Thursday, December 29, 2011

Failed Resolutions

The year is turning to a new number and my new year resolutions are still avoiding paper.

I've written resolutions, thought them, planned them, and left many lying unattended. They gather dust on the desk of procrastination. Ink clearer than follow through.

Guilt snaps at my heels and I feel like I've failed. Good intentions waves as 2011 leaves.

I take myself and fumbled follow-through to my Lord. After all, He knew the outcome before I did. Knew the challenges I would face and the strength I would need. He knows the thoughts and intents of my heart and loves me as much as in 2010 or any year of perceived success.

How does my Lord see my heart? How does HE evaluate my actions?
Will I let Him instruct me from both perceived failure and success? Will I embrace Love patiently drawing me close, melting away guilt and put downs?

Dearest Lord, please help me and my friends wisely assess the year.

Help us see with Your eyes. Gain sight in Your light. Help us accept the things we cannot change, give us courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (From Reinhold Niebuhr) We pray this in Your name, O Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remember Me

On several occasions, my Sittu (Lebanese grandmother) would say, "Remember me when I am gone."

She listened to our disappointments, gave us sound advice, and lived what she taught. She was creative, wise, and knew how to stretch food for yet another dinner guest. She had definite ideas how things were to be done, and she could measure a person's character at a glance.

Her time management taught us "Never go empty handed to the kitchen," and included planning the number of rows a day to complete so her crochet projects could be finished on time. She completed beautiful, warm blankets for her twenty grandchildren and their babies.

Generous love evoked our admiration and an unconscious desire to be like her. It was easy to remember her after she left for heaven.

Some of Jesus' last words to his disciples were "Do this in remembrance of me." The Last Supper, representing his death for us and our hope of being reunited by the resurrection, helps us remember Him.

Because of who Jesus was and what He did, we remember with deep gratitude.

Then as Jesus' generous love evokes more of our own, as He builds His character into us, we remember.

For His sake. For our sake. And also for the sake of the world He loved.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Song of Life, Song of Death


Still fingering the passage of my mother from this life to the one her Lord Jesus promised, I don't have too many words.

But my cousin, Elizabeth A. Mitchell, another writer and speaker, wrote a beautiful piece on her blog.  Her daughter-in-love labored to give birth to her first grandchild while my Mom labored to be birthed into her new life.

I couldn't have said it as well as Elizabeth, so here are her words from

 “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” John 10:10.

 Life and death walk hand in hand like comrades sharing a narrow path, pressed against each other, inhaling and exhaling the very same air.

This week I caught them both, peering at each other, thriving in the cramped confines of the same cubicle. A daughter of mine, grafted into my heart three years ago, labored to draw breath, battled to bear down, every ounce of her given to the grand cause of bringing her daughter into existence.

Before my eyes our miracle emerged, pale skinned, perfect lips, quivering cry. Then distinctly I heard the strains of a new song, for my granddaughter cried, and my heart plays still her first magical lullaby.

Seven days pass and I watched as death wrapped its arms around life, and life triumphed over death. As my aunt struggled for breath, she labored to leave the world behind and wrestled to reach the other side. Death bore down, but could not steal her away for the only part it grasped was her empty shell.

Beating within her heart was life that was made eternal by the Savior of her soul. We had watched our aunt live well, serving him whole-heartedly, and sharing him continuously. Now we witnessed as she emerged into life everlasting.

I watched two women make their way into their new world this week. The tiny one has just begun her days on earth. The wise one has just begun her forever in heaven. My prayer is that the first will imitate the footsteps of the second and choose to spend her years devoted to the one who is, “The way, the truth and the life” John 14:6.

Elizabeth A. Mitchell

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gentle Whisper

What would happen if the Lord were to "pass by" you?

Elijah, hunted by Jezebel, ran to the mouth of the cave and covered himself with his cloak. Moses, hiding in the desert, took off his shoes and covered his face. And you?

What do you do when you sense the Presence of the Almighty?

Are you able to be still and know the weight of His presence? Do you cover your head, your face? Do you drop to your knees or lie prostrate? Does awe snatch your breath? Does hope return when you hear the gentle whisper above your swirling circumstances?

