Showing posts from 2020

My Father Saw That

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, “for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 There’s a movie from several years ago that I absolutely love! It’s called “The American President.” The premise is that the president, who is a widower, has begun to date. He’s dating a lovely woman while running for reelection. His opponent is awful. He knows he doesn’t have much of a chance against the popular incumbent so he tries to make a mountain out of the molehill of the standing president’s romance. At one point there is a news clip that shows the woman in a protest during her college days. After the clip plays the opponent refers to the president’s lady friend as “the president’s whore.” She groans and says to the president “My father saw that!” She is devastated, not because what is being said is true but because her father, who she loves and respects, saw the clip and heard those words spoken about her. I thought of

Not Really god, where are you?

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning to noon.”Baal answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said, “Surely he is a god! Perhaps his is deep in thought, or busy or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 1 Kings 18:26b-27 Those who know me would be quick to tell you that I am a bit sarcastic. It’s a quality that I have passed on to my children and even some of my grandchildren. Some days I feel a little guilty. Is that really a quality that God wants to see in me? Certainly that cannot be my go to attitude but there are times that it comes in quite nicely. This morning, reading a totally unrelated verse, I was reminded of this account in the first book of Kings. (It begins at verse 16 and continues to the end of the chapter. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t and it if you have reread it. It’s great!) In this p

Applause, Applause and Protection

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, Hebrews 12:1 Reading some Scripture this morning I was reminded of a message that I watched from Louie Giglio. In it Louie described a child of God leaving her home for the day. He goes on about how the heavenly beings see it. With great excitement, he tells of the joy and applause going on in heaven as the woman gets in the elevator, gets to the parking lot and gets in her car. It’s hilarious and over the top, (remember I did say it was Louie Giglio!) but there’s a great lesson in it. My husband and I were watching a TV show about a fictional former president. At one point the poor man is just over the Secret Service detail. He’s tired of them following him around so he fires them. It takes less than five minutes for him to start to see all that they’ve been doing for

Whatever You Did

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 This verse, to me is the ultimate in directions. In other places in Scripture we are told to love our neighbors and love our enemies. Of course we are told, which seems like it shouldn’t be necessary but it is, to love God. Love your neighbor, your enemy and God. Okay, got it. Do we? That to me, is where this verse and the ones that precede it, come into play. Prior to this verse Jesus has laid out what is important. Did you feed me? Visit me in prison? Give me a drink of water? Take care of me when I was sick? Clothe me? Befriend me when I was a stranger and alone? Ah! Read that and now it’s easier to understand what it means to love. In this passage love is not an emotion it’s action. To quote the overused phrase, “Love is a verb.” The phrase is overused but sadly the sentiment it contains is not. Looking at my life from the

My Offering

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also love you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 Standing in my kitchen, I was praying that what I was putting together for a friend would convey what I want her to know, that I so deeply appreciate her. As my mind spun around what can I add? What would she really like? Is this enough? I had to laugh. That is so often my prayer, “Lord, I don’t have anything to give. I don’t give enough. What can I possibly do?” and on, and on and…. Well, you get it, I’m sure. May I just say, GOD IS GOOD! (Yes, I know the caps mean I’m shouting. Yes, I am shouting!) While I was preparing my “gift” I was thinking about how often I feel that I don’t do enough, for friends, for family, for my hubby and certainly for God. I had music playing, another pretty typical occurrence. The Third Day song, “Offering” started to play and I started singing along.

Selective Sight

You shall not bow down to them; for I, the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to the a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5-6 A precious little one that I know has a glass eye. We’ll call him Jack. Beyond the lack of his eye, Jack has a lot of other challenges. His brain hasn’t caught up with his chronology and it most likely never will. My expectation is that Jack will always need someone close by to help him through life. He’s a needy kid who is also a little bit on the naughty side. It was his uniquely naughty nature that taught me a spiritual lesson. You see, little Jack can pop out that glass eye and he does. The other day while I was with him another child in the room was yelling, “Eye, eye, eye.” Not having experienced Jack’s particular talent I heard it is “I, I, I”. Just as I was about to ask her to please b

Limping and Running Like a Prodigal

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him: he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20b To say that I love the story of the Prodigal (Lost) Son is a vast understatement. I don’t even know how to express my deep appreciation and connection to that parable. I do know this, I have been the older brother, I have been the father (and in the sense of standing in an empty doorway, still am) but today I find myself in the uncomfortable but to me, enviable, position of the son. For the past few days I have myself wandering in a desert of my own making. The lousy choices, though encouraged by others, have been my own. The phrase “lousy choices” isn’t even accurate. I’m finding myself revisiting the same sin pattern over and over. This morning I woke up feeling, “sick o

"I Said Please!"

But Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man is not to live on bread only, but Man is to live by every word that God speaks.’” Matthew 4:4 Jesus said to the devil, “It is written also, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.’” Matthew 4:7 Our adorable youngest grandson, Luther, is about eighteen months old. A couple of months ago he discovered the power of the word please and he’s been using it ever since. When he asks for anything he quickly says, “I said please!” Which given his age sounds a lot more like “I said peas” but that makes it even more powerful. The problem is that in Luther’s mind, “I said peas” is an absolute guarantee of a positive response. Not so for poor Monkey, (my nickname for him). Imagine his reaction one day when he gave me his “I said peas” and I responded, “I said no.” He was shocked! How I dare I say no when he said please? Luther’s please, as precious, adorable and sometimes powerful as it is, follows the pattern of Jesus’ response to Satan. The difference bei

Encountering God Unexpectedly

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 The other day I heard the old song, “American Pie” by Don McLean. Toward the end of the song, he references, “the three men I admire most.” He goes on to identify them, “the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.” If you look up the lyrics, those names are appropriately capitalized so, I suppose the writer has at least a passing respect for those precious names. I don’t pretend to know anything about his faith but I know his lyrics shine a spotlight on my own faith. I love running into words about God where you don’t readily expect them. There’s another old song called “Get Together” which contains the lyric “when the One that left us here, returns for us at last”, referring to Jesus’ return. I write fiction. Some of my characters are very strong in their faith and because of that, my readers come across Scripture and conversations about God. I know that

Hidden Gems

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him he said to Phillip, “Where shall we buy bread for all these people to eat?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit on the grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). John 6:5, 10 “About five thousand men were there.” Five thousand men. That doesn’t even begin to address women and children. We have some pretty good indicators that there were women and children were there as well. The verses say, “people” not just men and they eventually get the starter food from a boy (verses 8-9). So how many people were there? If we say that even half of the men brought a wife with them that takes us to seven thousand five hundred. If each couple came with one child (highly unlikely that there would only be one child in each family) that adds another two thousand five hundred for a grand total of ten thousand and that is a low estimate. Have you ever gone to an outdoor event where there is a speaker? We don’t

Enjoy the Gifts

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 The other day I was running low on paper towels. Realizing that fact, I became more aware each time I used one. Just the day before I would grab a paper towel and not think twice but once I knew that I was on my last roll, I became cautious. That made me think about God and how I handle all that He has given me. In several places in my home you will see the first half of the verse above, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” Those words are followed by the reminder, “Remember to thank the Giver.” I have one on the door coming into our house from the garage. There’s one on the pantry door, one on the door to our bedroom, one on our hall bathroom mirror and maybe one or two more. If someone stops to read it and gives thanks to God, that is great. That is not, however, why th

Behind the Masks

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 There is a list of words that I hope never to hear again, ever. Prominently on that list is mask. Wear the mask, don’t wear the mask, I hate the mask, the mask is necessary and on and on. Enough! In the last few weeks more and more places in our community are making the, well you know, mandatory. That has sparked more conversations, more use of the word. The other day as I was praying for complete transparency with God I had to give a little laugh. Masks. As we walk through the world we make adjustments. I wouldn’t say that at work, wear that to school, talk to my parents that way or let my children hear me use that term. We carry ourselves differently depending on our level of comfort in our circumstances or with the people involved. We protect our hearts. We hide. How do we do this? Masks! These may not be the over the mouth and nose kind of masks but they do the same thing. Our mental and emotional cover


  Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 This morning I was thinking about how little people see each other.   I don’t mean that we aren’t together. It’s more of a level of observation thing.   There are people in our lives who cross our paths every single day.   Do we truly see them? Think of the person closest to you, someone you see every day. What is that person wearing today? What did he/she wear yesterday?           I will never forget picking my oldest son up from Junior High, many, many years ago.   At that time I worked in an elementary school and so, left the house before he did. Getting to his school that afternoon I realized that I had no idea what he was wearing and in the sea of faces pouring from the building that would have been very helpful information.   The longer it took him to come out to the car, the greater the need to know grew. What if he didn’t come out and I was asked what he was

Spread Grace

  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 Grace and peace be ours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2   There’s a lot of talk, too much talk, right now in the world about germs and viruses and the spread of both. This morning I am expecting to see five of my grandchildren. As I was praying to be a blessing to them today a thought occurred to me, it’s a little silly but hear me out.           When some of the children are here it’s as if I’ve grown a third leg.   I can easily stop and have some little body slam into me, they stay that close. Often when I’m washing dishes or washing my hands, there’s a little one at my elbow.   To be silly with them, I sprinkle a little wa

