The Amazing Blessings of Living a Spiritually Rich Life

Monday morning ushers in the beginning of another work week. With a full week of activity ahead, Sweet T and I are looking forward to celebrating my Mom’s 80th birthday this coming weekend. In the decade since my Dad passed, we’ve watched my Mom grow deeper in her spiritual walk and grow closer to God. This has been a true blessing to us and all the people who know her. My Mom is a social butterfly; always kind, always generous. She’s deeply loved by her friends, many of whom she’s know for decades. She’s never met a stranger and she’s always willing to help someone.  Mom is a great example of what it means to live the Bible you read. She does that every day in the way she treats other people and goes about her daily routines. She’s got an incredibly bubbly spirit despite not always having the easiest of lives. Mom often reminds me of the popular pericope “The Widow’s Mite” found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark and Luke.


The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Mark)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.

Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)

My Monday Morning Cup

The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Luke)

1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 (NET)

The story is a lesson in poverty and prosperity based on the weights and measures of God’s economic scale. The widow, while physically poor, was rich spiritually. In contrast, the scribes, dressed in their long robes of pride, were rich physically but stood before the widow spiritually bankrupt. They had everything and gave only that which cost them nothing. She had nothing yet gave God her all.

There is more to walking the walking then simply talking the talk. Actions have always spoken louder than words. James, the half-brother of Jesus, makes it clear that our belief is expressed through our deeds. What we do, in other words, reflects what comes to our mind when we think of God.


14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17 (ESV)

Me and MomSweet T and MomIMG_3236

My Mom will readily tell you that she doesn’t understand all the things of God. She has often said she doesn’t know her Bible as well as she would like. Yet, her actions show how deeply God’s truth is engrained in her. Her faith is self-evident in how she greets each day and every person she meets. Sweet T and I are thankful that the Lord has blessed us with her and grateful that she continues to be a blessing to others.

One of Mom’s gifts that she readily shares with others is her art. As long as I can remember, my Mom has always done artwork, particularly molding and sculpting original pieces from clay. This has provided her with the opportunity to spend quiet time with God and to share her love of art with others through the pieces she produces. Her artists circle consists of an eclectic blend of friends, each with their own unique talents.

Original Clay Pieces made by Mom © Karin I. Bantau

Mom models living a spiritually rich life. When we put God first, good things happen.

How about you? Do you feel spiritually rich today? I pray you do.

P.S. If you see Mom this week be sure to give her a birthday hug. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. Better yet, do something that shows them how much they mean to you. None of us are promised tomorrow. Amen.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good!

Be Blessed and be a blessing.

#Spiritual Growth #More of Him Less of Me #Blessings

Finding the Answer in a World Burning with Questions

People are battling discouragement and are seeking encouragement. They want to see change and experience transformation. People are hurting. Lacking confidence many are searching for answers in a world burning with questions.

So who can you turn to for hope amid the struggles that accompany our journey in a seemingly upside-down, chaotic world?


The presence of evil is as clear as the day is long.  An ever-increasing desensitization to suffering and violence, and the devaluation of life in all its forms fill the news headlines. We have become experts in pointing fingers, lacking accountability, and failing to accept responsibility. We shout at God when misery wreaks havoc in the world while simultaneously screaming that no such God really exists. We have grown to believe that the power of prayer is irrelevant and view the words of Scripture as  powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth.


We have grown immune to violence, deception, and corruption. If we are all basically good, how did this happen?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15 (NIV)


Humans separated themselves from God because of sin. While we would like to see ourselves as being basically good, the ugly reality is we have an innate tendency to do the wrong thing (Psalm 51). We have selfish hearts living in a world that celebrates seeking one’s self-interest.  We like to follow our own will rather than the will of God. We seek to satisfy the desires of our own heart instead of seeking to have a heart for the things of the Lord. Scripture is clear. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we claim to have no sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8-10).

God provided a solution to our sin problem that separates us from Him (Mark 2:17).

While forgiveness and salvation can’t be earned, (Titus 2:11), we have a bridge that can help us find the way back to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Scripture tells us that all we have to do is ask God to forgive us and make a conscious choice to follow Christ (Acts 20:21). The death and resurrection of Jesus provides the only way to restoring our relationship with God. Trusting in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and confessing our sins to Him, opens the door to salvation (John 3:16, Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, giving each of us the power to live a Christian life (Romans 8:2, 6). The Spirit gives us strength to withstand the trials and temptations. All anyone of us has to do is accept through faith the gift of grace God has provided for us through His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

Alone, you can’t change the world. But you can accept the One who is able to transform you exceedingly abundantly above all you can think, ask, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Life change begins with true heart change. That change comes through Jesus. He alone is the answer.

Personlized Serenity Prayer Edited

Keith & Kristyn Getty-“In Christ Alone”

#MondayMorningCup #AMDevotional #TheAnswer #ChristAlone

The Desperate Lunatic Rants of a Powerless Control Freak

Recently, I had an experience where nothing was going according to my script. I could feel my blood pressure rising, my heart constricting, and the blood pushing through my veins. My head nearly exploded. You know the feeling?

Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and resisted the temptation to start the War to End All Wars with my tongue. The tongue is a magnificent tool. It can be used to lavish great encouragement. The tongue can devastate the spirit of our neighbors and our fellow believers.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh waterJames 3:9-12 (NIV)

Featured Image -- 11365

It’s common for me, as a recovering addict, to go bonsai bananas crazy when people don’t follow the script I failed to give them. It’s an urge I have to fight almost daily. This conundrum reminds me that I don’t control everything. Truthfully, aside from myself, I don’t control much of anything.


My wife and I love animals. I’ve grown up with all kinds of four-legged, furry friends. Dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, a Canadian Goose, and even horses. Sweet T and I currently provide home to five (yes, five) cats. One of them, a dilute torti, we’ve had since she weighed less than a pound and fit in the palm of my hand. The other four came along a couple of years ago when a neighborhood stray cat had kittens on our patio. At the time we had two cats and a dog.

If you ever need to be reminded of how little you control, get a cat. They’re great at letting you know that they follow a script all their own. They do things on their terms. Not yours.

There are things I control and things I don’t. Each day, I pray the Lord grants me the wisdom to know the difference.

Successfully navigating the treacherous waters of the day is grounded in my faith. God is God. I am not. Recognizing that things happen that I can’t explain, understand, or possibly grasp is a good start to getting comfortable with the knowledge that most days I can only control myself and maintain little control over anything else.

But then Scripture doesn’t say much about me being in charge. It declares that I am to submit myself to God Almighty and that I am to love Him with my everythingness. In addition to that, my job is to love everyone else. Everyone. Even the people I don’t like.

The only control the Bible really mentions that I need to practice is self-control. That doesn’t require much of a script. Just keep it simple stupid. Don’t over think it. Keep your eyes focused on God and it’ll be alright.