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, December 31, 2011

A Gentle Spirit

1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Proverbs 15:1
gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Our two year old grandson watched as relatives passed out colorful packages. With wonder-filled eyes he took in the red, green and blues of the ripped off wrappers that littered the floor around his sibling’s gifts. His teenage sister saw that he needed help with his package, so she sat with him, and together they pulled off the wrapping paper. Once the gift sat before them, she showed him what he received and helped him take it from the box. With a gentle spirit Vanessa helped Max with his gift. She didn’t hurry him, she guided him.

God requires a gentle spirit from his followers. When I see someone in need, I want to approach them with a quiet, helpful attitude, rather than “let me show you how” because I know more than you. I have a good friend who shows her gentle spirit and I’m not even sure she knows it. Anytime I have needed guidance, she speaks to me with kindness and love. I appreciate her gentle reminder that God cares about me. This new year I pray that my gentle spirit shows as I serve others. 

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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, 

   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Every day I am thankful for God’s faithfulness. When I wake up in the morning, I know that God greets me with his arms of love. As I journey through my day, he travels beside me. When I lay down at night he watches over me and wishes me a good rest.

God was faithful to keep the promise he spoke through Isaiah. He sent his son, the Prince of Peace to live as we live. His birth in that manger near Bethlehem, under the stars, surrounded by shepherds and angels marked the beginning of Christ’s reign and his inevitable sacrifice. As I celebrate Christmas, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and my responsibility as his follower to produce a faith-filled life. Praise God for the gift of Jesus.

Happy Christmas!

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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh my Goodness!

2 Peter 1:4-5a
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness…

The large box jutted over the end of the cart making it difficult for the woman to see where she was going. She managed to maneuver the awkward package to her car. With the trunk flipped open, she struggled to lift the box. A gentleman walked up to her and asked if she needed any help. At first she said no, but he encouraged her to allow his help. He placed the package in her car without difficulty. When she thanked him, he said it was his pleasure. He had just returned from the war and witnessed so much distress and evil, that he wanted to come home and do good. As she pulled away from this gracious stranger, she watched him approach another person in need.

The soldier fought in a physical war. Each day a spiritual war swirls around me. Satan and his army attempt sneak attacks and outright assaults. He wants me to make bad choices and ignore people in need. During the holidays, he lurks around waiting for me to wear down from the hustle and bustle so that I might lose my patience, criticize others, or just give up. But Jesus comes along and, like the soldier, carries my load. The night of Jesus birth, the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.He gives me peace so that I can spread goodness to others.

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.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kindness in the face of Belligerence

Titus 3:4-7
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

The lady giving away samples of Christmas flavored coffees smiled and tried to explain to the belligerent customer that the cups only held a few ounces because they were samples. He continued to throw harsh words at her. Yet, she remained kind and patient. Tim and I tried to help her out, but the man demanded more coffee and upped his irritation. He continued to harass the gentle woman. No matter what the man said through the entire interaction the woman remained kind.

The Christmas season often adds extra stress to my life. The stress may not be a bad stress, but certainly adds to my to-do list. I enjoy giving, decorating and watching the Christmas programs, but I also find myself tired, short-tempered and impatient when I am too busy. Yet, God asks me to show kindness to everyone in my path. Watching the coffee lady reminded me that no matter what, I need to show God’s kindness so that folks see God’s mercy and grace.

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.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

I remember one Christmas, as a child, I snooped for gifts. Under my mom and dad’s bed I spied a toy ironing board and iron and a few other items that looked like they might be for me. That was the year that I figured out that Santa left the presents early and in my parent’s charge :) . My lack of patience in waiting for Christmas morning brought some disappointment. I wondered if Santa even existed. I think I was about five or six years old. Had I waited until Christmas morning to unwrap my treasures, I could have avoided my doubt and enjoyed the morning through a child’s eyes one more time.

Sometimes as an adult, I forget the lesson I learned so long ago. I still resist waiting. In some translations of the Bible, the fruit of the Spirit lists forbearance as patience. Webster defines forbearing as holding back with effort. Patience requires acknowledgement and effort. I’ve never been what I would think of as a patient person, perhaps I’m not trying hard enough. I know from my experience that when I do produce patience, God blesses me. I continue to work on this part of the fruit of the Spirit, and I thank God that he is patient with me.

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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Peace on Earth

James 3:17-18
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 reap a harvest of righteousness.

My family gathered at my brother’s home for Thanksgiving, and as usual our noisy clan enjoyed good food, laughter and love. In the midst of the clamor, I sat in the rocking chair for a bit with my great-nephew, our newest family member. Little Liam (barely 6 weeks old) looked out the window then dozed off to sleep, and he slept despite his siblings’ and cousins’ fun. Holding this precious soul filled me with peace in the midst of commotion.

