Building a Doll House

Building a Doll House: And So it Begins – Chapter 1


At first I liked this title, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I believe it’s more than just what I’ve learned. I have been given the opportunity to relate the building of this doll house with what God desires for each of us and for what he desires in our homes.


We first got the idea of building a doll house for our granddaughter when she saw a doll house in a toy store and was mesmerized by it. We thought it would be a fun and exciting process, so we began our journey.


We started at the hobby shop. Standing in front of half a dozen fully built houses was inspiring. We decided upon one and asked to see it closer. The store manager lifted it off the shelf and we inspected it. Yes, this was the perfect house for Joy.


Along the wall were accessories: furniture, knick knacks, fireplaces, flooring, wall paper, lights…the list could go on, but you understand. Then the manager asked if we were thinking of adding electric for the house to have lights. “Of course,” we said. “I quit before I got to that point,” replied the manager. “It’s a lot more work than most people realize. I hope you’re giving yourself plenty of time to complete this project,” he added. It was at that point we began to understand the enormous task we had thought to undertake.


We purchased the house kit and a few accessories and left the hobby shop with our heads spinning.


Think a moment about the creation of the world, the universe, and man. Can you imagine what Jesus and the Holy Spirit thought when God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). Were there questions? Maybe opposition? Probably not. They all agreed to the plan. And I’m sure they didn’t have the overwhelming feeling Mason and I had at this undertaking, but none the less, they knew what it meant. What it would cost. Rejection, pain, inconsiderate words and actions on man’s part, and death.


Oh yes, creation was the beginning of the fall, but there’s so much more! Through the resurrection of Jesus, we have the opportunity to accept the grace offered by God and along with it, the hope for a future with God for eternity.


That first step into God’s grace may seem daunting, almost impossible. And on our own, it is. We can only understand His forgiveness when we allow Him to take it on. And through His love and strength, we are able to overcome any “trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword…In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35, 37)With Him on our side, we have nothing to fear.


This is the first part of many chapters in this story. Enjoy the process and the finished project. We did and still are.

 Building a Doll House: The Plan – Chapter 2


We had a kit. We had supplies. We had a plan. We had nearly four months to complete the project for Joy’s Christmas gift. We got started immediately. Mason pulled out every piece and placed a “sticky note” on it with the part number and the number of pieces. He read through the directions and felt they weren’t adequate, so he found a great website that had step-by-step instructions (with photos) on how to build this particular house. We found this resource to be extremely useful throughout the project.


My project was to design each room. The color scheme, wall paper, flooring, and décor of each room was especially exciting to work on. I spent hours looking for the perfect items. In addition to this, I also searched the Bible to find a verse to write on each surface that related to the purpose of each room. Each verse is hand-written under the wall paper, flooring, or shingles. My prayer is that when the wall paper or shingles fall off of this house, my great-grandchildren will see a message from me (and God).


Mason gathered tools and supplies. Lots of tools and supplies. Here’s a list: rulers, squares, saws, clamps, air hammer, glue, pin nails, tape, paint, paint brushes, electrical tools, pencils, sandpaper, and tables. Pretty soon, the loft was overtaken by all things doll house related. Our work station and planning were complete. It was time to actually start building the doll house.


We used a lot, a lot of clamps. Of various shapes and sizes, these supports kept pieces in place while the glue dried or they served as extra “hands” when the task got a bit difficult. Without the clamps some of the work on the house would be impossible, difficult or perhaps delayed. Occasionally we’d come to a spot where none of the clamps would work and in those situations we’d simply hold a piece in place or hope the pin nails would keep it exactly where it was supposed to be until the glue dried. These were not fun times and it made us very thankful for the clamps when we were able to use them.


God gave us several tools to help us through difficult times. Times we might need an extra hand, or an encouraging word, or a hug. Our fellow Christians can be the support we need at times. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:12? God’s Holy Spirit can lead and guide us and God’s Word can give us encouragement when there is no encouragement to be found. Through the true foundation of God’s Word, Jesus as our Savior, and added strength of good Christian friends will we be able to handle the trials we encounter.


Proverbs 14:22b tells us, “Those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.” Love and faithfulness. Gifts from God. They may come in the form of friends, but most definitely from God. Do you have a plan? A good plan? I pray that you do. If not, why not seek out the Planner of our salvation and begin the process of building a new life? His plans stand firm. Forever. Let’s use His plan!

Building a Doll House: The Foundation – Chapter 3


The most important portion of any building is the foundation, for without a strong, firm foundation, there could be an issue with instability. As we began the process of the dollhouse, Mason wanted this house to be used by our great-grandchildren; therefore he knew it needed to be sturdy. Glue was simply not enough. He needed to use pin nails. However, the pin nail air gun he had inherited from his father would not do. It didn’t have a safety latch which meant someone could get hurt. The obvious solution? Buy an updated version that would work and would be safe.


