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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Begin Again

Proverbs 15:30
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, 
   and good news gives health to the bones.

I grew up reading and watching the Peanuts cartoons. Lucy frustrated me, I felt bad for Charlie Brown and Snoopy, well he was just funny. But my very favorite character of all is Linus. He may have carried a blanket and been a bit insecure, but he had a way of bringing to light the great philosophies of life.

For Christmas this year, Maggie gave me a cup with Linus and his blanket on the front; inside the cup is written, “Tomorrow I start with a clean blanket.” I love that. I have often said, “every day I get up and start again”. The good news is, Jesus gives me the forgiveness and grace to start again, every day. Each day, I can begin again through prayer and repentance. As I begin this New Year, I praise God for his message of salvation and love and the opportunity to begin again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

God's Gift

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Two days before Christmas
The gifts are all wrapped,
The stockings are stuffed
And I need a nap.
The food must be cooked
The house sparkling clean,
I’m beginning to see
Why the Grinch was so mean.
But then I remember
That Jesus loves me,
And came to this world
So his grace would be free.
During the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is not always easy to stop and know that God’s love came to earth so that we may have life. During this crazy, busy holiday, take time to be still and listen to God. Hear his voice telling you that he loves you. Feel his arms around you. Jesus came to earth so that we could live with him forever. There is no greater gift than that.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, filled with the joy of the season.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Love Him

Luke 2:4-7

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Each year I display the nativity (defined by Merriam Webster as the circumstances of birth, particularly Jesus’) that I inherited from my Grammy. It has three pieces, Mary, Joseph and Jesus all in an antique white. I love its simplicity. One of my daughter’s has a lovely Willow Tree set with many pieces. I like that the shepherd’s and angel surround the holy family. Artists have rendered the nativity as everything from rugged to glitzy with some bling.

Last year, Maggie gave me the Fisher Price Nativity set, and I think it is my favorite. I don’t display it on a shelf as an untouchable piece of art. Instead, the characters sit on the floor where our grandchildren can interact with them. Isn’t that how it should be with Jesus? When he lived on earth as a human, he didn’t want to be on a throne. He walked among the people, all the people. He created relationships with his disciples. He loved the unlovable. He doesn’t want to sit on my shelf, he wants me to connect with him, befriend him, and love him. Praise God for Jesus!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Heart Light

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

When I was about 13 or 14 years old my brother, Darryl, climbed the pine tree in the front yard and filled it with Christmas lights. Please understand that this tree stood about three stories tall. Somehow he shimmied to the top and strung the bulbs all up and down the branches. I am thinking that my brother, Ron, and my dad probably helped him. What a beautiful sight, when those lights blazed. Drivers could see that tree from two roads away.

Every Christmas Tim and I drive through the local neighborhoods to see the lights. I love the warm glow and the cheerfulness they bring to celebrating Jesus. Yet, with all of the lights shimmering outside, the most incredible light that I experience is the light that shines in my heart from the grace that God gives me. The grace that he pours over me is the most beloved gift I will ever receive. This Christmas I want Jesus light to shine and his grace to flow. Praise God for his light!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

I usually start thinking about Christmas in October; preparing my list of what we want to get for who and figuring out if I am making any of the gifts. But I have a confession to make. When my thoughts went to planning for another hectic season of busy, busy, busy I decided I would rather be Scrooge. I thought about not putting up our tree, not worrying about gifts and not being too busy. But like Scrooge I was visited by a Spirit. Stay with me here. I’m not saying that three spirits came and dragged me around my life; I am saying that the Holy Spirit, my comforter, prompted me to pray about Christmas.

When I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and talked to God about my issues, I saw Christmas with fresh eyes. I saw Jesus in the manger and on the cross. I saw the joy in my grandchildren’s eyes. I saw opportunities to celebrate with family and friends the joyous event of the birth of the Savior of the world. Like the shepherds I stand in awe of the truth. God sent his Son to save me. He made a way for me to spend eternity in heaven. He loves me and because of this I celebrate this Christmas season with praise. Everything I do for Christmas is done as a praise to God, even lighting my Christmas tree. I praise God for his giving Spirit this Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

God Remains

I Corinthians 15:57-58

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

After a busy day of visiting with family and sharing a meal on Thanksgiving Day, my daughter posted this on Facebook: “Thankful to know that at the end of the day God remains”. Most days when I wake up, I ask God to guide me and make me aware of opportunities that lead me to serve him and love people. By doing this I attempt to have a positive and humble attitude. But too often discouragement jumps in my path before I even get started.

But I am reminded, through the Bible, that God walks beside me and that the Holy Spirit directs my path. No matter what the day brings just knowing that God’s goodness continues gives me hope. Like the warp threads that are wrapped tightly around a loom waiting for the weft threads to be woven through, God holds strong as we weave our life in and out of his hands. Knowing that he remains the same day after day fills me with his peace and joy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pray With Me

Psalm 100:3-5

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I listened to my daughter explain why we celebrate Thanksgiving to her niece. Surrounded by children’s books, she showed her pictures of the Pilgrims and the scene where they feasted with the Native Americans. As she told the story, she shared how the Pilgrims escaped the English countryside to seek a place where they could worship God without restriction.

