Category Archives: Parting Words from The WORD

Parting Words From The WORD . . . My Time, My Way, & My Best Interest

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

If everybody would just do things my way, life would be perfect. Right? It’s my way or the highway–or so I thought. I get stuff done in my time, my way, and with my best interest by figuring out just when is my time when now doesn’t seem to be working; what is my way when all paths seem foggy; and what is my best interest when I can’t see the future.

With all the clamor, noise, and jockeying for stuff, I easily lose my bearings. The center of who I am and the focus of what I’m about becomes distorted. Discouragement lurks in the shadows to claim all that I am. When things aren’t working out my way or in my time or even in my best interests, maybe I’ve lost the meaning of the word “my” and to whom it refers.

In Old Testament times, Moses experienced times like these and God sent him into the wilderness to be with the sheep. The clamor of Egypt, gone. The noise of people, diminished. The stuff related to position, eradicated. One day Moses went even further into the wilderness. “He led the flock far into the wilderness” (Ex. 3:1). Silence. Hoof step. Occasional bleat. His mind quiet, focused on one thing—find grazing land.

In the quietness, God called. Maybe Moses’ thoughts weren’t as stilled as they needed to be. God used a spectacular display to catch his attention and speak to him—a burning bush that wouldn’t burn up. In amazement, Moses heard God say what his time, his way, and his best interest was. It wasn’t about Moses at all. It was about God’s plan, God’s time, way and glory.

How often I get wrapped up in thinking my life is about me. Like Moses, if I take time to quiet myself in the presence of God, I learn his plan, his way, and his time. It’s then that I can sync my life with his grand purpose for me, for others, and for God’s glory.

The word “my” refers to God, not me. He knows better than I about time, ways, and what’s best.

Now, where can I find some quiet sheep-grazing land?

Bio: Robin Bryce is a speaker and author. She founded iGETitLIFE to inspire, empower, and challenge Robin Bryce Headshotpeople to grow close to God and develop into the creation God intended. In her twenty-five plus years of ministry, she has held many positions from a spiritual emphasis director, ministry leader, women’s ministry developer, church leadership trainer, and event speaker to a weekly Bible teacher and pastor’s wife. She develops events and programs with humor, wisdom and insight for various venues including businesses, communities and churches. Robin inspires growth and encouragement for leaders, couples and women with her conversational, down-home style. Robin developed the iGETitLIFE Capture Me! programs for small churches and communities that they might have a quality event on their home turf. She is a favorite for business seminars, training events, conferences, church leadership conferences, women’s events, ministry wives seminars, marriage conferences, MOPS, and home school workshops. Her appearances include a Blog Talk Radio Interview, a feature in the Community News local newspaper, and a Caribbean cruise where among other topics, she and her pastor-husband presented a humorous message on marriage.

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Well Done, Woody

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Like many of you, I grew up in church. As a child, Saturday nights were set aside to polish my shoes, wash my hair, and make sure I knew what to wear on Sunday. As a teenager, I carried my Bible into Sunday School and filled out my registration form. As a young adult, I learned all the churchy words.

Yes, on Sundays, I looked like a Christian, talked like a Christian, and dressed like a Christian. Yes, I looked good, smelled good, and was in church every time the doors were open.

But the truth is, if I had died as a young adult, I would have gone to hell. I wasn’t a Christian, I was simply a good Pharisee.

I was the person Jesus was talking about when He said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

The will of the Father is not that we wear polished shoes and Sunday clothes and carry a Bible into church when we haven’t opened it all week. His will is not that we walk an aisle, sign a card, and learn a bunch of churchy words.

Without a changed heart, mind, and spirit; without a desire to have the mind of Christ and be like Him; without trusting in His blood and not our good deeds, we’re nothing but Pharisees . . . pious religious leaders who looked good, smelled good, and were in church every time the door was open.

They’re the people Jesus was talking about when He said:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Matthew 23:27 (NIV)

Our friend, Woody Brown, died last week after a long, courageous battle. He was a kind, gentle man, a tender husband, loving father, and doting grandpa.

He coached all kinds of ball teams, helped anyone who needed help, and taught middle school boys in Sunday School. No question about it, he was a good man. He looked good, smelled good, and knew all the churchy words. But that’s not all. Woody Brown

He knew Jesus. And Jesus IS all.

Woody’s life was dedicated to sharing the hope, grace, mercy, and love of our Lord. He wanted more than anything to have the mind of Christ, to be the hands and feet of Christ, to spend eternity with Christ and to take others with him.

Woody is the one Jesus was talking about last Thursday when He said:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness.” Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

Well done, Woody. Great is your reward.

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Lord, I Need You

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.


