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, July 22, 2017

A Measure of Growth

Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

When we vacationed in Maine, Tim and I took a "Lobster Tour." Our first afternoon in that beautiful state we boarded the Lucky Catch, on the Casco Bay in Portland. The little red boat held about fourteen tourists ready to learn about the trade of lobstering. First, we filled mesh bags with chubs and herring, then tied them into the traps. The captain taught us about the traps, how the larger lobsters get caught and the little ones have an escape hatch. The whole experience was hands-on. When we pulled in the traps and found a female, they showed us she was a layer and threw her back. Then the captain demonstrated which of the larger male lobsters to keep and which to send back to the water.


The captain grabbed the lobster and a gage. He hooked one end of the measuring tool to the socket behind the lobster's eye, then drew the other end straight down along the crustacean's carapace (back). The minimum length had to be three and a quarter inches for him to keep it. Otherwise back to the deep they went for a chance to grow.

Like those lobsters that get thrown into the sea, God wants me to keep growing. My Father knows where I am as a believer. He knows my heart and sees my soul. When I think of ways to grow spiritually I call up the verses in Galatians where Paul names the Fruit of the Spirit. My love needs to multiply. Does God draw me through the fires of life to increase my compassion for people? I'm willing to say yes. Does he require I wait to develop patience? Of course. How about experiencing hurt and pain to remember to be kind and gentle. Yes! God wants me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. He wants me to strengthen my knowledge of his word. Does he use a gage to measure my growth? No, instead he checks my heart. Jesus knows me. He loves me and he wants me to be filled with joy. And that takes growth—in learning his word, in prayer, and in obedience.


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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

God's own Hands

Isaiah 44:23
Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

I never get tired of experiencing God's amazing creation. On our trip to Maine this week, we spent a day in the rural area between Portland and New Harbor. We journeyed up the coast across parts of the Casco Bay. Trees lined the roadways; not just fence lines of scrubs or a spruce here and an oak there. Instead we passed by forested areas grown by God's own hands. I couldn't help but wonder what animals roamed the woods. Maybe a bear or a moose. But those were left to my imagination. Other areas we crossed were covered by wetlands and waterways. Everywhere we looked, beauty sang a song of glory to the Creator.

As I prepare to leave the great state of Maine, I thank the Lord for the experience to visit another area of the world. No matter how large or small the geographical areas in my life are, I know God's hands formed everything. From the sandy beaches to the evergreen trees to the call of the sea gulls, I witnessed the glory of God by his presence in this amazing environment. I love his incredible imagination and wisdom.


Shout to Him with joy, for He is good!
Do you connect to God through nature?  

Friday, July 7, 2017

I'm Not Home Yet

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.”

Have you ever prepared for a long trip? A journey to a new place? An adventure of a lifetime. We've spent the last few months booking places to stay, creating lists of things to do, pages of what to pack and mapping out a route. Maybe you do this for vacation, taking a child to college, or moving across the country. This year, we'll be packing our bags for a week long excursion across several states. I'm excited to go places I've never been and see things I've only dreamed of. But to go from dreaming about the trip to actually loading the car and driving off, we've had to get ready.

In John 14, Jesus talks about a different kind of journey he's designing for his followers. Building 429 sings, Where I Belong, a song that talks about not being home yet and looking forward to the time when they'll meet Jesus face-to-face. Even as Jesus sets the table in his Father's mansion and lays out a path for me to follow, I need to prepare for the journey. I can't just sit around and dream about the day I'll see Jesus. I need to pray and listen to his voice. I want to follow his map, the Bible. I try to obey my God and Savior, as I anticipate his coming. He's promised to return for the faithful. I praise God for his grace and the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. I know I'm not home yet. But someday I will be spending my days at the feet of Jesus' throne.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Reflections of the Heart

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


Before July ends, I will celebrate another birthday. I've chalked up a lot of experience in the years I've lived. As I looked in the mirror this morning, my reflection stared back. White hair, tired eyes, wrinkles and frown lines. Life mapped out on my face. Sounds depressing doesn't it. Until I look past the physical markings and see the cheeks my husband, children, and grandchildren kiss. The hair I still have. The eyes that take in the beauty of the natural world. I see hints of my mom and my dad, resemblances to my siblings. Years of worry and sadness are balanced by many more moments of joy and love.

