three talents

I remember the day when I discovered I was totally okay with my own failure. After three days of trying to make a piece of Masonite look like a piece of maple, I’d run out of ideas. I’d completed hundreds of wood samples that looked great, so I was shocked with myself when I realized I just could not do this one. I had to admit failure and the result was surprisingly wonderful! In that moment I was totally set free. I did fail and I was actually happy for myself. Odd, yes, and yet this was a deliverance for me! I was very prideful growing up. Failure was never an option. I was good at about anything I did and I avoided any activity I wasn’t good at.


Though I’d accepted Jesus as my Lord and confessed my sins, pride kept popping up in other categories. It’s funny how God can use the most mundane things in our lives to show us the most important spiritual things we will ever know. This experience with the wood sample was one of those things.


I’m sure many of you have experienced similar awakenings. We go along in our regular life, no real “Las Vegas” moments to speak of, no bells and whistles, just plodding along and all of a sudden we’re doing something we normally do, and God opens an amazing realization about a very big thing in our lives that we never expected.


One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if we are faithful to seek God and read His life manual, the Bible, He is faithful to us, to reward us with revelations, insights, and deliverances that we not only wanted but some we didn’t even know we wanted! Someone said, “God can make taking out the garbage the most exciting thing you’ve ever experienced.” I‘ve found this to be absolutely true.


The key on our part is to be faithful to Him. Jesus tells us a parable in Matthew 25 about a man going to a far country who gives his goods to his servants to take care for while he was away.


“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several [own] ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.


“And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.


“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.


“And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.


His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant” (Matt. 25:15-24).


The servant that received one talent was afraid of failure. He didn’t take a chance, didn’t risk anything, didn’t step out in faith to gain anything more. He buried what he had. He reminds me of Christians who stop reading the Bible, stop praying, stop exploring and questing after more of the Lord’s intimacy in their lives. They bury their desire for Him or get sidetracked by fear.


In the above parable, the two servants who were faithful to do more with what they had, were the ones who were brave enough to step out. And look what the Lord told them: “Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”


As Christians, we are still human and we are going to fail sometimes. But failure isn’t a crime. “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’” (Rom. 3:10).


We were failures when we came to Jesus the first time and admitted we weren’t very good at being our own Lord. Don’t be afraid of being a failure at something.


But let’s try not to fail at faithfulness. We must pick ourselves up when we fall and continue to seek the Lord’s guidance. Let’s be like David, who said to God: “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes” (Ps. 123:1).


Humility is a sweet smell to our God. And pride is a stinker. Shut it down by going back to the scriptures with a humble heart for truth.


God is faithful to us. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).


In the New Testament, the Lord promises: “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).


Love, Carolyn


Other teachings and true-life stories I’ve written to help you live the Bible way:




We all need a break from the seriousness, the tragedy, the intense issues we encounter each day. Life has many challenges, but God doesn’t want us to live under the burdens all the time. He wants us to enjoy some of the fun and relaxing things He’s created for us, as a respite from the mundane and/or stressful issues we face every day. Jesus went to the mountains when he needed a break from ministering.


I like to go to the movies. I sit in the dark and let myself go. Nothing gets to me there. It’s too dark to write; I can’t read; there are no animals to feed, no housework or watering to do and I can’t even text on my cell phone! I love it.


God is the one who created us with emotions in the first place. Not just frustration, anger and fear, but happiness, joy, pleasure. I know we’re not to base all of our decisions on what makes us feel good. But we’re not to deny ourselves either. Balance is a good thing.


In Old Testament times there were feasts throughout the year. God was a big part of the feasts. Ecclesiastes 10:16 tells us: “A feast is made for laughter.” God initiated good times, times for people to get together, to laugh, eat, dance and have fun. Proverbs 15:15 says: “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”


The original word for “merry” means playful, cheerful, joyful, pleasant and beautiful. The word for “heart” means feelings and intellect. To have playful, pleasant and beautiful feelings or thinking, we need to include some laughter, fun, and relaxation in our busy schedules.