In our lives we too need a foundation that is strong. One that will hold up when we encounter troubles and trials. One that is built to last. One that not only uses glue, but pin nails. God plus His Holy Spirit plus His Word plus…well you get the picture. The foundation of our faith must be built upon God’s love and grace and forgiveness. Upon Jesus, “a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation.”


Sometimes we rely on what past generations have handed down to us. Right or wrong. What we must realize however, is that our faith must be our own. We must spend time and energy to build this faith for ourselves.


We knew that without a firm foundation, the dollhouse would not be able to stand up to the weight we were going to place upon it. In our lives, without the correct foundation: one that is not stable or sturdy, one that cannot withstand the storms of this life, the entire home is susceptible to collapse. Never underestimate the benefits of a firm foundation.


Listen to Jesus’ words from Luke 6:47-49 from The Message.

“These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.


 If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.”


I pray that we will not be called a dumb carpenter…in the case of the dollhouse or in our daily lives.

 Building a Doll House: Rooms of the House – Chapter 4


The doll house plans were coming along splendidly! The pieces were organized, the work station was set up in the loft with a large table, and all the tools were gathered together. We were ready to begin.


The first step for me was to make choices for each room. I spent hours looking for the perfect verses of Scripture to write on the walls and floors of this house. Finally, they were chosen and ready to start writing. These are the verses chosen for the specific locations.



“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15)


Dining Room

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’” (John 21:12a)


Living Room

“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)


Little Girl’s Room

“…for He grants sleep to those He loves.” (Psalm 127:2b)


Little Boy’s Room

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”(Psalm 4:8)


Parent’s Room

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)



Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)



“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean…” (Ezekiel 36:25a )


Main Floor

“’For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)


Bottom of House

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1a)



“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)



“They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the queen (king).” (Psalm 45:15)


During this time, God taught me that His Word is still relevant in our world today. There are so many things to learn each day by getting into the Bible. I also feel like I missed the opportunity to write these same verses on the walls of my current home. That makes me a little sad. But I also believe God would rather I live His Words, not just write them.


Someday, my great-grandchildren will see the words I chose for this precious house. My prayer is that they will know how essential this step was. That God’s Words are as important to them as they are to me. May my future generations know they are thought of today, not just by Baba, but also by their heavenly Father.

 Building a Doll House: Following the Directions – Chapter 5


After opening the doll house kit and marking each piece, Mason read through the directions. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that the given directions were not very good.


Mason knew he would be frustrated if he had use this set of instructions. So he searched the internet to find anything that might help work through this process. He found an excellent online resource that gave some excellent instructions. And there were pictures!


He quickly bookmarked the website and referred to it quite often.


We don’t always get the best instructions for many products in our world. Whether they only include pictures, difficult words, or confusing language, directions can make putting something together difficult.


God knows how important good instructions can be. Scripture is filled with advice when it comes to this topic.


God asks that we listen to instruction. We would be wise to listen and accept instruction, whether it is His or from a wise person.


“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)


“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13)


“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)


Some benefits of listening to God’s instructions can be seen in these verses.


“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.” (Proverbs 8:33)


“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20)


“When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.” (Proverbs 21:11)


By following God’s direction, He leads us in the way we should go.


“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” (Psalm 119:35)


“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)


“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)


There is no doubt about it, when we listen to God’s instruction, accept what He has asked, learn from what He has to say, and allow God to lead us throughout our lives, we will be wise, prosper and gain knowledge. Why then is it so difficult to do?


Because we want to get involved. We want to change the instructions. We think we know better than God and tweak the directions. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. These are the times we get ourselves into trouble.


The online dollhouse instructions proved to be invaluable to us as we worked on Joy’s dollhouse. On multiple occasions, we were thankful that someone had taken the time to document their own journey for others to learn from. That is exactly what God has provided for us. Pages and pages filled with good advice and instruction.


It’s all there for your use. Why not pick up God’s instruction manual and see what He has to say to you today?


“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 23:12)

 Building a Doll House: The Creator – Chapter 6


I knew my husband was an engineer when I married him. What I didn’t know was how that was going to affect every aspect of our lives.


Years ago, we built a loft bed for Bethany. To me, it looked like four legs, four sides, a base and some stabilizing pieces. But to Mason, it was a reflection of who he was. It had to be perfect. And if it wasn’t, more than likely, it would have to be taken apart and re-done.


It was no different with building the doll house. Each piece and part had to be placed with precise measurements and absolute certainty. For the perfectionist engineer, nothing less would do.


Yesterday, I mentioned reading Psalm 139 every day for a month. I still believe it is a great idea. But let’s look at some of the other elements in this Psalm. Our God, the Creator of the universe, took great care in designing each of us. And regardless of how happy (or unhappy) we are with His creation, to Him, we are perfect.