This year as I plan to enjoy turkey and dressing with my family, I praise God for living in America, a country where I can worship, write about and talk about God freely. I live in a land that does not restrict me from walking into my church to sing and learn.

Please join me this year as I pray for those who do not share that freedom, the many Christian folks around the world who must hide their praise, memorize the Bible as they find one because they cannot own one, meet secretly, give their lives for God and quietly share their faith with their children. “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pure Wisdom

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…

James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

My husband and I attend a small group each week. We get together with friends, study the Bible and pray for direction in our lives. This week we talked about passion, and one of the ladies asked us if we would share the one thing that energizes us with enthusiasm. I tend to be a person who enjoys many different activities, especially anything to do with reading, writing, and arts and crafts. I also love spending time with Tim, and our family and sharing in the Women’s Ministry at church.

The one thread that weaves its way through all that I enjoy and find exciting is learning. I love to learn. While knowledge adds depth to my life, the most important understanding that I will ever gain is the wisdom that comes from God. Knowledge helps me in life but wisdom leads me in to eternity. James tells us what wisdom from God looks like. As I journey here on earth, I seek God’s wisdom in my life so that I might be peace-loving, considerate, submissive to God, full of his mercy and the Spirit’s good fruit, impartial and sincere. I love learning from God’s word. Now that’s exciting!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Comfort Like No Other

Isaiah 49:13

Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

Living on earth brings pain, sadness, suffering and grief. I know that is a depressing way to start this devotion, but unfortunately that is the truth. The good news is, is that life also offers the joy of seeing a child grow, the beauty of spring, the warmth of friendship, the love of our family, and the opportunity to fall in love with Jesus.

Recently I’ve heard a lot of sad news about people I know and love. As I walk through this journey with them, I am reminded that God gives us a comfort like no other. He wraps his arms around us and holds us close. His compassion brings me joy. No matter what you are going through, if you are a believer in the grace of Jesus, God holds you in his heart and hears your prayers. He loves you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

He Calls the Stars by Name

Psalm 147:1-4

Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

The other day as I walked to my car to go to work, I took a few minutes to look up. The clear, dark sky filled with stars mesmerized me. I could have gazed at them for hours. I recognized the Big Dipper and searched for other constellations I might know. When I look at the night sky, I’m still amazed at the order of the millions of stars and how they stay in place.

God positioned every single star in the sky and he named them. He knows where they hang and keeps them all in line. If he pays that much attention to the stars, how much thought does he pay to us? God created you and me in his image to be his cherished family. He loves each of us more than we can imagine. I love that the Psalm says he heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. He does this because he cares, because he loves us. As you gaze at the stars remember his promise to heal and to love. Praise the Lord for his love!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Kind of Shoe are You?

Ephesians 6:13-15

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

My family tells me that when I attended Kindergarten, I insisted on wearing my cowgirl boots every day. Mom let me wear them because I was terribly shy and the boots kept me from crying each day on the way to school. I’m sure the clickety-clicking sound they made on the linoleum floor drove the teacher crazy. But I loved my boots; they brought me comfort and familiarity like an old friend.

I hope that I am like an old worn shoe to my friends and family, a shoe that soothes and comforts instead of like a high heel with a narrow toe that pinches and throws the wearer off balance. Or I could be like a boot, the kind with the warm shearling lining that offers protection and gives stability, or a pair of flip flops that show all of me so my friends can see my heart. No matter what footwear I put on, God wants my feet to carry his peace to my friends, family and acquaintances. A peace that only comes from knowing Christ as my Savior.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Bush is Burning

Exodus 3:1-4

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law…and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."

Driving home from work, I’ve noticed a bush that bursts with brilliant red leaves as it dresses for fall. Every time I spotted the bush, I thought about Moses and his experience on Mt. Horeb. My mom has one of these bushes growing by her front door. When I asked her what kind of plant it was, she answered, “burning bush”. Ah, no wonder it drew me to it.

God commanded Moses attention with a bush that blazed but did not burn up. He wanted Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt. But, Moses first reaction was, “Who me?” And God said, "I will be with you.” God promised that if Moses obeyed him, He would walk with him step-by-step. God makes this promise to us too. If we choose to follow Christ and accept him as our Savior, God has great things in store for us as his followers. Most likely the tasks he asks us to undertake will not be easy ones, but we have the promise that He walks with us and will be with us in all we do for Him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brittle and Brown

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

As I drove to a workshop in Kentucky this morning, I looked up at the tree covered hills and expected to see an array of autumn color. But instead of scarlet red, bright orange and golden yellow I saw tree limbs covered with brown dry leaves. I am thinking that the lack of rain in our area probably caused the premature aging of the leaves and left us without the beautiful bright colors.

