Matthew 7:7-12

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

How does God see His children?

Think about how you see your own.  Good parents love and nurture their children from the very first cry.  Our oldest, Arik, was born after I spent almost two weeks in the hospital with premature labor.  When he was born I felt a depth of emotion unique to everything else up to that point.  I looked into those little eyes, and cuddled that little one, whose premature little body could fit on a washcloth.  I have watched that handsome boy grown into a man, almost twenty now.  All along the way there have been moments when I’m connecting with him through conversation and I get lost in those beautiful blue eyes.  I tell him they are blue like the sea.  My mama heart skips a little beat thinking of the years looking into those eyes, and being filled up with so much love that I feel that I could burst.

Sounds so dramatic, right?

That’s how parental love is.  It is dramatic and it is fierce and it is so profound that you can hardly put it into words.  You just want to stare at your child because you are so taken aback with the depth of love you have in your heart for them.

God put it there.

That beautiful love is a reflection of our Heavenly Father’s heart for us.  But that’s just it.  It’s only a reflection.  The love He has for us is infinitely deeper and more profound because it originated from Him.  And, as you see in the verses above, our love for our own children is tainted by evil.  God’s love is pure and even so much more profound.

You are God’s child.  He is staring into your eyes as you talk to Him.  He thinks they are beautiful.  He remembers when you were small and how you’ve grown into adulthood.  He was there all along, your Father.

He wants us all to know this love of His.  To know it!  Not just to say “God loves me” but for us to know it!

The amazing thing is that the unique parental love you can have for one child can envelope many more, biological and not.  The love I have for Arik, I also have when I look into my girls’ dark brown lovely eyes.

“For God so loved the world…”  Parental love envelopes.

Someone once said that the eyes are the window to the soul…. Whether we want Him to or not, God sees down into our souls?  Why not surrender to that love and soak it up?  We need it.

I love you Arik, Nicole and Victoria.  I’m blessed to be your mom.

– Susie Stewart




Photo taken by Susie Stewart


As I was running this morning…..  Never thought I’d hear myself say that in this lifetime.  I decided to take up running a few months after chemo ended.  My family didn’t believe I would actually do it.  But I am.  The beautiful, serene, early mornings have been soothing to the soul, not so much the lungs.  But I’m thankful to be able to get out there!

So, as I was running this morning I was thanking God for some of His limitless attributes.  “I’m thankful (huff, huff) for your faithfulness.  I’m thankful for your love.  I’m thankful for your goodness.  I’m thankful for your gentleness and kindness…”  Pause.  Deep sigh.  It seems that whenever I contemplate God’s gentleness and kindness, I sigh.  Truly, how wonderful is our God that loves us with a gentle and kind Spirit?  You can’t get any more well-rounded in character than God, so these attributes mesh with His justice and even His holy wrath.  Thankfully, God Almighty’s love extended to us through His Son Jesus.  God the Son, perfect and righteous, satisfies the holiness of God.  And guess what He told us when He was here on earth?  “…I am gentle and humble in heart…”  Sigh.

Jesus relieves the stress between God and humans.  Jesus brings relief to our spirits.  Soak in that relief if you are a follower of Him.

Sigh because your Savior is gentle and kind.

I love you, Jesus.  Thank you.

– Susie Stewart

(Matthew 11:28-30)




Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I thought of my friend Katy as I read through these verses this morning.  Katy is a college student and has been working through college to pay for her education.  She is dependent on herself and no one else.  Back up.  It would appear that she is dependent on herself, but her hope for her future and for funds comes from a deep trust in God.  It’s not always easy to trust, though.  Jesus even says at the end of the above passage that each day has “trouble”. Katy struggles to know if she will be able to pay the bills, what she will do when she graduates soon, whether she can pay her school loans….

