Showing posts from 2018


  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called   children of God. 1 John 3:1 Last night my husband and I were watching a TV show where a young woman told a group of her friends that she planned to change her name to avoid using her famous father’s influence. She wanted to make it on her own merit. An older, more experienced woman in the group told her not to do that. “Forget that! Use whatever you’ve got to help you get ahead.” This morning I read a devotional message about Mary. It said that at the time she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus she was “ordinary, unqualified and young.” Hm, I’m not young but I immediately related, ordinary, check, unqualified, check, and old, which in these times is as bad or worse than too young. But wait, I have a pretty influential Father and I am not afraid to use his name. More to the point I embrace his name. I pray that everything I do is for God’s glory. Very often I ask for opportunities to share

A Tale of Two Grinches

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity that were two years old and under in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 2: 16   Every year the children in our family watch the Grinch. This year there was a new version that I saw in the theater with my sweet daughter-in-love and two of our precious grandchildren.   The draw of the Grinch story is redemption.   It is wonderful to see that love is the answer. The Grinch is evil! Or is he? It turns out that maybe he was just sad and lonely.   He didn’t feel love because his life was devoid of it. He is shocked when he sees that the Whoville citizens are still full of joy even though all of their celebratory finery is gone. The key is in the line that says they are happy as long as they have “hands to clasp.” In other words, all is well as long as they have each other.   Hearing that loving sentiment, seei

Say Yes

  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28 Uh-oh. The greeting starts with flattery. Shouldn’t Mary be a little suspicious? Have you gotten those phone calls or greetings? When my children start out with some form of flattery I know I’m in for a request. Any version of “Hi wonderful Mama” and I wait for the follow-up favor. So there’s an angel in the room and he says, “Greetings you who are highly favored.” Now we know that Mary is a bright young woman because the next verse, verse 29 says this, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”   Keep in mind, Mary is not married yet, (oh honey, you look so pretty today) nor does she have children (there’s my sweet mama) so she is not familiar with this type of greeting... yet. In the history of all the favors/requests I’ve had come my way, none, not one, not a single request comes anywhere near, “we’d like you to be


  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.   Luke 1:36-37* What seems like “old age” to you? Most likely it depends on how many birthdays you’ve enjoyed. How about this, how old is too old to be pregnant?   Add quite a few more years to that and you’re probably at Elizabeth’s age. For Elizabeth and Zechariah the baby train had long since left the station. Except for… it hadn’t! It’s one of those circumstances that I dearly love when two words, “but God” change the whole picture. Elizabeth is entirely too old to have a baby, but God had other plans.   Zechariah was so shocked he questioned the angel and was mute from that moment until the birth of his son John. Elizabeth most likely was equally shocked but her thrill at being pregnant surpassed all else. Just a bit later Elizabeth’s cousin Mary would hear the same news, “you’re having a

About Doubts

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14 In the course of my faith walk, I have been asked if I have doubts. Uh, yes! There are often follow up questions. What about when this happens? Why do you think that happens? Why does God, a loving God, allow [fill in the blank]? More often than not my answer to the follow up questions is that I simply don’t know. While I love being God’s ambassador, a witness to his unending, enormous love, grace and power, I do not pretend to understand him fully or even semi-fully.   This I know, God is real. His love is real. He is absolutely in my corner and if you will invite him in, he will absolutely be in your corner. I know that I am saved by grace, by the all-encompassing sacrifice made by Jesus on the Cross. Much like my brothers in faith before me, I have doubts and I take great comfort in Matthew 28:17. “When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubt

Sharing Joy

  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Luke 2:10 Christmas music! I love it. It’s playing in my house now that Thanksgiving is over. It’s been playing in stores for a few weeks now. Technically it shouldn’t be playing anywhere yet. It isn’t Christmas. It isn’t even Advent but the world isn’t so much concerned with those facts, so there’s jingling bells and reindeer paws and ho ho hoing everywhere. Do you know what else there is everywhere? Joy, Jesus, light, angels and hope. Everywhere! What happens is that all kinds of public places put on “Christmas” music and while five songs may be about grandma’s untimely demise, cookies or bells at least one or two in the mix are going to be about the actual point of Christmas, which is Christ. I love it! All of those people who choose to actively avoid any connection with Jesus are now wittingly or not, singing about him. Think about it. You’re walking