Unfortunately, our spiritual lives can look just like those leaves, brittle and fragile from a lack of soul-feeding nourishment. When I don’t read the Bible, pray, or spend time with encouraging family and friends, I find my spirit drying up. But, when I dig into God’s word and talk to him, I know my soul is renewed because hope and joy bubble to the top. When my soul is renewed, God’s hope shines through. Praise God for his promise of eternal life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Eat Your Fruits & Veggies

John 15:8-9 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

My doctor tells me to eat more fruits and vegetables. I admit that I do better with the fruit food group. My favorites include blueberries, bananas and oranges. When I shop for them, I look for freshness. I check the bottom of the blueberry container to make sure there are no smooshed berries, I search for bananas that have no bruises and are not overripe and I look for good color and freshness in the oranges. If I need to eat fruit to be healthy, I want what is fresh and good for me.

In John 15, Jesus encourages the disciples to produce good fruit; he reminds them that the fruit they bear reflects God’s glory. Jesus means this for me too. I keep a wall hanging above my kitchen stove that lists the fruit of the Spirit. Each time I read that list, I am reminded of who others should see when they look at me. Just like the physical fruit that keeps me healthy, the spiritual fruit keeps me humble and seeking Jesus. Praise God for his love and grace!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Puzzled About the Body

I Corinthians 12:14-20

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Last winter I put together a jigsaw puzzle. The scene featured a harbor town with a lighthouse and a boardwalk along the water. Several of the pieces looked similar and I placed some of them in the wrong spot, making a mess of the scene. When I twisted and turned each piece until they fit together, I created a complete and pleasant picture.

Like the puzzle, God intends for us to fit together as his body, the church. The Lord made each of us different on purpose, because we all serve a different purpose. But as Paul teaches the church at Corinth, even though we are different from each other, we can still work as one body loving God and loving people. Paul said, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” He has a plan and we as a body can make it happen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rain Down

Psalm 72:6
He will be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.

When I step on the grass in my yard I hear a crunching sound, as if I stepped on dried up leaves. With little to no rain in the last month, the grass turned brown and the only things still growing are a few scraggly weeds. One of the neighbors tried to mow and they looked like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon with a whirlwind of dust surrounding them.

Sometimes my spirit feels like the dried up grass; fragile, drooped over and ugly. Then my heart longs for the rain that only God can pour over me, a refreshing rain that revives my soul. Through his word and his people, his love pours over me. Praise God for his refreshing showers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Seek Wisdom

James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

I attended my first MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers) meeting this week. My daughter, Maggie, invited me to be the “Mentor Mom”. That is a seasoned, experienced older mom who survived and thrived while raising children (that’s my definition). I asked the group leader what the Mentor Mom should do at the meetings and she told me that the young moms appreciate hearing the wisdom gleaned from years of experience.

Wow, God wanted me to pass wisdom along to these young ladies as they grew their children. I have to say this was a bit daunting. I prayed for God to show me what I needed to share. As always, God directed me to the scripture. As I read James 3:17, I fell in love with what it said. To seek wisdom and know that it is from God, measure it against this; “is the wisdom pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” What a gift to know God’s checklist for wisdom. Anytime I make a decision I can look at this and decide if the wisdom is God-given or Penny-given. Praise God for his wisdom!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pure Joy

James 1:2-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

I love to play with my grandchildren. Last night, Eli sat on the floor in front of his Momma and I sat across from them and we rolled a ball that fit his tiny hand-grasp back and forth. Eli loved “catching” the ball. He waved his hands in excitement and aimed at the ball and grabbed it with his little dimpled hand. Then he laughed. From his belly he giggled and it spilled out into the room. He poured out his pure, untarnished joy on me. I’ve heard all of my grandchildren laugh without inhibition, and with a clear purity that God loves.

That is the joy that I desire for myself, that pure joy that only comes from God. Even when I experience trials, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, hurt from others, I can be filled with God’s pure joy. I want it to gurgle up and spill out, so that others may see God in my life. Praise God for his joy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Romans 5:5
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

In Ohio in August the weather has cooled a bit (that will change again soon). At night the temperature has dipped as low as 41 degrees, and for a few days we were teased by a fall like coolness. With the changes in the weather, I’ve noticed that early in the morning a light fog hovers over the ponds and wet areas. Occasionally, I even see tufts of grass wearing tiny fog hats.

The fog swirling across the surface of the water, reminds me of the nearness of God. I’ve heard people say that God is in heaven, or he is watching down on us. But I know that God dwells right here with me. He is not some faraway being who directs my life like a conductor. Instead he walks with me. He knows me. As a believer in the grace and glory of Jesus Christ, I know that God lives inside me through the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t dwells on the surface like the fog; he is entwined in my life, woven into every fiber. Praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Renew Me

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Tomorrow morning as the sun rises, several of the women from our church will travel to the Women of Faith Conference. Last year, the first year I attended, we listened to speakers like Patsy Clairmont, a wisp of a woman, who made us laugh, cry and rejoice in the love of our Father. Sheila Walsh shared a heart wrenching story of faith and endurance, and Steven Curtis Chapman and his family spoke of the grief they shared over the loss of their daughter and the strength they found in Christ.