Psalm 139 begins with the acknowledgement that God knows us. He knows us inside and out. He knows our actions. He knows our thoughts. He knows what we will speak before we speak them. Now that is knowledge.


The Psalter continues his discourse. Perhaps there were times he wanted to hide from God, but to no avail. God always knew where to find David.  It is the same for us. When sin is active in our lives, our greatest desire is to hide from God. But it’s no use. He knows.


And the greatest part is that God will continue to lead and guide us through those moments. He won’t ever give up on us. God is always there.


And then, Psalm 139 speaks of God’s hands at work in a mother’s womb. God, who planned each part of our world, created you and me. And to Him, we are perfect.


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:14-16 – NIV)


Science is continually finding new things about our bodies to amaze us. But to be honest, our amazement shouldn’t be about what scientists have found, but that God created us that specific way.


God knew exactly what He was doing. He knew exactly what functions our bodies would need for survival. He knew how each organ would need to work with others. He was the Architect. The Designer of all creation. Why wouldn’t He get it perfect?


And yes, David expresses this in Psalm 139. He admires the thoughts of God. The endless thoughts that God had for all of creation. Down to the tiniest particle (that science seems to have just found and is interestingly enough called the God Particle), God thought of it.


David doesn’t end the Psalm there. He continues with his desire for God to know him even more. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 – NIV)


We like David, desire that deep relationship with God. But that means giving God full access to every corner and crevice, every nook and cranny of our lives.


I am thankful for the engineering, perfectionist mind of God. For without it, I could not say that I am exactly who God wants me to be. Without it, I might be considered a mistake. But I am not. I am a child of God. I am His beloved.


The doll house was finished and it is as perfect as any doll house you will find out there. I am thankful for my engineer, perfectionist husband who was willing to take the time to get it right. Thanks Gido, for the perfect doll house.

 Building a Doll House: Work – Chapter 7


As my husband I continued work on the doll house for our granddaughter, Joy, it became obvious that there would be some work involved. I have pictures to prove it!


Some of the work was tedious. Some seemed ridiculous. Sometimes there were multiple steps involved to get the final product. And sometimes, I simply had to wait. Yes, there was work involved.


Every piece of the dollhouse had to be put together, but only after being painted. Their suggestion was to use a sponge to apply the paint. It didn’t work. Instead, I used a faithful, proven friend. A small paintbrush and painted each piece.


For the windows, I practiced putting them together a few times with pieces flying all over, until I got the hang of it. Then glue was placed in the corners and a rubber band carefully drawn around the window frame. The windows came out perfect!


The house has not one, but two wrap around porches. There are railings along each porch and those railings had to be painted and glued together. Each spindle was painted, sanded, and then painted again before they could be glued into place. Thank goodness there was a template for this step!


The roof is covered with shingles. Before they could be placed on the roof, the shingles soaked in stain. Then they were spread out on a piece of cardboard to dry. Two or three times each day I had to “stir” the shingles to allow complete and uniform drying.


After waiting for the shingles to dry, the tedious process of gluing shingles on, one at a time, began. I learned quickly that I could only stand the slow process for short periods of time, so I would set a goal of at least finishing three rows of shingles before giving up. This took days. Actually I think it took a couple of weeks.


As I neared the last few rows, I counted shingles. I originally stained approximately 1,150 shingles. It wasn’t enough. I was going to be 3 shingles short! By checking at this point, I was able to “piece” together these few shingles from trimmed shingles and I placed them throughout the last few rows. It actually isn’t noticeable.


It’s no different with our spiritual lives. There are times that it just plain takes work. It may be tedious, involved, slow, and we may have to wait, but in the end, our lives are put together perfectly by the Creator.


I’ve memorized some Scripture this year. Some to prove that I could actually do it. Some for a Vacation Bible School skit I was involved with. But what I learned was that it is difficult for me. It is tedious work. I have to repeat it over and over. Write it over and over. But in the end, I know that those verses or passages are in my head and my heart.


And if that’s what it takes for me to memorize God’s Word, then yes, I must do it. Psalm 119:11 (NIV) reminds me of King David’s words. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Hiding Scripture in my heart keeps me on the right path. God’s path.


And if the memorizing of Scripture does not change me, then I might as well be memorizing a dictionary. God’s Word is active and living and when it gets into our hearts, it will require something of us.


Our spiritual journey will require us to take multiple steps to maturity. In 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV), Peter shares a progression to escape the corruption of the world and participate in the divine nature. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Yes it is involved. Yes there are multiple steps. But the end product is so worth it! Wouldn’t we each like to be effective? Productive? If the answer is yes, then these are the steps to take. Maybe it isn’t as difficult as you first thought.


Sometimes we wait. Wait for our hearts to be softened. Wait for our hearts to be broken. And when that happens, the Holy Spirit can work through us in wondrous, exciting ways.


