Friday, December 28, 2007


I know everyone says it, but time really is flying . . . how can it already be five days from the beginning of a new year?

Well, whether I want to believe it or not, another year looms around the corner, and as I do every year, I reflect on 2007:
  • Russ and I enjoyed a vacation in Hawaii!
  • My second great-nephew, Joseph Thomas, joined our family in August.
  • My mom and step-dad have been in town since early November, so I've been able to spend a lot of time with them.
  • My job continues to give me opportunities to work with ministries.
  • God continues to open doors to speak, and He keeps affirming His ministry.
  • He gave me an unexpected gift: the recording of my CD.
  • He also continues to bless through the ups and downs of my health journey.

It's been a year of blessings and trials, difficulties and joy. Yet through it all, God continues to be faithful.

May this coming year bring you blessings and joy. And may you always remember His faithfulness.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Bittersweet Season

That may not be the expected title of an entry posted on December 3. You're used to seeing words like joy and peace and grace, and indeed these words come to mind as I look forward to Christmas. I really do love this season, and yes, my house is completely decorated . . . as is my desk at work. I'm a sucker for all the fun and festivities and lights and music.

But this is also a bittersweet season.

I think of this culture we live in and how the true meaning of Christmas has been diluted to the point that we have an entire generation that doesn't know that we celebrate Jesus' birth. So many buy the gifts and decorate the tree and hang the lights, but they haven't received the greatest gift of all: God's grace and forgiveness.

And for those of us who have friends and family who haven't received that gift, there's a mixture of sadness with the joy.

I pray this season, as I have in years past, that those who are nearest and dearest to us will, this Christmas, come to know the Christ of Christmas. Won't you join me in prayer?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Still Thankful

In my last entry, I shared some things for which I'm grateful.

On this day before Thanksgiving, I want to continue the theme, but from a slightly different angle.

I'm blessed to work at a Christian organization, and each Wednesday, we have a company-wide chapel time, complete with worship and a devotional. This morning, our president spoke about thankfulness, and he said the Bible mentions four "dimensions of thankfulness":

  • A Heart of Thanksgiving
  • A Voice of Thanksgiving
  • A Song of Thanksgiving
  • A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
This last one really touched my heart. I'm studying the book of Malachi right now, and I read in this morning's study that the Israelites made a vow to offer unblemished sacrifices. I had to ask myself if I give "unblemished sacrifices"? Do I give my firstfruits to God in all areas of my life?

And then this idea of a sacrifice of Thanksgiving . . .

Do I thank God before I do anything else? Do I praise and thank Him in good times and in bad? Is my first prayer one of gratitude?

Sometimes, maybe, but certainly not constant, as it should be.

So, now, this day before Thanksgiving, I choose to offer "unblemished sacrifices" and give my firstfruit of gratitude. And I pray this will be my heart every day.

Have a blessed and THANKFUL holiday!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

With a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. One of the main reasons is that there's no real hype surrounding it (of course, that also means that it seems to be somewhat overlooked). It's just a time to reflect on what God has done for us, and every year, I try to do just that.

James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from our Lord. I really believe He delights in blessing us. I picture His smiling when we find pleasure in His gifts.

But I'm often convicted that I just don't thank Him enough . . . although I realize that because of His grace and mercy, I can NEVER thank Him enough.

So as I look to this upcoming holiday, I want to thank my Lord:
  • For being my Lord and Savior - You saw worth in this unworthy girl.
  • For Russ, my dear, supportive husband - He has allowed me to follow God's call on my heart.
  • For family - They may be far away in body, but are always as close as a prayer.
  • For friends - Through tears and laughter, they continue to bless my heart.
  • For ECCU - I realize how blessed I am to work for a Christian organization.
  • For Triple-E Ministries - The privilege of seeing God work in the women to whom I speak is humbling.

There's so much to be grateful for. Yes, I have areas I struggle with. No, my life isn't perfect. But I am blessed . . . and so grateful.

If you haven't lately, take a moment to thank God for His blessings.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


God did an amazing thing when He created girlfriends!! There's nothing quite like them!!

