Dealing With a Barbarian

I have someone in my life who just rubs me the wrong way. This person annoys me, provokes me easily, and angers me. My reasons are valid, but my reactions are not.

I’ve allowed them to have far too much control over my negative emotions. 

They are an annoyance to my joy, they cause me anxiety, and I find it hard to shake the aggravation that spills over into other compartments of my life.

They are a barbarian…

…at least I think that’s what Paul says.

I started a new Romans study, and Paul smacked me right in the face in the first chapter. The book of Romans has a way of doing that. I’ve experienced it before, and last night won’t be the last time, I’m sure, since I’m only one day into this study.

Paul kicks off chapter 1 introducing himself, and then in verse 5, he reminds us of our role in the opportunity of the Christian life:

“…we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of the faith for the sake of his name…”

Paul is talking about himself and about those with whom he served. But how can we learn from him? How can we frame our life with the reason for his words?

We, too, have received grace for a reason. Yep. We’ve already been offered salvation, and we’re sealed into His saving grace through accepting the free gift Jesus has offered. But the grace Paul is speaking of here is probably an additional gift…the gift of being able to share faith with others.

Keep reading and you see that the gift of grace is being able to be someone who “…brings about the obedience of the faith…” Part of our purpose is to do that, and the best way to do so is through our own example…through our own life and the way we live.

Keep reading through the first chapter and you get to verse 14. Paul tells us about his obligations in the faith:

“I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish.”

Fabulous. Paul was obligated to that. As a follower of Christ, am I obligated to the same? Paul knew his role and appointment was to go and spread the good news of the Gospel, especially to those who weren’t Jewish.

But the barbarians, too? Yep.

I couldn’t help but pause to think over how these two passages stood out to me. Perhaps a part of my own purpose is to be an example to others…to show them a kind of faith that brings obedience to God’s leading…perhaps even to the barbarian in my life.

just a thought.




The Quest for Life’s Purpose & Meaning

Photo and artwork belong to

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.

Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your mind.” This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
All the Law and the Prophets hang
on these two commandments.
~ Matthew 22:37-40

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Five… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

As Christians, we often wonder what our purpose in life is meant to be. We wonder where God might be leading us… how He might be calling us… what He would want us to be doing with our life on this side of eternity.

Seeking and searching for those answers can lead us toward love, peace, joy, and hope, and they can lead us into darkness, depression, addiction or hopelessness. There is often a great struggle to find our purpose.

The Bible is the powerful Word of God.
It full of His words to us.
It is full of instruction.

Authors have made millions speaking at seminars, workshops, writing self-help books, and promoting their latest and greatest methods for figuring out our lives. Truly, the answer to finding our purpose can be summed up in these four Scripture verses.

The answer is:  Love God and love others.

Sandra reminds us that, “when we choose to honor and celebrate one another, we are honoring and celebrating someone precious to God.”  She goes on to say that, “Doing so serves us well by cleaning out envy and jealousy, but Jesus reminds us that it also serves God well.”

Jesus is the one who spoke the words of the Scripture above. He calls us to love God and to love others. This is His purpose for our life, and when we are willing to embrace it, we will be filled with the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not only will we be filled, but we will also be a part of filling others.

It is a beautiful thing to “love others well by applauding their accomplishments and celebrating their skills.”

It is a beautiful thing to be loved by God, to love Him, and to love others.


Reflecting His Light with Fullness

Moon.A Reflection of the Light

This past weekend, there was a full moon — a “supermoon” was what it was called. Watching that moon rise and float across the sky gave me the opportunity to ponder its beauty and wonder. I am sure that many of you took that opportunity, also.

The moon itself is not a direct source of light. We know that when it rises in the night sky, it is able to be seen because it catches a hold on the unseen sunlight beaming through the sky from the other side of the Earth, and it reflects that sunlight for us to see.

The moon is not just a floating rock, either. It was created for a purpose. When God revealed it in the sky, it was to serve as a sign for the seasons, for the day and for the years (Genesis 1:14), and to govern over the night (v.16). The moon also controls our tides and serves as an important part of many cultures.

It’s the reflection of the sun that caught my mind’s eye over the weekend.

Without the sun, life as we know it could not exist in the natural world. As Believers, we know that the One who gave the sun its light was God (Genesis 1:14-16). Light, however, existed before the sun (Genesis 1:3) when it was separated from the darkness.

His spoken words were what separated the light from the darkness and later created the sun and the moon. His Creation is not only a reminder of His existence, but also of His handiwork.

Watching the weekend’s full moon and knowing it was reflecting the sun shining half a world away made me think about my Creator. He created me for a purpose, too. He created me in His image, not just to be a random being on this planet, but to reflect His image to others through my existence and through my work. He called me to be a light before others for His glory (Matthew 5:16). He did that with you, too.

If I am doing what I was created to do day after day, then I’m like a full moon rising night after night. The moon has cycles where it reflects differing amounts of sunlight, and my walk with Him does, too. If I am fulfilling the purpose for which He made me, though, then I should be spending more and more time reflecting the fullness of who He is to the world through the way I live my life. That also means others should see it in me and see Him through me.

Hope Surrendered is a part of that purpose! It’s a part of how I believe He is using me –and calling me — to reflect His glory, His grace and His hope in the world during this particular season of my life.

Thank you for coming along on the journey! As I share with you my thoughts, my stories and how He has forever impacted me along the way, may it all be for His honor and glory.