Beyond tornado and hurricane, flood and grief, that gentle whisper speaks. Our eardrums have to tune out the noises so our heartstrings can reverberate with God's sound.

Then years beyond we discover the Lord did not merely pass by with the weight of His presence. He stayed. And taught us music only learned as we listen beyond crisis for the gentle whisper.

For Your Consideration:

Prayerfully read 1 Kings 19:11-15 and Psalm 46

What is making it hard for you to tune out the demands and listen for God's gentle whisper.

If you could do that, what might God say to you?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sometimes I become aware that I long for more. Friendship. Intimacy. Money. Health. Influence. More mountains or beach.

These desires come unexpected and pull me like dark chocolate while dieting.

Wishing the sunset would stay still for another half hour.... That the colors would keep kaliedoscoping but not fade.... Wishing my Mom would get well, or my daughter would find her dream job....

Whatever our longings, there's always a desire for something more. I think it was G K Chesterton who suggested that our longings for fleeting pleasures to last are really longings for eternity for which our hearts were made.*

It was only recently I thought of another longing. God's. For us.

A heart that loves us and made us for intimacy wants to pour out the best for us. That amazing Person "longs to be gracious to [us]." Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV) describes the Deliverer as "waiting" for us to respond to His longing for meaningful relationship. No more broken promises.

Working together. Laughing together. Setting up the Kingdom of God together.

That quiets my heart.

For Your Consideration

Thoughtfully read Isaiah 30: 15-26.

Imagine the Lord of all power and personhood LONGING to be gracious to you. What would that look like?

How might God be longing for you? How will you respond?

*My research of quotes, Ravi Zacharias, C S Lewis and G K Chesterton, haven't yet unearthed the desired quote. If you are familiar with such a quote, please let me know.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Deep Cleaning

My carpets weren't in terrible shape but I knew I could stay ahead of the grunge by another deep cleaning. It had only been four months, so I was amazed how brown the water became.

 We think we are clean, but a day or just a couple hours spent deliberately asking for God's cleansing will often reveal dirt we didn’t know was there. 

The rhythm of regular Scripture reading, meditation, and obedience is as important for the soul as is regular vacuuming for carpets.
Additionally, periodic deep cleaning flushes out dirt entwined in the fibers.

Residual pride blended into the background… shame many moons old… worry unseen because of familiarity …. These are some of the surprises we might find when we submit ourselves to the Deep Cleaner.

The good news is that God loves to accommodate our desire to be holy when we present Him with humble hearts. He provides tools that clean thoroughly: it may be an eternal principle applied to a new spot or, perhaps, a clearer Light that reveals previously hidden spots. The Counselor reminds us of particular scriptures, offers life changing encounters, and encourages us to do what it takes to get clean.

It takes clearing our calendars, requesting the best the Holy Spirit offers, and-- not least -- humbling ourselves before Him.

So, Holy Spirit, we humbly prepare for and anticipate the relief of Your deep cleaning.

 For Your Consideration
Please make time to read these verses in context.
Those who cleanse themselves ... will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:21, NIV).
For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite (Isaiah 57:15, NIV)

How might God be preparing you for some deep cleaning? What preparations do you need to make?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Like a child flying a kite in a gust of wind, circumstances had me tugging at the string while my kite spiralled.

But a fresh study of Philippians chapter four accessed God's Spirit to show me how to harness and soar on the adverse wind.

It seemed too simple to make a difference -- like God's instructions that Naaman dip seven times in the Jordan river to rid himself of leprosy (2 Kings 5).

The simple choice of praising God in the midst of concerns got worry to work for, not against, me. It reminded me that my Creator cared and was powerful to intervene when I gave the situation to Him.  I started cooperating with the Master again instead of going it alone. It brought strength and a new perspective that used the resistance to climb higher. As I continued to praise, give God my concerns and expect His help, my kite steadied and climbed -- like an eagle.

I proved that worry depletes, but praise exhilarates.

Now I'm loving it as I look past what used to worry me into my Creator's eyes and experience Christ's peace.

For Your Consideration

Choose one of the following readings. Prayerfully read and listen for the Holy Spirit's revelation to you.

Philippians 4:6-8-- Replace worry with God's peace.
2 Kings 5: 1-15a-- An obstacle in executing simple instructions.
Isaiah 40: 27-31 -- All-knowing, God wants to renew us.