Somewhere in the reflection, I recognize the love Jesus pours over me. The grace he offers freely. Even as I live on earth, I see Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, the apostle Paul talks about "a reflection as in a mirror," as in what we see now—today—here on earth. But "then we shall see face to face," not in a mirror but face to face. Jesus will return to take his followers, the believers, the obedient—and then we will see him face to face. Not just a reflection, but our true Savior will stand in front of us in all of his glory. What a joy that will be!

As I reflect on my life, I pray that my heart reflects the deep love I have for Jesus and the grace he's given me. I praise God for many years lived surrounded by people I love.
Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

He is my Rock

Malachi 3:6
"I the Lord do not change."

I've joked that the most consistent thing about working in a library is change. New software, new methods of teaching, new information, new ways of getting the information. Constant change keeps the library moving into the twenty-first century.

Monday, the three librarians I work with and I set up our office and a temporary library in two classrooms. We moved the essential books and whatever we needed to work in the space, while the library is getting sprinklers and new heating and cooling. I've lost count of the changes that have occurred in the eleven years I've worked for Clermont. But I can tell you this—I've struggled with every single one.

I'm not good with change. I like my routine. I like the workflow I've set up. I like my office space. Yet, every time a change has been made, I've adjusted (sometimes with whining.) But each time, I've learned the new software, pushed my office chair to a different desk, or moved books to a different location, I've adapted.

For all the change I see in my daily life, I am so thankful that the God I love, does not change. He's always the same. He loves me and wants the best for me. He's ready to listen to my prayers and answer them. God is the same—All.The.Time! No matter how frustrated I get, worried I become, or troubled I am, God stays the same. He's my rock. He loves me. He knows what's ahead and why the change is necessary. And he knows what's best for me. Praise God he is the great I am.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:3

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Muck of Worry

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

When I was a young teen, I nearly drowned. I was swimming with my friends in their pond and I felt like I was pulled under. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't push myself up. Fortunately, my friend noticed and one of her brothers caught hold of me and tugged me out of the water. I don't know if my foot got trapped in the muck at the bottom or if a whirlpool caught me, but I was sinking with little hope of swimming my way out. Lately, I've had that overwhelming feeling that I'm caught at the bottom of a pond, struggling to swim to the top. That's what worry does.

Worry causes me to take my eyes off of the one who calms my soul. I'm not anxious about money, or my health. I'm not as anxious as I used to be about our kids. Although, I can still work up a good worry about them. But the one area that makes my anxiety go up, like the mercury in a  thermometer on a ninety-degree day, is my grandchildren. With Facebook, Twitter, newspapers and the news, I read way too much bad news. So far this summer I've read probably fifteen different stories about how bad ticks and mosquitoes will be this summer and the diseases they carry. People have posted lots of articles on water safety/tragedies. Then there are the other stories that I hate to even mention, that involve children. Please understand, I take all of this seriously, but I shouldn't let it terrify me.

Instead I should take my concerns to the one I trust the most. The God of all creation, who made the universe and counted every silver hair on my head. Our children and grandchildren are growing up in trying times. One tragedy after another. And all I want to do is protect them all. But that's not my job. No, my job is to pray. To ask God to watch after the little ones, and not so little ones. To seek God's guidance as I share life with them. Instead of spending time drowning in the depths of worry, I hit my knees and asked forgiveness for not trusting the one who holds my heart and the hands of our grandchildren. They are a valuable treasure, God has given me. Instead of worrying I want to spend my time encouraging them and teaching them about the hope I have in the Lord.

Worry is a pariah that results in paralyzing fear. Instead of worrying—pray and trust God.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Heartfelt Thanks

Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

In the past month, we've received six thank you notes. Two in our mailbox, three on my desk at work, and one via messenger. We've been blessed to be included in a wedding, graduations, the birth of a baby and a housewarming. One was for my years of service where I work. Each time I opened a card and read the heartfelt words, I felt good. My heart was happy at the simple, but kind, gesture of someone taking the time to say thank you. Years ago it was the custom to pen thank you notes and send them often. I'm a little sad that our society has gotten away from that.