The Spirit of Truth will counsel (John 14:16); remind us of all we’ve learned (John 14:26); guide us into all truth (John 16:13); help in our weakness (Romans 8:26); intercede for us when we don’t know what to pray (Romans 8:26-27); and encourage (Acts 9:31).


The accomplishments are limitless with God’s Spirit at work in us.


Even though the dollhouse was a large, looming task that required a great deal of work, in the end it was truly worth every moment spent on it.


It is the same with our spiritual journey. Perhaps it seems like you’ll never be able to reach the goal. Perhaps you’re wondering if God could ever love you because of your past (or even your present situation).


Just know that any effort on your part is overshadowed by the grace that God is willing to lavish upon you. Don’t underestimate all that God has in store for you and your life.


In the end, it is worth it all.

 Building a Doll House: It’s All About the Details – Chapter 8


From the beginning of this dollhouse project, my husband said we needed to be very careful with each piece. During the painting process, it was important that the paint didn’t drip, because that would cause it to be out of line with the rest of the pieces. During the sanding process, we had to be sure that just the right amount was sanded or it would fit.


Then of course, the details of the entire project was overwhelming. The directions. The number of pieces. The step-by-step process to take all of these pieces and create one doll house from them all. It was pretty amazing.


Here’s the thing. If we hadn’t paid attention to the details, it would not have turned out the way it was supposed to. It would not have looked like a house. Or at least not a pleasant-looking house.


It’s the same with our spiritual lives. If we haven’t taken care of the details of our faith, it’s hard to say what the outcome might be. But if we follow God’s plan and pay attention to the details, the results will be exactly what God intended us to be.


God planned that we would be “His chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9 – NIV)


So how do we get to this point? What steps (details) do we need to take to become exactly what God intended us to be?


We must believe

There is a lot that we simply must have faith in. We must believe that God’s Word is living and active and that God breathed life into each verse. (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16)


We must believe that Jesus is God’s Son, sent to be the Messiah, the Savior of mankind. (John 3:15-16; 1 John 5:1; 5:5; Romans 3:22)


We must believe that Jesus was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins and rose to life to prove victory over death. (Luke 24:46-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:14)


We must repent

Repentance means to turn completely around. To go the opposite direction of our original path. So for a believer, we must put to death the sinful nature in order for the spiritual nature to be visible. (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19)


We must confess

You’ve heard it before, Peter’s great confession of our Lord. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 – NIV) Yes, we must proclaim it as well. (Matthew 16:16; 2 Timothy 2:19)


We must be baptized

Jesus teaches that baptism is part of the salvation plan and was himself baptized. Peter preached it on the day of Pentecost. Paul also was baptized and preached baptism. (Matthew 3:13; 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 9:18; Galatians 3:27)


We must live

Live lives that bring honor, glory and praise to God who has freely lavished grace upon us. There are plenty of passages that lead us in this direction, but I’m just listing two here. (Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 2:10)


We must tell

If in fact we have the greatest news mankind has ever heard, why do we keep silent? Why isn’t His message on the tip of our tongues constantly? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know that Scriptures tell me to share the Gospel. (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47)


These are the “details” of our spiritual lives. They each fit perfectly with the next, like a plan, and exactly as God intended. By paying attention to each of these details, we ensure that our salvation will be complete.


Oh, I know that we’ll mess up along the way. I know that a detail will be missed or we’ll botch it up. But please know that God can take all those mishaps, those imperfections, and turn them into a thing of beauty. That’s an added bonus of loving God. Grace.


If you have a question about these “details,” I’d be happy to chat with you. I do know that there is nothing like being in God’s grace.


I’d also love to hear your story of grace. How your faith has been built through the years. What God’s grace means to you. Would you be willing to share?


In the end, the pieces of the dollhouse went together pretty well. There were a few pieces that didn’t quite fit, but a little sand paper and caulk covered a lot of mistakes. Please don’t look too closely at the dollhouse. You just might find those mistakes.

 Building a Doll House: Expect Mistakes – Chapter 9


I’ll admit it. There are mistakes in the doll house we built for our granddaughter Joy. As much as we wanted perfection, it was impossible to achieve. In fact, there are more mistakes than we’d like to admit.


But when our first mistake occurred, we didn’t give up. If we had, the doll house would have sat unfinished very early on…I really think we encountered the first issue with the foundation.


We encounter similar issues in our day-to-day lives. We slip up. We create messes. Our lives are full of bloopers, goof ups, and blunders. I don’t think I can say it any other way. We make mistakes.


In our spiritual lives, those mistakes are called sin. According to the online Merriman-Webster dictionary, “sin is an offense against religious or moral law. It is transgression of the law of God.”[i]


The very basic definition of sin is when we miss the mark. As an archer might miss the bulls eye of a target or perhaps miss the target altogether. God has provided commands, laws, or precepts for us to follow. When we disobey, neglect, or omit any one of these commands from our lives, we commit sin.


