By Peggy Lively

Often times there are songs that really minister to me. It seems every time I turn on the radio the same song is playing. Recently that song has been Masterpiece by Danny Gokey. It is a great reminder that God is continually working in my life and in the lives of my loved ones through all circumstances to transform us into something beautiful. He is conforming us into the image of His Son: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29) Even when life is painful, trust Him that He is still sovereign and working in your life. Read the lyrics below and be encouraged that God is making you His masterpiece:

Heartbreaks a bittersweet sound

Know it well It’s ringing in my ears

And I can’t understand

Why I’m not fixed by now

Begged and I pleaded

Take this pain but I’m still bleeding

Heart trusts you for certain

Head says it’s not working

I’m stuck here still hurting

But you tell me

You’re making a masterpiece

You’re shaping the soul in me

You’re moving where I can’t see

And all I am is in your hands

You’re taking me all apart

Like it was your plan from the start

To finish your work of art for all to see

you’re making a masterpiece

Guess I’m your canvas

Beautiful black and blue

Painted in mercy’s hue

I don’t see past this

You see me now

Who I’ll be then

There at the end

Standing there as

Your Masterpiece

You’re shaping the soul in me

You’re moving where I can’t see

-Danny Gokey

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15, NKJV)




By Peggy Lively

At the beginning of a new year, sometimes I’ll have a “word for the year” come to me and sometimes I won’t. I’m not set on having one. I just enter into the new year seeking the Lord, waiting to see if He emphasizes one for me. This year, it happened on day one.

On January 1st, in my Bible reading one word was repeated several times throughout the verses: “persuaded.” As I read the verses, I knew the Lord was reminding me to hold on to and believe the promises He’s given me, and this is why:

I have a whole list of promises in scripture that I believe the Lord has given to me. I have been praying fervently for and claiming these promises for five years now. Recently I became very discouraged that I have not seen these promises fulfilled and began to pray and seek God for some kind of reassurance. I began to question if these were really promises from Him or not. Had I heard Him right, or was it just my own heart’s desire? As I prayed, I asked God to give me some kind of confirmation that these were His promises to me and not my own.

As I continued to persevere in prayer, I found myself praying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I believe the Lord reminded me to keep holding on to His promises saying, “My words will come true at their proper time.” (Luke 1:20) And “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” (Luke 1:45) That’s where this word persuaded comes in. I desire to be “fully persuaded that God has power to do what He has promised.” (Romans 4:21) Persuaded means, “to believe something, especially after a sustained effort; to be convinced.” I want to strive this year to be fully persuaded, completely convinced, that God is faithful to fulfill all of His promises.

Do you have a word for 2018? If not, maybe persuaded is the one for you as well:

“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (II Timothy 1:12)

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)



By Peggy Lively

It is Christmas Eve and we are anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We celebrate that Jesus came, because God sent Him to be our Savior:

I John 4:9-10 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Mark 12:6  “Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent Him.”

As we rejoice that Jesus came, thank God that He sent Him: to save us from our sins, to redeem us, and to adopt us as His children. As you open up your gifts on Christmas morning, thank God for this precious gift of salvation through His Son:

I John 5:11 “And this is testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

II Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

Merry Christmas!


By Peggy Lively

With the Christmas season upon us, gift buying and giving is all around us. It really is a fun and festive time of year, but so often we lose sight of the One we are celebrating. The last couple of years as I have begun my gift buying, I have really desired to give a gift to Jesus. After all, it is His birthday we are celebrating.

As I have pondered, “What can I give Him?” this year, my desire is to share the good news of His grace and the gift of salvation with those at both of my work places. So I have decided to give devotional books to all those that I work with. I want to share His love with them; this is my gift to Him this season.

Pray about what you can give to Jesus as we celebrate Him. Maybe it is to provide for a needy family, or to give a financial gift to a homeless ministry. Maybe it is to serve in your church, or go visit someone in prison or a nursing home. Jesus reminds us that as we minister to others, we are ministering to Him: “’For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40)

Or maybe you have never fully surrendered your heart to the Lord, and this Christmas He is prompting you to do so. Your gift to Him may be to give Him your heart.

