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 28, 2013

Timor Omnis Abesto

1 John 4:17-18
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…

Many of my writer friends choose a particular word to focus on for the year. Most pick a term that helps improve personal habits like generosity, self-control, or patience. For 2014, I want to zero in on the word fear. Much of my mom’s family (the Abbotts) comes from the MacNab clan of Scotland. Through my brother’s research, we found out that the MacNab motto is “Timor Omnis Abesto” (Let fear be far from all). They were a people of war and had to enter the battlefields without fear.

When I read about my ancestors and the time they spent defending their clan, I thought about the battles I face every day. Granted they aren’t wars filled with weapons or warriors. Instead they’re spiritual struggles between evil and good.  As I follow Jesus, temptations, fears, and frustrations arise. But because I follow Jesus, his love drives out all trepidation. He helps me to keep my anxiety under control. As I focus on the word fear for 2014, I want to “Let fear be far from all.” In all I do, say, and believe, I want fear to be gone. Thank goodness Jesus love casts out all fear.

Is there a word you want to focus on in 2014?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas King

Luke 1:30-33
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father 
David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

The tree is trimmed, the gifts all wrapped, the cookies baked…Christmas. But where’s the baby? Oh no worries, I have my nativity set up and displayed in a prominent place. Jesus’ sweet little likeness sits center stage. Mary and Joseph bow before him, while he sleeps in heavenly peace. What a lovely image. One I cherish. Yet, it’s not enough.

The angel told Mary that Jesus’ life held more than she could even imagine. He was destined to be a king. Not royalty like Kate and Will. Not even like Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar. King Jesus reigns over the eternal kingdom, heaven. As I celebrate the season of his birth, I can’t help but think about his life and death and the mercy and grace he brought to the people on earth. God loved me enough to give the gift of his son, who reigns in my heart. Praise God for Jesus and his birth!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Everyday?

 Luke 2:13-16
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.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Do you think you could do Christmas all year round? I’ve read several quotes and articles this season proclaiming how wonderful it would be if we had Christmas everyday. I love Christmas, but I know I couldn’t keep the pace for more than a season. The hustle and bustle, the Christmas luncheons, parties, get-togethers…the shopping. No, those would wear me out and make me want to hibernate. But what I can do is hold onto the joy. I love the delight I see in my grandchildren the first time they push the button on Snoopy’s hand, and he dances and sings about the holiday. My granddaughter shares my appreciation for the musical globe of angels I treasure from my childhood.  The stories the minister shares and the eternal message of Jesus fill me for months. And the music, both holy and fun-filled energizes me.

But come January 1, I’m ready to take down the tree, put away my Santa collection, tuck the nativity in tissue paper and wrap up the season. Christmas year round doesn’t tell the whole story. If I only celebrate Jesus birth, I’ll miss out on the best part of history. Jesus’ life, though short, amazes me. The love he shared with everyone, the miracles, the quiet times, and the times he was surrounded by thousands. He loved unconditionally. If I only celebrated Christmas, where does that leave Easter? Jesus died and rose from the dead for me; he forgave and continues to forgive my sins. So, I’ll celebrate Christmas and enjoy it for a time. The rest of the year, I’ll praise him for the difference He’s made in my life.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hey Moon

Matthew 2:9-11
After they [the Magi or Wisemen] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

1 Corinthians 15:41
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

Sidewalk Prophets has a new Christmas CD featuring the song “Hey Moon.”  In the song, the star that shined at Jesus birth reminisces with the moon about the night the Savior was born. I understand that inanimate objects don’t actually converse, but what an awesome idea for the very star that twinkled on that glorious night to remember the majesty and glory of Jesus.

We know from reading Matthew 2, the Magi followed a star to find Jesus. We don’t know if three men traveled, only two or more. We do know they carried expensive and symbolic gifts to honor him. We don’t know if he was still a newborn when they saw him. Even though we may not know the exact details of the story, the most important part we do know. They bowed and worshipped him. They followed the star to find the King, the one who would give grace to the world. They were wise men because they recognized the one who would give believers a new life through his resurrection. So yes, I’d like to hear the conversation between the star and the moon and the wonder they must have had for this sweet baby, Jesus. Surely they worshipped him, too.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

True Joy

Psalm 65:8
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

There is a special joy I experience once a year. Tim and I put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. Our silver tree with candy-colored lights adds an almost magical element to the house. As much as the tree adds the sparkle of Christmas, the nativity that belonged to Grammy fills my heart with wonder. Two porcelain pieces, crafted in a creamy white, bow before the babe. A friend gave me a lovely backdrop with palm trees cut from burnished metal. Little angels surround the humble couple and their baby. Our Charlie Brown tree reminds us of the simplicity of the holiday and to not let commercialism seep in. Santa adds a touch of fun that begs me to be a child again during the holiday.

