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, 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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

He's the One Who Knows My Story

Psalm 62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

This summer, Tim and I had our first experience in kayaks. I loved splashing through the fast-moving water as much as drifting quietly along the river. A number of times we hit rapids that sprayed up and soaked us. We were having a blast.



Then around one of the curves, the river forked. I rowed left and Tim paddled right. I went over some rapids and thought I was free and clear—until I hit a pile of rocks. I tried to push off with the oar, but I wasn't strong enough. I looked for Tim. He was too far ahead of me to paddle back against the current. Thinking I could get out of the situation by myself, I climbed out and promptly plopped into the water. After I laughed at myself, I stood up and tried to maneuver the kayak so I could get back in. But the rapids kept tugging, as I tried pulling. I wasn't winning. Finally I asked God for help. In a few minutes, another kayaker reached me and helped me climb back in. Then he shoved me off the rocks.

So many times in my life I've thought "I can do it myself," but I couldn't. Too many times I've fallen into the water of life and gotten stuck on stubbornness and blinded by selfish ambition. I struggled and wrestled with a situation, before I'd cry out to God for help. Why didn't I turn to him when he's the one who knows my story, the one who loves me inside out. I'm trying to be better about seeking God's wisdom before I get stuck. I know I trust him with all of my heart. But knowing isn't enough. I have to bow before him and seek his guidance. Every.Single.Day. He's my refuge and my rock.



I can't do life on my own. I need Jesus. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Start the Conversation

Psalm 55:16-17
As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.

As a new mom, I didn't get much sleep. My babies' cries stirred me out of bed, sometimes more than once a night. For the most part I'm a sound sleeper, but for those years when my little ones needed me I heard their call. As my children grew into teens and tweens, they'd come to me— sometimes excited about their day, sometimes in tears. When they went off to college, my phone would ring and their sweet voice would say, "Mom." Joy filled my heart. Even now, I react the same way. When my children and grandchildren call my name, it fills my heart to overflowing, even when the tears flow.

On my desk at work I keep a little knick-knack. From a clay base, two stars shoot up on each end. In the middle, the words "Pray Often" are carved. I love that reminder. I need that reminder. God loves to listen to his children. If I wake up in the middle of the night, God is there to listen. When I'm driving, working, playing, God is there to listen. So what keeps me from calling on him? Distraction, lack of faith, too busy, don't care? There's no excuse that should keep me from talking to my heavenly Father. He wants to hear from me. Whether I'm rejoicing or sobbing, God has my heart. He hears my cry. And he answers. Through the Bible, other people, circumstances—HE LISTENS and ANSWERS! Wow, that's good news.


Don't wait to pray when you're in a panic, start a conversation and just talk to him. He's available 24/7. He wants to hear from us. He loves us.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Broken and Blessed

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I just spent the weekend with amazing ladies—dear, dear friends—from Kentucky Christian College. We first met over forty years ago, when we all attended KCC. Since then our paths diverged all over the country; yet it's like we were never apart. That's because we've all kept loving Jesus. You see he's the reason we all converged on KCC in the 70s. We loved the Lord and wanted to serve him.

Thanks to social media, snail mail, and phone calls, we've reconnected and found our love for each other and God still holds true. I'd venture to say that love is even stronger.  We discovered, as a group, we've suffered broken hearts, failed relationships, parents growing old, our children's heartbreak, health issues, and the oh so human struggle with sin. Our dear friend, Holly, shared a devotion with us. She talked about the tears of God and how we shed tears in times of fear, sadness, depression, and even joy. But he takes them and stores them in his bottle, on his scrolls—Psalm 56:8. He gathers our tears and heartaches because he loves us. He holds our tears and understands our sorrows.

I'm a broken person. One who has lived life, suffered, struggled, and sinned. I'm also one who has asked forgiveness and felt God's grace and love pour over me. Even though my friends and I have all experienced the pains of life, we've been blessed by the hope that comes only through Jesus. Jesus is the way to a life of joy and peace. He's the way to heaven. I praise God for friendships anchored by the hope that is in him!

Psalm 116:8-9
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.





Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Measure of Growth

Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

When we vacationed in Maine, Tim and I took a "Lobster Tour." Our first afternoon in that beautiful state we boarded the Lucky Catch, on the Casco Bay in Portland. The little red boat held about fourteen tourists ready to learn about the trade of lobstering. First, we filled mesh bags with chubs and herring, then tied them into the traps. The captain taught us about the traps, how the larger lobsters get caught and the little ones have an escape hatch. The whole experience was hands-on. When we pulled in the traps and found a female, they showed us she was a layer and threw her back. Then the captain demonstrated which of the larger male lobsters to keep and which to send back to the water.


The captain grabbed the lobster and a gage. He hooked one end of the measuring tool to the socket behind the lobster's eye, then drew the other end straight down along the crustacean's carapace (back). The minimum length had to be three and a quarter inches for him to keep it. Otherwise back to the deep they went for a chance to grow.

Like those lobsters that get thrown into the sea, God wants me to keep growing. My Father knows where I am as a believer. He knows my heart and sees my soul. When I think of ways to grow spiritually I call up the verses in Galatians where Paul names the Fruit of the Spirit. My love needs to multiply. Does God draw me through the fires of life to increase my compassion for people? I'm willing to say yes. Does he require I wait to develop patience? Of course. How about experiencing hurt and pain to remember to be kind and gentle. Yes! God wants me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. He wants me to strengthen my knowledge of his word. Does he use a gage to measure my growth? No, instead he checks my heart. Jesus knows me. He loves me and he wants me to be filled with joy. And that takes growth—in learning his word, in prayer, and in obedience.


Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.