From receiving the notes, I realized how I've failed to continue the custom of thanks. A custom that predates our society. The Bible speaks often of giving thanks. Paul told the folks who received his letters how thankful he was for them. The Old Testament is full of moments when people gave thank offerings to God. Daniel thanked God for his wisdom. 

We hear a lot lately about being a kinder society. I believe if we give thanks more often, the kindness will follow. Paul writes in Colossians that we should be "overflowing with thankfulness." Certainly, that thankfulness should be given to God. But let's not forget to thank our spouses, friends, children, co-workers, and family, too. Maybe even write a note of thanks. Try that this week and see what happens.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Did Martha Go Wash the Dishes?

John 11:21-27
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

I like Martha; Jesus' friend and Lazarus and Mary's sister. Too often she gets a bad rap. She's accused of worrying about the practical things while her sister rested at Jesus' feet, learning. But when you read the rest of her story...

Martha loved her brother and sister. It appears she takes good care of the household they share. Of course Lazarus has responsibility as the male in a Jewish household. No doubt, Mary does her part. But Martha makes sure the everyday things get done. Food is prepared, water is drawn, floors are swept, clothes are cleaned. But don't be fooled by Martha's focus on the essentials.

In her story from John 11, her brother Lazarus has died. Martha and her sister sent for Jesus, but he arrived after the fact. I'm sure she and Mary prepared Lazarus body with oils before they laid him in the cave and pushed a rock in front of it. So they knew Jesus was too late to heal their brother. I'm guessing Mary wanted to sit at Jesus' feet again and listen to his wisdom and comfort. But Martha wanted hope. In her heart she knew Jesus' power, she understood his significance, she believed he was the Son of God. That faith paid off. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave and brought him back to life.

Martha and Mary witnessed this miracle up close and personal. Did Martha go wash the dishes? No, she confessed her faith to Jesus. When Martha needed to, she took care of business. Yet, along with her can-do spirit she worshiped her Lord and shared his hope. I like Martha. She's a nice blend of practical and faithful. Her feet scurried around the house even as her heart was full of Jesus' love.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

They Will Walk and not be Faint

Isaiah 40:31
...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.

When I worked in an elementary school library, I met a lot of children. Fortunately for me, my path has crossed with many of them over the years. I enjoy learning who they've become as adults. I've even had a few of them work for me at the college library. Today my story is about one little girl. As clear as day, I still see her sweet face peeking at me over my desk as she waited to check out a book. She had a beautiful smile with a hint of shyness. My husband delivered bottled water to her family, and he'd told me a little bit about them. "Good people," he said.

Hannah attended our school for a while, but eventually moved to a different district. But the Lord had plans for our paths to cross. We met up again at church, where I got to know her family. Though our journeys have taken us different directions again, I still keep in touch with her folks. The other day, her dad posted Hannah's photo on Facebook. In the picture, she's wearing glasses, her hair is pulled back, her cap pulled down and she's carrying a huge pack. But under it all is the sweet, shy girl I remember. And that sweet girl is all grown up and going through basic training as she prepares to serve her country. I'm thankful we have people like Hannah, who love God and the USA. God has blessed me just by knowing her.

This Memorial Day, I say a prayer of thanks for the men and women who gave their all for our freedom. I also ask you to pray with me for those who are fighting the fight. I pray the words of Isaiah and ask that "They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Purpose and Passion: Mary of Bethany

Matthew 26: 6-13
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you,  but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

In Jesus time, before a person was buried his loved ones poured oil on the body as an acknowledgement of their love and to help with the decomposition. When the woman in the story poured her perfume on Jesus head the disciples didn't understand. But the woman did. This woman who is the sister of Martha, from the Martha and Mary story, loved Jesus. He was her mentor, her teacher, and her friend. And she knew his time on earth would soon end.