If you have forgotten God's power or lost sight of God's love, what renewed focus would help you mount up with wings as an eagle?

Has God given you some critical instruction that you might have dismissed as being inconsequential?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weed Killers

Worry is a nasty weed.

Most of the time I am able to "take my thoughts captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and line them up with the scriptures to combat worry. But when problems stack, they can fertilize worry.

I can give in to despair or choose to do several things. Philippians 4: 6-7 (quoted in Today's Living Bible in italics below) gives practical help.

1. Don't worry about anything (v.6).
Impossible? Perhaps we could say, don't let worry grow. As soon as I'm aware worry is constricting my joy, I have to engage my will-- not my feelings -- to start God's weed killers.

2. Instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs (v. 6).
When I turn to the Master Gardener for help, I get to confer with Him about each of my needs and ask for wisdom. It's a choice I have to make every time worry sends out another tendril.

3. And don't forget to thank Him for His answers (v. 6).
Being mindful that God is trustworthy, I can confidently thank Him for His help. I need to consciously thank Him. There is nothing timid or whiny about this kind of praying.

4. If I do this, I will experience God's peace (v. 7).
Following the Gardener's advice brings God's peace. The weeds may not immediately disappear, but regularly following these steps will cause them to shrivel and die.

This peace God gives us is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand (v. 7) It keeps our thoughts and hearts quiet and at rest as we trust in Christ Jesus (from verse 7).

Lord, thank you for helping me get rid of worry. I much prefer Your wonderful flower of peace.   

For Your Consideration

What keeps your weeds from taking over your garden?

Is there anything that is keeping you back from applying the wisdom your Master has already given?

Meditate on each phrase in this passage and listen for what the Holy Spirit will say to you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

God's Comfort

If I let myself listen to multiple demands talking at once, I feel overwhelmed.  Despair joins the conversation, and they drown trust's voice.

In my small group I shared a complex situation for prayer. Instead of keeping me on the pedestal often reserved for pastors' spouses, the women responded with understanding and prayer. One new friend even stayed beyond the class, sharing her experience and the discoveries that helped her weather a similar season in her life.

Prayer, exercise, attending to her own needs, and cutting out activity that was good, but which overextended her energies: those were the lessons she shared.

Sometimes we need encouragement from sojourners who not only have survived the trenches but, there, have been transformed by the Lord. They can stand in the gap and minister God's comfort.

Thank you, Lord, for the dear people You provide to stand in the gap for me. Please continue to transform my life so my experiences will point to You.

For Your Consideration

"Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, NLT).

"[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

Remember a time when God encouraged you directly through His Word, or indirectly through a friend. Ask yourself what helps you share or withhold your problems.

Give God praise for the ability to share your burdens and find comfort from our dear heavenly Father.

Celebrate God's amazing grace in using our suffering to encourage others with His comfort.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thanksgiving in Suffering

While he suffered, bed-ridden from pulmonary thrombosis, Dr Bill Bright wrote his last book, The Journey Home: Finishing with Joy.

When his doctor announced the grave diagnosis, Dr Bright said, "Thank You, Lord." Thinking that his friend was either in denial, or didn't understand the gravity of his situation, the doctor got quite perturbed with him and explained again how he would suffocate to death.

Dr Bright explained that he was quite aware of the pronouncement, but was living out God's injunction to give thanks in all situations.

I marvelled at how the Word of God, deeply embedded in his psyche and spirit through years of reading, meditation, memorization, and practice, rose up to equip him to face that horrible news.

The last public record from this outstanding man of God makes me read carefully. I am observing how the Word of God shaped everything: his family life, his ability to dare great things for the Kingdom of God, maximize his gifts, and glorify His Master and Savior -- even in suffering.


How do you treat the Word of God? What influence does it exert in times of hardship/ suffering?

What influences you most, your senses, perceptions, or what God says in His word? How might those affect each other?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Power of Messiah's Resurrection

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My first encounter with Ron DiCiani's work was in a bookstore at Christmas. I spotted his painting of Simeon, eye's heavenward, tears streaming, holding the baby Jesus. I gazed at it and my own eyes pooled with fresh recognition of "Simeon'sMoment."