Sin then, is anything that separates us from God.


Thankfully for us, God has made arrangements for us when we are outside of His will. When we miss the mark. And although God cannot tolerate sin in our lives (Habakkuk 1:13a), God has provided grace.


You see, just as we did not give up when we realized we made our first mistake (or 10th mistake) on the doll house, we cannot give up when we make mistakes in our spiritual lives.


We must admit that we’ve sinned. David understood this and what leads up to confessing sin. He had this to say about it.


“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:3-5 – NIV)


I’ve been there. Haven’t you? When the heaviness in my heart was so great because of sin. David knew he had to acknowledge his sin. Confess his sin to God. Then, accept God’s forgiveness. And please notice, God also forgives the guilt. Now there’s a gift to accept with open, appreciative hands.


In 1 John 1:9 (NIV), the apostle John makes note of this concept as well. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”


Another gracious gift from our heavenly Father. Purification. He will purify us when we confess our sin to Him. Because He is faithful and just.


We must also repent of our sin. The foundational meaning of this word is to do an about face. To turn in the opposite direction. Yes, we must confess the sin, but if we do not repent of it, we will be in bondage to that same sin again and again. There must be change. In attitude and action.


Paul shares this message with the Corinth church in 2 Corinthians 7. Paul’s first letter was difficult for them (2 Corinthians 7:8), but he called them to something. Repentance. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 – NIV)


We are called to this same action. Repent of sin that keeps us stumbling over and over.


And just a few more things to keep in mind. The writer of Hebrews shows us that once sin is forgiven by God, He will remember it no more. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 – NIV) “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17 – NIV)


After forgiveness, I must forget my sin. But we all know that guilt gets in the way of forgetting. Remember David’s words above? God forgives the guilt of the sin. We see this idea in Romans 8:1 (NIV) as well.


“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We can rid our lives of guilt when we confess and repent of sin in our lives. Jesus has taken it away.


And here’s another idea from John the Baptizer. In speaking to some of the Pharisees and Sadducess, John makes this statement. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:9 – NIV)


I can’t help but think that is a statement is one for me to remember. After confession and repentance of sin, if I do not produce spiritual fruit in my life I will once again have missed the mark.


As we built this doll house, we didn’t give up or quit when mistakes were made. It’s the same with our spiritual lives. When we sin, it’s not a time to throw it all away. God will be there waiting to hear from us.


Do you need to speak to God today? Is there sin in your life that is preventing you from being near your heavenly Father? Is sin keeping you from producing fruit? Are you burdened by the weight of guilt?


If so, please run to God’s loving arms and seek His forgiveness. Follow David’s example. Lay it all out before God. Then relish in the weightlessness of forgiveness.

 Building a Doll House: Be Flexible – Chapter 10


If there is one thing I’ve learned through my life, it is to be flexible. On a recent trip to SE Asia, that was the number one rule. Be flexible. With family get to get-togethers, a great rule to keep in mind is to be flexible.


The same was true with the doll house. We had to be flexible. There were times when we didn’t have the right tool to move ahead, so we had to wait on a section. Or on occasion, we were waiting for elements of the doll house to dry, so we had to be flexible at times.


And then there were the occasions when one of us didn’t want to work on the doll house which meant, the other had to wait. Be flexible. It was a great rule to keep in mind while working on the doll house.


But why is it so important to be flexible? I have come to believe that it’s to keep frustration at bay. So that we might be able to work on a project, with someone, or be with a group of people without losing our cool.


Be flexible!


Jesus’ disciples knew how to be flexible. They would travel from location to location. They listened to Jesus’ teaching and watched the crowd’s reaction to Jesus. They never knew what was going to happen next, but they knew it would be exciting!


Oh, on occasion they would get a little tense. Like when the young children were brought to Jesus for a blessing (Matthew 19:13-15). Or when the crowds were so great and there was no food (Matthew 14:13-21). Or even the time when Jesus went to the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus (John 11:1-16).


But the disciples remained flexible through it all.


Later we see the importance of flexibility in sharing the Gospel. Depending on the crowd, the way they presented the Gospel was different. The Apostle Paul was an excellent communicator and was able to discern this very thing.


We see how he began his messages with Old Testament history when he spoke to a mainly Jewish audience in Acts 13:16-22. He then brings Jesus into the story as the fulfillment of the promise given by God and continued his message of salvation (Acts 13:23-41).


We don’t know for sure what Paul said to the crippled man at Lystra (Acts 14:8-10), but they were intent. They were exactly what the man needed to hear at that moment and we see his faith and healing.


In Athens (Acts 17:16-34), Paul spoke before a group of philosophers. Again, his message began differently. He noticed one altar “To An Unknown God.” (Acts 17:23 – NIV) And then he began preaching God’s message. “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you…”


Wow! What a message! Paul knew exactly how to present the Gospel to this group as well as others. What a lesson we can learn from Paul.