Mary of Bethany is one of my favorite women in the Bible. If you remember, she was the one who sat at Jesus feet while Martha prepared food for their company. Now she's going against the societal grain again and preparing Jesus for his death, when he hasn't yet died. The beauty in Mary's story is her obedience. God gave her a task to do and she listened. Both times, in Simon the Leper's home and in her own house, she worshiped Jesus. Without doubt, Mary understood Jesus inevitable demise, but she also knew in her heart he was the King of kings and he'd keep his promise to return.

Mary had a heart for God, faith in Jesus, and an understanding of her purpose. Someone said the other day, find your passion and you'll find your purpose. Mary's passion was obeying God, her purpose was being a dear friend to Jesus. I believe God places our purpose on our hearts and guides us in them day-to-day. Mine is encouraging and giving hope. I can't change the world, but I can share my love for Jesus and offer hope in the midst of strife. I pray I have a heart for Jesus as Mary did; that I'll do beautiful things for my Lord.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

God Freed Mary from the Ordinary

Luke 2:6
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

Acts 1:14
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


From beginning to end, Mary loved her son, Jesus. She cuddled him in the manger and stood with him at the cross. And she prayed.

Day after day, Mary labored beside her family members, probably her grandmother, mother, sisters, aunts and cousins. Between carrying water, preparing food, and watching out for the families children, she worshiped God. She loved her heavenly Father and followed his direction. When he called on her to be the mother of Jesus, although she was troubled, she obeyed.

Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

I've been reading a book by Sharon Jaynes, How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free. She tells the stories of several women in the Bible and how Jesus gave them respect and love. In Mary's chapter she writes, "God freed Mary from an ordinary life and freed her to fulfill an extraordinary purpose." Isn't that beautiful? In obedience we're set free! God requires obedience, not because he wants to control us. But because he has an amazing life in store for us. Mary's life was truly incredible. She was the mother of Jesus. I can't imagine how extraordinary that would be. She knew him in a way no one else did. And he loved her as only a son could.

John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple [John] whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

As a mother and daughter, I've been blessed beyond anything I could imagine. I pray that I continue to obey the Lord and pass the blessings on to my mom and daughters.

Happy Mother's Day and God bless!




Jaynes, Sharon. How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free. Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishers, 2015.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Life is Not a Checklist

1 Thessalonians 1:3
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I like lists. I have, for as long as I've put pen to paper. On my desk at work, a pad of lined paper rests between me and my computer. I use the notes I jot down to prompt me to complete tasks I've been given. At the top, I've written the typical things I do each week, plus the emergency phone numbers for the college. Under that, I list projects, reminders, social media needs, and anything else I should remember. By the end of the week, I've checked off finished items, made addendums, and recorded new ideas. Without my notes, there's a great chance I'd forget to do something important at work.

As much as I like lists, I can't live my life by checking off boxes. Organization works wonders for a project. But not so much for life. Living life is more about prompts, nudges, crossroads, inspiration, and endurance. Life in Christ includes hope, conviction, the nudgings of the Holy Spirit, opportunities to serve, and unexpected joy. I've seen a cartoon that depicts life in two boxes. What we think life might be, a straight line from point A to point B. Or what life really is, a squiggly line that curves every which way from point A to point B. There have been stretches in my life when I've tried to live off of a check list, trying to get from A to B with the least resistance. Each time God has had other plans.

If you're a parent, take time to play with your kids. If your children are teens, hang out with them. 
If you're married, date your spouse. 
If you're single enjoy the adventure God's given you.   
If you work outside the home, stop and ask your co-worker how their day is going. 
Take the walk, pet the dog, smell the flowers.
My point--God has plans for me. If my head is focused on a list all the time, I'm going to miss out. I want to live like the Thessalonians who were prompted by love and inspired by hope. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Oh, to be a Bird!

Matthew 6:25-27
 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

The gold finches and house finches visit the feeder beside our porch. We hung it at the beginning of spring and have been blessed with fluttery visitors ever since. After work, I often sit in my Adirondack chair, camera in hand, hoping to catch a photo of these sweet beauties. If you're a fan of gold finches, you've noticed that the male bird's feathers dull with winter. This mechanism of molting hides him from predators. With spring, his plumage returns to a bright yellow to attract his mate. I am amazed how God takes care of the tiniest details of his creation.