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give Him my heart.”

In the Bleak Midwinter, by Christina Rossetti

As a visual reminder to keep Jesus first this season, when you make your gift-giving list, write His name at the top of your list. What can you give Him?

By Peggy Lively

One day I was walking along the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas and it was extremely windy. My hair was continually blowing in my face, and I could feel the wind’s resistance against my body as I walked. Not only did I feel the effects of the wind, but I could also see how it affected the water in the river. When the wind blew, it would push a line of ripples directly across the river. And with each gust of wind, a new group of ripples raced across the surface of the water. It was so smooth and beautiful. It looked as if some unseen hand was creating them and giving them their direction. It is truly a natural wonder to see and feel the effects of the wind, but not be able to see the wind itself.

It is the same way with the Holy Spirit. It is a spiritual wonder to see and feel the effects of the Spirit in our lives and around us, but not be able to see the Spirit himself. The term ‘spirit’ translates Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (pneuma) words denoting ‘wind,’ ‘breath,’ and, by extension, a life-giving element. With the adjective ‘holy,’ the reference is to the divine spirit, i.e., the Spirit of God. [1][1]

The Holy Spirit is compared many times in scripture to the presence and power of the wind. On the day of Pentecost, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:2, 4) Jesus also explained to Nicodemus that, “The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) We cannot explain how someone is “born of the Spirit” or led by the Spirit, but we can see the evidence of the Spirit in a changed heart and a transformed life.

One of the ways we see the effects of the Spirit is by the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) These fruit are the evidence that the Spirit is present and active in our lives. By them, we become a “breath of fresh air,” a gentle brushing of the Spirit.

So be reminded today that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in us. Let us not quench or grieve His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30, I Thessalonians 5:19), but let us live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) And when you feel the wind blowing on your face, and you see the trees swaying in the wind, thank God for His presence. Thank Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

[1][1]Achtemeier, Paul J. ; Harper & Row, Publishers ; Society of Biblical Literature: Harper’s Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. San Francisco : Harper & Row, 1985, S. 401

By Peggy Lively

In Psalm 119, David mentions over and over his love for God’s Word and what it means to him

It is his delight and life: “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.“ (Psalm 119:92-93)

It is sweet to him: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

It is a light for him: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

It is valuable to him: “Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.” (Psalm 119:127-128)

It gives him direction: “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” (Psalm 119:133)

It is his hope: “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:114) I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. (Psalm 119:147-148)

What is God’s Word to you? Do you love it? Is it valuable and sweet to you? Do you look to it for direction and hope?

I pray that his Word will be your delight, that you will find the treasure hidden in it and let it come alive in your life.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. (Colossians 3:16)

By Peggy Lively

I heard a sermon last week by John Durham about the life of David. He read from II Samuel 6 where David is bringing the ark of God back to Jerusalem: “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” (verses 14-16) His wife Michal saw this and was embarrassed by his behavior. When he returns, Michal confronts him about his actions and his reputation as King. David responds to her accusations by saying, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord.” (II Samuel 16:21)

Durham pointed out with this response that, “David had a joy that made him forget about himself. He threw away image management.” I love the way he phrased this because so many times we are unintentionally focused on ourselves: worried about how we look, how people perceive us, and what they think about us. David was so filled with the joy of the presence of the Lord that he totally forgot about himself. Durham also pointed out that, “Realizing we are chosen by God brings liberating joy.” David pointed this out in his response to Michal in verse 21: “It was before the Lord who chose me.” He recognizes his value, his worth and the joy that comes from knowing he is chosen by God.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you too are chosen by God. Let this knowledge fill you with liberating joy so that you can forget about yourself.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (I Peter 2:9)



By Peggy Lively

Jesus performed two miracles in the book of Mark that have very similar circumstances. The more I looked at them the more interesting it became to me. In Mark 7, He heals a deaf and mute man, and in Mark 8 He heals a blind man. There are four common things that happen in both of these miracles.