I am so very blessed! God has given me such wonderful girlfriends, and I'm just so grateful. This week, I've had a chance to talk with or get together with some of my very favorites, each of whom impacts my life in a unique way.

There's my prayer warrior friend who, when she says she's praying, I KNOW she's praying!

There's my "life is meant to be fun, even when it doesn't seem to be" friend with whom I share all the ins and outs of my life, and we laugh together.

There's my "I know exactly how you're feeling" friend, who's on a similar journey.

There's my "you can do it" friend, who encourages me to be more than I think I can be.

I honestly don't know what I'd do without these women of faith. Their very presence in my life is tangible evidence of God's love and faithfulness to me.

Girlfriends? If I don't tell you enough, I love each of you and I'm grateful for you.

If you have some special girlfriends that have blessed you, don't forget to tell them!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Hard to be Humble

There used to be a saying, "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am." It was usually said tongue-in-cheek, but every time I heard someone say it, I saw a glimmer of truth.

Humility is hard, but not because we're so great. Something in our sin-filled nature likes to make us think that we're better than we are. We're smarter than others, prettier than others, more talented than others. And sometimes that might be true. But it's more often not.

A friend of mine at work forwarded a "thought for the day" about humility, and it captured my heart. The verse was 1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time."

The unnamed author of the thought wrote that "we often worry about our position and status, hoping we'll get proper recognition for what we do." Isn't that the truth? We somehow think if we receive the praise of man (or woman), we'll please God more.

True humility means that we're willing to do anything for anyone at any time in order to bring glory to God. We'll clean toilets or speak on platforms. It doesn't matter what as long as we're doing God's will to His glory.

I want to be that humble. I want to be willing to do whatever He asks. I pray that I might be that humble. How about you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Precious Boy

Bright blue eyes. Rosy cheeks. A little frown. A sweet little cry. A smile that takes my breath away.

My sweet little great-nephew, Joey.

Just over two years ago, I saw the same eyes, cheeks, frown, smile, but that was from Joey's big brother, CJ.

This weekend, I was with Joey, my eldest niece's second son.

If you've read previous blogs, you know that I don't have any children of my own, but God has blessed me so much with my nieces and nephews. They are all really good people whom I believe God will use to do amazing things.

And two of those amazing things are those precious great-nephews of mine.

I can't tell you how it feels to love those little guys. It's wonderful to watch them grow and change (even if it's only in pictures).

Can I say a word of encouragement to you who don't have children? Find a child to love. Maybe you have nieces and nephews of your own? Or you can help in your children's ministry?

Just find a way to see bright eyes and rosy cheeks and heartwarming smiles.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

He Knows Our Needs

I have a little "blessing box" on my desk, and as I thumbed through the verses, I came across Matthew 6:8. The Kings James Bible says, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."

Now, I don't usually read the King James Bible (although I do like the New King James Version), but every once in a while, I like to read the poetry that comes from the old language. My Father knoweth my needs . . . I like how that flows.

But no matter what the version, this verse is a wonderful reminder that God knows my needs. I don't even have to ask Him; He just knows them.

There's something that catches my heart in this verse, though. This verse speaks to needs, not wants. My husband reminds me that we only need air, food, water, and shelter. Everything else is icing.

But isn't it great that God wants to provide for our needs, but He also wants to give us blessings beyond needs? Matthew 7:7-12 speaks of our being able to ask God for anything (remembering that we need to ask within His will), and He will provide, and verse 12 reminds us that our "Father in heaven [will] give good things to those who ask Him!"

What a wonderful thing to know that we are His children. We are His beloved sons and daughters! And like a loving Father, He'll take care of our needs and bless us beyond our expectations!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

God's "Balance Sheet"

I'm preparing to speak at a retreat in October, and our theme is "A Future and a Hope." We'll be focusing on one of my favorite topics: God's perfect plan.

I've been in a bit of a valley lately (past entries touch on this), and it's been God's perfect timing that I'm revisiting His promise for a future and a hope. And I want to take a moment to encourage you, if you, too, are in a valley.