Illness . . . violence . . . death . . . demands . . . Sometimes it seems more than we can bear. And, without Him, it very well could be. But we don’t have to face these hardships alone.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)


Yes, He cares for all of us, but we can only access His peace and strength when we know Him as Lord and Savior. He is available to us, but are we allowing Him to work through our trials and weaknesses?

As we continue this difficult road with my mother, I’ve found Christian music to be the best way for me to prepare for worship and searching His heart through His Word. This song ministered to me this morning. I hope it ministers to you as well as you listen to the words, take them into your heart, and sing them to Jesus.

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Oh, how I need Him!

Grace and Peace be yours in abundance.


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Parting Words From The Word . . . I’m in Over My Head

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As some of you know, my mother had a horrible fall 19 days ago that resulted in days in ICU, then on the trauma floor, then surgery, and eventually discharged to a rehab center to begin her long road to recovery. As is always the case with difficult situations, satan sees this as an opportunity to confuse and confound God’s people. And for a while, he was able to confuse and confound me. But not any more.

Most mornings, I listen to three or four worship songs on Pandora to prepare me for worship before I open His word, listen for His voice, and spend time in prayer. I had already listened to four songs and was ready to turn off the music when I saw the title of the next song, “In Over My Head.”

That was exactly how I felt at that moment: In over my head. I decided I’d listen to one more song. I’m glad I did.

The version I listened to was an 8-minute worship set and I listened to it for almost an hour, drawing closer to the Father with each repeat, claiming the words as my own.

What about you? Have you felt lately like you’re in over your head? Deadlines or debt got you down? Rejections and responsibilities weighing heavy on your heart? Or perhaps you’re like me and watching your parents or children struggle in life. It’s almost more than you can bear.

Would you join me and prayerfully listen to the words of the 5-minute version of this song by Jenn Johnson, offering them as a gift to Jesus, the Healer of all broken hearts?

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After worshiping for quite a while–playing it over and over again–I felt the warmth and healing begin deep inside and work its way to my heart, mind, and spirit.

I realized that the evil one wanted me to dwell on the broken heart and the shock of all that had happened, but Jesus wants me to dwell only on Him, regardless of the circumstances. I gave it all to Him that morning. And every time that snake started replaying the what-ifs, I replayed the song for him . . . and praised God that He alone is in control.

I had to decide I was going to believe our Father who seeks and saves the lost rather than believe the father of lies who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. Powerful revelation!

Then the Lord took me to Isaiah 43:1b-3a.

“. . . Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . .” Isaiah 43:1b-3a (NLT)

Powerful, powerful passage! The “a” and “b” are because He’s speaking to Israel, but since I’m adopted into the family, He’s speaking it to me–and you–when we fully trust Him, let go of the pain, and give it wholly to Him. I could not allow the evil one to win or confuse my heart and my mind any longer.

It’s a beautiful thing to be in over our heads, to lose control. That’s where, no matter whether we sink or swim, it makes no difference. Either way, when we allow Jesus to take over, we’re finally free.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,



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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Writing Books is Endless

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Today’s scripture is one of those that has stayed with me as a writer. It’s from the last chapter of Ecclesiastes. Solomon says:

But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. Ecclesiastes 12:12-13

As I read that passage, I was struck by the words, “Be careful, for writing books is endless . . . ”

Uh, can I get an AMEN on that one?

It seems our work is never done, doesn’t it? There’s always another book to write, another article to submit, another devotion to share. Let’s face it, we never finish. As a matter of fact, I told someone today that unless I have something specifically planned, if I’m awake, I’m working . . . because writing books and articles and blog posts and devotions is endless.

Is he saying we’re not supposed to write?

Of course not. Further study helped me see that Solomon was most likely saying something like, “Don’t add to this book. Somebody’s always got another idea. Don’t study a bunch of other people’s opinions. Books are a dime a dozen and everybody thinks he’s got the answer. Instead of wasting your time chasing after every new concept, remember that everything comes back to this: Fear God and obey His commands.”

So even though we often know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has given us something to say, we must always remember that the truth is still the truth. The whole story is this:

            Jesus is God’s Son.

            We are sinners.

            We can’t be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

            We need a Savior.

            That Savior is Jesus.

            He is the sacrifice for our sin.

            He took the punishment we deserve.

Studying and chasing after anything beyond His truth will only wear us out.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Music to Work By

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As you may know, we’re in the homestretch of preparations for the 2016 Christian Communicators Conference, which begins next Wednesday, August 24 and goes through Sunday, August 28 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. And even though it’s a week of little sleep and lots of heart work, it truly is the highlight of my year. It’s the week I look forward to more than anything . . . once I get there.