God has a purpose for wanting us to employ our fun-loving emotional side. He tells us in Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Fun can help in the healing process. In the Proverbs 17:22 verse, the definition of the word “merry” includes “brightness.” Linda, a friend of ours, tripped on some steps, took a bad fall and was at home recovering. She was spending a lot of time alone. Linda was getting bored and her mind was getting dull, with nothing to inspire her. Her mental processes even seemed to be slowing down.


Jane, my roommate, picked up on this and remembered that Linda always seemed to really enjoy watching baseball. Jane got out the baseball schedule and started calling every day to get Linda set up on the right channel to watch a ball game. The happy emotions kicked in and she looked forward to getting her daily call about a game to watch. Not only was she happier, but her mind grew brighter and clearer. She’s had what Jane and I call “the happy chemicals” going and it changed her whole outlook.


This week let’s find one thing we emotionally love and just do it. King David danced and played music. Peter went fishing. Jesus went up to the mountains. And I go to the movies.


Whether it’s the movies, a trip to the mountains, watching your favorite sport or any other “time out” activity, let’s not deny ourselves the opportunity to refresh our souls and get healthier and brighter as we enjoy what God’s given us.


Love, Carolyn


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God is very graphic in warning us about going back to situations that were harmful to us before. Proverbs 26:11-12 tells us: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” God is warning us that we are not to trust our own thinking when it comes to some issues in life. I looked up the expression about a dog returning to its own vomit and found that the Bible is talking about rabid dogs. In the East, troops of fierce half-famished dogs, without masters, are often wandering around the towns and villages. They eat anything they can find. Anyone who has cats and dogs for pets knows that the silly dog will find great treasures in the cat box, as disgusting as that is! Dogs will eat poop. There I said it. A dog will eat its own vomit if it’s hungry enough, as these rabid dog packs do. There are other references to dogs in the Bible as well. These talk about the packs of dogs eating a dead person. Disgusting, but true.


1 Kings 14:11: “Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat.”


1 Kings 16:4: “Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat.”


2 Kings 9:10: “And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.”


The Lord is using this example to make a point: Don’t be enticed into going back into a bad situation. Let’s not let ourselves be bewitched by a memory. Think about it: The fresh food the dog ate is no longer fresh when it comes out – it’s waste. It’s dead and deadly. Toxic! It’s not what it used to be!


We’ve all made the mistake of thinking we could go back to an old job, an old relationship, a place we once lived, and think it will be better this time around. But we really need to check it out with the Lord first before we make this kind of decision. There may be good things about going back, but remember, there was a reason we left in the first place. Jane grew up in Chicago, so when we both returned from being missionaries in Africa, she suggested we go to her hometown because she knew we would easily find work there.


But it wasn’t long until she discovered that she’d made a grave mistake. Growing up in the Polish community, Jane remembers hearing the adults talk. She said the two main subjects of conversation were sickness and death. When she went back there to live, the spirit of death was always hovering over her. She felt like she was suffocating and two years later she knew she had to leave or she’d die. We left and only returned once to see my favorite Art Museum and Cubs game.


When Jane and I first moved to Las Vegas, she met a young girl at work whose boyfriend was an ex-con. The girl would come to work bruised. He hit her at home. One Monday she was scraped up and couldn’t move her fingers. He’d thrown her out of a moving car. That was when Jane called a battered women’s shelter. The counselor on the phone stopped the conversation and started counseling Jane. She told her she shouldn’t even get involved at this point because the average battered woman leaves 7 times before she leaves for good. The counselor told Jane it was classic for a third party to get involved to try to help and all that happens is that they get in the middle of the couple and the woman defends the abuser. The counselor said it never does any good to get involved until the woman seeks help for herself.