Finches love to eat thistle and milkweed. Even though I enjoy having them at my feeder, they don't depend on me for food. God takes care of them. He supplies their need. How much more does he do for me? And why do I worry? I read the other day that worry causes stress and anxiety, but concern results in action/prayer. Worry blows circumstances up to ridiculous proportion. While prayer offers peace and guidance. Jesus is telling us to stop worrying about the basics and keep our minds on the spiritual. Eat what we have, wear what we have and be more concerned about our souls. Feed on spiritual food and grow in him. Praise God he values us!


Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sowing the Seeds

1 Corinthians 3:5-9
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Early this morning I went outside and dug a little ditch behind our lilies. In the row I sprinkled seeds, zinnias and forget-me-nots. The seed packets suggested I plant them in April, where they would grow in full sun. Zinnias have filled my flower beds with color before. I love the bright reds, pinks and yellows. The blue forget-me-nots will be pretty with the orange tiger lilies. Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll see little green sprouts pop out of the ground.  But, all I can do now is water and wait. I can't make them grow. That's up to God.

As Christ followers, we may plant the seed of God's word and truth in the heart of a friend. We may even do a little watering through prayer and compassion. But God is the one who brings growth. He's the one who causes the sprout to burst through the ground and mature in to a blooming flower. He's the one who leads our friend on the path to him. We have a purpose, in planting and watering, but God has the ultimate task of bringing growth.

When I was a young Christian, I thought I had to win people to Jesus all by myself. My heart ached when I couldn't find a way to bring someone completely to Christ. I even found myself getting in God's way. As I grew in the word, I began to understand my purpose. Once I figured out that I was a planter, a sower of the word. I found peace. As a Jesus' follower, plant the seed, sprinkle the water, and allow God to do the rest. He knows what he's doing!

What seeds do you like to sow?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good, Good Father

 Luke 24: 1-6a
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"

I don't think it's an accident that we celebrate Easter in the spring, the time of new life.

Two places bring me closer to the Lord than any other. One is the ocean, the other is the woods. Tim and I hiked through one of the local wildlife preserves on good Friday. And I couldn't help but think about Jesus. I spied trillium as blood red as the blood Jesus spilled. White trillium reminded me of Jesus' forgiveness and how he will make us whiter than snow. Patches of purple dwarf larkspur wore their royal robes, like those of the King.


As we walked, the peacefulness of the forest calmed my busy mind. With worries and stress quieted, the beautiful song "Good, Good Father" whispered in my ear. At one point I closed my eyes and let the music fill my head. God is a good, good father and without doubt he loves every one of his children. So much so that he sent his own son to save us from sin and offer us the road to heaven.  

Spring is the time to rejoice in new life. The flowers, the greening up of the trees, but most of all the resurrection of Jesus.

Let's celebrate Jesus this Easter. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Where the Spirit of the Lord is...

This week we remember Palm Sunday as Jesus trekked through the streets of Jerusalem on a donkey. The people met him and waved palm branches and sang, “Blessed is the king of Israel!” In Jesus' humble way he knew his future was death and his celebration meant freedom for all who followed him.

He knew the road led to torture and sacrifice, yet he took the path anyway.

Why would this man who understood his destiny walk right into death's door? 
Because he loves us. He knew he offered the only means to forgiveness and eternal hope.

Jesus death and resurrection offer a freedom like no other.

Freedom from the weight of worry.

Freedom from the love of material things.

Freedom from anxiety.

Freedom from the opinions of politicians and Hollywood stars.

Freedom from society's values.

Freedom to pray at any moment of the day.

Freedom from sin.

Romans 3:23-24 ...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

Jesus is the only road to heaven. He gives forgiveness, freedom, and hope.