I must say, I don’t look forward to the weeks leading up to the conference. They’re hard, long, and involve multiple, endless To-Do lists. Needless to say, some things that aren’t related to CCC just don’t get done. You may have noticed that the past couple of weeks.  :-(

These are the weeks I’m reminded how thankful I am that God created music and gave me ears to hear it. (Well, actually He gave me a solitary ear to hear it with, but He did allow that one ear to hear it very well!) Throughout the day, whether I’m working on emails or appointment schedules or novels or teaching plans, beautiful music, His music helps me stay focused, calms my spirit, and keeps the fiery darts away.

But it can’t be just any Christian music.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to music with words when I’m creating. It doesn’t matter if it’s an email, an appointment schedule, a novel, or a teaching plan, my creativity is stifled by words in music. It’s as though I can’t create words when I’m listening to words others have created.

Which bring me to the topic of today’s post: Music to work by.

Perhaps you’re like me. Perhaps you like to have beautiful music–without words–playing in the background while you work. But perhaps you’ve had trouble finding it. Here are my two favorite sources for tender, soothing, music to work by. I hope their music blesses you as much as it does me.

(Scroll down to Streaming Music Players)



Bethel Music – Without Words: Synesthesia 2015


My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Psalm 108:1 NIV

Now go. Create.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Are We Listening?

Bird over the lake at sunrise PixabayI love spending time on the front porch at the lake. Each morning is similar in that I take our little four-legged baby, Chloe, out to potty. Then I go straight to the coffee pot and fill my mug with piping hot coffee.

Chloe knows that we then go out on the front porch to spend time with the Father. It’s a precious, precious time. At first, I simply sit and sip, allowing my heart and mind a few moments to begin unwinding. I listen to the quiet and the birds for a bit and then listen to a few songs of worship music, taking me to a place of rest and communication with the Father. And finally I open His Word so I can hear His message to me. Each passage is a personal love letter specifically for me.

Last week while I was out on the porch listening to the quiet, I recalled how I used to sit outside with my young grandchildren, trying to count how many different bird “voices” we heard. Way back then, we were amazed at the variety of birds shouting their praise. The birds had obviously been there all along, but we didn’t hear them until we got quiet and allowed ourselves to listen.

As I sat listening last week and remembering those precious times with my grandchildren, I decided to see how many unique bird voices broke through the silence. I listened intently as one, two, three, then four and five voices floated on the breeze. I concentrated even harder and focused my hearing, tuning out everything that wasn’t the language of birds. I had to want to hear them.

Six, seven, eight, and nine spoke to me as I sat, drinking my coffee, and listening for the birds. Then I turned to my scripture reading for the day.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry . . . . James 1:19 (NIV)

A new lesson touched me . . . at a much deeper place.

I realized that if I want to hear the words of my Father, I had to do the same thing I did to hear the birds’ voices. I have to be quiet and listen. I have to concentrate with everything I have and tune out everything that’s not the language of the Father. I have to want to hear Him.

How many times have I sat in my quiet time, half-heartedly listening for His voice as my mind wandered to the day’s To-Do list, the emails I need to respond to, the bookkeeping I need to catch up?

It was a beautiful truth, spoken from the Father’s heart and straight into mine.

What about you? Are you able to hear the voices of the birds? Are you able to hear the voice of God? If not, perhaps you’re like me and need to make listening a priority by “. . . being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

Praise His holy name!





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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Reach Out in Ministry and Receive

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Before you wonder if I’ve lost my mind and converted to a “prosperity Christianity,” please hear me out. This post is far from it.)

As Christians, one of our responsibilities is to reach out to others and minister in His Great Name. The concepts of ministry and outreach are repeated throughout His word. From Israel’s Old Testament patriarchs to the New Testament teachers, we receive the continuous message to be the hands and feet of Christ, shining His Light into this dark, dark world. We’re instructed to care for widows and children, feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and love the unlovable.

Reaching out is not simply a concept to consider, it’s a command to obey. Jesus Himself said we’re to not only love the Lord with all our being, but to love others as we love ourselves. Bottom line: Christ-followers MUST be in ministry through love and compassion.

On the surface, it’s easy to see the benefits of service. Through our efforts, the poor and rejected receive food, clothing, help, encouragement, and love . . . all in the Name of Christ. And we feel good when we do what we’re called to do.

But what about when it doesn’t feel good? What about those times when we want to walk away?

Perhaps that’s when the ministry is as much for our benefit as it is for theirs. Perhaps that’s when God plans to teach us something through our serving. Perhaps we’re the ones who need to receive–new lessons.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV)

So if the time comes when you’re ministering, but just not feeling it . . . maybe it’s time to ask God what He wants to teach you.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Do We Have Instructed Tongues?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Since you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you feel called by God to be a writer or speaker. So when I found this powerful verse in Isaiah, I knew I had to share it with you!