As each person shared their story of renewal, the Holy Spirit worked to renew me. I look forward to another weekend of renewal and I love that the Bible tells me that I can be renewed daily. The things of this world waste away, but what I gain from God, the grace and love he gives, last forever. Praise God for his renewal through the Spirit and the Word.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

A few days ago, I heard thunder rumble through the library where I work. The sound echoed as the rain splattered on the skylights. I was working on a document and as I went along, I saved it every few minutes. As I expected, the lights flashed and the electric went off. The library was so quiet. With no computers or fluorescent lights humming, no printer swooshing out papers and no air filters roaring, only the sound of the rain and distant voices penetrated the air. Too soon everything revved back up and the “white” noise blocked the pure sound of God’s rain tangoing on the roof. For a brief moment, my mind had relaxed.

Sometimes my spiritual life is full of white noise, too. I pray and get interrupted by random thoughts. I read my Bible and my mind wanders. I study a passage and I am besieged by someone else’s opinion. Why can’t I just turn off the confusion and focus on what the Holy Spirit is trying to show me? Through him God directs my path, so I need to listen to his murmurings and follow his guidance. Today I pray for discernment as I ask the Spirit to lead me, so that I may know the plans God has for me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Light the Lamp

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

Several years ago, Tim and I visited the caves in Carter County, Kentucky. I remember going in the caves and feeling the coolness compared to the summer temperatures outside. Moving in and out of the shallow caves was fun, but when we climbed down into one that laced through the rock and led to darkness, my enthusiasm waivered. My feet lost their sense of place because my eyes could not lead them. We crawled through a space that made me want to run screaming, except I couldn’t stand up let alone run. I needed light for my safety and security.

Sometimes in life, I feel like I’m in that dark cave again with no light to lead my path. When that darkness comes I struggle because I cannot focus my eyes on God. Opening the Bible and reading what the people of God lived through and searching for words of encouragement and guidance illuminates my life path. They are the lamp that lights my way. Praise God for his words.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

God's Son Will Shine

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My co-workers and I celebrated the birthday of one of our student workers who recently turned 19. One of them asked me if I would like to go back to the age of 19. I said, “No.” I have no desire to start over. There is no guarantee that I would be any wiser, and there are many things I would not change anyway. Everything that has happened to me, every circumstance, every person I’ve interacted with, every job, every event, everything in my life has shaped me to be who I am today. With God’s help, I have learned from difficult situations. Through God’s blessings I’ve gathered many wonderful memories.

As a believer in the grace and hope that Jesus Christ offers, I find peace. Looking toward the future, I know that difficulties will still litter my path, but I also know that the bright rays of God’s Son will shine on me and offer the light called hope. Praise God for his Holy Spirit who renews our hope.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Encourage One Another

I Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

This week, my family and I have been ministered to by so many people. My dad passed away on Monday and the outreach of encouragement has overflowed.

Thank you to everyone who has sent a message, said a kind word, sent a card, prepared food, sent up a prayer, and given a hug. God has truly blessed my family and me with loving family and friends. If you ever wonder if you should send a card, write a message on Facebook, email a note; the answer is yes. Every word of encouragement is like a warm hug.

Praise God for his encouraging words and the people who bring them.

Friday, July 16, 2010

He Holds My Hand

Psalm 139:9-10 & 13-14

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

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.

I have witnessed our children take the hand of their child before they cross the street. The mom or dad carefully instructs their little one to look both ways before they cross, as they explain the possible dangers of the cars whizzing by. The parents guide the children. They love their little ones and want what is best for them.

Much like God who, if we reach out to him, takes our hand and guides us through each day. He created us and he loves us. He wants us to follow him and trust him, just like a young child follows his/her parent. Knowing that he knit me together before I was born, he knew me and wanted me, brings me joy and peace. He is my guide.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Matthew 11: 28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.

A co-worker and I were talking about how stressful our week at work had been and how the four-day work week seemed longer than a five-day work week. All the work we needed to do would, in the long run, make our jobs more efficient and effective, but trying to do it all in four days made me tired by Friday. On our way out to our cars that afternoon, the two of us stopped by the art gallery in our building. A lovely display of watercolors, recycled art, paintings, quilts and other beautiful art filled the room. As we wandered through the gallery, we noticed an interactive display. A note invited us to draw on the art paper that was provided with pastel chalk. Both of us like to draw, so we did our best and created our own mini-art. We both commented that we felt so much more relaxed after a few minutes of doodling on the paper.

Another day at work when I felt weary, I took my Bible outside at lunch and just spent my lunchtime reading. God's word refreshed my soul. When life gets hectic and stressful and you feel weary and tired, what do you do? Jesus encourages us to come to him. Like me, you may go to him through reading, art, or writing. You may sit quietly at his feet or sing with all your heart. Whatever it is that you do to renew your Spirit, seek out Jesus. He wants to hug you and give you rest.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lay Up Treasures

I Timothy 6:17-19
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Yesterday, two of my daughters came to help me with my yard sale. I don't particularly enjoy having yard sales, but we had things to get rid of and I had a specific need for the money I might make. During the course of the day, we discussed America's obsession with money and the pros and cons of our economic system.