I know you're familiar with Romans 8:28, and you may be asking how what you're going through can possibly work together for good.

Not long ago, a speaker at chapel time at work (yes, I work at a credit union where we have chapel time!) spoke about "God's balance sheet." The concept is that when we're in a dark time, we can look back at what God has done. And we usually find that His balance sheet is weighted firmly in His favor.

Try this: Look back over your life (I call this the gift of hindsight), and see how God has protected you or provide for you or blessed you. Look at those times when it could only have been His hand guiding you. Remember how faithful He's been.

That's what I've been doing lately. Although this moment in time seems so hard, I look back at my life's journey, and I see so clearly how He's worked in my life.

He really is faithful. Everything that's happened in my life is part of His master plan--His loving plan. And His balance sheet is fully in the black.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Peace-Not as the World Gives

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

The world offers peace—on its terms.

Watch television or read the latest magazine. The world would tell you that peace comes from driving the best car or wearing the trendiest clothes. Peace comes from having a great sex life or a lucrative career. Peace comes from fame or fortune.

That’s what the world would tell you. But the world would be wrong.

I tried for years to find the world’s peace. I was college-educated, happily married, well-employed. We owned our home, our cars, our stuff. We enjoyed our vacations and partied with friends.

I had it all, or so the world would say. But I had nothing, really. I was miserable.

It wasn’t until I recommitted my life to the Lord that I realized that Jesus was right: He gives a peace that the world can’t begin to compete with. His peace is all-encompassing, and it saturates down to your very soul. It’s a peace that illuminates the peace of the world for what it really is: shallow, empty, sad.

Have you bought into the world’s definition of peace? And do you feel a hole in your heart and soul? Talk to Jesus now about His peace. Have confidence that you don’t have to be troubled; He will give you peace.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hope through Adversity

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 71:14

Many of the psalms are written as cries from the heart.

In the verses that precede this, the psalmist was crying out for help from God. His enemies were at his back, looking to hurt him. But even in the midst of his fear, he could still hope in God. And not only could he hope in God, but he could also praise Him.

It's one thing to have hope in difficult times. Even when things seem at their worst, we can always have hope that God will get us through, that He will provide protection, that He will be the ultimate victor.

It's an entirely different thing to praise God in the most difficult times.

Have you ever thought about praising God even when the enemies are chasing after you? Have you raised your voice in praise when you're hurting and tired and confused?

It's not always easy, but it can make even the hardest times more bearable. When we're praising God, when we're worshipping Him for the awesome God that he is, sometimes the burdens are lighter, the pain is less severs, and the struggles are easier to handle.

Have hope in God at all times, but more importantly, praise Him . . . at all times.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Living Joyfully

The Bible tells us that God desires that His children experience joy. The book of Psalms is full of passages that speak of God’s heart for His children’s joy. Psalm 16:11 tells us that:

You [God] will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(emphasis mine)

We who know God experience the greatest joy possible because we are able to stand in the presence of God Himself, and as the psalmist wrote, in His “presence is fullness of joy.” Our hearts can’t be truly joyful apart from God.

I often think of God watching over His children and beaming when He sees us experiencing joy. Just as I believe that God’s heart breaks when He sees us in pain, I believe that His heart fills with joy at our joy. I liken it to a parent or grandparent that has given a special gift to a child who is dearly loved. The joy seen in a child’s face is pure and unencumbered, and that joy often creates joy. Think about it: At Christmas, what is one of the most common pictures we see? A bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked child gazing at a decorated tree or at a favorite gift, joy radiating from her face.

I don’t have children of my own, but I have witnessed my many nieces and nephews experience the joy of receiving a wished-for gift, and the joy I’ve seen on their faces is priceless. My heart fills with their joy. I believe that’s what God feels when He sees our joy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jesus Promises Peace

These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

There was a time when I really thought the enemy was winning the battle—not just the battle, but the war.

Nothing was going right. My husband and I were trying to have a baby, and nothing. We’d gone to a fertility specialist, and we’d been told that nothing was clinically wrong with either of us. We just had to keep trying. And try we did.

But still nothing.