As much I enjoy setting up the Nativity and tree, for me the true joy comes the next morning. The first time I get up and walk into the living room and experience the delight of Christmas. Not just the shimmering lights and the beautiful baubles, but the love that started with a babe in a manger. Jesus came to us. He lived on earth and experienced temptation and heartache. He loved fiercely and befriended the folks no one else wanted to. He laid himself down as a sacrifice. Two days after that dark day, He rose to be the Savior. That’s true joy. Praise God for sending his son.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

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.

When my daughters were young we had the Gaither’s album, I Am a Promise. On the recording a child recited Psalm 100:3-5. Every time I read this verse, I hear the sweet treble of this little one’s voice reminding me that God created me. He calls me his sheep. He owns every creature he created. He is good and his love will go on forever. He’s always faithful. And I am so thankful.

Everything I have comes from God. I own nothing, yet I’m blessed with so much. As I head into this week when we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am reminded once again how much God loves me. I pray you have a blessed week as we celebrate our freedom as a nation and appreciate that we can gather and be with loved ones. I also pray for those who can’t be home, whether serving in the military, missionaries, people working or simply unable to be with loved ones. God bless you all.

If you’d like to, share what you are thankful for. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Candy Crush

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Candy Crush is as addicting as dark chocolate. I usually avoid the latest electronic games because I don’t have time to play. Being a sucker (pun intended) for Candy Land and all things sweet, I thought I’d try Candy Crush. How bad could it be? Just line the pretty little sweets in a row, wipe out the line and move on. Right? Not exactly.

The player must make choices. That seems easy enough until the pieces the game wants you to choose begin blinking. Choices and distractions, just like life. As I live for Jesus, I strive to hear his voice. But sometimes Satan’s voice is so strong that I want to ignore what I know is true and right. How do I make a choice that’s honorable to God and moves his kingdom forward without falling for temptations? Pray. With every move in life, whatever I face, whatever decision I need to make, whatever direction I want to go, I need to pray.

When I fail a level, Candy Crush asks me if I want to try again. Sure, I’ll try one more time. But after several tries, I’m stuck on the same level. If I want, I can ask friends for help. But I’m stubborn, and I want to beat the game by myself. By the way, I never read the instructions to the game. That’s right—I thought I could go through the levels on my own wisdom. Just like life I’ve failed many times because I didn’t bother to read God’s word or reach out for help. The Bible has everything I need to know. And his people are there for me. I may or may not continue playing Candy Crush, but I know that I will continue living my life for Jesus, because I believe He is my Savior and that one day I will meet him in heaven.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Joy Finished the Race

2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Joy Johnson ran her last marathon this year. She was the oldest runner to complete the New York City marathon at eighty-six. In her twenty-fifth venture around the city, she fell and hit her head on mile twenty, but got back up and finished the race. She passed away in her sleep the next day. A runner for almost thirty years, she understood the endurance and determination of a marathon. Because she loved to run, she kept moving.

The apostle Paul also finished a race. The one that mattered most. He endured prison, ridicule, persecution and physical abuse to continue his marathon for Christ. When Paul recognized that Jesus was Lord and accepted him as his Savior, he put his whole heart into the track laid out before him. Just as Joy trained her body to endure a running race, Paul exercised his spiritual life. He prayed, he read, he shared his faith with others. He encouraged his fellow Christians and reached out to those in need. Because he loved the Lord, he finished the course and kept the faith. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

That's the Power of Love

Ephesians 1:18-21
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

The meteorologists claimed the storm could bring strong winds, torrential rain and possible thunder storms. Not a night to be outside. The next morning, limbs lay in the streets, playsets had turned upside down, a child’s yellow rubber ball floated in a ditch. The wind’s power caused devastation. Tornados, hurricanes, wind storms have been known to destroy whatever’s in their wake. The wind is one of several natural forces that can take over life.