On this Palm Sunday weekend, know that Jesus died so everyone would have an opportunity to live in freedom. Praise the Lord for his Son!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Don't Lose Sight

Matthew 24:42-44 
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Tim and I drove to a local lake to walk the dogs. With spring weather, we hoped to see some of the blue herons that nest in our area. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed two of them resting nearby. I lifted my binoculars and took in the sight of a male great blue heron on one shore and a female who perched on a limb in the water. As I watched them, I wanted to keep my eyes on both at the same time, an impossible task. Just as I turned toward the female, the male took flight. He didn't go far, but I missed his majestic rise into the air. I'd lost sight of him in a blink. That's all it took to miss my chance to watch one of my favorite birds glide above the water's surface. I wasn't ready to sit and wait on the him.

So many times in my walk with Jesus, I'm preoccupied. My mind is on anything but serving the Lord. In Matthew, Jesus spoke to his disciples, who were often sidetracked and sometimes confused. I mean—they spent every day with the Lord, but sometimes they just didn't get it. In Matthew, Jesus laid the future out for them. He warned them to keep watch, because once he died and rose again he'd be back. We wouldn't know when, but he promised he'd return "with power and great glory."

Last week God gave me three words to think on, "Don't lose sight". I wasn't sure why at first, but I truly believe he was reminding me to be prepared. He wants me to keep my sights on him and be ready for his return. I have no idea when Jesus will come for his followers or when I might leave this world. But what I do know is, I want to be ready. I pray we'll all be prepared to meet Jesus when he comes.


Praise God for Jesus!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Divine Appointment

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

I love it when God makes an appointment for me. He sets up a time for my path to cross that of another person, without my knowledge. On Thursday, I was meeting family for dinner and I had a little time before our meal. As I drove into town, I stopped by the local library for a restroom stop and just to browse. As I wandered among the shelves I heard a familiar voice. A dear friend, and fellow librarian, was sharing some fun book titles with a young lady. I peeked through the shelf and sure enough there was my good friend. Neither of us work in this library, yet here we both stood. We hugged and had a great conversation God knew I needed.

You see, I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to stop at the library. I could have gone to a gas station or even the restaurant for a bathroom. But God knew I needed to go to the library and talk with Sharee. One of my daughter's will be traveling out of the country soon. I'll be honest—I've been nervous about the trip. Sharee's daughter had traveled to the same country my daughter intended to go to, so she had knowledge of the area. She messaged me later after she'd looked up the target mission. Her words and information gave me great comfort and reduced the stress I'd experienced about the trip. I know without a doubt, the Holy Spirit nudged me to stop by the library. I had a divine appointment with Sharee. I love this about Jesus. He knows our needs and meets them, no matter how small. It's my job to listen and respond to the Spirit's prompting. Now I am excited for my daughter and the mission she's pursuing. I pray for safety and that her team can help those in need and touch the people with Jesus love. Pray with me, if you would.

Praise God for divine appointments!


Friday, March 17, 2017

When I'm not at Liberty to Speak

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

My co-worker, Natalie and I presented at a library staff conference this week. We'd been working on the PowerPoint and ideas for a few weeks. But I felt I lacked something. I wasn't quite grabbing the baton for my part of the program. Yet, I moved forward and gave the attendees encouragement in the world of library technical services. I thought maybe I fell short because I was nervous or tired. Although the evaluation sheets reflected satisfaction with the program. Still, I couldn't shake the dissatisfaction I felt in my heart. Then it hit me...

I'm enthusiastic about libraries and information. But compared to my love for Jesus, everything else pales. Without the freedom to include words about God and salvation in my talk, I left feeling empty. But that's how it is in the world. There are times when I will be in front of others, and I won't be at liberty to speak of the Jesus I love. But I will be able to show God's love, through encouragement and compassion. I may not be able to quote scripture, but I can speak with a love in my heart to the people God created. You see, it's not always the words that give a resounding message. My actions show others what Jesus already knows is in my heart. Was I kind, encouraging, peace-filled, joyous, gentle and self-controlled? I hope so.

When the woman caught in adultery was taken before Jesus to be condemned, instead of spilling out a string of words, he knelt and wrote in the dirt. He didn't find the need to spew out what he believed, instead he showed patience and gave no condemnation. How often are people watching instead of listening. Most of the time.