God’s peace transcends any chaos that might arise in life. As I prepare for the Christmas season, life’s already hectic pace picks up, and at times I am overwhelmed with all that I need to accomplish. That’s when I seek peace. I grab a moment of quiet and let his calm envelop me so that I can share that peace with others.  As the busyness of the Christmas season begins, I pray that God’s peace brings you calm and rest.  

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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Have the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart!

John 17:13
“I am coming to you [Father] now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [Jesus’ disciples] may have the full measure of my joy within them. 

Imagine with me that you are a child walking through the forest. A fragrance wafts under your nose and you follow the scent. Before you stands a bush filled with shiny pink, plump berries, when you pluck a berry off the bush and pop it into your mouth, the flavor of fresh baked sugar cookies bursts on your tongue. Your body fills with the pure joy of a child enjoying a favorite snack that tastes so good that you want to share it with friends. Pure joy, not happiness, not greediness satisfied, but joy fills your soul.

The child did not work for the berries, nor did they buy the berries, the fruit was a gift left for them to enjoy, appreciate, and share. Jesus gave his life as the ultimate gift. No greater joy comes to mind than for Jesus to love me so much that he died for me. In John 17 he prays for his disciples and he talks to his father about the joy he wants for them. Jesus wanted his disciples to be full of his joy, and he wants us to overflow with that same joy, the joy of knowing him.  

Galatians 5:22
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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

All You Need is Love

Romans 12: 9-10
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

My mom shared with me this week that my grandson, Zeke, told her “I love you, Ma” in his sweet little toddler voice. Her heart was blessed. Every day when I come home from work, my dogs greet me at the door with their rendition of love, jumping and barking and practically knocking me down. My husband showers love on me and we share our love with our children. God calls us to love, not just those who are easy to love, but all people.   

Jesus tells his disciples, in John 13, to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (I love quoting Jesus) He knew that when he went to heaven he needed to leave his followers with a direct command. Those words are for us, too. Jesus wants us to love each other and to show that love by listening, showing compassion, meeting needs and sharing Jesus. Loving others is not always easy, but God gives us the tools we need and if we tap into his tool box, the Bible, we can love.

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. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fruit of the Spirit

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.

Bananas taste good, they look pretty in a bowl, and they fill me with nutrients. I’d rather eat a banana than an apple.  Oranges drip down my chin when I eat them, but I enjoy their citrusy sweetness. I’d rather eat an orange than a grapefruit. Blueberries, the perfect fruit, add sweetness to my cereal and give me antioxidants to fight off disease. I’d rather eat a blueberry than a strawberry.

God created many different fruits for me to eat and he doesn’t care which ones I choose. But, He does care which fruit I nurture in my own life. As a follower of Jesus I am called to produce the fruit from Galatians 5. There are not fruit “s” of the Spirit only fruit. I am not called to choose the ones I like; God wants my life to yield them all. As we head into the holiday season, I will be looking at the fruit of the Spirit and how I can weave them into my life and bless others. I hope that they will bless you as well. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 

In autumn, children run through patches looking for the perfect orange globe to carve into a shining light. Adults seek that just-right fruit for pie or the golden-brown beauties that stand tall, squat short, or sit with a lopsided nod.  The pumpkins that dot porches, yards and orchards bring a smile to my face. In my younger years, the pumpkin I enjoyed the most appeared on television. As the theme song played, Linus made his trek to the pumpkin patch, with Sally in tow.  He waited on the Great Pumpkin and every year the pumpkin passed him by. But, Linus never gave up, he held on to his hope that the Great Pumpkin would appear to him year after year.

Linus’s simple faith reminds me of the hope and faith I have in Jesus. I believe that Jesus will return one day to take his children home. As I wait for my Savior, I trust in God and know that he is faithful in his promises. Praise God for hope and faith.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Expression

James 1:25
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

In the movie Yours, Mine and Ours (the 2005 version) a widow and widower combine families. He’s military and she is a free spirited designer. In the midst of combining chaos with order, the mom tells the family that, “Homes are for free expression, not for good impression.”  I love that thought. As our children grew up, our house resembled a cross between an art studio and an athletic field. We lived in our home and encouraged the kids to be themselves. God created them with talents and we wanted them to find out who God intended them to be.