Power comes in many forms and can be life threatening or uplifting. Without God, power brings struggles, fights, rules, dictatorships, even abuse. With God, his power offers hope, peace, joy, and love. Jesus commanded storms to cease. He restored life and healed many. God raised Jesus from the dead—now that’s power. When life’s in turmoil, through prayer and faithfulness, God brings strength, hope and peace. He does. His power is not a power of abuse, but a power of restoration. Praise God for his supreme authority and love.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just Pray

Acts 16:24-26
When he (the jailer) received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Leave it to Paul to pray in the face of stress. He and Silas were sitting in a jail cell. Instead of throwing a pity party; he opened his mouth and prayed. On top of that he worshipped God in song. Imagine what the jailer must have thought. “These two are plumb crazy, they’re in jail, yet they sing and pray.” But then God answered their prayer and shook the prison off its base. The prisoners were loose. The jailer knew he was in trouble. As a matter of fact, if you read further in the scripture, he moved to take his own life. But because he was filled with God’s grace and goodness, Paul stopped him. The jailer was so excited about this miracle that he asked Paul and Silas how to be saved. He and his household believed and were baptized.

All of this happened because Paul and Silas prayed. They spoke to God and asked him for help. There are great examples of prayer in the Bible, like the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave a great outline for communicating with God. But is that how I always pray. No, sometimes my prayer is more like a text message, short and to the point. While other times I talk to God as I would my best friend, spilling out all of my concerns and praises. No matter how I pray, God knows my heart. He hears me. When I can’t even form the words, the Holy Spirit takes over for me. God wants to hear from his people and he’s made it so easy. He just wants us to open our hearts and pray.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sure Enough He's Here

John 20:11-14
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

Mary Magdalene missed Jesus. He died on the cross on Friday and on Sunday morning she hoped to honor him at his tomb. Except, he wasn’t there. When she looked into the cave where his body rested, she found two angels and his death shroud. What on earth just happened? Where was her friend and Lord? In her panic to find where Jesus had been moved, she totally missed him. There he stood, a few feet away, but she didn’t recognize him. She’d spent a lot of time with her Lord, yet she didn’t know the guy standing beside her was the same one she’d spent countless hours listening to.

I hate to think how many times I’ve panicked or been stressed and prayed for Jesus to be by my side. Sure enough, He was there. Right beside me. But I was too caught up in my own agenda to recognize my Savior and King. Sometimes people ask, “Where is God in the tragedy?” He’s there. He’s the one holding me up, hugging me with his spirit and filling my heart with comfort. Sometimes in my human state I fail to understand, yet He is there. Of course Mary eventually realized she was talking to Jesus and joy filled her. Whether I call him my Savior, King, Lord, no matter, He’s right beside me and dwells in me as I follow Him.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Romans 8:28
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Did you ever have one of those coloring books filled with activities? Some pages were for coloring, some had puzzles or word searches. My favorite required me to connect the dots. I’d look at the picture first and try to figure out what object the joined dots revealed. Many times, after I’d drawn a line from number to number, I’d find an animal or toy. If I connected the dots out of order, I might end up with an elephant whose trunk hung out of his ear or a choo-choo train without wheels.

In life the dots often get out of line. They may not connect the way God intended. That’s usually because I’m not waiting on God for answers. I get ahead of myself, lose my patience, if I had any to begin with, or I don’t listen to God’s direction. He’s given me a perfect guide for my life. The Holy Spirit nudges me and whispers to me. I need to pay attention. I can tell when I don’t listen. Whatever I do becomes a scribbled mess. But, when I hear him and follow his lead my dots come together to form a picture of what He wants for me. God works for the good in my life. And through that gives me purpose. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Praise the Lord!

Maggie C. Photography
Psalm 148: 1, 7-12, 14b

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above…

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
    old men and children…
Praise the Lord.

As the leaves of October burst with color, I witness the beauty of God’s creation with fresh eyes. Red, orange, yellow, golden brown, the colors of warmth surround life. When they reflect against a clear blue sky, I can imagine that God dipped his watercolor brush and enlightened the day. He’s not only an artist. He created the science behind these amazing changes.

Why do I get so excited about colorful leaves? Because they are one more proof that God exists. He not only exists, he loves me and has provided me with the truth of his kingdom. Jesus gave his life. He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I never get tired of hearing about how incredible my Savior is. Praise the Lord. Even the trees cry out in praise.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Control the Dust Bunnies

John 14:1-4
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.

I have a confession. I’m not the best housekeeper. I keep the basics up, but sometimes the bigger jobs take a backseat to my creative efforts. We’re having a birthday celebration for some of our children, so I needed to pay special attention to the house. Sorry to say, I had to take a vacation day to get it all done. But, even as I worked to spiff things up, it felt good to take control of the dust bunnies again.