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4

At first glance, this looked like a great verse for us to claim as speakers and writers. But after doing some research, I found that Isaiah 50:4-9 (some commentators say 50:4-11), is the third of four Servant Songs, foreshadowing our Savior, Jesus Christ. And it fits Him so perfectly!

But I must admit I was disappointed that it looked like we couldn’t claim the verse for ourselves.

In the verses prior to verse 4, God is chastising Israel for not recognizing His omnipotence, His power, and His love for Israel. He reminds them that He was not too weak to protect them from their enemies, but that they were the ones who turned away from Him. After generations of rebellion and defiance, God had had enough and had allowed them to suffer the consequences of their choices.

But He also provided the answer to those choices—Jesus, the One who knows the word that sustains the weary. Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name!

And the good news is, as followers of Christ and students of His Word, we are directed to be like Him, which means to shine His light, and to share His saving grace with this lost and dying world. In other words, as we study, as we pray and seek His face, as we confess our sin and meditate on His promises, several things happen:

  • We DO receive an instructed tongue
  • We DO know the Word that sustains the weary
  • We ARE challenged to listen to and follow His words
  • We ARE taught by His Holy Spirit

Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name! So follow, study, shine, pray, confess, and meditate. Then go, write, speak . . . and share the Word that sustains the weary.

It is a verse for us today.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Parting Words From The WORD . . . What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

(Friends, I’m honored to have permission to share this poignant, beautiful post from Cheryl Morgan, a pastor’s wife, mother of six, grandmother of one, and–for eight years–a caregiver for her sweet mama. As a caregiver for several loved ones with Alzheimer’s through the years, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read her precious writings. Like Cheryl, I’m concerned for my own brain and memory quite often. She wrote this piece for her children and I’m sharing it with mine . . . and with you, sweet friends. Thank you, Cheryl.)

What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

By Cheryl Morgan

I was skimming somCheryl Morgan and her mome other dementia blogs lately and a reader had written in saying, that though she felt guilty about it, she wished her mother would die in her sleep and not have to continue living through the pain and indignity of dementia. I’ve heard others say things like, “I’ve told my kids if I ever get Alzheimer’s just shoot me.”

I understand where these comments are coming from, but they make my heart heavy. I feel like these attitudes devalue my Mom’s life right now. Even though they are not specifically referencing her, they are in effect saying that people like her are better off dead. It is hard to see Mom changing and confused and upset. But she still has sweet times of love and joy, too. And God still has a purpose for her life.

He is growing our patience as we care for her. He is developing our tenderness and mercy. God is giving us opportunities to show love to a dear mom who loved us all so well when she was able and strong. He’s sending us smiles and laughter with Mom’s quirky ways and funny words. He’s challenging us to love faithfully when she is angry and difficult.

People with dementia are still people. And God still has a plan for their lives. Even when they are bedridden and can do nothing at all, maybe their very life keeps us clinging to God more. Maybe their very existence draws us closer to God as we seek Him and cry out to Him.

I fear having AD someday myself. (My mind already concerns me too often.) But if that day comes I’m not going to tell my kids, even jokingly, to just shoot me.

What I would say to them is this . . .

Pray and trust God to guide you. Get as much help as you can. I don’t want you to sacrifice your life plans or family for my sake, but I want to always be part of your life.

If you need to find a nursing home for me, I understand. Pray about it and seek wisely. And then visit me often. Even if I don’t seem to know you, believe in your heart that part of me does. Hold my hand and talk to me. Tell me all about your life. Sing to me and read the Bible to me, please. Brush my hair and tell me memories of your childhood.

If I’m still able to chew be sure to bring chocolate. (You know your mom.) And hopefully I’ll have some adorable grandchildren to marvel at.

And don’t forget to take some time to just sit quietly next to me. Hold my wrinkled hand and let God whisper to your soul. I’m so sorry you have to go through this painful journey with me, but God will give you strength and grow you through it all. Hold fast unto Him. Sink deep into His love.

Everything will be better in heaven. Meanwhile, when I can’t talk anymore; just know that I love you forever and that being a mom to you was an honor and the delight of my life.

That’s what I’d say to my children. Oh, and I might throw in a “Be nice to your brother” for old-time’s sake.

Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3:21 NIV

Cheryl Morgan headshot

Cheryl Morgan is a Jesus follower, pastor’s wife, mother of six, and a new grandma! She’s also a caregiver to her mom, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for eight years. She writes about this journey at God’s Grace and Mom’s Alzheimer’s because she feels compelled to, and is blessed when she hears from readers that it ministers to them.

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