During this several-year journey, I’d recommitted my life to Jesus, and I knew He was on my side of the battle. I believed that our side would win.

But still nothing.

I was finally diagnosed with likely infertility (that so-called specialist hadn’t dug deeply enough), and the battle changed: I wasn’t fighting to get pregnant, I was fighting for peace.

And that’s when I really felt Jesus on my side. I knew that He promised peace in the midst of tribulation. And I finally remembered that last part of John 16:33. I could be of good cheer because Jesus really has overcome the world.

What battles are you fighting? Are you fighting them alone? Or have you asked Jesus to join you in the battle? More importantly, have you asked Him to give you peace no matter what the outcome? Talk to Him now. Ask Him to reassure you that He really is the victor.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Reason for Hope

I've been in a study of Hosea with a group of ladies at work, and I love the reminders of how faithful God is in spite of our failings.

This week's study ended with a verse that I want to commit to memory:

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

The hope I have in me . . .

Where does my hope come from? It comes from the confidence I have that the Lord God is working in me and through me. It comes from the confidence I have that I'm saved from my sins. It comes from the confidence I have that Jesus walks alongside me every day. And it comes from the confidence I have that one day I'll be in heaven with my Lord.

It's been said that if someone gave you a cure for cancer, wouldn't you share it with everyone you know? How much more should we share the good news of salvation and eternity with Christ?

We do, indeed, have a reason for our hope: Our hope is in our Lord.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Abundant Life

I have a little "treasure box" on my desk, and the verse I see today is John 10:10. This verse tells me that Jesus came to give me life. But it says more than just life. It says life "more abundantly." says that "abundantly" means "well supplied" or "richly supplied."

I like that last definition . . . richly supplied.

It reminds me of another verse. You may be familiar with it. Philippians 4:19 tells me that my God "shall supply all [my] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Notice that it doesn't say all my wants will be supplied. No, God promises that all my needs will be supplied. That's abundant life.

We sometimes get caught up in what society says we "need." We need a certain car. We need a certain home. We need certain clothes.

Guess what? We don't need anything except food, water, something to clothe our bodies (and not what's trendy), and a roof over our heads. That's it.

Oh, and one other need: We need a relationship with our Lord God.

Everything else is just icing.

I'm beginning to learn that abundant life isn't about the stuff. It's about experiencing God. It's about coming to know Him more. It's about seeing how He chooses to bless me.

That's abundant life.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Cycle of Faithfulness

I usually find myself studying the gospels or Paul's epistles, and rarely am I immersed in the books of history or prophecy. I guess I find them a little . . . dry or harder to understand.

I'm trying to break out of my comfort zone, though, and over the last year or so, I've studied Joshua and Judges, and now I'm in a study in Hosea.

Know what I've learned? Throughout recorded history, there's been a cycle of God's faithfulness to His children. In Judges, there is story after story of how the people of Isreal turned away from God, faced difficulties, and then cried out to the very God they'd rejected. And God faithfully cared for them. Over and over.

And now in Hosea, I see the same thing: God's people, those whom He loves abundantly, turn away from Him, reject Him, turn to other idols . . . and yet, even as God rightfully disciplines their disobedience, words of hope shine through.

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up [the NASB says that He will "bandage" us].
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
(Hosea 6:1-3)

I use a study Bible that tells me the concept of "on the third day" refers to a "quickness of healing."

We don't deserve God's love or healing or reconciliation. I know I don't.

But how grateful I am that God is faithful. How grateful I am that He loves me with a love I can't begin to understand.

How grateful I am . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trust and Obey

Okay . . .

I have to be really honest with you. I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. I mean, I know that God is in control and that He has a plan and that He loves me. I know this.

But it's hard when the thing that is most dear to my heart--my husband's salvation--is so OUT of my control. And the thing that I struggle with most--my health--is equally out of my control.

My husband seems no closer to coming to faith (and in fact, this weekend we had a few talks, and he seems farther than ever). And after a few weeks of feeling relatively well, I've taken several steps back with my health. So, I question why (seems like a recurring theme in these blog postings, doesn't it?).