Such A Mess

  Lord you are my God: I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:4 I just read a quote that says, “God is at work in the mess. That’s the message of the Bible.”   Isn’t that great? If you don’t feel, at least sometimes, like a bit of a mess, please contact me. I really want to learn your secret. Personally I more often than not feel a bit like a mess, a productive mess, a loveable mess but I mess all the same. I am very fond of the verses in Romans where Paul talks about his behavior. “For I do not do the good I want to do—but this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19 In my quiet time in the morning, after any time of prayer, I feel pulled together, ready to obey with alacrity, ready to be “good.”   Unfortunately, much like Paul, it doesn’t take long before I find myself doing something I sho

A Game of Chase

    Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? if I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there, If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10   My granddaughters Faith and Isabelle are just five weeks apart in age and are both just became teenagers. Somehow this milestone in their lives reminded me of the days when they were just two years old. They discovered a game they just loved. It was their own version of chase. They ran together across the kitchen and straight to the utility room door. They squealed with delight when they reached the door and then ran back again. Every now and then there was a little twist that sent the game in a different direction. That happened when the door wasn’t tightly closed. Two little balls of energy hurled themselves against the

Run, Dodge, Jump

  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14   The children in my class love to do an activity called, “Run the Red Carpet.” It’s geared to getting them up, out of their seats for a couple of minutes to help them refocus.   The object is to get down the red carpet in spite of obstacles in the way. There are commands to jump, duck, dodge to the left or right, all along the way. This morning while praying for direction I thought of that little activity.   We are called to walk on the narrow path to life in Christ. The path is identified as narrow but not as smooth. I am often bothered by pastors or Christians in general, who suggest that once we’ve chosen to take the journey with Jesus all will be well. Not true! All will be protected (Psalm 91), all will work for our good (Romans 8:28) but all will not be well. The path we walk with Jesus is full of potholes and obstacles, just like my kiddos red carpet. Jesus


  Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5   Those are two of my favorite verses. Though neither one is my life verse, they pretty much sum up my faith. Call to Abba and remain in Jesus. If I seek God’s advice and understand that everything, every single thing that I have is a gift from God then life will be a much more manageable prospect.   I live my life every day by God’s grace and by His grace alone. That may sound like hyperbole but it isn’t. Certainly some things are bigger, some challenges, some tragedies, some victories and some joys, are much larger but regardless of size, everything I am or have is powered by God.           Don’t believe me? Breathe. God. Look around. Can you see? God. Did you hear that? God. Do you have a job? A spouse? A friend? A

Believe It or Not

  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Psalm 25:3   Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.   Isaiah 40:28   Yesterday morning I read of the death of Stephen Hawking. Here’s what I know about him. He was brilliant and he was an atheist. He is quoted as having said that heaven is “a fairy tale for people who are afraid of the dark.” Now he is dead and my supposition is that he now has a greater understanding of darkness than he could ever have imagined, even with his huge intellect.             Faith is not about IQ, nor is it about fear of the dark. Faith is about confronting that darkness with a Light that will not be overcome.   Here we come to something that the esteemed Dr. Hawking just could not comprehend. “The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood i


  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 For unto us a child is born, unto to us a Savior is given.. Isaiah 9:6a   Due to starting a 365 day devotional at an odd time of year, I am now reading messages about Christmas, as I am simultaneously living out some Lenten disciplines. At first I found it a bit odd but then I realized how truly perfect it is.           Lent focuses us on the saddest, most difficult part of the story. Of course there is the perfectly beautiful happy ending but for these days we are walking through the suffering, sacrificing part, the bleakness. No fun! Here I am putting it beside the images of Baby Jesus, long awaited Savior, just now a little bundle of cooing joy. Odd? Sure but as I said, also perfect because it’s the whole story.           Jesus came to us to save us from ourselves. As we walk through Lent we think about all that it entail