Showing posts from 2014

Green(er) Grass

  Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10   There is a saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the street, or fence or in Erma Bombeck speak, septic tank.   The idea being that things look better from a distance but when you get close, most often you prefer your own yard. I thought of that this morning when remembering a friend from high school.   I’m one of those odd people who attended the same school, with mostly the same children, from first grade through twelfth grade but when we got to ninth grade, high school, we did get an influx of new kids. One of those girls, Doreen, lived just a bit farther away from school than I did. If I’m remembering correctly she rode the bus to school but most days she walked home. I on the other hand, was driven to school in the morning by my father and picked up in the afternoon. Every day. By. My. Father. Get the emphasis? There was

Christmas Everywhere

  When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Luke 2:10   Our heavenly Father, from whom all blessings flow (James 1:17) has blessed my husband and me with ten precious grandchildren. It might be a bit biased to say that they are the sweetest, cutest kids ever but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Just the other day our youngest grandson Abram came to see us. It was his first time at our house since the arrival of the Christmas decorations. Walking in to our living room he stopped and said, “Grammy, it’s Christmas everywhere!” His voice was filled with the awe and wonder. As he moved through the house and saw more and more decorations he repeated his sentiment again adding, “It’s amazing.” Keep in mind our little prince is not quite two years old. In those moments   I was enjoying the privilege of seeing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a child. Beyond my decorations, Abram is absolutely right, it’s Christmas everywhere. At church on

Look Up

  To bestow on them a crown of beauty   instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of despair. Isaiah 61:3b   This morning while praying I realized that I was simply carrying too much junk. There are circumstances far beyond my control that are causing difficulty, disappointment and even pain in my life. Do I want them? No! So I chose to lay them down at the foot of the Cross and pick up the peace that transcends understanding. (Philippians 4:7) That is when the verse from Isaiah came to mind. It just felt wrong to lay down all my junk and walk away with peace but that is God’s plan.           As I continued with my reading and my prayers the peace grew. That was a bit odd as one of the readings was directed at one of my sorest spots. Right there in that moment I set the book down and asked God to reveal the deeper lesson to me. Why was He showing me those words in this moment? Friends, God is so very good. Within


  By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and he worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21     Just a few minutes ago I read this quote as part of a devotional message. The author of that message leaned pretty heavily on the idea of heritage and how important it was to Jacob’s sons and grandsons.   That made me smile because just yesterday afternoon my grandson Joey was talking to me about heritage.   We were in the kitchen and Joey was baking brownies for the first time.   I was talking him through the steps and told him that the recipe he was using came from his great-grandmother. “It was my mom’s recipe first.” I told him. “Now that you are using it you’re the fourth generation on this same recipe.” He grinned at me and said, “So it’s like heritage.”   Yes, precious boy, it’s like heritage. I am happy to pass on recipes, old family traditions and home remedies to my children and grandchildren but nothing makes me happier

In the Right Order

  Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Matthew 22:37-39   A message I read earlier today really touched my heart. It was a reminder that being a Christian, being a Christian, not saying that I’m a Christian, means putting Christ first. It means breaking down the strongholds and losing the idols. I responded to that message by going into a moment of prayer for that exact stance in my life. I prayed that God will always come first, reign supreme for me, own my heart and that after that will come my sweet husband, other people, whatever service God draws me toward and eventually, me.         That prayer reminded me of my newest precious friend Samah. Samah is incredibly expressive. When she tells me stories of what she did over the weekend or the evening before most of them include the cast list for th

No Filter

  Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. Hebrews 4:16   How many times have you heard it said of someone that he or she has no filter? My granddaughter Madelyn is the personification of that statement and she gets that quality straight from her mother. My daughter Laura is an adult now and as such has tamed her wild tongue a little bit. Madelyn, who I lovingly call Mim, has not. Mim says whatever she’s thinking. It pops into her head and she says it. Just the other day she told me that she’d seen an old picture of me with blonde hair. “Hey Grammy, so I saw a picture of you when you used to have blonde hair.” She looked at me, cocked her head, gave me the quirkiest little look and said, “Yeah, keep the red.” See what I mean? No. Filter.   And quite frankly we all love it, for now, because Mim is six years old. Eventually she’ll have to find a filter. Although knowing her as I do, I