When I think about Jesus and the gift that he freely gave when he hung on the cross and rose from the dead, I know that he wants me to know freedom from sin. He encourages me through his word and through prayer to take my free will and turn it toward him so that I might live apart from the world’s stresses. Sometimes my life might look like a mess, but in the midst of my mess is the God who loves me and provides me freedom. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

God's Delight

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, 
   the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; 
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you, 
   but will rejoice over you with singing.

When I think about the things that bring delight to my heart, I picture my grandchildren running to me with their arms reaching out, reading a well written book, and witnessing an autumn sunrise. But when I realize that God, who created the entire universe, cares to know me well enough to delight in me my heart sings.

How can a God filled with the power of a mighty warrior look at me and find the time to love me? That’s who God is. He is my Savior, my friend, my hope. I praise God that he sings over me with rejoicing and that he finds me delightful. I am humbled in his presence.   

Just as Zephaniah wrote these words as a comfort and hope to the people of Judah, God included it in the Bible as a hope for you and me. I thank God that he stands as a mighty warrior and surrounds me with his grace and protection. His love surrounds us and he sings over us. Our God, who is mighty to save, delights in us, loves us and rejoices over us.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Which Pooh Are You?

1 John 4:17-19
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

I grew up reading about the hundred acre wood before Winnie-the-Pooh turned into another Disney phenomenon. My daughters enjoyed the tales and embraced their favorite character. Tigger still sits on one of my beds for the grandchildren to enjoy.  Did you know that you can take a quiz on the Internet that tells you which Winnie-the-Pooh character you are the most like? (Maybe you don’t care.) I always claimed to be like Piglet, the baby, since I am the youngest of my family. My daughter disagrees she says I am like Kanga, the sensible mom. I appreciate her compliment and I do strive to be sensible. But sometimes on the inside I am Piglet, the little pig afraid of his own shadow.  

Praise God that his love removes the fear. Because he loves me and accepts me as I am, he guides my path and encourages me to forge ahead. When I read verses about fear, the only fear I should have is for God himself. And that fear results in an overwhelming respect for his word and an appreciation of his grace. So, when I have a Piglet like fear, I ask God to remove it and to help me walk forward. He takes my hand and leads the way. 

Friday, September 30, 2011


Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: 
   Who created all these? 
He who brings out the starry host one by one 
   and calls forth each of them by name. 
Because of his great power and mighty strength, 
   not one of them is missing.

A friend noticed that I often write about nature in my devotions. The truth is—I find myself closer to God when I sit by a flowing stream, watch the ocean ebb and tide or admire my neighbor’s flower garden.  I love the natural world that God created. The stars that glow at night remind me of the hope I know in Jesus. The ocean and the roaring tide make me recall the strength of my Lord. The moon reminds me to reflect in his Word. His colorful buds and blooms show me that God has an eye for color and that he created each person with different gifts. Green trees that turn to gold show me that he desires me to grow and change then grow some more.

Recently my daughter captured a remarkable photo of two of our young grandsons. They stood by a body of water on a beach of pebbles, their eyes fixed on the sky. One little guy has his hands reaching out in front of him while the other gazes in fascination. Their little faces speak volumes. My daughter later told me that a flock of geese grabbed their attention. I have to tell you, the amazement in their faces could only be brought on by God’s own creation.  I have often had that same admiration and fascination in my heart when I look upon something that God crafted. He not only built every living thing on earth, he also gave his handiwork purpose. Praise God for his incredible world.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Plan God Laughs

Psalm 16:9
In their hearts humans plan their course, 
   but the LORD establishes their steps.

Over the years, I’ve realized that when my day follows a rhythm I am more satisfied with the results.  When I catalog books at work I follow a routine, repeat my actions and complete the task. Unfortunately, anomalies in the type of book or record I’m using throws off my tempo.  I’m not saying that I am not flexible or that I can’t regroup and make the best of the situation, but I am saying that I work far better when I follow a plan.

God created me with his plan in mind. He molded me with purpose and knows what he wants me to accomplish. Fortunately he supplied me with the Bible, a how-to manual, that answers many of my questions and lets me know when to be patient and have faith.

When I get out of step with Jesus, I’m a walking disaster. I really should go back to bed or better yet to my knees and spend time with my Lord. There is nothing sweeter than knowing I am walking beside my Savior and he matches me step for step. I am at my best when my spiritual rhythm syncs up with God’s desires for me. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

God's Radiant Gift

Revelation 21:18-21
The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

God dipped his paint brush in violet and coral and splashed the morning sky. By the time I arrived at work the violet faded to lavender and the coral to pink. As I looked at the sky the stress and weariness of the week faded away. The splendor of the morning sky brought a calming hope to my soul.