Then this morning as I drove into work, I was listening to a podcast from Dr. Charles Stanley. He was talking about fully trusting God. Even though I don't audibly hear God's voice, He does speak to me, and He spoke to me this morning:

Do you really trust Me?

Do you really want to do whatever I ask of you?

Even if it's not what you want yourself?

I'd love to tell you that I responded with a resounding , "YES, Lord!"

But no . . . I have to say that I struggle with this. If I truly trust Him, then I have to accept that it may be His plan that Russ not come to faith for a very long time . . . If I truly trust Him, then I have to accept that I may never be fully well . . .

And am I willing to do that? I pray I am.

I pray that I am . . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God's Amazing Grace

I'm in between group Bible studies, so along with my regular time of personal study, I've been reviewing a wonderful Kay Arthur study, Lord, I Need Grace to Make It that I did several years ago.

In the introduction, Kay writes, "Amazing grace . . . Grace that enables you to make it . . . no matter your need, no matter the circumstance, no matter the pull of the flesh or its weaknesses. The Lord is there with His grace, grace sufficient to make it."

I have to be honest with you . . . I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. My health has taken a step back, and I'm bone-weary. I'm burdened for my husband as he traverses a valley or two--and as he seems far from faith. I'm disheartened by a silence I feel regarding the Lord's plan for my ministry. Sometimes I just have to wonder what He's doing . . . and when He'll do it.

I question why . . . why can't I feel better?

Why can't Russ find Jesus and thus find peace?

Why can't I clearly see God's direction?

And then I have to stop and remember how God has blessed me.

I have to stop and remember His overwhelming grace and mercy--and a love that flows over me even when I far from deserve it.

Indeed . . .

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Giving to Others

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:10

We have an amazing God. Truly an amazing God.

The fact that He's sovereign and omnipotent and omniscient is great enough in itself. He could do everything Himself. He could fulfill His plan without any "help" from us.

But He doesn't work that way. He chooses to use us to fulfill His plan--frail, flawed, imperfect us--to do His will.

And that's amazing.

What a gift that is. God uses us and the gifts with which He's blessed us to serve Him and to serve others. Each of us has a gift that we're called to steward--to manage well. And when we use those gifts to serve others, we bring glory and honor to Him.

If you love to organize, use your gift to help in your church office or at a local ministry.

If you love to entertain, use your gift to open your home to the people in your neighbor.

If you love to encourage others, use your gift to lend an ear or a shoulder to others.

Be part of God's plan. Use your gift, and give to others and serve God.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Great Peace

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
Psalm 119: 165

The Psalmist writes that those who love the law of the Lord will have great peace. Love the law of the Lord. What does that mean?

In the Old Testament, the law of the Lord was what is called the Pentateuch, the five books written by Moses. Anyone who wanted to know God would know those books intimately.

Today, we have the entire Bible available to us to know God. The more we know His word, the more we know Him. We've been given a tremendous gift. Loving the law of the Lord, the Bible, means that we want to spend time in it, reading it, studying it, internalizing it. Loving the law of the Lord means we want to "meditate on it day and night." (Psalm 1:2b)

But what about the second part of Psalm 119:165? What does it mean that those who love the law of the Lord won't stumble?

I believe it means that when we know the law of the Lord, when we know His words, we have a way to combat the lies of the enemy. We know we're in a battle with Satan, (Ephesians 6:12) and the only way to really respond to his lies is to know the words of the Lord. When he attacks, we can use God's own words to catch him in his lies. Jesus Himself was able to counter the lies of the enemy when He was being tempted in the desert. (Matthew 4:1-11)

If we know and love the law of the Lord, we can have peace in a growing relationship with God, and we can have confidence that our knowing God's word will keep us from stumbling.

How much do you love the law of the Lord? Do you meditate on it day and night? Do you desire to spend time with Him, getting to know Him through His word? Make a commitment with God right now to learn to love His law.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

This is such a . . . not difficult . . . I guess, it's a poignant day. I love celebrating moms, and I'm so grateful for my own. I was able to talk with her for a while this evening, and I really love her. She's the best!

