For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What's Expected?

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

The calendar declared September 22 as the first day of autumn. But in Ohio the thermometers registered close to ninety degrees. Too hot to be considered the wonderful season of change I look forward to every year. I'm not a summer person. Although I've enjoyed swimming with the grandkids and visiting Lake Erie, I'm ready for cooler days and nights. Breezes with the slight smell of chimney smoke and fallen leaves. And oh the pumpkin flavored goodies. But because of the hot days, I can't wrap my head around the idea that leaves will be changing soon, and I'll be donning a jacket. Because the season hasn't changed as I expected, I feel restless, unsure I can trust the weather.

Expectations can be misleading and disappointing. How often have I expected God to show up the way I thought he should ? I've prayed and assumed he'd answer exactly as I petitioned. When he didn't, anxiety crept in, my imagination blew out of proportion, and I felt restless. But then, guess what. I found out that God knows better than I do. My expectations don't always match the wisdom of my loving Father. I've learned it's better to push expectations to the sidelines and instead embrace faith and trust. I believe God knows best. And I need to put that into practice. Is it easy? Nope. But life is so much better when I anticipate with faith instead of my own assumptions.

Praise God that he knows what's best for me!

Have you had expectations and found out God had a better plan? 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

When Did Jesus Leave the Room?

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

When did Jesus leave the room? I'm at a funeral. I'm staring at the television watching the twins towers fall. I'm reading news on Twitter, appalled by things parents do to their children. I'm at the doctor's office and he mentions cancer. I'm at home with my blinds drawn, huddled in depression. I'm at work...and the list goes on. This could be any of us wondering where Jesus is in all of the suffering and pain.

But Jesus didn't leave. He's been with me all along. Maybe I turned my back on him. Or I forgot he was there. Or I blamed him. But he didn't leave. Instead he held me when I cried. He comforted me when I needed it most. He hung in with me, even when I yelled at him. Jesus doesn't leave. I do. I take a step away, a leap over the edge, or withdraw into myself. Yet he whispers in my ear, "Don't be afraid. I'm right here. And I'm not leaving."


I love Jesus and he loves me. There are times I long to be with him in heaven and shove this world behind me. But guess what. He's with me here. He will never leave me or forsake me. Praise God for his constant care.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Water Tossed and Churned

Matthew 4:18-20
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

I sat on a limestone boulder along the bank of Lake Erie with my husband. The waters churned and tossed fishing boats up and down while waves crashed on the shore. Despite the rough surface and the strong wind, the people in the fishing boats held tight and waited for the perfect time to drop their lines. Around the corner of the lake we spied a man who cast from the shore. He watched as his line bobbed in the surge of the unsteady swell.

Two of the first disciples Jesus called were fishermen by trade, Peter and Andrew. They knew how to catch fish, but they didn't understand what Jesus meant when he said he wanted them to fish for men. With great patience Jesus taught them. He showed them through kindness, mercy, and example how they could teach people about Him. He showed them through his stories and words of truth how they could interest people in learning more about Jesus and the salvation he came to bring. As a follower of Jesus I'm called to be a fisher of men, one who tells others about my Savior and King. He's prepared me with the Bible as my guide and prayer as my aid. He's given me determination, understanding, and perseverance.

I remember singing the song in vacation Bible school, "I will make you fishers of men, if you'll follow me." As a child I didn't really understand the meaning of those words. But as a believer in Jesus I know now that I need to hang on in the storms and keep casting my line. Praise God for Jesus and his gift of love!

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Labor of Love

1 Thessalonians 1:2
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A labor of love. I can think of a few. Taking care of my babies, even when they made messes. Cooking meals for special occasions—birthdays, holidays. Editing a friend's written work and being honest about needed changes. Helping a child with homework. Doing the laundry and the dishes. Walking the dogs. When done with a caring heart and a positive attitude, anything can become a labor of love.

In America we celebrate Labor Day as a way to show appreciation for the folks who work each day and contribute to the economy of our nation. As part of the church let's celebrate the many who labor in love without any expected return. They teach, preach, sing, watch over little ones in the nursery, organize programs and events and so much more. Paul thanks God for the people of his time who worked for the Lord. I want to thank all those who work and volunteer in the church today. May we continue to pursue work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope. Praise God for the opportunity to work for Him.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I Know He Watches Over Me


Deuteronomy 31:7-8
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Moses was a hundred and twenty years old. He'd lived an incredible life for God, and he was ready to turn the reigns over to Joshua. God had told Moses he couldn't cross into the promised land with the people of Israel. He had to pass the reigns to someone younger. Moses could have been sad, angry, or frustrated because he wasn't going to finish the journey with his people. He certainly could have felt discouraged. But instead, he encouraged his protégé, Joshua. Moses removed the fear factor and encouraged him to" be strong and courageous." Why could he do that with confidence? Because he knew God had been with him and the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. He knew in his heart that God kept his promises.

As I read the story of Moses and the Israelites I'm overwhelmed by the thought of wandering and waiting. Can you imagine meandering around in a place you didn't want to be for forty years? Waiting on the promise the Lord made and wondering when you could move on? I may not be in the Israelites situation, but I do wander and wonder. Life throws curve balls, dumps troubles on me, and frustrates me. But I know God has my back, he has a plan, and he's always with me. "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Praise God for his constant encouragement!

I love the song, His eye is on the Sparrow, a song filled with God's encouragement. I can sing God's praise no matter the circumstances, even when I get discouraged. Because I know if God cares for the birds of the air, he certainly cares for and loves me and you. Isn't this a wonderful promise!