Think About Such Things

  But he was pierced for our transgression, he was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 Jesus is perfect. He was perfect even when he walked the streets of this imperfect world. He is/was perfect and also crushed and killed because of sin. Can you make that make sense?           I bake. I love to bake! I especially love it when one of my grandchildren asks me for something specific. When their birthdays come around, actually weeks or even months before, I get the request.   Through the years and all the grandbabies, I’ve done cakes based on movies, animals, toys, pirates, books and whatever else they can imagine and ask. Sometimes along with the big cake I make cookies or cupcakes to match the theme. When I do there always seems to be one that just doesn’t look right (at least one) and that one, that photo worthy one that is just perfect. Perfect!           Now I have things that look g

Being Liked

  The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 Several years ago my kids listened to a song that included the lyric, “we all want to be loved.”   In scripture we read over and over again about God’s love for us. As our faith grows knowledge of that love becomes a constant in our lives. God loves me. We wake up and we’re breathing. We get out of bed and begin our day with ample amounts of food, clothing, water and air and we know God loves us.   Even on the days when we feel ill or sad, somewhere in our heart we can grasp the idea, the hope of God’s love. But…. Does God like me? Does He like you? Yes! Yes, He does.           Think for a moment of that difficult person in your life, parent, child, spouse, sibling, whoever he or she may be, think of that person.   You love them, some days you love them simply based on whatever relations

Don’t Stop Short

  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 For some reason it seems this verse is popping up everywhere I turn. I’ve heard it in sermons, at our family Bible study and read it in more than one devotional.   It’s true, we have all sinned. I’m not denying or arguing the veracity of the words.   Those words on their own are the quick and easy evangelism road. “Are you a sinner? Yes you are! ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ It says so right in the Bible. Now what are you going to do about it?”           Left alone, presented that way, that precious verse is watered down, too easily ignored and basically just an ad for fire insurance. “Do you want to burn in hell? I didn’t think so!” Yuk! That’s what happens when we pull one little piece of Scripture and flail it around.   Look at it alongside the next verse.... “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the red


  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 There are few things in this world of which I am absolutely certain. One of those is that I am saved by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another is that He in His infinite kindness has blessed me with a wonderful husband.   My husband is not perfect and I can assure you that his wife is not either. We are great together and as I said, that is a huge blessing. I am thankful to need very few reminders of how blessed I am to have that man in my life, so it was extra heartbreaking for me when I watched a sad scene unfold in the grocery store yesterday.           As I entered the checkout line the man in front of me, next in line, with his things sitting right next to the cashier, went to stand a few feet away. Given that we are still in pandemic mode, I checked my position. No, I hadn’t gotten too close. As I was wo


  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7   For some reason, don’t ask me, I couldn’t possibly tell you, I decided to do a little renovation project. Due to the fact that it involves a fairly large piece of furniture and some pretty noxious smells, I’m doing it outside on our porch.           When I first went out there this morning, I had the lovely accompaniment of bird songs. I had my music playing and the birds seem to just blend in with that, so precious. The second round was the same but on my third time out there a crow decided to throw a party. This may or may not be fact, but it appears that the way a crow summons his buddies is to squawk as loudly as possibly. LOUD! First it startled me, then it irritated me. “Shut up!” I yelled at it, loud enough for my neighbor to turn his head. Oops,

There She Is

This is a rerun of an older message. I was reminded of it this morning and it seems that someone needs to hear this, to know that God loves you and is delighted to know you. So….. There She Is Now we see but a poor 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. 1 Corinthians 13:12   Reading that verse this morning I was filled with joy at the idea of being fully known by God. This is a new experience for me. Any thought of God, of my Father knowing all about me has, up until very recently, made me quite uncomfortable, even ashamed. I’m human, all the way through and as such have done and said things I so very much wish I hadn’t. But God loves with perfect love. In the verses just prior, the very well known section of 1 Corinthians, it says, “it [love] keeps no record of wrong.” Thinking about that, about always, always, always being welcomed into my Father’s presence reminded me of a l

Who Are You

    Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the winds and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:38-41 Have you ever tried to put yourself in that boat? I have.   What were the disciples thinking? “We’re all gonna’ die. We’re all gonna’ die!”   Then someone has the brilliant idea to wake up Jesus. By their reactions to his action, I can’t think they expected what happened to happen. I think they woke him up because he was the leader. It was his idea to go to “the other side.” Now it was his responsibility to get them there.   And he did!           At that point everything changed.   Picture those same men once Jesus had spoken. “What

Safe Zone

  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7   The name of the Lord is a fortified tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 Did you play tag when you were a kid? Do you remember home base or the safety spot? If you could get to that space before being tagged, in any given round of the game, then you were safe. No one could touch you.           I’ve watched as my students play that game and have even, on occasion been the “safe” space. They run and try as hard as they can to stay safe, to elude the catcher.           Sometimes I feel like my life is a bit too much like that childhood game. Running to evade or escape the plans of the enemy. Fortunately I have the same option as the players of the game, find the safe zone. Even better I don’t literally have to run.           The proverb says that the righteous “run to it [the name of the Lord] and are safe.”    The running in this s