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 16, 2017

Treasures of my Heart

Proverbs 24:3-4
By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

Tim and I hiked through one of Kelleys Island's nature preserves. We trekked along a grass and dirt path until we reached a boardwalk, made of recycled plastic, that rambled through the woods and over the wetland. On the other side, the trees opened up onto a lovely little beach. White sand, created from waves breaking up tiny white shells, sparkled in the sun. As we wandered along the water's edge, we searched for treasures. Not gold or silver, but pretty rocks, pebbles, and lake glass. Lake Erie did not disappoint. We found pink, red, and interesting green rocks along with white, green (two shades) and brown lake glass. As we wandered along, some children playing nearby showed us their finds, including a live turtle they were watching. What a fun trip!

Once we got back home, I cleaned the rocks and glass and added them to my growing collection. I love my treasures. They are memories of my life. Our home is filled with things that remind us of the people we love and the God we worship. So much of what we own reflects the gifts God has created and given. 

Proverbs 24 reminds me my home should be built with wisdom, established on understanding, and that treasures come from knowledge. I believe the wisdom refers to the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. For my house to truly be a home, God must come first. Understanding reflects our relationship with Jesus and the personal interest he has in us. Knowledge represents God's word of truth, the Bible, which is chocked full of rare and beautiful treasures. Without these elements, my home would be empty. I want Jesus' love, joy and peace to fill our house. I love my rocks and lake glass, but I treasure the heart of our home so much more, which is Jesus.

The treasures that fill the home should also fill the heart.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Lord is my Rock

Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.


I had something else in mind to write today, but I've tucked those words away for another time. Instead, my mind and heart are with the folks who have been through or are waiting on the forces of nature that have let loose. Texans dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, Floridians and other southerners who watch and wait on hurricane Irma. The folks out west praying for rain to put out the wildfires.

Dan Walsh, an author whose books I've reviewed, lives with his wife in Florida. He's been giving updates on Facebook as they pray and watch the weather channel. After so many changes in predictions, Dan posted that he was putting the situation in God's hands. I would hope in the same situation, that I'd have the faith to trust God. But how difficult that would be. Worry loves to wiggle in and take over. But God counters those thoughts with instruction to trust him, even when the situation seems impossible. Don't think for a minute that I haven't fretted. I've done my share. But I'm thankful I have a place to go with my concerns.

I'm sure we all know someone affected by the disasters around the globe. Please join me as I pray for the folks in the eye of the storm.  


Proverb 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The One Who Created Science

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

A magazine came across my desk this week. The front cover posed this question, "Where did we really come from?" Curious, I opened to the page of the article. I thought maybe there was a tiny chance that someone was writing about the creation story. Instead I found another argument for a different theory.


Understand this about me—I love nature, and I respect science. In biology class, I was fascinated with photosynthesis, the life stream of plants. I enjoyed learning about flowers and found animal habitats interesting. I still enjoy being outdoors watching birds and wildlife. I was excited in Maine when we learned about the lobsters and puffins. So when I read the question, "Where did we really come from?" I already knew my answer. I've prayed and studied over this for a long time.

I believe with all my heart that God created me. He held me in his heart before I was even born. God made me to reflect his image. I may not always do that because we live in a sinful world, and I confess, I sin. But I know, without doubt, that God put me on this earth with purpose. He knew me and he knows my life. Some might wonder how I can embrace God and science. My answer—because I believe God invented science. The galaxies? God tossed every star into place. The butterflies? God painted every delicate wing. My grandbabies? God formed them before we knew them. God gave us the gift of science to help us cope with this crazy world. He has his hand in medicine, technology, astronomy (remember the recent eclipse) agriculture (he did plant the first garden) and every other science we know. My faith in the truth of the Bible leads me to believe that God is the giver of life. He is the one who understands everything because he created everything. I praise God, because his works are amazing! 
Psalm 139:13-14For 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.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

God Got our Attention

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Photo by Maggie Wickline-Jowers
On Monday afternoon, I joined the large group gathered on the commons in front of the college. A buzz of voices bounced about as we waited to see the much anticipated solar eclipse. In Ohio, we knew we'd only see about a 92% eclipse, nevertheless folks were pumped. Would the skies grow dimmer? Might the temperature drop? How would it look? As the clock approached two-thirty, several of us popped on our solar eclipse glasses and gazed up toward the giant star that lights our days and the satellite that orbits the earth. The moon passed over the sun. At 92% a sliver of sun remained visible.  The sky's appearance looked as if I was wearing Polaroid sunglasses and the temperature dropped a few degrees. After I finished checking out this rare phenomenon, I loaned my glasses to folks near-by. As I watched the crowd, I had to smile. For several minutes on a Monday afternoon, everything stopped. No matter who I stood beside, we shared the same purpose. People smiled and laughed, chatted and shared their experience. A little bit of peace covered us.

I loved that we all stopped what we were doing, put away our concerns, and tucked in our differences to gaze on the wonder God created. In all the chaos of this life, God grabbed our attention.

Since then I've thought about another time when everyone will stop what they're doing. A moment, expected yet unknown. A time when all eyes will look to the sky. We won't need NASA certified glasses to cover our eyes. Instead we'll need hearts that have accepted and believe the Lord Jesus Christ is Savior. There won't be a specific time designated by astronomers. Instead, he will come in the twinkling of an eye. Jesus will appear in the clouds to collect his followers, both those who have died and those still alive on earth. All eyes will look to Jesus on that day, the day he returns to gather his children and take them to heaven. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see Jesus. I'm not sure when he'll come back, but I know he will. I have faith in the truth of the Bible and that God keeps his promises. When Jesus appears in the clouds, everyone will stop and look up. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Freedom and Hope

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Sixty-five lighthouses dot the coast of Maine. Those historical lights drew Tim and I to visit the beautiful north-eastern state. I've loved lighthouses for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure when I first learned of their existence and purpose, but it seemed I always knew the grand buildings saved lives and provided safety for fishermen and ship's crews. One of the lights we visited, Portland Head Light, is a majestic white structure surrounded by a home and several smaller buildings. As I wandered the property, I rounded the corner of the house and spotted a large stone.  A plaque told me the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, sat and penned his lighthouse poem there.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!
The poem reminds me of the hope I have in Jesus.

Steadfast—He's always here for me.
Serene—The calm in my storm.
Quenchless flame—His light cannot be put out. 
Inextinguishable light—Always shining, no matter what.

The world is a mess right now. Every day we hear stories of death and destruction. If I'm being honest—and I am, the terror scares me. I think of the world my grandchildren are growing up in and speculate about what it will be. Yes—I've gone down the road of "what if." But before I get too far gone, the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of the light. The one light that brings hope. The one that is never extinguished. You see, regardless of all the evil in the world, we have hope. Constant hope in Jesus. He's the one who brings peace and joy, the one who gives freedom from the world. He's the one who hears my prayers. He gives me freedom from fear and worry, because I know he has me in his hands. I pray for this world and the hurting. In my prayers, I ask that everyone will find comfort and peace in Jesus. He is the one who gives true freedom. The one who offers hope.