsibility – not the school or church!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

Read some of the promises of God :

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10

…and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:26–27

Truly pray for those who are suffering right now and share the eternal hope we have because of Jesus in word and action .

The Courage to Write

The Courage to Write

I am a proud contributor to this compilation of devotions and pleased to be included with writers such as Carol Kent, Lori Roeleveld, Katy Lee, Tessa Afshar and many more. “The Courage to Write” offers the encouragement you need to get started or continue your writing journey. You will find 62 biblically-based devotions from past faculty and members of the reNew writers community.

Your story matters. It is unique to you and maybe someone else can learn from your experience.

You can order a copy at Amazon.com using the link here or I will have copies for sale as well.

https://amzn.to/3wGzTUj