This very-familiar passage above intrigues me.  As I put the words of Scripture into my own words on paper, I asked Jesus, the one who said these things, “What do you mean by this?  You say ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.’  Those are kind of essential things.  We need to eat.  We need to drink water.  We need to cover up.  Can’t get much more basic than that.  Seems like people should be concerned with those kinds of things…”  Jesus points out that He feeds the birds and “clothes” the flowers beautifully.  He says, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  So, Lord, we are valuable to You.  This I believe deeply.  We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and You “knit us together”.  We have value because of the value You placed on us.  Not because of anything we did or hope to do.  But here I go, off into a side subject.  Back to worry.  I don’t believe Jesus’ point is “who cares about whether you eat or drink or wear clothes or pay your bills or get a good job…”  His main point seems to be right at the end of this passage in verse 33.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Jesus understands.  He not only made us, so He knows what our thoughts and emotions are regarding the stresses of life, but He also experienced them while here on earth.  If you jump ahead to Matthew 8:20 you see that He didn’t even have a bed to call His own.

Katy works hard to provide for herself and to get an education.  Money is tight, but her eyes are focused where they should be, on Jehovah-Jireh.  That’s Hebrew for “God our Provider”. That’s why she asks me to pray for her needs.

Some of you may be thinking, “Americans are the richest people in the world!  What do they have to worry about?”  Well, it’s our tendency as humans from any walk of life to worry when things don’t look so promising.  Even when things DO look promising, we can gravitate toward worry.  But I’ve seen Africans with virtually nothing lean into God’s loving arms of providence for their daily bread.  They are seeking Him first.  He provides.  I’ve witnessed wealthy people who are completely bankrupt emotionally and spiritually because they chose to seek wealth first, instead of God.  We all need to remember that it could all be gone instantly.  None of it is worth holding in a tight fist.

I encourage those of us who know God to make our relationship with Him priority over our stuff and even over our needs.  “All these things will be added to you.”  And how about we all make ourselves available to be used of God to help others who need food, water, shelter?  Being used of God is a blessing and a joy.  Ask Him what you should do to help.  He’ll show you.

Love you, Katy!  I’m proud of you.  ❤

– Susie Stewart

It’s a Secret

I like to get to the point.  I’m not one for a lot of small talk.  I like the way Jesus gets to the point.

I’ve been reading His teachings when he spoke to crowds from a mountainside.  It’s the part in Matthew where my Bible’s pages are covered in red print, the words of my Savior.  Matthew 5, 6 and 7 are sectioned into tidy topics.  With good reason.  There do seem to be distinct topics.  But when I look at those chapters as a whole, I see that one of the many underlying themes is secrecy.  Jesus makes it plain as day that we need to do things in secret.  When we give to the needy, when we pray, when we fast, it shouldn’t ever be to gain attention from people.  All of it should be directed toward God, to draw us closer to Him, and to bring Him glory.

“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be see by them…when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the street, to be honored by men…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.”

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men…but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen…”

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting…when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father , who is unseen…”

And then the promise that is in all three sections:

“…then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

I want to get to the place where I only care what God thinks!  Sure it’s good to be aware of how people perceive me, but I want to only care if I have the approval of the King of Glory.  If I am doing what I know He approves of, then my interactions with people will  follow suit.  “By their fruit you will recognize them,” it says in Matthew 7.  I’m not recognized by people as a follower of Jesus by my eloquent prayers, or how I give to those in need, or my fasting practices.  I’m recognized by supernatural fruit.  Yes, supernatural.  Sounds tasty, and it is.  Supernatural fruit in a person’s life, evidence that Christ lives in them, is visible to Believer and Non.  It is the sweetness of a loving God.  It shows where our hearts are.

Vine, branch, fruit.

Secrecy, promise, reward.

Simple, right?  Not so much.  We are creatures that typically like to draw attention to ourselves.

Lord, less of me and more of You!  Let my actions, words and thoughts be full of you and let the “overflow of my heart” be evidence of my time with You, for Your glory, and Yours alone.  I love you, Jesus.

– Susie Stewart