As we talked, I tried to put into words what disturbed me the most about how we tend to look at money. This verse says exactly what I was trying to put into my owns words.I need to put my hope in the Lord, not in my finances and keep my eyes focused on how God wants me to use my money and my posessions with a generous and sharing spirit. I praise God for all he gives me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

He Intercedes

Romans 8:26-27
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

I am not a good conversationalist. When I am in a situation, usually at work, where I need to make small talk (whatever that is) my mind either goes blank, or I think of things to say that no one wants to hear anyway. Fortunately, I am not in that situation too often. Thank goodness I do not need to worry about coming up with just the right words when I talk to God.

As a believer in the grace and redemption of Jesus Christ, I am blessed with a powerful weapon. God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of me, prepared to guide me, pray for me, and show me the truth. At times in my life, when words do not come and I desperately need for God to hear my prayers, the Holy Spirit takes over and carries my thoughts to God. I know this because God answers those prayers. So, when my mind cannot form the desire of my heart into words, I depend on the Spirit to lift up those desires to God. Praise God for His gift of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Encouragement and Hope

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

I am blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren (OK, Grammy is bragging) and I love it when I see joy and excitement in their faces. My granddaughter Dylan often calls me and I love to hear the joy in her little voice when I answer the phone. She also runs and hugs me when I see her. To me she radiates encouragement and hope, two of my favorite actions.

Through Jesus we find encouragement and hope. Through his death and resurrection, He secured the hope of an eternal life filled with praise and joy. Through his words I find much needed encouragement that carries me through the difficult days on this earth. I praise God who gives us the hope of heaven and encouragement through the Holy Spirit. Some days just seem impossible to navigate through, those are the days I turn to his word even more and dig into the stories of Job, Paul, Mary and so many others who shared their earthly journeys with us. I pray you find encouragement and hope through my devotions and most of all through the Word of God.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tiger Lily Praise

Psalm 63;3-5
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Driving home from work this week, I have enjoyed seeing the bursting orange color of the tiger lilies that live in the ditches along the road. All winter they hibernate, and in the spring they gather nourishment. When the heat of late spring/early summer arrives they burst forth like trumpets sounding toward the sky.

The stretching of their long stem and trumpet like bloom remind me of someone extending their arms and voices toward God with praise. God loves to hear us sing his praise and wants us to share our prayers. As the tiger lily stretches toward the sky, leaves out-stretched and head tilted up, let it be a reminder of our God who loves us and longs to hear from us. Let us praise God in all that we do.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fear and Joy

Matthew 28:7-9

Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

After Jesus crucifixion, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (that's what they call her in scripture) decided to visit the tomb where Jesus was buried. Traveling up the path in the quiet of the day, they expected to find the stone resting on the cave opening. Instead they found an angel sitting on the stone surrounded by soldiers lying on the ground as if they had been tased. Imagine the confusion and fear that filled them at that moment. Most likely they had never encountered an angel and they expected to find their leader dead in the cave.

On top of that, the angel spoke to them and told them that Jesus was alive. The women must have stood their with their eyes wide and mouths open. Alive? Fear of the angel and the situation mixed with the joy of what was possible swirled in their hearts, as they fled to find the disciples. Then who should they run into, but Jesus. Talk about surprise and joy. With joy they dropped to their knees and they worshiped him. What a beautiful time for these women, a time they could bow at Jesus feet knowing he died for them and yet lives. We live in the time of knowing that Jesus died for us and that he lives also. Praise God for Jesus and his love.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Suffering & Joy

I Thessalonians 1:4-7

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

The apostle, Paul, writes to the Thessalonian church with the hope of encouraging them to continue to receive the message brought by the Holy Spirit. A message of joy and power enveloped the church and the people continued to move forward despite difficulties and suffering.

During the months of May and June many folks celebrate graduation ceremonies. Seniors graduate from high school, undergrads from college, some schools even host Kindergarten and eighth grade graduations. One thing all of the graduates have in common is their call to move in to the next phase of life. I know when I graduated from high school I wanted to race into the world and pursue my dreams. In my exuberance to conquer the world I stumbled and suffered along the way. But, the beauty in the suffering is that with each heartache and mistake, I drew closer to God because I welcomed his joy and power through the Holy Spirit. By seeking Him, I grew with the Spirit's guidance and rejoiced in my Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prayer and Petition

Philippians 4:5-7

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When my daughters (as young children) prayed their prayers at night, I loved to hear them rattle off all of their loved ones names as they lifted them to Jesus. They folded their dimpled hands and closed their shining green eyes and believed that God heard every word. As children they trusted God with their hearts and requests.