You see, I don’t speak to my 22-month-old grandson the way that I speak to my 30-year-old son. In the same way, I should be flexible in how I share the Gospel with others. I must learn to take note of my audience and then proceed as needed.


Now please hear me. I’m not saying that we change our message. In no way is that to happen. God has given us His message in Scripture and we must teach or preach it as is. But we must learn to share God’s message in a way that it will make a difference to the person hearing the message. They must understand how the Gospel will change their life.


The Apostle Paul shares another thought of flexibility in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. His point becomes clear in verse 22. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22 – NIV)


That is flexibility!


I know that it’s easier to stick to one way of sharing the Gospel, with one message. We memorize it and can share it easily. But if the person you are speaking to isn’t getting the message, what good is it? We really do need to be aware of our audience and change our approach or methodology for effective discipleship.


Be flexible. These are two words that I’ve learned to embrace. I pray that you are able to embrace them as well.

 Building a Doll House: Anticipation – Chapter 11


After several months of working on the doll house, it was finally beginning to look like a house. The roof was coming along…although it was the longest, most tedious, most painstaking work done on the entire house. The electrical system was hooked up. The wall paper, ceilings and floors were complete.


It was beautiful!


On Christmas Eve as the final touches were being put into place, anticipation set in. How would it be when it was finally finished and Joy saw her doll house for the first time? Would she like it? Would it be exactly what she hoped for?


Of course, nothing could prepare us for her reaction (which you’ll read about in the next chapter), but we were certainly nervous and filled with anticipation.


You know exactly what I’m talking about. That long, almost unbearable waiting for something. At each thought of what is to come, a zap of excitement shoots through your body and you cannot keep that smile from bursting forth. Perhaps you might even giggle. We’ve all been there. Anticipating.


I have anticipated some exciting events in my lifetime. The birth of my children and grandchildren are high on the list. Of course, their first birthdays were also times of anticipation. Seeing what they each had accomplished in that first year leading up that first birthday was exciting. I wouldn’t have traded any of those times for anything.


But there have been others. Moving to a new city or state. Before I moved to Colorado, I had the months of the calendar plastered on my bedroom wall…each day I would cross off a day, and eventually, the date came when I could load the truck and head to this beautiful state and my husband.


The start of a new job. There have been plenty of those. The months preparing for a trip to Daytona Beach and my first NASCAR race…why I could hardly contain myself!


And today, I’m anxiously awaiting the birth of my fourth grandchild.


Yes, waiting for Christmas morning was exciting for me. But was that where my focus should have been?


Some synonyms of anticipation are expectation, prospect, eagerness, hope, or contemplation. The very nature of the word allows for those giddy feelings to surface. Contemplating the “what ifs” or believing there is hope fuels excitement. Expecting a good outcome brings peace during times of anticipation.


Anticipation has been around a long time and can be linked to our faith in God. Just as those living under the old covenant eagerly waited for the coming of the Messiah, we too, eagerly await the second coming of Jesus, the Messiah. It brings hope to this otherwise hopeless world. But that must not be our only focus. We must anticipate the good things that God desires to add to our lives in the present.


Philippians 1:6 assures us that we should be anticipating what God is doing in our lives. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”


I am so thankful that God isn’t finished with me yet. He still has a long way to go. I still encounter feelings of jealousy, rebellion, insecurity, depression and many more. Anticipating a life free of these emotions is exciting for me. So I’ll continue to allow God to do His work until He says “Perfect!”


And Ephesians 2:10 gives us insight into what we should be doing with what God has done within us while awaiting the second coming. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”


Waiting goes much faster when we have something to do. So while we are waiting and anticipating, God has prepared a few things for us to do while we wait. There are good works to be done. And we are called to be doing them.


Waiting for Joy to arrive that Christmas morning was very exciting. Waiting to open presents was thrilling. Expectations were high. Each of us filled with the splendor of Christmas. Anticipating.


Yes, anticipation is exciting. In our physical lives, but also in our spiritual lives. Oh, I pray that you will anticipate what God is doing in your life. Watch for His workings. Anticipate what He will do with it. And of course, eagerly wait for His return. I know I can hardly wait!

 Building a Doll House: What to Do With the Leftovers – Chapter 12


As we were drawing closer to the finished product, I realized there were three pieces that didn’t seem to have any place on the house.  We had leftovers!


Two of the pieces had a sticky note on them with their respective numbers. After our cross reference, we found that one piece should have gone on the house long before. Our inspection found that there was no way it could be placed where it belonged and that the house would be just fine without it.


The piece without the sticky note was the flower box that would go on the front of the house. A pure aesthetic piece and would be one of the last things added to the house.