As you follow this link, perhaps Holy Spirit will give you fresh eyes so you can ponder the power of the resurrection.


With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33, NIV)

Now, you might take time to read that verse in context and ask the resurrected Lord Jesus to reveal some new nugget.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons from a Four Year Old

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On an early vacation morning, they walked along the Florida beach. Joyful discovery, fresh eyes, and happy simplicity gave her grandpa fresh lessons.

She saw beauty in broken things.

Pieces of shells that he would not have given a second glance drew Hannah's curious eyes and little fingers to study and appreciate.

How like our heavenly Father and unlike our quest for perfection. What joy that God's transforming eyes see us-- though broken -- and He affirms our beauty.

Just because you pick it up doesn't mean you have to carry it around.

Perhaps she inspected a clump of seaweed, intrigued by it's patterns. Maybe she put in in her bucket for a while, then decided it was time to dump it back on the beach.

Wisdom knows when to divest itself of baggage that is keeping us from exciting discoveries. We can ask God to help us empty our buckets: get rid of guilt, heal memories, close doors. The Holy Spirit helps us lighten the load. Then of course we sing!

If it's worth saying, it's worth singing.

I imagine Grandpa's delight in Hannah's desire to walk with him along the beach.  I expect he thoroughly enjoyed her melodies, her little voice translating conversation into song. Large and small footprints together, water lapping at their feet, joy spilling over into song, grandfather and granddaughter building memories in God's wide open space.

When we feel safe with someone big who loves us, we're free to sing. No fear of harm or criticism, no worry of being off key. Tuned in to Father's love and handiwork brings a wide horizon, a contented heart, and songs that bring joy.

Chip's and my friend, David Schramm, shared these marvelous insights with us. I pray that we all will take time to enjoy the children in our lives who can be huge conduits of God's joy. May the Holy Spirit give us eyes to see big lessons we can learn from God's little children.

For Your Consideration

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Luke 18:17, NIV)

Meditate on this passage. Listen to what the Holy Spirit might be revealing about being child-like in following Christ.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letter To A Friend

My dear friend,

Your note struck home with me. Reminded me of times the accuser gets in my face taunting me with my own shortcomings.

The Lord reminds me that because we have experienced Christ's forgiveness and are journeying to freedom, we are truly bearers of good news.  If we had no struggles, we could not empathize with each other.

I pray that the Lord will help you STAND while He purifies you. I know it's hard... even excruciating at times. We need the LORD's protection to keep the enemy from gaining ground. The conniver would like to pummel us into the ground, tell us how worthless we are -- poor representatives of fabulous good news.

Humility and trust are hard lessons to learn.

HARD lessons -- but so worthwhile. They are gained by dying to our preferences and discovering Christ's power, humility, and faithful love.

I agree. This is not an easy journey. But the Holy Spirit faithfully teaches and reminds us we can't do it on our own. He loves to help us!! Praise Him.

Praise Him quietly.
Praise Him loudly.
Praise Him as you wash dishes.
Praise Him as you help with homework.

Praise Him as you love.
Praise Him as you are loved.
Praise Him when you feel unloved.
Praise from a broken and contrite heart.
Praise Him for He is WORTHY of our best praise.

May Christ's peace and transforming presence keep you from beating up on yourself.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Believe

Easier said than done, sometimes.

It was now hopeless. Jesus, occupied with healing another, didn't rush to Jairus' daughter's bedside.

Stop bothering the teacher anymore. She's dead. But Jesus ignored them and told her father, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

Sometimes, God doesn't work the way we'd like, so we have trouble believing. At least, I do.

Walking through loud wailing to her still little body, Jesus put out those who didn't believe. He held her hand and spoke life into her.  Eyes saucered and mouths hung loose as she stood up and walked around.

Jesus didn't heal her like He healed the hemorrhaging woman. Jairus could have gotten upset -- as might I. Fear gripped him, but he stayed close to Jesus. When I stay close to the Holy Spirit, He helps me recognize God's healing presence in my dilemma.

Christ may not heal now or here, but if I believe, I will encounter the hand that lifts me up from unbelief. I will see the piercings and remember God's ways are beyond mine.


See account in Mark 5:21-42.

