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, February 25, 2012

Refreshment from God

Acts 3:18-19
But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…

I sat cross-legged on my bed and turned the white dials, hoping to create an amazing picture on the red box in my lap. As a child, I spent hours playing with my Etch a Sketch. Sometimes my goal was to move the stylus across the entire screen enough times to remove all of the aluminum powder. I also enjoyed writing my name and leaving secret messages for my cousin. Sometimes as I moved the dials, I messed up and made ugly images. The best part was that I could turn the toy upside down and shake it until I erased whatever I created and then start again.

Thank goodness God wants to erase my sin and give me a fresh start. Because he is an all knowing God with great compassion, he gave me an escape plan from my sins. I praise God that he sent Jesus to earth to die for me so that I can be forgiven and live in him. He is a God of second chances who refreshes my spirit with his love.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Heron of Hope

Psalm 31:23-24
Love the LORD, all his faithful people! 

   The LORD preserves those who are true to him, 
   but the proud he pays back in full. 
Be strong and take heart, 
   all you who hope in the LORD.

One warm February evening my husband and I walked our dogs around the local lake. The yellow and brown overgrown grass gave way to the green sprouts of spring. Water on the lake sat still with no wind to blow against the surface. Olive trotted beside me as we made our way around the edge of the paved lot. Close to the water I heard a rustling sound. When I looked up a great blue heron flew up and over the length of the lake. He raised his body in a majestic fashion and soared into the sky. What a beautiful sight!

Experiencing an encounter with one of God’s beautiful creatures fills me with hope. As the bird spread his wings, he looked like he was reaching up toward his creator. When he sailed over the water, I thought he might just fly into God’s open arms. When I am stressed or feeling down I like to picture God’s arms outstretched ready to embrace me. And, I think about Jesus arms stretched out on the cross. He gave me the ultimate hope. I want to see the heron again sometime, but more than that, I look forward to the day I meet Jesus in heaven. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

In My Heart

Philippians 1:3-7
I thank my God every time I remember you. 
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

I stood in the store and looked through the red, white and pink sea of cards. As I searched for just the right sentiments to send out for Valentine’s Day, I read funny notes of love, serious declarations of eternal devotion and cute messages just right for our grandkids. I wanted to remember the little ones who I hold in my heart. As I sent each card, I prayed for them with joy, just as Paul prayed for the Philippians.  

The apostle Paul loved his friends in Philippi. As he traveled on his mission trips, he knew that he could rely on them for support and that they shared a love for Jesus. He carried them in his heart and prayed for them. Jesus holds me in his heart. He loves me more that I can imagine. I humbly pray that I return even a fraction of the joy that he gives to me. I praise God that he remembers me and loves me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Jude 1:20-22
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Tim and I recently attended a high school basketball game. One player, #22, caught my attention. He handled the ball as if it were an extension of his hand. I sensed that he was probably the kid who lived under the basketball hoop at home and in the gym. His fluid shots whooshed the ball through the net.

The whoosh of the basketball, the crack of the bat, the tennis ball that barely smacks the edge of in-bounds gives the athlete the feeling of connectedness to their sport. That’s the bond God wants me to experience with prayer. That I am so united to the Holy Spirit that my requests flow right to God. Number 22 achieved his perfect shot through practice, going there again and again. The same is true of my prayer life. I must go to God everyday and seek his help, advice, love, and all he has to give. He welcomes my conversations 24/7. Praise God for his Holy Spirit who carries my prayers to God.