The third piece was puzzling. The number matched an item that was already on the house. Even more puzzling was that on the sticky note it also said “4 pieces.”  We still don’t know where this piece was supposed to go, but again, the house is sound and it doesn’t seem to be begging for this last piece of wood.


What do you think of when you hear “leftovers?” The food sitting in your fridge that will be tomorrow’s trash? The scraps of craft items you haven’t been able to use? The pain that remains from a deep hurt? Broken relationships? Death? Shattered marriages or damaged friendships? These are all “leftovers” of our lives. Some are good, some are painful, but we still need to determine what to do with them.


Scripture gives a few ideas…sometimes the leftovers were destroyed, sacrificed or trampled.


In Exodus, the locusts devoured everything leftover after the hailstorm when Pharaoh wouldn’t release the Israelites from bondage. (Exodus 10:15)


At Aaron and his sons’ ordination anything from the ram or from the bread that was leftover until morning was to be burned up (Exodus 8:32), while in Leviticus 7:16, leftover food from offerings could be eaten.


In the book of Ruth, we see Ruth gleaning in Boaz’s fields (Ruth 2:2). She would glean the barley that was left over after the harvesters. Boaz even told the harvesters to leave extra behind for her.


And there were the leftovers from the feeding of the 5,000. John 6:12 tells us that Jesus didn’t want anything to be wasted. I wonder what they did with those leftovers?

There have been times in my life when everything seemed to be just fine, but there were pieces lying around that didn’t seem to fit. Whether it was a hobby or a friend or sin.


God has given me the directions for my life, but sometimes I ignore His guidance and miss adding something to my life. Sometimes I get ahead of Him and then wait for the piece to be added. And then at other times I have no idea what I missed or where something should be added and it is a complete mystery.


Whatever the case, my focus must stay on God. He’s the Author of the plan. He is the Designer of the life. He is the Creator of me.

So what are we to do with the leftovers of our lives? Remember, Jesus doesn’t want anything to be wasted. It may be different for each of us. But what I do know is that when we give them to God, He can do amazing and remarkable things with the leftovers.


He can restore hope, mend broken hearts, and heal wounded relationships. In the end, He can take all those leftover pieces and make them into something beautiful.


Now, what will you do with your leftover pieces?

 Building a Doll House: Christmas Morning – Chapter 13


Christmas morning arrived. It was time for Joy to see her dollhouse for the first time. However, it was a pretty large gift and would not fit under the tree. So I created a scavenger hunt for her to search for her gift. The hunt ended in the guest room where Joy found her doll house.


All the anticipation leading to this moment was worth it. Wondering whether she would like her doll house disappeared the moment she saw it. When Joy saw the doll house, her face told us how she felt. The excitement, the thrill, the joy. It was all there. Expressed by wondering eyes, a smile that melts the heart, and uncertainty of where to begin the exploration. It was priceless!


I wonder if this isn’t how God feels when we accept Him as our Father and His Word as our guide to live by. When we get the picture that it isn’t all about “me.” When we willingly and cheerfully give of ourselves to others. Then He looks at us with joy in His heart. With excitement that cannot be contained.


He is the designer and when His creation accepts the challenge to be as He originally designed, God is most satisfied and thrilled by our actions.


The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Thessalonica to live lives that pleased God. Take a look at these words. “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1 – NIV)


This group of people were pleasing God by their actions and their attitudes. But that didn’t mean they had reached their goal. They needed to keep on doing what they were doing, but do it more and more. So what lifestyle is pleasing to God? Let’s continue with this passage to find out.


Paul begins with being sanctified. Sanctified means to be holy or blameless. To be set apart for holiness. There are other passages that call us to be holy. Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:9; and 1 Peter 1:15 to name a few. It means we must live to please God instead of our sinful nature.


Which Paul mentions next. “You should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3a-6 – NIV) In order to please God, we must rid ourselves of anything that is displeasing to Him. Our hearts and minds must be pure of sexual immorality, lust, and uncontrollable urges.


Paul then moves to our treatment of others. He instructs them to be careful not to wrong another brother or take advantage of him. (1 Thessalonians 4:6) As we come to a better understanding of how God wants us to live, we acknowledge the second greatest commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31 – NIV) Paul was simply restating Jesus’ words.


In the next section, Paul encourages these brothers to treat others well, but also to grow their brotherly love. They obviously were doing so, but Paul told them they could improve. “You do love all the brothers throughout Macdeonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:10 – NIV) Regardless of how much we love, we can love more. It is part of what pleases God.


This group of Christians were then asked to “make it their ambition” to do a few more things. To lead a quiet life. To mind their own business. To work with their hands. To live lives that will win respect of outsiders. To be independent of others. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)


For me, this seems like an odd list of objectives for living a holy life. The only directive that seems to be related to God in any way is the section about winning the respect of others. That our holy lives would reflect God and that would bring others to Christ. But clearly, these elements are to be pursued. Pursued ambitiously!