Have you brought Jesus your suffering?
Where do you find His presence and comfort?
What instructions might He be giving you?
How is this impacting your faith?

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Spring Colors

Spring outfits parade throughout retail fliers. The yellows and oranges draw our imagination to see if they would look good on us. Maybe we need new clothes for a fresh outlook.

Paul describes the soft colors of the Spirit: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (See Colossians 3:12-14).

Some old clothes don't only make us look bad. They are unbecoming and carry toxic fumes: sexual immorality, lust, greed, anger, malice slander, filthy language (See Colossians 3:5-9). They slowly pollute the our lives, create offense and hurt, create rifts and even escalate inner wars.

Let's get rid of them: no recycling, no accessorizing.

This spring I want my newest wardrobe item to be the peace of Christ.

I prefer to follow His fashions, let Him dress me as He sees me: holy and beloved.

Sometimes, the power of an old habit tries to redress me. As soon as I smell that old odor or recognize that dark fashion, I get rid of it. Again. And each time, I realize more clearly how it can drag me down.

Help me, Spirit of God. When I'm tempted to dig worry out of the trash heap, put Your colors in front of me. That old grave dress doesn't suit your resurrection in me.

Fill me full of your presence. You love me and know what I need, so I will trust You. I prefer Your colors.

They put a spring in my step.


Is there a new wardrobe item that God's Spirit is attempting to help you wear more?

What keeps you going back to an old, polluted outfit? How can you not only take it off, but keep it off?

You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being enewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (See Colossians 3:9-10).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pray with Fresh Faith

The above link to Jim Cymbala's post was a good jolt for me.

In the article, What Happens When the Church Prays, Pastor Cymbala asks the question, Do we really believe God can draw anyone to Himself? 

I have been dragging my feet on corporate prayer. But I don't happily tame my prayer life. My heart needs passionate prayer. I need to pour out my heart to God and with others who want to see God break into our ordinary hum drum. If God doesn't show up, why bother trying hard for meager results?

I just had the privilege of speaking with an African follower of Jesus. She reminded me of the power of Christ that comes when God's people humble themselves and count on His power.

What might happen if we really believed that God would make a difference -- in our lives?  community? trouble spots?

And what would happen in me as God used me as part of the answer?

Do yourself a favor and read the article.

You'll be tempted to start praying with fresh faith.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


When I called, you answered me
You made me bold and stouthearted  (Psalm 138:3, NIV).

Don't you love the image? Stouthearted. A sturdy, stuffed heart bulging with God who's come to live in us.

Stouthearted is not a word I normally use, but I have been savoring it the last few days.

Helping care for our Mother who now needs around the clock care, looking for flexible work in a strange economy, watching people get blown up all over the world, knowing we are in precipitous times, these tempt me to wilt. My heart sometimes feels punctured. Deflated.

Walking around wilted and thin-hearted does little good. When I call out to the Lord He answers.

Sometimes God reveals a course of action or a scripture to pray. Sometimes I call friends to pray for and encourage me. Sometimes I quiet myself by leaning into Jesus' breast. I put my deflated heart against His sturdiness, breathe in heaven's breath, and let the Holy Spirit remind me of God's presence.

Then, like a pump steadily inflating a leaky tire, fresh strength flows into my heart. I'm able to go on. Stouthearted.

For Your Consideration

What does "stouthearted" mean to you?

What situations are deflating your strength. What do you need to ask God for?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sometimes It Takes Darkness to Appreciate the Light

Darkest night helps us see billions of sparkling stars. But we can appreciate that treasure only if there are no obstructing clouds.

The dark night of the soul is like that. A heavy heart, a burdened mind, and a crushed spirit become opportunities to encounter powerful light when we bring each situation, each emotion to the cross of Jesus Christ.

When we come to the end of ourselves, exhausted from lugging burdens God did not design us to carry, we  lift our tear stained faces toward the Creator of both night and light. Even a limp reach for Jesus Christ with a genuine desire for reconciliation brings the wind of God's Spirit that blows those clouds out of the way.

God's prevailing grace wipes away our tears, forgives confessed sin, and reveals the marvelous power of the cross.

For Your Consideration

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16, NIV).

Can you celebrate a time when your darkness was changed to light as you called out for the LORD?