But there's a tiny bit of sadness in my heart that I don't celebrate this day as a mom myself. I've truly accepted God's plan for my life--a plan of childlessness. I really have. I'm able to do things that I probably wouldn't have been able to do had I had children.

I have health issues that have limited my capacity, and had I had children, I probably wouldn't be able to work full time AND teach part time AND speak part time. I see how God uses me through my work and ministries, and I recognize that I have time to do things I might not otherwise be able to do.

I spoke once and the lovely lady who introduced me said that some women have the gift of children. Others have the gift of time. And that's the gift I've been given.

So, even though there's that tiny bit of sadness in my heart, I know how very blessed I am. I have wonderful nieces and nephews. And now, I have a sweet great nephew (and I just learned, another on the way!).

Most of all, I have the assurance that God is using me in ways I don't always see.

I pray for each of you moms. You are blessed. I pray you know this.

Enjoy your children . . . and your grandchildren. And I pray that you thank our Lord for the gifts of your children.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Lord is Peace

Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace always in every way.

The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:13

The Lord doesn't just give peace. He is peace. Peace has been defined as state of tranquility and serenity. As you think of that definition, do you picture God? Do you think of Him as tranquil or serene? Or do you think of Him as the great disciplinarian, standing somewhere in heaven ready to rain down wrath and judgment?

The Bible makes it clear that God will judge and, like a loving father, He does correct us when we're wrong.

But He's also peace itself.

What does that mean? It means that when we're in His presence, when we sit at the feet of the throne of our Lord, we can experience His peace washing over us like a warm summer rain.

Think about God being peace itself. What does that mean to you? How might that change how you picture God? How might that change how you spend time with Him? Do you want God's peace?

All you have to do is ask.

Ask Him now. Ask Him to fill you with His peace. Ask Him to fill you with Himself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hear My Heart

This is a love letter to any sister who may be thinking about marrying someone who doesn't share her faith.

My dear sister in Christ,

Over the last ten days, I've celebrated our Lord's victory over death, and I've celebrated my nineteenth wedding anniversary. On Easter Sunday, I sat with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I lifted my voice with theirs in praise and worship. It was truly a joyful experience. Then this last weekend, my husband and I spent a long weekend enjoying each other. It too was truly a joyful experience.

But a part of me was very, very sad. Sadness in the midst of such joy? Oh, yes.

Part of the sadness on Easter was because, even in the midst of the crowd, I sat alone. My husband wasn't with me. It was the fourteenth Easter that I celebrated alone. But that's not what made me the saddest.

What makes me the saddest, what makes me want to weep--and indeed tears fill my eyes as I write this--is that Russ cannot share the joy of knowing Jesus. He doesn't know the resurrected Savior. And it breaks my heart. There's little that's more painful than knowing that the love of your life doesn't have the assurance of salvation.

So, here's the purpose of this letter. Please listen to me. Please hear my heart.

Don't open yourself up to this sadness, this pain. The Bible is clear that we're not to be unequally yoked. Don't think you can save him. You can't.

Pray for him. Persistently and consistently pray. But don't marry him.

Be a Christ-like example to him. But don't risk the heartbreak of sitting alone each Easter.

Please, my sister. Hear my heart.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

He is risen . . . He is risen indeed!

Last night, many of the members of my church solemnly reflected upon our Lord Jesus' sacrificial death. A video was played that showed clips from The Passion of the Christ, and I was reminded yet again that Jesus didn't just die on that cross, but He also experienced torture and suffering beyond anything most of us will ever experience.

It's Saturday, and I look forward to tomorrow's celebrations.

I wonder sometimes what Saturday was like for His followers. They'd either witnessed firsthand--or had heard from others--the brutal treatment of their Lord, their Teacher. They'd
watched Him die--or at the very least, experienced the darkened sky and felt the earthquake.

This wasn't how it was supposed to be.

He was supposed to be their conquering King. He was supposed to lead them to victory.

Now He was lifeless in a tomb. Oh, how bleak Saturday must have been. They didn't know what we do.

Sunday was coming!