The packs of wild dogs will eat their own vomit and will eat what is dead. Let’s not do that. Jane wanted to go back to Chicago because there was good potential there, but it was too toxic for her. The good things didn’t override the bad. Some relationships and associations from the past were dead and weren’t to be resurrected.


Admitting we can’t go back to a person, place or situation isn’t failure; it’s deliverance!


God admonishes us: “In all thy ways acknowledge him [God], and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear [respect] the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Prov. 3:6-8). “Health to thy navel” is health to your “nerves,” in other words, getting rid of a lot of anxiety and stress. “Marrow to thy bones” is “refreshing to your bones,” but not like plain water, more like a drink that is more delicate, like wine.


God’s will is that we are blessed, not stressed.


Like the scripture says, it’s relief and health to our nerves and smooth, delicate refreshing to our bones. When our bones are refreshed, we can freely move without being so burdened. “For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall” (Ps. 18:29).


So if you’re thinking about going back to a person, place or situation, please give it prayerful consideration.


I’m not saying that people should never go back. People go back all the time and do very well. I think it’s probably because they are able to see the situation not as it was, but as a totally new situation, and that’s Biblical. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).


But if you can’t continue to see it as new and good, then it probably won’t ever be, unless you know that the Lord himself has a sovereign intervention on the way.


When we’re in the bad situation, it’s hard to see our way out. Human nature is to stay with the status quo, no matter how awful. The unknown seems too scary. But we CAN be brave. We got out before; we can do it again. With God’s help, let’s pray we don’t have to go back 7 times!


And for those of us who have family or friends who have fallen prey to this hurtful dilemma, let’s minister like the Lord instructed Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover [awake] themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).


Love, Carolyn


Other teachings and true-life stories I’ve written to help you live the Bible way:



Jane and I waited for the last bus out of downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. We had just moved there from the States to do missionary work so I had my passport with me in a large purse I carried at my side. It was dusk and we were getting anxious to get back to our friends’ house before nightfall. The bus should have been there already.


I was starting to worry, “Did we miss it?” Jane answered, “I don’t think so, but maybe the buses don’t run regularly, so I don’t really know.” We waited longer. We were the only ones waiting, which made it scarier because we didn’t have anyone to ask. What we did next was really foolish.


Our impatience prompted us to move. We went down the street to another bus stop closer in the direction of home. We waited there impatiently until we couldn’t take it anymore and we moved down the street again. We did this three times, getting further and further away from the more populated area. The sun was going down and we were getting more worried now—new country, unfamiliar ways, alone on an empty street and no bus in sight. Then Jane spotted a young black African man coming our way.


He got about halfway down the block and bolted toward us. Jane had seen him but all I saw was a blur.  She jumped in front of me, grabbed me with both arms around the middle, as I clutched my purse to my chest. The guy hesitated, then ran past us a ways. He stopped and continued to walk slowly down the street as if nothing unusual had happened at all.


Jane gently loosened her grip on me and I relaxed my clenched fists but my heart was still racing and we were both hyperventilating. When we settled down and started to breathe a little easier, in quivering voices we begged God to get the bus there soon.


In just a few minutes it pulled up—the very last bus leaving the city. For the next three years of living in Johannesburg, we stayed much more alert and aware of our surroundings and prayed about everything.


God wasn’t the one who told us to move down to the next bus stop. We should have just stayed where we were, but we let our impatience drive us into trouble.


How many times have each of us acted impatiently, recklessly setting out in a direction of our own choosing, without really consulting the Lord? Proverbs 21:2 tells us: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” But Luke 21:19 tells us: “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Patience stops to ask for the Lord’s input and acts deliberately, not foolishly.


My impatience nearly got my purse stolen, along with my money and passport. Impatience gets us to make mistakes, waste time, get into arguments and so many other things that we’re sorry for later. Proverbs 20: 22 tells us: “Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.” One important way He saves us is to give us His wisdom. Don’t be fretful and hasty like we were. Wait on the Lord.