Open Endings

    “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again: he was lost and is found. Luke 15:31 The story of the prodigal son has been a recurrent theme for me for years and recently it’s been a fairly constant companion. On close inspection and upon serious delving into it, I find that I am and/or have been every one of those three characters many times. I desire to be the Father. That is the kind of heart I want to have and to share. During my time with the story I’ve been able to identify a few places where I have been successful with that, with having and giving a version of that open armed, unconditional love. That is great, considering that being able to live life with that attitude is the goal.           I’m a person who hates the end of books, not because the story is over but because I have to give up the characters. Well written, richly de

The Great I AM/Dear Friend

  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 “I no longer call you servants but friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15   Which aspect of God is more familiar to you? Do you spend more time revering and feeling in awe of Alpha/Omega, Almighty God or with Jesus, who calls you friend? We realize intellectually that they are one in the same but having a deep and true understanding of that is much harder, if not impossible. It is after all referred to as the mystery of the Trinity. Somehow in order to be a close and sane follower of Jesus we have to rectify the two ideas, God omnipotent, holy, unique and mysterious and Jesus, relatable, close but also holy and unique. We can’t be so afraid of God that we refuse to draw close to Jesus, to accept the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we can’t be so comfy with our good pal Jesus that we forget t

The Measure of Success

  “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b God has placed me in a certain small group, not like a study group, more a social thing, that has given me a great glimpse into what He sees as important. Off and on over the years I’ve seen this but just recently a series of events has turned a spotlight on subject.                Through my experience with this group I’ve come to know which people I can rely on and which ones I cannot, which ones will take responsibility and which ones will shirk. I like them all and find most of them fun to be around. If you asked me to rank them in terms of worldly success I would have a pretty clear picture. If you asked me which of them is closest to doing the will of God, the picture would get a little fuzzy, not because of who they are but because of a world/human view as opposed to a spiritual one. It’s hard to decide because on paper a few look p

Precious Prayers

  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change   like the shifting of the shadows. James 1:17 Yesterday I had a lovely surprise, a mid-morning visit from my son Jeffrey. Due to our work schedules this never happens but it did and it was delightful. Normally when I see Jeffrey there are at least three children (his) around and usually more along with more adults. It is a rare and precious thing to spend time with anyone of my four children and be able to just sit and chat.             While we were chatting Jeffrey was telling me about praying with his wife and children, Isabelle who is eight, Samuel who is seven and Abigail who is three. We’d been talking about taking some pretty big blessings for granted and Jeffrey shared with me how Samuel’s prayers had humbled him a bit and shed a light on what should be obvious to all of us.             Samuel is a practical child and he is still very much


  Jesus said, “Who touched me?” When all denied it Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press you, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” Luke 8:45   I love this story and the accounts in Matthew and Mark. They all read pretty close to the same when it comes to the bleeding woman. She’s been ill for twelve years and seen every doctor around. Finally she gets her chance to see Jesus and out of total desperation she touches Him, not Him exactly but his clothing, the very edge of His clothing. The whole thing is amazing.           First it’s sad. This poor woman! She’s ill enough to risk touching a man, a strange man at that, which was unheard of in that day. Plus she’s somehow dragged her weak body into the streets and hustled her way close enough to touch, if not Him, at least His cloak. Your heart has to break for her. For years I got migraine headaches. Due to the type of migraine they came in a very cyclic pattern.   At the worst I was miserable for

A List of Miracles

  It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. Daniel 4:2   Today had kind of a rocky start for me. To go into the reasons why would, however, give the enemy attention and I prefer not to do that. So let’s just say it was a bit of a battle to refocus my thoughts and hold onto my joy. In fact as I type there are still little dings coming my way. Here’s the good news, God is good. I’ve said it before but I think it bears repeating, I’m irritated by the whole “life is good” slogan. Life is not good. Life is hard. God is good all the time.           As soon as I read this verse from the book of Daniel I had the support I needed. I was reminded of the greatness of God, His faithfulness, mercy and love. Why? Well, let me borrow from Daniel and make it my great pleasure to tell you about God’s movement in my life.           I have a wonderful husband. I’m aware of that always but every now and then there

Drawn In By Grace

  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.   1 Peter 3:9   A few weeks ago I had an eye opening conversation with a woman I’ve known for several years, I’ll call her Ann. Ann expressed her displeasure over another woman’s lack of gratitude. She told me how no matter what she does, how often she does it or how much of a sacrifice it is, the woman never thanks her. That conversation was very enlightening. I saw Ann wanting the recognition, expecting the thanks but I also saw that she neglects to give those things to the people who do for her. In that moment I saw a bigger picture. I wondered when or if Ann ever thanks God? She professes to be a Christian but it doesn’t seem to impact her life. I continued chatting with her but honestly only half-listening as my mind traveled a different path.   A few days after my conversation with Ann I had a very different conversation with a