Whether an opportunity to speak or a chance to share, I pray the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are pleasing to God. Praise God for his guidance in all things.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lord of All Creation

Jeremiah 10:12-13
But God made the earth by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom
    and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Last week Tim and I stopped by Kroger to pick up groceries. As we drove around the parking lot to find a space, I looked into the field in front of the store. I was appalled. Litter tugged against the green sprouts of spring. Pop cans, food wrappers, and water bottles rolled around in the wind. Why on earth did anyone let that happen? I understand that sometimes a piece of paper might fall out of a cart or car. But good grief, it looked like someone dumped their trash out and let it fly.

God created an incredible place for us to live. The oceans, plains, mountains and the changing seasons. Spring should bring the beauty of the daffodils and forsythia, not garbage in the field. I appreciate God's creation and love being out in the woods or by the water. But mind you, I don't worship nature, instead I worship the Creator of all the wonders of the earth. The people in Jeremiah's time struggled with idols in nature. They bowed down to the sun and the moon. If any weather seemed like a threat, they thought they were being punished and shut down all their work to tremble in fear. But they had it all wrong. God gave us the earth and all the natural resources to use and appreciate. In turn, he expects us to take care of all creation. I thank God for this earth and pray we teach the next generation to take care of our world. Praise God for his creation!

Here is God of Wonder by Chris Tomlin. Love this song!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

In the Palm of his Hand

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Batavia sits in a small valley surrounded by low-lying hills. Just enough hill to cause a cozy, tucked-in effect. But on Thursday morning, the atmosphere seemed anything but cozy. The radio called for thunderstorms and a threat of tornadoes. As I drove through the center of town I watched the sky. Dark clouds billowed toward our little town. As I moved west, the clouds pushed east. The sky darkened as the clouds rolled. Lightning lit up the outline of the hills after thunder crashed through the air. We were in for a deluge. As I pulled in to my parking spot and jumped out of the Jeep the huge drops of rain, that come just before a downpour, accompanied me to the door. After I entered the building, rain let loose and poured in sheets. The wind ripped through and shoved water across the parking lot. The storm arrived with no mercy.


Sounds like life, doesn't it. Except there are not always warnings. Instead the thunder and lightning of life takes us by surprise. Illness, death, loss of job, divorce, broken friendships, disappointment, and on the tempest rolls. It's heartbreaking. But in the midst of all the storms there's hope! My brother sings a beautiful hymn that reminds me of God and his love, "‘Til the Storm Passes By." The lyrics are a prayer seeking God's protection in the midst of turmoil. The vocalist asks God to hold him in the palm of his hand. And that's exactly what he does. He hears our cries and wraps his arms around us, lifts us up and sees us through. No matter how dark the clouds, or heavy the rain, God offers peace and joy on the other end. He is our hope in every storm. Praise God for his endless love and provision.

Friday, February 24, 2017

You Might Be Surprised

Matthew 9:10-13
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus loves people. It doesn't matter who they were, where they came from, or their occupation. He took the time to sit down with the folks he met, get to know them and share with them the His Story. Yes, he talked to them about salvation because he loved them. Back in his day, tax collectors we're often cheaters who stole money for themselves from the collected taxes. They were pretty much low-lifes in the eyes of the community. And you can bet, the religious leaders of the day didn't bother to even say hello. Yet Jesus sat down at the table with Matthew.

Tax collectors weren't the only ones Jesus befriended. His disciples were a bunch of regular guys who were sometimes a bit clueless and smelled like fish. But he loved them and taught them about the new kingdom, his kingdom and his sacrifice. Then there were the women. Mary Magdalene had been filled with demons. Jesus cast them out of her, and she followed him. He loved children and protected them. He loved older people, sick people, and sinners. Jesus wasn't a push-over. He was a care-taker, one who wanted the best for everyone he met. And that best is salvation. So you might be surprised who the Lord hung out with. It wasn't the kings or queens, rabbis or teachers. Oh he spoke with them, too. But he spent his precious time on earth with regular people. Like you and me. And he still wants to, through us.