My girls are grown, and I know they still pray for me and all of their family and friends. I am so thankful that God hears them and that he wants to listen to me. When I cry out in despair and pray through tears, he hears my pleas and opens his heart. As my friends and family come to mind and I lift their needs to him, he rejoices. God sees my prayers as an act of trust. When I lift my deepest desires, he knows I believe that he is God, that I know he is in control, and that he holds the answers. The Bible tells me to pray, not just when I want to, not just if I feel like it, but continually as I lift my needs and requests to God who loves me and wants to hear from me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Love Covers

1Peter 4:8-11a
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Yesterday evening several men and women prepared our sanctuary for the "Beautiful You" women's brunch. We moved chairs, rolled tables in, spread table clothes and decorated. As we rolled the tables in and set them up, I noticed each one looked more worn than the next. Some had chips on the edges, duct tape adorned a few and the tops varied in color. Overall, they looked rather dreary. But, when the crisp white table clothes dressed each table, the mismatched mess turned into an inviting area for the beautiful women who would worship God.

Just as the table clothes covered a multitude of dents and tape, God's love covers our ugly sin. He pours his love on us and we in turn pour that love on others. Praise God for his unending love and grace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Timothy's Faith

2 Timothy 1: 3-5
I thank God, whom I serve... as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Paul wrote these words to Timothy, the young preacher he mentored and encouraged. Through Timothy, Paul saw the faith that the young man learned through his mother and grandmother. Growing up, I remember visiting my grammy and seeing the evidence of her faith. She read her Bible often and prayed for all of us every day. My mom taught Bible study classes for women and still enjoys learning about God. Fortunately, I saw my mother and grandmother's faith and grew my own from the roots they propogated.

As Mother's Day is celebrated this year, stop and think of the women who make a difference in your life and who show their faith. As a mother and grandmother, I hope that I can encourage my children and grandchildren to love Jesus and embrace him as their Lord.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's What We Do

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Romans 5:5
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

A few years ago a commercial played talking about “verb-it’s what you do”. The people in the ad ran on a beach and tossed a ball. As a writer I am often reminded to show not tell; use action verbs, make the characters actions tell the story. Of all the wonderful verbs I read in the Bible, my favorite is ‘hope’. From this word I conjure up an image of God reaching out his hand to lift me up. Hope draws a picture of a person bent in prayer, praising God, the love of a parent smiling at their newborn and the joy of a friend when good news finally comes.

God’s word brings hope to all nations, all people, all generations. Where do we find hope? The Holy Spirit reveals it to us in the stars on a black night, in the sunrise on a foggy morning, in a friends hug on a tough day? God delivers hope in the darkest times through his word and his Spirit. Hope-it’s what we do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dressing in the Armor

Ephesians 6:10-18
10Finally, be strong in the Lord… 11Put on the full armor of God… so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground… 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 …take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…

Recently, two of our granddaughters dressed up for Crazy Days at school. They wore colorful mismatched clothes and fun and unique hair styles. (Of course they looked adorable.) As a child I enjoyed dressing up and pretending to be a cowgirl. My mom has pictures to prove it. As much as I liked putting on dress-up cloths for pretend, I have an overwhelming desire to put on the armor of Christ.

Living for Christ often draws unwanted temptations, ridicule, and despair. With his shield I deflect the temptations, with his belt of truth I stand firm in his word, and with the helmet of salvation I know I am protected by God. With the Holy Spirit as my guide through prayer, I live each day as a child of God knowing that he gives me the endurance and hope that I need.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I Corinthians 12:4-6

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

On my drive home the other day, I noticed two trees entwined, one held petals of pale pink, the other bright white blossoms. I thought how wonderful it was that the two trees, so very different on the outside, could stand side by side with their branches crisscrossing, showing the beauty of creation.

Like the trees, God made each of us individual, with our own fingerprint and DNA. He gave us similarities, yet made each of us different. As a follower of Jesus and a member of his church, I have an opportunity and a calling to allow God’s plan to bloom in me. He created me with a purpose and gifts, through prayer and Bible study I seek his will and follow his path. Side by side I stand with other believers declaring the glory of the Lord.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Love the Mountains

Psalm 21: 1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

As we've traveled to visit my daughter, Hannah, in the mountains of South Carolina, I look up at the peaks covered with pines and oak trees to see the majesty of God. He is evident in the solid granite, the blooming rhododendron bush, and the tiniest woodland flower. Looking to the mountains renews my faith in God, who dwells everywhere and watches over me.

When I am troubled or sad I know that I can close my eyes and picture those majestic mountains and know without a doubt that my help comes from God.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Darkness Came

Luke 23:44-46
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Good Friday is the day we set aside to contemplate the death of Jesus. Over the years, images of that day have been painted to portray the beauty of Christ on the cross; a man who gave all, God in the flesh. What about the ugliness of that day? What about all the sin that swirled around that cross as Jesus hung there to die an excruciating death?

Jesus chose to hang on a cross for people he had never met, people like us. As he hung on the cross, the Holy Spirit did not repeat to him his sins, he had none. Instead he heard the sins of everyone else; Father forgive the cheating, gossiping, murder, adultery, lying, drunkenness, and on and on the list cried out. But Christ took them on, all of them. He loves us that much. He loves us enough that he created a path for us to God. He paved a way to heaven. He gave us hope.