As I worked, a scripture popped into my mind. In John 14:1, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He’s preparing to leave them and wants them to understand that he’s going to be with God and that he’s going to spend his time getting the place ready for them to join him. Of course, He’s talking about heaven. I love that he assures them that He’s not only putting their new home in order, He’s going to come back and get them. This promise is for us, too. Jesus will return and take his saints to the beautiful home He’s designed. What joy and hope fills my soul when I think about the day I’ll be with Jesus in heaven. As much as I enjoy life with my family and friends, I know a better place waits for those who believe. Praise God for his gift of heaven.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Timid Spirit

2  Timothy 1:7-9
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus…

Last weekend, Tim and I traveled to Indianapolis for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. I’d signed up so that I could pitch my book to publishers. If someone had told me ten years ago that I’d be sitting down with an editor and telling them about something I wrote, I would have doubted. But God laid a story on my heart and gave me the tools and resources to put it together. He also covered me with his power and grace, replaced my timid spirit with His confidence and prepared me to speak.

As remarkable as that is for me, I am even more amazed at the power of his Spirit when He takes away my timidity and replaces it with the His power. Only through the grace of Jesus do I get through each day surrounded by the craziness of the world. One thing I love about God is how He equips me for every circumstance. Whether a battle or a moment of compassion, the Spirit walks me through and gives me grace. Praise Jesus for His purpose and grace.

P.S. Thank you to all who prayed for me as I prepared for and attended the conference-

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Brought You Into This World

1 Timothy 6:6-8
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

In an early episode of the Cosby Show, Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) talks with his son, Theo, about the value of education and why he should work harder at getting better grades. After much discussion that includes a lesson with Monopoly money, Theo still isn’t convinced that he needs to follow his dad’s guidance. That’s when Cliff pulls his dad card and says, “I brought you in this world and I’ll take you out.” In other words, you need to listen to me.

In 1 Timothy, Paul warns the young minister about greed. He reminds him that he came into the world without one earthly thing, and he sure couldn’t take anything with him when he died. This is a truth that’s repeated often throughout the Bible. Be content, God cares for the flowers and birds. Don’t build an earthly kingdom, things on earth corrode and rust. Instead, trust God. Not as easy as it sounds, but certainly the best advice I can follow. God provides. It’s as simple as that. Do I sit around and wait for my food and clothes to magically appear? No, I need to work and pay for them. He gives me the opportunities and the means. God is good all the time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Keep My Eyes on Jesus

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I grew up watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball. The Big Red Machine dominated the field in the 1970s winning two World Series. The Great Eight, men who took the field together, played a huge role in making the team champions. These team members fixed their eyes on winning the game. They worked together and used their strengths to succeed. Recently, the Reds honored this group of men for their excellent abilities and love of the game. It was fun to watch them get back together and reminisce about their wonder years.

As much as I love baseball and appreciate the skills and effort of these great men who played, I’m looking forward to meeting another group of heroes. Hebrews 11 is considered the Hall of Faith. The chapter lists many who clung to their faith in God under difficult circumstances. When I read about Abraham, Moses and the many other followers who met adversity with faith and hope, I’m strengthened in my walk with God. The New Testament is also filled with folks who endured—Paul, Barnabas, Peter and so many others. These people have not just been honored, they’ve been rewarded a home in heaven.  I hope to meet them someday. But until then, I’ll run with perseverance and keep my eyes on Jesus.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Because I Said So...

John 15:9-13
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

As a mom, I’ve been blessed with children who respected my authority and for the most part obeyed me. There were times when one or another pushed the envelope or said “but, why,” too many times. That’s when I’d get exasperated and say the quote that no child wants to hear, “Because I said so.” I know now that was probably not the best answer. Recently, I read a post where the mom’s response to the “but, why” was, “Because I love you so much.” Now that makes sense and covers the child with peace. So the next time my grandchild wonders why they need to buckle their seatbelt, stay off the road, put away their toys, I have an answer. “Because I love you so much.”

Jesus keeps his Father’s commands and he expects me to keep his. Because He loves me. Jesus wants me to be a light in darkness. He tells me not to worry. He wants me to love others. As I obey, the Holy Spirit nudges me and tells me what I need to do for the kingdom. His plan includes the fruit I produce. When I get stubborn or confused and say, “But, why?” I’m thankful that God is not the God of, “Because I said so.” Instead, He’s the God of “Because I love you so much.” Praise the Lord for His love.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Much Needed Rest

Exodus 33:14
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Spending two days with my active grandchildren reminds me why God intends for young adults to have children and older folks to be grandparents. I passed the milestone of fifty a few years ago and find that I require more rest than I ever have. Some days, I’d like to trade places with our dogs. They sleep more than anything else. Yet when I think I can’t go another day, God provides me with a time of rest. Sometimes in little spurts, through the help of family and friends and often through the encouraging words of the Bible.

