Christian Life · ministry · Prayer

If It Hadn’t Been For the Lord…

I am a perpetual list maker.  I always have been.  It makes my days run smoother.  It makes me see that I’ve accomplished something.


But sometimes that habit becomes a stumbling block because it can cause me to run on “auto-pilot.”

Breaking that down, it simply means that I run on “Denise’s ability”  rather than God’s. 

Here’s how Denise’s list goes:

  • Blog post  – I get a “great idea” in my head and type it up without praying about it.
  • Make bread – I made our bread and freeze the other loaf without asking God with whom I could share the extra bread.
  • Grocery shopping – I buzz through the store, with little thought about having a Gospel conversation with a shopper who speaks to me.
  • Dry Cleaners – The worker looked worn and worried, but I didn’t ask how her day was going and how I could pray for her.

Everything got checked off, but it was done in my strength and with my limited abilities.  Nothing extraordinary happened as result.  Denise’s abilities revealed.

This week I read Psalm 124:1 -3

 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say;

 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

 Then they had swallowed us up quick…

Israel had victory and they could say, If it hadn’t been for the Lord we would have been swallowed up by our enemy!  God interrupted their day!

That verse made me stop and ask myself – “What happened in my day yesterday that I would say, If hadn’t been for the Lord who was on my side things would have turned out much differently!”?  Did I look to the Lord to break in and interrupt my plans? Or did I do everything in my own strength instead?

Oh, that every day I would allow God to interrupt my plans.  It might look like this instead:

  • Blog post“If it hadn’t been for the Lord, I wouldn’t have thought to post that!”
  • Bake Bread“If it hadn’t been for the Lord, I would have missed meeting the new family up the street, but He reminded me I needed to take them a loaf of bread and introduce myself!”
  • Grocery Shopping“If it hadn’t been for the Lord nudging me to invite the sweet lady at the store to my church, she may never have visited!”
  • Dry Cleaners“If it hadn’t been for the Lord nudging me to pray with the worker at the dry cleaners, I never would have known that her husband was diagnosed with cancer recently.”

Do you see what a difference depending on and surrendering to the Lord makes in our day? His abilities are revealed! I have missed out on His blessings so many times, simply because I was not relying on His Spirit and power to work through me to do what only He can do.  How sad.How empty.

But today is a new day to surrender.

This situation is another opportunity to give my plans to Him!

Today’s list is another chance to see Him step in and do what only He can do!

What happened in your day yesterday that would make you say – “If it hadn’t been for the Lord THAT never would have happened!”?  How much of your day yesterday was empowered by the Spirit of God and how much was done in your own strength?  God wants to use us as His instruments, if we’ll only surrender our wills (and our lists!) to Him.

Thankful for His grace,

Denise Signature 150 px


ministry · Uncategorized


It was a typical Apples of Gold morning – I was getting dressed while listening to my Bible app on my phone.  I was also receiving texts from friends who were praying for our upcoming mentoring class that would happen in a couple of hours.  Just as I was sending a message my phone STOPPED in mid-sentence.  It wouldn’t type or go back to the home screen. Then it went black.  The sickening feeling in my heart lived out to be true – my phone (less than a year old) died.

The kind Verizon rep at the store told me later that afternoon that there was some glitch in the phone and they would replace it, but my replacement wouldn’t be here until at least two or three days from now.  I became UNPLUGGED.


It’s ironic that it happened when it did, because in another area of my life, as of today, I’m becoming “unplugged.”  It’s ministry.  You see, my husband and I have been given an extraordinary gift from our church – a 31-day sabbatical!  

Sabbatical is just a period of absence.  The goal for ours is to rest, refocus and reload – those are my terms. This is what I’m praying these 31 days will accomplish in my life:

  • Rest – This is pretty obvious.  We have had an exteremely busy spring and summer.  Our minds and bodies are tired.  We need to shut down and rest.  Sleep, leisure and a slower pace is our goal.
  • Refocus – It’s easy to be so busy doing that you lose the sight of where you’re headed – of what you really want to accomplish and why.  I long to take a step back and consider the days ahead carefully and then make plans that support those choices.
  • Reload – I need some time to fill up.  Time to pray, study and be alone with the Lord.  More than anything I’m praying this will be a spiritual retreat for us both.

That being said, I’m not really sure what my blog will look like in these 31 days.  I’m not planning on abandoning it, but maybe to just cool it a bit.  I might just write to give you a look into our sabbatical.  It might just be a picture or a quote – I’ll let the Lord dictate the content, as I do every day.

So, here we go – 31 days of being UNPLUGGED.

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px