Love, Carolyn


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Last night I was in a state of half-asleep and half-awake when I began to praise God. I didn’t have my eyes open but I was conscious of what I was saying. I told God over and over: “I praise you; I worship you; I praise you; I praise you; thank you.” I went on like this for hours until I actually woke up about 5 a.m.


As I thought about this, it hit me that there are many Christians who no longer go to a traditional church building to worship and praise. But praise and worship still need to be a part of our lives. Praise and worship are an important part of our interaction with the Lord God. To praise Him doesn’t change Him, but it changes us!


When Paul and Silas were thrown in prison, they prayed and sang praises to God. And what happened?


“At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:25-26)


Paul and Silas were free.


David was being chased and pursued by Saul, who wanted to kill him. When David was alone, he praised God. And God rescued him and gave him insight on how to get away from Saul. “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Ps. 18:3).


There are many verses about praise, but these two show us that praise opens prison doors. Praise can free us. David shows us that praise can save us from our enemies.


So even if we don’t go to an actual church building, and even if our Christian fellowship is only online or only a small group of people or even if we are by ourselves, we still need to take time to praise and worship God. We praise and worship Him for who He is and how thankful we are for Him being in our lives.


Even in awful circumstances: hurricanes, fires, jail, or persecution, we still need to praise and worship God. It’s probably our one and only true escape from our own self-destruction. David said: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5). David was a smart man. There’s a phrase we hear these days, “Pay it ahead.” But David knew that “Praise it ahead” was even better. He said: “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Ps. 69:30).


When I woke up from praising and worshipping the Lord in my sleep, I realized I needed to praise Him, even more, when I’m fully awake. I need to make more time to worship Him. He is the absolute most important one in my entire life and I should tell Him more often!


Love, Carolyn


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WINGS: A JOURNEY IN FAITH  – From the Earthly to the Heavenly


flower out of cement

Right now is a really hard time for many people I know: Job changes, death, hurricanes, immigration problems, just to name a few. Traumatic events still take place in our lives. We thought since we’re born again things should be going better for us. But sometimes they just don’t. The truth is faithfulness isn’t something for the weak-hearted. It takes some real inner strength to stay faithful and our faithfulness gets tested over and over throughout our lives. Faithfulness isn’t that easy sometimes, but is it worth it? For sure! Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards faith:  “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”


In the big picture of things, our lives are really short here on earth compared with our eternity. “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more” (Ps. 103:15).


Though life may seem unbearable at times, God promises that “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).


In Old Testament terms, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). You say, “That’s the longest night ever!” But God does promise joy in the morning. And God “is not a man that he should lie” (Num. 23:19).


In New Testament terms, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). I looked up the word “affliction” in the Greek. It is a thronging, crowding pressure. It’s narrow, burdened with anguish, persecution, and trouble.


God is not denying or minimizing what we feel like when the traumas of life hit us. When the phrase “light affliction” is used, the word “light” has two meanings in the Greek. The older meaning of the Greek word translated “light” doesn’t seem to have much to do with how we interpret “light” these days. But in the Greek language, which the English was translated from, the meaning of this word is very significant and can’t be ignored. Light is a powerful force.


It means the “affliction” is being driven like the wind. We’ve all seen the devastation a mighty wind can cause: uprooting the strongest trees, tearing up houses, demolishing property, knocking out the electrical power and so many other horrific things. The word “light” also means the strength of oars pushing in the water. If you’ve ever watched the Olympic rowing teams, you know how powerful those oars cut through the water.

“Light” also refers to the aggression of demons. We’ve all been exposed to demonic entities and have seen how powerfully they push people to do things that are destructive. The demons themselves are destructive, mean, full of strife and inciting fear and so many other ungodly things. So when we read this verse about “light affliction,” we need to think about light as being a strong manipulative force. The Lord is telling us that He totally understands that the afflictions that happen to us are terrible and hard to bear up against.