As I looked across the sky I was reminded that Jesus, through his love and sacrifice, invited me to heaven. As beautiful as the sunrise appeared, I cannot imagine the brilliance of heaven. In Revelation John describes the streets with earthly elements, but just think, heaven is not earth and the elements of our God spill over onto everything. The radiance of heaven shines out an invitation to anyone who will follow. Praise God for this amazing gift.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teach them Well

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

In 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young shared their parenting wisdom through the song, Teach Your Children Well. The lyrics, written during the Vietnam War, warned parents to teach children from the lessons they learned in life. I find it interesting that the Bible gives that same advice.

God created the family unit to work in sync with his plan. Parents teach children and grandchildren and children teach their children and grandchildren and the circle rolls on. As a mom I strive to show my children how God wants me to live, and I pray that I might share what I know about life with my grandchildren. God wants me to remember the lessons I’ve learned along with the wisdom I’ve gained from his word and pass that along to the next generation. Even if you do not have children, God may put a child in your path who needs your experienced voice and example. And if you are like me, as I teach a child I learn as much from them as they do me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

God's Renewal Plan

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary 
   and increases the power of the weak. 
Even youths grow tired and weary, 
   and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.

One thing I’ve found in my recovery from surgery is that weariness seems to envelop me. By late afternoon I’m ready for a nap, most of the time I don’t get one. But, I know from experience that my physical tiredness will be restored over time. The weariness that concerns me more comes from my soul, that spiritual exhaustion from serving God and people. Sometimes I just cannot keep going.

What I can do however is pour myself out to God in prayer and read his word to gain insight. He may direct me to step out of my ministry for now or lead me in a totally new direction. God lets me know when I’m finished and when I need to begin again. I love the verses in Isaiah that promise me that God renews my energy and shows me what direction to fly. He has plans for me, as I have hope in him. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Compassion is not for Wimps

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Until my knee heals, I am not allowed to walk for long distances. So a recent Saturday evening trip to Kroger included riding around in one of their carts, with the handy basket. The first thing I did in the cart was back up instead of drive forward (it figures). Once I got my bearings straight, I zipped around in this handy dandy mobile. As I cruised the aisles, I noticed that most people were either annoyed that I was in the way or just didn’t see me. I wondered if I was wearing an invisibility cloak. Many shoppers dashed around me, a few cut me off in the aisle and only one person asked if I needed help. I didn’t expect to be waited on, but I thought the general population might be respectful. Then I wondered, do I pay attention to the people around me when I’m shopping or do I just plow through and try to finish? Am I watching to see if someone needs my help, or am I too busy looking for a bargain?

As a child of God, I should be watching out for other people.  The Bible reminds me that God is a God of compassion and that Jesus showed compassion to the folks who surrounded him. The least I can do is give grace and consideration to the people I see each day. This week I plan to see with eyes of kindness and show a caring spirit whether I am chair bound or not. Praise God for the love and compassion he pours on me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Will Endure!

Romans 15:4-6
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Right now I am praying that God builds in me the endurance to practice my physical therapy everyday so that my knee will gain complete mobility. Through arthroscopic surgery, the orthopedic surgeon invaded my knee and found severe arthritis and a floating body (now that’s an interesting term). With his skill and instruments he cleaned out the aggravating culprits that caused me an uncomfortable amount of pain. Now that I am back to my senses and off the pain meds, I need to endure and exercise. If you know me at all you know I’m not really into exercise. I like to walk and that’s about it. But I know God is helping me in this and that I have many prayers of encouragement.

Just as I endure physical therapy, I pray God pours the ability over me to endure life’s circumstances. My day to day life brings frustration and anxiety but also brings joy and wonder. I ask for God’s encouragement and pray he fills me with his love and that I keep my eyes on him. Praise God he gives us his word to teach and encourage.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always,
 pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

At 2:00 am Friday morning I told my husband what a wonderful man he is because he woke up to give me my pain medication, after my knee surgery.  I would hope that I don’t just wait until I’m on pain meds to appreciate him or anyone else in my life. Thank you to the many friends and family who have helped me out at this difficult time. The surgery went well and I will start therapy next week. If you want to hear some funny stories check with Tim and Sara (the meds and anesthesia took over).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Remember You

Philippians 1:3-4
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

My co-worker and I traveled to Ohio University for a Library Staff Conference. Route 32 wound through the greened hills and shot us into Athens in no time. We registered and found our rooms and then joined other library folks for a time to meet and greet. The whole time I mingled with people or sat in quiet observation something nagged at me. For several years Tim and I made trips to Athens to see two of our daughters who attended and graduated from there. That was it, I missed the girls. They should be on campus for me to visit and hug. Of course they had left Ohio U years before and moved on with life. Never the less, I missed them.