In Exodus, God asked Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt and take them to the Promised Land. The Israelites were not the most pleasant bunch. They griped and complained and no doubt got on Moses’ nerves. I know when I’m around negative people, they wear me out. But God, as He always does, kept his promise. He went with him and gave Moses some much needed rest. On the days that drag me down, I know God provides renewal. He refuels my fire and passion to serve and helps me recharge. There is nothing like reading through the Bible when it comes to restoring energy and enthusiasm. Praise God for times of rest.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Beauty of the Butterfly

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

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.
Blue Morpho we saw at the zoo. One landed on me :)

Recently, I traveled with my daughter, Maggie, and her children to Indianapolis to visit the Children’s Museum and the zoo. At the zoo, we stopped by the White River Gardens for the butterfly exhibit. Maggie looked around the room at the winged beauties and told me that she knew a lot of people who said they saw God’s existence when they looked at a new born baby. 
But for her, she saw the magnificence of God in the butterfly.

As I watched the intricately winged creatures swoop about, I was reminded of the hope I have in Jesus. They reinforced my desire to go to heaven and stand in the beauty of God, who loves me more than I can imagine. Some religious teachers talk about how to be good, others tell their listeners how to give back to the earth and live in harmony. Granted, living a peaceful life and taking care of the resources that God gave me is important. But to live life without faith in Jesus is detrimental. He is the only way to heaven. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no desire to spend eternity in hell. Instead, I look forward to eternal life with God. Praise God for the butterfly, a beautiful glimpse of heaven. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Camouflaged from the Enemy

Psalm 143:12-14
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

Where I live, I often notice people dressed in camouflage. Lots of folks hunt and fish and have embraced the fabric that helps them hide from their prey. Soldiers wear colorfully blended uniforms to conceal themselves from the enemy. My friend Lori said she saw camouflage siding for a house and I spotted the same patterns on a sofa and recliner. I imagine the Duck Dynasty craze has a lot to do with the siding and furniture.

According to, camouflage is the act, means, or result of obscuring things to deceive an enemy. In the Psalm, David needed to hide from the ones who chased him. He worried about people who might be after him for things he had done. But, he knew that the true enemy, Satan, was the one who pursued his heart. His only hope of rescue was the camouflage that God provided. He cried out for God to cover him. The good news is, God still calls us to take refuge and rest in his protection. I may not wear colorfully blended clothing that hides me in the forest, but I do wear the clothing of the Spirit that keeps me from the enemy. Praise God, who provides refuge for his people.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted?

Psalm 92:12-15
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

The last few years I’ve experimented to find out what grows best in the small flower bed beside my house. The plot gets the morning sun and the afternoon shade. Last year I planted mostly full sun flowers. Some of them thrived and others got leggy and languished on the sidewalk. This year I chose shade plants. Again, some flourished but a few seem stunted. Along with the new growth, I moved the lavender to a new spot and now I have a full blooming herb.

In the seventies, I often read the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted.” It used to bother me because, as a follower of Christ, I didn’t understand what it meant. Did it mean I should stay in one spot and never move? As a seasoned adult (a nice way of saying I’m over fifty) I’ve learned that for me, as one who loves God and seeks his purpose, if I stay firmly planted in my Savior’s love, I’ll bloom. Some of the plants I placed in my garden struggled to grow. They needed water or pruning. As I bloom and grow, I struggle, but continue to flourish in his kingdom. I love that the Psalmist mentions that those who love God continue to “bear fruit in old age.” I’d hate to quit now J. Praise God for his spiritual nourishment.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Touch of Heaven

Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship
 is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

This week I was honored to visit with friends I hadn’t seen for over thirty years. Several of us gathered at our classmate Helen’s home. She lives near Kentucky Christian (College) University, the campus we all attended. The stories and laughter flowed as we remembered our professors, crazy antics and the fun we shared. Of course, the talk led to the twists and turns that formed our lives.