But the second meaning of the word “light” is just as we suspected. Compared to the abundant, perpetual honor, praise, glory, and dignity we will have for eternity, the afflictions we have in this life can be dealt with. We are strong enough to deal with them and still live in victory.


The Lord has given us the means to endure.


Hebrews 12: 1-2 says: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


We are never alone in our suffering or what we must endure. Even though it may seem like the end, we can make it through. The Lord will help us.


So let’s do our best to stay faithful to Him, even in afflictions. Our reward is everlasting.


Love, Carolyn




Copy of WINGS PT4cvr

In Las Vegas we’ve noticed that when certain events come to town, they can have a bad influence on the spiritual atmosphere and it starts to affect us. When lots of people come together to participate in something contrary to God’s Word, their demons get stirred up and they like to extend their influence into the community at large. I know you’ve seen this kind of thing in your own cities, and communities. But the Lord has given us revelation on how to make these gatherings ineffective.


Sometimes we don’t recognize the influence of gatherings such as witches covens and Satan worshipers on full moon nights, or gatherings of terrorist pods, or the aftermath the morning after a huge hedonist party in town. We tend to take things too personally. And often when we feel bad, it’s not even us; it’s demons in the atmosphere pushing at us.


Some weekends here, we can feel the agitation in the air and it makes people drive especially dangerously. Sometimes the atmosphere just feels exceptionally heavy and oppressive. I’ve had mornings I didn’t feel like doing my hair, didn’t feel like writing and my brain was foggy. It just wasn’t like me. At first I thought it was me, but the Lord showed me what to look for and I’ve learned that most of the time I’m just reacting to the group of demons come to town.


God gave me revelation on this by reminding me of Nimrod. In Genesis 10:9 we learn that King Nimrod was “the mighty hunter before the Lord.” When it says “before the Lord,” it means he was in His face, against the true God. Nimrod got the people together and “they said, ‘Let us build a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name [for ourselves]’” (Gen. 11:4).


“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech’” (Gen. 11:5-7). When the people were together, they were united in the words they spoke. It’s like when you agree with someone and you say, “You’re speaking my language.”


The awesome thing here is that when the Lord God confounded their literal language, they couldn’t communicate with each other. When people can’t communicate, especially when it comes to getting a project done, they can’t agree and that brings envy and strife. James 3:6 says, “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”


So the Lord showed me that we could pray for this to happen with whatever demons had come to town. I prayed that God’s strong angels would surround them and that the agitation, the envy, the strife and the confusion would happen within the confines of the convention or event and that it would not penetrate the angelic walls put up by the Lord to surround them and keep them in one place. It’s like putting those devil spirits in detention, so they couldn’t get to us anymore.


Within minutes of praying this, my mind was totally clear and I had plenty of energy to get going on my day. The difference is astonishing and it works every time. It will work for you too.


Another Biblical example of this is found in Second Chronicles 20. It’s the story of Jehoshaphat and his people. Three different nations came together for a type of convention or event in the wilderness of Tekoa: It was called war! They all got together to take what Jehoshaphat had. But Jehoshaphat and his people prayed and “when they began to sing and to praise [for the victory they anticipated], the Lord set ambushments.”

“For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another” (2 Chron. 20:22-23).


When Jehoshaphat and the people came to see what was going on, “behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped” (v. 24).


That’s the thing about some demons, they are so stupid, they start to fight each other and kill their host!

So if you sometimes feel the pressure or heaviness of the spiritual atmosphere, or you sense a strong agitation, don’t automatically think it’s something wrong with you. Ask the Lord what’s going on. It could very well be that there is some kind of gathering near you that you can spiritually confine and keep at bay.


Though we would love to deliver everyone from the demons that manipulate them, it’s not always possible. But it is possible to detain the demons, confine them to a certain areas and prevent them from affecting us. Through Jesus Christ we have that authority and ability.


Love, Carolyn


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