If you are currently under a dark sky, please call to your Lord Jesus Christ. He will send the Holy Spirit to help you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reactions to "A Taste of Love"

To every person who prayed for our spiritual refresher last Saturday a big THANK YOU!
A 'sweet, sweet Spirit was in the place' from the beginning of the day. At every turn I recognized answered prayers and remembered the large number of people who were praying with me.

It seemed Jesus was walking through the room as we worshiped, looked at Scripture, examined ourselves, and prayed for one another.

If you prayed for us, enjoy these comments as part of the fruit of your prayers also. We are incredibly blessed to be a part of drawing people to a fresh experience of God's transforming love.

You have no idea how much God blessed me by using you to minister to my heart on Saturday. From asking me to read Scripture aloud, to teaching me Lectio Divina, to encouraging me with your sweet words later.... you blessed my soul. Thank you! --Rachel

You took me away from the every day into His loving arms. Thank you, thank you. Loved your visuals, both the cross and crown and imagining being washed clean.... Thanks so much for all you do to help others grow in Christ. -- Jan

What a peaceful, but explosive, quieting, but invigorating day! Thank you Lord!!! -- Cynthia

I experienced God’s love through His people, through you, Paula, and in the way you presented a loving Heavenly Father. -- Carol

I would love have an opportunity to talk with you about planning and facilitating a spiritual refresher. If you contact me*, I'd be happy to brainstorm with you and discern how we might synchronize with the work God is already doing in your area! 

*Contact via comments on blog,  e-mailing me at, or calling 765-284-2125.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Lenses

Praying desperately for a full term baby...
Counting the days before you can escape danger whistling past your ear...
Offering to help an ailing parent who resents your help...
Agonizing over how to resolve conflicts in your church...
Begging God for relief at your spouse’s bedside...
Reminding your discouraged heart to look to the unseen...
Searching the scriptures in search of an encouraging word …

We all have crises where our expectations topple. Still, we reach for hope. We call out to God in desperation. And we pray for a good resolution.

A conflicted board meeting, tense operating room, slow grocery line, difficult conversation – all may be uncomfortable places where God offers us new lenses.

While we can’t always understand God’s ways in those times, experience discovers that God is trustworthy. Careful study and meditation in the scriptures give us new glasses -- and confidence in God’s goodness. Experience secures the glasses while we hold on to hope that only God can give. In our desert, we learn our Deliverer is trustworthy.

Just as God walked the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land, so our Deliverer walks us through pain and dashed expectations to a new geography replete with good provisions. Our precious Savior loves us and can work things together for good when we ask.

Journeying through the extremes of my desert, I rehearse God’s previous interventions. I'd encountered Christ's presence and was given new lenses to see my Deliverer making a way to accomplish His good promises.

My Lord will do it again. I just need to keep my glasses on, and hold tightly to His hand.


I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16, NIV).

See also Isaiah 55:9 and Romans 8:28.

Where do you get new lenses to more clearly see God's faithfulness and provisions? What scripture passages have shaped your view?

Recall a dark time when you encountered God's light. Spend 30 seconds in praise and thanksgiving for God's guidance, transformation, and presence.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Was I

"They did not realize it was I..."

This phrase (Hosea 11:3b) pulled me back for a closer look.
In the midst of reprimanding His people, God breaks into tender reminiscing, and Hosea describes the LORD's heart broken by the children He loved.

God had taught them to walk. Allowed their young fingers to curl around His pinky for support. Threw them up in the air and played hide and seek with them, all the while never leaving. God stood up to their bullies, provided bread when they thought they'd die, and healed them from diseases.

A father throws his giggling child up in the air. He knows his strength and grins at his child's willingness to trust. A mother gently leads her toddler, picking her up when she falls and kissing her bruises.

As the child grows, independence and self-sufficiency surge. She copies her neighbors' ways and ignores her parent's calls. 

Preoccupied with herself, Israel also forgot God's tenderness. She overlooked the ties of love that connected her to her Lord. God had stooped down to feed them and remove their yoke of slavery. But those were now faint memories. They were striking out on their own. 

"They did not realize it was I who healed them."


Oh God, please remind me that you didn't make me to live without Your love. I want to always realize Your loving interventions in my life.