I love how Paul, in his letters, reminded the recipients that he remembered them, thanked God for them and prayed for them. Often the Holy Spirit brings people to mind, whether in a particular setting or just in my thoughts. When the Spirit brings that person’s name to me, I stop what I am doing and pray for them. Many times that person has acknowledged that the day I prayed was a day they especially needed prayers. The Spirit knows what we need and works among us as Christians to further God’s kingdom.  Listen to the Spirit’s prompting and pray.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

When I was a child my family referred to me as the peacemaker. I wanted everyone to agree to watch the same TV show (and enjoy it), I tried to befriend everyone at school and I never enjoyed arguing, confrontation or controversy. As an adult, I’m not much different. If I think a disagreement might grow from a discussion, I’ll try to redirect the conversation. This explains a lot about how I deal with conflict. I try to see the good in people and the best in a situation. I know that sometimes that leaves me ignoring reality and that things might not work out. But even in the worst circumstances I want to show Christ’s love through the act of peace.

Romans 12:18 starts with the phrase “If possible”, sometimes a peaceful solution simply cannot be reached. When conflict occurs, I hope to learn from it and see how God uses it for good. But as long as it depends on me and not others I pray that I can bring peace to any situation. May God bless you with peace. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Under God's Wing

Psalm 57:1
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
   for in you I take refuge. 
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings 
   until the disaster has passed.

Tim and I visited the MidUSA Balloon Challenge. We intended to ride in one of the tethered balloons that would take us about 100 feet off of the ground. Unfortunately, the wind kicked up from a nearby storm and the balloonists struggled to get the flying globes steady. As they filled the balloon with air, the basket tipped to the ground, first one way and then the other. Our ride was cancelled.

Watching the giant bulbous contraption shift from side to side reminded me of the daily battle I fight with Satan as he tries to turn me away from God. But, like the twisted rope that keeps the balloon from floating away, God reaches down and takes me under his wing to protect me from sin’s attack. No matter what Satan throws at me, God keeps me safe if I keep my eyes on him. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bark before God

Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Our dog, Olive, let’s us know when she needs something. About the time she usually goes outside for exercise and to do her business, she sits at our feet and stares at us, and then she barks. She’s not afraid to say, in own doggie way, “Get up from that chair and take me outside.” Knowing that she will only wait so long, Tim or I grab her leash, hook her up and walk her. She’s not afraid to speak up. She gets our attention and gets the job done. If a dog can be bold when asking for something, why can’t I?

God wants me to come to him with my prayer needs. He wants me to sit at his feet and ask. Prayer communicates my wants and needs better than any other communication with my Lord. Like Olive I just need to make my request. Jesus tells us that we should ask, seek and knock, so that God can give, help us find answers and open the door to his salvation. As I take my requests before God, I go with confidence knowing that he answers.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Flowers Appear

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

See! The winter is past; 
   the rains are over and gone. 
Flowers appear on the earth; 
   the season of singing has come, 
the cooing of doves 
   is heard in our land. 

In the summer as I drive along the country roads, I watch for God’s ditch flowers. In Ohio, the ditches fill with bright orange lilies that trumpet their beauty. Queen Anne’s lace graces the roadside standing with royal elegance, and the soft blue chicory waves to me inviting me to take a mental snapshot. I cannot forget my favorite flower, the black-eyed Susan that dots the slopes with happy smiles.

God created an amazing natural world for us to enjoy. I have come to believe that the beauty of nature is God’s gift to us to counter-balance the ugliness of life. No matter how much I mess up or how much sad news I see, I can still appreciate and enjoy the Rose of Sharon blooms in my backyard, the soft swoosh of the willow tree that Tim planted for me and the sweet welcome home from my dogs. Sometimes I think of them as the simple things of life, but the truth is they are complex, amazing creations that remind me how much God loves me. I praise God for his beautiful gifts. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fountain of Love

John 4:7-14
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Under the summer sun, I played at the splash park with my grandchildren. We swooshed through the daisy spraying water down, ducked under the squirrel guns shooting out streams of water and played in the circles that spouted water up like a fountain. (The two youngest grandsons tried to drink it.) The water running over us while the sun shined offered refreshment.

The water Jesus offered to the woman at the well refreshed far beyond any water we can drink. His water offers a cleansing that washes inside out and offers eternal life. On Jesus journey he met many different people. Some cultured, some not, some Jewish, some Gentiles. He never hesitated to offer his love to them. Jesus sees the person, not the culture. He wants everyone to be filled with his spirit. He wants all of us to drink from his spring of water that wells up to eternal life.