As you celebrate the marvelous reality of Jesus' resurrection tomorrow, I pray that you will spend a moment or two in silent gratitude for what Jesus did for us. Reflect on His amazing love for us.

For . . .

He is risen . . . He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Picture of Faith

There are times when our faith can be shaken.

An illness threatens our life.

A loved one is lost.

A catastrophe hits.

It's sometimes hard to remember that God is infinitely faithful even when it doesn't seem to be so. Sometimes, what helps me to remember is to look back at how He's taken me through difficult times. Another thing that helps me is to recall how others have been able to make it through the difficult times with their faith intact.

A picture of faith that helps to sustain my faith is one of my paternal grandmother. She was a woman who walked her faith every day of her life, even through the difficult times. She loved her Lord, and she looked forward to the day when she could spend eternity with Him.

My maternal grandfather was the same. After he passed away, we found notes in his office of how he'd prayed for people every day of his life. That life wasn't perfect. He faced the challenge of having a child who chose a very different path; that choice caused my grandfather considerable pain. But, in spite of the hard times, my grandpa's faith never wavered.

Do you have a picture of faith? Something you can look to when your own faith is challenged or weakened?

If you don't, find one. Read about someone from the past or the present who has demonstrated faith under fire. Learn from her. Be inspired.

Take a picture and keep it close.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Take Time to be Silent

The last three weeks have been quite hectic. Working full time, teaching part time, and speaking part time . . . well, it can sometimes be overwhelming. And unfortunately, when I'm at my busiest, I can let some of the most important things in my life slip to the back burner. Like my time with the Lord.

I know beyond doubt that spending time each and every day is crucial if I'm going to keep my focus where it needs to be: on the Lord. I really believe this. But I also know that it's easy to get caught up in all the other stuff.

Can you relate?

What I've discovered is that when I'm the busiest is when I need to make time to spend quietly in the presence of the Lord. I often speak about the discipline of solitude, and when I feel overwhelmed by all of my appointments and "to dos," I know I need that time of quiet even more.

So, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to take some time to be quiet with my Lord. I'm going to read His word to me, and I'm going to talk to Him.

And may I encourage you: If you haven't done so, make an appointment with God. Right now. He's waiting to spend time with you. Right now.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Lord Speaks Peace

I will hear what God the Lord will speak,
for He will speak peace to His people . . .
Psalm 85:8

I was driving into work, minding my own business, when a pick-up truck decided to pass me on a winding road. Just as he passed me, a car from the opposite way sped around the corner. The truck swerved in front of me, and I slammed on my brakes.

My heart beating out of my chest, I cried out as I watched the car behind me come ever closer. Praise God, no one hit anyone else, but it took the rest of the drive for my heart to calm . . . and even longer for my spirit to calm.

I had to ask the Lord to restore my peace, and He did exactly what the psalmist said He would: He restored peace to my heart, reminding me that He is in loving control of everything.

How often do we allow circumstances or other people to take the peace that God promised us? Just take it from our hearts? If we can stop and listen to God and seek His peace, He will shower us with that peace. He will whisper words of comfort. He promises.

Think of a time when someone or something stole the peace from your heart? How did you feel? Did you stop to hear God's voice? Ask God to speak peace to your heart right now.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jesus Loves Me

You may know a simple song many of us learned as children:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong.

Why do I know that Jesus loves me? Because the Bible tells me so. That's all well and good, but it presumes that I believe the Bible.

So a good questions is: Why do I believe the Bible? That answer isn't as easy to give.

I believe the Bible because its historicity has been proven.

I believe the Bible because its prophecies have come true.

I believe the Bible because a group of ragtag followers of Christ started an amazing movement of faith that is strong today.

But most of all, I believe the Bible because of how the God of the Bible has been faithful to me. In spite of years of rebellion, in spite of fists in His face, He has provided for me, protected me, and loved me when I haven't deserved it in the least.

He's blessed me. He's offered me grace and mercy.

I believe in that God, and if He says His word is truth, I believe that too. And since I believe His word is truth, I can believe that Jesus really does love me--enough to sacrifice Himself for me.