I suspect by using these guidelines to live by, we would have less opportunity to allow sin to creep into our lives. A quiet life would imply that carousing isn’t taking place. Minding our own business would imply that our lives are free of gossip. Working with our hands would imply that we desire to accomplish good, not evil. Being independent in our well-being would imply that laziness is absent.


In all of these areas then, others for certain would see God working in us and through us. Our holy lives would indeed win the respect of non-believers.


And holy lives are pleasing to God. I said it earlier, but it is worth repeating. God is the designer and when His creation accepts the challenge to be as He originally designed, God is most satisfied and thrilled by our actions.


So, what steps are you taking today to live a holy life? What ambitions have you set for yourself? What more do you need to do?


As Paul said, “do so more and more.” There is always room for improvement. Each of us can move a little closer to God. And in doing so, we are living a life that is pleasing to Him.


Many playful hours have been spent in the rooms of the doll house. And I suspect there will be many more to come. This play area has brought great pleasure to our granddaughter, but to be honest, it brings great pleasure to my husband and me as well.


Each moment Joy spends rearranging furniture or playing with “the family” brings joy to my heart. Her imagination, her enthusiasm, and her enjoyment make the building of this doll house all that more meaningful. And I smile!

 Building a Doll House: Open House – Chapter 14


I knew from the beginning of creating this doll house that I wanted to share our experience with others. And as I told friends and family what we were doing, they all wanted to see it. So I decided that I would have an open house for the doll house.


I love to entertain, so this was an easy party to host. And of course, Joy had to be part of it. So together we threw an open house that was well-attended.


The doll house was placed on the dining room table and all the furniture was set. My home was prepared and food filled the kitchen for guests to enjoy. We then waited for guests to arrive.


And they did. For the entire afternoon, we had guests come and go. Others stayed the entire time visiting. It was a joyous occasion. And Joy was the perfect hostess. She was honored to show our guests each room of the house.


I enjoyed telling the story of building the house. The choices we made. The verses of Scripture under the wall paper, flooring and shingles. I even created a PowerPoint presentation of the process for everyone to see. Here is a glimpse into the rooms of the house with the Scripture reference that is written there.


The kitchen (Proverbs 31:15).

The dining room (John 21:12a).

The living room (Titus 2:4-5).

The parent’s bedroom (Matthew 11:28).

The boy’s bedroom (Psalm 4:8).

The nursery (Psalm 62:5).

The little girl’s bedroom (Psalm 127:2b).

The bathroom (Ezekiel 36:25a).

The foundation (Psalm 127:1a).

The floors (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

The porch (Deuteronomy 6:7).

The roof (Psalm 45:15).


This was a day of celebration. And we celebrated with those we cared about the most. Family and friends.


Jesus is building a place not so different than the doll house. Except that is God’s house. And there are many rooms, mansions or dwelling places, depending on the version you read.


We find reference to it in John 14. Just before this passage, Jesus told the disciples that He would be leaving them and also that Peter would deny Him three times. Jesus knew they needed encouragement. So here are the words He spoke.


“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4 – NIV)


So what do we know about this place, this house that Jesus is preparing for us?


It has taken a long time to finish. Jesus left the disciples behind nearly 2,000 years ago. Each generation from that point on has been waiting and longing for Jesus’ return. What joy it will be when we see Jesus face to face!


It will be beautiful. We see a glimpse of this place, also from John, in the Book of Revelation. The description found in Revelation 21 tells of a city made of pure gold, precious stones, and with streets of gold. There is a river with trees lining its banks. Of course, these are human terms. Concepts that we can understand. But from what we can comprehend, heaven will be beautiful!


God and Jesus will be there. Also from Revelation we read phrases like, “It shone with the glory of God.” (Revelation 21:11a – NIV) “The Lord God Almighty and the Lam are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:22b-23 – NIV) “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and his servants will serve him.” (Revelation 22:3b – NIV)


He wants to share His house with all those He loves. His family. His friends. Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that they knew the way to this place. Jesus was and is the Way. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have the “map” to this great treasure. We have the entire New Testament to point us in the right direction. We have instructions on how to get on the right path when we’ve taken a wrong turn. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be lost forever. He wants you to enjoy His house!


Jesus has invited us to join Him for the open house. Jesus invites us to come. There are more passages that reference this idea than I have time to mention, but here are a few. Matthew 11:28; Matthew 16:24-25; Matthew 19:21; Luke 5:32; Luke 6:47-49; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:15-24; John 6:35; and John 14:6.


There is one more invitation I’d like to mention from Revelation. Come is the repeated word. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and however wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17 – NIV)


The preparations are nearing completion. The invitations have been sent. The way is clear. Now it’s up to you accept. Come.


Are you weary? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you lost? Jesus is the Way. Come.




Grace and peace be yours in abundance,




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