1. Jesus gets the one who needs healing alone:

“Jesus took him aside, away from the crowd.” (Mark 7:33)

“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.” (Mark 8:23)

2. Jesus spits:

“Then He spit.” (Mark 7:33)

“He spit on the man’s eyes.” (Mark 8:23)

3. Jesus physically touches the men where they need healing:

“Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue.” (Mark 7:33)

“When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?'” (Mark 8:23) And again in Mark 8:25, “Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes.”

4. Things are opened and healing takes place:

“Jesus looked up to Heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). The man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.” (Mark 7:34-35)

“Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:25)

Isn’t that fascinating? It’s so interesting to me to see the similarities in these miracles and see how Jesus chose to heal them. He pulls the individual aside, away from the crowd to give them His focus and personal attention. Why He chooses to spit, I’m really not sure. There are some studies that show human saliva has healing qualities, like speeding up wound healing. But that hardly seems to be the reason. I think it tends to be more along the lines of Jesus using the base things of this world to do the miraculous. He often chooses to use the weak and lowly things: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (I Corinthians 1:27-29) Then He touches them, and there is healing as He places His hands on their eyes, ears and tongue. He could have just spoken their healing, but He made it more personal and compassionate by physically touching them. Then He speaks with authority and power when He says, “Ephphatha!.” Be opened! And they are.

I’m so thankful that Jesus still opens today. He opens blind eyes to see His grace; He opens deaf ears to hear His Truth, and opens prison doors to set sinners free. Seek Him and trust Him to open the areas in your life that need healing.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)


By Peggy Lively

As I read my devotional books one morning recently, I heard Jesus ask the same question from two different books and two different passages of scripture. First I read Matthew 20:32-34 from the “Daily Light” devotional: Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” He asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. Then right after that I read about Bartimaeus in Mark 10:49-52 from “Our Daily Bread:” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

“What do you want me to do for you?” This was the question Jesus asked. As I read these two passages, I felt as if I was sitting by the roadside like these blind men and Jesus stopped, took my face in His hands and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” It became a very personal encounter as I shared my heart with Him.

Jesus knew the blind men wanted to see; the need seems obvious. And Jesus already knows what I’d like for Him to do for me. Matthew 6:8 says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” but in compassion He still asks. When we recognize our own need and cry out to Him for help, He responds.

What do you want Him to do for you? Call upon His name and be specific with your need and request. He cares for you.

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:18-19)

By Peggy Lively

In Luke 24, Jesus had risen from the dead and decided to join a couple of men as they walked along the road to Emmaus. They were discussing Jesus’s death and, “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’” (verses 15-17) They can’t believe this man doesn’t know what’s been going on and, “One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’” And in verse 19, Jesus says, “What things?”

Clearly Jesus knew what they were talking about and what had gone on in the last few days, but He acted like He didn’t. This is a little bit humorous to me, but why do you think He did this? He was engaging them in a personal conversation, and through this He was able to hear where their hearts were, even though He already knew. It seems that they knew the story and knew the facts, but they didn’t believe.

They explain to Jesus “what things” in the following verses: “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” These men told the facts of the story but said “we had hoped.” It seems they gave up hope quickly.

As they continued down the road and approached the village of Emmaus, “Jesus acted as if He was going further.” Again, Jesus is pretending, acting like He’s going further, “But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So He went in to stay with them.” Jesus had engaged them in personal conversation and wanted them to invite Him into their lives.

So even though Jesus knew everything, He acted like He didn’t so that He could hear their hearts and their story. Then He acted like He was going further so that they would “urge Him strongly” to stay, invite Him in, and believe. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him,” (verse 31) then they declared, “It is true! The Lord has risen.”

Even though Jesus is all-knowing, He is a personal Savior. He wants to hear your heart and your story, and He also desires for you to invite Him in and believe in Him.

“I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

« Older Entries