He invited regular old Joes and Janes to take up the cross and follow him. He included the lame, the lepers, and the dying into his fold. He healed and loved. Knowing how Jesus cared for people, how can I do any less? It's hard for me because I'm not exactly a people person, yet God puts folks in my path and says love them. With his help I do.


How about you? Who has Jesus called you to love? Who has he asked you to share his story with?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Be Found Faithful!

Acts 7:55-56
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Jesus' disciple Stephen had preached without fear about his beloved Savior. He spoke with conviction and determination. The people who served in the Sanhedrin, a ruling body of the government, didn't like Stephen's message, so they stirred the crowd and had the young man stoned to death. Stephen wasn't afraid to die. He trusted God and he loved Jesus. He was called to be faithful and he was. Right up until the end.

Even in death, Stephen's faith made him a winner in life. He chose to follow the King, despite suffering. Because "a follower who suffers, doesn't lack faith." As our minister, Didi, preached those words about Stephen last Sunday, my husband passed me a note. The message he shared reflected Stephen's story. His note said, "Our life will never be lived in vain when we are a follower of Jesus. God has a plan for us & will use our life of faithfulness to touch & change the hearts of others."


That's right. No matter how much we hurt, how much difficulty life throws at us, or how much sadness a day may bring, faith will carry us through, because Jesus surrounds us, his Spirit fills us, and God sees us. "It's not about the pain-it's about seeking Jesus." (Didi Bacon) Replace fear with faith and go for the win. Stephen saw the King on his throne. He knew his destination, and his faith held fast, even as he was being destroyed. We're called to be faithful not perfect. Praise God for his glorious grace!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

God's Gate

Psalm 100:4-5
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.



We were driving from the restaurant to my condo when my grandson, Zeke, piped up from the back seat. "Do you think God is looking at us?" My response. "Sure, I know he sees us every day. Why do you ask?" Zeke in his matter-of-fact way said, "Cause I see his gate. See it. It's where the sun is coming through the clouds." Sure enough, the sun shined between two billowing clouds. A few seconds later he said, "Me and my sister saw his big gate the other day. The sun really came down." Out of the mouths of babes.

Zeke was pleased that God was watching us. Happy that God's sun broke through the clouds and shone on us. Quite often, I'm reminded of God's love through my grandchildren. In their innocence they understand God's open arms. Adult lives can get messed up. Sin sneaks in or sometimes walks in boldly and causes chaos. Frustration rears its ugly head. Anger seeps out. It's easy to forget that God is right beside me, wanting to help if I just ask. This sweet little boy's reminder of God's presence fills my heart with joy. I praise God for his love and care. I'm thankful we have visible reminders of the One who loves us most.

No matter what your going through God is beside you. He wants to lift you up and give you hope. Just ask.

What other ways does God show himself to you?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hope through Restoration

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've always appreciated the process people go through when they restore an old home. With each floor board they replace, kitchen they refurbish, and wall they rebuild, the contractor breathes new life into a worn and weary structure. One of the homes we moved into had been uninhabited for months. Windows were broken, animals had left behind messes, and floors were warped. The home had deteriorated into an unlivable environment. But when Tim and I walked through the house we saw potential. A place to share with our children and for them to invite over friends. After weeks of work, thanks to several of our family members, the old place took on a renewed life.

I think God views us like we saw that old house. Whether tired, broken down, disappointed, or lost in the shuffle of life, God sees us for who we are. He recognizes our potential and restores and gives us new hope if we ask. I enjoy watching the HGTV show Fixer Upper. At the end of the program they ask the new homeowners, "Do you want to see your fixer upper?" When they pull apart a giant picture of the original house that they have on wheels; a new, beautiful, and restored version of the old place stands before them. God can do the same for people. There was a time I was a broken down, weary version of myself. But after I asked Jesus to renew my spirit, he breathed new life into me and filled me with his hope and joy.

Jesus told his disciples that God created a beautiful mansion. A place for us to live in and invite our friends to. A place in heaven that will never be destroyed. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to living in one of those rooms he's prepared. I thank God for restoration and hope.

How has Jesus renewed you?