Read Hosea 11.

Listen for God's voice calling you. What is He saying?

Are there life situations in which you've forgotten the Lord's loving presence?

Where has God been patient, healed you, fed and guided you?

Thankfully recount God's interventions. Don't give your heavenly Father an opportunity to say "They did not realize it was I..."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gentle Giant

Excitement buzzed through the hall as Rupert Boneham was being introduced. Known as a "gentle giant" and voted the million dollar winner on Survivor, he'd come to help raise funds for a mission to Tanzania. He looked the same: shaggy beard, tie dyed shirt, and cargo pants.

Winning (he tapped his temple) was more a matter of mental stamina than physical. He referenced a competitor and noted the difference between a survivor and a conniver, observing that kindness doesn't always win.

But he was a winner in my books. He had paid off family debts, then used part of his award to establish "Rupert's Kids" to help at risk teens in Indianapolis to believe in themselves and unlearn the layers of destructive thinking.

His gruff persona and kindness reminded me of Peter who had been hand-selected to follow Jesus.

Peter, I'm sure, recalled the time he had let fear of others' angry opinions derail his vow to never betray Jesus. His impetuous self preservation had been replaced by a firm but gentle spirit. Transformed by Christ's forgiveness, Peter was now encouraging others.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15b, NIV, italics mine).

Instead of retaliation or denial, they were to be prepared with a gentle answer. Blessing was to answer insult, a good conscience treasured, slander disregarded.

As Rupert did, Peter won his struggle to overcome his anger, fears and failures. More than a survivor, he was a winner because he had learned to "set apart Christ as Lord" (verse 15a).

That's what it takes. Christ as Lord. Whether I fail, break a toe, deal with slander, or endure whipping and prison, hardships can contour gentleness when they are given to the Lord Christ.

Peter followed another "Gentle Giant." Do you?


Read 1 Peter 3:8-22.

How have you experienced the gentleness of Christ's forgiveness?
How might God be directing you to bless another who has slandered or disappointed you?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Taste of Love - March 12, 2011 - Brochure

You may click on each page and it will reveal the whole page. Do let me know if you'd like me to send you a brochure. It would be my pleasure.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Taste of Love: Practicing God's Presence

A Taste of Love is the title of the upcoming Women's Spiritual Refresher on March 12th, 2011. I plan to reference the Great Commandment along with a touch of spiritual disciplines (worship, prayer, scripture meditation and service) to set the table for a taste of God's love.

We women are busy -- with good things -- but often we don't take the time just to enjoy God's presence.

My goal is to give women an opportunity to focus on God through the disciplines and so open doors to experience more of God's presence.

To love our precious Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength produces joy in God's presence. Oh how I pray -- and invite you to pray with me-- that we will experience Love's presence.

I am praying that the Holy Spirit who presents Christ's living PRESENCE to us, will sharpen my thoughts and heart. I desire that God use me to bless the dear women who will be coming.Would you join me in praying that?

A Taste of Love is open to women in the north Indiana area and will be held at the Mount Etna United Methodist Church at the corner of Highways 9 and 124. For more information, or to get a brochure, please leave a comment below, or email me at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Completing His Joy

My husband loves to give.
Early in our marriage I would squirm at his gifts. My perceived resources to match his were meager. But I'd smile and enjoy his thoughtful selections. He’d save the gift for the right moment, then, smiling broadly, he’d present his package.

As he lavished grace, I had to learn the grace of receiving. Maturing in love revealed how I complete his joy when I embrace his gifts.

How like my relationship with my precious Lord.

God gives thoughtfully and lavishly. He has even given Himself – a magnificent, sobering gift. Knowing intimately what I need and desire, He always gives what is truly good.

I can’t repay such a Giver. But I want to give myself. My eyes sparkle, my appreciation delights His ears, and love infuses my heart.

That open-hearted acceptance mirrors God’s delight in giving. Seeing His beloved joyfully receiving completes our heavenly husband’s joy.

Doesn’t that make you smile?


See Romans 8:32; 1 Timothy 6:17; Luke 11:13.

How do you receive gifts?
Is there any notion that keeps you from receiving God’s good gifts?
Will you celebrate Christ's joy of giving by giving Him the joy of receiving?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Changing Habits


Changing habits takes perserverance, doesn't it?

