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, 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.