As Easter approaches where are you? Are you at the foot of the cross, or on a far away hill watching from a distance?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jesus Prayed for Me

1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you… 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent… 20 I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. ----John 17:1, 3,20,21,24

When I know that I will be facing difficulties, or I sense that my anxiety wants to control me, I email or call people who pray. Knowing that someone else prays for me, comforts me and allows me to let go of the anxiety and instead spend time listening for God’s voice.

Did you know that before Jesus died he prayed for you? I encourage you to read The New Testament book of John, chapter 17. The entire chapter is devoted to Jesus praying. He prays for himself, he prays for his disciples and he prays for you and me. I love the thought that Jesus himself spoke a prayer on my behalf. He loved me and prayed for me before he even knew me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Road blocks

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." ¬¬– Matthew 16:23

Recently, a road crew started working on the bridge that we cross to enter our town from the west. We can currently drive one direction on the bridge but not the other. When I leave town traveling west, I use the bridge –¬¬ when I return I drive around the edge of the village and enter from the south. My frustration increases as I drive out of my way to get home. And that is not all; I read a sign this week that said the ramp to the main highway near my home, which I take every day to work, will also be closed soon.

At times in my life I have felt blocked, unable to move forward. As God calls me and I try to follow, Satan hinders my way with distractions, detours and road blocks. Even Jesus told Satan to move out of his way when Peter denied Christ’s impending death. Through prayer and scripture, God shows me how to put Satan behind me and move forward on my journey of faith with him.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Frogs in a Storm

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:28-30

Last night Tim and I drove home in a thunderstorm. I usually enjoy the light show that comes from the storm and the tapping sounds of the rain. But, I was driving and that adds a different dimension to the trip. Being responsible for our safety as we drove, I was careful to keep my eyes on the road. As we traveled along, I spied two frogs desperately trying to hop out of the danger zone of moving vehicles and into the safety of the ditch. These frogs bore the burden of two stressful events at one time.

So often in life, I feel like the frogs, desperately trying to escape one stress while seeking shelter for another one. I shout praise that I have a God who stills the storms and guides me to a haven where his love protects me and his word calms my soul. As I face stresses in this life I want to place them in God's hands, the only true shelter.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Little Green

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

After I carried a bag of trash outside to the garbage can, I walked back toward the house and noticed that I still had a small flag decorated with a snowflake hanging in my flower bed. I love winter, but I’ve had enough snow for the season, so I stopped to take the flag off its metal holder. As the flag slid off, I noticed green sprouts pushing up out of the hard dirt just behind the little pole. Tiny daffodil leaves stretched up to catch what sunlight they could. A sure sign of spring filled me with joy.

When the daffodil rests under the ground, the bulb gathers nourishment, so that the leaves will push up through the soil and the ruffling yellow flower can bloom. As a follower of Christ, I go through my own winter seasons. During those times, God urges me to gather strength from him through reading his Bible and talking to him. Then in the spring moments of my life when I am refreshed, my heart is prepared to reach out to others as I serve God.

Happy spring!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Potter Hands

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. – Isaiah 64:7-9

My daughter, Maggie, and sister-in-law Pam both enjoy building and molding clay into bowls, cups, plates and other vessels. Using a potter’s wheel they place their hands in the clay and work it until a piece emerges. Eventually, they coat the shaped clay with glaze then the piece endures fire that reveals beautiful colors and designs on the pottery. Many of their pots and cups adorn my home. I enjoy the beauty and usefulness of each piece.

In Bible times, people used pottery every day to store water, food, even documents. If the pottery broke, the pieces (called potsherds) were used to carry water, hot coals, and sometimes as a surface for written letters. As I go through the fires of life and find myself broken, God’s potter hands remain on me, his clay. Even broken, I am still his child valued and restored by him.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23
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. John 14:2

My granddaughter, Dylan, often calls me and invites me to her home. It goes something like this, “Hi Baabaw, can you come to my house today?” Sometimes I answer yes, but many times I have to say no because of others things I am doing. When I do stop by to see her, she throws open her arms and runs to me smiling and saying, “Baabaw, you are here!” She wraps her arms around me and I receive a big hug and kiss. I love that she is so excited to see me.

God has built a home for us in heaven and he wants each of us to meet him there. I can just imagine that his eyes are dancing with delight each time a son or daughter comes home and that he flings open his arms ready to wrap them in a hug. God loves us and wants us in his home where he has prepared rooms for all his children.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Encouragment for the Heart

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts … -2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

As a kid, I loved Valentine’s Day, not so much because of the lovey-dovey stuff or the silly cards we shared. But, because I got to make an awesome Valentine card box every year and decorate it any way I wanted. Those frilly, lace, paper hearts always found their way onto my creation (I think mom snuck them in) and my fingers matched the red and pink crepe paper that I glued all over the box with Elmer’s.