Visiting our alma mater reminded us of what brought us together in the first place. We shared a love for Jesus. As students we attended chapel and praised God together. As adults, we shared how Jesus has moved through our lives and led us to minister. Even though some of us suffered with physical ailments, heartbreak and sorrow, we also rejoiced in the love and joy that our God poured over us and continues to spill on our lives. We tasted a touch of heaven this week as we praised the Lord for his blessings. With that on my mind, I can’t help but long for the day when Jesus returns and takes his followers to that glorious place called home. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jesus' eyes

John 8:7-11
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There’s nothing that says summer to me as much as the game of baseball. A ballgame is a great place to people-watch. All kinds of fans join together to root for their favorite team. As I sat in the ball park with two of my grandkids, I wondered how this all looked to them. Did they see the joy and the sorrow that ebbed and flowed with each pitch? When the crowd rose to cheer, the little guys couldn’t see at all, unless we lifted them up. After the game, fireworks exploded in the sky. My three year old grandson covered his ears and, at times, his eyes while his sister watched in awe.

This made me wonder. Whose eyes do I look through?What do I see? Beauty and hope? Or flaws and frustration? What about the people around me every day, do I see someone who aggravates me or a soul that’s hurting? When Jesus saw the woman who sinned, he looked at her with compassion and forgiveness. Her enemies just saw sin. I want to view people through Jesus’ eyes and wrap them in hope and love with words of forgiveness and salvation.  Praise God for seeing our hearts.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

That's It!

Colossians 2:2-3
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Every year the calendar flips and I celebrate another birthday. My first thought this year was, “Thank you God for more time with my family and friends.”  I always wonder what He might have in store for me from one birthday to the next.

Recently, I’ve been praying about my writing journey and asking God what the next step is for me. The blog I created for my writing life needed updated and a bit more direction. As I read my Bible and pondered what to do, I came across Colossians 2:2-3.  “Encouraged in heart”, “united in love”, and “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” jumped out at me. God spoke to me through his word. Like Charlie Brown, I proclaimed, “That’s it!” This verse added focus to my writing. As long as I am encouraging others and showing love that leads to wisdom and knowledge of Jesus, then I’m working toward the ultimate goal of sharing God. I love when Bible verses hit me between the eyes and wake me up. Praise God for his guidance and wisdom.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chicago Harbor Light

Psalm 24:1-4
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
In Lake Michigan, off the shore of Navy Pier, stands the Chicago Harbor Light. The original purpose of the light was to assist ships in and around the Chicago River and the lake. Now the old place stands empty, without a mission. The building’s still beautiful with off white walls and red roofing. One might even call it inviting. Yet the sad, desolate building cries to be used. The good news is that the city of Chicago has plans for the lighthouse in the near future. I read that they want to create a museum that tells the history of the area.

I’ve felt like that lighthouse more times than I care to admit. Desolate, empty and wondering what I’m here for. But God, in his grace, filled me with his light and promised to stand by me and help me in all that I do. For my part, I must seek the Lord and ask for his help. Now I walk in confidence and know he has me in his hands. I don’t want to end up as a museum of the past, I need to live in the present and stay in step with God’s plan for me. Because, one of these days I want to dwell with him in his house in heaven.

How about it? What has Jesus planned for you?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Fan of God

Psalm 104:33-34
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.

My co-workers and I traveled to Chicago for the American Library Conference.  As we rode along Michigan Avenue, a sea of red swayed on the bridge crossing into Grant Park. The Chicago Blackhawks hockey team won the Stanley Cup. Twenty thousand plus fans gathered to celebrate with the players. They waved flags, carried balloons and cheered. Later in the day, we saw the fans all over the city. They supported their beloved team.

On Sunday morning, I like meeting with others who love God. I join my brothers and sisters in song, listen to God’s word preached and meditate on the sacrifice Christ made for me. You could say that church brings God’s fans together to celebrate. Not just a win, but an eternal victory. I like rooting for the Cincinnati Reds as much as the Blackhawk fans enjoy cheering on the hockey team. But, I love praising God and thanking him for Jesus, even more.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nehemiah and the King

Nehemiah 1:1b-5
I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Children love balloons. My grandson played with a red one in his living room. We batted back and forth as we tried to keep the plastic orb from hitting the ground. As we played our game, he repeated his mama’s warning that “balloons might burst, but it’s okay.” A few seconds later, sure enough, we heard a pop, then red bits scattered across the floor. Eli’s eyes rounded and his little mouth fell into a frown. He sat down and said, “I’m okay.” Then his lips quivered, but he didn’t cry. His heart was broken, but he remained brave.