Gram’s House

  How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7   When it comes to spiritual gifts I would tell you that I have no gift for evangelism. Any spiritual assessment I’ve ever taken has backed up that belief. In the traditional door knocking, Roman Roading sense, I am not, not, not an evangelist. I’m an encourager, a hostess, the support team, if you will. In the assessment this is lumped under exhortation.   I’m not fond of the word but I like the ideas behind it. Earlier today while reading an excellent book about growing more like God I came across a scene that gave me a new perspective. The author was talking about standing near the Father, being close to Him, at home with Him, welcoming others back to or into fellowship with God. That reminded me of one of my favorite childhood experiences. Growing up my absolute favorite person in the entire world was my Gram. She was so dear to me that spending time with her

To Be Known

  Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?” John 14:9   Reading these words of Scripture just now I felt an ache in my heart. Jesus has walked with these men for three years. He’s been as open as a person can possibly be and shared everything with them. Now he is nearing the end of his time with them and there is an added urgency. Soon he won’t be there in the flesh to direct and guide them. The urgency of Jesus’ words to Philip has always been apparent to me but this morning I read something a little different. I read a little sadness. We all want to be known, to be understood by those closest to us. Hear it that way, “Don’t you know me Philip?” Now put your dear friend’s name in there. “Don’t you know me ________?” Some of the most frustrating moments in my life have come from being misunderstood. When efforts to help or bless are m


My Father who has given them to me, is greater than al, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:29   Last night I watched a movie which included a relationship between a father and daughter. The daughter loved her father completely. He was her hero and her heart. Eventually she would discover that her hero had feet of clay. He was effusive and charismatic and he loved her to the best of his limited ability but his abilities were tainted and extremely limited. It broke her heart to realize that this giant, this personality, this father was a damaged human being who left pain and catastrophe in his wake. It reminded me in some ways of my own father and of a conversation I had recently with a friend. My father has a big personality. He is charming and endearing when you know him only on the surface. I was reminded of him when my friend Kim was telling me a story about a man her daughter had met at work. He was an older man but still full of life and humor. Kim’

Peace Not Worries

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day had enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34   This morning I read a message that talked about this verse from God’s perspective. There was an acknowledgement of the fact that while this is His command to us He knows it’s a bit beyond our abilities. That made my day!   During the school year I work in a classroom for children with special needs. Every single day we offer them challenges that, even as we’re planning them, we’re fairly sure they won’t be able to quite get it, at least not right away. It’s an invitation to try, to grow. No one is going to yell at them or discipline them if they conquer it on the first or thirtieth try. What we do is try another approach. We adjust our presentation to aid their success. Here in this verse, God gives a directive. Do. Not. Worry. It’s so important to Him that we have faith and trust in Him, in His will. Here, He is telling us not to worry. There

In Awe

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful I know that full well. Psalm 139:14   This morning I read a devotional message that spoke to the beauty of nature. As things of that genre often do, the passage made many references to the grandeur and glory of God’s handiwork and how we humans should feel so small in comparison. As I read I was mentally agreeing with it until the idea of how I was created stopped me. We humans are the ones created in God’s image. Don’t get me wrong I am in awe of nature. In fact the first line of the message asked are you a beach or mountain person and I couldn’t choose.   Not terribly long ago I would have emphatically answered beach but recently my husband and I had an amazing vacation in the mountains. Months later, looking at those pictures I can easily feel the wonder of being in such a magnificent place. The world we live in is full of beauty. In fact when we were in the mountains I asked


  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27   Self-image is a tough one right? Do you think you see yourself clearly? Is this a good day or a poor one? Either way, go to a mirror. Now, take a close look, try to see beyond the obvious. Got it? Great. What did you see? Someone who is energetic and ready to face the world? Someone who can’t wait to extend her hand in greeting and say, “Hello my name is Confidence, nice to meet you.” Or did you see what I hear so often, too fat, too thin, bad hair, dull eyes, stress, a dead end job, no friends, no spouse, and so on. This person will reluctantly or with forced politeness extend her hand and say, “Hello my name is Please Don’t Look Too Close.” Unfortunately for most of us most days are like the latter example. Very few of us start the majority of our days with a positive self-image. Personally I wake up and as has become my habit I speak immediately to God.