In sixth grade our teacher held a contest for the most creative Valentine box. With some help, I crafted a covered wagon to cart my cards around. Two of the boys in the class built a very cool robot box. Along with the other top winners, I ate lunch with the teacher and went to a movie. Mrs. Campbell allowed us to use our talents and imagination, and she rewarded us for our efforts. I have never forgotten her encouragement.

God encourages me each day. Through his word, the Holy Spirit and other people, God shows me hope and joy. I love that he knows me inside and out and sees my potential, as I strive to serve him with a grateful heart.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Left Behind

Luke 8:5-8
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."

When I arrived home Thursday evening after work, I found a curling iron hanging on the knob of the outside door. I was pretty sure that my daughter, Hannah, left it behind. Puzzled by this, I called her and sure enough it had been sticking out of her backpack and caught the door handle; doomed to spend the rest of the day hanging in the cold. Hannah did not realize she left it behind.

This reminds me of the breadcrumbs that Hansel and Gretel left behind to help them find their way home. Then I started wondering, what do I leave behind every day? What remnant of my life drops behind me as I walk away? Do I leave a path of crumbs just to feed the birds or do I leave the seeds of God that grow a pathway to Christ? I pray that I am yielding a road paved with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (The Fruit of the Spirit, Gal.5:21-23).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Follow God's Heart

Psalm 84:4-5
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As I watched my new grandson's birth this week, emotion flooded me like water pouring through a busted dam. In awe of the way God created life, I realized how blessed I was to stand in his presence. As Zeke took his first tiny breaths and peeked out at his new surroundings, I prayed over him that he would follow God's heart. I pray that for all of our grandbabies.

Whether life brings joy or sadness, love or grief; dwelling at God's feet brings strength and comfort. As we journey on our pilgrimage through life, seek the one who's path is straight, whose love is unconditional, whose joy is complete. Praise God for his blessings!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Radiant Glory

Ezekiel 43:1

I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.

My daughter lives in the mountains of South Carolina surrounded by greening trees, clear flowing waterfalls and fresh clean air. Recently I received an email from her, with a photo of a sunrise she snapped that spoke of the glory of God. When the sun burst over the valley, she said “As I was watching, it was hurting my eyes but I couldn’t look away. I thought this must be kind of what it is like to stand in the glory of God! So beautiful you have to look at it, even if it hurts.”

Ezekiel experienced the glory of the Lord in a vision that took him to a mountain in Israel. Like Ezekiel, Hannah experienced a land “radiant with his glory.” Perhaps a glimpse of heaven or a reaffirmation of God’s power and majesty, either way God shows himself to us to remind us of his love and hope. Praise God for the times we see him face to face and witness his glory!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Nudge

2 John 1:5-6

...I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

God desires for us to do two things, love him and love each other. That sounds simple enough, but unfortunately life on earth gets in the way. Hurt feelings, circumstances, irritations, and frustrations all separate us from loving God and people. How then do we overcome and grab onto that love?

Through obedience to God we can find direction; through the Bible and prayer we can find help; through the people who love us we can find comfort. Obeying God is not just about following the "rules", obeying God means seeking his guidance everyday and following the path he lays out. Obedience may be responding to the Holy Spirit's nudge to help someone, or the nudge to redirect our path from our idea to God's. He may move us to speak with someone about God's love or pray for someone he brings to mind. Walk in love this week and listen for the "nudge".

Friday, January 8, 2010

Start with Good Morning

Ephesians 6:18-19

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep” if those words sound familiar, you may remember reciting them as I did, before I went to sleep as a child. I’m not sure where I thought my soul was going in the middle of the night, but I knew that God would look after it. As an adult, I pray different prayers, many prayers. I send words and thoughts to God about my family and friends, my church, my job and so much more. Sometimes when I find it too difficult to pray I know, as I was reminded recently by a dear friend, that the Holy Spirit will be my messenger and take my boggled thoughts to God.

In Ephesians, Paul is seeking prayer for himself and also encouraging the folks to pray all of the time for everything. Could it be that God wants us to talk to him every day, anytime of day? The answer is yes. He wants us to bring everything in our lives to him. He wants us to seek his guidance and blessing. All we have to do is acknowledge that he hears us, that we are sending our words to him. On your knees, at your desk, in your favorite chair, outside, it does not matter where, just talk to him. Start with good morning and end with good night. Praise him! Pour your heart out to him. He loves you and wants to know that you love him back. Pray for me as I pray for you!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Message

Mark 1:27-28

27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

At the beginning of Jesus ministry, his teachings and ideas were new to the people he met. He healed the sick, released the demon possessed from their demons, and crossed culture lines without hesitation. His new message shook the world and turned beliefs upside down. He loved the unloved and forgave the unforgivable. Jesus changed the world.

This year, start each day by asking God, "What are we going to do today?" He might surprise us with plans we never imagined. He changed the world through Jesus, he wants to continue his plans through us. Seek him through prayer, scripture and community. Enjoy an exciting new year.