Nehemiah’s eyes filled with sadness as he served King Artexerxes. Even though he walked through his routine assignment, his heart lay open with pain. His beloved city of Jerusalem fell, and he wanted return there to rebuild. But, he needed to know what God wanted him to do. So much in this world brings sadness to my heart and I want to sit down and cry and frankly, at times give up. But, even in the sadness, I know that I have God. Nehemiah knew this, too. When his heart hurt he didn’t run off, he prayed. He sought God’s guidance and he found peace through the promises of his Lord. Right now my heart breaks for a friend, but I know that many prayers have been sent up and that God’s in control. He will protect and comfort. Praise God for his constant care.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Abba, Father

Galations 4:6
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 

I saw a post on Facebook that asked people to post what their dad had taught them. A strong work ethic and an example of Christian living were the top two answers. I can say that my father certainly taught me a good work ethic. He worked in some capacity until he saw eighty-two years old. Even after that, he stayed busy until he passed away. He also showed me the love and encouragement that he learned from reading his Bible. I remember him sitting in his chair studying his Sunday school lesson. I loved to see him read God’s word. He wasn’t one to pick up a novel, but he knew what the Bible said. I miss my dad, but I am fortunate to have good memories. I am sad when I hear that some fathers were not a blessing to their children. I pray that they can find the fatherly love they missed through 
Grandpa Tim & Aiden

God the Father and through other Godly men.
In Galations 4, Paul writes about the most wonderful Father who wants all of us as His children. Abba, God, the Father. All names for the creator of the universe. He breathed life into every one. I’m thankful that I had a caring earthly father and that I know God the Father. I’m also grateful that my husband, Tim, loves Jesus and shows our children and grandchildren his faith. We are also blessed to watch Adam and James as they father their children. What a joy. Happy Father’s Day! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Overflow with Hope

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.

I had the opportunity to attend a QPR Gatekeeper training at work.  In the class, I learned how to help a person who might be contemplating suicide. As difficult as this sounds, the class equipped me to help someone in distress. Throughout the session the teacher gave information on the practical things to do. One idea resounded throughout the talk. Give the person hope. When a person has hope, they can step out of despair. With help they can move forward in life.

As the instructor spoke, I thought about how important hope is in my life. There’s no greater hope to look forward to than what Jesus gave when He died on the cross. Through faith in the Savior, God’s children have the hope of heaven. Even as I live my life on earth, I have hope in the word of God, in prayer, and in the people God surrounds me with. The Holy Spirit reminds me that God loves me and has a plan for me. His hope fills me with joy and peace. Praise God for his love and salvation.

Where do you find hope?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Praying to God

Romans 15:30

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Even the apostle Paul asked his friends to pray for him. Packed and ready to move along on his journey, he sought out prayer warriors, who would take his needs to God. Recently, my daughter posted prayer requests on Facebook for two different families who faced grief.  She recognized that they needed someone to intercede for them. It’s a beautiful moment when the Holy Spirit takes a request to God.

Remember when prayer chains moved across telephone lines, one person at a time? Some still do. But, now some are sent electronically, to everyone at once, or simply posted on a social media site. I’m concerned that the ones posted may be overlooked or forgotten. I’ve been thinking that I should write them down as I see them or better yet, stop and pray at that moment, which I often do. God wants me to seek him in prayer. Not just for myself, but for others. For the burdens of life, praises and joy and to bring others to salvation. He wants to hear the requests, groans and thank yous. So, I urge you to pray for each other. And please do lift a prayer for my daughter’s friends as they need that support. Praise God for listening and answering.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Hebrews 11: 13-16
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (NIV)

I remember visiting cemeteries with Grammy. Around Memorial Day, we’d gather flowers from Mom’s garden and place them in glass jars that she’d saved just for this occasion. The fragrant smell of peonies filled the car as we’d deliver the bouquets to the graves of various family members. I never found this odd or out of place. That’s what we did to show respect and celebrate the life that our loved ones lived. I haven’t gone to the cemeteries for a few years, but I think my brother still does, and I appreciate that.

Hebrews 11, sometimes called the hall of faith, lists many of God’s pilgrims who searched for the promised land. What they really sought was a place in heaven with God. Remembering them and reading their stories shores up my faith. When I think about my Grammy, who prayed for me every day and my dad who loved Jesus, I’m reminded of my loved ones who fought the battle that God placed before them. A spiritual war that with God’s help they won.

In memory of all who have fought to keep our country free, those who went to war to make life better for others and those who protect us every day, thank you. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Faith in the Storm

Matthew 8:23-26(NIV)
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Much of Ohio’s spring has consisted of storms. Every time a thunderstorm approaches the area, our dog, Tater, whines, walks in circles and tries to get on my lap. He weighs almost ninety pounds, so he doesn’t stay for long. On the other hand, our corgi-dachshund could care less about a little thunder and lightning. If she doesn’t get a biscuit out of the situation, she’s not interested. For Tater, Tim and I are his shelter. His calm from the storm.