Jesus does love me, and this I know because the Bible--God's true word--tells me so.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Lord will Give Strength

The Lord will give strength to His people;
the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Often, I feel very, very weak--emotionally, mentally, spiritually. The world seems to be closing in, and I can't seem to dodge the boulders being tossed at me, right and left.

Often, I try to take on the world and its challenges on my own, and I feel the weight crushing me, pushing me down until I lie prostrate on the ground.

I can't do this, I think.

And I'm right. I can't do this--on my own, that is.

We humans are fleshly, fallen, frail creatures, and we don't have the strength to combat what this world throws at us. We are truly incapable.

But we do have Someone who can give us all the strength we need: our heavenly Father. He promises strength to us. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote, we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" us. (Philippians 4:13)

And along with that strength, He promises peace. He will bless us with peace.

Yes, we may be incapable, but He is more than capable. We can trust in His strength; we can trust His peace.

When was the last time you tried to handle the world's challenges on your own? How did it go? Maybe you're trying to dodge those boulders right now. Ask God to give you His strength to help you through.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

God is Our Hope

For You are my hope, O Lord God;
You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:15

I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was six years old. I had an unwavering faith . . . until I was seven. My father's leaving our family set into motion circumstances that I allowed to take me away from that faith, and I spent the next two decades walking along a rebellious path.

But an interesting thing happened. Even though I had walked away from God, I learned later that He had never walked away from me. That faith that I had as a six-year-old girl eventually proved to be true and worthy of trust.

When I was twenty-nine, I recommitted my life to the Lord, and as I looked back over those twenty-plus years, I realized that God had protected me and provided for me and blessed me in spite of my turning from Him. That "trust from my youth" had sustained me even when I was far from deserving it.

God was indeed my hope then--as a six year old and as a rebellious teen and as a young adult.

And God is my hope today.

Have hope in God with childlike trust and faith, whether you've known Him for decades or days.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

God Keeps Us in Perfect Peace

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

Did you notice as you read this verse that the order is reversed?

If we turn it around, this verse gives us instruction on how we too can have God’s perfect peace.

First, our minds must be “stayed” on God.

Stayed on God? What do these old-fashioned words mean? A synonym for “stay” is “reside,” meaning inhabit, dwell, live in.

To have our minds stayed on God, we must reside in Him. And to reside in Him, we must know Him intimately. And to know Him intimately, we must spend time in His Word, learning about Him. We must spend time in prayer, listening to His voice.

Second, we must trust Him.

Whom do we trust? We trust those who have proved to be trustworthy, those who have earned our trust. We can trust God because He has proven Himself worthy of our trust as He has provided for us, as He has protected us, as He has answered our prayers.

Third, God will keep us in perfect peace. This doesn’t mean we’ll never experience difficulty or suffering. It does mean that we will be able to feel His supernatural peace in the midst of the storm.

Is your mind “stayed” on God? If you don’t reside in Him, ask Him to help you do that. Do you trust Him with everything and everyone? If you find it hard to trust anyone, even God, share your heart with Him now. Ask Him to show you how worthy of your trust He is.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Prayer for 2007

I'm not one to have new year's resolutions--at least not any more. I just got too tired of blowing it, each and every year!

A couple of years ago, I decided to focus on praying for someone or something throughout the year instead. And since my husband's salvation is nearest and dearest to my heart, this is something I always focus on, each and every year.

This year, I will continue to pray for him as he journeys toward our Lord, but I also want to offer this for those of you who also pray for a loved one's salvation:

Lord God,

I ask You to to continue to work in the hearts of those we dearly love. I ask You to give us wisdom as we speak to them about Your truth. I pray for discernment to know when to speak, when to listen, and when to just be silent in prayer.

I know that you love these special people more than we ever could, and I know that it isn't Your will that they should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

Help us to remember to persistently and consistently lift them up in prayer. Help us to live Christ-like lives in order to bring glory to You.

We ask for Your protection from the enemy who would like nothing less than to keep our loved ones from Your truth.

I pray this in Your Son's name,

May this be the year when many, many of our most precious friends and family meet our Savior.

Happy 2007!!