Two thousand and eleven’s refreshed goals have me reordering my day, aiming at a new rhythm for life but, honestly, I miss my cup of Turkish coffee first thing in the morning.

Devotions and coffee are getting pushed to a slightly later slot. I don't like it...yet... and realize more changes might be coming. You'd think a series of small shifts wouldn't be a big deal, but every morning I have to consciously choose the new over the old routine.

There seems to be a parallel with faith training.

Sometimes, the Lord calls us to reexamine ourselves to make us more aware of His presence. Instead of merely maintaining our daily routines (including our spiritual lives), the Perfecter of our faith occasionally presents us with a challenge to strengthen that faith.

It’s uncomfortable at first, often precipitated by trial, stress, or even the turning of a year.

Come to Me. Watch, learn and imitate Me. Focus on Me. (See Matthew 11:28-29 and Hebrews 12:1-3)

As I try to activate new spiritual disciplines, I wonder if my bumbling frustrates God like it does me. But thankfully, mercy is at work.

The Scriptures tell me that Jesus stands close by, His Spirit cheering me on to persevere. Come on, don’t give up. I’ve given you my Word and My Spirit. You aren’t alone. Give it all you have! I’ll help you choose a better way.

I desire all of you -- heart, soul, and mind.

And I, each day, relish God’s persevering love in the midst of changing habits.

Choose a passage and listen for the Spirit's nudges: Matthew 11:28-29; 22: 37-40; Luke 14:25-33; Hebrews 12: 1-13.

Have you been urged to develop a new habit? What might you need to do in order to activate your faith in your Faith Trainer?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


For some reason, we still have gnats in winter. I think they live in the house plants and fly across my line of vision. I notice them when I'm reading. Sometimes I ignore them, more often I try to swat them. I stop reading and "slap and slide." It's the only way I'm guaranteed they won't slip through my hands.

Negative thoughts come to be from left field too. I can ignore them hoping they'll go away but, like gnats, they'll often circle and come back to annoy me.

But, I'm learning to SWIT them. SWIT is an acrostic my husband and I have started using: "Speak What Is True."

Truth always sets us free. Sometimes I need courage or information to SWIT it, but as I ask people who love me to give me more objective input, I can gain a better perspective on my situation. Sometimes, there is only One who loves me AND has the perspective to help me SWIT it. So I ask for help.

While the truth of my situation may not be immediately obvious to me, as I look to Jesus I learn how to SWIT -- and swat -- those gnats. One at a time.

Then I am free to focus on the task at hand for God's glory! 

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32, NIV).

What do you think it means to know the truth? How might you need the truth to set you free?
Can you make a connection to John 14:6? Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life."
What step can you take to know Jesus Christ better so you can SWIT more effectively?

The photo was found at where they have an answer to gnats in your plants! Let me know if you have success.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unexpected Joy

Val welcomed us with open arms to their pot luck dinner on the twelfth day of Christmas. Guests comfortably milled around and I got acquainted with my sister’s friends. I discovered two women who were writers also, which started an interesting conversation.

Later over soup and salmon I reconnected with them, heard more of their stories, and we exchanged suggestions and emails. We even snapped pictures of our newly formed threesome. I hated to disband when we were invited to the fire pit in the back, not realizing something precious was in store.

Our host suggested that, as we threw each Christmas tree twig into the fire, we could prayerfully name a wish for the New Year. The format was “Let there be….”

One by one we shared our desires. “Let there be more trust and compassion in this world.” -- “Let my work flow out of a greater intimacy with Christ.” -- “Let there be more passion in marriages built around Christ.” -- “Let there be more fathering.” -- “Let there be more clarity, courage, and discipline in my life.” – “Let me be willing to give up whatever God shows me.” – “Surrender.”

We watched the fire swirl uniquely around each twig, soaring, curling the stems, making the leaves glow. This visual of the Holy Spirit consuming what had died, bringing light and power, burned brightly.

I thanked my friends as I left, aware that new friendships and flaming prayers had brought me joy – a marker of Christ's presence. What a way to walk into this New Year!


You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

What social experiences help you encounter God’s joy? Why?
What prayerful wish would you have added to the fire?