Photo by Jean Guichard
Sometimes instead of seeking refuge, we need to stand in the storm and trust God. I have a picture hanging in my living room that depicts a lighthouse in a storm. The lighthouse keeper, waiting for help, stood at the door. He’s not hiding. He’s riding out the storm until he can be rescued. I believe that God is my refuge, but I also believe that there are times that he wants me to stand in the rain and let the storm rage, while I hold on to my faith. Of the disciples, several were fisherman. They understood the dangers of a raging sea. When the waves crashed they headed for shelter. But Jesus wanted them to stop running from the storms of life. He tested their faith, much like he tests ours. It’s not easy to trust when so much hurt and heartache surrounds the world. Jesus calls me to have faith in him and his word. It’s up to me to believe.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This One's for the Girls

Psalm 139:13-14
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 remember the first time that I felt my oldest child move in the womb. A tiny quiver stirred inside. At that moment, I knew that sweet baby would bring joy to my life. No bigger than a minute, I knew beyond a doubt that she’d teach me, fill me with awe and bring me closer to God. That stir wasn’t just the wonder of new parenthood; I felt the same with her sisters. The Lord created a bond between us when He knit that child into the person she’d grow to be.

Now that my girls are adults, I see the work of His hands. Anyone who has more than one child knows that each one has their own personality, gifts and perspective. There were some growing pains and sibling disagreements, but they loved their way to adulthood, as they followed the path God led them on. Each one shares their faith and love in their own way, either as a parent or mentor to children and young adults. I’m blessed to see how they live for the Lord.

As Mother’s Day comes around, I want to say thank you to all the women who have influenced my daughters. What a joy to know that there are ladies who reached out to mentor, teach and just be there. And I want to say thanks to my girls for making me the mom that I am today. J

Has someone reached out to you and made a difference in your life? 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

No Matter How Fancy, It's Still McDonald's

2 Timothy 2:14-16
Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

In Asheville, North Carolina, across from the famous and fancy Biltmore, stands a McDonald’s. The signs at the entrance and exit wear the golden arches. And I do mean golden. They are painted with gold gilt. Quite impressive to the person used to the larger than life, plastic, lighted ones that shine from the highway. Inside a baby grand sits in one corner, playing tunes to sooth the weary traveler. A fireplace graces a cozy eating area and a small fountain in the shape of a coffee cup hangs from the wall. Impressive, different, but does it make the food any different? Nope. It’s still McDonald’s. The same menu, the same sweet tea, the same yummy fries. A fun eating experience, but no matter how they might try to dress up the eatery, it’s still the same.

For years, people have tried to gussy up the jacket of the Bible, binding it in leather or gilding the page edges with gold. I’ve owned an orange one, one with flowers on the front, a white one with gold lettering, and a few others. No matter what the cover looks like, the Word of God remains the same. The accounts that the writers penned came from God. The Old Testament overflows with stories of His people. The New Testament witnesses Jesus sacrifice for sin. Timothy reminds me to handle the scripture correctly. As I read, I ask God to give me wisdom and understanding through the Holy Spirit. I love and trust God’s Word, no matter what wrapper it comes in. 

What's you favorite story or scripture?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Get Out the Pruning Shears

John 15:1-2
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Branchy green suckers sprouted off the roots of the crabapple tree in our backyard. The miniature forest, which popped up around the trunk, stole nutrition and water that the tree’s blooms needed in order to blossom. Other trees in the neighborhood bore pink and white flowers, while my tree struggled to stay green. Because I wanted my tree to flower, too, I took the clippers and pruned away the extra growth. I think I heard the tree sigh with relief. Within a few days, white buds burst into bloom.

In John 15, Jesus reminds me that He is the true vine and God even cut the fruitless branches from him. As a believer in Christ, I’m one of the Father’s vines, too. Sometimes, out of fear of change, laziness, or habit I spin my wheels and stay in a rut that keeps me from following God’s will.  It’s not easy to change behavior, step away from a situation or move in a new direction. But there are times that God redirects my path and asks me to change what I’m doing in order to serve him better and produce more fruit. Jesus knew that God expected him to die on the cross, but he also embraced the promise to bring him to life and take him to heaven. Along with God’s pruning comes the promise of life with Him in heaven.

What change has God asked you to make for him?